PSV could struggle to break down the meanest defence in Europe tonight.
PSV made it through a tough looking group, finishing ahead of Man Utd and CSKA Moscow, and their form since the end of the group stage has certainly been impressive as they’ve moved to the top of the Eredivisie standings. Atletico are also in good shape though as they are sandwiched between Barcelona and Real Madrid in Spain and have kept eight clean sheets in their 12 matches in 2016.
PSV’s group stage success probably owed a great deal to the struggles that Man Utd and Wolfsburg have had this season as they won all three of their home games and this is the first time they’ve reached this stage since 2007. Since the start of 2013/14, 12 of their 14 home matches in Europe have had fewer than three goals while nine have been goalless at half-time.
Spanish teams have won five of their six trips to the Netherlands in the Champions League over the last 10 years and all five wins were by at least two clear goals and after having led at half-time. Atletico were unbeaten in their three away matches in the group stage as they conceded just one goal, and their defensive excellence has made it very hard for teams to beat them in recent years. Since 2013/14 they’ve had an first-rate W7-D4-L3 record on the road in Europe as they’ve conceded more than once on just one occasion. Nine of these 14 matches have had fewer than three goals while all five of their away games in the knockout stages in this sample have been level at half-time, with four being goalless at the break.
There’s a big blow for PSV with captain Luuk de Jong suspended. He’s been their top scorer in the Eredivisie this season with 17 goals in 23 appearances while none of their other players have reached double figures. With that in mind and the general stats for both these teams in Europe having low scoring matches Under 2.5 Goals looks likely, although the price is not particularly generous at 1.65. However, Atletico have won 11 of their last 18 away matches in all competitions and eight of those were either 1-0 or 2-0, so we like the look of a narrow low-scoring Atletico win.
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