After some classic matches in the Champions League quarterfinals, we have all sports results in and now know who will face each other in the semifinals of the competition. It’s a contest between England vs Spain as Manchester City face Real Madrid and Liverpool take on Villarreal.
With four quality teams battling it out for the biggest prize in football, let’s have a look at which way these semifinals could go.
Manchester City vs Real Madrid
The first semifinal is a cracker as Manchester City who are so desperate to win the Champions League take on the side who have won the competition the most.
Both of these teams were involved in thrillers to reach this stage of the competition, with Madrid edging out Chelsea in extra time and City holding firm against Atletico Madrid.
The reason why Real have made it this far is because of one man, Karim Benzema. Benzema scored four of the five goals that Real scored across the two legs. Benzema is enjoying his most productive season when it comes to goalscoring and he has simply been clinical when in front of goal.
City will rightly start as the overwhelming favourites for the contest.
A lack of goals almost came back to haunt them when they beat Atletico 1-0 across the two quarterfinal legs. However defensively they were as strong as we have ever seen, keeping two clean sheets across both legs.
In what could be two great matches, the smart play looks to be on siding with Manchester City to reach a second consecutive final.
Liverpool vs Villarreal
Recently the Champions League has had a habit of throwing up some surprise teams who have ended up going far. We have seen times like Ajax and Spurs come close to winning it all and this year it’s the turn of Villarreal to scare Europe’s elite.
When the draw was made for the quarter and semifinal stage most pundits rightly thought that we would see a clash between Liverpool and Bayern Munich. Villarreal who aren’t having a great season domestically in La Liga were written off, despite the Spanish side beating Juventus in the last 16.
Despite facing superior opposition, Villarreal deserved to go through against Bayern. In the home leg, they should have won more than just the one-goal margin. Away from home tactically they were spot on and were able to repel the majority of Bayern’s attacks before catching them on the counter. Against Liverpool, they will need more of the same.
Despite Villarreal being defensively sound you have to think Liverpool will have too much firepower for the Spanish side. After a bit of a let-up against Benfica in the second leg, Liverpool will be fully focused on the semifinal come the last week of April.
The first leg of the contest sees Liverpool play at home. This will be a crucial match as if Liverpool can win by a few goals it will force Villarreal to come out of their solid defensive shape and play in a way that they won’t want to.
If Villarreal can stay in the game after the first leg then it really could be anyone’s game.