Atlético favoured to reach the Champions League Final ahead of Chelsea

Will Diego Costa be the striker that separates Atlético and Chelsea in these semi finals?

Will Diego Costa be the striker that separates Atlético and Chelsea in these semi finals?

And then there were four! We’re down to the final four sides in the Champions League and this week sees the first leg matches of these Semi Final games, with Atlético Madrid v Chelsea at the Estadio Vincente Calderón first up this Tuesday evening.

The Spaniards are favoured to both progress overall to the final and claim victory over the Premier League side who were upset by the bottom of the table team Sunderland at the weekend.

Atlético Madrid v Chelsea – To Progress:

Atlético – 1.88

Chelsea – 1.92

Atlético Madrid v Chelsea – First Leg Odds:

Atlético – 1.90

Draw – 3.10

Chelsea – 4.20

(All odds provided by GR88.com are accurate as of today and subject to change)

Atlético have been one of the outstanding teams of the season in Europe this season with them top of the La Primera Liga table and just two matches away from the Champions League final. They also reached the semi finals of the Copa del Rey title but had a defensive breakdown against their big city rivals, Real, as they were defeated 5-0 on aggregate. That was one of few defensive horror shows they have had this season as they bring the best defensive records in both Spain and Europe to this final four stage match with 22 goals in 34 league matches and just five in ten Champions League conceded. They have outscored visitors to the Estadio Vincente Calderón 14-3, including keeping clean sheets against Porto and Barcelona, in the Champions League this season and they will be confident of another advantage this week.

Chelsea will be concerned about their lack of goals from strikers Samuel Eto’o, Fernando Torres and Demba Ba this  season as they come to one of, if not, the most difficult place to score goals in Europe. Their last three Champions League away games have seen them beaten by PSG and FC Basel as well as drawing with Galatasaray. The French and Turkish sides were faced in the knockout stages and Chelsea used their super weapon of Jose Mourinho’s tactical knowledge to turn the games around at Stamford Bridge, but with Atlético conceding so few and having the lethal goal scorers of Diego Costa and David Villa at their disposal will Mourinho’s brain be enough to see them through?

In my opinion, it will not be enough as Chelsea, although they may have the experience at this stage of the Champions League that Atlético do not thanks to winning the title two seasons ago, do not have the quality to unlock the Spaniards back line to score enough, possibly even any, goals to win this first leg. As such, I am backing the home side to secure the spoils and the advantage from this Atlético Madrid v Chelsea first leg game this Tuesday evening.

Back Atlético Madrid to beat Chelsea in this Champions League Semi Final first leg in Madrid @ 1.90 with GR88.com.

AntonyANTONY JORDAN (antonygr88) is an avid football and cricket fan who loves to play his favourite sports as much as write about them and bet on them.  Read his daily sports betting blog at GR88.com.

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Barcelona favoured to send Atlético crashing out of the Champions League tonight!

Neymar celebrates scoring the equaliser in the first leg of the Atlético v Barcelona tie

Neymar celebrates scoring the equaliser in the first leg of the Atlético v Barcelona tie

Talk about finely poised, this Atlético Madrid v Barcelona Champions League Quarter Final could not be tighter if it tried! Tonight’s match between these two sides will be the fifth meeting of the sides sitting first and second in the La Primera Liga in Spain, and all of the previous four matches have ended level. Two of the games have ended 1-1, including the first leg of this Champions League last eight stage tie, while two have seen the games end without a goal scored.

Barcelona claimed the Super Cup from Atlético at the start of the season thanks to their away goal at the Vincente Calderón, but their second visit saw them fail to find the net. If they cannot find the net in this third match in the Spanish capital this season then Atlético will have their revenge this evening. However, the visitors and four time European Cup/Champions League winners are favoured to overcome the Spanish league leaders. Will they do so or will tonight see another Atlético upset?

Atlético v Barcelona Betting Odds:

Atlético Madrid – 3.15

Draw – 3.25

Barcelona – 2.16

(All odds provided by GR88.com are accurate as of today and subject to change)

The first leg of this tie saw an utter domination of the ball by Barcelona at the Camp Nou as they finished the match with 74% possession and they completely outstripped the capital city visitors in chances too. Barcelona managed 12 shots, half of which were on target, while Atlético could manage a total of just two in the entire match. Yet it was the visitors who were more clinical despite losing their key player in Diego Costa after just 30 minutes of the game.

