Bold Champions League predictions: Joao Felix revives Chelsea’s season, goal fest in PSG vs Bayern

It’s Champions League elimination week with the first four rounds of 16 matches set. ChelseaTottenham, Paris Saint-Germain and Club Brugge they all have shortcomings to be ironed out but how many, if any, will do the job? Here’s what I’ll be looking for in the second leg of my bold prediction:

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Chelsea vs Borussia Dortmund: João Felix Blue Sparks

Tuesday night, Stamford Bridge is Graham Potter’s last chance saloon. If the Champions League doesn’t convey a deep sense of achievement, nothing will. This team does not have the kind of old fashion that could allow them to develop from the 10th best side in England to European Champions in a matter of months. Still, a deep run in this tournament could bring Potter more support from fans grappling with his perceived inadequacy.

The former Brighton manager was certainly flawed, having found an impressive formula even in the first leg win against Dortmund and proceeded to rotate his side en masse only to lose in embarrassing fashion. Southampton. To go along with Potter’s failings, however, there is an almighty dose of bad luck ahead of the goal. This team seems to be trying to find new and more imaginative ways to keep a clean sheet, a team whose actual goal yield is lower than expected goal yield (xG) in each of their last 10 league and European games. . In that time xG fbref data says an average team would have scored 13.6 goals. Chelsea have scored four goals.

It’s not like this is a squad full of subpar finishers. Raheem Sterlingfor example, goals scored the truckload for City of Manchester. In particular, although it is difficult to fully understand how Joao Felix still has only one goal, a lively burst from his first appearance in a Chelsea shirt. He’s hit the woodwork more times than the back of the net and yet he’s doing everything right, the shots falling close enough to the goalkeeper’s palms where he could be turning away in celebration on occasion another. Still, when a player shows a tendency to find spots to get off shots like Felix did in the first leg, with Nico Scholtterbeck’s late run above or another bit of smart movement in the penalty area during the second half, targets have a bias. come

After playing Hakim Ziyech in the build-up, Felix cleverly dodges Schlotterbeck to go into the shootout.


With Dortmund leading by any goal from the first leg there may inevitably come a time when they feel forced to sit back and hold on to what they have. In such circumstances Felix may have been the one to find the half yard to take a shot. And surely anyone has to find a hot streak before the goal sooner or later.

Benfica vs. Club Brugge: Parker is on edge

With Benfica two goals ahead before the home game, this tie is likely to be done. Club Brugge are not fighting for their European status, they are fighting for the continued employment of their second manager of the season. So far Scott Parker has found the Belgian Pro League, not to mention the Champions League, to be a bit more difficult than the Championship, from which he was a specialist in gaining promotion.

A 3-0 victory against Oostende, who are currently in the relegation zone, Parker himself admitted that he could not answer questions about his own future. Two wins and three defeats from their 11 games in charge means Club Brugge are facing an almighty battle just to reach the final four games that decide the Belgian title. Their focus must surely be there, not against a Benfica side who have cruised through their three games since winning the first leg in Bruges. Parker must know that his side is not ready to revive this task, instead it would be enough to get a result that does not add to the pressure on him. Coming up against the in-form João Mario and Goncalo Ramosit’s hard to see that happening.

Bayern Munich vs PSG: Goals flow at the Allianz Arena

From the moment Kylian Mbappe took the field at the Parc des Princes in the first leg last month, PSG have been revived as an attacking force. Christophe Galtier’s side have all beaten Lille, Marseille and Nantes to make it 11 goals in three games with Mbappe himself scoring five. Appearing at the Champions League after the first leg, Thierry Henry outlined three reasons why PSG were in trouble: structure, form and desire. On the contrary, four words that would strike fear into the heart of Bayern Munich’s defenders — “But they have Kylian.”

The man himself is traveling to Munich with a simple game plan in mind.

“When we play attacking football, it’s uncomfortable for them,” Mbappe said after the 1-0 win in Paris. “You have to be positive. From what I’ve seen [in the first leg], It is not finished. We are going there to qualify.”

Individually there seem to be components in Bayern’s backline that can be targeted and Julian Nagelsmann does not hesitate to ask a lot of the few defenders he has on the pitch. If we know anything about Mbappe in the Champions League, he will score.

