Euro 2020 Quarter-Finals Day 1 Preview

Crunch time!

Switzerland vs. Spain

Switzerland beat France on penalties after coming back form 3-1 down while Spain beat Croatia 3-5 on the same day. It was a great day in the Euro’s with both games going into extra time so it will be interesting to see whether this one does as well. Switzerland have been surprise performers in this years tournament but they have a decent squad and are organised on the pitch. Spain started the tournament with a whimper but have scored 10 goals in their last two games. Spain’s problem will be if they can take their chances early in the game while not conceding at the back. The substitutions in the Croatia game took them to extra time. This should be an interesting watch and I expect an open game with goals. I am going to with Spain in this game. 

Belgium vs. Italy

Belgium got a standard 1-0 win over Portugal in a game where they were the 2nd best team. Portugal huffed and puffed but the goal from Thorgan Hazard was enough to send Beglium through. Italy had a similar story against Austria as they struggled to win the game in normal time. In extra time Italy got the job done though. I expect this to be a cagey affair and don’t expect their to be many goals. Belgium might be without De Bruyne and Eden Hazard which would be a blow up front. I would like to see Belgium go through because of the Chelsea connection but Italy are a very strong team. It’s tough to call, if De Bruyne and Hazard do not feature I feel Italy could edge into the semi’s. 

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Midweek Football Review

Football wins for now!

Premier League (Games in hand)

Tottenham 2 vs. 1 Southampton

It was 28 year old Ryan Mason’s first game as interim coach of Tottenham but it didn’t get off to the best start. Ings scored in the 30th minute to give Southampton the lead. Spurs came out in the 2nd half with some tactics and Bale equalised in the 60th minute. Son then scored the winner in the 90th minute from the penalty spot. Tottenham move into 6th with one more game played over the rest while Southampton remain 14th in the table. 

Aston Villa 1 vs. 2 Man City

McGinn scored in the 1st minute to give Villa the lead but Foden and Rodri scored before half time to give City the lead. Stones was sent off in the 44th minute to give Villa some hope but Cash was sent off in the 57th minute and neither team could add to the scoreline in the 2nd half. Villa remain 11th in the table while City go 11 points clear at the top having played a game more. 

Leicester 3 vs. 0 West Brom

Vardy, Evans, and Iheanacho scored in the 1st half to give Leicester a comfortable lead and West Brom had no reply as their survival hopes take another hit. Leicester go 4 points clear of 4th and remain 7 behind United. West Brom remain 19th in the table 9 points from safety. 

La Liga MW 31

Sevilla beat Levante 0-1, Alaves beat Villarreal 2-1, Real Madrid beat Cadiz 0-3, Atletico beat Huesca 2-0, and Barcelona beat Getafe 5-2. Atletico remain 3 points clear at the top of the table while Madrid are right behind them in 2nd. Barcelona sit 2 points behind Madrid but with a game in hand. Sevilla have a lock on 4th sitting 17 points clear of 5th. The title race continues between the top 3 but with Real Madrid and Barcelona still in the Super League they really are the villians of football at the moment. 

Serie MW 32

Sassuolo beat Milan 1-2, Inter drew with Spezia 1-1, Juventus beat Parma 3-1, Roma drew with Atalanta 1-1, and Napoli beat Lazio 5-2. Inter are 10 points clear at the top of Serie A with Milan still in 2nd place. Atalanta remain 3rd a point behind Milan, while Juventus are 4th level on points with Atalanta. Napoli are 5th 2 points behind Juventus while Lazio and Roma come in at 6th and 7th. The race for the top 4 is on in Italy as Inter still remain at a distance. 

