Born in the south east of Ireland, Simon put his life-long love of football to good use when he started a successful independent blog in 2010. That opened up an alternative route to a career in journalism, and having had work published across a number of sites and publications, Simon joined the staff at Spotlight Sports Group in 2018.
The glitz and the glamour of the Champions League returns to stadiums and screens this week, with 4 Last 16 second leg fixtures scheduled to be contested over what promises to be two nights of compelling action on Tuesday and Wednesday.
In the first pair of Last 16 second leg matches on Tuesday evening, Borussia Dortmund have a mountain to climb at home to Tottenham Hotspur, while Real Madrid have a slender lead to defend in Spain against Ajax.
On Wednesday, Manchester United need another Solskjaer-inspired miracle to overturn a 2-goal deficit in Paris, while FC Porto host Roma in Portugal with the two-legged tie on a knife-edge.
As always, there are tons of potentially lucrative betting markets and exciting specials available for each fixture, leaving punters with plenty of choice ahead of the Champions League carnage.
With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of player specials for this week’s Champions League fixtures. Take a look at our selections below:
Jadon Sancho – over 0.5 shots on target – 4/5 (BORUSSIA DORTMUND vs Tottenham Hotspur)
Bundesliga giants Borussia Dortmund will need to come out all guns blazing if they are to have any chances of clawing back the 3-goal lead Tottenham Hotspur hold from the first leg between the teams at Wembley.
Dortmund will once again be looking to the creative talents of 18-year old wonderkid Jadon Sancho to help them to fashion and convert chances at the Signal Iduna Park on Tuesday.
Sancho has been a revelation in the German top flight this season, racking up 8 goals and 10 assists in just 17 Bundesliga starts for BVB, though the youngster hasn’t sparkled quite as brightly in the Champions League as of yet.
However, after his peripheral performance at Wembley last month, Sancho will be keen to make his mark against Spurs this time around. Dortmund are expected to come flying out of the traps on Tuesday, and Sancho should be central to their attacking patterns.
With that considered, we think Sancho looks a fantastic bet at 4/5 with bet365 to hit over 0.5 shots on target this week.
Frenkie de Jong – over 51.5 passes – 4/6 (Real Madrid vs AJAX)
This was a selection that we also tipped before Ajax and Real Madrid went head-to-head in Amsterdam in their Champions League first leg contest in February.
The bet landed comfortably at 1/2, with de Jong’s passing figures sailing easily past the targeted figure of 57.5.
De Jong’s incredible and consistently accurate range of passing has made for some sensational viewing this season, and the Barca-bound schemer won’t be phased by his surroundings at the Bernabeu this week.
Real Madrid hold a narrow first leg lead over Ajax after their 2-1 win in Amsterdam last month, though the Dutch side showed enough endeavour and quality to suggest that they can make a genuine fight of it in the second leg this week.
De Jong is almost certain to play a key role in any fightback. The 21-year old has played an average of 80.2 passes per game in the Champions League this season, and de Jong will need to hit just 64% of his usual passing output in Spain this week for our bet to land again.
You can back de Jong to play over 51.5 passes at 4/6 with bet365 by clicking the banner below.
Angel Di Maria – over 2.5 shots – evens (PSG vs Man Utd)
Ahead of Wednesday’s Last 16 second leg clash between PSG and Manchester United, everything seems stacked in the Parisians’ favour.
Injuries played a huge part in helping PSG overcome United at Old Trafford last month, and more enforced absentees for Solskjaer’s team through fitness issues and suspension should strengthen Paris St. Germain’s hand considerably again this week.
Argentine winger Angel Di Maria was one of PSG’s star performers in Manchester in February and the former United flop provided assists for both goals on the night in the French club’s 2-0 triumph.
Di Maria was given a tough time by a hostile Old Trafford crowd in the first leg, though he responded in the perfect manner. The 31-year old will be desperate to rub salt in United fans’ wounds again this week by having a similar impact in the second leg.
The ex-United employee has averaged 3 shots per game for PSG in their Champions League home games this season, and with expect Di Maria to rack up the attempts in his search for goals against his old club, we think he’s priced brilliantly at evens with bet365 to have over 2.5 shots on Wednesday.
Ashley Young to get booked – 3/1 (PSG vs MAN UTD)
Man Utd’s veteran full-back and current skipper Ashley Young is likely be tasked with tracking Di Maria’s movements down PSG’s left flank. Young has shown a penchant for leaving his foot in this season and has played close to edge of indiscipline in plenty of United’s games this term.
The 33-year old has been booked 7 times in the Premier League this season and twice in just 3 Champions League starts during a campaign littered with indiscretions. Young is likely to be run ragged by Di Maria and the rest of PSG’s glittering attack this week, making him a cracking bet at 3/1 with bet365 to be shown yellow again.
Edin Dzeko – over 2.5 shots – 8/15 (FC Porto vs ROMA)
Towering centre forward Edin Dzeko hasn’t held back when allowed a sight of goal this season. The 32-year old Roma striker is the club’s joint second highest scorer in Serie A this season, though he is out on his own in terms of attempts on goal, registering 4.3 per game on average in the Italian top-flight this term.
In the Champions League, Dzeko’s attempts per game average rises to 4.6, though the Bosnian is clear of his teammates as the Giallorossi’s leading marksman on the continent with 5 goals in 5 starts for Roma.
Even though he couldn’t find the net for Roma in their 2-1 first leg win over Porto in the Italian capital last month, Dzeko still maintained his attempts average by registering 3 shots on goal.
It’s worth noting in fact, that Dzeko has had over 2.5 attempts on goal in 18 of his 21 Serie A appearances this season and in 4 of his 5 Champions League games for Roma.
You can take advantage of Dzeko’s incredible shooting ability by backing him to have over 2.5 shots against Porto at 8/15 with bet365.
A 5-fold accumulator based on our Champions League player special betting tips above pays out at a huge 35/1 with bet365! You can back our acca by clicking the banner below.
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