Will The Premier League’s Top Two Reign In Spain This Week In The Champions League?

By Ian John
May 19, 2022

Last week, I previewed the two Champions League semi-final first leg ties played in Manchester and Liverpool and it was a pretty successful preview and set of tips.

Not only did I get City to win their game with Madrid, I also bagged Phil Foden to score at any time, I also then landed another two bets in the Liverpool game with Liverpool to win and best of all, the correct score of Liverpool to win 2-0, which came in at 11/2.

READ: A preview of the English Premier League final week of 2022.

That’s very pleasing heading into this week when the two second leg ties of the fixtures will be played in Spain and it is fair to say that the situation heading into these games is intriguing but for different reasons.

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So, this week, after our detailed look at the statistics behind the two semifinals last week, we’re going to review both semifinal first leg ties and look ahead to both second leg ties and of course we’ll be giving you our top tips for each.

Bet365 Sport will be the source for all the odds used in the article and although the odds were correct at the time of writing, you may find that they have changed in the run up to each of the games on Tuesday and Wednesday night this week.

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So, let’s begin by recapping the two matches last week, beginning with what was arguably one of the best Champions League games of all time between Manchester City and Real Madrid at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester.

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Champions League Semi-Finals

Manchester City v Real Madrid – 1st Leg

  • Manchester City (2) 4 – De Bruyne 2, Jesus 11, Foden 53, Silva.B 74
  • Real Madrid (1) 3 – Benzema 33,82 (pen), Vinicius Jr. 55

What a game of football this was, certainly one of the best Champions League games of all time and an instant classic between two teams who produced moments of such high quality and drama that you could not take your eyes off the game for a second.

Real Madrid had not even been out of their own half in the first leg and they were behind, Kevin De Bruyne heading home after just 94 seconds of the game to put City in front and then less than ten minutes later, Gabriel Jesus added a second to put City firmly in control.

Despite City dominating the ball, Real did look dangerous and they pulled one back with a sublime finish from Karim Benzema, who turned home a cross on the volley quite brilliantly.

City missed a number of opportunities before they extended their lead once again in the second half, Foden firing home, but just three minutes later, Vinicius Jr. raced away from emergency right back Fernandinho to slot the ball home and make it 3-2.

Once again City came back and Bernardo Silva fired home a fourth on 74 minutes, but City then gave away a penalty and from the spot Karim Benzema’s brilliant Panenka-style kick made it 4-3.

More drama but no goals followed in the final few minutes of a pulsating tie which sets up the second leg in Madrid on Wednesday night quite superbly.

Real Madrid (3) v (4) Manchester City – 2nd Leg

Real Madrid enter this game just one goal behind, but they will be aware that it could have been several more. You have to credit Real’s grit and determination to stay in the game in the first leg, but I think they are going to be in for more of the same at the Bernebeu on Wednesday.

City won’t view this tie as them being in front 1-0. They can’t as they are not a team that will defend their way into the final. Pep’s team will certainly be looking to score goals in the Bernebeu and the fact that Real cannot sit in and defend a lead, may well play into their hands.

Chelsea showed that Real are beatable at home and I think City are a much better side than the Londoners and while I can see Real scoring a goal or two here, I also feel City will do at least that, and maybe score one or two more themselves.

One positive for both teams is the return of players. Casemiro should be back for Real Madrid, while there is every chance Cancelo could be back for City, while Kyle Walker and John Stones could also feature.

That said, I can’t see Real getting the result they need here and I am backing City to land the victory. My top tip here is City to win and both teams to score, which is a 9/4 shot with bet365. I’d also go with Phil Foden scoring at any time which is a 7/4 shot once again.

Liverpool v Villarreal – 1st Leg

  • Liverpool (0) 2 –  Estupinan 53 (o.g), Mane 55
  • Villarreal (0) 0

Villarreal came with a clear game plan to defend deep and in. numbers against Liverpool, however the so-called ‘low block’ only worked for the first half as despite dominating possession and playing the entire first half in the Villarreal half, the teams went in at 0-0 at the interval.

However, such was Liverpool’s dominance that it seemed a goal was inevitable at some point. The Reds had one disallowed, rightly, when Fabinho turned home Van Dijk’s knock down in the box, but the Dutchman was offside when he headed the ball down for the Brazilian to fire into the net.

A few minutes later though the breakthrough game. Jordan Henderson’s cross deflecting off Pervis Estiupinan, over keeper Rulli and into the corner of the net to put Liverpool in front. Villarreal’s plan hadn’t worked and for the next few minutes they looked stunned.

The home side took full advantage just two minutes later when Salah played in Mane who prodded the ball home. VAR checked the goal, but the Senegalese star had timed his run to perfection to put the home side 2-0 up.

Liverpool could have had more goals, but as Villarreal finally pushed out late in the game, the Reds restricted them to just one shot, off target, the entire match as they take a comfortable two goal lead into the second leg.

Villarreal (0) v (2) Liverpool – 2nd Leg

Villarreal need to produce their best ever performance to beat a rampant Liverpool by three clear goals at the Estadio de la Ceramica here and in truth, despite the fact they beat Juventus 3-0 in the Round of 16, I can’t see that happening here.

In fact, I think this game is going to be tougher for Villarreal than the Anfield game. Throughout the Champions League this season, the Spanish sides away form has been better than their home (with the exception of the Bayern Munich tie) and having to score three to win, is a huge ask.

That’s because if Villarreal push up, they will get caught on the counter as Liverpool have done so well to so many teams in this competition over the years and as such, despite Villarreal being at home, I fancy the visitors to land the win here.

I’d back Liverpool to win but with both teams to score which is a 9/4 shot while I think the in-form Sadio Mane is a very good bet to score in the second leg too at 8/5.

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