Our resident betting expert is backing the Blues to overturn the 1-0 deficit from the first leg and progress into the last eight, but is tipping Inter Milan to make Tottenham sweat over their progression into the next round.
Also in this edition, find out why you should back Yohan Cabaye to score and Newcastle United to beat Anzhi Makhachkala.
After coming on as a substitute and starting the comeback with an excellent strike in Chelsea’s 2-2 draw with Manchester United in the FA Cup on Sunday, the Tipster likes the look of Hazard to find the net here. The Belgium international should be that bit fresher having only played 40 minutes at the weekend. Hazard’s strike in Chelsea’s last Europa League home game against Sparta Prague that booked their place in the round of 16. The 22-year-old has scored 11 goals in all competitions in his first season at the Blues, and the Tipster is backing the playmaker to make it 12 against Steaua.
Chelsea can take huge encouragement from their comeback against Manchester United at the weekend. Recovering from two goals down at half-time, the Blues came away from the game feeling they should have won. With a game against a West ham side who don’t travel well at the weekend (the Hammers have lost seven of their last nine away), the Tipster expects Rafael Benitez to play as strong a team as possible to try and overturn the one-goal deficit. Steaua offered very little threat in play in the first leg and got their only goal from the penalty spot. With that in mind and the threat Chelsea have going forward, the Tipster is backing the Blues to win by two goals or more at 10/11.
As we saw with Bayern Munich on Wednesday night, complacency is Spurs’ only enemy to progressing in this tie. The Tipster fancies Inter to salvage some pride at the San Siro, with the Italian side far better at home. Tottenham will be without key man Gareth Bale, who is suspended, while Spurs have a tricky-looking game against Fulham at the weekend, so they will want their key men refreshed for the London derby as they push for a Champions League place. The Tipster can see some of Tottenham’s squad players getting a run out and reckons Inter to win is a good price at 5/4.
Alan Pardew stressed the importance of beating Stoke at the weekend to ensure he could play the strongest possible team for the visit of Anzhi, with the tie delicately poised at 0-0. The first leg was low on chances on what was a difficult pitch – and Newcastle defended outstandingly. The onus is now on the Magpies to try to win the tie at home. Newcastle’s form has improved dramatically after their late splurge in the January transfer window and the return from injury of key personnel. They have won four of their last six Premier League games and their last three at St James’ Park, where they are unbeaten in their five games in this season’s competition, winning three and drawing two. With a feel-good factor around St James’ at the moment, the Tipster is backing Newcastle to win at generous odds of 29/20.
Cabaye has proven a constant threat for the Magpies since returning from a groin injury in January. The France international scored a spectacular opener in a 1-1 draw with Liverpool at Anfield and the former Lille midfielder has gone on to net against Aston Villa, Southampton and Stoke since. The 27-year-old has scored in his last two home games and the midfielder will be a danger from set-pieces. With that in mind, The Tipster’s long shot for this edition is Cabaye to score any time for Newcastle against Anzhi at 7/2.
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