Champions League & Europa League Semi-Finals Preview6 min read
The Champions League and Europa League have reached the semi-final stage and it is possible that both competitions will have an all-Premier League final.
Tottenham v Ajax
Ajax are the first side to win at both Real Madrid and Juventus in the same season in European competition and they are also the first side to qualify from two knockout rounds of the European Cup/Champions League having failed to win the first leg at home.
Spurs have won eight of their last 10 Champions League home games – including the last four – but they lost their perfect home record at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium when West Ham took all three points in the Premier League at the weekend.
I expect Spurs to take a lead back to Amsterdam next week, but this young Dutch side will fancy their chances of finding the back of the hosts’ net in what promises to be an open entertaining clash with chances at both ends.
Tip: Spurs to win and both teams to score at
Barcelona v Liverpool
Barcelona retained their La Liga title when they beat Levante at the Nou Camp on Saturday, but I feel they will struggle to cope with the pace and power of Sadio Mane and Mo Salah midweek. I expect the Reds to get a draw from another entertaining tie.
Barca are unbeaten in 31 home Champions League games but the Reds have never lost at the Nou Camp in four previous visits (W2 D2) and I expect Jurgen Klopp’s side to maintain that sequence on Wednesday.
Lionel Messi has scored 24 goals in 32 Champions League games against Premier League opposition, but he has failed to score in his two previous games against Liverpool. Messi showed against Manchester United in the quarter-final 2nd leg that he remains at the very top of his game. How Liverpool cope with the little magician might be the key to the tie.
Tip: Game to finish in a scoring draw at
Arsenal v Valencia
Arsenal boss Unai Emery was Valencia coach for four seasons until 2012 and this is the fifth time the Gunners boss has reached the last four of the Europa League.
It won’t come as a surprise to hear that Valencia’s former Arsenal midfielder Francis Coquelin will miss the 1st leg through suspension and I feel the hosts will take a lead back to Spain for the second leg despite another poor performance on the road at the King Power Stadium on Sunday.
Valencia have lost their last two La Liga games including a home loss to Eibar at the weekend. Arsenal may have also lost their last home game – Palace in the Premier League – but they are a formidable side at the Emirates and I will disappointed if they don’t take a lead to the Mestella next Thursday.
Tip: Arsenal to win at
Eintracht Frankfurt v Chelsea
Chelsea have won 11 of their 12 Europa League games so far this season but I feel they will have to settle for a draw in Germany on Thursday against an Eintracht side who are unbeaten in their 10 previous home games in the Europa League.
Blues boss Maurizio Sarri is unbeaten in his last 13 Europa League games and Chelsea have only lost one of their last 10 games against Bundesliga sides in all competition. Chelsea were good value for their point at Old Trafford on Sunday and I feel it will be honours even and all to play for back at the Bridge next week.
Tip: Game to finish in a draw at