Man City v Spurs: Spurs to Qualify – 6/5
The quadruple stops here. City have struggled to fill their stadium recently despite being within striking distance of a historic haul of silverware. When you look at how easy their cup runs have been this season, you can’t blame their fans for being less than enthusiastic about some of their games.
Rotherham, Burnley, Newport, Swansea and Brighton have made up the numbers in their FA Cup exploits, while the Carabao triumph was far from fizzing with a competitive buzz. Oxford, Fulham and Leicester were all seen off before Pep’s picks enjoyed a 9-0 walkover in the semi-final first leg versus Burton, and even Sarri’s mutinous squad nearly undid their challenge in the final.
The European campaign doesn’t leap off the page in terms of testing opposition either.
Lyon, Shakhtar and Hoffenheim were far from the toughest lot they could’ve drawn in the group stage, while Schalke slumped to a 7-0 slaughter at the Etihad after showing some sparks of resistance in the first leg of their last 16 tie.
Now they’ve got to overcome a Spurs team who dug out a first-leg lead, despite losing the talismanic chin of Harry Kane during the game. He looks like he’ll miss the rest of the season, but they’ve already weathered a lengthy absence on his part earlier in the campaign, thanks to Son Heung-Min, and Lucas Moura seizing the opportunity on Saturday against Huddersfield to lash in a few goals. Tottenham partisans don’t have to write this competition off just because their England striker’s ankle is on the blink.
The most crucial part of last week’s result was the clean sheet though. Hugo Lloris has had a rough time of it recently, but the saves he made in the first-leg of this tie means that one away goal lumps a whole new pile of rocks and clay on top of the already sizable climb City face in this tie.
We’d fancy them to get it, and, with the record Pep Guardiola sides have of collapsing to heavy defeats in the latter stages of this competition when they fall behind, it’s very tempting to look at Spurs winning this game. But the To Qualify market will do for us, especially with the Londoners who are 1-0 up from the first leg, being offered at 6/5.
Porto v Liverpool: Liverpool to win and both teams to score – 16/5
It might sound funny, but a 2-0 defeat at Anfield certainly wasn’t the worst result in the world for Porto last Tuesday. Far bigger sides than the Portuguese champions have been battered by The Reds this season – and dare we say it, Porto may still have a sniff of qualifying.
Despite seemingly steamrolling nearly everyone in front of them this season, Liverpool haven’t managed to rid themselves of one nasty habit – conceding goals away from home in Europe.
It’s eight games since Jurgen Klopp’s men last kept a clean sheet away from Anfield and they’ve also let in at least one goal on their travels in every Champions League game this campaign.
Ironically, the last time Liverpool held their opponents scoreless in Europe was when these sides met last season as they battered Porto 5-0 in the Estádio Do Dragão.
While you couldn’t see that happening again, the quality Liverpool have at their disposal should see them record another victory over their hosts .
They may struggle to keep their copybook blank in this one though, and that’s why we’re backing Klopp’s outfit to win with both teams to score at the tasty price of 16/5 here.
*All odds correct at time of posting.