The Brazilian born player, who will be part of the Spanish national side for the World Cup in his homeland this summer, has been named in the squad for tonight’s game but he is still a doubt to play in front of his own fans. Midfielder Arda Turan is definitely out for the hosts this evening. Despite these injuries issues, Atlético will feel that they can still progress this evening thanks to a defence that has seen them concede just 22 times in 32 league games and just five times in nine Champions League matches, giving them the best totals in both competitions.

They have also shut out Barcelona talisman Lionel Messi on all four occasions that they have clashed this season, while their backs to the wall defensive performance in the second half of the first leg will have given them massive amounts of confidence and belief that they can reach the Semi Finals this evening. Barcelona have lost two of their four away games since beating Manchester City 2-0 on their way to this Quarter Final berth in Europe’s top club football competition.

They were beaten 3-1 at Real Sociedad and 1-0 at relegation threatened Real Valladolid, but have bounced back with a 4-3 El Clásico victory at the Bernabeu over ten man Real Madrid and a 1-0 win over local rivals Espanyol, who also finished with ten men, in their last two away games. With the way that Atlético defend, it may be essential that the Madrid side see a red card if Barcelona are to progress too!

I, personally, believe that, even with the close odds between these two teams, that this match will be closer than the odds suggest and the game could be settled on the first leg score or by a single goal in what promises to be a cagey and tight game. As a result of this, my money is again on few goals between Atlético Madrid and Barcelona this evening.

Back 0/1 goals in the Two Goals No Bet Market on this Atlético Madrid v Barcelona match this evening @ 2.62 with GR88.com.

AntonyANTONY JORDAN (antonygr88) is an avid football and cricket fan who loves to play his favourite sports as much as write about them and bet on them.  Read his daily sports betting blog at GR88.com.

Barcelona heavily favoured to beat Atlético in the Champions League

Will Barcelona talisman Lionel Messi make the difference at the Camp Nou?

Will Barcelona talisman Lionel Messi make the difference at the Camp Nou?

While the Manchester United v Bayern Munich Champions League Quarter Final clash will attract plenty of attention as the transitional Premier League side take on the all conquering Bundesliga champions at Old Trafford this evening, the all La Primera Liga  Barcelona v Atlético Madrid clash at the Camp Nou is going to be the more intriguing clash of the night.

These two teams have already faced each other on three occasions this season and all three matches were draws. The 1-1 draw at the Estadio Vincente Calderón in the Super Cup was followed by a 0-0 draw at the Camp Nou so it was Barcelona who claimed that particular trophy on away goals. Their first meeting in the league was also at the home of Atlético and that saw no goals between the two teams, yet despite the lack of goals and ability for either side to claim a winner the bookmakers clearly see Barcelona claiming the advantage in front of their own fans in this Champions League Quarter Final.

Barcelona v Atlético Madrid Odds:

Barcelona – 1.51

Draw – 4.00

Atlético – 6.40

(All odds provided by GR88.com are accurate as of today and subject to change)

Although they managed to draw with AC Milan and lose to Ajax in the Champions League this season, Barcelona have managed to win each of their home games so far scoring 15 goals and conceding just three in their four matches so far. In fact their overall home form at the Camp Nou, even when they were slipping up on the road, has been outstanding. Since drawing 0-0 with their opponents in this Champions League match at the end of August they have won 21 out 22 matches in front of their fans, losing only to Valencia.

This makes Atlético just one of two sides to avoid defeat at Barcelona this season and with them having the psychological advantage of leading them in the La Primera Liga title race this season they will fancy their chances in this first leg Quarter Final. Atlético, along with their city rivals Real Madrid, are unbeaten in the Champions League this season having won five of their six group matches, as well as drawing with Zenit St Petersburg in Russia, before booking their place in this last eight stage game by doing what Barcelona failed to do in beating AC Milan as they followed up a 1-0 win at the San Siro with a 4-1 thumping on home soil.

Can either of these sides actually win this match following three straight draws? If either side is to do so I feel that Barcelona’s experience at this stage of the competition will be a massive advantage, as will the scoring ability of Lionel Messi. The Argentine striker has eight in this competition so far, but Atlético have their own star striker this season in the Brazilian born Diego Costa. He has played 75 minutes fewer than Messi, but has just one fewer goal and with 25 goals in the league, he has bagged two more than Messi in that competition.

