Over the next fortnight, eight teams, four from the Premier League, two fromBet365 Soccer Spins La Liga, one from the Bundesliga and the last one from the Eredivisie in Holland, will battle it out in the semifinals of European football’s two biggest club knockout competitions. First up on Tuesday and Wednesday evening is the Champions League semifinals, where Tottenham face Ajax and Liverpool take on Barcelona over two legs. The final will take place at Atletico Madrid’s new ground, the Wanda Metropolitano, in Madrid on the 1st June.

This is followed on each Thursday night by the two semifinals in the Europa League, where Arsenal face old rivals Valencia, while the two teams with arguably the best records in the competition since it began in earnest way back in September, Eintracht Frankfurt and Chelsea will also battle it out for a place in the final which will be played at the Olympic Stadium in Baku, Azerbaijan on the 29th May.

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Let’s now take a closer look at all four of these huge games starting with the game at the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London as out of sorts Spurs face the task of taming the brilliant youngsters of Ajax Amsterdam.

Champions League Semifinals 1st Leg

Tuesday 30th April

Tottenham Hotspur v Ajax Amsterdam

How They Progressed

Tottenham Hotspur

  • Group Stage – 2nd in Group B – 8 points from 6 games (9 goals scored, 10 conceded)
  • Round of 16 – v Borussia Dortmund (3-0, 0-1 – 4-0 on aggregate)
  • Quarterfinals – v Manchester City (1-0, 3-4 – 4-4 on aggregate, Spurs win on away goals)

Starting XI (5-3-2) – Lloris, Trippier, Rose, Vertonghen, Sanchez, Alderweireld, Dier, Eriksen, Alli, Moura, Llorente

Spurs have been hit with some real problems in attack with Kane still injured, Lamela also hurt and Son suspended for the first leg. This means Moura will likely start alongside Llorente. Pochettino could revert to a back five, with the wing backs Rose and Trippier given license to get forward more in support of Alli and Eriksen in midfield.

Ajax Amsterdam

  • Group Stage – 2nd in Group E – 12 points from 6 games (11 goals scored, 5 conceded)
  • Round of 16 – v Real Madrid (1-2, 1-4 – 5-3 on aggregate)
  • Quarterfinals – v Juventus (1-1, 1-2 – 3-2 on aggregate)

Starting XI (4-2-3-1) – Onana, Veltman, Mazraoui, de Ligt, Blind, Schone, de Jong, Van de Beek, Ziyech, Neres, Tadic

Ajax will likely name a very similar team to that which produced a superb display on the road against Real Madrid and Juventus in the previous two rounds. De Jong and de Light may catch the eye, but Schone and Van de Beek are very dangerous while the wide play of Ziyech and Neres will ensure the Spurs defence are not given a moments rest.

Correct Score Tip – Tottenham Hotspur 1-2 Ajax Amsterdam – 9/1

Wednesday 1st May

Barcelona v Liverpool

How they Progressed


  • Group Stage – 1st in Group B – 14 points from 6 games (14 goals scored, 5 conceded)
  • Round of 16 – v Lyon (0-0, 5-1 – 5-1 on aggregate)
  • Quarterfinals – v Manchester United (0-1, 3-0 – 4-0 on aggregate)

Starting XI (4-3-3) – Ter Stegen, Roberto, Alba, Lenglet, Pique, Busquets, Rakitic, Arthur, Messi, Suarez, Coutinho

It should be a relatively straightforward team selection for Barcelona for this game. I expect the former Liverpool duo of Coutinho and Suarez to start the home leg, with Dembele on the bench. Messi is of course their key man and how he plays will dictate Barcelona’s chances. However Liverpool will look at the lack of pace in that back line and feel their strikers have a chance.


  • Group Stage – 2nd in Group C – 9 points from 6 games (9 goals scored, 7 conceded)
  • Round of 16 – v Bayern Munich (0-0, 1-3 – 3-1 on aggregate)
  • Quarterfinals – v FC Porto (2-0, 1-4 – 6-1 on aggregate)

Starting XI (4-3-3) – Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Robertson, Van Dijk, Matip, Henderson, Milner, Wijnaldum, Firmino, Salah, Mane

I’d be very surprised if Jurgen Klopp moved away from this team selection, which he has reverted to in the club’s biggest games of the season so far. That midfield will be tasked with stopping the supply to Messi and getting close to the Argentinean ace to stop his influence. The attack will be tasked with scoring at least one away goal and they’ll fancy their chances against this Barcelona defence.

