The Champions League Preview – The Semi Finals – Playnbrag
So were down to the last 4. Alot of people would have picked Real Madrid, Atletico, and Juventus to get to this stage. Almost nobody would have picked Monaco.
They have been this year’s revelation in the Champions League, with a team that is full of gifted attacking young talent. They are a reminder of the young Ajax team with Kluivert and Co. when they blew everyone away to the trophy in 1995.
Borussia Dortmund were really, really unfortunate to experience an unprecedented attack on their bus on the eve of their 1st leg game against them. And it must have had a bearing on their subsequent performances. In the 1st leg that was played 24 hours after the attack a few of the Dortmund players were guilty of a few basic defensive errors that led to goals, and I just wonder would that have happened without the attack. I doubt it. But take nothing away from Monaco, they were sincillating over 2 legs.
Real Madrid got lucky against Bayern Munich. For me Bayern were robbed. When Vidal got sent off in the closing stages of normal time – for what was a good clean challenge, never mind a booking – that was a game changer.
With so little between the teams, the extra man was alway’s going to count in extra time. Especially as players tired. Bayern were realistically playing for penalties from then on.
Then to add insult to injury, Ronaldo scored the next goal that was clearly off side. In the TV replays you could clearly see that the linesman was unable to keep up with the speed of play, preventing him from been able to call it.
It really is high time that UEFA and FIFA rectify these issues. They don’t even have to bring in on screen video replays like they do in Rugby as this can kill the flow of the game too much. But all they have to do is fit the referee with a remote head piece that he switches on to get instant feedback from someone that is able to watch the re-play and verify it.
These people that run football quite literally live in the dark ages.
Atletico stuttered past Leicester City in the closing stages of the 2nd leg. But the reality is, is that once Atletico scored early in the 2nd leg the tie was over as Leicester needed to score three times to go through. Never before I have seen a team or a group of players in Leicester City go been from so loved, to one that is so dis-liked in less than a year.
Their treatment of their former manager – Ranieri – and their absolute lack of respect and effort in his final days was all the more evident in their effort and commitment in the games since. For me this group of players have reached their peak. I can’t see any of them ever experiencing the highs that they have done in the past year again.
Juventus were outstanding in the 1st leg against Barcelona in Turin. They were equally solid and organised in the return leg at the Camp Nou where all they had to do was defend their 3 – 0 lead. Which they did with minimum drama. They will be hard to beat.
Preview & Predictions
Real Madrid v Atletico Madrid
Atletico will be baying for blood in this one. Last year’s beaten finalists against the same opposition, they will be seeking revenge and would like nothing more than to leave Real Madrid’s season in tatters.
Real Madrid are still on for the double with them still in a strong position in La Liga (joint top with Barcelona but have a game in hand) and in contention here in the Champions League. This distraction of La Liga could be their undoing here.
I expect them to falter over 2 legs.
I just think that over 2 legs this time Atletico will get the better of them. They are more solid in defence while Real’s defence is more suspect to mistakes and lapses in concentration. I also feel that it is their turn in the Champions League to get one over Real as there is very little between them and they have been knocking on the door for sometime now.
Zidane has done amazingly well in his 16 months in the job but there is no doubting he has most certainly ridden his luck at times.
In this particular time I think Zidane’s and Real’s luck will run out and Atletico will go through.
Monaco v Juventus
Monaco have been a revelation this season with their counter attacking football. And my guess is that they will be most neutrals favourite left in the tournament now. I would love nothing more than for them to go on and win the tournament now.
Juventus, well are…..Juventus. A strong, experienced, well organised and well drilled outfit. Mixing the perfect blend of experience and youth to produce a well balanced team.
I think on this occasion, Monaco will literally hit a wall. I think that Juventus are too organised and methodical for them. Juventus will hit them on the break, and try to score against them in set pieces.
Juventus are all to aware of their attacking threat, but are also aware of how weak they are in defence. They will defend, keep their shape and discipline and wait for their chance to pounce. As they know that they will get chances against this team due to the open way they play.
As much as I would like to see Monaco go through, I think Juventus will progess to the Final.
And based on these predictions we have one dour final on the horizons –
Atletico Madrid v Juventus………….
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