Man City has been a constant contender to lift the Champions League trophy in recent years. Defensive stability should ensure Pep Guardiola and Company will continue to be a major player for years to come. Aymeric Laporte scored the Citizens’ one and only goal in the 82nd minute to defeat Tottenham in this last Sunday’s EFL Cup final, their first silver of the season. The English Premier league is all but won for the English outfit as they need to collect only six of 15 points, fewer if Man United finish with anything less than five consecutive victories.
Goal machine Kylian Mbappe scored twice in PSG’s weekend away match at Metz, and Mauro Icardi returned after a lengthy injury to score from the spot. Paris Saint-Germain top management replaced Thomas Tuchel mid season. The German tactician had complained about the lack of recognition for reaching the UCL finals last season, and it is suspected that club management viewed that as weakness. If anything, PSG management is even more hungry than Man City’s for the UCL trophy this season after coming so close last year. With both club and ex-manager in opposite brackets, it will be interesting to see which side will make its mark on the other.
Tuchel spent minimum energy this weekend to defeat a 10-man West Ham United by a single goal scored just before half-time by an out of favor Timo Werner. Chelsea was the clear favorite against Porto in the quarterfinals, but the Blues enter the semifinals as underdogs to all other clubs. Facing Real Madrid is no simple feat, and many teams with high quality have stumbled and bowed out before the mighty stars the Spanish royal club carries around. Tuchel must stick to what he knows and avoid the tactics employed against Porto in the quarterfinal return leg since Chelsea was vulnerable to concede.
Real Madrid and Zinedine Zidane set the example of how to break through the toughest and roughest week of the season. Such a week happens usually once and in poor scenarios twice during a season. Such a week must include facing your direct rival in the domestic league sandwiched between two champions league fixtures. The Spaniards defeated Liverpool 3-1 then Barcelona 2-1 before settling on a goalless draw to knockout Liverpool in the quarterfinals. This was all done with a lengthy injury list that saw Valverde play as a right back in one of those games. Real Betis took advantage of Real Madrid’s punishing schedule and injury list by forcing a 0-0 draw this past Saturday to bring Real Madrid one point closer to the top of the table after neighbour club Atletico Madrid suffered a 2-1 loss to Atletico Bilbao.
Crazy Monday — Injury & Suspension Updates
Keep and eye on @NMA_Blog on Twitter and comments below for any updates during the day!
MD-11 Suspension List: Bookings prior to the semifinals have been cleared, so all teams will enter the semifinal first leg without any players suspended.
- Real Madrid: Ramos may be training again, but is not expected until the 2nd leg. Varane remains sidelined, joined by Lucas Vazquez who was injured against Barcelona. Valverde remains in quarantine. Eden Hazard and Carvajal are both back, the former coming off the bench against Real Betis and the latter starting that match.
- Chelsea: Only Kovacic is out.
- Man City: Guardiola has a clean bill of health.
- PSG: Bernat remains the long term injury for the French team. Marquinhos is doubtful following his adductor injury suffered against Bayern Munich in the quarterfinals first leg.
Keep an eye on the comments section for press conference reports and any other status updates before today’s deadline. Good luck to everyone!
How’s your team faring? Do you have any tactical questions? And which match do you most wish to watch as a fan? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!