Champions League Thoughts

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Tomorrow sees the draw made for the first knockout stage of the Champions League. It’s meant to be at 11am but knowing UEFA, we’ll see at least 45 minutes of backslapping, pointless awards and shuffling of feet before we get round to the shuffling of balls. There could be some interesting ties even if the big boys are kept apart. Lets have a look at what could be in store for the Big Four.

 

Arsenal:

How they qualified: Second place in Group G behind Porto.

Who they could face: Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Juventus, Panathinaikos, Roma.

Who they would like: Panathinaikos look the easiest on paper and now have former Arsenal midfielder Gilberto. Roma and Juve have both been beaten in recent years.

Who ITV/Sky would like them to get: Barcelona over two legs would provide some great football and also a revenge angle following defeat in the 2006 final. Bayern Munich beat Arsenal in the second round in 2005 and will provide a stern test. 

But who will they get?

But who will they get?

 

Chelsea:

How they qualified: A slightly nervous second behind Roma in Group A.

Who they could face: Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Juventus, Panathinaikos, Porto.

Who they would like: Again, Panathinaikos  look the easiest on paper but Chelsea should be reasonably confident against anyone but Barca.

Who ITV/Sky would like them to get: Barcelona and Chelsea have recent history having played in both 2005 and 2006. The lack of Mourinho means there would probably be less antipathy between the two this time but it would still be a showpiece occasion with Barcelona showing Chelsea exactly what being a big club means.

 

Liverpool:

How they qualified: Comfortably topped Group D ahead of Atletico Madrid.

Who they could face: Inter Milan, Lyon, Real Madrid, Sporting Lisbon, Villarreal. 

Who they would like: Lyon, Sporting or Villareal. All good teams but all probably not strong enough to beat Liverpool over two legs. 

Who ITV/Sky would like them to get: Liverpool v Real Madrid would be see the teams play each other for the first time since the 1981 final when Liverpool won 1-0 with Alan Kennedy’s late goal. However I think we all know what is going to happen. Liverpool will blatantly draw Inter meaning Rafa Benitez will face Jose Mourinho for about the 436th time in the last four years. Not even a move to Italy for Jose can keep them away. Expect bitter sniping, boring football and a tie decided by goal off Dirk Kuyt’s hand with ten minutes to go in the second leg. Can’t wait… 

The game will be this close too...

The game will be this close too...

 

Manchester United:

How they qualified: Top of a weak (well it contained Celtic) Group E.

Who they could face: Atletico Madrid, Inter Milan, Lyon, Real Madrid, Sporting Lisbon.

Who they would like: Lyon wouldn’t hold too much fear and it would give Fergie a chance to tap up Karim Benzema.

Who ITV/Sky would like them to get: A reunion with Mourinho and his Inter side would provide some good quotes, if perhaps not as much hatred as Liverpool v Inter. Real Madrid however have provided some classic moments against United in the past few years. Namely Redondo and Raul making fools of Henning Berg and Co in 2002, the real Ronaldo’s hat-trick at Old Trafford in 2003 and finally this great clash below from the 1960s…

 

T.

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One Response to “Champions League Thoughts”

  1. Football Guy Says:

    You forgot to mention the Henry angle if Arsenal play Barca!

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