Category Archives: Match Previews

Chelsea vs Manchester City – Women’s FA Cup Final Preview

One thing we have come to expect from both Chelsea and Manchester City is trophies.

Funnily enough, the two sides met in their first final against each other earlier this year – having met in eight semi-finals in the past seven years alone.

The last five FA Cups have been won by either Manchester City or Chelsea, and this is something that the most successful club Arsenal will be trying to change next season.



Both sides are seen as favourites whenever they get to domestic finals, but we know that this time there can only be one winner. When the two sides met in the Continental Cup Final in February, it was City that were victorious – coming from behind to win 3-1.

When Chelsea manager Emma Hayes spoke about what would be different between that final and this weekends final, she mentioned that it was a depleted squad that competed for that last cup, and with this one, she thinks they’ll be more like their true selves, both in terms of squad availability, but also just mindset and mentality.

City arguably have had one of the biggest injury crises we have seen in the WSL for some time – going as far as having to use their third-choice keeper as well as playing wingers at full-back and midfielders at centre-back.

Luckily for them, City have been able to bring most of their players back from injury over the past few months and will be at full strength essentially for the final.

The strength of both squads is what makes this battle between two great clubs even more interesting and harder to predict.

Both teams seem to have adopted a winning culture, and anything less than that appears to be a disappointment for both players and managers. And having met as many times as they have in the latter stages of competitions, it doesn’t seem that it’s necessarily about surprises on the day – the key here will be execution.

Both sides have huge game changers, which is what makes them such competitive teams at the highest levels.

With City, it’s their wide threat through wingers Lauren Hemp and the newly fit Chloe Kelly.

Prior to her ACL injury last season, Kelly was probably the most in-form winger in the league. She’s someone that has beens able to provide important goals and assists, as well as causing defenders problems with her dribbling and speed.

They’re also able to suffocate opponents offensively because their full-backs, particularly Lucy Bronze, are able to get involved offensively too.

To add to this, City have goal scoring midfielders such as Caroline Weir and Georgia Stanway makes them even more of a threat because for opposition teams, there’s very few players in the City team that you can afford space to because they can hurt you both in the centre of the pitch and in the final third.

For Chelsea, their game changing aspect seems to be more varied. Their strength comes in the depth they have in the midfield and their versatility within middle of the pitch.

Hayes. who has often times this season changed formation during the game, knows that she can rely on experienced midfielder Guro Reiten – who has been in fine form in this second half of the season.

She’s contributing to goals weekly whether that be through goals or assists, but also she understands Hayes’ system so well that when tactical tweaks have to happen, she slots in seamlessly.

Erin Cuthbert is the same. The Scottish midfielder has been deployed in numerous positions for this Chelsea side and still churns out very high levels of performance.

The tenacity that can be found in this Blues midfield is what separates them from most clubs in the country.

When it comes to winning second balls, defending the first phase of set-pieces and crosses, Cuthbert always seems alert. This is something that is of extreme value especially in the games that are closely contested.

I don’t think much more has to be said on Sam Kerr’s big game record either – both for club and for country.

She constantly scores important goals when it’s needed on the big occasion and it won’t be a surprise to see her do the same this Sunday. Kerr seems to just have a knack for knowing both where to be but more importantly how to put the ball in the back of the net.

What do we know? That it will be an immense showcase of the talent that available in the WSL. Whether that will be from Chelsea retaining their title, or from City once again showing that they’re an extremely difficult team to beat in the FA Cup.

Benfica vs Ajax – Champions League Last 16 predictions

The Champions League last 16 fixtures are finally upon us after a two month break since the group stages.

In a tie that is highly likely to be entertaining, two excellent young teams go head-to-head as Portuguese giants Benfica clash Eredivisie champions Ajax for a spot in the quarter-finals.

Lets take a look at the tie in more detail and make our predictions to see who will progress into the last eight of Europe’s most prestigious cup competition.



Route to Last 16

SL Benfica arguably caused the shock of the group stages as they pipped Barcelona to the runners-up spot in a group also containing Bayern Munich and Dinamo Kyiv.

