To compliment a highly entertaining battle between Liverpool and Manchester City for the Premier League title, there are many English teams still fighting for European glory as well. Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur are fighting for a spot in the UCL finals, while London rivals Chelsea and Arsenal are looking for automatic entry to the Champions League with a Europa League triumph. With that, let’s have a look at each team’s chances of advancing.
Starting with the Reds. Jurgen Klopp’s men have taken last season’s momentum and once again beat Porto to advance to the UCL Semi-finals. After last year’s heartbreak against Real Madrid, Liverpool have showed their intent to return to the final… but it isn’t going to be easy. Liverpool face Barcelona in the semis in what will surely be a blockbuster event. Having just been crowned La Liga champions, the Catalonian side have lots of momentum heading into the side (or maybe they’ll go complacent, you never know!). With Liverpool staying competitive on multiple fronts, it may be a worry to rotate the squad often but this club has showed its depth this season, after just one loss in the entire league season so far. Personally it is hard to choose the winner of this match, but what I do expect is a 0-0 first leg. And actually I’ll be the first to say it…DANIEL STURRIDGE WITH THE WINNER OFF THE BENCH, Liverpool win the tie and advance.
Well… that was exciting! Spurs advance to the Semis in extraordinary fashion off away goals in a 4-4 aggregate (4-3 2nd leg fixture). Spurs go up against the mighty Ajax side who have slain the great dragons of Real Madrid and Ronaldo’s Juventus. I mean, I can’t be the only one who is absurdly surprised with Ajax, right? Great for them, great for the club and great for football. However, I still see Tottenham winning this fixture. Being so close to the UCL final for the first time, I think Pochettino will put so much focus into his side that the UCL final is Tottenham’s only goal at the moment. Constantly battered by the media for not winning trophies, it will do Tottenham a world of good if they can reach the final on the greatest stage of club football. Aggregate prediction: 3-1 Tottenham
Onto the Europa League…
My word, what a terrible run of form. 3 losses in a row for the Gunners, coming at the expense of Leicester City, Wolverhampton and Crystal Palace. Following an impressive display against Napoli in the UEL, Arsenal seemed to finally get it together. The club now finds itself in the worst form of the season. A fragile defense that still features the likes of Shkodran Mustafi is asking for trouble and could have some difficulties in keeping Valencia out. A lately faltering attack may fail to penetrate Valencia’s defense, which has conceded just 32 goals in La Liga, on par with league winners Barcelona. Going up against my favorite player, former Arsenal man Francis Coquelin, I just can’t see this team going through, as much as it pains me to say. This Arsenal team needs time and with the form they are in and how the defense stands currently, I see Valencia going through 2-1 on aggregate
Moving from North to West London, Chelsea play Bundesliga side Eintracht Frankfurt in the semi final. This Chelsea team may be inconsistent in the league but they have made relative ease through this Europa League campaign thanks to Olivier Giroud, despite a scare against Slavia Prague, still going on to win 5-3 on aggregate. Chelsea are considered as the favorites but for the love of god people need to stop sleeping on Frankfurt. Frankfurt, sitting 4th in the Bundesliga have been this year’s most underrated side in Europe. Attacking trident Luka Jovic, Sebastien Haller and Ante Rebic have wrecked havoc in the league and represent the most underrated attack in world football. Maurizio Sarri has quite the task on his hands and better hope Sarriball is at the peak of its powers. I see Chelsea going through on penalties.
This are the predictions, if you have a problem let Andrew know on Twitter @DiefDorf.