Galatasaray host Chelsea in the first leg of their round of 16 Champions League match this Wednesday. In my preview for this match-up I have included my prediction along with betting odds.
Galatasary has been on a good run lately in the Turkish League, despite being in second and behind Fenerbahce by three points. In their last six matches in the league they have kept four clean sheets as well as scoring 15 goals.
In the Champions League they finished second in Group B behind Real Madrid with 7 points and a 2-1-3 record. One problem for them was their difficulty in allowing goals as they finished with a -6 goal difference.
They scored 8 goals in the group with just over one goal per game and an 11% conversion rate. However, at the other end they conceded 14 goals at a rate of just over two goals per match and a 17% conversion rate. They kept just one clean sheet through the group stage.
Galatasaray has just one long term injury to Aydin Yilmaz and have three players returning from injury with Hamit Altintop, Oguzhan Kayar, and Aurelien Chedjou.
Chelsea currently sit at the top of the Premier League table and have been picking up steam with their performances despite being dumped out of the FA Cup by Manchester City. In a way this could be a good thing for them as they now have one less set of fixtures to worry about.
In the group stages Chelsea finished at the top of Group E with four wins and two losses to give them 12 points and finish two ahead of Schalke. They scored 12 goals at an average of two per game and a strong 16% conversion rate. Defensively they allowed just three goals as well as allowing an average of just 10 shots per game for a low conversion rate of 5% conceded. While they did lose both home and away matches against Basel, they kept clean sheets against their other three opponents.
Chelsea have no major injury concerns with David Luiz, John Obi Mikel, and Oscar all probable at this point.
My pick is for a Chelsea win. With that said, they will be traveling to Turkey in a difficult atmosphere. In their last two meetings, both in the Champions League, back in 1999, Chelsea came away as winners in both matches. However, much has changed since then. Galatasaray certainly have quality players, including the former Chelsea star, Didier Drogba.
Betting Odds (Bovada):
Galatasaray win: 7/2; Draw: 13/5; Chelsea win: 5/6
Recent Form: Galatasaray (W, D, W, W, D, W) Chelsea (D, W, W, D, L, W)
Prediction: Galatasray 0 – 1 Chelsea
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