They claimed a 3-0 win over the La Liga outfit at the Estadio Da Luz, before a 0-0 draw at the Camp Nou meant they only needed to match Barca’s result in the final game. They won 2-0 against Kyiv to seal their spot, having scored seven goals and conceded nine.

Jorge Jesus has since left the club however, replaced by Nelson Verissimo until the end of the season.

Ajax completed a stunning group stage phase with six wins out of six, as Sebastian Haller scored ten goals to lead the scoring charts, scoring in all six games.

Erik Ten Haag’s side dominated a group including Sporting CP, Dortmund and Besiktas, scoring 20 goals and conceding just five to assert themselves as dark horses for the title.

Team news

Benfica have been in good form domestically but were held to a 2-2 draw most recently against Boavista. Grimaldo returned to the team and scored in that game, in a huge boost to the side.

Darwin Nunez has been in exceptional form this season with 21 goals in 26 games and will continue in attack, but Haris Seferovic is missing for the hosts. Goncalo Ramos should start in his place.

Ajax will be without trio Brian Brobbey, Martin Stekelenburg and Sean Klaiber, while Andre Onana is likely to continue to sit in the stands ahead of his summer move to Inter Milan.

Haller will continue in attack, while superstar winger Antony will continue to support him along with Dusan Tadic as they look to continue their 100% record throughout the competition.

Breakdown and Prediction

Benfica’s 442 system will be in place as usual to try and find a hole in the Ajax defence, but the Dutch giants are going to be well equipped for this fixture.

Having already been to Lisbon and dominated Sporting, they’re coming up against a lesser side who play a system more suited to them and they should have too much for them in attack.

Benfica have got plenty of firepower and defensively are quite strong, so don’t rule out an upset in the home leg but realistically this is an Ajax side at their absolute peak under Ten Hag.

The Dutch giants will dominate the tempo of the game and possession and slowly but surely chip away before scoring goals and claiming a routine win over two legs.

Benfica 1-3 Ajax
Ajax 2-0 Benfica
(Ajax to qualify 5-1 on aggregate)

Atletico Madrid vs Manchester United – Champions League Last 16 predictions

The Champions League last 16 fixtures are finally upon us after a two month break since the group stages.

In one of the biggest ties of the round, current reigning La Liga champions Atletico Madrid take on Premier League giants Manchester United for a place in the quarter-finals.

Lets take a look at the tie in more detail and make our predictions to see who will progress into the last eight of Europe’s most prestigious cup competition.



Route to Last 16

Atletico Madrid made it through to the knockout stages by the skin of their teeth in a poor group stage by their own standards.

Diego Simeone’s side suffered defeat home and away to Liverpool and they were beaten at home by AC Milan, but a final day win over FC Porto saw them claim the runners-up spot in the group.

They scored seven goals in the six games, conceding eight but crazily there were seven red cards in their group stage games too to show the frustration they carried.

Manchester United overcame a tough start to their group win finish top with a game to spare, despite changing managers during the group stage.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored in all five of his appearances to help United claim wins over Villarreal home and away and Atalanta at Old Trafford but they failed to beat lowly Club Brugge at all.

United scored a total of 11 goals int heir six group games, conceding eight and only managing to keep one clean sheet.

Team news

Atletico Madrid are facing several injury issues with all of Daniel Wass, Matheus Cunha and Yannick Carrasco ruled out of the game, while Thomas Lemar, Koke and Mario Hermoso doubtful.

Simeone was seen in training with a lineup consisting of a back-five, with January signing Reinildo as a centre-back, while Joao Felix and Luis Suarez could start together. Angel Correa is pushing for a start though following his good form.

Ralf Rangnick’s options are much better, with Edinson Cavani expected to be fit following a groin injury that has seen him miss the last few games.

Marcus Rashford has recently found himself on the bench after some poor form, so Anthony Elanga could get a start while Jadon Sancho will look to continue his excellent form. Ronaldo will continue up front.

Breakdown and Prediction

Atletico still have a reputation of being a defensive side with little intention to play attacking football, but that isn’t the case anymore.

