One semi-final leg down, three to go.
Chelsea drew 1-1 with Real Madrid in Spain last night, leaving the tie delicately poised for next Wednesday’s rematch in west London.
As for this evening, Manchester City continue their push for a domestic and European treble as they take on Paris Saint-Germain in France.
And there are potential substitutions and captaincy changes to be made in UEFA Champions League Fantasy ahead of tonight’s kick-off, which we’ll discuss below.
Real Madrid 1-1 Chelsea
As expected, this was a low-scoring affair. Chelsea could’ve scored four in the first 25 minutes if Christian Pulisic had weighted a few passes better and Timo Werner had his shooting boots on. Pulisic was the Chelsea goalscorer with a composed finish after a brilliant ball over the top from Antonio Rüdiger, with the American doing enough to secure his place in the line-up next week and causing Real trouble all evening.
At the back, Cesar Azpilicueta started at right wing-back but was kept relatively quiet, while Ben Chilwell looked good on the left-hand side but couldn’t quite capitalise on a positive showing. As in the first leg against Porto, Jorginho had a quiet night, recovering the ball just twice.
Karim Benzema provided Real’s only real spark as they looked uncomfortable in an unfamiliar 3-5-2 formation for a lot of the game. The Frenchman saw a brilliant shot go just wide of the top corner early on and showed incredible composure for his finish from a set play.
PSG vs Manchester City
This should – on paper – be a great game. PSG and Manchester City are both brilliant attacking sides, although both have a knack for crumbling offensively under pressure. However, both Pep Guardiola and Mauricio Pochettino have experience of this stage in the competition and will know how to set their teams up.
Kylian Mbappe and Neymar are PSG’s biggest weapons and best UCL Fantasy options. Mbappe has five goals in his last three league games and is thriving as a central striker under Pochettino. Erling Haaland and Borussia Dortmund exposed a few weak points in City’s defence in the first leg and Mbappe will be keen to go out and exploit those.
However, throughout his career, Pochettino has only beaten Guardiola on three occasions in 18 meetings.
Phil Foden has scored in his last three Champions League matches and is quickly emerging as a goalscoring talisman in Guardiola’s new striker-less system. Him, Kevin De Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez are all great captaincy options ahead of this game, as PSG’s defence is average at the best of times and they are missing key centre-back Marquinhos. De Bruyne’s additional set-piece threat marks him out as City’s best option for the armband from this tie.
Suspended on the domestic front, John Stones will start in Paris and has shown a consistent goalscoring knack from set plays. City are the joint-highest scorers from dead-ball situations in the Premier League this season and this is the sort of game that we’re likely to see set-piece goals from. He’s a better option than Joao Cancelo, given that the Portuguese only poses a threat from open play and may be stuck defending against Neymar for the bulk of the evening.
Still, Manchester City’s defence has been average of late and Mbappe is the best player to exploit their weaknesses. Despite City being favourites, Mbappe still may be the best captaincy choice for this game.
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