Real Madrid will make the trip to London in April to take on Premier League club Chelsea in the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League.
It will be no easy game for Los Blancos but with the likes of Manchester City, Liverpool, Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid all still in the competition, they were almost guaranteed a not so easy route to the next stage.
The two sides met in the semi-finals of last seasons competition where Chelsea emerged as 3-1 winners on aggregate. Carlo Ancelotti’s side will be looking for revenge for that defeat but are up against it against a Chelsea side who have been extremely solid at Stamford Bridge this season under manager Thomas Tuchel.
Chelsea: Having the home advantage in the first leg of this quarter-final tie, Chelsea are unsurprisingly the favourites and are priced at just shy of Evens.
Tuchel’s side progressed to this stage following a 4-1 aggregate win against Ligue 1 side Lille in the previous round, coming out as 2-0 winners at Stamford Bridge in the first leg – the same score as when the London club hosted Madrid in last season’s competition.
Chelsea have lost just once at home in the Premier League this season and only Liverpool have conceded fewer goals on home turf. They also have the third highest goal tally in home games in the Premier League, emphasising how much of a tough game this will be for Madrid on 6th April.
As well as the home advantage in this game, Chelsea are defending their title after beating Premier League rivals Manchester City 1-0 in Porto last season. That was to be their second UEFA Champions League victory with the other being back in 2012 when they beat Bundesliga side Bayern Munich on penalties in the final.
The possibility of claiming back-to-back Champions League titles should give Chelsea a significant boost heading into every game this year. That feat has only been achieved previously by Tuesday’s opponents who won the competition in 2016 and 2017. Although, AC Milan did win back-to-back titles in the late eighties/early ninties when they tournament was known as the European Cup.
Real Madrid: A few weeks ago, is was looking likely that Real’s Champions League campaign this season would be coming to an end. Los Blancos were 1-0 down on aggregate heading into the second leg of their Round of 16 clash with French giants PSG but were the slight favourites with the home advantage.
However, Carlo Ancelotti’s side showed their quality in front of home fans at the Bernabeu with Benzema bagging a hat-trick to send his side through to the quarters with a 3-2 aggregate win.
If Real can brush past PSG with the likes of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Mbappe in the side then they have a good chance against any team in the world. That’s especially the case if Benzema continues his form in front of goal. The Frenchman has netted eight times in the Champions League this season for Real Madrid with only Lewandowski and Ajax’s Haller scoring more. Youngsters Federico Valverde and Eduardo Camavinga also played a huge part in Madrid win against Paris and they both will need to continue to be at their best to progress in this tournament.
Prediction: This is a tough one to call. It’s extremely difficult to bet against Chelsea under Tuchel as they simply do not lose many games. However, if Real Madrid are in top form, you can see them bagging a goal or two.
1-1 is the prediction in this game with Chelsea attempting to retain possession and keeping the visitors chances to a minimum but ultimately, we expect both sides to find a way through due to the quality of their players.