Will there be goals from these two star strikers? Will there be a winner? The two sides have cancelled each other out all three times already this season and I feel that this match will be another close one. As a result of this, I am backing Atlético to get something from this match to bring to the Estadio Vincente Calderón for the second leg.

Back Atlético/Draw Double Chance in this Champions League Quarter Final match against Barcelona @ 2.58 with GR88.com.

AntonyANTONY JORDAN (antonygr88) is an avid football and cricket fan who loves to play his favourite sports as much as write about them and bet on them.  Read his daily sports betting blog at GR88.com.

AC Milan to upset the odds and reach the Champions League Quarter Finals?

Diego Costa celebrates scoring the winner for Atlético at the San Siro in the first leg

Diego Costa celebrates scoring the winner for Atlético at the San Siro in the first leg

We’re at the halfway point of the Atletico Madrid v AC Milan tie following a tight 90 minutes of football at the San Siro that saw AC Milan beaten by an 83rd minute winner by Diego Costa, top scorer for the Spanish side this season. Milan will need to up their game if they are to upset the odds and reach the Quarter Finals of this season’s Champions League, but can they win at the Estadio Vincente Calderón where so many have failed this season and book a place in the last eight of the competition?

Atletico Madrid v AC Milan Odds:

Atlético Madrid – 1.45

Draw – 4.40

AC Milan – 6.80

(All odds provided by GR88.com are accurate as of today and subject to change)

If AC Milan are to turn this tie around and book their place in the Quarter Finals of the Champions League, they will need to play much better than they did in front of their own fans as Atlético have suffered just a single defeat in 22 home matches this season. On top of this only failed to win on four further occasions with only Barcelona, with two draws, Real Madrid, claiming a win and a draw, and Sevilla, who recorded a 1-1 draw, being the only sides to avoid defeat this season. The big question is, are AC Milan as good as Real Madrid?

They certainly need to be if they are to progress to the Quarter Finals, but with just a win over fellow mid-tabled side in the Italian Serie A to their name since suffering that 1-0 Diego Costa aided defeat to Atlético three weeks ago. They have played a further two games against Juventus and Udinese and they have been defeated without a goal being scored. Their overall away record does not make good reading for fans of the Rossoneri as they have won just twice on the road since the start of December and this match is certainly not going to be one of the easier games for them.

I feel that the odds for this match are correct as the Spanish side are by far the better side and they sure to let loose in this second leg knowing that they have an away goal already to their name to aid their progression. In Diego Costa and David Villa they have one of the most lethal strike pairings in Spain and they are both hitting form at the moment, so they will confident of more goals in this second leg match. I feel that they’ll score well on home soil thanks to them having ample opportunity to find the net as Milan push forwards themselves.

Back Atlético Madrid to beat AC Milan by at least two goals (Atlético -1) in this Champions League clash @ 1.74 with GR88.com.

AntonyANTONY JORDAN (antonygr88) is an avid football and cricket fan who loves to play his favourite sports as much as write about them and bet on them.  Read his daily sports betting blog at GR88.com.

Will Atletico live up to their favourites billing at the San Siro tonight?

Diego Costa celebrates his fourth Champions League goal vs Porto, will his goals lead Atlético to victory tonight?

Diego Costa celebrates his fourth Champions League goal vs Porto, will his goals lead Atlético to victory tonight?

Just like my preview of the Leverkusen v PSG game yesterday, there is a bigger game playing elsewhere in Europe’s top club football competition than at the San Siro tonight. The other game tonight sees the clash of Arsenal and Bayern Munich in North London for the second time in consecutive seasons, but I feel that, against just like last night, the AC Milan v Atlético Madrid clash tonight is equally intriguing and there is plenty of value to be found in this meeting of mid-table Italian giants versus the back in the title race Spanish side.

Atlético sit joint top of the Spanish La Primera Liga with Real Madrid and Barcelona, who AC Milan managed to secure a 1-1 draw with at the San Siro earlier this season in the Champions League group stage, sitting ahead of them, but can they go one better in Milan than Barca did and win at the San Siro?

Online bookmaker GR88.com certainly believe so as they favour an away win tonight and for Diego Simeone’s side to bring an advantage to the Estadio Vicente Calderón in three weeks time.

