Champions League Quarterfinals: Five Things We Learned in Leg 1, Including Manchester City are No Longer Favorites

High Press 10 April 10, 2019 510 Reads

2019 UEFA Champions League quarterfinals wrapped Leg 1 fixtures today, as Ajax drew Juventus 1-1 and Manchester United OG’d their way to a 1-0 loss to Barcelona.

While there were no real surprises (those will probably come next week in Leg 2), that doesn’t mean we didn’t learn anything.

Here are five takeaways from Leg 1 match-ups.

  1. Ajax fans are all kinds of bonkers. First, they did this to Real Madrid. Ratty, yes. Harmless (unless Jason Pierre-Paul is involved), yes. However, getting hosed down to “prevent unsafe” conditions against Juventus? Let’s take a deep breath, Ajax fans. Maybe they need to bring back Frank de Boer so they don’t have to worry about making deep Champions League runs again.
  2. None of this matters to Ronaldo. All Cristiano Ronaldo does is avoid media attention for his very credible rape allegations score Champions League goals. He yet again was 100% of Juventus’ offense, putting them up 1-0 in the 45th before Ajax’s David Neres equalized in the first minute of the second half.
  3. Manchester United are by no means out of it. The eye test and the game stats line up here. Yes, Barca out-possessed Man U by a 67-33% margin. That was more or less expected. However, Man U created 10 shots on goal to Barcelona’s 6 and did a good job stiffling Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez (Philippe Coutinho does a good job stifling himself). Yes, they’d be feeling a lot better going to Camp Nou 1-1 rather than 0-1, but they came back from longer odds against PSG.

    Caley Graphics
  4. Liverpool are deservedly considered most likely to win the 2019 UCL… Sure, Liverpool’s offense still isn’t firing on all cylinders. But they’re potentially the most balanced squad remaining, especially if they finally happened to have stumbled upon a potent midfield combo of Fabinho-Henderson-Keita. FiveThirtyEight gives them the best probability of winning the UCL at 29% (Barcelona is at 27%). Oddsmakers have them second, closely behind Barcelona.
  5. …because Manchester City are no longer favorites! City’s annoying march toward soccer immortality and the Quadruple hit a temporary speed bump, as they lost 0-1 away to Tottenham. While that’s not a poor result by any stretch, it can be a concern if the Spurs manage to net one at the Etihad. Of course, Spurs will be without future NFL field goal kicker Harry Kane, but they’ve managed well without him this campaign. Regardless, City have been dropped by FiveThirtyEight to 21% and oddsmakers have them as third favorite now.

Updated Futures

On that note, here are the updated futures as listed on FanDuel Sportsbook NJ.

Barcelona _230Liverpool +280 Manchester City +300Juventus +390
Tottenham +1400 Ajax +2800
Manchester United +3100Porto +10000
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