Jason McAteer preview


Arsenal and Man City, it’s a tough one to call, obviously, Arsenal are sitting top of the league with Man City tucked in behind.

I think the big psychological battle which we were waiting for is around the corner. When I say that, Arsenal haven’t been in this position, sitting top and being chased, and it’s something that they have to contend with. We already had a little taster in the FA Cup not so long ago, obviously, Arteta made a few changes to his team, which in his head will go against the result, to be honest. He will tell himself he made a few changes and if they lost it wasn’t too bad. For Manchester City, it was a psychological hurdle to overcome, which was to go through in the cup.

In the League it’s much different, it’s a tough one to call as both teams have had two bad results in previous weeks. Arsenal falling foul of the bounce syndrome against Everton, obviously, Sean Dyche got the crowd up for it, it might stand them in good stead as it might serve them as a kick up the behind, to be honest, and motivate them in the right way, but it might add a couple of question marks over whether they can handle team is right in their face.

For Pep, obviously, it was a great chance against Spurs to close the gap to two points, but his team did not take the chance as they fell foul of Harry Kane, who did brilliantly to break Jimmy Greaves’s record, so congratulations to him. 

Both teams will have their latest defeat at the back of their mind and knowing that the prize at the end of it is such a big one. Arsenal can pull clear, and Man City can pull it right back again. 

I am gonna go for a draw in this one at 8/3 (3.65), I think it will be a cagey affair. Previous results will play a part in the narrative of the game. I am going for a 1-1 draw priced at 11/2 (6.50), for a goalscorer, I am gonna go a bit left field, Trossard to come on as a sub and score, and I’m gonna go Jack Grealish to score for City.

Champions League Outright

The big names around Europe will still be there, and I am sure we have some fascinating ties. Paris play Bayern, which is a big one at this stage, and you’ve got Liverpool against Madrid, two very glamorous names in this competition but two teams who are struggling to find form. Liverpool might find a bit of form in the Champions League as it’s a huge game that might start their progress in the Premier League again. Manchester City, I don’t think they will struggle against RB Leipzig and Tottenham play Milan, who are falling by the wayside. 

I think if you look around Europe, Napoli is the team that are playing the best football, have the best players well acquainted with where the goal posts are. Victor Osihmen is on everyone’s lips, obviously opted to stay in Naples, a wise decision as he would have a Serie A title in his hands and he must be confident that Napoli will go all the way in the Champions League. 

So for me a really outside bet would be on Napoli to win the Champions League at 14/1 (15.00). They are the team that I wouldn’t wanna come up against and I think if they can keep the form that they have now good things will come for them.

Round of 16 preview 

AC Milan vs Tottenham

Well, Spurs, interestingly enough I looked at their stats the other week and out of the 14 goals that they scored, 12 of them came in the second half. It tells you a little bit about Spurs, they can shut up shop for 45 minutes and Conte let’s them off their reigns in the second half and do the damage. It is really a game of two halves when you play against Spurs. Obviously, the win against Manchester City is gonna stand them in good stead because they haven’t beaten a team in the top four all season. Harry Kane is in good form, and Son looks like he is getting better and more lively. 

On the other hand, you have Milan who are winless in their last seven games, struggling and following down the Serie A standings. On the face of it, you would say that over the two legs, Spurs to go through and I am gonna go for Spurs to win both legs. I think that there is enough quality there to achieve that. 

Tottenham to win at San Siro is priced at 2/1 (3.00), and to qualify for the next round at 13/20 (1.65).

Dortmund vs Chelsea 

Dortmund sitting three points off Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga, and I think six are unbeaten at the minute and Bellingham is their star this season. Chelsea on their part, have done a lot of changes in the transfer market, lots of players have come in, which is exciting if they click it’s a matter of when they click. Felix coming in, Mudryk coming in, Fer,nandez there is a lot of quality there. Graham Potter is yet to find a team consistently playing, week in week out that is getting him results and it’s a bit of a worry, really, you can spend all the money in the world but it doesn’t guarantee you success as Paris will tell you.

I think Chelsea although on paper they look strong, but I think coming against a settled team, is somewhat similar to Brighton this season, if you put Brighton against Chelsea you give Brighton an opportunity and the same with Dortmund and obviously, with Bellingham anything could happen. 

