After months of the successful showdown of the UEFA Champions League amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, we are now finally down to the penultimate match of Europe’s elite competition. It is a magnificent match and most importantly a decider one that is going to determine which side joins ManCity in the finals. The whole world will have its attraction towards the StamfordBridge in London where Chelsea welcomes Real Madrid for an engrossing fixture. This match will serve as the ultimate gateway for the two teams to enter into the finals. The reverse fixture at the Di Stefano saw a 1-1 stalemate being played out between the teams. Chelsea bagged a crucial away goal which will keep them in an advantageous position before their home game in London.
Madrid will be looking to secure their place in the European finals for a record 8th time after 1992-93. They will have to certainly make their way out overcoming the stern challenge posed by the English side. But it isn’t unknown to anyone that Madrid is the Mr.ChampionsLeague and they always turn up for the big European matches. Once again they have to prove their epithet of being the most successful club in UCL and bring the trophy again.
Chelsea, on the other hand, will set their sights on assuring a place in the UCL final after almost 9 years. They are in great shape this year under new coach Tuchel and are a tough opposition on their home surface. The Londoners have pretty much to play for in order to join the trip to Istanbul to play the finals. It will be interesting to see which side comes out on top in this high voltage semifinal clash.
Why to watch out for
There is certainly nothing bigger in this world than watching the UCL semifinals from the comfort of your own home. It’s absolutely a do-or-die clash for the Madrid giants who have conceded a silly away goal in the first leg. They have to at least win by a margin of 1 goal to have the chance of progressing into the finals. In a season marred by injuries, Zidane and his men have done enough to stay in contention for two glorious trophies. They couldn’t play the first leg according to tothe expectations but would surely be eyeing to stage a comeback in 2ndleg. The bulk of Madrid players know how to handle these tough pressure situations as they played similar matches earlier also. One could easily anticipate a much more improved show in the away leg from the Madrid-based club.
Chelsea has a destiny in their hands also going into the UCL finals. The main motto for them in this fixture will be not to concede any goals. Tuchel has a strong defense in hand which will aid him in his quest for a place in the finals. They will do anything for being the first Chelsea team in nine years to play the finals of UCL. The last time they played in the finals was against Bayern Munich, whom they defeated 4-3 on penalties. Their premier league title hopes are over but are on course to play in next year’s UCL. They sit comfortably in the fourth spot with a three-point lead over West Ham. The Londoners are in the finals of the FA Cup also and there is a chance for them to finish the season with 2trophies.
It remains to be seen which of these sides emerge victorious in the 2nd Leg and becomes the second entrant to the finals. So guys, stay tuned in for the match to witness an entertaining clash. The match is scheduled to get kicked off at 00:30 IST or 19:00 GMT.
The Los Blancos are coming onto this match on the back of a strong 2-0 win over Osasuna in La Liga. A Militao header coupled with a Casemiro strike ensured that Madrid picks up full three points from the match. They showed absolute dominancy against their opposition at their home ground Alfredo Di Stefano. Madrid maintained almost 65% or two-thirds possession of the ball and also took a whopping 22 shots at the opposition goal. Six of them were on target though from the total 22 taken. This match was important for them as it saw the return of Hazard into the playing xi after a long time. The Belgian didn’t disappoint in his comeback and was quite impressive in the time he played. He had two of his certain goals saved by the Osasuna goalkeeper, otherwise, he would have bagged a goal.
Another one who was charming in the match was the young Castilla midfielder, Antonio Blanco. Zidane heaped praised on the youngster and said he has a great future ahead. He was eye-catching with his passing and tackling display in the midfield. Eder Militao also continued his dominant show at the heart of the Madrid defense. Madrid will though be rejuvenated by the return of their star captain Ramos in the Chelsea game. He has the experience to play in these kinds of games and can lead Madrid to glory with his leadership qualities. Ramos and Madrid know the importance of this match and will certainly come up with a good performance to defeat Chelsea. The Los Blancos are currently on a 19 match unbeaten streak stretching across all competitions. But the Madrid giants have drawn three out of the last five matches, including two in La Liga.
FORM GUIDE- WDWDW(LA LIGA)
DWDDW (ALL COMPETITIONS)
The Blues are playing this all-important fixture at Stamford Bridge after seeing off relegated side Fulham. They won quite dominantly in the match thanks to a brilliant brace from German striker Kai Havertz. He scored two goals in each half with the assist providers being Mason Mount and Timo Werner. Chelsea won convincingly, which saw Tuchel giving rest to a host of key players, including Kante. But Fulham maintained 51% of the possession of the ball and also took more shots than Chelsea. It was quite an unexpected low performance from the London side who played quite well in the first leg against Madrid. The absence of Kante and Rudiger was evident as this two are the fulcrum of the Chelsea side.
The trio of Mason Mount, Werner, and Havertz was good on display which was the key to Chelsea winning this match. Reece James also continued his good run under Tuchel as he is quite lively from the right flank. Thiago Silva and Andreas Christensen are usual performers and helped their side register a clean sheet. In the last five matches that they have played, they have drawn two and won three. All wins have been on slender margins mainly because of the wasteful Chelsea attacking trio. Their last loss came against Porto in the 2ndleg courtesy of a Mehdi Taremi stunner.
