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Midweek Champions League Tips

Two Premier League clubs have Champions League Last 16 first leg games this week, including Arsenal hosting Barcelona. We preview both televised matches.

Arsenal v Barcelona

BT Sport Europe Tuesday 23rd February / 7.45pm

YesBoth Teams To Score4/6Bet365
BarcelonaMatch Result and Both Teams To Score9/4Betfair
Barcelona 2-1Correct Score8/1BetVictor
Alexis Sanchez (ew)First Goalscorer9/1Paddy Power
Luis Suarez (ew)First Goalscorer9/2Bet365
Luis SuarezTo Score 2 Or More Goals6/1Bet365

Arsenal are hoping to avoid being eliminated from the Champions League at the last 16 stage for the fifth successive year and are undeniably underdogs to do so.

But the Gunners did beat Bayern Munich 2-0 here in the group stages in October, plus Barcelona themselves 2-1 at this stage back in February 2011.

This time around Arsenal can be backed at 4/1 with Bet365 to win at home, while Barca are no bigger than 8/11 with Betfred and the draw 16/5 with Bet365.

Barcelona have won 13 of their last 14 matches, scoring an average of exactly 4 goals per home game in that period, and exactly 2 goals per away game.

However, it is worth noting that they have also conceded exactly one goal in five of their last six away games – plus they have conceded in nine of their last ten knock-out phase games away from home, so back Both Teams To Score at 4/6.

On the same basis, we also recommend backing Barca to win and both teams to score at 9/4 with Betfair, plus a 2-1 Barca win at a stand-out 8/1 with BetVictor.

That Arsenal goal might well come from former Barcelona player Alexis Sanchez, who can be backed each-way at 9/1 with Paddy Power to score first.

Lionel Messi will be well backed in this market at best price 15/4 with Bet365, but Luis Suarez scored five goals in the group stages, compared to Messi’s three.

And with 12 in his last 7 games, Suarez looks the better bet at 9/2 with Bet365, while we also suggest backing him at a massive 6/1 with Bet365 to score a brace.

Finally, it is certainly worth noting that if you place a pre-match bet on this game with Bet365 they will give you a risk-free In-Play bet to the same value, up to £50.

Dynamo Kiev v Manchester City

BT Sport Europe Wednesday 24th February / 7.45pm

Dynamo Kiev1×25/2Bet365
Andriy YarmolenkoFirst Goalscorer8/1Paddy Power
Andriy YarmolenkoAnytime Goalscorer11/4Paddy Power
Dynamo Kiev 1-0Correct Score9/1Bet365
1-1Correct Score5/1Bet365

Having rested virtually his whole first team squad for Sunday’s FA Cup fifth round mauling at Stamford Bridge, Manuel Pellegrini will be desperate to show that that strategy was warranted with a good performance, goals and a win in the Ukraine.

That 5-1 defeat to Chelsea was City’s third consecutive loss in all competitions, following home reverses to title rivals Leicester (1-3) and Tottenham (1-2).

Dynamo finished just behind Chelsea in the group stages, drawing 0-0 with the Blues here at the Olympic Stadium in Kiev, while Everton were thrashed 5-2 here in the Europa League last season.

Andriy Yarmolenko scored the first goal in that quarter-final and simply has to be backed at a stand-out price of 8/1 with Paddy Power to score first (just 5/1 with most bookmakers) and 11/4 with Paddy Power to score at any time in the game.

Despite this being a different side to the one that lost at Chelsea on Sunday, the losing momentum from their two previous home games makes the 5/2 offered by Bet365 on a home win seem generous to us.

City conceded exactly one goal in each of their three group away games, and have scored either 0 or 1 goals in 8 of their last 10 away league games this season.

So, we also suggest backing the 1-0 home win and a 1-1 draw at 9/1 and 5/1 respectively with Bet365, who refund Correct Score bets on games that end 0-0.