Leicester fear missing out on Champions League AGAIN due to Chelsea and Arsenal's progress in Europe

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Daily Mail 29 April, 2021 - 04:30pm 17 views

When is Chelsea vs Real Madrid?

Real Madrid hosts Chelsea in the first leg of the Champions League semifinals on Tuesday, April 27. Sports IllustratedReal Madrid vs. Chelsea Live Stream: Watch Champions League Online, TV Channel, Lineups

Where are Chelsea and Real Madrid playing?

They will be playing at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano. From an 81,000-seater to a stadium capacity of 6,000, the home of the reserve Real side, Real Madrid Castilla. Sports IllustratedWhy Chelsea and Real Madrid aren't playing Champions League semi-final at Bernabeu

What channel is PSG Man City on?

As for watching PSG vs Man City in the USA, it'll be on CBS Sports Network and Univision. MARCA.comPSG vs Manchester City: Final score, goals and reactions

Manchester City took a big step towards their first Champions League final as goals by Kevin De Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez earned them a 2-1 comeback win at Paris Saint-Germain in the semifinal first leg on Wednesday.

PSG went ahead courtesy of a Marquinhos header in the first half, but Mauricio Pochettino's side lost control after the break with De Bruyne and Mahrez finding the back of the net in the space of eight minutes to secure City's 18th consecutive away win in all competitions.

Last year's runners-up PSG then found themselves down to 10 men as midfielder Idrissa Gueye picked up a straight red card in the 77th minute for a reckless challenge on Ilkay Gundogan.

"The second half was much better; the way the first goal went in was a little bit lucky, but we played great football in the second half, we did well," De Bruyne said.

Next Tuesday, Man City will need to show the same away form that enabled them to beat Barcelona at Camp Nou and Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena in previous rounds if they are to progress.

"At half-time, I told the players we needed to be ourselves. We needed to be more aggressive, and we didn't let them breathe after the break," City manager Pep Guardiola said.

Guardiola added: "I told them 'I understand you guys, I was a player myself. If you lose you lose but you have to try to play our game. What is our identity as a team without the ball and with the ball'?"

Bernardo Silva explained to ESPN: "[Guardiola told City at the break] that we have to have the ball more, that we have to enjoy more, that we have to try to press them more.

"We know that when you play against a great team like PSG, you are not going to have the ball the whole 90 minutes. You know that you are going to have periods in which you are going to be better than them and others in which you are going to be not as good.

"We are very happy to have materialised those moments in which we had been on top by scoring two goals. Now there are 90 minutes to play and there is still a very tough path ahead."

Pochettino agreed the visitors were the better team after the interval.

"The key was that we didn't show the same energy with the ball than in the first half," Pochettino said after the match.

"But we are confident that we can turn this around and approach the second leg the same way. The first half showed that we were right in our approach of the game.

"We just have to keep the same intensity with the ball. That's what we have to improve."

Marquinhos said that PSG needed more composure.

"Sometimes you have to be strategic and intelligent. We conceded two really stupid goals. These are details that will count," he said.

"Above all, we need to have personality. We have to have the mentality to win, to do whatever it takes to get through. We are very close, it's not the time to have doubts."

City dominated the early possession, but PSG were the more dangerous side with Neymar testing City goalkeeper Ederson twice.

Marquinhos, returning to the team from an injury suffered in the quarterfinal first leg against Bayern Munich, put the hosts in front when he headed home Angel Di Maria's whipped corner in the 15th minute.

City, overly cautious for fear of being punished on the break, were again exposed on a set piece when Leandro Paredes headed Neymar's corner just wide.

Guardiola's City side lacked their usual composure, with Joao Cancelo picking up a yellow card for a challenge on Kylian Mbappe.

City's first real chance came in the 42nd minute when Phil Foden, played infield by Silva, shot too close to PSG goalkeeper Keylor Navas.

The visitors were more attack-minded in the second half, and they equalised after 64 minutes when De Bruyne -- from a corner by Oleksandr Zinchenko, who had just replaced Cancelo -- sent in a cross and Navas failed to react as it curled into the far corner of the net.

Navas was beaten again seven minutes later when Mahrez's free kick flew through an inadequate PSG wall.

Gueye's dismissal for a wild tackle on Gundogan made City's task easier, and they will take a big advantage into the second leg in Manchester.

