Champions League And Europa League Semi Final Previews And Tips

This week we have one of the biggest and most important midweek fixture dates in the football calendar. The Champions League and the Europa League, UEFA’s top club competitions in Europe, have now reached the semifinal stage with four first leg ties set to be played across both competitions this week.

On Tuesday and Wednesday evening, we will see the two Champions League semifinal first leg games played, followed by the two Europa League semifinals on Thursday night. All four games across the three nights will involve one Premier League team.

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Let’s now take a look ahead to the four big games across Europe this week starting with the first Champions League game on Tuesday night.

Champions League Semi Finals 1st Leg

Tuesday 27th April

Real Madrid v Chelsea

Real Madrid made heavy weather of qualifying from Group B in the Group Stage of the tournament, losing twice to Shakhtar Donetsk but winning three of their last four games to win the group ahead of Borussia Moenchengladbach.

It was a much easier task for Chelsea in Group E however as the Londoners won four of their six games, drawing the other two to finish top of the group with 14 points, a point ahead of Sevilla who finished second.

In the knockout phase, Real Madrid overcame Atalanta 4-1 on aggregate in the Round of 16, while Chelsea were very impressive in knocking out Real’s city rivals Atletico Madrid 3-0 on aggregate, winning both legs of the tie (1-0 away, and 2-0 at home).

The quarterfinals pitted Real against Liverpool, with the Spaniards coming out on top 3-1 on aggregate, with all the goals coming in the first leg in Madrid. Chelsea defeated FC Porto 2-1 on aggregate, winning 2-0 in Portugal before suffering a rare home defeat in the second leg.

Thibault Courtois should start in goal for Real against his former club, but Eden Hazard may only make the bench after making a return from a thigh injury at the weekend. Chelsea’s squad looks very strong and Thomas Tuchel will be pondering over a number of key decisions on who to play, notably in midfield and attack.

Our Game Tips – This should be a close one but I am backing this one to be a draw (11/5)

Wednesday 28th April

Paris St Germain v Manchester City

Drawn into the tough Group H with Red Bull Leipzig and Manchester United, PSG topped their group by virtue of a better head to head record over Leipzig, although they were defeated twice in that particular stage of the tournament.

Manchester City had no such problems, winning five of six group stage games and drawing the other to progress easily into the Round of 16. Here City would face German side Borussia Monchengladbach and two solid 2-0 wins in both the home and away legs would put the English side into the quarterfinals.

PSG meanwhile tackled Barcelona over two legs and a thundering 4-1 win in the Nou Camp, with Kylian Mbappe scoring a brilliant hat trick was the basis for a 5-2 aggregate win over the Spaniards. PSG then faced Bayern Munich, the team that beat them in last years final, and won 3-2 in Munich before a 1-0 defeat at home ensured the French side moved through on away goals.

City meanwhile moved into the semifinals courtesy of another win over German opponents, this time Borussia Dortmund, with the English side winning both legs by a 2-1 scoreline for a 4-2 aggregate victory.

This game has the potential to be one of the best Champions League games of the season and it is very difficult to pick a winner, although with the French side at home and having such a fantastic quality attack, it is hard to back against them even when City are the opponents.

Our Game Tips – I almost went for the draw here, but I think PSG will just edge it narrowly. Take PSG to win at 21/10 with bet365.

Europa League Semi Finals 1st Leg

Thursday 29th April

Manchester United v AS Roma

The fact that Manchester United are the only team that qualified for this tournament through the Champions League shows how much quality there was in the Europa League this season. Since dropping into the Europa League after Christmas, United have beaten Sociedad (4-0), Milan (2-1) and Granada (4-0) over two legs in order to claim a semi final spot.

There they will face a Roma team that finished top of Group A and who have been unbeaten in the knockout phase beating both Braga and Shakhtar Donetsk by 5-1 aggregate scores, before a tense quarterfinal tie with Ajax which finished 3-2 on aggregate to the Italians.

Roma have lost four of six games against United, winning just the once and they don’t have the best record in England, winning one of just 17 games against English clubs in the country.

Their away form does give them a bit of hope here, but I can’t see United having another semifinal disaster befall them here and I am backing them to win the game.

Our Game Tips – This should be a close one, but I think United will do enough to take a slight advantage into the second leg. Take United to win at 4/7 with bet365.

Villarreal v Arsenal

With 11 wins from 12 games, drawing the other, no team has as strong a record in this year’s Europa League as Villarreal. Not only did they top their group with five wins from six games, but they have won both home and away in each of the three rounds of the knockout phase too.

In those games, the Spaniards have defeated Red Bull Salzburg, Dynamo Kiev and then Dinamo Zagreb in the last round to make a very strong push into the semifinals.

There they face an Arsenal side who won all six of their group stage games and who have beaten Benfica, Olympiakos and most recently Slavia Prague to reach the same stage of the tournament. The Gunners are unbeaten away from home in this competition this season, winning five and drawing one of their six away games.

It would seem as though something has to give in this game, but I am not sure that it will. I think that Arsenal have enough attacking threat to cause Villarreal problems and I can see the Gunners doing enough to earn a share of the spoils in the first leg.

Our Game Tips – Arsenal have drawn on their last two trips to Villarreal and I think the Gunners could set themselves up for the home leg by earning a draw here too. Back the draw at 12/5.

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