With the help of the AI-powered Opta supercomputer, we provide our UEFA Champions League match predictions for every game across each matchday.
The UEFA Champions League season in 2023-24 promises to be one of the best in recent memory.
Manchester City won their first ever UCL title in 2022-23 thanks to a 1-0 win over Internazionale, but can they become just the second club to retain the Champions League trophy after Real Madrid’s three successive titles between 2016 and 2018? With Europe’s biggest and best clubs competing, it’ll be a tough task.
Our AI-powered supercomputer will be making its Opta Predictions for every fixture over the course of what looks set to be an exciting UCL season.
Read on, as Opta Analyst provides its UEFA Champions League match predictions and be sure to check back here ahead of each matchday.
Last 16 – Leg 1 (20-21 February)
After four matches were played last week to kick off the round of 16 in the 2023-24 UEFA Champions League, the final four first-leg games are being played this Tuesday and Wednesday.
We look over the Opta supercomputer match predictions for all four of this week’s ties.
The Quick Hits
- The tie between PSV and Borussia Dortmund is the most evenly split according to the Opta Supercomputer. BVB are slight favourites with a 54.6% chance of making it to the quarter-finals.
- Robert Lewandowski is aiming to avoid matching his longest scoreless streak in the Champions League (five games in a row).
- Arsenal have not progressed to the quarter-finals of the UCL since the 2009-10 season, when they beat Porto, who they face on Wednesday.
PSV vs Borussia Dortmund
The Opta supercomputer only gives these sides a combined 3.9% chance of going all the way in the Champions League, and Tuesday’s first leg is expected to be tight against two teams that on paper look relatively evenly matched.
PSV are made slight favourites (43.3%) to come out on top in their home leg, but a draw is a pretty safe prediction too (24.8%). BVB are given a 31.9% likelihood of taking the advantage back to Signal Iduna Park.
This will be PSV’s first game in the knockout stages of the Champions League since the 2015-16 campaign, when they were eliminated in the round of 16 against Atlético Madrid. The Dutch side’s last victory in the knockout stages of the competition came back in February 2007, beating Arsenal 1-0 at home (also in the round of 16).
Dortmund will be the first German opponent PSV have faced in the knockout stages. They have lost eight of their 12 meetings with German teams in the group stage. BVB’s only previous knockout tie with a Dutch team came in the 1995-96 quarter-finals, in which they went down 3-0 on aggregate to eventual runners-up Ajax.
These sides last met in the 2002-03 group stage – Dortmund winning 3-1 at the Philips Stadion before a 1-1 draw in Germany.
The Eindhoven side, though, are unbeaten in their last five games in the Champions League (W2 D3), and could equal their longest run without defeat in the competition – previously six unbeaten between October 1997 and September 1998.
Dortmund have lost eight of their last nine away games in the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League (W1), although their one victory in this run did come under current manager Edin Terzić – 3-2 at Sevilla in the round of 16 in 2020-21.
Johan Bakayoko is a tricky customer for PSV and could have a big say in this tie. He has created the most open-play chances and completed the most dribbles of any of their players in the competition this season (15 each). In fact, he was the only player in this year’s group stage to create 15+ open play chances and complete 15+ dribbles.
Internazionale vs Atlético Madrid
Another tie you can expect to be extremely tight sees last year’s runners-up Inter Milan take on Diego Simeone’s Atlético Madrid.
Atlético Madrid are not fancied at San Siro, however, with Inter – who at 12.6% are currently the third-favourites to win the Champions League according to our model – backed to get the win in the first leg (52.0%).
However, can you really ever count a Simeone team out? None of the four teams playing away from home in the UCL this week have as low a chance of victory as his side (22.8%), but they are certainly dangerous opponents for the current Serie A leaders.
The only previous meeting between Internazionale and Atlético was in the 2010 UEFA Super Cup, won 2-0 by the Spanish side thanks to goals from José Antonio Reyes and Sergio Agüero.
Under Simeone, Atlético have won five of their six games in the knockout stages of European competition against Italian sides. However, the most recent of those ended in a 3-0 defeat away to Juventus in the Champions League last 16 in 2018-19 – a result that eliminated them from the tournament (3-2 on aggregate).
However, Atlético – who scored 17 goals in the group stage – have only won five of their 18 away games against Italian sides in European competition (D4 L9), although they have won both matches in this run played at San Siro (1-0 in 2014 and 2-1 in 2021, both against Milan).
Inter have only lost one of their last 13 games in the Champions League (W7 D5), with that lone defeat coming in last season’s final against Manchester City. The Italian side have kept a clean sheet in 62% of the matches they have played in this run (8/13), and only conceded nine goals in total.
