UEFA Champions League 2011: The Biggest Questions Surrounding The Last 16
Many of the teams have played their first leg in the knock-out stage and are awaiting their second leg whilst other teams are going to take the field on Tuesday night as they look to secure their entry into the next rounds.
In the following slides, we will grab a quick view at the matches and events that will grab all eyeballs in the during the Round of 16. Be it Chelsea's recovery or Arsenal's acid test, these next few weeks will be very exciting.
Can Fernando Torres Change The Fortune For The Blues?
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Fernando Torres arrived at Chelsea amid much controversy and hatred from his old club Liverpool. He cost Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich a head-spinning 50 million pounds and was seen as Chelsea's season saviour.
But Liverpool's once-blue-eyed-boy-now-loathed striker Torres has failed to make a mark since his arrival. He has been mediocre at best. Be it his debut in the Blues jersey against his former club or against Fulham, El Nino has failed to show much promise. Moreover, on his arrival at West London, the World Cup winner stated his desire to repay Chelsea's faith in him by scoring goals galore but so far it has been one lackluster performance after another. His unconvincing efforts have already started comparisons with another failed star, Andriy Shevchenko, who arrived amidst much shouts, joys and promises but left in a whimper.
Torres had explained the chance to play Champions' League football was the reason behind his move to Liverpool's rival club which turned him into a traitor for the Anfield crowd. With Chelsea only having Champions' League glory left to fight for, it is time for Torres to pay back his promises and score Chelsea to their much coveted and never won trophy.
All eyes will be on Torres as he ventures to keep the faith bestowed on him by Chelsea's owner, manager and fans alike and help Chelsea to European glory as well as have his name etched as a Chelsea legend.
Will Arsenal Avenge Their Defeat and Oust Mighty Barcelona?
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Barcelona were all set to wrap up their quarter-final berths quite easily until Guardiola's wrong tactics cost them the match and also gave Arsenal an upper-hand.
Barcelona had arrived at the Emirates stadium as "super favourites" in the words of Arsene Wenger to win the Round of 16 face-off. As the match progressed it seemed Messi & Co. would seal their quarter-final place as Arsenal failed to comprehend the Spanish giants attacking and free-flowing game-play.
But then Barcelona manager Guardiola replaced Villa with Keita as a sign of getting defensive. In the process, he gave Arsenal the upper-hand, and the Gunners seized the opportunity and not only equaled but even scored a second to win the match and give themselves the chance to make it to the next round.
Arsenal's inspired second-half display was brilliant, and if they can play with the same momentum when visiting Camp Nou in the return-leg a couple of weeks later, Wenger's boys are serious contenders to oust arguably the best squad in modern football. Barcelona are still the favourites to win the match and the tie at their home ground, but they are a goal down and if Arsenal can hold onto a draw we might see one of the big names crash out of this seasons' Champions League quite early.
How Far Can The Spurs Go?
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Harry Redknapp's talented squad has so far been very impressive in their debut Champions' League. They have so far been the tournament's giant-killers.
On their way to the Round of 16 they have defeated defending champions Inter Milan and German giants Werder Bremen to top their group.
Their face-off with Italian giants AC Milan was supposed to be tight-rope, and Spurs delivered another blistering performance to snatch a win from under the nose of Gennaro Gattuso (whose match-end antics earned him a four-match ban) and Milan.
The Spurs' now are clear favourites to tip the Rossoneri for a quarter-final spot though they have to ensure they do not concede goals at home when AC Milan comes visiting to White Hart Lane.
All eyes will be on Redknapp's men to see whether they can continue with their dream run and go all the way to create history.
Could We See Inter Crash Out?
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In another instance of similar fixture as previous seasons, Inter Milan will face Bayern Munich in their Round of 16 clash.
The two teams met in last year's final at Madrid which Inter won 2-0 rather convincingly. This year though the conditions are bit different. The defending champions are not the force they were last season and have been struggling due to injuries to their key players. They are third placed in the Serie A and are five points adrift of leaders and local rivals AC Milan.
The squad has seen a resurgence in form under new coach Leonardo and have delivered some superb performances. Bayern on the other hand too has had a rough season which have seen them fall 13 points adrift of league leaders Borussia Dortmund. But the Bavarians' will be looking to avenge last season's defeat, and with Inter having a depleted squad due to injuries, Bayern might get their sweet revenge.
It remains to be seen whether last season's champions can make it to the next round or will fall to the German giants and make an early exit.
Can We See Some Shocks Happening?
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FC Copenhagen, this year's newbies in the Champions' League, has been impressive so far.
The Danish club put up some stellar performances to secure a Round of 16 berth. They defeated Greek club Panathanaikos and drew 1-1 with the mighty Barcelona to earn themselves further progress in the competition.
They face English champions Chelsea, and though they are not the favourites to win, a tough competition is expected given Chelsea's poor form of late. So the Danes might try to pull off one of the biggest shocks in Champions' League history by sending the Blues' out of the competition. Moreover, French club Marseille face-off against the Red Devils' and are capable of pulling off a surprise.
Lyon face in-form Real Madrid and though only a handful would bet on Lyon advancing, a shock result is always round the corner and you never know what may happen.
So viewers will be thinking which underdog teams might pull off an upset and advance to the next rounds.