We are half ways through the four intriguing Champions League Quarter Final ties and as expected have produced plenty of talking points. Juventus, Monaco, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid all hold the advantage in their respective fixtures but will they hold their leads?
It is a short turn around with the second legs to come next week. Let’s have a look at the main talking points from this week’s Champions League action.
Dybala is the star man for Juventus
Argentine striker Paulo Dybala is set to be very close to agreeing a new contract with Juventus as they look to warn off the inevitable interest in their star player.
It is understandable that the Italian giants are looking to tie down the 23-year-old for the long term after he produced a mesmeric performance against Barcelona. Dybala’s first-half brace set the Old Lady on their way to a 3-0 win in Turin as he tormented a porous Catalan defence. The two goals were exquisite finishes and his link up play with Gonzalo Higuain was first class.
Juventus have always had the strong defence but now they have the attacking thrust to go with it which makes them a very serious proposition to become kings of Europe.
Barca will have to produce another miracle
Perhaps Barcelona were not quite as bad as they were against PSG in that first leg. They could have gotten an away goal if Andres Iniesta and Luis Suarez had converted one of those golden chances. However, their
However, their performance in general was worrying off the back of a 2-0 defeat at Malaga at the weekend. If you look behind the front three, there are huge problems in midfield and defence for Barca.
The likes of Sergio Roberto, Jeremy Mathieu, Samuel Umtiti and Andre Gomes are average players. Barca also seem to lack the hunger and desire they once had. Nobody can completely rule them out of the tie yet but Juventus are a much better team than PSG. It will be an even bigger achievement if Barca come back from this.
Kylian M’bappe continues to light up Europe
M’bappe’s sensational form continued as he scored twice to help high-flying Monaco to a 3-2 success in Dortmund in the rearranged fixture.
It could be argued that Borussia Dortmund having to play the match a day after the bomb scare was unfair but take nothing away from Monaco, they have been fantastic all season with 18-year-old M’bappe emerging as their superstar. Monaco arguably have the best attack in Europe at the moment and can be seen as a real threat if they finish off the German side next week.
A lot of Europe’s big guns will be eyeing up their young talent but M’bappe will be at the top of the shopping list for several clubs.
Ronaldo still one of the greats as he puts Bayern to the sword
Ronaldo was largely anonymous in the first half as Bayern took a 1-0 lead and many have argued he is on the decline. It is only natural that at his age he is not quite the force he once was in general play at least but when his team needed him the most, he decided the game in Munich and gave Real a huge advantage in the battle of the big guns with the home leg at the Bernabeu next week.
That is what the great players do and Ronaldo is still deadly in front of goal as he registered an incredible haul of 100 European club competition goals. It was a game many struggled to pick a winner from between arguably the two best sides in Europe but Bayern do not have any player in Ronaldo’s league although Robert Lewandowski was a big loss.
Atletico’s miserly defence far too clever for Jamie Vardy
Vardy has caused many defences problems with his lightning pace and sheer work rate to close down the ball but he came up against the cream of the defensive crop in Simeone’s rearguard led by Diego Godin.
The English striker’s story has been fantastic but he was out of his depth at the Vicente Caulderon. Atletico dominated the game from start to finish despite the slender 1-0 win, however the shape of the team was extremely impressive in the way they transitioned from defence to attack.
Vardy wasn’t getting a sniff and was substituted late on for Islam Slimani. The result gives Leicester hope but you would have to favour the Atletico defence to have far too much nous and experience to be troubled by Vardy and Co. at what will be a rocking atmosphere at the King Power.