Bundesliga MW 30

Leipzig lost to Koln 2-1, Bayern beat Leverkusen 2-0, Frankfurt beat Augsburg 2-0, Dortmund beat Union Berlin 2-0, Hoffenheim beat Monchengladbach 3-2, and Wolfsburg beat Stuttgart 1-3. Bayern go 10 points clear at the top of the Bundesliga table, with Leipzig 2nd. Wolfsburg, and Frankfurt sit 3rd and 4th while Dortmund are 5th 4 points behind Frankfurt. Leverkusen, and Monchengladbach sit 6th and 7th. That should be the title race done and dusted in the Bundesliga for yet another year. 

Coupe De France Quarter-Final

Rumilly beat Toulouse 2-0, Monpellier beat Canet 1-2, PSG beat Angers 5-0, and Monaco beat Lyon 0-2. PSG and Monaco are the top teams in the competition while Rumilly are the small team making it big. Montpellier are the dark horse. 

Midweek Football Preview

Football kicks on amongst all the chaos!

I will do a separate article on the European Super League and my feelings towards it.

Premier League (Games in hand)

Tottenham vs. Southampton

Tottenham sit 7th, 5 points from the top four. Jose Mourinho is no longer their manager as he was sacked on Monday. Southampton sit 14th having lost their last game and losing in the FA Cup to Leicester. On paper Tottenham could now have a bounce of some sorts while Southampton will want to return to winning ways. Spurs won the reverse fixture 2-5.

Aston Villa vs. Man City

11th placed Villa have 1 win in their last 5 as they take on City who lost in the semi final of the FA Cup and sit 8 points clear at the top of the table. City won the reverse fixture 2-0. Villa are fighting for football with City being one of the clubs involved in the Super League plan. 

Leicester vs. West Brom

3rd placed Leicester have secured a place in the FA Cup final as they sit 3rd and take on 19th placed West Brom. Leicester should win this game and are flying the banner for the Premier League after what the top 6 clubs have done. 

La Liga MW 31

Sevilla travel to Levante, Villarreal travel to Alaves, Real Madrid travel to Cadiz, Atletico take on Huesca, and Barcelona take on Getafe. Atletico went 3 points clear of Real Madrid who are 2nd while Barcelona played in the Copa Del Rey final and so did not play during the weekend. These 3 clubs are also involved in this Super League fiasco and there is massive backlash at the moment. 

Serie MW 32

Milan take on Sassuolo, Inter travel to Spezia, Juventus take on Parma, Roma take on Atalanta, and Napoli take on Lazio. Inter are 9 points clear at the top of Serie A while Milan are right behind them. Atalanta sit 3rd two points clear of Juventus who are 4th. Napoli, Lazio, and Roma make up the top 7. Inter, Milan, and Juventus are involved in the Super League plan and are also under pressure at the moment. 

Bundesliga MW 30

Leipzig travel to Koln, Bayern take on Leverkusen, Frankfurt take on Augsburg, Dortmund take on Union Berlin, Monchengladbach travel to Hoffenheim, and Wolfsburg travel to Stuttgart. Bayern are 7 points clear of Leipzig at the top of the table as they look to secure another Bundesliga title. Dortmund are 4 points from the top four at the moment. The Bundesliga is one of the leagues which rejected the Super League plan and can hold their head up high especially Bayern, and Dortmund who were approached. 

Coupe De France Quarter-Final

Toulouse travel to Rumilly, Monpellier play Canet, PSG take on Angers, and Lyon take on Monaco. Some interesting fixtures as these teams chase the Coupe de France. PSG have also rejected any Super League involvement and can hold their head up high for this situation. 

Midweek Football Review

Teams with the advantage go through!

Champions League Quarter-Final 2nd Leg

Paris Saint Germain 0 (3) vs. (3) 1 Bayern Munich

Bayern Munich always had to score a minimum of 2 goals but they could not and over 2 legs PSG were the better team. Choupo-Moting got the only goal of the game in the 40th minute. PSG head into the semi-finals while the holders Bayern are knocked out and can now focus on securing the Bundesliga. 