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Kevin De Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez score in the second half to hand Manchester City a 2-1 win vs. PSG.

In big moments, you need your big players to come up big. Trailing PSG at the half, Man City's stars did just that to fight back for a 2-1 win.

Craig Burley lauds Manchester City for their stellar second half performance against PSG.

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Read full article at Daily Mail

Irish Guy PREDICTS Champions League Semi-Finals

HITC Sport 29 April, 2021 - 09:01pm

Tactical Analysis: Manchester City's Champions League comeback against Paris Saint-Germain | Sportslens.com

Sportslens.com 29 April, 2021 - 09:01pm

After a hard-fought 1-1 draw between Real Madrid and Chelsea, the Champions League served up another semi-final feast as Paris Saint-Germain hosted Manchester City at the Parc de Princes.

The home side were certainly in the mood in this season’s Champions League, having knocked out Barcelona in the round of 16 and exacting their revenge over holders Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals.

Naturally, last season’s final disappointment was not forgotten in Paris, and an instant redemption would be the best way to heal that wound.

City are arguably the best team in Europe this season – unquestionably after the turn of the year – so anything short of a Champions League success would be considered a small failure at the very least.

Pep Guardiola had received a fair amount of criticism for his inability to take the Mancunian side beyond the quarter-finals in four attempts, so this was a huge chance for him too as adding Europe’s most coveted trophy to the vast cabinet lying somewhere in the Etihad Stadium complex would irrefutably make his City side one of the best ever.

PSG got off to a great start and even took the lead within 15 minutes, but they fell to a second-half comeback from the visitors which saw the match end with the scoreboard reading 1-2.

In this analysis, we will break down the key tactical aspects of this huge Champions League tie.

Although City have been fairly adept at defending set-pieces this season, they looked quite shaky against PSG.

As this visualisation indicates, PSG had a fair amount of success from their six corner-kicks. Five of those were delivered into the box, with each landing in and around the six-yard box, and three of those resulting in a goal attempt, while one had to be punched away by Ederson. Evidently, near-post deliveries gave them the most joy.

To understand why that was the case, let us try and understand PSG’s corner routines first:

Their plan was quite simple – they used three of their least aerially dangerous men, including Marco Verratti and Leandro Paredes to congest the six-yard box, where City had five outfielders, including their complete back-four.

Just outside, the other set-piece-taker (Neymar/Ángel Di María) waited to further attract City’s defenders around the six-yard area.

This served to take the spotlight away from the real dangermen – Marquinhos and Presnel Kimpembe, who hovered around the penalty spot.

Their markers – İlkay Gündoğan and Bernardo Silva – were certainly outmatched. With City standing quite narrow horizontally, the two PSG centre-backs were free to make a run to either the front-post or the back-post.

In the case of Marquinhos’ goal, the Brazilian made a run to the near-post, while Kimpembe went in the other direction.

This flurry of motion left Gündoğan and Silva dumbfounded, leaving them with a watching brief. Marquinho ended up flicking his header home, but had he missed the ball, PSG would have probably scored anyway as Kimpembe was free at the far post.

In other cases, those congesting the six-yard box could make the run to the near-post to head the ball, although both such efforts went off target as these players were not the best at heading.

PSG are used to keeping a fair amount of possession to themselves in Ligue 1, so they posed quite a challenge to City in this regard. Guardiola’s side responded with another modified pressing structure.

Their shape was a 4-2-4, as Silva pushed up from midfield to join the front line. As you can see here, Kevin De Bruyne was the trigger, and he usually went for Paredes, who would drop back from midfield to create a back-three in possession for PSG.

Further ahead, the wingers (Neymar to a greater extent) tucked inside to accommodate overlapping runs from the full-backs (although those were rare), while Idrissa Gueye stood alone in holding midfield as Verratti occupied the left half-space further forward in a 3-4-3.

The idea from a City perspective was to force their opponents to pass centrally into Gueye. They did so by asking the wingers to angle their runs while pressing, which would take the full-backs out of the game.

Since De Bruyne’s triggering movement would be directed towards Paredes, he would be taken out of the match, so the centre-back in possession would have to either play a risky ball or feed Gueye, who would be surrounded using the holding midfield duo.

