UEFA Champions League Quarter Final Draw : What Does It Imply?
The last eight clubs of Europe's most prestigious club competition have been matched against each other in a draw in Nyon, Switzerland. Some very exciting ties have come up, which effectively gave a direction of how competition might end in Rome in May.
Villarreal v. Arsenal
Contrary to popular belief, this is a very tough tie for either the Yellow Submarine or the Gunners. However the Spanish giants, with the opening tie at home, will have to attack Arsenal (and score) and hope not to concede an away goal.
Arsene Wenger's Boys might want to score at El Madrigal if they are make a safe trip back to the Emirates. But with the return leg at home, and with quality like Arshavin and Van Persie, Arsenal just might make it.
Manchester United v. F.C. Porto
On paper, this is by far the easiest contest in all the quarter finals. All United faithfuls who were hoping for an easy draw might consider their prayers answered. The Red Devils start at Old Trafford and although the ideal situation is to start away, one just can't see any other result.
FC Porto will be hoping that United players all have hangovers with perhaps Edwin van der Sar playing as the striker. They have a return leg at the Dragão stadium, but they will not be making preparations for an after party...unless of course, they draw at Manchester, or maybe snatch a shock win.
Liverpool v. Chelsea
This is as tough as quarterfinals can get. It was almost inevitable that at least two English teams would face each other in the quarters. Last year they met in the semi's, but this year they clash earlier.
Previously, this contest was decided on spot kicks. Unless somehow Liverpool can slash Chelsea at Anfield, and hope to park the bus at The Bridge in the return leg, one can see another penalty shootout.
If history has a role to play in this encounter, Liverpool may just be semi-finalists along with the winners of the following tie.
F.C. Barcelona v. F.C. Bayern Munich
This may not be the toughest on paper, but definitely the most exciting. With both the Catalans and the Bavarians sitting at the top of this year's scores chart with 24 in the Champions league, you can't ask for a more attacking encounter. Some bill it as the best right (Alves+Messi) v. the best left (Lahm+Ribery).
Bayern have enough weapons in their arsenal to hurt Barcelona. Having completely deleted Sporting Lisbon (agg. 12-1) in the last 16, and with a return leg at home for this one, they have reasons to believe that they can cause an upset.
Barcelona however, are still favourites to win the encounter. With quality that goes beyond Alves and Messi, plus having gone back to their best form in recent weeks, Barcelona can win this one, especially if they can put a Lyon-like show at the Camp Nou. As President Joan Laporta said, "there will be magic at the Nou Camp."
If Manchester can brush Porto aside, they will face either Villarreal or Arsenal; a match you expect them to win, even though they will still have the return leg away.
Barcelona would face either Liverpool or Chelsea in the half-finals, should they defeat Bayern. This just looks so tough, I'm not even prepared to predict this one now.
So in essence, Rome might see a final of Manchester United against Liverpool or Barcelona. But this is the Champions league, you just never know what will happen.
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