Liverpool 0 (1) vs. (3) 0 Real Madrid

No Anfield miracle for Liverpool this time as once again they fail to beat a team from Madrid in the Champions League. Liverpool dominated the first half but failed ot finish any of their chances. Real Madrid managed the game well and went through. Liverpool have the top four to focus on now while Real Madrid are still fighting on 2 fronts. 

Dortmund 1 (2) vs. (4) 2 Man City

Bellingham scored in the 15th minute to give Dortmund the lead and for 45 minutes in the game it looked like Dortmund were going into the semi-final. It was always going to be City though and Mahrez scored a penalty in the 55th minute while Foden scored in the 75th minute to seal the win for City. Man City and Pep finally reach a semi-final while Dortmund now have a mountain to climb in the Bundesliga as they look to get top four. 

Europa League Quarter-Final 2nd Leg

Slavia Praha 0 (1) vs. (5) 4 Arsenal

Pepe, Lacazette, and Saka scored in the 1st half while Lacazette scored again the 2nd half as Arsenal got a massive win against Slavia. Slavia have been in the middle of some racist activity and it was good to see Arsenal knock them out. Arsenal now set up a semi-final as the Europa League remains their realistic chance of Champions League football. 

Villarreal 2 (3) vs. (1) 1 Dinamo Zagreb

Alcacer, and Moreno scored in the first half while Orsic got one back for Zagreb in the 2nd half. Villarreal go through and Emery sets up a mouth watering clash against his former side Arsenal in the semi-final. 

Man United 2 (4) vs. (0) 0 Granada

Cavani scored in the 6th minute and Vallejo scored an own goal in the 90th minute as United once again failed to dazzle but went through into the semi-final. United still have a chance at getting silverware while Granada valiantly drop out. 

AS Roma 1 (3) vs. (2) 1 Ajax

Brobbey scored in the 49th minute to give Ajax the lead but Dzeko scored in the 72nd minute to get the draw and seal progression to the next round. Roma stand a realistic chance of winning the Europa League as they chase Champions League Football while Ajax are once again knocked out of European football. 

Chelsea 0 (2) vs. (1) 1 FC Porto Champions League Quarter-Final 2nd Leg Review

In the Semi-Final’s after 7 years!!!

Chelsea took on FC Porto for the 2nd leg of the Champions League Quarter-Finals in Seville on Tuesday and left Spain with a position in the Semi-Finals. Chelsea had a 0-2 aggregate lead going into the game and the pressure was on Porto to come at Chelsea. Tuchel stuck with a defensively solid lineup as Mendy started in goal, Azpilicueta, Silva, and Rudiger started in the back 3. Reece James, and Chilwell started as the wing backs while Jorginho and Kante started in midfield. Pulisic, Mount, and Havertz continued up front. Kovacic was a late omission as he suffered a slight hamstring problem in training so Kante came in. Porto selected a lineup as expected but Taremi was on the bench while Oliveira started the game. 

Porto started the game dominating play as Chelsea were pinned in their own half. There were counter’s from Chelsea that were arguably more dangerous than any chances Porto created with possession. There wasn’t really anything that stood out over the two halves, at least offensively. Chelsea grew into the game in the 1st half as the game flattened out. Chelsea had a better 2nd half as Porto had no real chance on target. There were a couple of half chances in the 2nd half but Pepe, and Porto also defended well. Porto got the goal that won the leg in the 92nd minute as Taremi came off the bench to score a brilliant bicycle kick. It did hit the shin though so there was an element of luck as well. It was too little too late as Chelsea coasted into the Semi-Finals.

Chelsea Team Review

Goalkeeper

No clean sheet for Mendy perhaps unluckily. The defence and Mendy were solid throughout although there were some poor passes from the goalkeeper in the 1st half. The only real saves he had to make was when Taremi came on late in the game. No clean sheet but a fairly easy game for him as he continues to be solid at the back. 