The team have kept just three clean sheets since the turn of the year and have lost eight of their last 15 games in all competitions.

Manchester United on the other hand have been struggling with their performances in recent weeks, but the results haven’t taken a massive hit so far under Rangnick.

Across 90 minutes, they’ve lost just once since he became manager in 14 games but they’re yet to win three games in a row in all competitions this season. They won their last two, with a 3-0 win over Brighton and 4-2 win over Leeds.

This game is likely to be tight with both sides relatively low on confidence in their performance, despite the difference in their results.

Home advantage is likely to play a big part in both games, but I do feel that Man United will be able to progress because they have more goals in their team.

Atletico Madrid 0-0 Manchester United
Manchester United 2-1 Atletico Madrid
(Manchester United qualify 2-1 on aggregate)

Villarreal vs Juventus – Champions League Last 16 predictions

The Champions League last 16 fixtures are finally upon us after a two month break since the group stages.

In an intriguing tie we’ll see the Europa League holders Villarreal take on Serie A giants Juventus, who have just bolstered their squad with a £66 million striker in Dusan Vlahovic during January.

Lets take a look at the tie in more detail and make our predictions to see who will progress into the last eight of Europe’s most prestigious cup competition.



Route to the last 16

La Liga outfit Villarreal were able to secure their path into the knockout stages after pipping Atalanta to the runners-up spot in their group.

Unai Emery’s side suffered defeats home and away to Manchester United, but went undefeated beyond that and had their place confirmed prior to the final group game.

Juventus on the other hand were able to clinch top spot thanks to a 1-0 win over Malmo in their final group game, while Chelsea were held by Zenit.

Max Allegri’s team earned five wins from their six games, but it was a 4-0 thumping at the hands of Thomas Tuchel’s Blues that will give Emery’s side confidence heading into the final game.

Team news

Villarreal will be without their top scorer Gerard Moreno for the game, while Francis Coquelin and Ruben Pena will also miss the game. January signing Giovanni Lo Celso is a doubt, while Etienne Capoue is also expected to be racing against time to be available.

Arnaut Danjuma has been one of the stand out players for the Yellow Submarine so far this season, and his performances have seen him ear-marked as the true danger man for Juventus to deal with.

Juventus welcome Vlahovic to Europe’s elite competition for the first time in his career after his big money move from Fiorentina, and he should start.

Paulo Dybala is expected to miss the game, while Federico Chiesa is out for the rest of the season with an ACL tear. Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci will miss the game, which will likely see Danilo partner Matthijs De Ligt in the heart of defence.

Breakdown and Prediction

This is a game that will be decided by who plays less badly over the two legs, because neither team are particularly good right now.

Villarreal will be sturdy off the ball with their setup there to contain Juventus and pick them off on the counter with Danjuma’s pace.

Juventus are trying to become a ball dominant side who can sustain attacks and apply constant pressure to their opposition, but they’re in shocking form and really struggling this season.

Neither team have much chance of doing big things in this tournament this season, but in a game likely to be close you’d have to make the assumption that individual quality will make a difference.

Ultimately, the goals of Vlahovic will likely prove vital in this tie and the home tie back in Turin for the second leg should see Juventus qualify – just.

Villarreal 1-1 Juventus
Juventus 2-1 Villarreal
(Juventus to qualify 3-2 on aggregate)

Chelsea vs Lille – Champions League Last 16 predictions

The Champions League last 16 fixtures are finally upon us after a two month break since the group stages.

In an intriguing tie we’ll see the current holders Chelsea take on French league champions Lille in a tie that would be expected to go one way but could well go the other.

Lets take a look at the tie in more detail and make our predictions to see who will progress into the last eight of Europe’s most prestigious cup competition.



Route to the last 16

Last season’s winner and the current World champions Chelsea had a pretty good group stage, but defeat on the final day to Juventus cost them the top spot.

Tuchel’s side claimed four wins and a draw from their first five games, including a memorable 4-0 win against the Serie A giants with an excellent record of just four goals conceded.

