“Lessons can be learned, that’s pretty sure. For a lot of my players it’s the first time they’ve played in this competition.
“Most of the goals we conceded were our mistake, it’s happened many time this season and hopefully it will happen less next season.”
Guardiola isn’t a manager who usually gives a lot of garbage answers, but that experience excuse makes eyes roll 720 degrees or more.
Aside from John Stones and Leroy Sane, his Wednesday 18 was nearly identical to the one he trotted out against Real Madrid in last season’s semifinal.
Wily Caballero, Aleksandar Kolarov, and Raheem Sterling went from the bench last year to this season’s XI, with Jesus Navas and Nicolas Otamendi heading the other direction, but this wasn’t about experience.
Juventus has allowed just two goals in eight UCL matches this year, an even better mark than its sparkling 19 goals conceded in 28 Serie A matches.
Barcelona is surely going to test that number, likely to find a way to at least double Juve’s European concession.
Yet the Old Lady will have a chance to flex its offensive prowess through Gonzalo Higuain, Paulo Dybala, and Miralem Pjanic. With Sami Khedira posted atop a sterling back line, Juve has the recipe to hold off Barca.
The Blaugranas, however, have Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, and Neymar and an incisive pair of midfield metronomes in Andres Iniesta and Ivan Rakitic.
Prediction: Barca, 3-2.
Monaco vs. Borussia Dortmund
What’s the over/under for goals on this one? 8? 10? More?
Monaco brings its high-flying attack and BVB replies with… its high-flying attack. For every argument one side would like to make, there’s an answer on the other side.
The prowess of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, one of the top strikers in the world? Meet a trio of very different attackers in resurgent Radamel Falcao, young Kylian Mbappe, and under-the-radar vice captain Valere Germain.
The difference as we see it will be how Monaco’s marauding wing backs/fullbacks Benjamin Mendy and Djibil Sidibe operate given the threats provided to their defensive positions by Christian Pulisic, Ousmane Dembele, and Marco Reus.
Prediction: Monaco, 7-5.
Leicester City vs. Atletico Madrid
Both sides probably fit quite neatly into their respective leagues’ “Never rule out” category, for different reasons.
With Leicester, it’s a club which has achieved the unthinkable: Defeating all comers in what was probably the most surprising championship of all-time.
In terms of Atletico, there’s a defensive wizard in Diego Simeone who has twice been to the precipice of Champions League glory despite finishing better than third in La Liga exactly once this century.
We imagine Leicester will find a way through the Atleti back line at least once, but Antoine Griezmann and company represent a step up in class from Sevilla (Yes we realize Sevilla has a five-point table edge on Atleti).
Prediction: Atletico, 4-1.
Real Madrid vs. Bayern Munich
Carlo Ancelotti has Bayern Munich on the verge of its fourth-straight semifinal, with a club that controversially dismissed him standing in the way.
That club also is the most successful side in European Cup history, even if the first six of their 11 titles came when the tournament was limited to one club per league.
Tactically, it’s very difficult to imagine where the advantage lies for these super powers. There are even unique emotional “advantages” on both sides, with Real’s Gareth Bale aiming to play a final in his home country of Wales and Bayern looking to buoy both Ancelotti and the final season for hero Philipp Lahm.
Your guess is as good as ours, but we’re going with Ancelotti’s bunch… on a hunch.
Prediction: Bayern, 4-2.
Semifinals Bayern Munich defeats Atletico Madrid Barcelona tops Monaco
And while Nasri certainly deserved a second yellow for the altercation, Vardy helped make sure it came true by wildly reacting to the contact. The Englishman also seemed to move his head toward contact.
“He played it well. I thought the English players were tougher than that. He is the one who came to my face.”
“If I tell the truth I don’t think you will be able to write it. I would love to speak to him – there are too many cameras and security and I have to think about next year and not getting a big suspension.”
Expect these quotes not to be lent much credence despite some truth due to Nasri’s status as a bit of a baby. The former Man City man quit the France national team after being dropped once by Didier Deschamps, and has been investigated for IV doping amongst other negative headlines.
But Vardy played his part to the extreme, a bit of gamesmanship which helped Leicester move onto the quarters. Should he be faulted for that? Both chatted “stuff”, Vardy got banged.