UEFA Champions League Betting Preview: Chelsea vs. Real Madrid – Wednesday, May 05, 2021

by Boris Angelov | May 3, 2021 |

Zinedine Zidane's side will travel to London to face Chelsea in the second leg of the Champions League semi-finals at Stamford Bridge bidding to reach the Champions League final for the fifth time in eight years.

The Blues produced a composed performance to secure a well-deserved draw and a crucial away goal on a rainy night in Madrid last week to put themselves in a promising position after their Champions League semi-final first leg.

Los Merengues were on the ropes as Christian Pulisic opened the score for Chelsea and Thomas Tuchel's side were clearly superior in the early stages, but Karim Benzema brought them back into the game as Real Madrid's goal scorer restored parity with a powerful, acrobatic volley.

Chelsea Betting Preview 

The London Blues have been doing great away from Stamford Bridge in the Champions League this season but they have not been that convincing at home. However, Chelsea have no reason to feel underdogs here as Thomas Tuchel's side pulled out a performance of quality and discipline at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stéfano last week. 

Meanwhile, the Blues earned another precious victory to prevail in the West London derby against Fulham in the Premier League on Saturday and Thomas Tuchel's men are now five points clear of fifth-place Tottenham Hotspur. 

Furthermore, Chelsea are now just two points off Leicester City in third place and Thomas Tuchel's side will hope that Liverpool won't win their postponed match against Manchester United, so they can maintain a healthy distance of the chasing pack. 

Christian Pulisic checkmated Real Madrid's backline in the first leg and Captain America remained an unused substitute at the weekend, so he should likely start on Wednesday. 

Timo Werner was guilty of another shocking miss in the first leg, but the German forward could once again lead the line once again for Chelsea. 

Kai Havertz scored a brace against the Cottagers and the Germany international, who came off the bench in the first leg, will be pushing for a start against Real Madrid, though Tuchel could also keep him as a trump card for the later stages. 

Captain Cesar Azpilicueta, who surprisingly started over Reece James at right wing-back in the first leg, could get the nod over Anders Christensen at centre-back this time, while Reece James could start on the flank, while Ben Chilwell seems to be a sure starter at left wing-back. 

Remarkably, The Blues have only conceded six goals at Stamford Bridge in the 12 games Tuchel has overseen, with the vast majority of them coming in a 5-2 defeat to West Brom Albion in the Premier League last month.

Thomas Tuchel will be desperate to have Antonio Rudiger for the decisive Champions League encounter against the Spanish giants, though he expects to have his countryman back but with a face mask. 

Mateo Kovacic remains a major doubt to face his former club as the Croatian midfielder continues to recover from a hamstring problem, but the central midfield pair of N'Golo Kante and Jorginho has been the driving force behind Chelsea's progress and their availability is pivotal for Tuchel's game plan. 

Meanwhile, Mason Mount picked up a minor back problem against Fulham but it's hardly something too serious and the progressing England international should be fully fit to start on Wednesday.

Real Madrid Betting Preview 

Always eager to win the Champions League trophy, Real Madrid are also keen to defend their domestic title and remain two points behind La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid, so the reigning champions continue to maintain pressure on their city rivals. 

However, Los Merengues had to wait until the closing part of the game to claim a 2-0 home win against Osasuna on Saturday night, with goals from Eder Militao and Casemiro. 

Zinedine Zidane's side struggled to create opportunities in a second half that saw key defender Raphael Varane leave the pitch through injury at the break, until Eder Militao delivered with his side's first effort on target. The latter got a chance to prove himself over the past couple of weeks and so far so good, the Brazilian defender is doing fine. 

Zidane will be sweating on Varane's fitness as according to AS, the Frenchman did not take part in Sunday's training session and will be sent for further scans today (Monday) to determine the severity of his injury, but with just two days to go until the decisive second leg, there's almost no chance he will be ready to start.

The Champions of Spain, though, are handed a major injury boost ahead of Wednesday's Champions League clash as left-back Ferland Mendy and captain Sergio Ramos are both expected to return, while Eden Hazard was given his first start since January and the Belgian was close to an opener but was denied by a fingertip save from Osasuna's goalkeeper Sergio Herrera at the weekend. 

