Classic all-English Champions League ties: Tottenham v Man City has a lot to live up to

By Sports Desk March 15, 2019

Manchester City and Tottenham were drawn together in the Champions League quarter-finals on Friday, a tie that follows a rich history of all-English clashes in the knockout phase of the competition.

City came through a straightforward last-16 meeting with Schalke, hammering the Bundesliga side 7-0 at home in the second leg to progress 10-2 on aggregate.

Spurs were also fairly comfortable in the round of 16, running out 4-0 victors across the two legs against Borussia Dortmund.

Both teams will be expecting a gruelling tie, with all-English occasions in the Champions League rarely disappointing.

Below, we examine five classics from the knockout stages...

 

2004-05 semi-final: Liverpool 1-0 Chelsea (agg)

En route to lifting the 2004-05 crown in an unforgettable final against AC Milan, Liverpool squeezed past Chelsea in one of the most memorable Champions League ties ever. The whole 180 minutes came down to an early Luis Garcia goal in the second leg, though it was a controversial decision to say the least. The Spaniard nudged the ball goalwards after Petr Cech was caught out of his goal and, although William Gallas appeared to have just stopped it going over the line, what would come to be known as the 'ghost goal' was allowed to stand.

2007-08 final: Chelsea 1-1 Manchester United (aet, 5-6 on penalties)

Just two points separated them at the Premier League summit and, just as they did domestically, United pipped Chelsea to the trophy. First-half goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Frank Lampard saw the match go to extra-time, in which Didier Drogba was sent off for slapping Nemanja Vidic. The match ultimately went to a shoot-out and Chelsea looked set to win after Ronaldo spurned his kick, but John Terry slipped and missed what would have been the clincher, and Edwin van der Sar saved from Nicolas Anelka to leave the Blues' captain in tears.

2008-09 quarter-final: Liverpool 5-7 Chelsea (agg)

It all started so well for Liverpool, as Fernando Torres put them 1-0 up just six minutes into the first leg at Anfield, but Chelsea overpowered them – Branislav Ivanovic heading in twice, before Drogba sealed the 3-1 win. The Reds began the return game brilliantly as well, finding themselves 2-0 up inside 28 minutes, but again Guus Hiddink's men rallied, pulling level just shy of the hour-mark as the game finished 4-4 in a thriller, sending Chelsea into the semi-finals.

2008-09 semi-final: Manchester United 4-1 Arsenal (agg)

A matter of weeks later, Alex Ferguson's United side produced a classic display of counter-attacking football to get past Arsenal. A 1-0 first-leg defeat was kind to the Gunners, but at the Emirates they were completely undone, as Park Ji-sung put the visitors one up early on after an incisive break. Manuel Almunia then failed to keep out Ronaldo's 40-yard free-kick, before the Portugal star got United's third after another devastating counter. Robin van Persie's controversial penalty was a mere consolation, but the Red Devils were unable to reproduce their performance in the final against Barcelona - Darren Fletcher's red card for conceding the spot-kick that saw him miss the showpiece was arguably a factor.

2017-18 quarter-final: Manchester City 1-5 Liverpool (agg)

City may have been running away with the Premier League, but any hope of also conquering Europe for the first time was emphatically ended by Liverpool. Jurgen Klopp's side blew their visitors away in the opening 31 minutes of the first leg, astonishingly racing into a 3-0 lead, which was how the game ended. In Manchester, Pep Guardiola's slim chances were temporarily improved with Gabriel Jesus' second-minute goal, but the Reds surged home in the second half – goals from Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino sealing a famous two-legged victory on their way to the final.

 

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  • De Ligt to Juve: Opta data reveals danger to Bonucci De Ligt to Juve: Opta data reveals danger to Bonucci

    Juventus have won the race for Matthijs de Ligt and handed Maurizio Sarri an €85.5million asset set to immediately challenge for a starting spot.

    The Netherlands international commanded the attention of Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Manchester United and more before agreeing a five-year contract in Turin.

    De Ligt, 19, captained Ajax with distinction in Europe and the Eredivisie last term and compiled a set of statistics consistent with a player who could change the look of Serie A's strongest defence. 

    Our dive into the Opta data illustrates why one half of Juve's established centre-back pairing might be looking over his shoulder.

    Bonucci battle brewing

    De Ligt has walked through the doors at Allianz Stadium in rather more triumphant fashion than Leonardo Bonucci did almost 12 months ago.