Defenders

It was a complete defensive performance from the whole team and the defence were a rock at the back. Azpi, Silva, and Rudiger showed their experience as they provided Porto no real chance. Reece James, and Chilwell didn’t have that many chances to go forward but defensively they handled the Porto wingers well. Otavio especially felt frustrated while Corona also didn’t really have any joy. For Chilwell, and James it’s their first experience of this stage in the competition and they did well. A performance that deserved the clean sheet. 

Midfielders

Jorginho, and Kante were amazing in this game. Jorginho in particular was at his metronomic and defensive best. The Italian made tackles, passed positively and created chances as well. Jorginho receives a lot of flack for his pace but he seems to be working on being at the right place at the right time. A top class performance. Kante played the whole game and didn’t look like he was suffering from an injury. He sprinted from one end to the other and did all the dirty work as usual. Mount didn’t have much creatively but again did the pressing and dirty work needed to nullify FC Porto. 

Forwards

Offensively our forwards had very little to do. We did have chances though Mount, Pulisic, and Havertz had shots on goal but Pepe made the challenge most of the times. The pressing was on point though and it was good to see the fight from the very top. Pulisic in particular stood out and was probably man of the match alongside Jorginho. Pulisic drew 11 fouls from Porto the most since Messi against Real Madrid. The American was battered but he continued to get up, he was literally a Hazard and Captain America mix. A top notch performance. Ziyech and Giroud came on late in the game and helped out in the final minutes. Ziyech could have got an assist but Pulisic’s chance was smothered by Porto’s goalkeeper. 

Manager

Tuchel get’s Chelsea to their first semi-final since 2014. It was a tactically astute performance that deserved a draw and not that miracle goal in the end. Tuchel will be happy to see the fight that this relatively young team showed and will know that at this stage anyone has a chance to win. A solid selection and a solid result. 

So Chelsea head into the Champions League semi-finals where we will face either Real Madrid or Liverpool. I personally want Real Madrid because it does give off that feel of a Champions League game, rather than playing Liverpool which we already see twice a year anyway. Next up is Manchester City in the FA Cup Semi-Final, COME ON CHELSEA!!!

Chelsea vs. FC Porto Champions League Quarter-Final 2nd Leg Preview

Back to Seville!

Chelsea travel back to Seville for Tuesday nights Champions League Quarter-Final 2nd leg against FC Porto. It will be considered as a home tie for Chelsea. Chelsea go into this game with a 2 goal lead having put 2 past FC Porto last Wednesday. Those 2 goals count as away goals so Sevilla have to score a minimum of 2 without reply to take the game to extra time. Porto won their game at the weekend and have nothing to lose going into this game. 

Chelsea go into this 2nd leg having won 1-4 at Crystal Palace during the weekend. It was the first time Chelsea score 3 or more goals under Tuchel and it was a sight for sore eyes. It’s not that the football has been bad, the football has been great but the attack had yet to click and on Saturday click it did. The way Havertz combined with Mount and Pulisic up front was a joy to watch while Hudson-Odoi, and Chilwell provided a threat from the wings. It was complete attacking performance and we should have score way more. Against Porto the game will be tough, Porto will come out fighting and Chelsea will have to suffer during certain moments of the game. The team cannot expect to dominate possession and create 20+ chances like they did against Palace. Very much like the 1st leg in this game we will have to stay solid and be clinical with the chances we get. The players will have to treat this game like a one off and so forget about any advantage they might have from the 1st leg. 