Inter (29y 167d) and Atlético (29y 205d) are the two teams remaining in this season’s Champions League with the oldest average age of their starting XI. Indeed, only Sevilla had an older average age of their starters in this season’s group stage (30y 66d).
One of the older heads – Antoine Griezmann – has been sensational for Atleti this term. He has scored 18% of the club’s goals in the Champions League (31/169) – for teams who have netted 100+ goals in the competition, only Lionel Messi for Barcelona has netted a higher proportion of his team’s total (21% – 120/561).
Griezmann’s partner in crime Álvaro Morata scored five goals in six appearances in the group stage. For Inter, Lautaro Martínez has been in scintillating form. The Argentine has bagged 12 goals in the competition for the Nerazzurri, with only Adriano (14) and Julio Cruz (13) scoring more often for the club in the competition. He has found the net in each of his last two starts against Spanish sides, including one earlier this season against Real Sociedad.
Ahead of kick-off on Tuesday night at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, both Inter and Atlético are within the top 10 sides in the current Opta Power Rankings:
Napoli vs Barcelona
Another tight encounter sees reigning Serie A champions Napoli take on defending La Liga champions Barcelona on Wednesday.
Both teams have little hope of holding onto their domestic crowns after disappointing seasons, and all of their hopes are now firmly planted on a deep run in the Champions League.
The draw is a real possibility in this leg (25.5%), with the Opta supercomputer struggling to split Napoli (37.6%) and Barca (36.9%) as winners of this match before kick-off on Wednesday.
Napoli have never won a major European match against Barcelona (D2 L2), while they have previously faced them in the round of 16 of the Champions League in 2019-20, losing 4-2 on aggregate.
Barca won 4-2 in their last meeting with Napoli, in the play-off round of the 2021-22 UEFA Europa League. This was the joint-most goals a team have scored in a European away game against the Italian side, with Manchester City being the only other team to have netted four (also a 4-2 win, in November 2017).
However, the Blaugrana are winless in their last three Champions League games against Italian opponents (D1 L2), losing as many of those three games as in their previous 19 games against Italian teams (W11 D6 L2).
Based on latest reports, Napoli boss Walter Mazzarri might not even last until Wednesday. If he isn’t sacked by then, he’ll come into this match unbeaten in his five Champions League home games (W4 D1), winning each of the last three. This would be just the third match he’s overseen in the knockout stages of the competition, with the previous two coming in the last 16 in 2011-12 (lost 5-4 on aggregate against Chelsea).
Barca, meanwhile, have only won one of their last 10 away games in the knockout stages (D4 L5), with that victory coming against Manchester United in April 2019 (1-0).
Robert Lewandowski is out to end a goal drought in this competition. He has not scored in any of his last four Champions League appearances – only once previously has he had a longer run of goals without scoring in UEFA’s flagship tournament, going five without netting between March and May 2018 during his Bayern Munich days.
Porto vs Arsenal
Arsenal head into this tie as big favourites, with our model giving them a 53.6% chance of success in this match, and a 76.8% likelihood of progressing to the quarters.
The Gunners – fresh from hammering Burnley in the Premier League – face a club in Porto that have been eliminated from seven of their eight UEFA Champions League knockout ties against English opposition, with the exception being a round of 16 victory over Manchester United en route to winning the trophy in 2003-04.
While Arsenal have a fantastic record at home against Porto, they are winless in all three away meetings with the Portuguese giants (D1 L2).
Arsenal have not made it to the last eight of the Champions League since 2010. On that occasion, they defeated Porto 6-2 on aggregate in the last 16.
Each of the last five teams to eliminate Porto from the Champions League in the knockout rounds of the competition has gone on to reach the final that year – Juventus in 2016-17 (last 16), Liverpool in 2017-18 (last 16) and 2018-19 (quarter-final), Chelsea in 2020-21 (quarter-final) and Inter last season (last 16).
Anticipate a quick start from Mikel Arteta’s team. Arsenal have scored more first-half goals than any other side in the Champions League this season, with 12 of their 16 strikes coming before half-time. The Gunners have scored in the opening 45 minutes in each of their last 13 Champions League games, the longest such run in European Cup history.
No player has been involved in more Champions League goals this season, meanwhile, than Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka (three goals, four assists), with the young Englishman averaging a goal involvement every 48 minutes in the competition so far.
Champions League Last 16 Ties in Full
Copenhagen 1-3 Manchester City
RB Leipzig 0-1 Real Madrid
Lazio 1-0 Bayern Munich
Paris Saint-Germain 2-0 Real Sociedad
PSV vs Borussia Dortmund
Internazionale vs Atlético Madrid
Napoli vs Barcelona
Porto vs Arsenal
*All prediction numbers are correct at the time of publication.
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