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What To Expect From The UEFA Champions League Semi-Finals

Benzema, Neymar, Courtois, Phil Foden Poster
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And then there were four. Following some fascinating thrills and professional performances across the continent, the stage is set for the Champions League Semi-Finals. Chelsea, as expected, gave away few chances and knocked out Porto, Real Madrid rediscovered some of their previous grit under the starry Champions League nights to beat a struggling Liverpool and Manchester City finally overcame their quarter-final hoodoo under Guardiola to go past Borussia Dortmund and Erling Haaland. The tie of the round, however, was the enthralling, eye-catching 180-minute soap opera between PSG and Bayern Munich – the rematch from last season’s final. It had everything you would want from eye-catching individual performances to high-profile mistakes to injuries and crucially no VAR drama. In the end, PSG got their revenge for Lisbon to knock out the holders and get through to the semi-finals for the second consecutive year.

The French champions now have a date with Manchester City in the semi-final stage while Chelsea takes on Real Madrid, and here is what to expect from these heavyweight clashes.



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Manchester City vs PSG in a microcosm represents where modern football is at these days. Two star-studded teams backed by oil-rich countries in the Middle East. However, keeping the politics of the tie aside, this proves to be a fascinating encounter on the pitch between two of Europe’s top sides. After stopping Erling Haaland with great success across the two ties against Dortmund, City now have double the task in the semi-final stage as they have two deal with both Neymar and Kylian Mbappe. The PSG pair were almost unstoppable against Bayern across the two legs and linked up with a near-telepathic connection.

However, while PSG are blessed with two Ferraris at the front, their defence is far from the same standard. While Kimpembe and Danilo Pereira were resolute against Bayern across both legs, PSG were lucky not to concede more –Bayern created nearly 6 Expected Goals across both legs – and Keylor Navas was called into action far too often. Much will depend on whether injured stars like Veratti, Florenzi and Marquinhos can return for the tie in 2 weeks and help stop the City juggernaut.

This is also the first meeting between Guardiola and Pochettino in the Champions League since the latter famously knocked out Manchester City in 2019 with Tottenham. While City are a much more complete side 2 years on from that adrenaline-filled tie, Pochettino can now call upon the experience and quality of Mbappe, Neymar and Di Maria instead of Son, Llorente and Lucas Moura. 


While PSG and Manchester City are still chasing their first Champions League, both Chelsea and Real Madrid have already tasted this success in the previous decade and have a golden opportunity to add one more to the cabinet.


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Chelsea have been incredibly resolute defensively under Tuchel but have yet to be tested against the quality of the likes of Benzema, Vinicius Junior and Marco Asensio who have all flowered in recent weeks for Zinedine Zidane. Chelsea have also been forced to break down Porto and Atletico Madrid in their last two rounds but will be faced with a more front-footed attack in the form of Real Madrid.

The 13-time winners will also be sweating on the fitness of centre-backs Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane who have both contracted Covid-19 and missed both legs of the quarter-final against Liverpool. One player who is not expected to be fit for both legs is Chelsea’s former beloved son Eden Hazard. The Belgian has struggled to stay fit since his big-money arrival from London in 2019 and will be hoping that Thibaut Courtois – another player who made the switch from Chelsea to Madrid – can keep out the likes of Havertz, Mount and Werner and send Madrid to their 5th final in 8 years.

Both ties promise to be fascinating encounters with plenty of sub-plots that make for must-see action. Do Ramos, Modric and Co. have one final championship left in them or will PSG and Manchester City finally break their Champions League jinx and launch their own era of dominance across Europe.