The knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League fixtures are tonight and a lot of entertainment is expected as we should see some feisty encounters coming into this one.
Manchester City have now lost 3 games in a row against Leicester City, Tottenham in the league as well as Chelsea in the FA Cup. One thing has been consistent with Manchester in all those games is that their goal scoring boots have been there. They looked much better defensively against Tottenham since Kompany has returned as well ask Zabaleta after a long layoff so things can only look up for them. Ageuro, Sterling, Silva and Toure come back for this game after missing out in the FA Cup and have really been leading the offensive firepower of City for this season. City know that away from home they have to keep it tight and not concede, and we expect City to play the two pivots in the space of Fernando and Fernandinho to give extra cover to the back 4.
Dynamo Kiev had played well to escape their UEFA Champions League group beating Porto and Maccabi Tel Aviv while keeping Chelsea tight at home shows too much for their talent in this competition. The disadvantage that Kiev have is that they have not played any competitive fixture since their last Champions League victory in January. They have played a bunch of teams from around Asia & Europe who are lower in stature on performances with the only good team they played Malaga, they lost by a score of 2-0. Kiev will also be worried that their Yarmalenko, their top scorer is a major doubt with a knee injury and manager Rebrov is not willing to risk him, considering there is still a second leg to play.
This game looks like it will be an extremely tight one, with Man City looking to keep it tight with the Capital One Cup finals on the weekend, while Kiev will be hoping to just get a full competitive 90 minutes under their belt ahead of their season resuming and the 2nd leg to come. Manchester City’s firepower is just a bit stronger and in competitive flow than Kiev, and I feel backing Man City on the Asian Handicap is the best way to go incase this lands up being a draw.
Atletico Madrid are the best defensive team in Spain conceding only 11 goals while their Champions League campaign saw them concede just 2 goals in the 6 games that they had played. They have kept 9 clean sheets in their last 13 games played so far. Atletico under Simeone know exactly how to keep it tight at the back, shut down and frustrate opponents and then break on the counter with quick players like Griezmann, Torres, O. Torres, Coke that helps them catch their opponents off guard. Madrid have been in good form coming into this win with 2 wins and a draw in their last 3 games. They played against Barcelona back on 30th January and took the early lead against them before the Messi and Suarez magic kept them quiet. With the level of competition that Madrid faces from the top 5 teams in Spain, it keeps them far more competitive than their opponents tonight.
PSV have been in good form having not lost a game in the Eredivisie since back in September while also playing it well and keeping it tight at home. They played well in their 3 home games in the Champions League against CSKA, Man United and and Wolfsburg, winning all of those 3 games but have struggled on the road on the other hand. Keeping that in mind, there will be a lot of pressure on PSV to get a positive result in this game ahead of the 2nd leg in Spain. PSV were found vulnerable in the cup contest when they lost by a score of 3-1 to Utrecht couple of weeks ago, with nearly a full strength squad. Luuk de Jong has been their top scorer but is suspended from this encounter, so they will need to rely a lot on Pereiro and Narsingh to contribute to their scoring tonight.
This game will be a tight one with Atletico Madrid having more intensity and energy in their play as compared to Atletico Madrid, and PSV will be looking to keep a shut out at best in this game, while Atletico Madrid will know the narrow scoreline should be enough for them. I considered backing a clean sheet in this encounter, but I feel that Atletico have enough power in the tank to steal a narrow victory in this encounter.