It is the Italian Job for both Arsenal and Chelsea
, the sole Premier League survivors in the Champions League
this season. The Gunners really got the rough end of the draw against the strong AC Milan, while Chelsea have to square off against Napoli, who held off the challenge of Manchester City in the group stage. So the stakes are higher now
at the knockout stage, and it is the Spanish sides who are still dominating the Champions League outright winner betting market. Holders Barcelona
were handed a tie against Germans Bayer Leverkusen, who followed Chelsea through from their group, while Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid
continue their campaign against CSKA Moscow.
Here is a Champions League betting preview
for the Last 16 draw for this year’s tournament.
Lyon v APOEL
Pretty much a great draw for APOEL, who became the first Cypriot side to make it through to the last sixteen of the competition. It was a remarkable run in the group stage from APOEL
, who saw off Zenit St Petersburg and Porto to claim top spots in Group G. They are the great success story of the tournament so far this season, making a bit of history for themselves and only losing one match out of their six. They will probably really fancy their chances against French Champions League stalwarts Lyon, who left qualification to the knockout stage pretty late.
Lyon went into the final round of matches, trailing second placed Ajax by three points, and needing to overcome a huge goal difference. Lyon, who had struggled a bit through the group turned on the afterburners to beat Dynamo Zagreb 7-1, and with Ajax going down 3-0 against Real Madrid, it meant that the French side squeezed through in pretty remarkable fashion. Lyon have all the experience here
, and could be pushed out in Cyprus, but you would expect the French outfit to pull it together in this tie.
To Qualify: Lyon 6/17 at Bwin
, APOEL 3/1 at Stan James
Napoli v Chelsea
Decent enough draw for Chelsea, and Napoli will probably be thinking the same thing. Chelsea topped their group thanks to a superb final group match effort against Valencia. The Stamford Bridge crew
jumped to the top of the group, quite unexpectedly as leaders Leverkusen failed to beat Genk, handing the Londoners top spot. Napoli edged out Manchester City
for second place behind Bayern Munich in their group, and with the likes of Edison Cavani in the side, the Naples side have shown a lot of promise. Chelsea have the experience needed to pull this off, but the trip to Italy for the first leg is not going to be an easy one. There is a big gap now until the Champions League returns
and form up until that first leg, which is going to be the crucial one, will be vital. Chelsea have to start well out in Naples to give themselves something to build on back at the Bridge. Tough draw for Chelsea, but one that is navigable.
To Qualify: Chelsea 4/7 at Ladbrokes
, Napoli 9/5 at Bwin
AC Milan v Arsenal
last season Arsenal finished second in their group and got the bum tie of Barcelona. This year they go and win their group and also get the bum tie of facing AC Milan. The Milanese are definitely the pick of the second placed qualifiers
in the draw, as they are going very well in Serie A, and pushed group opponents Barcelona very hard in both of their meetings. AC Milan are certainly not going to be any pushovers, and Arsenal could not have asked for a tougher test at this stage. They will need the best of their improved form
to earn themselves something out in Italy for the first leg, and then look to their good home form to carry them through. This should be one of the ties of the Last 16 for your Champions League betting, with two very good and very entertaining sides squaring off. Milan could just edge this though
, and make a great dark horse outright winner bet in the competition.
To Qualify: Arsenal 10/11 at Totesport
, AC Milan Evens at SkyBet
FC Basel v Bayern Munich
Well, this looks as if it will be an easy match up for the strong German outfit. Bayern qualified at a canter from a tough group including Napoli and Manchester City. Even though, they lost their final match at the Etihad Stadium
against City, they really had more than enough in the tank, and should go far in the competition. FC Basel secured their place in the next round with a tremendous Match Day Six win over Manchester United
, sending the English champions packing from the competition. So this could easily have been Manchester United in this position, which would have been a great fixture. FC Basel battled ever so well through their group,
and their impressive come back from 2-0 down at Old Trafford to take a 3-2 lead, to then be denied at the death will live long in their memories. Just as their home win over the Red Devils will. They are one of the surprise packages, a very organized and hard working side led by the threat of Alexander Frei and the handful that is Marco Streller.
