By Thomas Reynolds
Last Updated: 12th February 2019
The arrival of VAR at the 2018 World Cup saw the tournament’s most-penalties-in-a-finals record dispatched before the end of the group stage. Could a similar upturn in spot kicks be to come as the Video Assistant Referee make its Champions League debut?
In Russia, the review system played a part in the giving of a massive 29 PKs (0.45 a game), smashing the previous high of 19 (0.3) to smithereens, so let’s say yes indeed.
So how do we go about profiting from this expectation? And in which quarter final matches do these penalties look most likely to arise? Scroll down.
The most prolific penalty beneficiaries and conceders
Intriguingly for Manchester United fans, Paris Saint-Germain were one of only two sides in the Champions League group stage to give away three spot-kicks.
The William Hill odds-bods go 7/4 about a 12-yard free shot featuring in the contest, also offering Enhanced Odds of 7/2 about a United win in which red hot go-to taker Paul Pogba nets (was 3/1).
Porto are the sole other side left in the competition to give up more than one in the groups and they were also one of only two teams to receive as many as three, along with Liverpool, making the 2/1 about a penalty in their clash with Roma look like an appealing selection.
The most prolific foulers and the most-fouled
Surprisingly, the departed Valencia (18) were fouled on average 2.8 times more per game than any other side in the groups, but Barcelona, Ajax and PSG were among four teams tied for second on 15.2.
Of further interest for those already intrigued by the odds of a penalty being awarded in Man Utd vs PSG or Porto vs Roma, both Porto and United were inside the top four in the previous top stage for average fouls committed, along with Tottenham.
The most fouled players
The Man Utd vs PSG spot-kick bet would arguably have been the lock of all locks if Neymar, the most fouled man (in terms of transgressions per game) in the group stage this term, wasn’t out injured.
Other players among the 10 most-fouled players in the sections were Schalke’s Breel Embolo (3.5 per game), Shakhtar’s Taison (3.2), Ajax’s Nicolas Tagliafico (3), Sadio Mane (2.8) and Tanguy Ndombele of Lyon (2.8).