The second half of the UEFA Champions League round of 16 gets underway this week, with the first legs in the four remaining matchups.
Last week’s four games didn’t teach us much about how the elimination of the away goals tiebreaker might affect first legs. Real Madrid seemed to be extra-conservative, perhaps playing for the scoreless draw at PSG in order to need only a home win to advance. But Manchester City and Bayern Munich attacked freely with mixed results, and Liverpool eventually broke through Inter Milan’s tough defense with two late goals.
Let’s get to the rest of the first legs…
Odds courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook.
Tuesday, February 22
Chelsea’s defense isn’t what it was last season, when the Blues rode their stinginess to the Champions League title. However, Chelsea has still allowed only 18 goals and 23.8 expected goals this Premier League season, both second-fewest in the league, and Chelsea allowed only one goal in the first five UCL group games before conceding three in the meaningless group finale at Zenit.
The bigger issue for Chelsea is the offense, which has scored more than two goals once in the last 12 games, and that was six weeks ago in an FA Cup win over non-league Chesterfield. In league play, Chelsea has topped 1.2 expected goals once in the last six games, and hasn’t had more than 15 shots in a game since before Christmas.
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