One New Year's Resolution for Each of the Champions League's Last 16
And so that concludes the 2012/13 Champions League draw. There are some huge ties as always, with Manchester United setting up a mouth-watering clash against La Liga champions Real Madrid, while Arsenal was drawn with last year's runners-up, Bayern Munich, and Celtic playing Juventus, who knocked out Chelsea in the group stages.
With the New Year nearly upon us (providing the world doesn't end) here's some New Year's resolutions that clubs might want to consider going into 2013. Go on, read it. You know you want to...
AC Milan: Go on a 30-Game Unbeaten Run to Win the Serie A
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AC Milan really need to sort themselves out. They let go of some of their key players in the summer, including the big-money move to PSG for star duo Thiago Silva and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, with the deal said to be worth €51 million.
They continue to be reliant on their magnificent 20-year-old forward Stephan El Sharaawy, who has 18 goals in all competitions this season, and as a result are hoping that the highly rated Italian doesn't suffer an injury of some sort.
They've recovered well under Massimiliano Allegri, but Juventus could already be out of reach in the Serie A. A run of back-to-back wins would boost confidence, but selling any more key players certainly will not. Are you listening, vice president Adriano Galliani?
Arsenal: Convince Theo Walcott to Sign a New Deal
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Arsenal have been far from their best this season. Olivier Giroud has failed to live up to the hype surrounding him after his £13 million move from Montpellier, while Lukas Podolski has struggled to reach top form for the Gunners.
However, with Santi Cazorla and Jack Wilshere impressing in the centre of the park, there is another English player who has shone so far this season: their top scorer, Theo Walcott. The 23-year-old has enjoyed being deployed in a central attacker role, scoring 13 goals in all competitions, and could be the key man for them if they are to win a trophy for the first time since 2005.
However, in order to do that, they need to hand the former Southampton winger a contract worthy of his ability or risk losing him. After his heroics this season, securing Walcott's services for another five years should be top of Arsene Wenger's to-do list.
Barcelona: Stay Unbeaten During Tito Vilanova's Absence
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I'm sure that we join the world community in football by wishing Tito Vilanova a speedy and full recovery from his relapse of cancer. Although his operation was successful, Vilanova will be out of the game for a while and that's a massive blow to Barcelona.
But if anything, it should spur them on. They need to stay strong and no doubt they will with their outstanding levels of team spirit, so that when Vilanova returns, the club will be in a favourable position. This could mean maintaining their unbeaten record in La Liga or even reaching the latter stages of the Champions League.
Either way, Barcelona know that with or without Tito, the club can run itself. The inspiration he provides, however, will spur them on to achieve greater things.
Bayern Munich: Learn How to Take Penalties in Preparation for This Year's Final
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Bayern Munich were surely more stunned than anyone when they didn't overcome Chelsea in the Champions League final penalty shootout.
The German side were notorious for having a superb record in this part of football, while English sides are rather infamously targeted for their poor record in taking penalties. Yet, Didier Drogba's winning strike sealed the Blues' first-ever European trophy, while Bayern were left to rue a golden chance to succumb to their third defeat in the final.
After smashing his potential winning penalty against the post, you can bet your house on the fact that Bastian Schweinsteiger takes a penalty before he sleeps at night.
Borussia Dortmund: Emulate Class of '97 by Winning the Champions League
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For Borussia Dortmund, there seems no better time for them to go all out to try and win the Champions League for the first time since 1997.
The chance to retain the Bundesliga title seems to be out of reach, with rivals Bayern Munich a massive 12 points ahead of Jurgen Klopp's youthful side. So would it be wise to concentrate their efforts on the Champions League? Absolutely.
With the likes of Robert Lewandowski, Mario Gotze and Mats Hummels among the ranks at the 2012 German champions, it seems that they could at least reach the semifinal, although a tough tie in Ukraine against a spirited Shakhtar Donetsk team could prove to be too much for Dortmund.
Celtic: Defy the Odds by Hammering Juventus at Celtic Park
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Celtic achieved the award for "Result of the Season" in my eyes, beating Barcelona 2-1 in front of 60,000 passionate Scottish fans, achieving what was described as impossible.
Now, they have to do it all over again, with Antonio Conte's Juventus side in the way and that had just had their 50-game unbeaten run in the league ended by AC Milan. Yet the Serie A giants are far from their worst form, sitting comfortably at the summit of the Italian league, and so it could be curtains for Celtic unless they can go the extra mile once again.
Galatasaray: Keep Buruk Yilmaz Injury-Free
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Galatasaray aren't anything special. But the manner in which they got through was impressive, beating Manchester United 1-0 at the Turk Telekom Arena to all but secure qualification.
It would've been all the more difficult had they have been without their main man, Turkey international Burak Yilmaz, who is highly regarded as one of the country's finest strikers since the days of Hakan Sukur.
He can score headers, piledrivers...you name it. Yilmaz is a top striker and available for a low price. Keeping him injury-free and well, keeping him, is vital to Galatasaray's hopes of progressing in this competition.
Juventus: Not to Get Beaten by Celtic After Conte Return
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The message is pretty simple for the Juventus players: Beat Celtic. We don't care how you do it, just do it.
Anything but progression would be seen as a huge failure for fans of the Old Lady, especially after their superb 3-0 win over Chelsea in the group stages.
Granted, Celtic are a spirited side and on their day can match any side with more quality than them, but Juventus have the strength, belief and motivation instilled in them by Antonio Conte, and as a Juventus fan himself, success is imperative to the him and also the club's reputation as one of Europe's elite.
