CL talking points: Foden vs Bellingham at No 10; Kane to haunt Arsenal?

Foden and Bellingham: The battle of England’s No 10s

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Soccer Saturday pundit Tim Sherwood says England should build around Phil Foden rather than Jude Bellingham

Who should start as England’s No 10 at Euro 2024? The two leading candidates face off at the Bernabeu when Jude Bellingham’s Real Madrid host Phil Foden’s Manchester City on Tuesday night.

Bellingham is Gareth Southgate’s pick in that spot right now. And with 20 goals in his first season in Madrid to his name, there is no doubt the 20-year-old is a worthy selection.

He scored his first Wembley goal for his country with the last-gasp equaliser against Belgium last month and his link-up play with Harry Kane, when the captain has been fit, has been encouraging.

In that Belgium game, Foden began on the left wing and that is his regular position for England – but there is a growing clamour for the 23-year-old to be used more centrally. That seems to be the best use of his talents, with Foden himself saying it is where he wants to play after scoring a hat-trick from the No 10 role against Aston Villa last week.

But would Southgate be prepared to drop Bellingham deeper to accommodate Foden as a No 10?

On opposite sides in Madrid, Bellingham and Foden will have the chance to showcase what they bring to the coveted role – and perhaps convince Southgate why they should be prioritised in that key playmaking position.
Peter Smith

Champions League quarter-final first legs

  • Tuesday: Arsenal vs Bayern Munich; Real Madrid vs Man City
  • Wednesday: Atletico Madrid vs Borussia Dortmund; PSG vs Barcelona

Will Kane strike against Arsenal again?

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Will Harry Kane strike against Arsenal again in the Champions League? After all, he is the top goalscorer in north London derby history with 14 goals…

Arsenal thought they had seen the back of Harry Kane after years of torment and frustration.

The England captain scored 14 goals in 19 games against the Gunners in Tottenham colours – only Leicester and Everton have a worse record when it comes to defending against Kane. That run against Arsenal includes goals in five out of his eight trips to the Emirates Stadium.

Now Kane returns to one of his favourite stages as a Bayern Munich player with 38 goals in his first 37 matches for his new side. An unstoppable force.

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Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta says his side’s Champions League fixture against Bayern Munich is a big task and admits the Gunners need to be ruthless

But is he coming up against an immovable object? He will line up against an Arsenal defence that has not conceded in a month, with William Saliba and Gabriel fresh from keeping out Erling Haaland at the Etihad Stadium a few weeks ago.

What will give as Arsenal welcome back their No 1 villain to north London?
Sam Blitz

Sancho to showcase revived form?

Dortmund's Jadon Sancho leaves the pitch after being substituted
Jadon Sancho is finding form again at Borussia Dortmund

Manchester United’s forgotten man Jadon Sancho will aim to showcase his revived form when Borussia Dortmund go to Atletico Madrid on Wednesday.

After being left out of Erik ten Hag’s plans since August, it was no surprise it took the 24-year-old winger some time to get going on loan at Dortmund – but he looks to be back up to speed now.

Before the international break there were goals in back-to-back games, including the opener in the last-16 second leg with PSV to help Dortmund to this stage. Since then he has sparkled in the 2-0 win at Bayern Munich, where he topped the dribbling stats, and stood out in the defeat to Stuttgart, where he created no fewer than seven chances for his team-mates.

United’s Champions League ambitions for this season have long been over – but Sancho will aim to show his parent club what they are missing this week.
Peter Smith

CL would be perfect PSG farewell for Mbappe

March 5, 2024, Donostia / San Sebastian, Gipuzkoa, Spain: Kylian Mbappe (forward; Paris Saint-Germain) in action during the UEFA Champions League match between Real Sociedad vs Paris Saint-Germain UEFA Champions League at Reale Arena / Anoeta Stadium on March 5, 2024 in Donostia / San Sebastian, Spain (Cal Sport Media via AP Images)
Kylian Mbappe is expected to leave Paris Saint-Germain this summer

Kylian Mbappe was a world champion before he reached the age of 20. However, now aged 25, the Champions League continues to be the prize that alludes him.

Mbappe’s long-term future seems to lie elsewhere but the Frenchman will been keen to lead Paris Saint-Germain to their first Champions League trophy and cement his legacy at the club.

Rumours of a departure have resulted in a disjointed season at the Parc des Princes. Cryptic comments from head coach Luis Enrique and time on the bench has been the story of what is expected to be his final campaign with the French club.

Despite the drama, Mbappe has still enjoyed a return of 39 goals in all competitions, including six in this season’s Champions League. PSG’s quarter-final tie against Barcelona will give the French forward another opportunity to write himself into football folklore.

Barcelona will be wary of the prospect of coming up against Mbappe, who has scored four goals in just two games against them.

The Spanish champions’ 6-1 comeback in 2017 preceded Mbappe’s move to Paris, but PSG’s hopes to avenge the result will surely rest at the feet of their star forward.

Real Madrid is expected to be his next destination. Should that be the case Mbappe has the chance to endear himself to the fans before even pulling on the famous white strip.
William Bitibiri

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