Champions League: Quarter Finals Analysis

Champions League Quarter Finals Analysis

The UEFA Champions League quarter-final draw took place at UEFA headquarters in Nyon on Friday 16 March.

Champions League quarter-final draw

Barcelona v Roma

Sevilla v Bayern Munich

Juventus v Real Madrid

Liverpool v Manchester City

We will analyze all the 4 draws including the all Premier League quarter-final between Liverpool and Manchester City. At the end of the analyses, we will give our predictions as to which team is more favorable to win.

Barcelona v Roma

  • Lionel Messi is having a great patch, he has been ruthless in the recent games. He has already scored  36 goals and has provided 14 assists this season, so containing him will the biggest task for Roma.
  • Barcelona may not the side of 2009-11 or the team of 2015, but this side has a knack of not losing. They have only lost Spanish Super Cup to Real Madrid and the only other defeat in all the competitions is to Espanyol in the first leg of Copa del Rey quarter-finals which they won.
  • But there are some signs of vulnerability which were exposed in the last-16 matches against Chelsea. Sergio Busquets is still a great midfielder but the little pace he had has deserted him and Ivan Rakitic though provides some protection to him but perhaps not the amount he needs. This was evident in the first leg against Chelsea when Willian was tearing through the midfield.
  • So Roma will be better playing on the break than when they have to take the game to an opponent – they have let in only eight goals away from home in the league this season – but this will be a huge ask of Eusebio Di Francesco’s side.

Winner: Barcelona

Liverpool v Manchester City

  • Manchester City has been superb this season and looks unbeatable but Liverpool is the only side to beat them alongside Wigan.
  • The game between the team with the best home defensive record in the league and the side with the best away defensive record at Anfield finished as 4-3 but no one was surprised.
  • Liverpool, although they eventually lost 5-0, had also troubled City at the Etihad earlier in the season when Sadio Mané was sent off for a high foot on Ederson with the score at 1-0.
  • Both teams press high up the pitch, are heavily focused on attack and, while they can overwhelm sides, the sense is that if you can get beyond the press to attack them they can be vulnerable.
  • Jürgen Klopp has said that to sit deep against a team such as City is to hope to win the lottery, and the effectiveness of his proactive approach is perhaps seen in the fact that no manager has a better record against Pep Guardiola than him: 12 previous meetings have brought him six wins and a draw.

Winner Manchester City

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Sevilla v Bayern Munich

  • Jupp Heynckes has won a record 11 successive Champions League games. In three previous seasons managing in the competition, he has always reached at least the final.
  • In Jérôme Boateng and Mats Hummels, he has probably the best central defensive pairing in the last eight, a duo who are complementary and have played together for years.
  • The question, as ever with Bayern, is how hardened they are for the fight when they stand 20 points clear at the top of the Bundesliga but the 3-1 victory at home to PSG (admittedly a PSG side who had already qualified) at the end of the group stage suggested the capacity to play a more balanced game than they have to week-to-week.
  • That said, their approach against Sevilla should probably be tilted to attack. In 12 games under Vincenzo Montella, Sevilla has conceded five on three occasions. There is a vulnerability, even if the games against Manchester United showed how dangerous they can be, particularly if Wissam Ben Yedder, who has scored more goals in the competition this term than anybody other than Cristiano Ronaldo, is back in form, and if Éver Banega is given space to create the play.

Winner Bayern Munich

Juventus v Real Madrid

  • This is a repeat of last season’s Champions League final (and 1998 final) but neither team feels quite the same as they did in Cardiff.
  • Although Juve eventually had the wherewithal and ruthlessness to beat Tottenham, there were long spells of that last-16 tie in which the Premier League side looked quicker, sharper and stronger.
  • Perhaps that is less of an issue here given Madrid will not press Juve in anything like the same way, not least because the restricted movement of Ronaldo means they cannot.
  • Ronaldo’s sphere of on-pitch influence gets smaller by the season; his continued capacity to score goals is not in doubt but the question is always at what cost to team structure.
  • Madrid has had an indifferent season, lying third in La Liga and finishing second in their group after taking a single point from Tottenham but the abandonment of the familiar 4-3-1-2 for a 4-4-2, with Casemiro and Mateo Kovacic in the center with Lucas Vázquez and Marco Asensio wide hinted at a possible future. Leaving out Luka Modric and Toni Kroos makes it harder to control possession but the width should mean a steadier supply of crosses for Ronaldo.

Winner Real Madrid

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