The UEFA Champions League Semi Finals are here as two European giants battle it out for the chance to reach the final in Instanbul
By Craig Humpage
Football Writer, Sporticos
Published on Tuesday 27 April 2021
In the shadow of their owner's calamitous European Super League adventures, two powerhouses of world football collide in the first leg of their hotly anticipated UEFA Champions League Semi Final at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano. It could be a slow day at the office for the attackers as two rock solid defences and two tactically astute managers will almost certainly equal a low scoring first leg. Both teams come into the game in excellent form at the back, with both forward lines misfiring. It should be one for the football purist but we shouldn't expect a free scoring goal fest. That being said, anything can happen in football, especially at this level. The stage is set for one of those historic European nights to unfold.
Preview: Real Madrid vs Chelsea
Zinedine Zidane and his team have amassed a 17 game unbeaten streak across all competitions, not dissimilar to the run Thomas Tuchel put together upon arriving at Chelsea. They haven't lost since January and are extremely tough to beat right now. They will be disappointed to have drew 0-0 with Real Betis at the weekend, which has left the door open for Barcelona and Atletico Madrid in an extremely close La Liga title race. Three 0-0 stalemates from their last four isn't spectacular but one thing it shows is that they have a defence which gives nothing away for free and that is always a fantastic platform to build on for any team hoping to win a tense first leg.
Chelsea picked up a valuable 1-0 win over top four rivals West Ham in the Premier League on Saturday. That, along with Liverpool's draw with Newcastle, has put them firmly in the driver's seat to acquire Champions League qualification for next season. They might not need it if they go all the way in this competition and many believe they can. Chelsea have a squad full of depth and, like Madrid, they are impenetrable at the back. Aside from their shocking defeat against West Brom in the Premier League, they have barely even given a goal away, let alone two a game. Tuchel will have upmost confidence in his defenders to keep a clean sheet on Tuesday and will just hope his strikers can give a little more.
Thibaut Courtois will certainly start in goal for Los Blancos against his former club, and Chelsea's former talisman Eden Hazard is likely to face his old teammates. The Belgian came off the bench against Betis and we could see something similar here as Zidane tries to bring Hazard back slowly and cautiously. In other Madrid team news, Defensive trio of Sergio Ramos, Lucas Vazquez and Ferland Mendy will still be unavailable but the likes of Dani Carvajal, Nacho and Varane will be just as formidable at the back. In terms of Chelsea team news, midfielder Mateo Kovacic will not face his former club at the Alfredo Di Stefano as Tuchel confirmed he will miss out due to a hamstring injury. Thiago Silva is likely to marshal the defence alongside other experienced heads Azpilicueta and Rudiger. They will hope that Timo Werner and co can be a little more prolific up front.
Prediction: Real Madrid 0-1 Chelsea
I have a funny feeling inside that Chelsea are going to go on and win the whole thing. Both defences are extremely strong and both sets of attackers have been misfiring recently. They could turn up big time tonight and make me look foolish in a six-goal thriller but the more likely outcome is an extremely tight first leg with one goal separating the two sides, and I believe that goal will come from Chelsea.
How to watch Real Madrid vs Chelsea on live TV
Here's where you can watch this Champions League semi final match:
Real Madrid vs Chelsea
Tuesday 27 April 2021 - 8PM BST
TV Channel: BT Sport 2
BT Sport has exclusive rights to all UEFA club competitions until 2024 including every match from the Champions League, Europa League and the upcoming Conference League. Real Madrid vs Chelsea is no different.
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How to watch Real Madrid vs Chelsea online via live stream
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