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Garcia, Caroline v Safarova, Lucie

TENNIS Dubai Championships Women

2018-02-20 17:30:00 (This report was created at 2018-02-19 21:47:40)

Lucie in the sky on cloud 9

Lucie Sararova is a Czech player , aged 31 and ranked 30 in the world . She has been ranked as high as 5 which she achieved in September of 2015 . Her best surface is clay however she was 15 and 8 on hard courts last year . She managed just 1 final in 2017 , that was in Budapest where she lost to Babos . She has played reasonably well this year , given that she has had some tough opposition , Kerber in Sydney , Pliskova in the Australian and Goerges in Doha , all of whom she lost to . However she did win 2 matches in Melbourne without dropping a set .

Caroline Garcia is from France , aged 24 and at her highest rank of 7 in the world . She plays well on all surfaces and was 27 and 11 on hard courts last year . It all came good for her in 2017 in September in Wuhan where she won 6 matches to take the title then backed that up with another tournament win in Beijing the following week . In the last 12 months her ranking has risen from 24 to 7 in the world . This year she is 5 and 4 but has only played 1 top 10 player , Muguruza who she lost to last week .

In head to heads Safarova leads 1-0 but that win was 3 years ago in the Fed Cup .

Slight value for Safarova 

Safarova 2.5 v Garcia 1.64


Bayern Munchen v Besiktas

FBECUP UEFA Champions League > 8th Finals-17

2018-02-20 20:45:00 (This report was created at 2018-02-19 12:25:06)

Last season Bayern could easily have knocked out the future champions Real Madrid. Vidal missed a penalty when they were 1-0 up at home to Real and in the return leg Bayern, coached by Ancelotti, were unfairly treated by the referee. Now Bayern are coached by J Heynckes and they have won awful amount of games since he took charge of their affairs.

A Robben, F Ribery, R Lewandowski, T Muller and so on, the familiar names are still at the club and you can imagine they are looking forward to these play off games. S Wagner, new striker, played in their front line in their last league game instead of Lewandowski who entered the game in the second half. Thiago played his first minutes since his troublesome injury. M Neuer will once again be replaced by Ulreich in the Bayern goal.

So this is what Besiktas were rewarded with after their impressive group campaign, a game against one of the cream of the crop teams in Europe. Their leading striker C Tosun has left for Everton and instead they have bought Wagner Lowe, who has already started scoring for the club. A Negredo is of course also an option upfront.

Home winner, say 3-1 or 4-1.

-Chris


Chelsea v Barcelona

FBECUP UEFA Champions League > 8th Finals-17

2018-02-20 20:45:00 (This report was created at 2018-02-19 12:29:39)

The first week of European games told us that the British teams are highly competitive this season. Liverpool and Man City scored tons of goals in their games, but Chelsea will of course have a different approach against one of the tournament favourites. Allegri’s Juventus knew how to stop Barcelona last season, but this season they failed. Mourinho always had a useful plan how to prevent Barcelona from playing their brand of football and I am convinced that the Chelsea coach Conte has some idea how to stifle the Barcelona attacks. Will it be a special assignenment for Kante?

Chelsea have their own Messi, Eden Hazard of course and I can see him being the better of the two in this first leg.

P Coutinho will not play for Barcelona, but defender Vermalen is included in their 20 man squad.

M Alonso will be fit to play for Chelsea who are only missing the injured R Barkley and Bakayoko. Willian was back at the weekend and what a come back while A Morata was fit enough for a bench role. O Giroud will most likely be preferred to Morata in their front line.

The home win looks over priced.

Backing Chelsea.

-Chris


Shakhtar Donetsk v AS Roma

FBECUP UEFA Champions League > 8th Finals-17

2018-02-21 20:45:00 (This report was created at 2018-02-20 11:51:37)

Last week the Ukrainian domestic season started and Shaktar won a home game 5-0. F Ferreyra, their front man, scored twice and Marlos as well. Both Fred and Rakitskyi were suspended, but they will return for this match. Bernard is an injury doubt.

Squad wise they look good , but what is their present form like? They cannot be at their best, but I would not say they are without winning chances. Should they be the favourites against this Roma team? A fully fit Roma side in the middle of their season.

Roma will come to this match with their leading players available. Kolarov will be back in their defence, De Rossi and K Strootman will be their holding midfielders and Dzeko will have the strong trio Perotti, Nainggolan and in form Under supporting him.

Shaktar won their three home games in their qualifying group, but they were a bit lucky against Man City, as City came with plenty of reserves.

This match will take place in Kharkiv and it has been snowing a lot lately

The environmental circumstances are likely to favour the home side and maybe that is why the bookmakers have placed Shaktar in the favourites position.

-Chris


Sevilla v Manchester Utd

FBECUP UEFA Champions League > 8th Finals-17

2018-02-21 20:45:00 (This report was created at 2018-02-20 11:54:38)

There is something about Sevilla in Europe, when they are playing at home, that is. They can defeat the best on their day and there is no doubt they are raising their level in their European home games. Or they have done over the years, and I cannot really say too much about Sevilla and the present Montella regime.They were 0-3 down at home to Liverpool in a group game some months ago, but Sevilla fought back to drawing the game 3-3.

E Banega and L Muriel will be back to play, but Correa is considered a major injury doubt. All three are key players.

Fellaini, M Rojo and Phil Jones are on the United injury list, but A Valencia, M Rashford and A Herrera have a chance of being fit for this game.. E Bailly was a late substitute against Huddersfield and to have him back is a big bonus for United.

Sevilla need to be on top of their game tomorrow. Not because United are in fantastic form, but they are a Mourinho team, fully prepared to wait for their openings and the openings will come. Sevilla are not known for their defensive abilities and I never saw Montella as a defensive coach. He was a striker, you know.

Both to score, 1-2 or 2-2.

-Chris