Back of the Net: Man City into Champions League semi finals

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By Niall Clarke

  • Manchester City defeat Paris Saint Germain 3-2 on aggregate to secure a Champions League semi final place
  • Manchester United defeat West Ham in the FA Cup Quarter Final replay
  • Shortlist announced for PFA Player and young player of the year

Manchester City defeated Paris Saint Germain 3-2 on aggregate to secure their first ever Champions League semi final place.

Champions League Round up

History has been made in Manchester as Kevin De Bruyne’s second half strike earned City a 1-0 victory over Paris Saint Germain, and sent the Citizens into the Champions League semi finals.

After a 2-2 draw in Paris, City came back to Manchester a week later knowing they only had to keep out PSG to secure a place in the last four. Sergio Aguero missed a penalty in a goalless first half, but  De Bruyne struck a blow into the hearts of the travelling supporters with a finish from outside the area on 76 minutes. PSG looked rather flat again which could be down to the fact they have little competition domestically. They rarely come up against opposition as good as Manchester City, and it showed in yet another poor performance. It was a professional performance from Manuel Pellegrini’s side who could face incoming manager Pep Guardiola in the semi final.

Bayern played out an entertaining 2-2 draw in Lisbon to secure a 3-2 aggregate win over Benfica. Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat trick as Real Madrid overturned a 2-0 first leg deficit to see off Wolfsburg. The Portuguese scored two goals in as many minutes to level the tie before sealing victory in the second half.

Perhaps the biggest story came from the other side of Madrid however. Atletico Madrid upset holders Barcelona with a 3-2 aggregate victory. The 2014 runners up came through 2-0 victors in the night thanks to two goals from Antoine Griezmann. Barcelona’s recent struggles continue as the ‘MSN’ combination struggled to make an impact.

Manchester United defeat West Ham in the FA Cup

Upton Park is not the easiest place to go these days, but for Manchester United it proved a happy hunting ground. Marcus Rashford and Marouane Fellaini were on target in the second half to give Manchester United a 2-0 lead.  James Tomkins got the Hammers back into the game ten minutes from time, but a great performance from David De Gea in the United goal made sure that Louis Van Gaal’s side made it to the semi finals against Everton.

During the FA Cup and Champions League action, the Toffee’s were on Premier League duty against Crystal Palace. James McCarthy saw red for two yellow cards but neither side was able to break the deadlock resulting in a 0-0 draw.

PFA player and young player of the year shortlist announced.

Today it was announced which players are on the shortlist for PFA player of the year and young player of the year.

Player of the year: Harry Kane, N’Golo Kante, Riyad Mahrez, Mesut Ozil, Dimitri Payet, and Jamie Vardy.

Young player of the year: Dele Alli,  Ross Barkley, Jack Butland, Philippe Coutinho, Harry Kane, Romelu Lukaku.

With the shortlists now announced, the Britwatch team weighed in with their opinions on who should win the awards.

Niall Clarke

Player of the year- Kante: Whilst the Mahrez and Vardy have made the headlines for Leicester, Kante has been the consistent rock in midfield all season. The Frenchman has been excellent since joining in the summer and has been key to the title charge. This may be a strange choice considering the goals of Vardy and Kane,  and the wizardry of Ozil and Mahrez, but over the 38 games Kante has been more consistent than any of them.

Young player of the year- Kane: The Spurs striker has bagged another 20+ goal season up top, proving that last campaign was no fluke. Kane is in contention for the golden boot and has been the key man in Spurs’ title challenge. Ali has looked great in his first season too, but Kane has been more influential.

Ryan Moran

Player of the year- Dimitri Payet: In a season of unpredictability and underdog stories, the recognition of

Leicester’s season is amplified in Mahrez, Vardy and Kante’s nomination.

While those three players deserve to be on the list, the duo of Mahrez and Vardy are half the beast without the other. However, for one side their damage limitation is vastly impacted with the exclusion of one player. West Ham’s baron run coincided with Payet’s spell on the sidelines. If the Frenchman had stayed fit, could the Hammers have been closer to a Champions League place? The impact one individual has on a side through individual flair and vision without even mentioning his free kick specialism. His call up to the French national side was fully justified and one of hopefully many to come.

Young player of the year- Dele Alli: The future is bright for Roy Hodgson and England as four out of the six players on the list are English. In a season of underdogs, surely Dele Alli creeps into that category. A League One starlet initially embedded as a winger has forced his way into the starting XI of a top four side.

An air of arrogance surrounds a young man with talent in abundance and more importantly his fair share of goals. The midfielder can attack and protect his back four with his call up to the Senior squad a show of his potential.

The Joe Root of English football launched himself onto the international scene with a sensational drive past his Tottenham teammate Hugo Lloris against France. A standout in the young player category and, for me, has made a bigger impact than last year’s winner Kane in his debut Premier League season.