Man Utd, Chelsea and Real Madrid in away day Champions League treble
Coral offer sublime odds of 6/1 on Chelsea, Manchester United and Real Madrid all winning their Champions League last 16 first leg clashes.
Jose Mourinho faces a reunion with Didier Drogba as the Blues travel to Galatasaray, David Moyes and the Red Devils tackle Greek champions Olympiakos and Real are in Germany’s industrial heartland facing Schalke of Gelsenkirchen.
Olympiakos v Man Utd
It’s four wins from four previous meetings for the Red Devils. They faced Olympiakos during the group stages of the 2001/02 and 2002/03 campaigns, and are rightly 5/4 favourites for victory in the first leg in Greece.
Veteran midfielder Ryan Giggs has three goals against this opposition and you can back United’s player-coach to open his account for the season here at 6/1. The Red Devils are also odds-on at 1/4 to qualify for the quarter-finals.
A thigh injury to Javier Saviola and the sale of Kostas Mitroglou means the Greek champions cannot field either of their two top scorers. United look nailed on to win this one.
Moyes paired old guard Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic at the back in the 2-0 victory at Crystal Palace. The Red Devils kept a clean sheet against a Tony Pulis team, which has been so proficient from set pieces. Back the reigning Premier League champions to shut Olympiakos out at 6/4 and to win to nil at 5/2.
Galatasaray v Chelsea
Turkish giants Galatasaray have never found the net against Chelsea in a competitive meeting. The Blues’ aggregate scoreline from two previous encounters is 6-0, and are thus even-money favourites to win this match.
Chelsea are also odds-on at 2/1 to advance from this tie to the last eight. Mourinho made some unguarded comments about having ‘no striker’ in what he thought was a private conversation in the build-up to this match.
Back his current preferred option up front Samuel Eto’o to score anytime at 6/4. Fernando Torres and Demba Ba are alternatives for the Blues boss, and you can get 7/4 on them grabbing goals here.
Galatasaray have a small handful of familiar names to English audiences. Alongside Drogba, there is Dutch playmaker Wesley Sneijder, who won the Champions League under Mourinho at Inter Milan in 2010, and former Arsenal right back Emmanuel Eboue. Despite this trio in opposition ranks, Chelsea to win to nil in Istanbul is tempting at 9/4.
Schalke v Real Madrid
Carlo Ancelotti’s charges are massive 1/10 favourites to make it through this tie and odds-on at 4/9 to win at Schalke. Cristiano Ronaldo needs a goal here to draw level with Zlatan Ibrahimovic of PSG in the race for the Champions League Golden Boot, so back the Portugal icon at 9/4 to score first.
Real have a three-point lead at the top of La Liga after neighbours Atletico Madrid and El Clasico rivals Barcelona both suffered shock defeats. The Bernabeu team has lost just two league games all season.
Schalke meanwhile were held at home to a goalless draw by Mainz, but rested prize asset Julian Draxler, giving him just 25 minutes as a sub. Arsenal want him, but his Bundesliga return is a single strike all season.
Ancelotti must take Draxler seriously, however, as he has averaged a goal every other game in Europe. Former Real frontman Klaas-Jan Huntelaar will also be out to prove his old club they were wrong to move him on.
The likes of Ronaldo, in-form youngster Jese and Gareth Bale should be way too strong from Schalke’s defence though. Back Bale at 5/4 to net anytime.