Will There Be Two All-English European Finals Again This Season?by Prime Time Sports Talk April 15, 2021 0 comments
The Champions League and Europa League quarterfinals got underway this past week, with sides looking to gain the upper hand ahead of the return legs next week. It was almost a perfect week for all of the English sides involved in European competition, with three of the four sides picking up wins. But, could that mean that we could be in store for all-English finals in both European competitions for the second time in three seasons?
Champions League Contenders
Manchester City is now the outright favorites to win the Champions League, and it would be hard to see past Pep Guardiola’s side making the final if they can overcome their quarterfinal hoodoo. City took a stride towards achieving that target as they saw off Borussia Dortmund in the first leg at the Etihad. However, they were fortunate to come away from the first fixture between the sides with an advantage.
Jude Bellingham’s disallowed goal in the first half could have made things much more testing for City, but Phil Foden’s eventual winner in the closing stages means that they have something to defend in Germany. City will still have a big test in the next round if they make it, with the winners from the PSG and Bayern Munich tie awaiting them.
Chelsea looks more assured to go through to the next round, as they didn’t need to be at their best to see off Porto in Portugal. The Blues claimed the victory courtesy of goals from Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell, and they look good value for a semi-final showdown with either Real Madrid or Liverpool.
The Reds look to be in a difficult position ahead of the second leg, as they are 3-1 down. That means Thomas Tuchel’s side could be the last English hope in that half of the draw. Given their performances under the German, it would be difficult to rule out the Champions League final is the next time when Chelsea and Manchester City meet again.
Europa League Contenders
Three of the four English sides in European competition have leads to defend in the second legs of their ties. The one exception is Arsenal, who stuttered to a 1-1 draw against Europa League dark horses Slavia Prague.
The Gunners looked as though they had taken a massive advantage with four minutes of the game remaining, as Nicolas Pepe fired home. However, they were made to pay in the closing stages as Prague equalized through Tomas Holes. Given that Slavia has already knocked out Leicester City and Rangers, the Gunners shouldn’t be expecting an easy ride in the second leg.
Manchester United appears to be the most comfortable of all the English sides ahead of the second leg, as they claimed a professional 2-0 win in Spain against Granada. The Red Devils weren’t at their best, but they didn’t need to be. Granada created very little in the game, as David De Gea made just a handful of saves from long-distance efforts.
Marcus Rashford opened the scoring with an excellently taken goal before the tie was almost certainly put to bed in the 90th minute by Bruno Fernandes. However, United will face a harder task in the next round, as they will come up against either Ajax or AS Roma.
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