UEFA Champions League Semi-Final Preview

by Sean Murphy

The first leg of the UEFA Champions League semi-final round takes place this week with Chelsea traveling to Spain to face Real Madrid on Tuesday while Paris-St. Germain hosts Manchester City on Wednesday.

The lead-up to the matches has been overshadowed of course by the proposed creation and immediate collapse of the European Super League.

Nevertheless, we have two fantastic matchups in the offing. Here's a quick look at both (odds courtesy BetOnline).

Tuesday, April 27th

Real Madrid (-0.25 -109) vs. Chelsea (+0.25 -111)


Los Blancos have been playing phenomenal defensive football, contributing to an incredible 17-match unbeaten streak going all the way back to a January 30th setback against Levante. Most impressive is the fact that no opponent has managed to score more than a single goal against Real Madrid over the course of that 17-game stretch.

Off a disappointing 0-0 showing against Real Betis on Saturday, Real Madrid will be eager to push forward and shake out of its own scoring slump here, noting that it has failed to register a goal in three of its last four matches overall. Chelsea won't be easy to break down, noting that it has posted three consecutive clean sheets since an ugly 1-0 loss in the second leg of its Champions League quarter-final matchup with Porto.

Note that Real Madrid has an excellent track record when reaching this stage of the Champions League, having gone on to win the title each of the last three times it has made it to the semi-final round.

You have to wonder if the majority of the Blues focus is on the English Premier League, where they currently sit fourth in the table with a three point cushion over fifth-place West Ham. Chelsea does check in undefeated in its last 10 away fixtures. This marks its first appearance in the Champions League semi-final round since 2014 when it bowed out against Atletico Madrid.

Wednesday, April 28th

Paris-St. Germain (+0.25 -104) vs. Manchester City (-0.25 -116)

Parc des Princes will be the venue for the first leg of this intriguing semi-final showdown between PSG and Manchester City. Both clubs are looking for their first ever Champions League title.

PSG will be hard-pressed to accomplish that feat if they don't have the services of international superstar Kylian Mbappe after he was forced to leave Saturday's 3-1 victory over Metz with a thigh injury. Mbappe scored twice in the victory and his status remains up in the air for Wednesday's contest. 

Mbappe's status notwithstanding, PSG has been rolling offensively in recent weeks, scoring at least three goals in seven of its last night matches overall. Home field advantage has meant very little as it has managed just three victories in its last eight contests here at Parc des Princes.

Manchester City reached the semi-final stage thanks to consecutive thrilling 2-1 victories over a game Borussia Dortmund squad with Phil Foden securing those wins with a pair of late markers. This marks the first time Man City has reached the Champions League semis since 2016 when it lost to eventual champions Real Madrid. How fitting would it be for it to draw a rematch with Los Blancos in the final of this year's tournament? 

City checks in having won nine of its 10 Champions League matches to date, with its lone setback coming in the second leg of its quarter-final matchup against Porto. In those 10 previous matches, it has allowed a grand total of just three goals, which outlines the importance of PSG having super-scorer Mbappe for this match.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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