European updates!

12th May 2023

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The shift this week has been to European football and we will start with Manchester City who are the only team in the semi finals of the Champions League not to have won the competition. It is the holy grail for all clubs of course to lift up the European Cup but there have been two clubs, because of their investment over the past decade who need the title more - Manchester City and PSG. The French champions with a roll call of superstars including Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe limped out with not too much fuss and were easily beaten by Bayern Munich. City were able to deal with Munich in the quarter finals and one feels that the club have emerged as the favourites to win the competition this season, they certainly look like it. However in midweek their first leg battle with Real Madrid the team who knocked them out of last seasons competition ended in a 1-1 draw. The good news for Pep Guardiola's side is that they played some brilliant football considering that they were away from home and they came back from a goal down. That goal which was akin to a rocket came from Kevin De Bruyne who surely must be among the favourites to win the Ballon D'Or this year.

City's semi final is on a knife edge but they rarely lose at home and they should fancy themselves to get the job done in Manchester. When these two clubs played last season City won 4-3 at the Etihad. In the other semi final we witnessed an all Serie A fixture as Milan took on Inter and Inter came out victorious with a commanding 2-0 win. Edin Dzeko the former Manchester City player scored an absolute cracking goal and while Milan were able to dominate more in the 2nd half they came off as second best. They will be hoping that star player Rafael Leao is fit for the 2nd leg as they dearly need him. Observers will be quick to point out that neither Milan team look like a match for Manchester City or Real Madrid and they remain the favourites to win the competition, we shall see.

To win the Champions League: Manchester City 1.66, Inter Milan 4.00, Real Madrid 5.00, AC Milan 34.00


The other team representing England is West Ham, who have, for the majority of the season struggled. But for the second successive season David Moyes has led his team to a European semi final, not only is that impressive it is also a surprise. The Hammers are in the Europa Conference League and it cannot be underestimated what it would mean for the club to win the competition. They haven't won a major trophy in 43 years and even if they were to reach the final it would only be the clubs second cup final appearance in the last 20 years. David Moyes side now has every chance as they came back from a goal down to beat Dutch side AZ Alkmaar 2-1 at home. There is still plenty to do in the return leg but if the Hammers were to score first they would feel that they have one foot in that prestigious final. They may face Basel who beat Fiorentina 2-1 in the first leg in Italy. It is a final that will take place at the Fortuna Stadium in Prague and while the city will be buzzing one has to question why a European final would take place in a stadium that only holds 19,000 fans? No matter who gets to the final the teams boast a huge fan base which could easily justify a stadium of 70,000 plus fans. Fans will feel like they have been slapped in the face by UEFA because only 10,000 tickets of the 19,000 will be available to the respective clubs- 5,000 each a further 9,000 will go to neutral fans and that just seems wholly unfair.

To win the Europa Conference League: West Ham 2.10, Basel 4.50, Fiorentina 5.00, AZ Alkmaar 5.50

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