Lille on the other hand claimed top spot in arguably the weakest group of the first round, pipping RB Salzburg, Sevilla and Wolfsburg to the berth.

Jocelyn Gourvennec led his side to three wins and two draws including wins away to Sevilla and Wolfsburg to claim their path into the last 16, also conceding just four goals throughout the group stage.

In comparison though, Lille only managed seven goals across their six games while Chelsea scored more than double that with 13.

Team news

Chelsea are still struggling with some injury problems, with wing-backs Reece James and Ben Chilwell not yet fit. Mason Mount won’t be fit for the first leg but Cesar Azpilicueta could return to the team after missing the weekend win over Crystal Palace.

Romelu Lukaku’s form is in the gutter, but Tuchel is likely to stick with the Belgian in the hope that he can play through it and find a goalscoring streak ahead of the weekend’s Carabao Cup final.

Lille are at almost full strength for the tie, with the only absentee expected to be former Manchester United attacking midfielder Angel Gomes.

The youngster was forced off injury in their latest Ligue 1 game and is now expected to miss the game, while Orestis Karnezis will miss the game.

All of Andre, Renato Sanches and Xeka are competing to start in midfield, with the former two likely to get the nod.

Breakdown and Prediction

Chelsea have moved away from their 343 formation since their wing-backs suffered with injuries, and Tuchel has since gone with a 433 formation to get back to winning ways.

They still look to keep the ball for the vast majority of the game and attack down the wings but without Mount they’ve lacked that attacking mind in midfield recently.

I expect Tuchel to move back to his 343 for this game if Azpilicueta and/or Callum Hudson-Odoi are fit again, playing as the right wing-back with Marcos Alonso reinstalled at left wing-back after his assist at the weekend.

Lille will try to soak up the pressure with their usual 442 system and try to counter with the pace of Jonathan David in attack.

Realistically they will struggle to make that effective, because it’s exactly what Chelsea are set up to play against. Lille have been okay defensively this season, but they’ve struggled to find the back of the net and have a negative goal difference in their domestic league.

Ultimately, this is Chelsea’s tie to lose. They have the better coach, better squad and if they’re on song then they should be able to win this tie relatively comfortably.

Chelsea 2-0 Lille
Lillle 0-1 Chelsea
(Chelsea to qualify 3-0 on aggregate)

RB Salzburg vs Bayern Munich – Champions League Last 16 predictions

The Champions League last 16 fixtures are finally upon us after a two month break since the group stages.

One of the ties kicking off this week will see Austrian outfit RB Salzburg take on 2020 winners and German Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich.

Lets take a look at the tie in more detail and make our predictions to see who will progress into the last eight of Europe’s most prestigious cup competition.



Route to the last 16

Salzburg made it through to the knockout stages after making sure they took their opportunity to progress through the weakest group we’ve seen in a long time.

With three wins and one draw from their six group games, Salzburg found themselves finishing ahead of top seeds Sevilla and behind only Lille by one solitary point.

Bayern Munich made routine work of their group which included both Barcelona and Benfica too, winning six out of six games and conceding just three goals in the process.

They scored a competition high 22 goals in those games and have been marked as one of the favourites to win the whole thing again under Julien Nagelsmann.

Team news

The Austrian outfit will be without six regular first-teamers through injury for the game and that’s a huge blow to them.

Brenden Aaronson and Karim Adeyemi are the star attackers in the team and both are fit and expected to start, and they’re arguably coming up against Bayern at the perfect time.

The Germans are without Manuel Neuer, Alphonso Davies and Leon Goretzka for the game and are coming off the back of a 4-2 thumping by Bochum at the weekend.

That means Theo Hernandez will likely keep his place at left-back, while Sven Ulreich will start in goal. Frenchman Corentin Tolisso should start in midfield alongside Joshua Kimmich, after Nagelsmann’s failed experiment of using a lone holding midfielder.

Karim Adeyemi of FC Salzburg reacts during the UEFA Champions League group G match between VfL Wolfsburg and RB Salzburg at Volkswagen Arena on...