Wouldn’t go against Bayern Munich though in your Champions League betting, as they can look very ominous at times. There has been a suggestion that if the Swiss FA fail to punish FC Sion (who were kicked out of the Europa League) for signing players when they weren’t supposed to, it could lead to a European ban for Swiss sides. That would mean that United would replace Basel here if that were to come into fruition.
To Qualify: Bayern Munich 1/7 at BetFred
, Basel 5/1 at Stan James
Bayer Leverkusen v FC Barcelona
German side Leverkusen, who followed Chelsea through from the group stage, landed the short straw in the last 16, having to face holders Barcelona. The Germans, with Michael Ballack running the midfield show
, really didn’t offer enough in the group stage to suggest that they will cause Barcelona any real upset. Qualification for Barca was easy
, although they were tested very well by AC Milan in their two encounters. A 3-2 win at the San Siro secured the edge in the group, sending them through as winners. Can’t see anything other than a Barcelona win over the two legs here.
To Qualify: Barcelona 1/9 at Bet365
, Leverkusen 8/1 at Bwin
CSKA Moscow v Real Madrid
Russians, CSKA Moscow qualified in second place from Group B behind Inter Milan, and did beat the Italians on Match Day six. However, having to face Real Madrid
is a totally different kettle of fish for the Russians, who will be big underdogs in this tie. Real Madrid look very strong and would expect to see them in the semi final stage at the very least. Jose Mourinho’s men were the only side in the group stage to maintain a 100% record
, winning all six matches and scoring 19 in the process. Madrid should be far too strong for Moscow, and unless the Russians get anything out of the first home leg, then it could all be done and dusted after the first 90 minutes of this tie.
To Qualify: Real Madrid 1/7 at Bet365
, Moscow 7/1 at Bwin
Zenit St Petersburg v Benfica
Granted, Zenit St Petersburg probably did benefit from being placed in one of the weaker groups, but they still couldn’t steal top spot away from APOEL.
Still, the Russians only lost one match in their group stage, and will probably prove to be more stubborn than threatening to Benfica. The Portuguese side were one of the most exciting attacking forces
in the group stage, holding Manchester United to two draws, which was part of the undoing of the Red Devils. Benfica really look as if they have a lot to offer and would expect them to put up a stronger showing of attacking power
than Zenit in this one. Would get behind Benfica for your Champions League betting in this one.
To Qualify: Benfica 4/6 at Ladbrokes
, Zenit 6/4 at SkyBet
Marseille v Inter Milan
Inter boss Claudio Ranieri, who seems to have gotten the Milan side back on track in Serie A after the club had a torrid start to the new season, will be looking forward to this clash against Didier Deschamps and Marseille
. Inter topped their group ahead of CSKA Moscow, while French side Marseille, a hard working and physical team, finished a point behind Arsenal in their group. Deschamps was in charge of AS Monaco when whey beat Ranieri’s Chelsea in the 2003/04 semi finals of the Champions League. That was the last time Ranieri was in charge of Chelsea in Europe
, and he will be keen for some revenge. Marseille have the ability to frustrate and close down a lot of space, but if Inter continue their revival under Ranieri, then would back them early next year to get through this tie.
To Qualify: Inter 1/2 at Bet365
, Marseille 2/1 at Bwin
Champions League Last 16 Match Dates
: Lyon v APOEL, Leverkusen v Barcelona
: AC Milan v Arsenal, Zenit St Petersburg V Benfica
: Napoli v Chelsea, CSKA Moscow v Real Madrid
: Basel v Bayern Munich, Marseille v Inter Milan
: Arsenal v AC Milan, Benfica v Zenit St Petersburg
: APOEL v Marseille, Barcelona v Bayern Leverkusen
: Bayern Munich v FC Basel, Inter Milan v Marseille
: Chelsea v Napoli, Real Madrid v CSKA Moscow
Champions League Outright Betting Odds
Barcelona: 13/8 at Bet365
Real Madrid: 5/2 at SkyBet
Bayern Munich: 11/2 at Victor Chandler
Chelsea: 14/1 at Stan James
Arsenal: 25/1 at Victor Chandler
AC Milan: 28/1 at Boylesports
Inter Milan: 33/1 at Victor Chandler