Verdict: Under 2.5 goals
Best Odds: 7/10
Two sides looking to pick up an early advantage on Tuesday night, Real Madrid will welcome Chelsea to The Estadio Alfredo Di Stéfano for their Champions League semi-final first-leg.
Starting with the hosts, while Real Madrid might have been glad to make a return to on-field action over the weekend, it was another sluggish display by the defending Spanish champions. Coming under real scrutiny for their involvement in the proposed European Super League, Los Blancos eventually had to settle for another 0-0 stalemate against Real Betis on Saturday. Now watching Atletico Madrid hold a two-point buffer at the top of the La Liga table, The Whites failed to build off of that thumping 3-0 victory against Cádiz last week. However, while Zinedine Zidane’s side might have played out a goalless draw in three of their last four matchups across all formats, the French icon finds his side enjoying an extended 17-match unbeaten run, a run that stems back to the end of January. Coming past Premier League giants Liverpool earlier in the month, it should also be noted that Madrid hold an eye-catching European record at their temporary home. Including a thumping 3-1 win against Liverpool, Tuesday’s hosts have won each of their last four Champions League contests at The Estadio Alfredo Di Stéfano.
After coming off the bench against Betis over the weekend, a returning Eden Hazard could be in line to start against his former employers on Tuesday night.
However, Federico Valverde (isolating), Sergio Ramos (calf), Lucas Vazquez (knee) and Ferland Mendy (calf) are all set to once again miss out this week.
As for the visitors, while Chelsea might have been disappointed to have had to settle for a 0-0 stalemate against Brighton last week, The Blues did make an eye-catching return to winning ways across the capital. Picking up what could turn out to be a crucial 1-0 victory away at surprise package West Ham on Saturday evening, the former Premier League champions find themselves sat in pole position to secure another top-four finish this season. Eventually coming past Porto earlier in the month thanks to a 2-1 aggregate win, The Blues have found a real boost since bringing Thomas Tuchel to West London back in January. Shocking many as they came past Manchester City at Wembley earlier in the month to book their spot in the final of this year’s FA Cup, the former PSG boss has seen his side continue to impress on their travels. Including that deserved 1-0 victory against The Hammers over the weekend, Chelsea have lost just one of their previous 11 away contests away from Stamford Bridge.
Once again missing Saturday’s 1-0 win against West Ham, midfielder and former Real Madrid star Mateo Kovacic will miss out due to a hamstring injury this week.
Aside from their Croatian midfielder, Thomas Tuchel has a full squad to choose from out in Spain on Tuesday night.
Key Factors to Consider
- Including a 0-0 stalemate against Real Betis over the weekend, three of Real Madrid’s last four matchups across all formats have finished in a goalless draw.
- However, Los Blancos have won each of their previous four Champions League contests at The Estadio Alfredo Di Stéfano.
- Chelsea have lost just one of their last 11 away fixtures across all formats, a run that stems back to January 19th.
- Each of The Blues’ last four matchups have finished with under 2.5 goals.
- Likewise, each of Chelsea’s last five Champions League matchups have finished with an identical outcome.
While we might have a heavyweight showdown on our hands in midweek, don’t be surprised to see chances come at a premium on Tuesday night. Although Real Madrid might be enjoying an extended unbeaten run, particularly on home soil, they have shown some recent issues in the final third. Having to settle for a 0-0 stalemate against Real Betis over the weekend, Los Blancos have played out a goalless draw in three of their last four matchups and we could have a similar situation on our hands in the Spanish capital. With Chelsea landing a crucial 1-0 win away at top-four rivals West Ham over the weekend, Thomas Tuchel’s side have gained a reputation for their pragmatic approach. With each of their last four contests finishing with under 2.5 goals, we’re backing a similar outcome this week.
Verdict: Under 2.5 goals
Best Odds: 7/10
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