Breakdown and Prediction

Salzburg usually use a 4-3-1-2 formation with a very narrow midfield and pace up front to try and cause damage to the opposition defence on the counter attack.

When they come up against Bayern Munich though, they will need to be at their absolute best and more to get something over two legs.

Bayern better them in quality all over the park and even without some first-choice players, they have more depth on their bench to choose from as well.

Robert Lewandowski of Bayern Muenchen celebrates during the UEFA Champions League group E football match between SL Benfica and FC Bayern Muenchen at...

Salzburg will give it a good try for sure and without Neuer between the sticks they might be able to snatch a goal, but I’d seriously consider finding a betting market that offers you odds on Robert Lewandowski to outscore Salzburg across the tie because it’s probably going to come in.

RB Salzburg 1-3 Bayern Munich
Bayern Munich 4-0 RB Salzburg
(Bayern Munich to qualify 7-1 on aggregate)

Inter Milan vs Liverpool – Champions League Last 16 predictions

The Champions League last 16 fixtures are finally upon us after a two month break since the group stages.

In one of the biggest ties of the round we’ll see Italian champions Inter Milan in their first knockout round since the 2011/12 season, and they’ll take on Premier League heavyweights Liverpool.

Lets take a look at the tie in more detail and make our predictions to see who will progress into the last eight of Europe’s most prestigious cup competition.



Route to the last 16

It was two very different group stages for these two sides, with Simone Inzaghi’s men battling it out with Real Madrid, Shakhtar Donetsk and Sheriff until the final day.

It wasn’t until defeat to Madrid in that final group game that they were unable to win the group, but with three wins from the other five games they managed to secure the runners-up spot.

They scored only eight goals during the groups, and conceded five, so there is plenty of room for improvement there. Domestically, they currently a point behind rivals AC Milan with a game in hand.

For Liverpool, it was quite literally the perfect campaign.

A group of death containing AC Milan, Atletico Madrid and FC Porto was expected to cause them problems but Jurgen Klopp’s side made it six wins from six to become the first English side to earn a 100% record in the competition’s history.

They scored a wonderful 17 goals in six games, conceding six to come into the knockout stages as one team that everyone wanted to avoid.

Team news

Inter will be missing their key midfielder Nicolo Barella for the first leg after he was sent off in the final group game against Real Madrid.

Arturo Vidal should replace him, while Ivan Perisic is likely to continue at left-wing-back with January signing Robert Gosens still injured.

Nicolo Barella FC Internazionale Milano leaves the pitch after receiving a red card during the UEFA Champions League group D match between Real...

Liverpool are essentially at full strength and Klopp has got the strongest squad of his entire tenure at Anfield to choose from currently.

Diogo Jota will likely return to the team after missing the weekend win over Burnley, while Luis Diaz will probably start on the bench since both Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah are back from AFCON.

Breakdown and Prediction

Inzaghi will stick with his 3-5-2 system that he loves, with Lautaro Martinez likely partnered up front by Edin Dzeko.

The midfield strength with Brozovic and Calhanoglu gives lots of balance and with Vidal going box-to-box they can go toe-to-toe with the Liverpool midfield.

In attack though, Liverpool are likely to cause far problems to Inter than vice-versa. They have great depth and goals from all three attackers are possible, but Inter have adapted their system in Europe under Inzaghi and are difficult to beat.

Mohamed Salah of Liverpool with Sadio Mane of Liverpool during a training session at AXA Training Centre on February 11, 2022 in Kirkby, England.

Without any real pace in behind though, Liverpool should be able to deal with their best attacking threats and while a clean sheet won’t be easy I would be surprised if Inter grabbed a goal at Anfield.

Because of that and the added depth they have in their squad, I expect Liverpool to progress through this tie but don’t be surprised if they make hard work of it.

Inter Milan 1-1 Liverpool
Liverpool 2-0 Inter Milan
(Liverpool to qualify 3-1 on aggregate)

Sporting CP vs Manchester City – Champions League Last 16 predictions

The Champions League last 16 fixtures are finally upon us after a two month break since the group stages.

