Man City, Chelsea, Man United and Arsenal's chances of European glory

Man City, Chelsea, Man United and Arsenal are eyeing all-English finals and European glory after being kept apart in the semis… but who stands in their way, why can they be optimistic and what are their chances?

  • Man City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Man United are all into European semi-finals
  • City take on PSG and Chelsea play Real Madrid in Champions League’s last four
  • Arsenal will play Villarreal and United have drawn Roma in the Europa League
  • But why can each side be optimistic and what are their chances of winning?
  • With a possibility of two all-English finals, Sportsmail picks apart their chances 

The climax to the 2018-19 season seemed unique in the fact that both the Champions League and Europa League finals were all-English affairs.

Liverpool beat Tottenham in Madrid to win their sixth Champions League title while Chelsea overcame Arsenal in Azerbaijan’s capital Baku to lift the Europa League under Maurizio Sarri.

Fast forward two years and there is a very real chance of that happening again as we look forward to the semi-finals of both competitions with the four English clubs all kept apart.

Manchester City are three games away from ending their years of Champions League pain

But Chelsea are also through to the semi-finals, where they will take on Real Madrid

Chelsea saw off Porto in the quarter-finals of the Champions League to set up a final-four clash with Real Madrid while Manchester City overcame a brief scare to beat Dortmund and progress to face Paris Saint-Germain.

In the Europa League, Arsenal thrashed Slavia Prague and will now play former manager Unai Emery and his Villarreal team in the semis while Manchester United coasted past Granda and will play Roma for a place in the final.

Here, Sportsmail looks at each side’s journey to the final four, the reasons they have to be both cheerful and fearful and each team’s chance of lifting the trophy.


In the Europa League, both Arsenal and Manchester United have made it to the final four

Manchester City – Champions League semi-finals 

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE ODDS 

Manchester City – 11/8

PSG – 10/3 

Real Madrid – 4/1

Chelsea – 9/2 

Who stands in their way?

As City look for that elusive Champions League title that would really elevate them into European football’s pantheon of great clubs, they must first overcome a PSG side who are on fire.

Also hunting for their first European Cup under their Qatari ownership, PSG look ready to end their long wait after beating Barcelona convincingly in the last-16 and eliminating reigning champions Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals.

Under Mauricio Pochettino, PSG seem to have got that difficult balance right of allowing Kylian Mbappe and Neymar to flourish in attack while remaining defensively resilient. It will be crucial in two legs against Pep Guardiola’s side.

How have they got here? 

City are still unbeaten in this season’s competition and breezed through a relatively comfortable group comprised of Olympiacos, Marseille and Porto, winning five and drawing one of their six matches.

The Champions League is the one trophy that Pep Guardiola has failed to bring to Man City

They were then excellent against Borussia Monchengladbach, winning both legs 2-0 in Budapest before overcoming another difficult Bundesliga test against Dortmund.

Erling Haaland and Co grabbed an away goal in the first leg at the Etihad and went ahead in the return but goals from Riyad Mahrez and Phil Foden ensured a 2-1 win in Germany to secure passage to the semi-finals.  

Reasons to be cheerful

Just the sheer amount of depth in their squad. Even big-spending PSG don’t have the squad depth available to Guardiola, who has two world-class players for each position.

In Dortmund, Gabriel Jesus, Ferran Torres, Aymeric Laporte, Benjamin Menndy, Fernandinho and Joao Cancelo were all unused substitutes. Sergio Aguero wasn’t even involved. 

City have also found some defensive steel this season thanks to the arrival and immediate impact of Ruben Dias. He has formed a strong partnership with Ruben Dias and that could be crucial to City navigating two legs against Mbappe and Co. Foden appears to be getting better by the week and City are on a high after landing the League Cup by beating Tottenham at Wembley at the weekend.

Phil Foden runs over to the City bench to celebrate his late winner at Dortmund on Wednesday

Reasons to be fearful

There is no doubt that winning the Champions League is a huge psychological hurdle for City. It is the one trophy that has eluded Guardiola since he arrived and they have crashed out against Tottenham, Monaco and Liverpool in ties they should have won in previous seasons.

