Hangover Binge 12/04/19

With the Champions League Quarter Finals having their half time oranges, and if you haven’t yet please listen to our round up shows for both nights to get a run down of those major match ups, we must not forget the little brother of the UCL, the Europa League, and some big scores that look as though have settled some of those match ups, but there is still loads to play for!
 
For me the biggest shock came from London, where Arsenal would defeat Napoli and take a 2-0 lead to the land of the Gamorra next week. Aaron Ramsey, who has looked brilliant since his summer move to Juventus was announced, got the opener and is already getting used to scoring against Serie A clubs (I’m quite excited about his move to the Old Lady) and an own goal from Koulibaly which should not be held against him as he is a magnificent defender. When Arsenal play Lacazette and Aubameyang, they look so threatening and what Unai Emery is doing is rather sensible, have a hard working midfield in behind, to the point where you can afford to play Ozil in the hole, and they are tougher to break down and you still need to watch out for the fast counter attack. It seems that Ancelotti made a mistake in not playing Milik from the start, he has been the most in form of the Napoli attackers. Home advantage might help the Naples side next week, but they are not as good as side as Juventus and it will require an Arsenal capitulation to help Napoli.
 
A local derby was also played when Villarreal hosted Valencia. Looking at domestic form there seemed to be one obvious winner of this tie, and it was looking very good for Valencia on 6 minutes when Guedes converted after Parejo missed from the penalty spot, the second time in succession he has done that. Another player who missed a penalty at the weekend was Santi Cazorla, but unlike Parejo, he was able to put his penalty away half an hour later, and to be honest Villarreal had more of the ball and more chances in this game. But football, as we all know, can be a cruel mistress, and two injury time goals from Daniel Wass and Goncalo Guedes again puts Los Che in a very strong position in the semi final race. I don’t see Villarreal scoring three goals at the Mestalla, which is the minimum they need to advance, but if they can do it then the potential reunion of Santi Cazorla and Arsenal would be rather special.
 
Seen by many as the most dross game was Benfica hosting Eintracht Frankfurt, but six goals would be the reward for anyone who fancied giving this a swatch. Joao Felix, the 19 year old break out star of this Benfica side, would score a hat trick as well as setting up Ruben Dias for Benfica’s 4 goals. The one game I’ve managed to fully watch and pay attention to of Benfica was against Sporting, and Felix looked very assured then and seems to be progressing at a fair pace. You just fear that he has a transfer to Chelsea (if they are allowed to of course) written all over him very soon. However, Frankfurt would score twice, through Portuguese striker Paciencia, and Luka Jovic, on loan at Eintracht from…you guessed it, Benfica! Could those two goals be vital for the Germans? They are more than capable of scoring twice next Thursday, it really depends if they can keep a clean sheet.
 
Chelsea would travel to Prague to take on Slavia in the last of the Quarters, and a late header from Marcos Alonso saw Sarri’s men escape what would have been a bit of an embarrassment if they were to fail to win. In fairness, they would have N’Golo Kante, Gonzalo Higuain & Eden Hazard on the bench, so they would likely have bitten your hand off for a 1-0 win and escaping without incident regarding injuries. Poor Slavia though, but at least they are at this stage. They are like Porto in the Champions League, they’ve won their final, anything above this point would see them reach legendary status.
 
Based on those results, it does look like a semi final line up of Arsenal v Valencia & Benfica v Chelsea. Would that excite you? Do you see anything different happening? You’re more than welcome to get in touch and let me know!
 
With Rangers not in action this weekend, it is very important to look to Europe for your footballing fix this coming weekend, so once again I have two games (one each day) for you to look out for.
 
On Saturday at 19:30 on FreeSports, AC Milan host Lazio in the Serie A. Milan have had an awful time of it lately, and there decent seem to be an end in sight to this slide, and Lazio look as though they are about to hit form at the right time, and if Lazio were to get a result at the San Siro for the second time this season (having defeated Inter in Milan a month or so back) they would be really in the race for the Champions League places. Milan seem overly reliant on Piatek right now, and it’s funny that they have reached that point where as Lazio are now looking to other players like Luis Alberto and the back on form Sergej Milinkovic-Savic to help their on star striker Ciro Immobile. I fancy Lazio to get the win in fact, and this would really help clubs like Atalanta and Roma who are also in touching distance of 4th placed Milan
 
On Sunday at 20:00 on BT Sport 1, Lille host PSG in Ligue 1. For such a long time, PSG have been waiting to be officially crowned champions of France yet again. If they can avoid defeat at the Stade Pierre Mauroy, they will reach that mark, so there is that to look forward to. Either that, or a potential shock result, with Lille possessing some top young talent like Pepe and Leao. They have been fun this season, and I hope they can produce one more exciting contest against the Parisian billionaires. And it will be interesting to see if Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting gets a place in the squad after his utterly horrible miss against Strasbourg last weekend, and folks, if you have not seen this, I urge you to search for it. It is…beyond ridiculous.
 
Happy watching!
 
James Forrest

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