In a very exciting match up the Portuguese champions Sporting CP play host to the tournament favourites and current Premier League champions Man City.

Lets take a look at the tie in more detail and make our predictions to see who will progress into the last eight of Europe’s most prestigious cup competition.



Route to the last 16

In their first appearance in the Champions League for several years, Sporting made their presence felt by finishing as runners-up in the group of hipster teams.

Ruben Amorim’s side started poorly with defeats to Ajax and Dortmund in the opening two games, but back-to-back wins over Besiktas and then a huge home win against Dortmund saw them edge towards qualification.

In the end, it was Dortmund’s poor results against Ajax that cost them as they were eliminated on goal difference.

Man City on the other hand cruised to victory in their group of death, winning five of six games against Paris Saint-Germain, RB Leipzig and Club Brugge.

Their only defeat came to PSG in Paris, when they played brilliantly but were caught out twice by Pochettino’s side.

They scored 18 goals in the group stages, more than everyone else bar Ajax and Bayern Munich, and come into the game in excellent form.

Team news

Sporting are likely to be without excellent midfielder Pote this season, who has been one of the best performing players in their team.

Joao Palhinha, Pablo Sarabia and Paulinho are the key men in midfield and attack and should all be available to start the game, while Sebastian Coates will lead the defence as captain.

Amorim’s 3-5-2 formation is likely to be set up to contain City rather than attack them too much, so expect Nuno Santos to play a little bit deeper than usual.

City will be without £100m man Jack Grealish and Gabriel Jesus, while Kyle Walker is set to start a three-game suspension for his red card on the final match day of the group stages.

Raheem Sterling has been in fine form in recent weeks, bagging a hat-trick at the weekend while Kevin De Bruyne has had his minutes managed and is in peak physical condition for the business end of the season.

Ederson, Ruben Dias, Bernardo Silva and Joao Cancelo will know the opposition well having previously played for Benfica and will all likely start the game.

Breakdown and Prediction

This is a game that is due to be really exciting and full of excellent tactical battles across the pitch.

Sporting play a high-intensity system with a big emphasis on scoring goals and controlling the ball, much like Pep Guardiola at City.

The difference here of course is that the quality of player that Guardiola has available to him is far greater than that of the Portuguese outfit.

Kevin de Bruyne of Manchester City celebrates after scoring his teams first goal during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Chelsea...

Because of that, plus the experience at the top level, it’s fair to expect City to be able to dominate the game and implement their game plan on Sporting rather than the other way around.

With that being said, it’s hard to look past a relatively comfortable City win over the course of two legs.

Sporting will cause them problems over the course of the 180 minutes, but ultimately the added quality on the pitch and the touchline will pay dividends and City will progress to the next round.

Sporting CP 0-2 Man City
Man City 3-1 Sporting CP
(Man City qualify 5-1 on aggregate)

Paris Saint-Germain vs Real Madrid – Champions League Last 16 predictions

The Champions League last 16 fixtures are finally upon us after a two month break since the group stages.

In arguably the tie of the round we’ll see last season’s semi-finalists Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid go head-to-head in a star-studded two-legged affair.

Lets take a look at the tie in more detail and make our predictions to see who will progress into the last eight of Europe’s most prestigious cup competition.



Route to the last 16

Paris Saint-Germain were planted right in the middle of another group of death scenario as they were last season, alongside Man City, RB Leizig and Club Brugge.

They made hard work of it, ending the group stage in second place some way behind City after draws with both Brugge and Leipzig as well as a defeat by City at the Etihad Stadium. It wasn’t until victory in the final game that they secured qualification.

Real Madrid had an easier time of qualification in their group, alongside Inter Milan, Shakhtar Donetsk and minnows Sheriff.

They were shockingly beaten at the Bernabeu by Sheriff, but were able to win all five of their other fixtures to top the group and pull clear of Italian champions Inter on the final day to secure that spot.

Team news

PSG are likely to be without former Madrid captain Sergio Ramos for the first-leg of the game, with the Spaniard still suffering from calf problems that have restricted him to just four appearances this season.