Key man

Kevin De Bruyne. The Belgian is the hub of everything City do in attack and he has the power to flip a game on its head with a stunning goal or decisive pass. If City can get him the ball in dangerous positions then he could really do damage to PSG’s defence.  

Chances of success – 8/10

Chelsea – Champions League semi-finals 

Who stands in their way?

When Thomas Tuchel replaced Frank Lampard as Chelsea manager in January it looked really unlikely that the Blues would make a run deep into the Champions League. But here they are, in the final four against Real Madrid.

Zinedine Zidane’s side appeared in crisis just a few months ago but they are still in with a shout of an unlikely double. They are within two points of city rivals Atletico at the top of LaLiga.

Zidane’s side have major fitness issues and he has said they are on the brink of exhaustion but they can kill games with defence, as well as their deadly attack. 

Thomas Tuchel arrived at Chelsea in January and has the chance to win the European Cup

How have they got here? 

Lampard, who was sacked after a woeful run of form over the Christmas period and early January, does deserve some credit for this run after guiding the Blues safely through the group stage. 

It is fair to say that failure to get out of a group containing Rennes, Sevilla and Krasnodar would have probably seen him out of a job quicker than he was but still, it had to be done.

Chelsea, under Tuchel at this point, beat Atletico Madrid 3-0 on aggregate in the last-16 before holding on to a 2-0 first-leg lead to beat Porto in the quarter-finals, even though the Portuguese side scored an unbelievable overhead kick late in the second leg. 

Reasons to be cheerful

Tuchel has somehow been able to quickly implement his preferred style of play, despite having very little time in between the never-ending run of matches to work on the training ground.

A switch to a back five has definitely helped things and Chelsea look much more solid at the back as a result, an asset that is hugely valuable in the latter stages of European competition. 

As they proved against Atletico, Chelsea’s raft of experience means they know how to control ties and it is important to remember that Tuchel led PSG to last season’s final before losing to Bayern in Lisbon. 

Mason Mount has been a standout player for Tuchel and will be key to their chances of glory

Reasons to be fearful

Goals are still hard to come by for Chelsea under Tuchel. For all their comfort in possession and defensive stability, they are still not thriving in attack and all three of their strikers are struggling for regular game time. Since putting four goals past Crystal Palace, Chelsea have scored twice in four games in all competitions – against Man City and West Ham,.

Timo Werner has not produced the returns you would expect from a £45million transfer fee – his winner against the Hammers was his first goal since mid-February. Olivier Giroud is in and out of the team and Tammy Abraham sometimes cannot even get on the bench.

If goals are needed to overturn a deficit against Real in the semi-finals then it’s fair to say you would not back the Blues to break them down. 

Key man

Mason Mount. It must be remembered that Tuchel left Mount on the bench for his first game in charge but now the midfielder is indispensable. It feels as though he has taken his game to another level in the last few months and he will be critical to Chelsea’s hopes of going all the way to Istanbul. He’ll also be one of the first names on the teamsheet for Gareth Southgate’s England side at this summer’s Euros.

Chances of success – 6/10

Manchester United – Europa League semi-finals 

EUROPA LEAGUE ODDS

Man United – Evens

Arsenal – 3-1  

Villarreal – 4/1

Roma – 5/1

Who stands in their way?

United will play Roma in the semi-finals of the Europa League, one of the more difficult challenges they could have got at the start of the knockout phase.

The Italian giants are not the same team who were beaten in the Champions League semi-finals by Liverpool in 2018 but still have Edin Dzeko in their ranks.

It was the Bosnian, and former City striker, who scored the decisive goal against Ajax in the last eight and keeping him quiet will be key for United. 

Roma also have the impressive Lorenzo Pellegrini in midfield and former Red Devil Henrikh Mkhitaryan to call upon so they should be tough opposition for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side are favourites to win the Europa League and take on Roma next

How have they got here? 

United entered the Europa League at the last-32 stage after their elimination from the Champions League in the group stage after defeats by PSG and RB Leipzig in the final two games of the round.

The Red Devils were then too good for Spanish side Real Sociedad in the last-32 and eased to a 4-0 aggregate win before overcoming AC Milan thanks to a 1-0 win in the San Siro.