    The Italy international returned from an ill-fated stint at AC Milan and resumed his partnership with Giorgio Chiellini at the heart of the four-man defence regularly employed by Massimiliano Allegri.

    The results were not as intended.

    Juve conceded more goals – 30 – in Serie A than in any of their previous seven title-winning campaigns, and were breached twice in the Champions League on four separate occasions.

    De Ligt could apply serious pressure to the 32-year-old's position.

    New boss Sarri favours a 4-3-3 system and his shiny new acquisition outperformed fellow right-footer Bonucci in most key defensive measures last term.

    Across all competitions, De Ligt won more duels (5.48), aerial contests (3.77) and tackles (0.61) per 90 minutes, while also completing a greater average number of clearances (3.95) and recoveries (6.53).

    Dwarfed in each category by the Dutchman, Bonucci ranked last behind Chiellini, Daniele Rugani and the now-retired Andrea Barzagli for duels (3.02), aerial contests (1.75) and clearances (2.86).

     

    Aerial prowess an alternative weapon

    Sarri's Chelsea were accused of being a one-dimensional team that sought only to break opposition sides down through often tedious passing sequences.

    Alvaro Morata and Gonzalo Higuain floundered in their attempts to spearhead the front three and the Blues scored the fewest goals of all top-six sides in the Premier League.

    Tormenting defences domestically should be no trouble for Cristiano Ronaldo, Paulo Dybala, Moise Kean and Juve's high-class attacking cohort, but Sarri would be wise to seek out a variety of scoring sources for an assault on multiple fronts.

    In De Ligt, he has an aerial ace capable of climbing above any pack.

    The 19-year-old conjured seven goals for Ajax last season: three in the Eredivisie, one against rivals Feyenoord in the KNVB Beker, and a further three in the Champions League.

    Six of those were headed, including the towering effort which knocked Juve out of Europe while he also nodded an equaliser for Netherlands in their Nations League victory over England.

    Bonucci, scorer of three goals, was the only Bianconeri defender to manage more than two.

    Crucial interventions in big matches could tip the selection scale in De Ligt's favour.

     

    Durability threatens established order

    In the wake of Barzagli's retirement and the end of Martin Caceres' short-term loan, Juve reinforced their defensive stocks by signing Turkey international Merih Demiral from Sassuolo.

    The 21-year-old will almost certainly find his place in the pecking order behind Rugani, a favourite of Sarri's since their time together at Empoli.

    Bringing in a fifth centre-back to compete for one of two positions could lead the Italian champions to consider replenishing a diminished bank balance.

    Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City have reportedly shown interested in Bonucci, whose future is at least less certain than that of captain Chiellini.

    What is in no doubt is De Ligt's readiness to carry the load required of a regular starter.

    Throughout a demanding 2018-19 season, the reigning Golden Boy award winner turned out more times (55) than Chiellini and Rugani combined. Bonucci, Juve's top appearance-maker, started 14 fewer games.

    Sarri demonstrated appreciation for a high degree of availability as he consistently paired David Luiz and Antonio Rudiger together at Stamford Bridge until a knee injury removed the latter from calculations.

    Now, armed with hard evidence of De Ligt's excellence, the Bianconeri boss might forge a fresh partnership in Turin to herald the beginning of a new era.

  • De Ligt to Juve: Ajax captain joins most expensive teenagers of all time De Ligt to Juve: Ajax captain joins most expensive teenagers of all time

    Matthijs de Ligt's protracted move to Juventus has finally been completed, with the defender becoming one of football's priciest teenagers.

    The Ajax captain will play for the Serie A champions next term after Juve saw off competition from clubs including Paris Saint-Germain, Barcelona and Manchester United.

    De Ligt's star rose last term with Ajax reaching the semi-finals of the Champions League, as well as claiming a domestic double under coach Erik ten Hag.

    But he now faces justifying a fee of €75million, potentially rising to €85.5m, that makes him the most expensive under-20 defender of all time. Omnisport takes a look at the 10 most expensive teenage transfers and how they fared.

    Kylian Mbappe: Monaco to Paris Saint-Germain - €180m

    Likely to remain the world's most expensive teenage signing for some time, Kylian Mbappe is already well on the way to justifying the €180m outlay PSG made to prise him away from Monaco two years ago. Mbappe had fired Monaco to a shock Ligue 1 title triumph before departing and his goals have continued to flow in the French capital with 33 in just 29 Ligue 1 games last season. Still just 20, Mbappe has arguably eclipsed team-mate Neymar already, while he has won a World Cup with France. Pele has acknowledged comparisons with the forward, who looks a certain Ballon d'Or winner in the near future. It would take a world-record fee to buy Mbappe, but he has hinted he could be open to leaving PSG.

