Tuesday, 2 May 2017

FROM MADRID TO CARDIFF - A JOURNEY SO CLOSE

Barely three hours to go before two giants face each other in the semifinals of
Europe's biggest club competition.
If there is a saying that European football resides in Spain, then it's even safer to assert that this dominance has further trickled into Madrid, as a team from MADRID would certainly be in the UEFA Champions League final for the 3rd time in four years, with the two previous times being all Madrid finals.
Rivalry that was once domestic has been shipped off to the continental level. This year, the responsibility placed on either team from MADRID is to deny their neighbors passage and book a place in the final of the European holy grail for the 3rd time in four years.


Both teams boast of a great number of talented players with quality capable of deciding the outcome of football matches.
Real Madrid would be playing at home tonight and would want nothing more than to kill off the game and make the second leg a formality but the defensive structure and 'never say die' attitude of their opponents would make it harder to dream.


RONALDO
A lot would depend on this man tonight coming straight from a 5 goal haul in their previous tie with Bayern and boasting of 100 UCL goals. He can be called a master of the game. He would want to extend his good run and has a good opportunity to do it against bitter rivals. Ronaldo thrives in fierce rivalries.




GRIETZMANN
Has established himself over the years as one of the most dangerous men alive in front of goal while boasting of lightning pace and tremendous footwork. He'd have a say in this tie and we can only guess how decisive that would be. A real handful for Ramos and his partners.


MARCELO VS JUANFRAN
The tricky Brazilian has been arguably Real Madrid's best player in recent times and has proved to be a threat in the opponent's box even with his superb goal this weekend. Juanfran on the other hand has always been an unsung hero eliminating attacking threats for atletico and providing delicious crosses for the likes of Antoine and the in form Gameiro.


FELIPE LUIS
Just like his Brazilian compatriot , the Atletico Madrid left back can decide the outcome of games and has the ability to make intelligent runs and win decisive penalty kicks for his team.



TACTICS




When Madrid and France football legend Zinedine Zidane took over from Rafa Benitez at the Real Madrid, Not many expected him to succeed or at least begin his professional coaching career with a Champions league trophy. He has however taken the world of football by storm and is possibly on his way to win a second Champions league trophy.
The changes Zidane has made have been remarkable one of which has been the increased importance of Casemiro in the Real Madrid style of play. The Brazilian has since formed a formidable midfield partnership with Kroos and Modric and has been the major disruptor, destroying the attacks of many opposing teams with his intelligent interceptions and exceptional tackling. The rise of Casemiro has not been very good news for James Rodriguez and Isco Alcaron who has delivered excellently when called upon this season. There have been glimpses of Zidane's supposed inexperience getting the better of him also, just like in the just concluded El Clasico where Madrid lost the game in the final minutes after just equalizing with a one man disadvantage. They had players pouring out in numbers when they could have maintained their shape for a draw which was a favorable result considering the numerical disadvantage.
Diego Simeone has established himself as a heavyweight amongst managers , transforming his team over the years from just participants to major title contenders. His tactics has a unique way of making his team stay really compact and yet create enough chances to win games. He would love a clean sheet today and knows exactly what to do to get one.


LIKELY STARTING LINEUPS

CLASH OF THE TITANS
Time for excuses are gone now and once again only Los Blancos stands between Diego Simeone and a chance to lift the UEFA champions league trophy.

WHO WILL REACH THE FINALS OF THE UCL? LET US KNOW THROUGH COMMENTS

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

CHELSEA VS SOUTHAMPTON: Will Chelsea bottle it?
by Dr Kenab Nwaso


A great weekend it must have been for the Chelsea family after beating Tottenham at wembley to book the first spot at the Emirates FA cup final and Ngolo Kante beating Eden Hazard and Zlatan Ibrahimovich to become PFA player of the year in only his second premier league season.
Where assists and goals might not be numerous, Ngolo Kante offered countless spirited performances which are all contributory to Chelsea being title favorites.
YES OF COURSE, TITLE FAVORITES. We are aware of the hot air from spurs nostrils raining on their necks anyway and British football doesn't give celebration breaks which is why Chelsea are faced with another tough test today against Southampton.

Antonio Conte
Antonio Conte's reign at Chelsea has been marked by dominant home performances and the team have even sometimes seemed impeccable on the bridge with Chelsea winning 13 games of 15 played at Stamford Bridge since Conte arrived. Looks like that would be 14 wins today?
 ANOTHER MOTM PERFORMANCE?

  
Southampton have won 6 and lost 8 of their games away from home this season and are currently 8th
position on the away table.
The last time Southampton won at Stamford bridge was in 2015 when the saints defeated Chelsea 1-3 following a resounding performance from Graziano Pelle and co.
January transfer window signing Manolo Gabbiadini would be the man the Chelsea back three would have to keep an eye on tonight as he has been a revelation since joining the saints after the new year, with many scintillating performances including a league cup final brace against Manchester United.
WE TOO OWN A KANTE?
Claude Puel on former Chelsea midfielder Romeu


"I think he's not far off Kante. He is very important for us. He recovers the ball so well and is a technical player. If we see the quality of his games since the beginning of the season, N'Golo Kante brings the same qualities as Oriol for us because he's very consistent and in every game he gives good performances, with consistency and quality."
 
MATCH PREDICTION:
Looks like another win for Chelsea but with the EPL anything is possible. Crystal palace were able to take all three points at Stamford bridge. Can Southampton do the same? Will the pressure from Tottenham be a factor? Can Chelsea prove everyone wrong and bottle this in front of their own fans?

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS? LET US KNOW WITH YOUR COMMENTS ON THIS
 


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FROM MADRID TO CARDIFF - A JOURNEY SO CLOSE

Barely three hours to go before two giants face each other in the semifinals of Europe's biggest club competition. If there is a sa...