Chelsea Team Preview

Tuchel has a fully fit squad to select from. Mendy will start in goal with Azpilicueta, Silva, and Rudiger probably starting at the back. Zouma played well but Silva has had a rest and will be crucial in this Champions League game even though Christensen started ahead of him in the 1st leg. Reece James should return as the right wing back while Chilwell should continue as the left wing back. Jorginho and Kovacic will probably continue on as the midfield duo with Kante coming off the bench. Up front is where it gets tricky for Tuchel. Does he stick with Mount, Pulisic and Havertz who were scintillating against Palace or does he rotate given that we play City on Saturday in the FA Cup Semi-Final. I think I will stick with the same front three. They played well against a low block and the passing was fluid. The three of them are also playing with confidence as well. Ziyech, Werner, Giroud, Abraham, Hudson-Odoi are all luxuries available from the bench for Tuchel and with 5 subs there is plenty of chance to rest players if we get the job done early. I say the ideal situation would be to start well, take our chances and then give a rest to the front three but subbing them off.

FC Porto Team Preview

FC Porto have Taremi and Oliveira back available after suspension. The two of them are the lethal goal scorers in the team and Chelsea will have to be vigilant. Oliveira may start from the bench but Taremi should be fit enough to start from the beginning. Marega was also rested during the weekend so he should be fit to play while the likes of Corona and Otavio provide a threat from out wide. The rest of the team should be similar to the 1st leg and Pepe will be that rock at the heart of their defence. 

Starting XI Prediction

IMG_1458

IMG_1459

It’s a big game for Tuchel and Chelsea. Like Tuchel said in the pre match conference though he is not at Chelsea to win trophies in 2 or 3 seasons, “the time is now” he said. COME ON CHELSEA!!!

Midweek Football Preview

Who will make the semi’s in Europe?

Champions League Quarter-Finals 2nd Leg

Paris Saint Germain (3) vs. (2) Bayern Munich

PSG go into this game with 3 away goals in the bank. They won comfortably at the weekend as well so there is some good momentum. Bayern Munich drew at the weekend and having lost in the 1st leg they are looking to bounce back. Bayern need to score a minimum of 2 goals without a reply to reach the semi’s. If PSG continue to get goals Bayern need to reply back with more as well. The pressure is on Bayern going into this 2nd leg. 

Liverpool (1) vs. (3) Real Madrid

Liverpool lost dismally in Madrid but came back to win in the league during the weekend. Real beat Liverpool and then beat Barcelona at the weekend as they look to come back and win titles on both fronts. Liverpool have an away goal and would need to score 2 without reply to reach the semi’s. If Real score a goal or more then the pressure would really pile on Klopp and co. It’s a big game but based on form and the way the teams are playing Real Madrid have the upper hand in this game. 

Dortmund (1) vs. (2) Man City

Dortmund did well to get an away goal in the 1st leg and arguably should have had 2. City managed to win the 1st leg but lost at the weekend to Leeds. Dortmund won at the weekend. Dortmund need to score a goal without reply to get into the semi’s. If City manage to score though Dortmund will face an uphill task. I have an interesting feeling about this game and I think Dortmund are capable of an upset here. 

Europa League Quarter-Final 2nd Leg

Slavia Praha (1) vs. (1) Arsenal

Slavia won at the weekend and got a crucial away goal against Arsenal in the 1st leg. Arsenal won at the weekend as well but were poor miserable in their finishing in the 1st leg. Slavia have the advantage and Arsenal need to score to reach the semis. The more Arsenal score the more of an advantage they get. The ball is in Arsenal’s court but it will be tricky. 

Villarreal (1) vs. (0) Dinamo Zagreb

Villarreal got a crucial away goal in the 1st leg but lost in La Liga at the weekend. Dinamo lost in the 1st leg but won in their league at the weekend. Emery is the Europa League professional and he has the away goal. Villarreal need to keep a clean sheet to reach the semis at the minimum. Zagreb need to score 2 goals to reach the semis while a goal without reply would take him to extra time. An interesting game but I think Villarreal will go through. 

Man United (2) vs. (0) Granada

United were 2nd best in Spain in the 1st leg but they got 2 away goals and have set themselves up to reach the semis. Granada have to score a minimum of 2 goals without reply to take the game to extra time. Granada will have to score 3 goals to win this game. Both teams won at the weekend as well but United should reach the next round. 