    Joao Felix: Benfica to Atletico Madrid - €126m

    Potentially rivalling Mbappe for top individual honours in the years to come could be Joao Felix, who shoulders the burden of replacing Antoine Griezmann at Atletico Madrid, assuming the forward forces through his desired move away from the Wanda Metropolitano. Joao Felix hit 20 goals in all competitions for Benfica last term, three of those strikes coming in the Europa League, to announce himself among the world's top talents. It remains to be seen whether he is ready for the step up, with Atletico gambling €126m that the 19-year-old is a star of the future.


    Matthijs de Ligt: Ajax to Juventus - €85.5m

    Barcelona were linked with De Ligt, having already sealed a deal for club and country team-mate Frenkie de Jong, but the Ajax captain has instead opted for Serie A. There, he will work under the new Juve head coach Maurizio Sarri with European success demanded after the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo failed to deliver the prized Champions League. Domestic dominance is virtually assured, but De Ligt will have to show he can slot straight into one of the planet's tightest defences. A high-profile mistake against England in the Nations League semi-finals showed De Ligt is not yet the complete package, but Italy could be the ideal finishing school.


    Anthony Martial: Monaco to Manchester United - €60m

    Eyebrows were raised when United parted with €60m for Martial in 2015, with one British newspaper describing the deal as a "waste of money" in a back-page splash. Martial has not quite proved that assessment wrong, although he scored 10 goals in 27 Premier League appearances last term. At 23 he has further development to come and the departure of Jose Mourinho, whose lack of faith in the France forward appeared clear, might well help him make a jump to the next level under successor Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.


    Rodrygo Goes: Santos to Real Madrid - €45m

    Real Madrid have been signing young talent in recent seasons in a departure from their Galactico-focused days, although the signing of Eden Hazard and a potential deal for Paul Pogba may change things. Rodrygo Goes will link up with Zinedine Zidane's squad for 2019-20 having remained on loan with Santos after completing a transfer to the LaLiga giants. The 18-year-old is full of promise and Madrid will hope he can be their Neymar.


    Vinicius Junior: Flamengo to Real Madrid - €45m

    Rodrygo is following in the footsteps of fellow Brazilian Vinicius Junior, who was a rare shining light for Madrid last term, scoring two LaLiga goals. It remains to be seen where Zidane sees Rodrygo and Vinicius fitting in, especially as Hazard seems certain to take up one of the attacking positions and Luka Jovic has also arrived from Eintracht Frankfurt to compete for a striking berth. Fitting everyone in seems set to be a challenge, but Vinicius could be Madrid's future along with Rodrygo.


    Luke Shaw: Southampton to Manchester United - €37.5m

    Like Martial, Luke Shaw is another player who seems to have laboured under a large price tag at times – which perhaps should be a warning sign for new arrival Aaron Wan-Bissaka after the 21-year-old joined from Crystal Palace. Shaw also had a fractious relationship with Mourinho but made the United left-back spot his own with 29 Premier League starts in 2018-19. The 23-year-old will hope to make further progress this term, but did not make the cut for Gareth Southgate's England squad for the Nations League Finals, with Ben Chilwell and Danny Rose preferred.


    Wayne Rooney: Everton to Manchester United - €37m

    Wayne Rooney certainly repaid his fee – he was British football's most expensive teenager – becoming United's all-time leading goalscorer and winning five Premier League titles at the club, as well as the 2007-08 Champions League. Rooney will go down as a United great despite affairs such as agitating for a move and falling out with Alex Ferguson. Rooney dropped out of favour in the latter years of his time at Old Trafford and was also sidelined for England, with a return to boyhood club Everton failing to spark. But joining MLS strugglers DC United has been a clever move and Rooney, now 33, is inspiring their rise.


    Renato Sanches: Benfica to Bayern Munich - €35m

    Bayern thought they were signing a player who would become one of the era's dominant midfielders when they snapped up Renato Sanches from Benfica, but the transfer has not worked out at all. Bayern bought Sanches before he won Euro 2016 with Portugal but, three years later, that remains the highlight of his career. Sanches flopped in a loan spell with Swansea City in the Premier League and seems surplus to requirements at Bayern. The 21-year-old desperately needs to kickstart his career with a move away and has been linked with Turkish giants Fenerbahce.


