CHAMPIONS LEAGUE 2017 – SEMI-FINAL PREVIEW

The final of this tears Champions League will be a French or Italian team against a Spanish side. Here is my preview of the semi-finals and we have got two absolute crackers to look forward to.

Real Madrid V Atlético Madrid – 1st Leg 2nd May / 2nd Leg 10th May

A repeat of last years final as well as a fourth season running where the two Madrid giants have met in the Champions League. Two finals and a quarter final, the current score is three wins to Real Madrid, none to Atletico. Diego Simeone nearly quit Los Rojiblancos after last seasons heartbreaking final defeat on penalties especially as in 2014 they were seconds away from victory until Sergio Ramos had his say right at the death. Real were slightly fortunate to beat Bayern Munich in the previous round, a homer referee helped them at the Bernabeu, but an outstanding second half performance at the Allianz in the first leg to overturn a half-time deficit gave them the platform to win through, whatever the means. Atletico have only lost just once throughout the competition and that was a dead rubber in the their last group stage match. They have been their usual obdurate self, though a 2-4 away leg win against Bayer Leverkusen shows they can cut loose when needed. Well how do you call a match like this? The holders do concede a lot, their city rivals don’t concede a lot, however both know where the goal is when needed. To be fair to Real Madrid they have shown battling qualities in all their knockout matches as they have conceded the first goal in every one, so they never lie down, but for me Atletico are the best defensive side they will have faced. For that reason I think Simeone’s team will scrape through, in what will inevitably be a titanic struggle, to their second consecutive final (fourth in total) and hope for a first ever ‘Kings of Europe’ title. 1-1 at the Bernabeu and then a glory night at the Vicente Calderon for the Reds and Whites of Madrid and full steam ahead to Cardiff.

Monaco V Juventus- 1st Leg 3rd May / 2nd Leg 9th May

This is going to be one hell of a clash. A team that likes to score goals for fun, against a team that like to keep them out for fun. As mentioned in my quarter final preview, Monaco have been an absolute breath of fresh air and despite being the outsiders out of the teams left, they no doubt deserve their place in the final four in Europe’s elite cup competition. They have played the best attacking football and been involved in the most exciting matches. Juventus have been well, Juventus, the team that just loves to shut out anyone they play. Their form against Barcelona was ominous, 180+ minutes with a clean sheet against Messi, Suarez and Neymar tells it own story. Whilst they have recent domination domestically, the Old Lady of Italian football have flattered to deceive in Europe, with only the final of 2015 giving them something to shout about. They mean business this year, you don’t spend £70+ million pounds on a player like Gonzalo Higuaín to continue to just win Serie A. Again a difficult match to call, though to be fair it should be at this stage of the competition. These two sides met at the quarter final stage of the 2015 Champions League, the Italians saw it out 1-0 on aggregate, I am pretty sure it will not be that low scoring as we know how Monaco are going to approach the game and they will be looking to get a lead to take to the Juventus Stadium. My concern for them is the fact that for all their attacking prowess they are vulnerable at the back – they have conceded 16 goals so far in the tournament to Juventus’ 2. If Manchester City could defend, I feel they would have beaten Moanco in the Round of 16 and Juventus are one team that most definitely know how to keep teams out. Juventus to make a ninth final by taking full advantage of the French sides defensive weaknesses whilst just and I mean just being able to keep their attackers at bay, especially in the return leg. 3-2 win for Monaco then Juventus to be too strong at home with a 3-1 victory.

So I am predicting the final is going to be a Spanish / Italian affair, what do you reckon?

Whoever gets through – the Biggishmouth will be previewing the final – enjoy.

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