AS Roma (2) vs. (1) Ajax

Roma scored 2 away goals and won the 1st leg while Ajax managed to get 1 goal. Both teams won at the weekend in their respective leagues. Ajax need to score a minimum of 2 goals without reply to reach the semis. Roma are in decent position but Ajax are no pushovers and the Romans will have to be vigilant. The most interesting game in this round of the Europa League.

Midweek Football Review

Finely poised!

Champions League Quarter-Final 1st Leg

Real Madrid 3 vs. 1 Liverpool

Vinicius and Asensio scored in 1st half while Salah got one back in the 51st minute before Vinicius added a 3rd in the 65th minute. A big win for Real Madrid as they prove their quality while Liverpool seem to have flattered to deceive against Arsenal at the weekend. Advantage Real Madrid but Liverpool have a glimmer of hope with that away goal. 

Man City 2 vs. 1 Dortmund

De Bruyne scored in the 19th minute and it looked like it would be a big win for the home team. Dortmund grew back into the game and had a goal by Bellingham ridiculously disallowed by the joke of a referee. Dortmund finally equalised in the 84th minute via Reus but Foden grabbed the winner in the 90th minute. City get the win but Dortmund have a crucial away goal. All to play for in the 2nd leg and Dortmund will be hoping that they don’t see that referee ever again. 

Bayern Munich 2 vs. 3 Paris Saint Germain

Mbappe scored within 3 minutes to give PSG the lead in what was a snowy night in Munich. Marquinhos made it 0-2 for PSG in the 28th minute after a brilliant pass by Neymar. Choupo-Moting got one back for Bayern in the 37th minute and Bayern equalised in the 2nd half via Muller in the 60th minute. Mbappe then scored the winner in the 68th minute. PSG get 3 big away goals but Bayern were the better team and they were wasteful in their finishing and defending. Bayern are still very much in the game but have an uphill task. 

Europa League Quarter-Final 1st Leg

Arsenal 1 vs. 1 Slavia Praha

This game was a snooze fest. Lacazette missed an absolute sitter in the 2nd half before Pepe finally gave the Gunners a lead in the 86th minute. Slavia though got the equaliser right before full time. A big away goal for Slavia and based on the performance they should go through in the 2nd leg. Arsenal have chances but they can’t play any worse. 

Granada 0 vs. 2 Man United

United were abysmal during the game and Granada probably deserved a point mainly because they played the better football and actually took the game to United. One ball over the top in the 1st half found Rashford who finished to make it 0-1. Fernandes then got his customary penalty before half time to make it 0-2. United are probably through into the semis but Granada have nothing to lose going into the 2nd leg. 

Ajax 1 vs. 2 AS Roma

Klaassen scored in the 39th minute to give Ajax the lead. Roma mounted a 2nd half comeback as Pellegrini scored in the 57th minute while Ibanez got the winner in the 87th minute. Two big away goals for Roma as they go into the 2nd leg while Ajax have an uphill task going into the 2nd leg. 

Dinamo Zagreb 0 vs. 1 Villarreal

Moreno scored a penalty in the 44th minute and Villarreal held on for the win as they keep a clean sheet and get a crucial away goal. Advantage to Emery and team with Dinamo having to do all the hard work in the 2nd leg. 

Serie (Games in hand)

Juventus beat Napoli 2-1 while Inter beat Sassuolo 2-1. Inter go 11 points clear of Milan at the top of the table with 9 games to go. Juventus go into 3rd with the win and a point behind Milan as they fight to get into 2nd. A one horse race in Italy for now and bar any drastic turn around Conte and Inter are looking at the title and ending Juventus’s run, a run which Conte started. 

Porto 0 vs. 2 Chelsea Champions League Quarter-Final 1st Leg Review

Going into half time with the advantage!