Milan v Atletico Odds:

AC Milan – 3.55

Draw – 3.05

Atlético Madrid – 2.10

(All odds provided by GR88.com are accurate as of today and subject to change)

This season has not been a good one for Milan as they are in a transitional phase right now, but even with this they are way off the pace. In Serie A they sit ninth in the league, a massive 31 points behind league leaders Juventus, and while they progressed in the Champions League they were not particularly impressive. They lost away at Barcelona, but drew three of the other five games only beating Scottish side Celtic home and away, with the fact that Ajax slipped up in Glasgow the only reason that the European giants are not in the Europa League at this stage of the season. However, after a run of five draws and one loss in their last six games at the San Siro in 2013, Milan do appear to have turned things around in front of their own fans with four wins and a draw in six matches this year, losing only to Udinese in the Quarter Finals of the Coppa Italia.

Despite this turnaround by the hosts in tonight’s Milan v Atletico are still struggling for goals with just four goals scored in their last four home matches and with Atlético having overcome a recent slump with a 3-0 beating of Real Valladolid I’m not convinced that Milan will be able to bring something to Spain in three weeks time. Atlético did lose three successive games, including home and away to their big city rivals Real Madrid in their Copa del Rey Semi Final tie with them suffering a shock 2-0 loss away at Almeria in the middle of those two games too. However, their match at the weekend saw their top scorer in Diego Costa get back to scoring goals, bagging his 26th goal in 32 games this season, and he will certainly be a threat and looking to add to his four Champions League goals already scored in this campaign.

I feel that the odds for this match are correct and I can see the hosts being beaten tonight, just like both home teams in the Leverkusen v PSG and Man City v Barcelona games last night. Not only do Atlético have the advantage offensively as they outscored Milan 15-8 in the group stages, they also conceded fewer goals at 3-5. They are challenging for their league title, while Milan are having a long, hard struggle of a season and the visitors to the San Siro this evening certainly offer fantastic value at better than evens odds. This is value I’m all over this evening.

Back Atlético Madrid to beat AC Milan this evening @ 2.10 with GR88.com.

AntonyANTONY JORDAN (antonygr88) is an avid football and cricket fan who loves to play his favourite sports as much as write about them and bet on them.  Read his daily sports betting blog at GR88.com.

Madrid sides to take the lead in La Primera Liga this weekend?

Can Atlético Madrid striker Diego Costa fire his side to the top of the league?

Can Atlético Madrid striker Diego Costa fire his side to the top of the league?

With Barcelona messing up their title defence in spectacular fashion this weekend as they were beaten 3-2 in front of their own fans at the Camp Nou by Valencia, the two Madrid clubs in Atlético and Real can move ahead of the champions in the La Primera Liga title race with victories this Sunday evening?

(All odds provided by GR88.com are accurate as of today and subject to change)

Atletico Madrid v Real Sociedad Odds:

Atlético – 1.32

Draw – 4.90

Sociedad – 9.60

Home wins are not the usual result of matches between Atlético Madrid and Real Sociedad as it was 2011 the last time that either of these two teams managed to secure all three points in front of their own fans and the last two games with the title challengers at the hosts have seen a 1-1 draw and a 1-0 win for Sociedad last season.

However, with Barcelona dropping the ball this weekend you can be sure that Atlético will be sure to motivated to end this cursed run. The fact that they have won 15 and drawn three, with Barcelona taking two of these three draws, of their 18 home matches in all competitions this season I see why they are such big favourites to win and top to the table in this season’s closely fought La Primera Liga title race.

Although Sociedad have lost just one of their last six away games, they do have seven defeats in their last 14 away matches. They are improving and they are looking good for taking a Europa League place this season, but they have not visited such a tough a place to visit as the Vincente Calderón in a while and with top spot in the league up for grabs I see this match bringing the away day points haul to a close this weekend.

Back Atlético Madrid to win beat Real Sociedad by at least two goals (Atlético -1.5) @ 1.91 with GR88.com.

Athletic Bilbao v Real Madrid Odds:

Bilbao – 5.10

Draw – 3.80

Real – 1.63

Although these two sides are separated by nine points in the league they are sat next to each other in the standings with Real Madrid in third place, and in prime position to go top of the table thanks to Barcelona losing against Valencia and if I happen to be horribly wrong about Atlético, and their hosts at San Mamés tonight sitting in fourth.

