The Champions League knockouts resume on Tuesday night with two crucial second-leg encounters from Monaco and Madrid.
English attentions will be focused on France as the Gunners look to avoid becoming the second Premier League team to be eliminated by a Ligue 1 opponent. However, the match in Spain is equally exciting as last year’s runners-up bid to overturn a one goal deficit.
It should be a thrilling night of action.
AS Monaco V Arsenal. 7:45PM. ITV 1
Arsene Wenger’s men head to the principality of Monaco facing the most difficult of tasks as they aim to bounce back from a humiliating first-leg hammering. The Gunners are certainly on the ropes, but they haven’t quite hit the canvas yet. Unfortunately, it might take just one goal from the hosts to provide that knockout blow.
The French side have been in good scoring form lately, netting three in each of their past two domestic matches. Leonardo Jardim will be extremely confident about his team’s chances of completing the job but would love to see Dimitar Berbatov and co kill the tie with an early goal.
Arsenal’s situation looks bleak but an early goal could turn the clash on its head and the Gunners will be looking to the in-form Oliver Giroud, as well as other key stars such as Alexis Sanchez for inspiration. Aside from that devastating first-leg loss, the Premier League side have been in great form and it might be a little premature to write them off completely.
One thing is for sure, though, it should be an absorbing 90 minutes.
AS Monaco V Arsenal Betting
As far as the bookies are concerned, this game could go either way. Despite their first-leg heroics, Monaco are slight underdogs at 23/10, whilst Arsenal are priced 11/8. The draw is available at 5/2.
Whilst we do edge towards an Arsenal win, we wouldn’t be overly confident and think it would be foolish to underestimate the French side again.
However, the one thing we do know is that one side will need to attack until the very last minute. That is likely to be the Gunners but could be Monaco should Arsenal produce the unexpected. Either way, one team will attack and the other could be dangerous on the attack. We think they’ll be late drama.
Last goal to be score after 71 mins @ 10/11 with Paddy Power
Atletico Madrid V Bayer Leverkusen. 7:45PM. Sky Sports 1
The night’s other encounter comes from the Vicente Calderon as Deigo Simeone’s Rojiblancos look to seal their place in the last eight. The Spanish champions do trail 1-0, though, and their Bundesliga opponents will be equally optimistic about progressing.
Bayer have won five straight matches in all competitions, but the trip to the Spanish capital will be a huge challenge for Roger Schmidt’s team. However, an away goal would give them a real chance of progression and the likes of Heung-Min Son and Karim Bellarabi will cause a threat. The main issue, though, could be creating those chances in the first place.
Atletico are a brilliant side and will be firmly fancied to advance, but it is worth noting they haven’t won in four competitive fixtures. Worryingly, they’ve only scored once in that period too. Fortunately, Mario Mandzukic, Fernando Torres and Antoine Greizmann should give them a great chance of finding the target here.
This is a tough test for Atletico and is one that’s clearly distracted them over the past three weeks. However, if the Rojiblancos perform to their best then it should be their name in the quarter-final draw.
Atletico Madrid V Bayer Leverkusen Betting
Atletico have been installed as the odds-on favourites at 8/11. Meanwhile, Bayer Leverkusen can be backed at 9/2 and the draw is priced 14/5.
Trailing 1-0 means Atletico have to search for goals, especially as an away goal would force them into scoring a minimum of three. Simeone’s men won’t throw caution to the wind, but they should be on the front foot throughout and we think they’ll break the deadlock before the interval.
Leverkusen are a good side but it’s very difficult to image a quarter-final draw without last year’s runners-up. We think they’ll win, and we think they’ll win well.
HT/FT: Atletico/Atletico @ 17/10 with BetVictor