Reaching Istanbul for the UEFA Champions League Finals is just a couple of turns away for the four remaining clubs: Real Madrid, Chelsea, Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain. Four favorites made it through, and any of them could have been replaced by Bayern Munich easily. For the first leg this week, Real Madrid will host English outfit Chelsea after knocking out another in Liverpool. In Paris, PSG’s and Man City’s dreams of Champions League glory will clash as both clubs have been targeting lifting the title for the first time after falling short too many times in recent years.
MATCH-DAY 11 MATCH PREVIEW
Real Madrid vs Chelsea: Real Madrid has proved in every single match that no matter how many players are injured, the team will achieve its 90-minute objective. We witnessed Zidane brilliance against Atalanta and Liverpool in the knockout stages. At Chelsea, Thomas Tuchel’s first real test was the return leg against Porto, and the team looked slightly unstable. But in the second test against Guardiola in the FA cup semi-finals, Tuchel passed with flying colors. Chelsea will play away against West Ham before traveling to Madrid. The Spanish giants will host Real Betis in preparation for the UCL first leg.
Recommended areas of selection: Both teams enjoy having high quality players to control games. I see Real Madrid having a slight edge in possession at home, while Chelsea will not risk playing a high line of defense and suffering the same fate as Atalanta and Liverpool. It is highly unlikely that either team will end the match with a clean sheet, but Real Madrid has a better chance. Ball recovery rate should be high among midfielders, especially those covering their defenders.
PSG vs Man City: Bayern Munich gifted Pep with many hints before leaving the competition. With Robert Lewandowski out injured in both legs, Bayern were not efficient in front of goal. Unlike Bayern, the citizens have many prolific players to finish off the game in style. PSG will as usual allow the opposition to control the match, waiting to hit back on the counter attack. We witnessed how ruthless Neymar, Di Maria and Mbappe can be in those situations. PSG is playing away against Metz today before preparations start for receiving Man City on Wednesday. Man City hope to secure the EFL Cup trophy against Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday before traveling to Paris for the UCL quarterfinal.
Recommended areas of selection: Both goalkeepers and defenders will have their work cut out for them. PSG’s defense needs to hold off 90 minutes of continuous pressure while Man City defense needs to be alert for the counterattack. Ball recovery rate may be higher on PSG side of the equation. It is unlikely that either team will keep a clean sheet.
Real Madrid: Sergio Ramos, Lucas Vasquez and Mendy are the confirmed injuries for the Spanish capital club. Valverde is yet to produce a negative PCR test, and Eden Hazard remains a major doubt joined by Toni Kroos and Luka Modric as minor doubts.
Manchester City: There are minor fitness concerns over Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Aguero, but those concerns should be clarified by the time the Citizens finish the EFL Cup final this Sunday.
PSG: Juan Bernat is the only long term injury for the French capital club, but Marquinhos, Diallo, Navas, Verrarri and Rafinha are minor doubts.
Chelsea: Tuchel should have a clean bill of health going to the match with Real Madrid.
MATCHDAY 10 BUILD UP
I will be posting the UCL Live Chat article early Tuesday — be sure to join in!
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