Neymar is back in training after injury but will likely only make the bench at best for the first leg, meaning old foe Lionel Messi and Madrid-bound Kylian Mbappe will lead their attack.

Gianluigi Donnarumma is likely to get the nod ahead of Keylor Navas in goal, while Achraf Hakimi will also be making a return to the Bernabeu during this tie.

Paris Saint-Germain's Spanish defender Sergio Ramos and Paris Saint-Germain's French forward Kylian Mbappe run during the warm-up sesson ahead of the...

For Madrid, they’re struggling to get key man Karim Benzema fit following a thigh injury.

The French striker has missed each of the last three games, and Ancelotti’s side have managed just one goal in his absence. Vinicius Jr has also seen his form dip since, which is bad news for Los Blancos.

Eden Hazard is fit but out of favour, but as a man always ready for the big occasion he could get the nod in Benzema’s absence. Ferland Mendy is also a doubt at left-back, so Marcelo could start.

Breakdown and Prediction

Tactically these two teams are very similar on the pitch with the way they set up defensively and the way they attack.

Both managers have formed a solid defence during the season, with a midfield that is all about control rather than creativity or solidity.

They complete plenty of passes on the ball and play their way out of tight situations, using pace and individual skill to create goalscoring opportunities in the final third.

With Benzema likely to be out of the game and Vinicius’ form struggling without him, PSG have a huge chance of progression.

Messi’s best form has come in Europe this season, with five goals in the six group games while Mbappe has been sensational this season and is the club’s top scorer.

Away goals are no longer a factor in the tournament so home advantage in the second leg is less important, and PSG must look to take advantage of a weaker Madrid team that they’ll be coming up against.

It’ll be a close but entertaining affair for sure, simply because of the quality on the pitch, but I do expect PSG to have the added X-factor in attack and be able to eliminate the 13-time champions.

Paris SG 2-0 Real Madrid
Real Madrid 1-1 Paris SG
(Paris SG qualify 3-1 on aggregate)

Chelsea unlock new attacking level tactical switch in win over Tottenham

Chelsea have one foot in the Carabao Cup final after their 2-0 win over Tottenham at Stamford Bridge last night.

Thomas Tuchel’s side took a 2-0 lead into half-time thanks to goals from Kai Havertz and a Japhet Tanganga own goal, as they lined up with a back-four for the first time under the German coach.

Immediately the differences could be seen in their play, and Chelsea fans were delighted with the differences in their performance.



Tuchel opted for a 4-2-3-1 formation early on, with Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso installed as traditional full-backs rather than wing-backs. In a midfield two was Jorginho and Saul Niguez, with Mason Mount just ahead of them. Havertz and Hakim Ziyech took up the winger positions with Romelu Lukaku up front.

It didn’t take long for Chelsea to implement themselves on the game, pressing high and keeping possession well in the early minutes.

They quickly established a press too that didn’t allow Spurs out of their own half. A box between the two central midfielders and the two centre-backs meant that whenever the ball reached that zone, they would all squeeze and force possession to be given up immediately.

There was also their man-to-man press, which caught Spurs out early as Alonso pinched the ball from Emerson Royal for the opening goal to assist Havertz.

After that goal though, is when we saw the difference in performance between the back three and the back four really come to life.

Chelsea played with a much higher tempo with one, two and three touch passes in midfield to keep the ball ticking over and force Spurs to chase them.

They were patient in their play, but also had far more intensity in their game and far more intent in their attacks than we’ve seen any time recently.

Lukaku just missed with a header after excellent wing play by Ziyech, while Saul and Jorginho completely dominated the midfield areas. By the time the half-time whistle blew, Spurs hadn’t had a single attempt on goal, had just four touches in the Chelsea box and had just 31% possession.

The second half was much less eventful, with the Blues happy to manage the lead with Spurs not carrying a threat but the performance as a whole was a sign of Chelsea’s potential under Tuchel.

The 3-4-3 has gone stale recently and their attacking potential was limited in that shape anyway. They now have proven that they have the capability to play in a more expansive way with a different system if needs be, and that should strike fear into the rest of the Premier League and Europe.