Manchester United to take first leg lead in Spain: Champions League Wednesday Preview
Manchester United travel to Sevilla and Shakhtar host Roma in Wednesday’s Champions League action. Infogol’s Analyst previews the games, using expected goals to predict the best bets.
Wednesday 19:45 GMT
This match sees a meeting of the last four winners of the Europa League, so both of these sides have shown they are very capable when it comes to knockout competitions.
Sevilla came second in their group behind Liverpool, but were far from impressive in what should have been a straightforward campaign (Spartak Moscow and Maribor). They managed only two wins from their six games, and were fortunate to draw with Liverpool on both occasions (xG: LIV 2.3 – 1.2 SEV, SEV 1.8 – 2.6 LIV). One thing is for certain, Sevilla give their opponents plenty of opportunities.
Manchester United had a fairly stress-free group campaign, and qualified in comfortable fashion after winning five of their six matches. They had the third best attacking record, according to expected goals, and were unfortunate not to score more (15.4 xG). There is no question that they have the attacking talent to cause Sevilla problems, but their best asset in this tie may be in defence, and if they can keep a clean sheet in this first leg, they will fancy their chances of getting through.
Sevilla’s defensive frailties are expected to be put to the test in this match, and a Jose Mourinho masterplan may be in the works, with Manchester United looking a good price to gain a first leg lead.
Wednesday 19:45 GMT
Shakhtar Donetsk surprised many people by pipping Napoli to second place in their group, and were slightly fortunate to have qualified, as based on expected goals they were the third best team in the group. Their games tend to be entertaining, though, averaging 3.2 xG per 90 in the group stage matches.
Roma pipped Chelsea to come top of their group thanks to a superior head to head record, though they were fortunate to qualify at all. They were the third best team according to xG, ending the group stage with a negative goal difference (-0.2 xGD). Like Shakhtar, they create and concede plenty of chances, and are not the defensive force they have been in recent years.
Both of these teams generate plenty of chances, but both look suspect in defence, so at a price of 11/10, over 2.5 goals looks a good bet.