Football: European Semi-Finals

Eight of Europe’s top clubs are in with a chance of making the finals of the Champions League and Europa League, with the possibility of all-English finals a very likely prospect.

Let’s take a look at the ties.

Champions League

Scores after the first leg:
Manchester City (2) – PSG (1)
Chelsea (1) – Real Madrid (1)

Manchester City – PSG

The first leg in Paris was the perfect example of a game of two halves. After 45 minutes, PSG could have been three ahead, and then Man City dominated the second half. The one goal lead is not enough and Manchester City will definitely need to score. This season, Man City have failed to score on five occasions in all competitions – only once in the Champions League. It will be interesting to see if Sergio Aguero makes the starting line-up having scored a brace at the weekend.

PSG are worried about the fitness of Mbappe. He will likely be ready for the tie, but his performance could be hit or miss. Neymar will be key in helping the Parisiennes.

This is very difficult tie to call. Man City obviously have the advantage, but PSG have enough firepower to overcome any team.

In the twelve games against English opposition, in England, PSG have only won three times, which doesn’t bode well. The interesting thing will be if Aguero plays, he tends to hold the ball a little too much, which is likely to be a hindrance against PSG.

Sticking my neck out on the line, I am going for PSG on away goals.

Chelsea – Real Madrid

Chelsea are a different animal under Thomas Tuchel. Defensively they are well drilled, and going forward they have enough youth and exuberance to unlock any defence, especially one made up of old men. The likes of Christian Pulisic, Timo Werner and Mason Mount showed a willingness to run behind the Real Madrid defenders in the first leg. They will need more of that in the second leg.

Real Madrid have to score in the second leg otherwise they are out. Benzema will be their main hope in grabbing the goal, but eyes will be on Eden Hazard who came off the bench in the first leg. The Belgian impressed at the weekend, and is likely to support Benzema. Plus, the return of captain, Sergio Ramos, will be a huge boost to the team, until he gets sent off for fighting again.

Chelsea should have scored more in the first leg, and may come to rue it. Yet, they have more than enough to knock out Real and further upset Real Madrid chairman Florentino Perez even more.

Europa League

Scores after the first leg:
Roma (2) – Man Utd (6)
Arsenal (1) – Villarreal (2)

Roma – Man Utd

This tie is done! Roma aren’t going to score four times, let alone get the required result to make the final. In fact, Roma have only scored four or more goals on four occasions all season, but in three of those, they also conceded. All is not lost for Roma fans though, they will go through if they replicate the 5-0 win against CFR Cluj in this year’s Europa League group stages.

Unfortunately for the Italians, they are aiming to inflict a defeat on Manchester United that no other team has done all season.

Arsenal – Villarreal

Arsenal are very lucky to still be in with a chance of making the final after a horrendous time in Spain. Every time they looked like getting a foothold in the tie, something detrimental happened.

The English side are going to be without Ceballos, who was stupidly sent off in the first leg, but the return of Pierre Emerick Aubameyang will bring some hope to the Gunners.

Villarreal have played 13 games in the Europa League this season, winning twelve and drawing once. So, they are due a loss. A loss that Arsenal can inflict, if they decide to show up.

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