Champions League Semi Finals: What to expect from the first legs?

Champions League Semi Finals: Will Real Madrid defeat Chelsea and will Man City overcome PSG to reach their first final

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The ball Europe's best stars will be playing with. Photo Credit: Steffen Prößdorf

Well, after the whole European Super League craziness from last week, it feels good to know that the Champions League will be staying put.

Three of the four clubs in involved in the semi-finals were part of the breakaway tournament plans, but regardless of whatever UEFA sanction these teams in the coming weeks or months they still have to compete in the final stages of this year’s tournament.

What we can look forward to is two very interesting ties with sides that haven’t played each other many times before. There are a lot of questions to be answered on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Tuesday 27th April- Real Madrid v Chelsea

When the London side visits Real Madrid on Tuesday night it will, surprisingly, be their first meeting in the Champions League.

The Spanish side will be looking to reach their fifth final in eight years, but they will have to overcome a tough Chelsea side which has dramatically improved since German manager Tomas Tuchel took charge.

The Blues have been much stronger defensively and more players are now contributing goals.

Chelsea’s league form is strong as they are pushing for the top four place to return into the Champions League next season. They have also made the FA Cup final so will be looking to complete a historic double.

Real Madrid on the other hand are still involved in a four-team title race in La Liga, but come into this game off the back of a disappointing 0-0 draw at home.

Zidane’s side are reliant on the old guard who earned them the previous Champions League triumphs with the midfield three of Casemiro, Modric and Kroos still showing their capabilities at the highest level.

Real Madrid striker, Karim Benzema has really proven to any doubters that he is one of the world’s best in his position, scoring some crucial goals for his side this season.

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Will the Real Madrid front man be crucial in securing yet another Champions League trophy for his side ?
Credit: Антон Зайцев

Unfortunately, for the La Liga title holders, their captain Sergio Ramos will be out. However, his side has managed to be defensively secure during his lengthy absence.

It could come down to a battle of French strikers, with Benzema and Oliver Giroud for Chelsea. The two strikers don’t seem to get along with criticism being exchanged between the two over recent years.

Although not a regular starter for Tuchel, Giroud has come up with some important goals this season but German striker, Timo Werner is expected to lead the line. Even though he got a goal this weekend, the summer signing is really struggling to find form and add to his goal tally that Chelsea signed him for.

What can be expected from the game is a cagey affair with Real Madrid looking to avoid giving Chelsea a goal to bring back to Stamford Bridge.

Wednesday 28th April 2021 PSG v Man City

Being dubbed the El Cashico, the two mega rich clubs are set to face each other in semi final with the French side aiming for a second Champions League final in two years and the English side hoping for their first ever.

Man City are going into the game after winning the League Cup Final against Tottenham    1-0, their first trophy of the season, but Pep Guardiola will be looking for another two accolades to add to reign as the coach.

This is Guardiola’s first time managing Man City in a European semi final but hopes he can succeed and come overcome the French giants.

The French side has been very inconsistent in their domestic league this year, and to a surprise to many are not the French leaders. However, this year in the Champions League they have been superb, finishing first in a tough group and overcoming Barcelona and the team who beat them in last years final, Bayern Munich.

The key for Pochettino is finding the balance between defensive security against City’s possession game but also letting Mbappe and Neymar roam free and cause havoc on the City defensive line.

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Will the Brazilian attacker be able to achieve European Success at PSG, this was the target of the owners when they brought him for €222 million in 2018
Credit: Antoine Dellenbach

Another aspect to look out for is how Pochettino’s side will fair against a Guardiola side. When the argentine was in-charge of Tottenham it seemed like Guardiola often struggled to combat their style of play.

One prime example was the historic Champions League tie between the two side a few season back.

However, Guardiola arguably has a more solid back line now with summer signing Ruben Dias being a revelation but no matter how good your defence is the talent of Mbappe and Neymar will always be a threat.

One City player everyone will be looking out for is Phil Foden who has been immense this season and people have started to question if he can compete with Mbappe as the best young talents in the world.

Unlike the other semi final, a more fluid and attacking game is expected and should be an exciting tie as the two incarnations of these sides are yet to play each other, perhaps demonstrating to the global audience who the next European giants are.