I am gonna go for a Dortmund win at home at 14/9 (2.55), and a draw at Stamford Bridge. So that is Dortmund to progress to the next stage of the competition at 3/2 (2.50).

Real Madrid vs Liverpool 

Liverpool need a win in the first leg, I think is a massive advantage when you play the second leg at Anfield, I think the Champions League factor in what a huge role the crowd makes as well. It’s gonna be a tough one really, Madrid sit second in La Liga, still plenty of quality around that team, chasing down Barcelona who are flying in the minute. I wouldn’t put it past Liverpool even though they won one in seven games since the Premier League’s return from the World Cup. Goals have been hard to find and clean sheets have been an absolute nightmare – one in seven as well. So a tough couple of months for Liverpool, but Jurgen Klopp will rally the troops, I know that there has been a debrief after the Wolves and the Brighton games, when they were taken apart 3-0 in each game, against Wolves I know there was a big inquest in the dressing room, things being said and fingers been pointed. Liverpool need to raise their game especially in this competition, they really have had a love affair with it under Jurgen Klopp, three appearances in the Final in the last six years. 

I wouldn’t put it past them to win but I think it’s going to be a tough tough ask, my heart obviously wants Liverpool to go through but my head thinks Madrid are gonna nick it. Liverpool are gonna give it a hell of a fight, I think at Anfield, Liverpool will win it by a small margin at 6/5 (2.20),  but at Madrid, they would have too much and go through to the next stage at 6/7 (1.85).

RB Leipzig vs Manchester City

Manchester City aren’t in great form I think that we are seeing now that the Haaland effect, the question as the start of the season was, ‘will Manchester City change for Haaland?’’ or ‘’is Haaland gonna change for Manchester City?’’, I personally think that they are caught up in both really. In one minute, they are like the old Manchester City, but that is being compromised by Haaland being in the team we’ve got fewer goalscorers now, all the numbers are down, De Bruyne, Mahrez’s is down, Foden can’t get in the team cannot be trusted, Cancelo’s gone because he wants to change slightly how they want to play in behind Haaland. Haaland is a pure number nine, and they have played a good number of years without someone like that, and it’s all a bit disjointed at the minute. They also conceded more goals than Guardiola would have liked – it’s like twice as many this season as they had all of last season. 

You are looking at a team in Leipzig that are 21 games unbeaten, and they have Nkunku and Werner as their two strikers. Nkunku, again, a proven goalscorer in the team, and one cannot see Manchester City struggle to get through this tie, but I can. With this, I am gonna go for a shock, I would say Manchester City to get knocked out by RB Leipzig over the two legs which is priced at 9/2 (5.50).

I think if Leipzig just raises their game, although they are fourth in the Bundesliga I still think that run of games unbeaten will give them great confidence, they know what they are doing and they are well-organised as well.

PSG vs Bayern

I think Mbappe is missing for PSG, I don’t think that he is gonna make it, and you are looking at goals as you need goals against Bayern, that is going to be a big loss. Bayern are a big team and they see this as a big opportunity, they both sit at the top of the league so it’s such a difficult one to call, there is soo many good players there and both teams can win it with a couple of moments of magic from anybody.

I am actually gonna go with Paris over the two legs at 26/25 (2.03), I think that there is a bit more flair players coming back from the World Cup with a point to prove, obviously Neymar and Mbappe and want to prove it at domestic levels. They have been desperate for so many seasons to win this elusive Champions League and invested heavily in it, obviously getting Lionel Messi as a talisman and he’s found form again for them. 

Barcelona vs Manchester United

If you look right across the European Leagues the two teams that are arguably in the best form are Manchester United and Barcelona. The Spanish giants have been devastated to go out of the Champions League group stage and that would hurt them financially but they are doing well, top of the league and playing some fantastic football. Manchester United now closing the gap with defeats to Manchester City and Arsenal, giving them great motivation, Ten Hag has formed a proper team, they might miss Eriksen but they brought in Sabitzer to cover that area.

Both teams have great goalscorers in their team, Lewandowski for Barcelona and Marcus Rashford for Manchester United. So I think definitely gonna be goals in this game, both teams to score priced at 4/7 1.57) and it’s such a difficult one to call and I am gonna go for a narrow win for Barcelona over the two legs. 


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*Odds subject to change. Odds correct at time of publishing

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