The latest Opta nuggets offer Atletico Madrid fans reason to believe and Arsenal fans reason to watch EastEnders…
Atletico Madrid v Bayer Leverkusen (Tuesday, 19:45, Sky Sports 1 and 5)
Diego Simeone has won eight of his nine Champions League home games as Atletico Madrid coach
Atleti plundered ten goals on home turf in their group and should be confident of netting against a side that shipped in four of their last five away Champions League fixtures. Leverkusen were shut out by Monaco twice and Benfica once in Group C. Diego Simeone’s side boast similar organisation levels to Arsenal’s conquerors, so should keep the clean sheet that drastically enhances their chances of progress.
Recommended Bet: Atletico Madrid to qualify @ 2.3811/8
The first leg between those teams at the BayArena produced eight yellow cards and one red
Bayer were the group stage’s most prolific foulers, while their hosts were no shrinking violets either, coming fifth in the indiscretions table. The first leg was fiercely competitive affair and, with the tie in the balance, the atmosphere is only likely to get more fractious at the Vicente Calderon.
Recommended Bet: Back over 6.5 cards at 2.226/5
Monaco v Arsenal (Tuesday, 19:45, ITV 1)
Monaco have conceded two goals in seven Champions League games, this season’s joint-best record
Just how difficult the task facing the Gunners is becomes clear upon the realisation that Les Rouges et Blancs have been responsible for more clean sheets than Hotpoint and Daz combined this term. Leonardo Jardim’s side have let one goal slip in their last 12 home games, holding Ligue 1’s top three Lyon, Paris St-Germain and Marseille at bay during that period.
Recommended Bet: Back Monaco to keep a clean sheet @ 4.77/2
Monaco have won 75% of their Champions League games at their Stade Louis-II (18 out of 24)
Opta add that only Real Madrid have a better ratio on home soil in the history of the competition (76%) among teams with more than two appearances. Having already established how hard Jardim’s men are to breach, it’s difficult not to anticipate a similar game to the first leg at a stadium that has scotched more than its fair share of visiting Champions League hopes down the years.
Arsenal have far less choice over whether to force the issue than they did in north London and it will be a surprise if they aren’t exploited on the counter again in the principality.
Recommended Bet: Back Monaco to beat Arsenal @ 3.412/5