Correct Score Tip – Barcelona 2-2 Liverpool – 11/1

Europa League Semifinals 1st Leg

Thursday 2nd May

Arsenal v Valencia

How they Progressed


  • Group Stage – 1st in Group E – (16 points from 6 games, 12 goals scored, 2 conceded)
  • Round of 32 – v BATE Borisov (1-0, 0-3 – 3-1 on aggregate)
  • Round of 16 – v Rennes (3-1, 3-0 – 4-3 on aggregate)
  • Quarterfinals – v Napoli (2-0, 0-1 – 3-0 on aggregate)

Starting XI (5-3-2) – Cech, Maitland Niles, Kolasinac, Koscielny, Mustafi, Papastathopoulos, Guendouzi, Xhaka, Ozil, Aubameyang, Lacazette

The Gunners will likely recall Cech for their Europa League semifinal after he has played all of the games in the tournament so far. There main worry is defensive with plenty of players injured in the full back positions as well as Ramsey out in midfield. Ozil could well start to try and create more chances for Aubameyang and Lacazette to try and take against a well-marshalled Valencia defence.


  • Group Stage – 3rd in Champions League Group H (8 points, 6 goals scored, 6 conceded) *Valencia entered the Europa League at the knockout stage in the New Year as a result of their third-place finish in Group H.
  • Round of 32 – v Celtic (0-2, 1-0 – 3-0 on aggregate)
  • Round of 16 – v Krasnodar (2-1, 1-1 – 3-2 on aggregate)
  • Quarterfinals – v Villarreal (1-3, 2-0 – 5-1 on aggregate)

Starting XI (4-4-2) – Neto, Wass, Lato, Roncaglia, Diakhaby, Soler, Parejo, Guedes, Torres, Mina, Gameiro

Valencia have proven to be a very tough team to beat this season both at home and on the road and I think they will very much play defensive mindedly and try to hit Arsenal on the counter. Gameiro’s pace is a threat but the goals will likely come from Mina and Guedes and the Gunners back line will need to be well aware of the dangers both possess.

Correct Score Tip – Arsenal 1-1 Valencia – 11/2

Eintracht Frankfurt v Chelsea

How they Progressed

Eintracht Frankfurt

  • Group Stage – 1st in Group H (18 points from 6 games, 17 goals scored, 5 conceded)
  • Round of 32 – v Shakhtar Donetsk (2-2, 4-1 – 6-3 on aggregate)
  • Round of 16 – v Inter Milan (0-0, 0-1 – 1-0 on aggregate)
  • Quarterfinals – v Benfica (2-4, 2-0 – 4-4 on aggregate, Frankfurt win on away goals)

Starting XI (3-4-1-2) – Trapp, Ndicka, Hasebe, Abraham, da Costa, Gelson Fernandes, Rode, Kostic, Gacinovic, Jovic, Pacienca

With Rebic suspended for this game, Pacienca could come in to start alongside Jovic in attack. Ndicka should go back into the team after being suspended for the second leg against Benfica. Gacinovic, Jovic and Kostic will likely be the main attacking threat for a Frankfurt side that have netted 28 goals in this competition, just two less than the top scorers in the Europa League, Chelsea.


  • Group Stage – 1st in Group L (16 points from 6 games, 12 goals scored, 3 conceded)
  • Round of 32 – v Malmo (1-2, 3-0 – 5-1 on aggregate)
  • Round of 16 – v Dynamo Kyiv (3-0, 0-5 – 8-0 on aggregate)
  • Quarterfinals – v Slavia Prague (0-1, 4-3, 5-3 on aggregate)

Starting XI (4-3-3) – Kepa, Azpilicueta, Alonso, Luiz, Christensen, Jorginho, Kante, Barkley, Hazard, Willian, Giroud

I can see Mauricio Sarri making a number of changes to the team that drew with Manchester United at the weekend. With Rudiger possibly out injured, Christensen could deputise in defence while Barkley could come in for Kovacic in midfield after he was seemingly rested at Old Trafford. Giroud should also come in for Higuain in attack with the Frenchman starting most Europa League games for the Blues this season.

Correct Score Tip – Eintracht Frankfurt 2-2 Chelsea – 12/1