The Champions League Quarter Finals – Playnbrag
So the most exciting time in club football is back upon us…….
And there is some great match ups. Probably for the 1st time in a quite sometime, any of the remaining teams have a realistic chance of winning it (Except Leicester of course).
So to recap, we ended up getting almost all of our predictions right at Playnbrag for who would advance from the 2nd round. Everyone except Monaco, who impressed against Man City, and came back in the 2nd leg to deservedly go through.
Borussia Dortmund v Monaco
An intriguing match up, and a very hard one to call. But I expect Dortmund to come out of this over 2 legs and advance.
Monaco are an absolute joy to watch and the speed at which they counter attack is brillant and clinical. It is also great to see a player of Falcao’s pedigree back to his best. But there defence is non existent at times, and for me this where there campaign ends.
Dortmund on the other hand lost away to Benfica in the 1st leg when they shouldn’t have, when they dominated the game. But then disposed of them in ruthless fashion at home with a 4 – 0 win, showing that they are nerveless and clinical when it matters.
I expect Dortmund to keep the Monaco attack at bay and for them to go through with a home win & an away draw.
Juventus v Barcelona
Again, a tricky 1 to call.
On the face of it you would expect Barcelona to go through this 1 over 2 legs. But alot of people fancy Juventus as dark horses this year. I don’t think they will win the Champions League this year, but I think they will overcome Barcelona.
Barca were incredible in the return leg at the Nou Camp against PSG, and massive credit must be given to Neymar & Co. But the reality is PSG blew it. Big Time! They shouldn’t never had let them get back into the game like they did.
Barcelona’s attacking trio remains the best in the world by some distance. But serious questions remain over their defence and their mental fragility. This team for me, on their day, is one of the best team’s I have ever seen play. But that is the problem – on their day. The team lacks the defensive, and core solidity of the team of old – Xavi, Iniesta & Messi – in big games. And they just don’t seem to possess the same leadership on the pitch when the chips are down. Great to look at, but a bit to dainty at times….almost princess like.
Juventus, on the other hand look solid, and have a good blend of experience and youth. They have a workman like way of going about their performances and getting the job done. Practical & efficent, and get results with minimum drama, in typical methodical Italian style.
Barcelona will be fearful of Juventus, and will be sorry to have drawn them at this stage.
Juventus to go through with a home win & an away draw.
Atletico Madrid v Leicester City
I fancy Atletico Madrid to stuff Leicester. Probably the worst team Leicester could have drawn as this Atletico team won’t be phased about Leicester getting in their faces. They are a tough team, but also have the talent & skill in abundance to go with it.
Atletico were really impressive against Bayer Leverkusen in their away leg in the last round. Disposing of them with minimum fuss 4- 2, and declaring their return home leg null in void.
Leicester City, on the other hand were lucky to progress when Sevilla should have put the tie to bed in the 1st leg. That said, Leicester deserve credit for rattling them in the return leg, and getting in their faces, and coming back to go through.
The same won’t happen with Atletico and Simeone’s tough team.
Just like the player’s that ended Ranieri’s fairytale, Atletico will do the same to them.
Atletico to win both legs.
Bayern Munich v Real Madrid
For me, the match of the round. And nothing between them.
Both sit top of their domestic leagues. Real ahead of Barca by 3 points at the moment, though Barca to have a game in hand with a much superior goal difference. But Bayern have run away with the Bundesliga, they are now 10 points clear of 2nd.
Bayern are the in form team at the moment in Europe, and Ancelotti, the most under rated manger of his generation.
Bayern swatted aside a joke of an Arsenal team in the last round – 10 – 2 on aggregate. At times Arsenal resembled a Sunday Pub Team, the team is a reflection of everything that is wrong with the modern day footballer. Self absorbed, spoiled, soft as *hit, no backbone, no leadership, no commitment, void of responsibility…..and the list goes on. On top of that Wenger also clearly needs to go, it is a case now of the blind leading the blind.
Real Madrid also made relatively light work of a talented Napoli side winning both legs with relative ease. Though Napoli did threaten a comeback in the early stages of the return leg but it fizzled out.
Both teams look solid, and are genuine contenders. I think though Bayern will pip them to the posts over 2 legs and go through.
Zidane has done amazing things in his first year at Real, but for me Ancelotti is the master, he has been here many times before. Who know’s he might even add a 4th Champions League to his belt this year.
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