And yet it’s hard to see that that’s enough. Even as PSG offensively clicked into gear, they left the stable door open behind them; Lille and Marseille both had shots worth more than two expected goals combined in the win and over the entire Ligue 1 season the Parisians are giving up shots worth around 1.2 xG per game. That would hardly be cause for alarm for most but Galtier’s side are supposed to be so clear of the pitch that that seems like too high a number. Likewise in their seven games in the Champions League they have given up 8.1 xG, it is not a huge amount but it is a small amount considering that they got shots worth 9.9 xG in games where they were the biggest choice.

Frankly, we’ve seen enough of PSG in the Champions League to have a pretty solid sense of how this will go. Even without Neymar the frontline of Mbappe and Lionel Messi will give Bayern Munich all kinds of trouble, there may well come a moment in this tie when the hosts look overwhelmed. But Bayern will not be carrying two passengers of the ball who wait directly to regain possession. They will have the numerical superiority to create their own chances and if this PSG backline has collapsed against domestic opposition, wait and see what happens when it faces Nagelsmann’s wealth in the final third.

Tottenham vs. Milan: The hosts are lacking in attack

They may somehow have a place in the Premier League’s top four, but Tottenham fans are becoming more and more rebellious. Anyone who has sat through 90 minutes of his recent football could hardly blame them, a showcase of their games from the start of the year in Ludovico’s technique would be more than enough for any football addict out there . A year ago Spurs were turning into a well-oiled machine, hardly a Cruyffian vision of interchangeability but a team that could attack the defense with some electric steps from their front three.

As Michael Caley noted after Tottenham’s 1-0 win against Wolves on Saturday, the trident of Dejan KulusevskiHeung-min Son and Harry Kane He has gone from an average of 0.49 goals and 0.41 xG per 90 minutes last season to 0.37 and 0.31, one of the most intimidating attacking tridents in the Premier League transforming into something extremely resistant. Likewise, their expected assists (xA) for all three players have dropped from a combined 0.72 in 2021-22 to now 0.6. Anyone from the supporting cast to include Ivan PerisicPierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Richarlisonmore on what is later, the gap is really plugged and the absence of Rodrigo Bentancur robbed Tottenham of the link between their different parts as well as a possible fourth scorer.

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Spurs attacking statistics, per 90 Premier League minutes


0. 47


0. 36


0. 36

0. 13

0. 69

0. 24

Impunity xG 0. 39 0. 44 0. 26 0. 33 0. 21 0.1 0. 42 0.28




2. 57

2. 45





It helps


0. 08

0. 18

0. 27


0. 33

0. 21

0. 15


0. 18

0. 16

0. 11

0. 21

0. 29

0. 26


0. 18

Penalty area entries


2. 59


1. 91





Kane, who appears to have ended his brief relationship with life as numbers nine and 10 this season, has things to choose from and Kulusevski, taking as many shots as last season but ones of even worse quality. But the reason why it is difficult to entice Tottenham to score the two goals they would need to eliminate AC Milan in 120 minutes is the decline of Son, so often he is the man who delivers for them in clutch moments.

He shows all the signs one would expect from a 30-year-old who is just out of form and in decline. His availability is greater, his xG and xA are annoying and especially the thought and movement speed is no longer there. Mac is taking more shots than in either of the previous seasons, when he was competing for the Golden Boot, but almost as many are coming from outside the box, too much hitting and hoping from outside the area or attempts to rush into a pile of bodies.

Son highlights in the Premier Division this season

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Richarlison was recruited to offer an immediate alternative and long-term successor to at least one of Son and Kane and could yet be a bold man to write off Brazil’s starting No.9 after less than a season only at Tottenham. Right now, Tottenham need the player he was when he first arrived in England, a wide ball carrier who can work hard off the ball and create for others, and the player Everton he needed to be the talismanic messenger whose job it is to score the big goals that Kane has historically provided for Spurs.

Any team with Kane in it can probably be trusted to get one goal but if Tottenham are to avoid a minefield they will need to do more than that. It’s hard to see many others in the starting lineup helping their captain in that pursuit.

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