Champions League: Weekly Round Up
Some great games. Is Rafa's rotation finally paying off? Penalty's galore should it have been or not at both Anfield and Old Trafford? Time for video replay? Wenger must start again but will he change his spots? Chelsea fans singing a different song? Grant just can't do anything right. Barca make it through and Manchester United grateful to De Rossi for being the penalty taker that he is... All that in just four games.
Liverpool - Arsenal
OK, what a game, what a game, 2 teams forced into playing attacking, break any minute, kind of football, that only second leg ties supply us with.
In a game with so much we can easily loose some sublime individual moments, Torres's fantastic goal and also Walcott's career defining run.
Our annual Arsene Wenger breakdown moment has come once more, having not won a trophy now in three years. A complex and very moral man, maybe he is in the wrong business?
The big money deals and spoils that are afforded to such a lifestyle, are not for him, and Arsenal fans, may feel sooner, rather than later, they'd rather have Donald Trump as manager.
Wenger while in France, came second to the mighty wealth of Marseilles, and some say fled to Japan to get away from such a mad financial climate, now at Arsenal he is a man doomed to finish behind first place, but morally he feels justified.
Is he a hindrance to Arsenal? Not in terms of the football he plays, make no mistake his team play the best football in the English Premier League, but to living up to the audience and demands the fan base has, to the money they generate, and the position the team has in the community and also in London, maybe he may well be.
Over the course of the two games against Liverpool in the Champions League, at times Arsenal played on a far higher level than that of their opponents. Liverpool were no where, they are not as good a football team as Arsenal, and maybe, only Manchester United could live at such a level, but that in itself takes some doing when Arsenal are at their peak.
No matter, potential has to be realised at some point.
Liverpool go through and will meet Chelsea.
Chelsea - Fenerbache
The silences were there for all to note. The fans singing "We are supposed to be at home", lots of unhappiness and unease.
Whenever Fenerbache were in their own half, Chelsea had six men covering the edge of the box and 3 midfielders blocking everything off, incredibly negative for a home game and against a team who didn't look threatening until the last ten minutes.
They got the result, and now have the tie against Liverpool, important to note they have the second leg at home this time.
Barcelona - Shalke
Shalke held the ball well in the first half, and were very physical which upset Barca's rhythm. However, Barcelona held on getting a somewhat lucky goal and head into the semi-finals.
Barca were pretty good all in all, though, they still don't make you think this is a great side.
Bojan Krick once again impressed, Man Utd will have to watch him.
It does need to be said, like any other team, you miss your star players and with Barca it is no different, Messi, Deco and Ronaldinho are M.I.A and it is telling.
Messi in particular, if not for having picked up so many knocks and muscle problems over the last two seasons, he would be streaks ahead, of the next best player in the world. Will he be back and fit for Man Utd, he thinks so?
Barcelona it has to be said right now, have a very slim chance against Manchester United. The feeling in the city is, Barca wouldn't have gotten so far, if in fact the draw, hadn't been so generous to them.
One thing that should be be said, Barcelona have struggled against teams that come to Camp Nou, and simply park the bus by playing with all but 11 players behind the ball, Manchester United won't do such a thing, and the feeling is Barcelona may thrive once more in such an atmosphere.
Manchester United - AS Roma
11th straight win at home a new record in the competition.
For Roma, Oh De Rossi, his penalty had the pigeons fleeing, if that had gone in, one suspects Manchester United's bench, would have been quickly calling in Rooney and Ronaldo, and things would have gotten a little tastier.
That didn't happen, the game played out and Manchester United make it through.
Owen Hargreaves put in a fantastic performance, supplying a cross of such quality, the like of which we haven't seen in the English game since the days of Beckham, fantastic.
This has been a great round of matches, especially for Manchester United in their away win in Rome, and for Liverpool, a fantastic gutsy performance brought its rewards. Chelsea and Barcelona, will have to up their game in the next round, but who does not think both those sides have a great perfromance left in the tanks.
To the semi-finals we go.
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