I forgot to do a preview for this game so lets jump straight into the review. Chelsea travelled to Seville to play Porto in the Champions League Quarter-Final 1st Leg on Wednesday night. Why Seville? Due to quarantine restrictions etc Chelsea could not travel to Portugal and it would be unfair for one game to be played at a neutral venue and another at Stamford Bridge. The 2nd leg will also take place in Seville. Tuchel and Chelsea needed to respond after that horrible 2-5 loss and Tuchel picked a trusted XI. Mendy started in goal with Azpilicueta, Christensen, and Rudiger making up the back 3. Reece James, and Chilwell started as the wing backs with Kovacic, and Jorginho in midfield while Mount, and Werner started behind Havertz. Porto had top scorers Taremi and Oliveira suspended but still fielded a strong team with the likes of Pepe, Corona, Marega all in the starting XI. 

Chelsea began the game as the better team and for 10 minutes we dominated possession but for around 20 minutes after that it was all Porto. Chelsea were pinned back and the players could barely string two passes together. Mendy and the defence had to remain strong and we weathered the storm. Chelsea did have one chance where Mount found Werner with a cross but the German’s header was off target. The 1st goal came in the 32nd minute as Jorginho played a quick pass into Mount who’s first touch and turn left Sanusi in no man’s land. With open space Mount entered the box and finished past Marchesin to make it 0-1. A goal very  much against the run of play. The final 15 minutes of the half were evenly matched but Porto still had a few more chances. 

The 2nd half was better from Chelsea and we actually managed to create 2 very good chances. One came early on when Rudiger took a shot from distance and the keeper fumbled the save which allowed Werner to square the ball to Havertz but Pepe applied enough pressure for the shot to go wide. Azpilicueta also had a good chance to make it 2 when his header went over the bar from point blank range. Werner and Havertz went off for Pulisic, and Giroud around the 60th minute. Chelsea looked comfortable but Mendy still had to make some solid saves. Kante, and Silva came on for Reece James and Mason Mount around the 80th minute. Kovacic played a good pass into Pulisic who’s shot from distance hit the post. The 2nd goal came in the 85th minute as Corona had a loose touch at the back which allowed Chilwell to take advantage. Chilwell ran down on goal and rounded the keeper to make it 0-2. Very Torresesque. Emerson came on late in the game for Kovacic as Chelsea saw out Porto for a big 1st leg win. 

Chelsea Team Preview

Goalkeeper

That’s another clean sheet for Mendy and 7 in the Champions League now. That’s a new record for our goalkeeper. The clean sheet was well deserved as well as Mendy made some good saves. A solid response after conceding 5 and long may the clean sheets continue. 

Defenders

The defenders had to respond after their poor showing agains West Brom and respond they did. It was a game where the back 5 had to be solid and we were able to handle whatever Porto threw at us. Azpilicueta and Reece James dominated that right hand side while Rudiger handled Marega well. Chilwell got the 2nd goal and had a positive game as well. A top performance from the defence. Going forward though the 3 at the back need to work on their long passes. Silva and Emerson came on late in the game. 

Midfielders

Jorginho and Kovacic had a better game as a pair than they did against West Brom. The two improved in the 2nd half but were overrun in the 1st as Chelsea couldn’t get a grip on the game. Mount did well to get the goal and it was a brilliant turn to create the space. Kante was brought on for the final 10 minutes to add a bit of energy to the midfield. 

Forwards

Not the best game for our forward players. First Havertz, and Werner were isolated and didn’t really get into the game and then Giroud, and Pulisic also suffered a similar fate. There were chances though and maybe on another day we convert them. Pulisic had a positive cameo though and it’s good to see that the American could be returning to his form from last season. No need to over analyse it. 

Manager

Tuchel needed a response and he got that. Perhaps the fact that Chelsea were resilient and clinical as opposed to dominating will be encouraging for the German. The substitutions came at the right time. Kante and Silva in particular seemed to add a confidence and fluidity to the final 10 minutes. Another win for our German. 