The trade-off for this was that City would not be able to press all the way up the pitch, as the addition of Navas as a passing option would render their strategy ineffective.

Therefore, they had to concede a little bit of territory to exercise this plan. It did not quite work, however, as Gueye displayed great composure by picking 31 of his 40 passes in the match in just the first 45 minutes.

Further, Paredes’ inclusion at centre-back in possession also proved crucial. He often looked to find Verratti, and although doing so involved a risk, his pass success rate of 92.3% indicates that he found the Italian midfielder in most cases.

In either case, their pressing was not too successful as PSG managed to keep over 45% of the ball in the first period, so alterations were in order at half-time.

Instead of attempting to trap Gueye in the second half, City chose to press Paris Saint-Germain all the way up the pitch.

They did so by switching to a sort of a 4-1-3-2, which saw De Bruyne or Silva press the centre-back in possession while the other kept Paredes in check before he could drop between the centre-backs, and most importantly, Gündoğan pushed forward to prevent Gueye from having any space to receive the ball.

This worked a lot better, as the Senegalese midfielder was restricted to 10 passes in the second period and PSG’s possession-play was heavily stifled, with the hosts only managing one shot (that too from a set-piece) with less than 35% of the ball.

As is always the case, City kept most of the ball with 60% of possession.

PSG offered some opposition to their possession in the initial stages by pressing in a 4-1-4-1 shape, as Kylian Mbappé spearheaded it with Paredes (who pushed up from holding midfield) and Verrati marking Gündoğan and Silva respectively alongside the wingers, who kept the full-backs in check.

For large periods of the match, especially after taking the lead, PSG were quite happy to drop into a 4-4-2 mid-block, with Neymar joining Kylian Mbappé up front while Verratti slotted in at the left midfield position.

City started with a lopsided 3-3-4 in possession that very much resembled the shape they had for most of the Carabao Cup final against Tottenham Hotspur, as João Cancelo pushed ahead of the backline to join the midfield line on the left.

There was a dual split up front with Phil Foden and De Bruyne on the left and Silva and Riyad Mahrez on the other side, with the centre being left unoccupied.

This might have worked against a 4-3-3 in the Carabao Cup, but PSG’s 4-4-2 faced no major issues with the wide split up front, so City had to change their shape quite quickly.

After conceding, City went back to the tried and trusted 3-2-5 featuring Cancelo as an inverted midfielder, while Gündoğan started pushing forward to join the front line, which included Silva as a (sometimes extreme) false-nine and De Bruyne on the right. With this, the ban on occupying the central region was obviously lifted.

A minor change to the front line soon thereafter saw De Bruyne and Silva swap positions, but more importantly, this image shows how PSG combated City’s switch in system, as they used Ángel Di María to man-mark Cancelo. Since Neymar concerned himself with Rodri, their shape quite often morphed into a 4-3-2-1.

So, City came out with another altered system in the second half. The formation remained a 3-2-5, but Cancelo’s term as an inverted full-back was cut short, as he was asked to operate as an advanced full-back and join the front line, where Foden moved to the inside-left position to let Gündoğan drop back into midfield.

This is the system that Guardiola’s side ended up looking most settled with, as they put in a dominant second-half performance, especially after the introduction of Oleksandr Zinchenko in place of Cancelo to use a natural left-back in the advanced role.

Quite importantly, they retained possession superbly in the second period, which was as important as the modified pressing structure in keeping PSG quiet.

For all of their experimentation in terms of pressing and possession shapes, City’s two goals were rather flukish, as one was a cross that was never meant to creep into the far corner, and the other was a free-kick that needed a hole in the wall to go in.

Either way, it must be said that the visitors absolutely deserved this victory for their dominant performance overall.

PSG were restricted to set-pieces to trouble Ederson, who alone managed more touches than Mbappé in the match, which is a great statistic to show how well the French striker was contained.

Neymar did not look too bright either for most of the match, as the French champions found next to no joy in transition, which they relied on for their success against Bayern.

Therefore, Mauricio Pochettino has a fair bit to think about before travelling to Manchester, especially because his side also has a points deficit to overturn in the race for the Ligue 1 title.

The second leg at the Etihad Stadium promises to be yet another great display of fantastic football, and it will take place next Tuesday.

