The stage is set for the Semi-Finals of the UEFA Champions League. Real Madrid will take on Chelsea, and Manchester City will play Paris Saint-Germain. It will be a two-leg, home-and-home tie. These matches will indeed take place after UEFA threatened to eliminate three of the clubs involved due to the Super League debacle.
Although all four of these teams have a shot at winning the Champions League, I believe one team is head-and-shoulders above the rest.
Chelsea is currently in fourth place in England’s Premier League. The Blues won Group E of the Champions League Group Stage. They took on Atlético Madrid in the last 16, easily winning 3-0 on aggregate. Chelsea then faced Portuguese side, Porto, in the quarter-final, barely winning 2-1 on aggregate.
Chelsea is a good team with promising young talent. Mason Mount, Timo Werner, Tammy Abraham, Kai Havertz, and Christian Pulisic have bright futures. Their top scorer in all competitions is Tammy Abraham with 12, Olivier Giroud with 11, and Timo Werner with 10. Goals are widely distributed throughout the team. The problem for Chelsea this season has been inconsistency. They have the least strong squad out of the remaining teams. For those reasons, they will not win the Champions League.
Real Madrid is in joint first place in La Liga in Spain. They share the top of the table with their crosstown rival Atlético Madrid. Real Madrid narrowly won Group B in the Champions League group stage. They went on to play Italian side Atalanta in the last 16 and won 4-1 over two legs. Madrid then played last year’s Premier League winner, Liverpool, in the quarter-finals. Madrid comfortably won 3-1 on aggregate.
Real Madrid is 13-time winners of the competition, by far the most of any other team. Although they are dangerous, they do not have a squad as deep as in previous years. Their top scorer, Karim Benzema, has 27 goals in all competitions. Vinicius Júnior, Marco Asensio and Casemiro each follow with six. The 33-year-old Benzema has carried this team, and they have dealt with many injuries. Star Eden Hazard has been injured most of the season and is doubtful to play against his former team in the Semi-Final.
Although Real Madrid is not as dominant in years past, they will beat Chelsea and advance to the Champions League Final. Real Madrid vs. Chelsea will be entertaining, but the most enticing matchup of the Semi-Final is Manchester City vs. Paris Saint-Germain.
Paris Saint-Germain is the most successful team in France in recent history, winning seven of the last eight Ligue 1 titles. They are currently in second place, one point behind leader Lille. PSG won Group H on goal difference. The Parisians had the toughest last 16 and quarter-final draw.
PSG handled Barcelona 5-2 on aggregate, including a big 4-1 win at Camp Nou. PSG then barely got by Bayern Munich on away goals in the quarter-final. They got revenge on Bayern after losing to them in last year’s Final.
Paris is led by superstars Kylian Mbappé and Neymar. Mbappé has 35 goals in all competitions, while Neymar has fewer (14), mainly due to injuries. Other notable players include Moise Kean, Mauro Icardi and Ángel Di María. They have a deep squad, and multiple players can take over games. They will be highly motivated to get back to the Final after losing last year. Paris has everything they need to win the Champions League. Will PSG have enough to beat Manchester City?
Manchester City is currently running away with the Premier League in England. This will be their fifth title in the last ten years. Man City easily won Group C, with five wins and one draw. In the round of 16, City quickly took down Mönchengladbach 4-0 on aggregate. In the quarter-final, they beat Borussia Dortmund 4-2 on aggregate.
Man City has the deepest squad of the four remaining teams. They have multiple world-class defenders, midfielders, and forwards. İlkay Gündoğan leads the team with 16 goals, followed by Phil Foden with 14, and Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus with 13. Manager Pep Guardiola shuffles his starting lineup around a lot. That is because they have so many good players who need playing time. A team consisting of all their bench players would still be an excellent team. City also had an impressive 28-game unbeaten run earlier in the season.
There will be no shortage of drama for this fixture. I call both these teams “Money F.C.” because they have so much money and seemingly buy whatever players they want. Both teams weren’t very successful ten years ago. Wealthy owners bought them, and now they’re two of the best in the world.
Even though they both have had a ton of recent success domestically, neither has won a Champions League. To go down as an all-time great team, they need to win it. Both teams have had plenty of heartbreak. Both teams have everything they need to win the Champions League.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the Final. Whoever wins this tie will play Real Madrid. Both of these teams are better than Madrid. It is Manchester City’s time to win, and they will beat PSG. Although PSG might have a better one-two punch (Mbappé and Neymar), City has a more well-rounded team.
Manchester City will play Real Madrid in the 2021 UEFA Champions League Final. In a highly competitive match, City will beat Madrid 2-1. Many Madrid players have experience playing in the Champions League Finals, but it won’t be enough. Raheem Sterling will score first and give City the lead within the first 40 minutes. Then, Casemiro will equalize for Real Madrid in first-half stoppage time. 1-1 at the break.
In the second half, both teams will create many chances. They will be knocking on the door but won’t be able to find a breakthrough. Finally, in the 82nd minute, substitute Phil Foden will score the winning goal for Manchester City. City will win the Champions League, their first title in team history. They will finally go down as an all-time great team.
I’m a Manchester United fan and would rather see anyone but Liverpool and City win it. But, going with my gut, I see City hoisting the trophy in Istanbul.
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