Malaga: Attack All out at La Rosaleda
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Malaga are last year's APOEL Nicosia. Not given a chance in hell of making it through the group stages, the Spaniards were as large as 33-1 to win their group, which was fair considering this is their debut campaign alongside Europe's elite.
But to write off a side managed by the maestro that is Manuel Pellegrini is a mistake all-around, and in addition to that, the talent that fills the starting lineup—Isco, Joaquin, Eliseu, Javier Saviola are just a few names—have been performing greatly this season.
And La Rosaleda is a fortress, no doubt, with Malaga unbeaten in their three home games in the Champions League so far. So the Malaguistas will try to get roaring by blitzing 2004 winners Porto. It's going to be an incredible clash.
Manchester United: Make Cristiano Ronaldo Aware of What He's Missing
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The sum of £80 million. A world-record fee, and for a player worthy of possessing the title as the world's most expensive player. Cristiano Ronaldo may display some forms of egotism, but nonetheless there's no denying that he is one of the best players the world has ever seen.
The 27-year-old made his name at Old Trafford, joining as a teenager in 2003 for £12.24 million from Sporting Lisbon. He was named winner of the Ballon d'Or in 2008, before moving to the Santiago Bernabeu in 2009. Since then, he has scored...wait for it...126 goals (yes, that's right) in 117 appearances in La Liga. Simply astonishing.
Now he returns to his former club for the first time since his switch three years ago, desperate to save Real Madrid from a nightmare at the Theatre of Dreams.
PSG: Sign a Player Who Is Worth of Playing with Zlatan Ibrahimovic
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Wherever he goes, he plays for a team that wins. Ajax, Inter Milan, Barcelona...all of which won the league while Zlatan Ibrahimovic was in the side. And it's no surprise, given the sheer quality that rests in the body of the 30-year-old Sweden international.
Unfortunately for Zlatan, no one in Carlo Ancelotti's PSG side is close enough to him in terms of quality. Argentine duo Javier Pastore and Ezequiel Lavezzi have impressed since their summer switches to the Qatari-owned club, but Ibrahimovic needs quality around him in order to fully exhibit his own.
The signing of Lucas Moura should calm his fears, although strengthening at PSG is definitely a requirement if they are to build on their recent success.
Porto: Show That Even Without Hulk You Can Win Silverware
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Porto have always had a key man, whether it's been Radamel Falcao or Hulk, and have had a star they can rely on, followed by some South American youthful recruits in the form of James Rodriguez and Juan Iturbe.
Now though after Hulk's bizarre €50 million switch to Zenit, the 2004 Champions League winners need their Colombian striker, Jackson Martinez, to step up and lead them to glory. He's certainly capable, scoring 14 goals in his first 18 games since a €11 million move from Mexican side Jaguares.
Scoring against Malaga would convince the Porto faithful that Hulk is all but a part of the club's history, and so the pressure is now on Martinez to deliver.
Real Madrid: Get out of the Rut Before Captain Jose Jumps Ship
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Jose Mourinho is pondering his options, and you can't blame him. With the players seemingly frustrated at the tactics from the self-proclaimed Special One, he could be losing the trust from the players and that, as a matter of fact, always leads to a managerial departure.
But Mourinho leaves on his own terms. Losing against Manchester United would be deemed unacceptable, with the La Liga title appearing to be out of reach, albeit not mathematically. He would, however, jump before he's pushed out of the door at the Bernabeu, and that would be a huge mistake.
Players such as Angel di Maria and Karim Benzema need to show their best performances like last season; otherwise they could be waving goodbye to their leader, Jose Mourinho.
Schalke: Ensure Klaas-Jan Huntelaar Stays Put with Semifinal Berth
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Schalke have, according to Sky Sports, convinced Klaas-Jan Huntelaar to reject offers from Italy and England to sign a new three-year extension to his contract. Brilliant news for the club, but they now need to prove that they are a big club who can challenge for the Champions League.
Jefferson Farfan and Julian Draxler are the only real quality players in the side who can help Huntelaar score on a regular basis, and as a result, the squad need to improve in order to keep players like The Hunter at the club for years to come.
With a tie against Galatasaray in February, surely now is time to prove just what the club are made of.
Shakhtar Donetsk: Hang on to Willian at All Costs!
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Of all of their Brazilian imports, Willian has been the most impressive in recent years. Signed from Corinthians for a whopping €17 million in 2008, the 24-year-old has shown his rapid improvement over the last season with Man of the Match performances against Chelsea and Nordsjaelland.
So much that Chelsea and Tottenham are reportedly watching him closely, with the former close to agreeing a £22 million deal in the summer before Shakhtar cancelled negotiations.
It was a vital decision and with his close-knit squad rarely moving to pastures new, coach Mircea Lucescu will be praying Willian opts to stay at the Donbass Arena for years to come.
Valencia: Keep Soldado Scoring Otherwise It's Europa League for 2013/14
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Ernesto Valverde clearly has a job on his hands at the Mestalla, with his Valencia side struggling to hit top form in both La Liga and the Champions League.
It was only the demise of BATE Borisov in the last three games which saw the Spaniards go through, relying on a brilliant hat trick from their lethal striker Roberto Soldado to down the Belarussians on their home turf.
Now though, the former Olympiakos coach needs to instill some belief into his side and help Soldado pick up his form after a slight wobble in his last few games. Champions League qualification is vital for the survival of the club, and a good performance against PSG is crucial if they are to progress further.