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.
This week, dreams will be both shattered and realised when the concluding legs of the Champions League semi-finals are contested on Tuesday and Wednesday evening.
In Manchester, Pep Guardiola’s Citizens take a 2-1 advantage into their climactic fixture against last season’s beaten finalists PSG at the Etihad Stadium, before Chelsea and Real Madrid reconvene at Stamford Bridge to settle a tie locked at 1-1 from the first-leg.
Ahead of the action, we’ve pored over the stats to bring you a selection of Champions League player special betting tips, which you can find below.
Manchester City vs PSG players special betting tips
Ruben Dias over 1.5 tackles
Dominant Portuguese defender Ruben Dias has been a revelation since swapping Benfica for Manchester City last summer and the 23-year-old has been a colossus while centred in the Citizens’ robust backline.
Dias showed his worth again last week when he performed superbly in Paris and the towering centre-half made three tackles over the course of the 90 minutes to help keep the Parisians at bay.
Dias will have to be on top of his game again in Tuesday’s return fixture to keep deflect the visitor’s formidable counter-punching power and he is worth backing to make over 1.5 tackles in the second-leg as a result.
Kevin de Bruyne over 0.5 assists
Belgian assist machine Kevin de Bruyne has created goals for his City teammates on 15 separate occasions in the Premier and Champions League this term, and the midfielder’s defence-shredding ability makes him worth backing to notch at least one assist again this week.
The 29-year-old sees passing lanes where most see cul-de-sacs and his haul of four assists in six Champions League appearances this season could have been even higher had his City counterparts converted more of his 2.2 key passes per 90 minutes.
Rodri over 81.5 passes
Man City enjoyed approximately two thirds of the ball in Paris last week, so it makes sense to dig through the Citizens’ ranks for pass masters this week.
Midfield metronome Rodri was one of two City players to play 100 or more passes at the Parc de Princes, and his 83.7 passes per 90 minutes figure in the Champions League in 2020/21 highlights just how key a component the Spaniard is in Guardiola’s team.
Chelsea vs Real Madrid players special betting tips
Toni Kroos over 1.5 tackles
German technician Toni Kroos is famed for his ability to drop passes on a sixpence, but the Real Madrid midfielder doesn’t shy away from less glamourous chores.
In Madrid last week, the 31-year-old made four tackles against Chelsea and Kroos is averaging 1.7 challenges per Champions League overall this term. The experienced campaigner will need to put his foot in again to control the middle of the pitch at Stamford Bridge, so expect his tackle count to be high.
Timo Werner over 0.5 assists
Timo Werner has been regularly lampooned this season for his wayward finishing and habit of fluffing his lines in front of goal, though the pacey German forward has been a prolific creative force for Chelsea.
No Blues player can match the former RB Leipzig star for Premier League assists this season (seven), while Werner ranks joint top in the same stat for the club in the Champions League (two).
Werner’s ability to find the net might have waned, but his speed and clever movement can manufacture opportunities for others again this week.
Ben Chilwell over 45.5 passes
Ben Chilwell sees plenty of the ball for Chelsea and the hard-working defender regularly provides an unmarked outlet for his teammates down the Blues’ left flank.
The 24-year-old played 55 passes in Madrid last week, indeed Chilwell has played north of 50 passes in five of his seven Champions League and in 14 of his 23 Premier League starts in 2020/21.
Chilwell should be heavily involved in the action again in Wednesday’s do-over between Chelsea and real Madrid, and he should distribute his way passed the 45.5 pass mark with comfort.
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