Champions League, Europa League and FA Cup semi-final places up for grabs midweek and BetVictor brand ambassador Michael Owen once again shared his thoughts ahead of these vital Cup clashes.
FA Cup semi-final
West Ham vs Manchester United
Wembley at stake and an extremely difficult game to predict; nothing could separate the sides at Old Trafford and I think this might be going all the way to extra-time and penalties! United are unbeaten in their last 11 competitive games with the Irons although their last defeat to West Ham came at the same stage of the League Cup at the Boleyn Ground back in November 2010.
Michael’s recommendation: game to finish 1-1 after 90 minutes at 6/1
Manchester City vs PSG
City have never won a home game in the knock out stages of the Champions League, but if they beat the French Champions at the Etihad they are through to the last four of the competition courtesy of their 2-2 draw in France. PSG have been knocked out at the quarter final stage of the competition in the last three seasons and I think that second away goal in Paris is the key.
Michael’s recommendation: City to lead at half-time and the game to finish as a draw in 90 minutes at 15/1
Real Madrid vs Wolfsburg
Only twice in 15 previous attempts have sides been able to overturn a 2-0 deficit from the first leg in the Champions League but I think my old club can do it in the Bernabeu; the Whites have reached the last four of the competition for the last five seasons and I think they have enough goals in their locker to overwhelm the Germans.
The crowd may have to be patient, however, given Real’s last nine CL goals have all been scored in the second half and they cannot afford to concede the first goal; it might even go all the way to extra time and possibly beyond but I expect the Spanish giants to be in the draw for the semi-final.
Michael’s recommendation: Real Madrid to qualify at 20/21
Atletico Madrid vs Barcelona
The first leg in the Nou Camp produced ten cards (nine yellows) and I expect this game to be every bit as feisty; Atletico, indeed, have picked up five red cards in their last five competitive games against Barca, who haven’t received one, and it could easily become a game to watch from behind the sofa! I think Barca will get through but there may be a price to pay.
Michael’s recommendation: Red card in the 90 minutes at Evens
Benfica vs Bayern
Benfica have scored in all four of their CL home games this season although I can’t see them overturning the 1-0 deficit from the first leg in Munich; Bayern haven’t won in their last six CL away games in the knockout stages but this game sets up perfectly for them with the Lisbon outfit having to come out and throw bodies forward unless they grab an early goal.
Michael’s recommendation: Bayern to win at 7/10
Liverpool vs Borussia Dortmund
Despite Liverpool’s excellent draw in Germany this quarter-final is still in the balance although it should be noted that only once in twelve previous European ties have Liverpool failed to proceed when they have drawn the first leg on the road. I’m sure it will be another special European night at Anfield and I think it could go all the way.
Michael’s recommendation: game to finish 1-1 at 13/2
Crystal Palace vs Everton
Only one of the last ten games between the sides has ended as a home win and this is a really tough game to call; the Eagles gained that elusive first PL win of the year against Norwich at the weekend whilst Everton again turned three points into one at Vicarage Road.
Michael’s recommendation: Both Teams to Score at 8/11
Michael’s midweek wager: three draws: West Ham V Man United, City v PSG and Liverpool v Dortmund at 45/1
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