Football: Champions League – Barcelona v Chelsea

April 24, 2012
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I am of the opinion that the second leg of the Semi Final at Camp Nou as Barca host Chelsea could be a low scoring game and there seems to be tons of value out there.

In previewing this game, running through the current position of Barca being a goal down and preferably for them not conceding a goal in this second leg, added to recent meetings between the two sides, I came to the conclusion that this is very, indeed MOST likely to be a low scoring affair in Spain. I will approach the game from two financial fronts. One as a backer looking at what seems to be a very generous Asian Handicap, and from a trading point of view in the goals markets.

A bit of background to my thinking before outlining my financial interest in the game. In the last eight games at the Nou Camp, Barcelona have manged to keep but two clean sheets for all their possession. Some of those goals have come from teams one would consider far less threat that what Chelsea’s front line have to offer, and certainly with the exception of Real Madrid’s attacking options, nothing like Drogba. On that basis I have consider the chance of a Chelsea goal a very likely one. Chelsea seem to be one of the very few teams who can contain, Iniesta, Xavi and Messi, and seem to have learned how to sit back against Pep’s team and hit on the counter. In the main this tactic from anyone else has seen them suffer a glut of goals, not so with Chelsea, they are able to keep it tight at the back and offer little opportunity. The worst thing that could possibly happen would be for Chelsea to actually open the scoring early on, at this point Barca would have nothing to lose and throw caution to the wind, and Chelsea would find themselves under serious pressure for the remainder of the game, so my prediction is that the first half will be a very cagey affair and probably goalless. Also consider that Chelsea are unbeaten in three visits to Barcelona, they are also win-less, recording 0-0, 2-2 and 1-1 draws in those games. So…..

Firstly backing. Paddy Power are going +1.5, +2 (+1.75)at 21/10. Meaning that even if Barca win by just a single goal tonight we collect fully on the bet. If Chelsea lose by two clear goals we lose half stake, and Barca would have to win by a clear three goals for me to lose fully. At odds of 21/10, it is a bet I am more than willing to buy. This was the first bet I placed on the game, looking around the markets, i then notice SkyBet going +2 at Evens. With this handicap, a 2 goals loss for Chelsea would result in a push, and again at the price, it looks a handsome opportunity.

With the view that this will be a low scoring game, and trusting that Barca don’t come out and do a demolition job against Chelsea after they did the same to Arsenal last season going into the second leg 1-2 down, I will be looking to trade both the Under 1.5 and 2.5 goal markets. Under 1.5 is available on Betfair at 5.5 as I write, should the first 45 minutes go goalless, as I am predicting, this price will be more like 2 by half time,and a huge trade could be accomplished. Whilst Under 2.5 can be gotten for 2.65 and again may even turn into a bet depending on how the game goes.

I approach the game with a huge amount of optimism and confidence. I just hope that Barca remain shell shocked from not only losing the first leg last week after they had good chances to be in front but also from losing the Primera Liga title to Real Madrid at the weekend in this very stadium. They will be coming into the game a very hurt animal and could fight back as such, or indeed remain windless. I don’t think Chelsea will win the game however, my prediction would be for a 1-1 draw with both goals coming in the second period of play, thus giving me the opportunity to trade out of both goals markets and collect on both Asian bets.

One way or another, it’s a fascinating contest and one any football fan can be nothing but looking forward to.

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