After knocking out Chelsea in the last 16 of Europe’s elite competition last week, Barcelona have emerged as the favourite side to lift the trophy this season, effectively overtaking previous favourites Man City.
Champions League betting with Bet365 Sportsbook
Barcelona could be crowned European champions for the 6th time, if they win the competition this season (source: Soccerladuma)
Online sportsbooks in Spain give the Catalan giants strong odds of 3.50 (5/2), while Man City have been dealt underdog chances of 4.00 (3/1). Bet365 Sportsbook ranks Bayern Munich 5.00 (4/1) as third favourites, while defending champions Real Madrid 5.50 (9/2) and last year’s runners-up Juventus 11.00 (10/1) are below them on the odds chart.
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Pep Guardiola’s Man City revolution has seen them occupy the pole position as the ultimate club in this season’s Champions League, considering they’ve practically secured their Premier League title a long time ago. That’s why they could focus all their attention to their mission in Europe.
Barcelona started out the season as one of the top sides for the competition – as they normally are at the beginning of every campaign for the last decade – however their odds jumped up drastically when they demolished Chelsea with a 3-0 home victory in last Wednesday’s encounter – the result was 4-1 on aggregate. Just like the Sky Blues, the Blaugrana are also steadily on course to win the domestic championship, which gives them leeway to direct their efforts towards the Champions League.
Magic Messi makes all the difference
Over the last few seasons, Messi has shared the limelight in Barcelona’s illustrious attack. In the 2015/16 season, Luis Suarez become the first teammate to overscore him in years, after finding the back of the net a remarkable 59 times across competitions, while the Argentine managed ‘only’ 41 overall. Former teammate Neymar flared up the left flank of the attack with his quick dribbles and flashy performances, which arguably took some attention off of Messi.
But with Neymar’s departure to PSG last summer and with Suarez’s strange slump in form this season – he’s bagged only 24 goals so far this campaign, which is low for this standards – the spotlight is back on Messi following his incredible displays in recent games, but especially in the clash against Chelsea in the return leg of the round of 16. During that match, the 30-year-old forward supplied an assist to young starlet and €100m man Ousmane Dembele, while scoring a thrilling brace himself which saw him glide past Chelsea defenders almost effortlessly.
After 27 appearances in La Liga this season Messi has 24 goals to his name, while overall his tally stands at 34 goals in 42 games. If he continues his fine form this way, we can see him pass the 50-goal mark before the season comes to a close – it would be his 6th season in which he’s recorded 50+ goals in a single season, according to providers of internet betting in Spain. It seems that Neymar’s departure did wonders to Barcelona, as they’re shaping up to be European champions yet again.