Toni Kroos and Luka Modric both remained unused substitutes at the weekend and the experienced pair should be recalled in central midfield alongside Casemiro. 

With that said, Zidane could be tempted to revert to a 4-3-3 system, with Ferland Mendy and Sergio Ramos both completing full training on Monday. 

The former Chelsea ace will surely experience mixed feelings when he returns to Stamford Bridge – the place where Hazard arguably enjoyed the best days of his career (as of yet) – but the 30-year-old Belgian will surely want to revive his career on the eve of the rescheduled Euro 2020. He particularly impressed with his backheel pass against Osasuna but was otherwise inefficient and was subbed off minutes before the first goal, so it's safe to assume that Zidane will revert to the 4-3-3 system here. 

Once again Real's best performer, Karim Benzema scored his 71st goal in the Champions League against Chelsea, making him the joint-fourth highest scorer in Europe's elite competition, level with another Real Madrid legend Raul and only behind the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Robert Lewandowski.

Dani Carvajal picked up another injury over the course of the campaign and the Spain international is set to miss the remainder of the season, so with Lucas Vazquez also ruled out for the foreseeable future, Alvaro Odriozola will likely deputize at right-back. 

Fede Valverde, who tested positive for covid-19 ahead of the Getafe game last month, is out of quarantine and could also be in contention as the Uruguayan started at right-back against Liverpool at Anfield last month and did remarkably well. 

In the midst of a selection crisis, not for the first time in the season, Zinedine Zidane should be thankful for having La Fabrica (Real Madrid's well-working youth system) at his disposal. Three youngsters have already adapted to the senior team setup – Antonio Blanco, Sergio Arribas and Miguel Gutierrez, and the trio will work hard to retain a place into next season, particularly when some of the more experienced figures are expected to depart from the Santiago Bernabeu this summer. 

Antonio Blanco, for example, is proving himself to become an alternative to Luka Modric and Toni Kroos in midfield, while Miguel Gutierrez could turn into the backup left-back if Marcelo leaves the club. 

Elsewhere, Sergio Arribas could possibly replace Isco, who also seems to be on his way this summer, and Victor Chust will hope to get more chances if either Sergio Ramos or Raphael Varane also leave. 

Possible Starting Lineups of Chelsea and Real Madrid 

Chelsea: Édouard Mendy – Cesar Azpilicueta, Thiago Silva, Antonio Rudiger – Reece James, N'Golo Kante, Jorginho, Ben Chilwell – Christian Pulisic, Mason Mount – Timo Werner. (3-4-2-1)  

Real Madrid: Thibaut Courtois – Ferland Mendy, Sergio Ramos, Eder Militao, Alvaro Odriozola – Toni Kroos, Casemiro, Luka Modric – Vinicius Junior, Karim Benzema, Marco Asensio. (4-3-3) 

Spooky Express Betting Prediction 

Both tacticians currently impose two different football philosophies as Thomas Tuchel plays out a pacey formation with versatile forwards, while his French counterpart deploys a classic centre-forward, whose killing instinct makes Real Madrid pretty reliant on his form.

One is certain, Los Blancos will have to score at least one goal if they wish to proceed and Karim Benzema will once again be the big danger to Chelsea's hopes of reaching their first Champions League showdown since they defeated Bayern Munich at their own Allianz Arena in 2012.

Never write off Real Madrid, especially in this competition. However, Chelsea have been absolutely relentless to give up and on the contrary, they might even regard themselves as somehow unfortunate not to take an advantage into the second leg at Stamford Bridge. They are now considered +120 favorites (-155 to advance) to win in regular time as a result. 

If Chelsea repeat the same performance on Wednesday, the Champions of La Liga could find themselves in a very tricky situation as the Blues are already confident in their own ability and that Real Madrid are far from invincible. 

However, we are still backing Real's pedigree in the competition and their world-class midfield trio remains one of the most experienced and skilled units in Europe. This could be a game-changer and we expect Real Madrid to edge past Chelsea. 

Spooky Express Free Play: To advance – Real Madrid +125 @ BetOnline for 5/10 Units

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