Do you want some more Champions League football? Of course, you do. We all do.
There are now only 8 teams left in the 2016/17 UEFA Champions League race, and as soon as the Quarter-Final draws were concluded, we all set mental reminders for the 11th and 12th of April, 2017 (today and tomorrow), and made sure there’d be nothing to distract us.
The level of global anticipation is also as high as it’s ever been, thanks, especially, to insanely thrilling Round of 16; with three Spanish teams, two from Germany, and one each from Italy, France and England, set to take part in the competitions next chapter, we’re expecting a bunch of stars (of varying nationalities) to, once again, light up the biggest stage in club football.
This means it’s now time for us at The ELVN to give you our Top ELVN picks of players to watch, in the four Quarter-Final games scheduled for this week. We hope you enjoy it. (Remember to use the numbers at the bottom of each page to navigate your way through the rest.)
11. Dani Alves:
Dani Alves is one of four former La Liga players who are expected to lineup for Juventus, tonight. The difference in his case, however, is that he’d be lining up against his immediate past team, Barcelona. Before leaving for Juve in the summer, the Brazilian right back spent roughly 8 years with The Blaugrana, where he won 3 Champions League trophies (including in 2015, when they beat his current team in the finals).
The importance of the role he played at the Camp Nou is now more evident than ever, as Barcelona’s struggles to find a suitable replacement for him have been evident for all to see. Several players have already been deployed in his position, but none of them have taken to it as well as he did. As a matter of fact; we’re still not sure who’ll be occupying it, tonight.
Alves, on his own part, has continued to impress for his new team, especially in the UCL; where he’s been an integral part of the team’s attacking game plan (just like at Barcelona), and is currently their second highest goal scorer, and highest assist provider (with two of each). We’ll definitely be interested in seeing what he gets up to, when his first ever game against his former team begins.
10. Jamie Vardy & Yohan Benalouane:
Jamie Vardy stayed scoreless in 61 minutes of action at Goodison Park, to end his scoring run at 4 competitive games. Still, he looked sharp going forward, and with 6 goals and 2 assists in his last 8 games for Leicester City, he looks to be back at the top of his game, once again.
He has a lot to make up for in the Champions League, where he’s scored only one goal, so far; but that goal came on Spanish soil, against Sevilla, and he should be brimming with confidence as his team makes its second trip to Spain, in a little less than two months.
At a completely different end of the pitch from Vardy, we have Yohan Benalouane. We’re not putting him on this list because he’s a potential goal threat (he probably could be, but we haven’t lost our minds just yet), instead, he’s here because we’re honestly worried about him.
As crappy as Leicester City’s defenders were, in the first two-thirds of the season, the Frenchman still failed to win a place in the side and all 6 of his appearances this season, have been in 2017 (2 in the FA Cup, 4 in the EPL). In the game against Everton, he was culpable, to some degree, for at least 3 of The Toffees’ 4 goals.
Tonight, he’ll be lacing up against the experienced attacking talents of Atletico Madrid, for his first ever UCL game (thanks to the continued absence of injured captain, Wes Morgan)… let’s remember him in our prayers.