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 2020/21 Champions League is inching ever closer to its climax and this week, the competition’s crucial semi-final first-legs will be contested on Tuesday and Wednesday evening.
First up, Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea travel to Spain to engage 13-times winners Real Madrid at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stéfano, before tournament favourites Manchester City cross the English Channel to take on last year’s beaten finalists PSG in Paris 24-hours later.
With both showpiece showdowns being screened live on BT Sport, plenty of punters will be looking to build their very own bets for the semi-finals – and below, we’ve compiled some tips with that in mind.
PSG vs Manchester City bet builder tip
Match result market
Real Madrid dismissed Liverpool comfortably over two-legs in the Champions League quarter-finals, though Los Blancos could find breaching a much more solid Chelsea defence a more difficult task.
The Blues have been serial clean sheet winners under Thomas Tuchel, and Chelsea’s well-drilled rear-guard could frustrate a Real Madrid team that have drawn three of their last four assignments 0-0. The Premier League giants would be content with a stalemate in Tuesday’s first-leg, and backing Chelsea Double Chance appeals as a result.
In Paris on Wednesday evening, a Manchester City win appeals in the match result markets. PSG have been a more potent force on their travels in the Champions League this term, indeed, they have won just two of their five home matches in the competition.
The Citizens meanwhile, have won 30 of their last 33 fixtures, and fresh from lifting the Carabao Cup on Sunday, they should be armed with enough confidence to take the game to their hosts in the French capital.
Thomas Tuchel has turned Chelsea into one of Europe’s most robust defensive teams since his appointment in January, and the German taskmaster has seen his side keep 16 clean sheets in 21 matches under his instruction.
The Blues have yet to click as an attacking force further up the pitch however and under 2.5 goals has landed in 18 of those 21 fixtures as a result. Goals should be at a premium again in Madrid, so stick to the same market in Spain.
Wednesday’s game in Paris promises to be a more explosive affair however. PSG’s last 17 matches have averaged 3.41 goals per 90 minutes, while four of their last six Champions League tussles have produced a minimum of 3.0 goals.
City have the quality to go toe-to-toe with Paris St. Germain’s star-studded side, so make the most of what should be an entertaining clash by backing over 2.5 goals to be scored.
While Tuesday’s semi-final first-leg between Real Madrid and Chelsea could be decided by fine margins, there are some interesting options to choose from in the shot markets.
Karim Benzema has been Los Blancos’ most threatening attacking player in the Champions League this term, but preference is for his teammate Marco Asensio at better odds.
The 25-year-old winger certainly isn’t shot shy with 2.4 attempts registered on average per appearance in the competition this season, and Asensio has been accurate with 1.3 of those efforts on average. At a more favourable price, those stats suggest that backing him to notch 1+ shot on target could be profitable.
Moving to Paris, few teams are capable of keeping dynamic duo Kylian Mbappe and Neymar under wraps, so it makes sense to include both superstars in your shot market selection.
Both attackers are averaging 3.0+ attempts per game with Neymar mustering 2.1 and Mbappe 1.7 efforts on target per appearance respectively.
With their penchant for excelling on the biggest stages, it’s worth taking both game-changers to notch 2+ shots on target each on Wednesday.
Hard-hitting anchorman Casemiro is always a prime candidate in the card markets, and the Brazilian international has already collected 12 yellow cards for Real Madrid this season, including four cautions in just seven Champions League starts.
The 29-year-old is expected to throw his weight around again when the Blues visit Spain, so picking him for your Real Madrid vs Chelsea bet builder looks a smart move.
In Paris, Argentinean enforcer Leandro Paredes should be considered for a card market choice in PSG’s skirmish with Man City. Favoured by his compatriot Mauricio Pochettino, Paredes has been deployed as a disruptive force in the Parisians’ midfield, and the 26-year-old is never shy about sticking his foot in.
Paredes has been booked three times in six Champions League runouts and eight times in just 22 Ligue 1 and continental fixtures combined this season.
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