The UEFA Champions League quarterfinal first legs wrapped on Wednesday with various goals with seven scored between the two matches. Kylian Mbappe scored twice as PSG earned an impressive 3-2 win at Bayern Munich, while Chelsea’s 2-0 win against Porto in Seville has the Londoners on the verge of the semifinals.
Following Wednesday’s action, here are three takeaways from the matches:
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PSG continue to live in the Bizarro World
The Bizarro World, where everything is just strangely inverted. Here we have PSG, the team that dominates in Ligue 1 and struggles to deliver in Europe. But now, it is the contrary. The team may lose out on the Ligue 1 title but have been exceptional in Europe, winning back-to-back street games at Barcelona and at Bayern Munich.
It’s tough to give an explanation for why, other than the team’s lucid focus being to win this competition. It is the only object lacking from the trophy case, and it was once the promise that Neymar brought with him when he left Barcelona for Paris.
Now, while the scoreboard looks great, the numbers tell a different story, one that hasn’t reached its conclusion. PSG managed three goals from an xG of 1.48 and six shots, while Bayern had an xG of 3.78 and had 31 complete shots. Whether Robert Lewandowski would have been to be had, this very mannered could have been a win for Bayern. But to PSG’s credit, they took what they were provided, capitalizing on the mistakes of the hosts to position themselves nicely ahead of next week.
Time to move on from Sule
I am not trying to be overly critical, truly. Niklas Sule is a pro for a reason. But goodness me Hansi Flick has to move absent from him in this competition. He is likely one of the slowest defenders in UCL, and when you’re facing the speed of Neymar, Mbappe and Angel Di Maria, you are just asking for trouble.
On the two goals scored in which he was once on the pitch, he failed to react mannered enough on both. On the first, he let Mbappe get free at the back of him, and on the second one he got caught watching.
Have a look:
It’s simply unacceptable and shows a lack of focus. He’s receiving a rating of 1 in our player ratings, and his 42 minutes played were 42 too many.
Blues a close lock to advance
Chelsea can start making their plans for a semifinal showdown against Real Madrid or Liverpool, because this one feels over. A 2-0 win on the street, though the match was once played in Seville, Spain, means a one-goal loss in the second one leg will be enough to go through. That second leg on Wednesday may also be in Seville.
In this match, Chelsea were out-shot 12 to 6 by the Portuguese side, but while Chelsea didn’t have more chances, they had the better ones and took them. Mason Mount’s brilliance was once on full display with his lovely winner, which was once his first goal in the competition. Have a look:
Entering the second one leg, Chelsea will be comfortable, having gotten that West Brom catastrophe out of their system. They are able to play just how Thomas Tuchel wants for the second one 90 minutes, keeping possession, playing a bit conservatively and having a look to use their speed on the counter.
It’s tough to see a way back for Porto, but whether they may be able to get a goal in the first half an hour to take the lead, then they will have nothing to do. But with Chelsea’s defense, which has played quite mannered as of late, the club will have to be super self-assured in cruising into the semifinals.