The final 4 of both European cups are here and we look to all of them – what they’ve achieved so far this season, what are their strengths and how they rank among their contenders. Eyes will be on the English clubs left – Liverpool, Tottenham, Chelsea and Arsenal, on Spanish sides – Barcelona and Valencia and on the surprise packages Ajax and Frankfurt. All to play for and everyone will be hoping to reach the final in Madrid and Baku respectively. Please have in mind that we wrote the article before the first matches and that chances might be different after.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side famously knocked out current (and potential) English champions Manchester City after entertaining second leg finishing 4-3 and winning on away goals thanks to a single goal win at their newly opened ground a week before. Spurs had to rely on the VAR assistance and referee’s decisions took center stage in their winning goal and in the disallowed goal by Raheem Sterling. The fact that they haven’t acquired any player during the past 2 transfer windows and that they will be without Harry Kane until the rest of the season raises doubts. Their most threatening attacker Son is banned for the first leg against Ajax. If we put also that Spurs have to fight for their spot in the Top 4 in the Premier league and guarantee participation in the Champions League next season too. If you like to bet on Spurs on winning the tournament, then you have to take into consideration injuries, suspensions and possible lack of depth in the squad.
Chances to win the UCL: 4/10
The Dutch giants are the headline of this year’s edition of the tournament. They famously knocked out 2 of the favorites to win it – Real Madrid and Juventus, scored 150+ goals in all tournaments and are playing really attractive. The young stars will definitely be the most mentioned names next transfer window. Frankie De Jong is already agreed to join Barcelona, but the likes of De Ligt, Ziyech, Neres and the others impressing will definitely will raise big interest from Europe’s big clubs. Ajax have big record in Europe but the young age and the rather inexperienced squad might be too big to handle.
Chances to win the UCL: 5/10
The Spanish giants seems the obvious choice for the win of the cup as bookies favorites. Leo Messi and co will be relishing their chances at home against a strong Liverpool side but the Catalans are yet to lose a game in Europe this season. Strong performances against the Reds arch rivals Manchester United and Lyon in the second leg and Barca are all guns blazing at this point of the season. Barca wrapped the title over the weekend and are in high spirits before their meeting with the Jurgen Klopp’s side. Actually, if they win the cup and the Copa Del Rey final later this month, they will complete a treble. Barcelona are in the UEFA Champions League semi-finals for the first time since winning their fifth European title four seasons ago, although they have won only two of their last five contests at this stage.
Chances to win the UCL: 8/10
Jurgen Klopp certainly wants to overcome his UEFA Champions League hoodoo after losing twice in the final – once with Dortmund to Bayern and last year with Liverpool at the hands of Real Madrid. Liverpool look more experienced and in good form compared to last season although they will most probably suffer Premier league heart ache and do not having the chance to win the league despite dominating the league. Virgil Van Dijk certainly is Liverpool’s most important player and the Dutch canter back must cope with former Kop favorite Luiz Suarez. Getting a positive result at Camp Nou will certainly play biggest part in the chances of the Reds winning the cup. They will have to deal (if overcoming Barca) a young or inexperienced team in the final, so Liverpool fans can fancy their chances.
Chances to win the UCL: 7/10
The German team is the most attractive looking attack-wise from Bundesliga and are certainly looking to be playing in the Champions League next season – either by winning the Europa League or by qualifying in one of the places in the league. The German team is enjoying a fruitful European season – they topped their group with maximum points, then they’ve eliminated three teams over the odds – Shakhtar Donetsk, Benfica and Inter. It was believed that Frankfurt will struggle after their manager Niko Kovac left for Bayern last summer, but Addi Hutter did a magnificent job with their strikers Luka Jovic, Ante Rebic and co scoring goals domestically and in Europe for fun. Only problem for Frankfurt will be that they would face much more experienced Chelsea side, but the Blues from London not having their best seasons, the last German representative certainly have their chances.
Chances to win the UEL: 6/10
Maurizio Sarri certainly didn’t lived up the expectations of the fans in London and UEFA Europa League is Chelsea’s last resort in saving their season. The Blues flirt with the Top 4 spot and are yet to claim their place in next season’s Champions League. Midway through the season Sarri had to deal with players’ revolt and lost their confidence. Rumors that Eden Hazard wants to leave are not doing any favors also. Chelsea have history in winning the Europa League with Raffa Benitez and the likes of David Luiz, William and other experienced players might have the edge over inexperienced Frankfurt side. Bonus of winning the cup is also that Blues will guarantee Champions League football, something which they might miss out in the league.
Chances to win the UEL: 7/10
The Gunners started their life after Arsene Wenger in a somehow good fashion – playing good football, semi-finals in Europe and chance to earn top 4 spot in the league. Through to the UEFA Europa League semi-finals for the second successive season, Arsenal take on Valencia hoping to avoid the same fate as 12 months ago, when they were eliminated by Spanish opposition, going out to eventual winners Atlético Madrid. Now they are having Unai Emery at helm and he is the leader in UEFA Europa League wins. The London side were solid against strong Napoli side and didn’t conceded a single goal. This is in contrast with their defense in the Premier league – where they ship out 3+ goals on a weekly basis. Arsenal look strong, but their leaky defense might cause their team a chance to win the cup.
Chances to win the UEL: 6/10
The Spaniards began European campaign in the Champions League where they finished 3rd after Juve and Manchester United. Celtic, Krasnodar and Villareal were Valencia’s casualties in the knock out stages. This is Valencia’s third appearance in the semis of the tournament with their previous two lost to fellow Spanish clubs – Atletico Madrid and Sevilla. Marcelino’s side must overcome old foe Unai Emery and will be hoping to gain advantage from Arsenal’s slip in form and gain valuable away result.
Chances to win the UEL: 7/10