United were then given arguably the most favourable draw in the quarter-finals against Spanish minnows Granada and showed their quality to record 2-0 wins in both legs of the tie. 

Reasons to be cheerful

United have the best starting XI of any team left in the competition and are clearly the favourites to lift the trophy in Gdansk on May 26.

Paul Pogba, Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford, Edinson Cavani and Mason Greenwood are all capable of winning games on their own and Solskjaer will be confident of going all the way.

Defensively they are also pretty solid and have a back four that are playing week in, week out in Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw. One defeat in their last 21 games in all competitions means form is on their side, too although they did draw a blank against Leeds in their most recent game. Roma, however, haven’t won in four. 

Paul Pogba assisted Edinson Cavani on Thursday and could be vital to United lifting the trophy

Reasons to be fearful

Solskjaer has now led his United team to five semi-finals across all competitions since he took over from Jose Mourinho but has lost the previous four.

Last season United were beaten in the Europa League’s final four by Sevilla, who went on to win the competition. They also lost in the League Cup semis both last season and this season, as well as the FA Cup semis last season.

United are without a trophy since May 2017, when Jose Mourinho led them to Europa League glory against Ajax in Stockholm. 

Key man

Pogba. It may seem strange to not say Fernandes but when Pogba is on top form there are very few players or teams who can keep him quiet.

The Frenchman has the ability to turn a game on its head and Solskjaer will be hoping the Frenchman is at his best for three matches to give him his first trophy as United boss.

Fernandes has been superb again this season and he is deadly in and around the penalty area, as well as from the spot, but Pogba’s runs from deep, passing range and physicality make him a decisive player if he can get things right.

Chances of success – 9/10

Arsenal – Europa League semi-finals 

Who stands in their way?

Arsenal will come up against former manager Emery and his Villarreal team, who have a very capable squad.

In attack they have Gerard Moreno, who has scored 26 goals in all competitions this season, as well as Paco Alcacer and Samuel Chukwueze. Dani Parejo and former Arsenal star Francis Coquelin sit in midfield and they have the talented Pau Torres at the back.

But Villarreal, for all their impressive European performances this season, are 21 points off the Champions League places in LaLiga so Arsenal should feel confident going into the tie. 

Mikel Arteta’s side have had a tough season but Europa League glory would be the perfect end

How have they got here? 

Arsenal have coasted through the competition so far, losing just once (to Olympiacos in the last-16 when they had dominated away from home already).

They came through a group containing Rapid Vienna, Molde and Dundalk, winning six from six and scoring 20 goals. Then they beat Benfica 4-3 on aggregate in the last-32 and survived a 1-0 home defeat in the last-16 against Olympiacos.

Their place in the competition looked in danger after Slavia Prague scored a late away goal at the Emirates in the first leg of the quarter-finals but a sublime first half in the Czech Republic set Arteta’s side on their way to a 4-0 away win, which was more than enough to book their semi-final spot. 

Reasons to be cheerful

Arsenal have one of the best groups of attacking talent left in the competition and definitely have the capacity to score plenty of goals.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette, Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith Rowe, Nicolas Pepe, Gabriel Martinelli and Martin Odegaard are all impressive options for Arteta to call upon.

Arteta also led the Gunners to an unexpected FA Cup title last season, beating Manchester City and Chelsea in the semi-final and final respectively. So he knows what it takes to win in knockout competitions.

Bukayo Saka scored a stunning goal against Slavia Prague and is now crucial player for Arsenal

Reasons to be fearful

For all of Arsenal’s attacking threat, Arteta still looks unsure what his best midfield pairing and back four is.

He has chopped and changed all season and failed to settle on a specific line-up, which could be catastrophic against a Villarreal side who can score goals.

Arteta has taken just one point from league games against Fulham and Everton since beating Slavia Prague. 

Key man

Saka. The 19-year-old has taken his game up a level this season and he is now one of the first names on the team sheet when he’s fit and available.

His absence, because of injury, was really noticeable during the recent 3-0 defeat by Liverpool and Arsenal looked so much better against Sheffield United and Slavia Prague with him in the team.

Saka, who has seven goals and seven assists this season, scored an excellent goal in Prague and a good end to the season could still see him squeeze into the England squad for the Euros.

Chances of success – 7/10




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