Champions League football is back! Moreover, the drama is set to hit overdrive as 16 of Europe’s top teams try to book their place in the quarter-finals over the next four weeks of action.
The excitement starts in emphatic style on Tuesday night as Chelsea head to Paris. Meanwhile, Benfica host Russian side Zenit in an equally intriguing battle. It should be a cracking night of drama, and we’ll be hoping to capitalise in style with a few bet selections.
PSG V Chelsea
Tuesday 16th February. 7:45PM. BT Sport 2
Guus Hiddink’s second stint at Stamford Bridge has started in very positive fashion and the Blues remain unbeaten under the Dutchman so far. However, that record could be in serious jeopardy as the Premier League champions make the trip to the Parc des Princes.
Chelsea have improved massively in recent weeks, as was underlined by Saturday’s emphatic win over Newcastle. Nevertheless, this side is still a shadow of last year’s while Laurent Blanc’s Parisians are arguably even better.
PSG are still undefeated in Ligue 1 this term, and even held Real Madrid here in the group stage. The French club edged past Chelsea on penalties when the sides met last year, but the additions of Angel Di Maria and Benjamin Stambouli have made them even stronger.
The hosts will be desperate to strike a first leg advantage after drawing it last term. The Blues are capable of claiming a positive result, but they might have to be at their best to do so. Whatever happens, it should be a thrilling battle in Paris.
PSG V Chelsea Betting
With home advantage on their side, PSG are the odds-on favourites to win this crucial first leg and are priced 8/13 with Bet365. Chelsea, meanwhile, can be backed at 9/2 whilst the draw is 11/4.
Chelsea have grown in confidence since Hiddink took charge, but they are underdogs here for a reason. Quite frankly, if PSG bring their best, the hosts should claim victory on Tuesday night.
Blanc’s men will be out to take an early lead and there’s no question that star man Zlatan Ibrahimovic is their best chance of doing it. This could be the Swedish star’s last season in France and he’d love to fire them towards the latter stages of this competition. We’re backing him to have a massive say here by opening the score against Chelsea.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic to score first @ 10/3 with SkyBet
Benfica V Zenit St Petersburg
Tuesday 16th February. 7:45PM. BT Sport Europe
The nights other clash comes from the Estadio da Luz as Rui Vitoria’s Benfica look to take a crucial first leg lead against Zenit St Petersburg. Given the difficulty of the return trip to Russia, it’s imperative that they do.
Benfica might not be as confident as they could be, though, after losing to fierce rivals Porto on Friday night. Nevertheless, the hosts have enjoyed great form on home turf this season and will be looking to star man Jonas for further inspiration here.
Zenit won’t be pushovers. Andre Villas-Boas’s men won two of their three group stage matches on the road. With Hulk and Artem Dzyuba leading a potent attacking line, they’ll certainly have a chance of netting those important away goals.
Expect another fascinating contest from Europe’s elite club competition.
Benfica V Zenit St Petersburg Betting
While Zenit are the favourites over two legs, it’s Benfica who enter this leg as the 11/10 favourites with Bet365. The visitors, meanwhile, are priced 13/5 and the draw is 9/4.
The impetus has to be with Benfica to attack, but AVB’s side will still be out to score a potentially crucial away goal. Taking this into account, we fancy both teams to find the target at some stage.
At odds of over Evens, it has to be worth a punt.
BTTS Yes @ 13/12 with Unibet