Bilbao’s 14 home matches this season have seen just one loss, although it was in the last game against Atlético in the Copa del Rey during the week, and they will be confident about being able to hold the Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale led attacking forces of a side desperate to go top of the league. However, Real have won each of their last ten matches, 11 if you include the winter break friendly game against PSG in Paris, and they are unbeaten since the end of October. Only the two sides above them in the table in Atlético and Barcelona have beaten them in any competition this season and they bring a fine set of results into this match.

With the possible prize of top of the table available to Real, and the prize of moving two points clear of their biggest rivals in Barcelona assured with a win, I cannot see anything but victory for Real this evening. I also see goals in this match between two fine attacking sides and, as such, my money is going on a combination of these two bets.

Back Real Madrid to beat Bilbao and there to be more than 2.5 goals in the game @ 2.05 with GR88.com.

AntonyANTONY JORDAN (antonygr88) is an avid football and cricket fan who loves to play his favourite sports as much as write about them and bet on them.  Read his daily sports betting blog at GR88.com.

Real Madrid to be deposed in La Liga this evening?

Barcelona can return to the top of the league with victory over Malaga this evening.

Barcelona can return to the top of the league with victory over Malaga this evening.

Recent weeks have seen the La Primera Liga title race heat up to massive proportions as Real Madrid joined the two way battle between Atlético Madrid and reigning champions Barcelona. Last night, as predicted, Real Madrid recorded a 2-0 win over Granada to move two points clear at the top of the table but both Atlético and Barca have the chance to move back in front of them tonight as they play their games in hand. Will they both win and see Real’s position as top of the pile last for just 24 hours?

(All odds provided by GR88.com are accurate as of today and subject to change.)

Rayo v Atletico Betting Odds:

Home Victory – 8.20

Draw – 4.70

Away Victory – 1.36

Although Atlético are the massive favourites to win this match at the Estadio del Rayo Vallecano they have not had much recent success here. They have taken just one win in four visits to face Rayo Vallecano and were beaten 2-1 last season after conceding two first half goals and only salvaging a consolation at injury time, but they will certainly be more confident about this visit following the 5-0 drubbing handed out to Rayo in August.

The odds makers agree with this as they make the visitors, who are unbeaten in 20 matches in league, cup and Champions League since being shocked 1-0 at Espanyol in October, the big favourites to win and I can’t see any reason to disagree with them. Rayo have lost seven of 11 at home this season and two of their three wins have come against fellow relegation battlers Elche and Real Valladolid. The other was a 1-0 win against sixth place Real Sociedad courtesy of an 89th minute penalty, but I fear that Atlético have too much firepower for the struggling Rayo side this evening and I foresee an easy win, and return to the top of the table, for the visitors.

Back Atlético Madrid to beat Rayo Vallecano by at least two goals (Atlético -1.5 goals) @ 2.04 with GR88.com.

 

Barca v Malaga Betting Odds:

Home Victory – 1.08

Draw – 11.50

Away Victory – 36.00

Although Atlético are favoured to be the first side to retake the lead in the La Primera Liga title race, they are not favourites to still be at the top of the table come the end of the night. Barcelona, who have not been beaten by Malaga in more than a decade, are even bigger favourites to beat Malaga tonight than Atlético are against Rayo and should Barca take all three points their better goal difference will once again see them top of the pile.

Not only have Malaga failed to beat Barcelona in a decade their last win at the Camp Nou came in the previous century when they claimed a 2-1 victory in November 1999 and with Barcelona having impressed on home soil this season I cannot see that changing this evening. Barca have won 14 of 15 games so far, with the 0-0 draw in the Super Cup with Atlético being the only time they have failed to lead at the full time whistle.

Malaga are poor on the road this season as they have won just one of 11 matches and while they have drawn six of the other ten away trips I cannot see a trip to the Camp Nou being a place where they finally find another gear and convert draws into wins. They have also failed to score in any of their last three matches and with Barcelona having clean sheets in each of their last three home games I can see this game having a comfortable ending for the hosts this evening.

Back Barcelona to beat Malaga while keeping a clean sheet tonight @ 1.76 with GR88.com.

AntonyANTONY JORDAN (antonygr88) is an avid football and cricket fan who loves to play his favourite sports as much as write about them and bet on them.  Read his daily sports betting blog at GR88.com.