Chelsea go into half time in this 2 legged tie with a lead. We weren’t particularly great but that makes me feel better somehow. There is room for improvement in the 2nd leg and the players will know that. Before that though there is a trip to Crystal Palace on Saturday as we look to bounce back in the league. COME ON CHELSEA!!!

Midweek Football Preview

Europe heats up!

Champions League Quarter-Final 1st Leg 

Real Madrid vs. Liverpool

Real Madrid sit 3rd in La Liga and very much in a title race as they take on Liverpool who sit 6th in the Premier League and are chasing top four. Real Madrid go into this game having both of their games since the Round of 16 while Liverpool have also won both of their last two games. This is of course a replay of the 2018 Champions League final played over two legs. Ramos and maybe Hazard will be missing for the game while Liverpool have the usual players out. It’s an interesting game for sure and both teams will be focusing on this competition for sure. 

Man City vs. Dortmund

City sit 14 points clear at the top of the Premier League and will be focusing on the Champions League for sure having won both their games since the Round of 16. Dortmund have won 1, drawn 1, and lost 1 which basically encapsulates their season as they sit 5th in the table 7 points from top four. Dortmund aren’t in great form and they would really need some big performances to get anything out of City over two legs. Haaland could cause problems for City while there are players like Hazard, Reus etc. City though are in great form and this should be a relatively easy fixture over two legs. 

Bayern Munich vs. Paris Saint Germain

Bayern have won both their games since the Round of 16 and are sitting 7 points clear at the top of the Bundesliga as they take on PSG who are suffering at the moment. PSG have won 1 and lost 1 and their inconsistency this season has put them in the middle of a title race and 2nd in the table. Bayern are the favourites for the competition and while PSG beat Barcelona this will be a big test for Pochettino. It’s a big game for both teams but Bayern can probably afford to focus on PSG while PSG are fighting on all fronts. A fiery game over two legs. 

Europa League Quarter-Final 1st Leg

Arsenal vs. Slavia Praha

Arsenal got through on away goals as they lost the 2nd leg in London and then have drawn 1 and lost 1 since. Slavia Praha are 14 points clear in the Czech league and have won 1 and drawn 1 since their last Europa League game as they can focus properly on the competition. Arsenal sit 10th and Arteta will also have his eyes on the Europa League but Slavia are tricky and they could cause an upset over two legs. Arsenal were terrible against Liverpool and Slavia will know there is space to take advantage. 

Granada vs. Man United

Granada sit 9th in La Liga and have lost their last 3 including the Round of 16 2nd leg but they managed to get through on away goals. United are 9 points clear of 4th as they sit 2nd in the Premier League and Ole will be concentrating on a solid performance in the Europa League. United should comfortably win this game over two legs and will probably have it in the bag in the 1st leg itself. 

Ajax vs. AS Roma

Ajax sit 11 points clear at the top of the Eredivisie while Roma sit 7th in Serie A. Its an interesting game for sure as both teams have talented players but overall Ajax are in better form albeit in a weaker league. Two teams that were fighting in the Champions League 2 seasons ago, both will want to get back into the competition. Roma might see this as the most realistic chance. Very close over two legs. 

Dinamo Zagreb vs. Villarreal

Zagreb sit top of the Croatian League on goal difference while Villarreal sit 6th in La Liga and are looking at the Europa League as a realistic path into the Champions League. Emery will know that a win against Zagreb sets up a game against Arsenal and he will have a personal vendetta against the Gunners after the way he was treated by the club. 

Serie (Games in hand)

Juventus take on Napoli as they play their game in hand. Juventus can go into 3rd with a win while Napoli can go into 4th with the a win which would mean that Juventus dropped out of the top four. A big game for both teams. Inter take on Sassuolo and a win for Inter would take them 11 points clear at the top of the table while Sassuolo sit 9th and have no real incentive at the moment. Big games in the context of top four and the title race.