Who Wins This Weeks Big UEFA Champions League And Europa League Semi Finals?
Few weeks of the season will offer as much drama as the next couple of weeks in the Champions League and Europa League. We have now reached the semifinal stage of each tournament, with the first leg ties of the four matches set to be played from Tuesday to Thursday this week.
In the Champions League games, which will be played on Tuesday and Wednesday, 13-time winners of the trophy, Real Madrid, will take on Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea in the first leg of their tie in Madrid. This is followed on Wednesday night by Paris St Germain, beaten finalists last year, hosting Manchester City at the Parc des Princes in Paris.
Then on Thursday both Europa League semifinal first leg games will be played. At Old Trafford in Manchester, home side Manchester United will host Italian side AS Roma in the first leg of their tie, while in Spain, Villarreal will host Arsenal in what promises to be an equally enthralling tie between Arsenal and their former boss Unai Emery’s team.
If things go well for the English teams here, we could see a repeat of the 2018-19 season when both major European finals were contested exclusively by teams from the Premier League.
If you fancy a bet on any of the matches taking place this week across Europe and you are resident in the UK, then the place to start is bet365 Sport. The site offers an extensive range of football bets on these two competitions, as well as excellent In Play betting on the games.
BONUS CODE: BET247 Get up to €100 in Bet Credits for new customers at bet365 Bet365 Review
Alternatively, if you are based in the United States, then you can pick up all the latest sports betting and casino news, promotions and reviews at the excellent bestbetusa.com site. This is a fantastic resource for punters across the U.S. that want up to date information about gambling opportunities in their state.
Let’s now take a look at this week’s games in a bit more detail.
Champions League Semi Finals 1st Leg
Tuesday 27th April
Real Madrid v Chelsea
These teams have had somewhat contrasting experiences to reach this stage of the tournament. Real Madrid needed to win three of their last four group stage games to win Group B ahead of Borussia Monchengladbach, losing two matches at that stage of the tournament.
Chelsea, in contrast, were comfortable winners of Group E, going through the six group stage games unbeaten, winning four and drawing two to finish a point ahead of Spanish side Sevilla.
In the knockout phase, things were considerably smoother for Madrid. The Spanish side beat Atalanta 4-1 on aggregate in the Round of 16 to progress into the quarterfinals. There they met Liverpool, and a 3-1 win at home was followed by a 0-0 draw at Anfield to ensure that the 13-time winners of the trophy reached the semifinals once again.
Chelsea were hugely impressive in their Round of 16 tie with Atletico Madrid, winning 1-0 away from home and then 2-0 at Stamford Bridge to claim a 3-0 aggregate win over the La Liga leaders at the time. They followed that up with a 2-0 win in Portugal over FC Porto, but then lost the home leg 1-0 to progress by a narrow 2-1 margin.
Eden Hazard could be back for Real to face his former club, while Thibault Courtois will do likewise in goal for the Spanish side. Real still have a number of defensive injuries with the likes of Varane and Ramos still doubtful for the game. Chelsea should have a relatively full-strength squad to pick from for the tie.
This should be a good game and I can see this one being very tight with plenty still to play for in the second leg.
Correct Score Prediction – Real Madrid 1-1 Chelsea (5/1 with bet365)
Wednesday 28th April
Paris St Germain v Manchester City
PSG were drawn into Group H alongside Red Bull Leipzig and Manchester United and lost two of their group games. However, strong performances in the other four saw them finish top of the group ahead of Leipzig, with United dropping into the Europa League.
Manchester City didn’t have any problems in Group C as they picked up five wins and a draw from their six games to earn 16 points to finish comfortably clear of FC Porto.
In the Round of 16, PSG notched up arguably the performance of the tournament so far when they went to Barcelona and inspired by a Kylian Mbappe hat-trick, they crushed Barcelona 4-1 in the Nou Camp, before earning a 1-1 draw in the second leg to move into the quarterfinals.
Here PSG gained revenge on Bayern Munich for their defeat in last year’s final. Mbappe on target twice in a 3-2 win in Munich, which meant Bayern’s 1-0 win in Paris was academic, with the Parisians going through on away goals.
City came through against two German opponents to reach the semifinal stage of the tournament. They won both legs 2-0 against Borussia Monchengladbach in the Round of 16 and then beat Dortmund 2-1 in both legs to record a 4-2 aggregate win in the quarterfinal.
With both teams packed with talent, this should be a tie that is worthy of the final itself between two of the teams that the bookmakers had earmarked as the favourites for this trophy before the tournament began.
Correct Score Prediction – Paris St Germain 2-1 Manchester City (10/1 with bet365)
Europa League Semi Finals 1st Leg
Thursday 29th April
Manchester United v AS Roma
Manchester United are the sole surviving qualifier for the Europa League from the Champions League this season. They dropped into the tournament in the New Year after finishing third in Group H behind PSG and Red Bull Leipzig.
Since then they have beaten Real Sociedad and Granada (both 4-0 on aggregate) and earned a battling 2-1 win over Milan in the Round of 16 to make it through into the semifinals.
There they will face an AS Roma side who not only topped Group A in that phase of the tournament but who have not been beaten in any game in the knockout phase. The Italians were superb against Braga and Shakhtar Donetsk, winning both those ties 5-1 on aggregate, before they edged out Ajax 3-2, thanks mainly to a fine 2-1 win in Amsterdam in the first leg.
However, Roma’s record in England against English teams is appalling, with just one win in 17 attempts and they are going to have to improve massively on that if they are to get anything from this first leg tie against an in-form Manchester United.
Correct Score Prediction – Manchester United 3-1 AS Roma (12/1 with bet365)
Villarreal v Arsenal
No team has as impressive a record in the Europa League as Villarreal this season. Of their 12 games, the Spaniards have won 11 and drawn the other, including wins in all six of their knockout phase ties.
Red Bull Salzburg (4-1), Dynamo Kyiv (4-0) and Dinamo Zagreb (3-1) have all been despatched with wins at home and away and they now take on an Arsenal side who have their own unbeaten record to defend.
The Gunners came through with six wins from six in the Group Stage but it has been their away form in the knockout phase that has seen them through. A 1-1 draw in Benfica was followed up with a 3-2 win in London, but then in the Round of 16, a 3-1 win in Greece over Olympiakos was followed up with a 1-0 loss at home for a 3-2 aggregate win.
Then against Slavia Prague, the Gunners were held 1-1 at home in the first leg but won the second leg comfortably 4-0 in Prague to progress 5-1 on aggregate.
That said, I do feel Villarreal offer a step up in class to any team that Arsenal have faced in this competition as yet this season and it could be a big ask for them to get something from this first leg tie, even with that unbeaten away record.
Correct Score Prediction – Villarreal 2-1 Arsenal (17/2 with bet365)