Defeating City in the semifinals of the FA Cup definitely boosted the confidence of this side. Tuchel would hope for a much better performance from his side than the last match to resist Madrid. They have been consistent under Tuchel this year remaining unbeaten on 21 of the 23 matches they played. Against Madrid, Chelsea would definitely want to put up a delightful show to fancy their chances of becoming the second finalists.
FORM GUIDE- LWDWW(PREMIER LEAGUE)
Team News and Lineups
Real Madrid has been plagued by injuries all through this season and it’s continuing now also. The Madrid giants travel to London without the services of a few key players. Defensive mainstay Raphael Varane was ruled out of the match after sustaining a muscle injury against Osasuna. Daniel Carvajal and Lucas Vazquez will continue to remain on the sidelines on account of hamstring and adductor injury respectively. But the biggest positive for them will be the return of Captain Sergio Ramos in the Chelsea game. He is playing his first competitive match after remaining off the pitch for almost a month because of a calf injury. He also tested positive for COVID-19 of late.
But now he is in line to return to the starting lineup and inspire a “real’ comeback for Real. Ferland Mendy also recovered from his left soleus injury and is expected to play this match. Federico Valverde also tested negative for COVID-19 and is traveling with the team to London. Marcelo will also join the squad after completing his election duties in Madrid. Apart from the above-mentioned ones, there are no injury cases in the team till now.
For keeping players fresh for the Chelsea game, Zidane rested a host of key players in the Osasuna game. Ramos and Militao are the expected ones to start in central defense with Mendy in left-back. There is a likely tossup between Odriozola, Nacho, and Valverde for the RB position. The midfield will see the return of the ever-dependable Kroos and Modric. It is unclear whether Hazard will start the match or not but it’s certain that he will have minutes against his former side.
Though the injury list of Madrid is so long, Chelsea almost has no injuries in their team. The only absentee will be former Madrid midfielder Kovacic who will miss the match due to a hamstring injury. Defender Antonio Rudiger overcame a knock and will be available for selection. Mason Mount, also, will play this game after seeing off an injury scare. There are no other injury concerns in the Chelsea team other than Kovacic as of now.
Tuchel also rested some of his key players against Fulham to have them in good condition against Madrid. The defense would see the return of Antonio Rudiger in place of Kurt Zouma. In the midfield, both Kante and Jorginho will start replacing Gilmour and Mount. Reece James and Cesar Azpiliqueta will compete for a place on the right flank. The front three will likely be comprised of Mount, Werner, and Pulisic.
Head to Head
Real Madrid and Chelsea have faced three times to date and have a good record against them. They have beaten two or three times they played Chelsea. The recent fixture at the Di Stefano saw Chelsea and Madrid end all square in the match. Christian Pulisic bagged a crucial away goal which was later canceled by a thunderous strike from Benzema. The second leg is all up for grabs now to decide the eventual winner.
Players to watch out for
The Frenchman has been in swashbuckling form for Real this season and always stepped up when it matters the most. He is in the form of his life and has been pivotal for Madrid in all the matches he played. He has already scored a whopping 28 goals and 8 assists in 20-21 seasons. Zidane always depends on him to provide him with the much-needed goals upfront. In such a crucial away match, he will have to be on top to help his side register a win.
If it’s Benzema in the forward line, then the undisputed king of Madrid midfield is Kroos. The German is the driving force of the whole Madrid team. His creativity in the pitch is an invaluable gem for them. His eye-catching passing skills are something to watch out for. He also has 3 goals and 10 assists to his name this season. His dominancy in the midfield is one of the vital factors contributing to Madrid’s win. Against Chelsea also, he will have to put up a good performance to boost their chances of winning.
N’ Golo Kante
There is a popular tagline that ” The earth is covered 70% with water and rest with Kante”. Such is the influence of the Frenchman that almost the whole of the Chelsea team depends upon him to provide balls. His partnership with Jorginho in central midfield is a nightmare for opposition teams. One can find Kante everywhere on the field from building up attacks to playing a helping hand in defense. He can certainly be called the propulsion of Chelsea. If Chelsea is to beat Madrid, this man must play at his level best and anchor the win.
The Englishman has been in sensational form since Tuchel took over Chelsea. He is one of the essential players in Chelsea’s final third. On any given day, he can demolish oppositions with his creativity and passing skills. He has 8 goals and 7 assists in his kitty this season. Tuchel will depend upon him to deliver with the goals upfront and provide the edge to the attacking third.
In all respects, this match is going to be a fierce encounter between the two sides. Madrid will be aiming to enter the finals after a two-year absence and win it for the 14th time. Zidane will cap off a memorable season for Madrid if they can take home this prestigious trophy. The most creditable part of it is that they will do so without much of their key players. Chelsea similarly will be hoping to make their presence in the ChampionsLeague finals after a lengthy 9-year gap. Tuchel has taken Chelsea to another level and it will be no wonder if they succeed against the 13time Champions. Expect an enthralling contest to take place at the heart of London tonight.
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