UCL Tips: Semi Finals – 1st Leg

UEFA Champions League odds

Only four teams remain in the world’s most prestigious club football competition and this year we have seen sides progress in very different fashion. Juventus and Atletico Madrid have done it the old fashioned way relying on their defence. Real Madrid and Monaco have made it to this stage by breaking the scoreboard. They have combined for 47 goals with Real scoring in each of their 10 matches to date. In what will be a real clash of styles it will be very interesting to see which prevails…

UCL Semi Finals Previews

Real Madrid v Atletico Madrid (Wed 4:45am)
They are neighbours, enemies and bitter rivals. For decades Real dominated the Madrid Derby but since Diego Simeone took over Atletico have put up more than just some resistance. They have met an astonishing 27 times since 2010 with clashes across all competitions – La Liga, Copa Del Rey, Champions League and Spanish Super Cups. The initial thought would be that Real Madrid hold a dominant record but that is far from the case. In the last 20 meetings Atletico has 7 wins to Real’s 6 with 7 draws. In the Champions League though it is Real that has dominated, defeating Atletico in the 2014 and 2016 finals. Both of those matches went to extra time and The Wolf says we could see the same happen this time around. Atletico has been able to consistently limit the effectiveness of the Real front trio and have conceded only 11 goals in their last 13 against their more fancied neighbours. It is Real’s worst scoring rate against any opponent and is a statistic that cannot be ignored. Gabi, Koke, Carrasco and Saul make up the hardest working midfield in world football and with Bale out with a calf injury they will be able to constantly keep two men on Ronaldo. There have been a total of just 3 goals in their last 3 UCL meetings and The Wolf expects Atletico to completely lock down in this one and play through Griezmann on the counter. Filipe Luis and Junafran will have jobs to do on Marcelo and Carvajal but we have seen them shut their opposing wing backs down with ease in the past. The visitors will be more than happy to take a goal-less draw with them back home for the return leg.
Best: Under 2.5 goals ($1.72)
Value: Under 1.5 goals ($3.40)
Correct Score: Draw 0-0 ($12.00)

Monaco v Juventus (Thur 4:45am)
This is the ultimate clash of styles with one of the most free flowing attacks taking on Europe’s stingiest defence. Monaco’s unlikely run has come on the back of some brilliant entertaining football and there can be no denying that they deserve to be here. They topped a groups that featured Tottenham and Bayer Leverkusen, put 6 goals past Manchester City and dismantled Borussia Dortmund with wins in both legs. Mbappe, Falcao, Bernardo Silva and Fabinho have run riot down the right side which has been a potent source of attack for the French side. Under Leonardo Jardim they only know one way to play football and that is to attack with a relentless pace. The Wolf says they should not shy away from this but says that it could all come crashing down against Juve’s disciplined defence. Juventus has conceded just 2 goals in the UCL this season – that’s right, just 2 goals in 10 matches against the best sides in Europe. They have kept 5 consecutive clean sheets in this competition and kept the mighty Barcelona scoreless over two legs. Chiellini and Bonucci are as tough as nails but it is their positioning and ability to communicate with Alex Sandro and Dani Alves which makes them the most effective defensive unit in world football. When you can hold out Messi, Suarez and Neymar you can hold out anybody. The Italians defence is a fortress that will not be breached!
Best: Under 2.5 goals ($2.00)
Value: 1st Half Correct Score 0-0 ($3.25)
Correct Score: Juventus 1-0 ($9.00)