Man Utd aim to keep Man City title celebrations on ice

Bangkok Post 29 April, 2021 - 09:01pm

published : 30 Apr 2021 at 08:45

writer: AFP

LONDON - Manchester City could wrap up a third Premier League title in four seasons on Sunday, but Manchester United can keep their local rivals waiting by inflicting further damage on Liverpool's hopes of a return to the Champions League next season.

City's 10-point lead with just five games remaining means it is a matter of when, not if, they will collect the second trophy of a potential treble.

Pep Guardiola's men lifted the League Cup for the fourth consecutive season last weekend before taking a huge step towards the Champions League final with a 2-1 semi-final, first leg win away to Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday.

The return leg against PSG is likely to play a big factor in Guardiola's team selection for Saturday's trip to Crystal Palace.

However, one of the hallmarks of City's success this season has been their strength in depth, giving Guardiola plenty of options should he choose to rotate his squad once more.

Raheem Sterling, Gabriel Jesus, Sergio Aguero, Fernandinho, Ferran Torres and Aymeric Laporte are among those who did not get off the bench in Paris in midweek and could start against the Eagles.

Palace have won just once in their last seven games as they meander towards the end of the season with safety in the top-flight secured for another season.

- United 'expect to win' -

Should City move to within three points of the title on Saturday, all eyes will turn to Old Trafford as last season's champions will look to clinch them the title.

Liverpool are far more desperate for the points than United with their chances of Champions League football next season fading fast.

Jurgen Klopp's men are four points adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea and could be seven behind by the time they kick-off with the Blues hosting struggling Fulham on Saturday.

United finished 33 points behind Liverpool last season as the Red Devils only secured a top-four finish on the final day of the season.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men have turned that gap around this season as they are set to match their best league finish since Alex Ferguson retired as boss in 2013.

But United captain Harry Maguire insisted they cannot settle for being second best.

"It's a big game whenever we play Liverpool," Maguire told ESPN. "We want to win and we expect to win.

"I joined the club to win trophies, to lift trophies. Every player who plays for Manchester United expects to win trophies. In recent years, we haven't managed to do that, so we've got to improve."

- No complacency for Chelsea -

Chelsea may be in pole position for the fourth Champions League place, but Thomas Tuchel's men can ill afford to be distracted by the second leg of their Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid on Wednesday when facing Fulham in a west London derby.

The Blues opened up a three-point cushion over fifth-placed West Ham with a 1-0 win at the London Stadium last weekend.

But Chelsea face a tough run in with matches against City, Leicester and Arsenal plus another meeting with Leicester in the FA Cup final in the final month of the season.

Any slip-ups could not only offer encouragement to West Ham and Liverpool, but also Tottenham and Everton's slim chances of Champions League qualification.

Spurs host already relegated Sheffield United hoping to put their cup final disappointment behind them.

Everton are six points off the top four with a game in hand and need to end a wretched run at home when they face Aston Villa on Saturday to remain in the hunt.

Third-placed Leicester look to have learned from their mistakes in falling out of the top four in the final weeks of the campaign last season.

Victory at Southampton on Friday would take Brendan Rodgers's men 10 points clear of the chasing pack with just 15 left to play for.

Crystal Palace v Manchester City (1130), Brighton v Leeds (1400), Chelsea v Fulham (1630), Everton v Aston Villa (1900)

Newcastle v Arsenal (1300), Manchester United v Liverpool (1530), Tottenham v Sheffield United (1815)

West Brom v Wolves (1700), Burnley v West Ham (1915)

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The Samui Sealed Route model is committed to the same schedule to bring back vaccinated travellers from July 1 despite hurdles from the fresh round of infections.

RIO DE JANEIRO: Brazil's death toll in the coronavirus pandemic surpassed 400,000 Thursday, as the country struggled to secure enough vaccines and the Senate investigated whether President Jair Bolsonaro's government has exacerbated the crisis.

How will new Champions League format affect Real Madrid?

The Real Champs 29 April, 2021 - 05:25pm

UEFA (Photo by ROBIN VAN LONKHUIJSEN/ANP/AFP via Getty Images)

Champions League reform is upon us. When the 2024-25 season begins the competition will enter into a new broadcasting contract with a raft of different commercial agreements. And, when it does it is proposed to be under a new format with many more games – the Swiss Model, as it is been referred to. But how will it work? What will the Champions League actually look like and why is this happening? Here’s all you need to know about the new Champions League format and how it affects Real Madrid.

