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PSG Narrowly Favoured to Advance in Champions League

The knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League are set to commence in February and while Paris Saint-Germain received one of the toughest possible draws in Real Madrid, the French side are still slight favourites to see off the La Liga leaders.

Bet365 actually has both sides at 10/11 apiece to qualify, but other betting sites, such as Betfair and Paddy Power, have PSG at 3/4 and Los Blancos at 21/20.

Even though PSG have a slight edge in the betting odds over Real Madrid, their outright tournament winner odds have taken a battering. Mauricio Pochettino’s side have gone from being an 11/4 shot in August, to now being as big as 10/1 with some firms.

It is now Manchester City who sit atop the betting market with odds of 11/4, while Bayern Munich and Liverpool are next at 7/2 and 5/1 respectively.

Chelsea, who can be backed at 2/9 to brush Lille aside, are 8/1 to retain the trophy according to most online betting sites that you can bet on in the UK.

The first leg of PSG vs Real Madrid is, along with Sporting CP vs Manchester City, the curtain raiser of the last 16 stage on Tuesday 15th February, and will be the seventh Champions League meeting between the two outfits in as many years.

Their most recent encounters came in the group stage of the 2019-20 competition, and PSG took four points from those two fixtures.

The only time PSG and Real Madrid have met in the knockout stages was in 2018, when Zinedine Zidane’s team won 5-1 on aggregate en route to their 13th European Cup.

Both teams are currently top of their domestic leagues, but while PSG are 11 points clear and seemingly cruising towards the title, Madrid have stuttered as of late having dropped points against Cadiz, Getafe, and Elche in their last five games, therefore allowing Sevilla – who have been far from consistent themselves – to close the gap to four points.

One thing that does work in Real Madrid’s favour is the fact that their games following each leg of the PSG tie come against 19th-placed Alaves and 17th-placed Mallorca, so they can go all guns blazing against their French opponents.

An interesting subplot is the future of Kylian Mbappe, who has reportedly ‘agreed’ to join Real Madrid in the summer once his PSG contract expires.

The 23-year-old has been the subject of interest from Madrid dating back to his Monaco days, and if he is indeed set to make the switch, this may represent PSG’s best chance to win the Champions League for a while.

A more immediate concern for PSG, though, will be that aside from Mbappe – who has 19 goals this term – the next highest goalscorer is Lionel Messi with just six goals in 18 games.

With Neymar out injured, other players will need to step up in attacking areas. This is not as big of a problem for Real Madrid, but they have had a heavy reliance on Karim Benzema (24 goals in all competitions) and Vinicius Junior (15 goals in 30 games).

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