Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Premier League In Europe

Chelsea visits Real Madrid on Tuesday in the opening leg of the clubs’ Champions League tie. Despite a recent spate of goalless draws, Zinedine Zidane’s squad are unbeaten in 17 matches across all competitions. The Spanish club, though, is battling several injuries with Captain Sergio Ramos among those unavailable for the match with Chelsea. Former Chelsea player Eden Hazard, however, could see action for Real Madrid after a long injury absence. Chelsea has lost just two matches in 21 matches under manager Thomas Tuchel, both those losses coming at Stamford Bridge. The Blues return to the Champions League semi-final for the first time since 2014.


Manchester City visits Tuchel’s former team, PSG, in Paris Wednesday in the Champions League’s other semi-final match. The Citizens of manager Pep Guardiola won the English Carabao Cup over the weekend and could clinch the Premier League title as early as next weekend. The Champions League trophy, however, remains the Holy Grail for Manchester City and they may well need to improve in attack to capture the prize. Absent production from the striker position, City has used Kevin De Bruyne in a false nine position and benefitted from the emergence of Phil Foden to generate goals. Foden scored the winner in both legs of the Champions League tie versus Borussia Dortmund in the last round of the competition. Manchester City visits the Champions League semi-finals for just a second time while PSG will look to reach the final for a second consecutive year. PSG manager Mauricio Pochettino, led Tottenham Hotspur to the Champions League final two years ago, losing to Liverpool. PSG star Kylian Mbappe is expected to play Wednesday after suffering a minor quad strain in a league match over the weekend. 

Following their crushing league loss to Everton in league play, next up for Arsenal is their Europa League match on Thursday against former manager Unai Emery and his Villareal side. Emery won three Europa League titles while managing Sevilla and the former Arsenal manager brought the Gunners to the 2019 Europa League final before losing to Chelsea. A loss to their former manager would be highly embarrassing for the Gunners who have shown little to no improvement under current manager, Mikel Arteta. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette remain injury doubts for Arsenal which struggled going forward versus Everton without their prime offensive weapons. 

Manchester United hosts Roma in the opening leg of their Europa League tie on Thursday. The Red Devils are undefeated in their last six matches and have lost just one of their last 21 matches across all competitions. The storied club will be making its 18th appearance in a European semi-final, second only to Liverpool among English teams. Roma has never won a European away match versus an English club and has won just one of seven previous Champions League meetings with Manchester United. The Italian club has struggled in Serie A this season and is currently seventh in its domestic table. There are several familiar faces to Manchester United fans on the Roma roster. Chris Smalling and Henrikh Mkhitayan are former Red Devil players while Roma Striker Edin Dzeko played for Manchester City.

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