    Gabriel Jesus: Palmeiras to Manchester City - €32m

    Handed City's number nine shirt ahead of the 2019-20 season, Gabriel Jesus seems set for a defining campaign. At times after his arrival from Palmeiras the Brazil striker – who just helped his side win the Copa America on home soil – seemed to be preferred to Sergio Aguero by City boss Pep Guardiola, but the tables were turned last term as the Argentina attacker finally won his manager's total faith. Jesus was restricted to just eight Premier League starts in 2018-19 but still scored seven times and he was picked over Aguero for the FA Cup final demolition of Watford, in which he scored a brace.

  • De Ligt to Juve: How Sarri's Bianconeri could line up next season De Ligt to Juve: How Sarri's Bianconeri could line up next season

    One of the more prolonged transfer sagas of the close-season is over after Juventus completed the purchase of highly rated Dutch defender Matthijs de Ligt from Ajax.

    The 19-year-old is regarded as one of the finest prospects in world football and will cost Juve a total of €85.5million, with the Serie A champions beating off competition from a host of major European clubs for his signature.

    Manchester United, Manchester City, Barcelona and Liverpool were all strongly linked with the imposing centre-back, but he will instead bolster Juve's already impressive squad.

    Juve have moved with impressive decisiveness in the transfer market in recent times and new coach Maurizio Sarri has a particularly strong array of defenders to choose from next term following confirmation of De Ligt's arrival.

    Below, we examined what Sarri's squad looks like after De Ligt's signing, what further changes could be made and how the team might start the season...

    GOALKEEPER AND DEFENCE – An end of an era?

    There have been changes aplenty in this department at Juve recently. Wojciech Szczesny can expect to remain first choice between the posts, but the return of Gianluigi Buffon on a year-long contract will keep the Pole on his toes.

    One of the most surprising things about Juve's close season is their apparent willingness to offload Joao Cancelo, a standout performer last term. He is being strongly linked with Manchester City, as Danilo seems likely to go the other way.

    Nevertheless, Juve's defence has been suitably bolstered. With Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci getting on in years, the sought-after De Ligt, Cristian Romero and Merih Demiral provide long-term quality and youthfulness at centre-back (albeit Romero will remain at Genoa on loan next season], while 19-year-old Luca Pellegrini offers competition at left-back.

    Sarri's biggest decision will revolve around his centre-back choices. Having worked with Daniele Rugani at Empoli, he might see more action and De Ligt can surely expect to feature regularly.

    An end to the Chiellini-Bonucci dynasty might not be far away.

     

    MIDFIELD – Big roles for Pjanic and Ramsey

    Aaron Ramsey and Adrien Rabiot are the new midfield arrivals and both join with massive expectations – particularly the former, who many feel could be Juve's answer to the Marek Hamsik of Sarri's Napoli side.

    Sarri's favoured 4-3-3 dictates one of the midfield trio will sit deeper. He likes that player to be very comfortable on the ball and a fine passer, meaning Miralem Pjanic looks set to fill the 'Jorginho role', as the Bosnian appears rather more suited than Sami Khedira and Emre Can.

    Given Rabiot's lack of action over the past year at Paris Saint-Germain, he looks to have the most work to do to break into the starting XI, while Rodrigo Bentancur's fine development means he is likely to become essential.

    However, should Juve pull off the signing of Paul Pogba from Manchester United, he would surely be an automatic pick on the left of the central trident.

     

    ATTACK – Departures galore expected

    Juve's options in attack are numerous, and several of them were being linked with moves away even before Sarri's appointment was confirmed.

    Paulo Dybala, Juan Cuadrado, Douglas Costa and Mario Mandzukic are all reportedly for sale, while Gonzalo Higuain's situation is by no means clear.

    The Argentinian excelled under Sarri at Napoli and joined him at Chelsea in January, but he underwhelmed in the Premier League. As such, it is difficult to see how he fits in at Juve, but he and the coach clearly have a rapport.

    Federico Bernardeschi and Cristiano Ronaldo are untouchable, while Moise Kean showed plenty of promise towards the end of last season, but if all of Sarri's expendables leave, they will be left a little short on the flanks.

    Few wingers have been linked with the Bianconeri, though they are said to hold an interest in Callum Hudson-Odoi, Federico Chiesa and Burnley youngster Dwight McNeil.

     

    POSSIBLE JUVENTUS XI FOR 2019-20

    Szczesny; De Sciglio, De Ligt, Rugani, Alex Sandro; Pjanic, Ramsey, Bentancur; Bernardeschi, Ronaldo, Mandzukic

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