George Pitts casts his eye over Wednesday's Champions League quarter-final second legs...
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Manchester City v Tottenham Hotspur (0-1 agg)
- Kick-off at 2000 BST on BT Sport 2, Etihad Stadium
Manchester City paid the price for not being at their best in the first leg, with Tottenham rising to the occasion on their first European outing in their new ground with a 1-0 win.
Mauricio Pochettino's side have one foot in the Champions League semi-finals, what an achievement that would be given the fact the Argentinian did not spend a penny on his squad last summer.
The one negative for them from last week's tie is the season-ending injury suffered by Harry Kane, but the north Londoners showed at the weekend - albeit against struggling Huddersfield - that they can score without him as they netted four, including a Lucas Moura hat-trick. That is in addition to earlier in the season, when Kane missed a large chunk of action and Heung-min Son rose in his absence to help them maintain a surprise title charge which has, of course, since gone by the wayside.
It was a surprise to see Kevin De Bruyne on the bench for the first leg and the Belgian should be restored for this huge match, with their quadruple hopes on the line.
It should be a cracker. Both sides have nothing to lose and everything to gain. They will be sick of the sight of each other by end of play on Saturday lunchtime, when they meet again in the Premier League at the Etihad.
City did not get a vital away goal in last week's first leg, while a one-goal lead is too dangerous for the visitors to be satisfied with and Hugo Lloris says his team-mates are 'ready to suffer'.
Spurs will not just go to sit on a 1-0 lead. That's just not their style. So plenty of chances could be on the cards at both ends and the odds-against price on Tottenham to register at least four shots on target stands out.
They average six shots on target per game in the competition this term and can find weaknesses to exploit in Pep Guardiola's side. Four shots on target is not much to ask, so it is a great price to get on.
Considering how fast City can burst out the blocks, and how eager they will be to get ahead in this tie, the 27/20 on them to be leading after 30 minutes also stands out, but the preference is to back Spurs chances in the shots on target market.
Score prediction: Man City 3-2 Spurs (Sky Bet odds: 22/1)
Best bet: Tottenham 4+ shots on target at 15/8
- Manchester City trail 1-0 after losing the first leg against Tottenham; of the 32 previous occasions of a side losing the first leg of a two-legged Champions League tie 1-0 away from home, 10 went on to progress (31%).
- Tottenham Hotspur were eliminated the last time they won 1-0 in the first leg of a two-legged European tie at home, being knocked out by Kaiserslautern in the second round of the 1999-2000 UEFA Cup (2-1 on aggregate).
- Tottenham have only won one of their last eight visits to Manchester City in all competitions (D1 L6), a 2-1 Premier League win in February 2016.
- The first leg of Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester City saw eight different English players in the two starting line-ups. The last UEFA Champions League game to see more Englishmen start was the 2008 Champions League final between Manchester United & Chelsea (10).
- In European competition, Manchester City have lost all five of their previous matches against fellow English clubs, including all three in the Champions League.
- Manchester City have won 23 of their 25 home matches in all competitions this season (L2), although they have lost two of their last three home games in the Champions League knockout stages, winning the other 7-0 against Schalke in this season’s last 16.
- Tottenham have won each of their last three Champions League matches; they have never won four in a row in the competition.
- Each of Tottenham’s last 10 goals scored in the Champions League have come in the second half of their matches; indeed, 93% of their goals in the competition this season have been netted in the second half (13/14).
- Manchester City’s Leroy Sane has been directly involved in seven goals in his last three home games in the Champions League (three goals, four assists), four more than he managed in his previous seven such games at the Etihad (one goal, two assists).
- Sergio Aguero scored 10 goals in his first seven appearances against Tottenham for Manchester City in all competitions but has since failed to score in each of his last seven games against them; missing a penalty in the first leg of this tie.
FC Porto v Liverpool (0-2 agg)
- Kick-off at 2000 BST on BT Sport 3, Estadio do Dragao
Liverpool put in the hard yards in their first leg at Anfield and reaped the rewards as they claimed the driving seat for the return clash in north-west Portugal.
A two-goal lead and no away goals conceded, happy days for Jurgen Klopp's men.
Porto have nothing to lose and if they get an early goal, the pressure could be on. But, equally, should Liverpool score an away goal, the hosts would then have to net four on the night.
The Reds have been much more conservative at times this season, with improved game management undoubtedly being key to their Premier League title assault and the same attitude could be required here.
The way Porto approach the first half is key, with a goal spurring them on and undoubtedly pushing Liverpool for a response, while the Reds have bagged nine Champions League goals in the first half this season.
With this in mind, a goal for both sides in the first half would likely see the second peter out with the tie essentially over, so the 12/5 available on the highest scoring half to be the first has particular appeal.
Considering the hosts' probable approach and unbeaten home record in this competition this season, they are likely to have chances and will look to test Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson.
There was a temptation to back Moussa Marega to score at a best price of 14/5, but the preference is to go with him in the shots market.
The Mali international, a 28-year-old forward who has been linked with West Ham, has six goals and two assists to his name in eight appearances in the Champions League this term. Despite having as many as five shots at Anfield in the first leg, he is available at 9/4 with Sky Bet to register two shots on target. At that price, definitely worth a small play.
Score prediction: Porto 1-1 Liverpool (Sky Bet odds: 5/1)
- Two of the three teams that lost their first leg by 2+ goals in the Last 16 of the Champions League this season managed to turnaround the tie in the second leg; with Manchester United knocking out Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus defeating Atletico Madrid.
- FC Porto have lost the first leg of a Champions League/European Cup knockout tie by 2+ goals on six previous occasions, and on all six of those occasions they have been eliminated from the competition.
- Liverpool have never lost a European match against FC Porto in seven previous encounters (W4 D3 L0), keeping three successive clean sheets against them.
- Porto suffered their heaviest ever home defeat in European competition against Liverpool in last season’s Champions League, with the Reds winning 5-0 in a last 16 tie.
- Since the start of last season, Liverpool have won three of their four away Champions League knockout games, only losing to Roma in last season’s semi-final (4-2).
- FC Porto are the only remaining side in the Champions League to have won 100% of their home games in the competition this season (4/4). Indeed, Porto last won five or more straight home games in the competition between October 1998 and December 1999 (run of six).
- Liverpool have progressed from all nine of their previous two-legged European ties under manager Jurgen Klopp (four in the 2015-16 Europa League, one 2017-18 Champions League play-off and four Champions League knockout stage ties since the start of last season).
- Sadio Mané scored a hat-trick for Liverpool against Porto at Estádio do Dragão in last season’s Champions League; only Luiz Adriano v Bate Borisov and Cristiano Ronaldo against Atlético de Madrid have ever scored more than one hat-trick against an opponent in the Champions League, while no player has ever scored two away from home against one club.
- Since the start of the 2017-18 tournament, Liverpool striker Roberto Firmino has both scored and assisted in five different Champions League matches, more than any other player in this time.
- Moussa Marega has scored in all four of FC Porto’s home Champions League matches this season.
Odds correct at 1900 BST on 16/04/19