Can Werner ‘help himself’ in a Chelsea win over Real Madrid? Will Vrsaljko and Grealish succeed? It’s another huge week of European football…
Next game: Atlético de Madrid vs Manchester City
What better way to part ways two games against another team ‘playing the right way’ only in the return match against the anti-football elite. No shots, no corners, 29% possession; we really appreciated the presentation of Atletico Madrid at the Etihad. And the fact that City definitely didn’t like it – certainly compared to the dry circle with Liverpool on Sunday – will have given Diego Simeone reason to frustrate once more and hopefully run down this time.
Because despite the stats suggesting Atletico Madrid had no hope in the first leg, they did make a few breaks at City, and Simeone has players – like Joao Felix and Antoine Griezmann – capable of a genius moment to overthrow the situation. . And hopefully Pep Guardiola starts Jack Grealish as we’re desperate to see Sime Vrsaljko and Stefan Savic blow more kisses in his direction and play with his luscious locks.
Player to watch: Timo Werner
Thomas Tuchel said after Werner’s brace against Southampton on Saturday that Chelsea striker needs to ‘help himself’. It was only his second and third Premier League goals this season and Tuchel has little sympathy for the 26-year-old, who has failed to adapt to the Chelsea system and life in the top flight. English.
But he was played out of position for much of that time. The left wing in no way plays on Werner’s strengths of running on balls behind a defence. The more the German international striker has to think about what to do, the worse he is; he is not a football thinker like his international teammate Kai Havertz. But as Southampton found out the hard way, he is very quick and can finish if given enough chances. And he will have chances in a front two alongside Havertz.
Chelsea need a quick start against Real Madrid. As they showed in the home and away games last season, Madrid don’t react well to aggression in the final third. Toni Kroos, Casemiro and Luka Modric want slow play and Chelsea can’t afford to let them. Pushing Werner down their back line will give Mason Mount the space to bring Madrid’s aging midfielders into positions they don’t want to be in. And if Madrid monopolize possession at any time, Werner can stay high and offer constant danger behind. Tuesday is no game of caution for Tuchel or Chelsea and offers the perfect opportunity for Werner to repay the fans for their unwavering support throughout 18 months of very average football.
Team to watch: Liverpool
Jurgen Klopp and his Liverpool side will want an easy game on Wednesday. They must be well punctured afterwards Sunday exploits; we were definitely watching it. And they have to start all over again against Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-final on Saturday.
They could well wander into the semi-finals. Although they were far from their best against Benfica last week, they head into the game at Anfield with a 3-1 advantage. Klopp will be tempted to ring in the changes knowing Liverpool’s second-best team would likely have had enough against the Portuguese side. But with the lead, their clear superiority over their opponents and – even if they have never been able to admit as much – their eyes on City, complacency could seep in, and no matter how special a night is at Anfield, an early Benfica goal would drastically change the atmosphere and anger the Reds.
An early goal the other way would put the game to bed, followed by five half-time changes to wrap the stars in cotton. This is probably the way to go.
Coach to watch: Unai Emery
Arnaut Danjuma has described his coach as ‘tactical mastermind’ after the former Bournemouth winger scored the game’s only goal to give Villarreal the lead over Bayern Munich ahead of the second leg on Tuesday. Emery, often ridiculed in his time with Arsenal, says he is taking advantage of the relative lack of ‘noise’ with the La Liga side and certainly make the most of it.
After the manager of Europe’s little gong won his fourth Europa League title last season, Emery has already scalped a Juventus giant in this term’s showcase competition and is halfway to knocking out another European great at Bayern. Although it’s fair to say Bayern don’t need Julain Nagelsmann to win on Tuesday, a par-performance from Robert Lewandowski would no doubt do the trick, Villarreal absolutely needs another masterclass from Emery. Having failed to thrive in North London or Paris, Emery isn’t considered one of the best managers in the game, but given his relative composure he is undoubtedly one of the greatest. tacticians of his generation.
Europa League game to watch: Lyon v West Ham
David Moyes faces the prospect of only half of his first-choice defense being available for their trip to Lyon. It’s already quite a big order for the Hammers after they only managed a draw at the London Stadium in the first leg. Aaron Cresswell’s red card in that match, which was one of those that was absolutely a red card but didn’t stop him from feeling incredibly unfair, means he’s suspended for Thursday’s clash , while Kurt Zouma could also miss limping in the first half. of their 2-0 loss to Brentford.
Moyes admitted after the loss to the Bees on Sunday his side struggled with Lyon’s quick turnaround in the draw and conceded they played with one eye on the second leg. With a shallow squad, Moyes would always need to prioritize and it’s no surprise he opted to put his eggs in the Europa League basket, with a place in the Premier League top four seeming unlikely.
It’s a big game for Declan Rice and Tomas Soucek, who have both played ridiculous amounts of football this season, and will have to face Tanguy Ndombele and the vaunted Houssem Aouar, who will be looking to take the sting out of the game for the Ligue 1 side. But the sting is what West Ham want and they will have to use the superior physique of Rice, Soucek and Michail Antonio to put the scares on Lyon. A frantic game plays into the hands of West Ham.
EFL game to watch: Portsmouth v Rotherham
There are only two EFL games in midweek; both key in League One’s automatic promotion stakes. Top of the table Wigan travel to Burton Albion as they look to extend their lead over second-placed Milton Keynes Dons, while Rotherham will edge ahead of MK Dons on goal difference if they beat Portsmouth at Fratton Park. Tuesday could be a defining night in England’s third flight.