UEFA Champions League Semifinal Previews

Ali Mashraf@http://www.twitter.com/MashrafAliCorrespondent IApril 27, 2009

The first leg of the two semifinals of the Uefa Champions League is exactly 24 and 48 hours away respectively. The first semifinal is between the Catalans, Barcelona FC, and the Blues, Chelsea FC. The second semifinal is an all-English game between the Gunners, Arsenal FC, and the Red Devils, Manchester United.

Both the games will be too interesting to watch and the fans are sure to get crazy. So, let's get the match analysis first.


Semifinal 1: Barcelona FC v. Chelsea FC at the Nou Camp

Both Barcelona and Chelsea are on top of their games now. Chelsea has stunned the football fans after a 7-5 aggregate victory over Liverpool. The second leg was an epic match with counter-attacks after counter=attacks and Chelsea managed to draw the match 4-4! They qualified for the semifinal as they won the first match 3-1.

Barcelona blew away their opponents, Bayern Munich, with a 5-1 aggregate victory. In the first match, Barca just scored four goals in the first half and ended the hopes of Bayern right there.

In the second leg, Barca too ended the hopes of Bayern winning thanks to a late equaliser from Keita.

But when Chelsea and Barca meet each other at Nou Camp tomorrow, Chelsea will want the same start they started against Liverpool as they have the away game advantage. But on the other hand, the three musketeers of Barca—Messi, Eto'o, and Henry—might be too much for the Blues defence.

Especially Messi, who is presently on top of his game. His form will be the major distress for the Blues defence. And adding to this pressure, Eto'o and Henry along with Dani Alves will just look for opportunities and then score to make the home crowd go wild.

This season Barca has been a nightmare for all the teams, whereas Chelsea's hopes have ended for winning the EPL. So, they concentrate hard on winning the Champions League and the FA Cup. But Barca too wants to win the Treble this season—La Liga, Super Cup, and the Champions League and be the first team of Spain to do so.

The teams have met thrice on the Champions League. On their first encounter in 1999-00, Chelsea was steamrollered 6-4 by Barca. Chelsea revenged that defeat in 2004-05 winning 5-4. But the next year, Barca again gave them the taste of defeat 2-1.

Therefore Barca is mentally well prepared. So will Barca put one foot for Rome or will Chelsea end the "treble" hopes of Barca easily?

Semifinal 2: Arsenal FC v. Manchester United at the Old Trafford

Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger have crossed paths many times but this time, it's completely different.

Man Utd grieved with their sudden loss at the hands of Everton in the semis of the FA Cup and one trophy out of their five has gone away. So, the Red Devils are desperate to win their third championship of the season.

Arsenal on the other hand has no chance to win the EPL or the FA Cup. Their current performance is not too good. Still they are mentally well prepared after the 4-1 aggregate win over Villarreal in the quarterfinals. This is their last chance to win at least one trophy this season and they are desperate to do that.

Arsenal has never won the Champions League and United are the current champions. The most heated rivalry in Europe between Arsene Wenger and Sir Alex tells how enthusiastic the match will be.

These two teams have faced off against each other 204 times in all competitions. Red Devils have 82 wins whereas the Gunners have 77 wins. 45 matches ended as draw.

As Man Utd are the hosts, Arsenal have a first class chance to mount pressure on Man Utd in the first leg. Arsenal's latest 4-4 draw against Liverpool make them confidant and Man Utd has to watch out for Arshavin. This Russian will be the person Sir Alex will be fearing most. Other than this, Adebayor and Walcott along with Fabregas are also playing well.

Man Utd has Cristiano Ronaldo, whose shot ended the hopes of Porto in the quarterfinals. Edwin van der Sar will also be a headache for the Gunner's strikers. Scholes and Berbatov along with Rooney and Tevez will also try hard to score a goal or two and keep in one foot for the final.

Overall, this match indicates about the enthusiasm the fans will have at the semis and the final. Will Arsenal finally fulfill their wish and win the match and get the ticket for Rome or will United fans once again see Ronaldo saving his team?


So readers, don't miss the semis tomorrow and day after tomorrow and see who goes to Rome for La Finale...