First, the most dramatic change: the 32-team group stage will be abolished and replaced by a single 36-team league. Each participating club will play ten games – five at home and five away – with those fixtures determined by a seeding system that will rank clubs based on historic performances.

After those initial ten games have been completed, the teams finishing in the top eight of the league will advance automatically to the next round. The next 16 sides, however, would then enter a playoff, from which eight winners will emerge to create a 16-team knock-out stage.

The first consequence for the clubs thus is evident, they would need to play more games. We have seen Los Blancos struggle this season with injuries. Zinedine Zidane has been forced to utilizing the very depth of their bench strength including the Castilla prodigies. As such an increase in the number of games in the Champions League would mean a need for Real Madrid to make new signings, keep players fit to play the extra matches and work considerably on their depth.

Juventus’ Andrea Agnelli is the Chairman of the European Club Association and he has described the changes as his ‘ideal Champions League’ and believes it will provide great opportunities for those participating in that competition. As well he might. In essence, the Swiss model is a clever way to stage a competition with a large number of participants without sending half of them home after the first round.

Previously, under the old system, 16 of the 32 clubs were eliminated after just six games. Under its proposed replacement, each participant would be guaranteed four more games. And, it will also mean that Europe’s elite clubs get to play with each other more often. And, from a commercial standpoint, the greater regularity of those top-tier clashes has an obvious attraction. More games will mean more ticket sales, a bigger television audience for each club’s sponsors, and, most likely, more opportunity to earn prize money.

This, however, could be a blessing in disguise for Los Blancos. After the proposed Super League was met with dissent, the club is desperately in need of an alternate economic model. The prospects in the new Champions League format seem hopeful.

But, another attraction is the lack of jeopardy and the diminished risk created by a new qualifying facility. The number of participants will rise from 32 to 36. But instead of filling those four new slots with deserving teams from the next best domestic leagues on UEFA’s ‘country coefficients’ list, the current plan is to award an extra qualifying slot to Ligue 1, putting them on an equal footing with England, Germany, Italy, and Spain.

The second spot would be reserved for a team that had performed well in a recent Champions League, but who would ordinarily be asked to progress through the qualifying rounds. With the Eredivisie currently offering no guaranteed route to the Champions League group stage, this is a situation that has befallen Ajax in the past. Despite reaching the semi-finals in 2019, for instance, they still had to pass through two qualifying rounds to reach the next season’s group stage proper. Under this new system, they would have been an obvious candidate and likely recipient of that automatic spot.

But, the two remaining spots would be more controversial as they’re intended to provide safety nets for under-performing clubs. They would be reserved for the teams with the best club coefficient, a ranking based on performances in Europe over the previous five seasons, that had failed to qualify from the previous season’s domestic campaign but who still finished with the other European places. (5th – 7th) Think Manchester United two seasons ago, for instance, or Tottenham Hotspurs more recently.

Theoretically, that means the Premier League, Ligue 1, Bundesliga, Seria A, or LaLiga could have up to six participants in the Champions League if two seasoned Euro campaigners finished between fifth and seventh. But that will come with a caveat, though. All of those leagues are limited to having seven European slots for a season. Typically, that would be four teams in the Champions League, two in the Europa League, and one in the soon to arrive Europa Conference League.

However, if a team was to require one of those lucky losers’ spots, then the domestic league in question wouldn’t be able to send a full quota to the second or third-tier competitions. Even so, there will still be third-placed teams from Russia or the Netherlands, or a runner-up in Switzerland or Greece, wondering why they haven’t made Europe’s top competition while a seventh-placed team in England or Italy potentially has.

The European leagues collectively will also worry that the Swiss model competitions are inherently scalable. What is to stop the European Club Association, asking for 18 games in 2027 or 34 in 2030? And, with football’s calendar already full to bursting, where would the space to accommodate that expansion come from?

Though, there is nothing much that Real Madrid can do about the proposed changes or that affects their chances of qualification for the competition. If anything, the inclusion of parameters like historic performances and club coefficient strengthens Real’s chances of participation in the competition. They would however be expected to maintain their automatic qualification, bagging a top-four spot in LaLiga as they always have.

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