Thursday, March 18, 2010

UEFA Champions League Quarterfinals

The teams are set. Who plays who will be determined Friday morning.

CSKA Moscow are probably the team everybody wants to play, the least known and the least respected, a midget amongst the giants of European football. I suspect they will give whomever they face a real scare, but will lack enough to go through in the end.

Bordeux are also not expected to pose any real threat, but I think against the right team (Bayern Munich or Manchester United?) they could pull of a shocker. Gourcuff is capable of unlocking any defense, and their defending in Europe has been superb.

Lyon are also not fancied (The French clubs never are), but they seem to have a certain look about them. It would be ironic if the least talented Lyon side of the last decade advances the furthest in the Champions League. Arsenal or Barcelona would tear them apart, but if I were Bayern or Inter Milan I would not want to face them.

Bayern Munich are an attacking force on paper. Schweinsteiger, Olic, Gomez, Mueller, and/or Klose through the middle with Ribery and Robben on either wing should lead to a goal bonanza most weeks. But it doesn't. Frankly, they shouldn't even be here. Fiorentina were the better side over two legs, and the German club only advanced because a blatantly offside goal was allowed in Munich.

Inter Milan have all the talent in the world (as usual) but still play the dreadfully boring Jose Mourinho style of football. They have not played well in quite a while. I can't see them winning the tournament, but they should get to a semi-final unless they draw one of the clubs below.

Manchester United are not very good. I watch them almost every week, and they seem to always be outplayed. But somehow Wayne Rooney pops up with another goal, or a ball ricochets into the net off Paul Scholes' ass or an opponents knee. As I said, they are not that good, but they may be the luckiest side I have ever seen. I think they are through if they draw anyone besides Barcelona. The French teams could cause them trouble, but the French striker will get sent off and Fletcher will mis-hit a ball off 6 defenders and into goal to put them through.

Arsenal are my pick to win the competition. I just think they are the most talented team overall. Their downfall could be that Almunia is a bit shaky in goal, but when it comes to attacking talent, they are second to none, and I think their defense is a lot more reliable than Bayern Munich's or even Barcelona's.

Barcelona are the consensus favorite to retain their title, and I wouldn't be at all surprised if they did so, but this year's squad seems to be lacking something. It reminds me a bit of Chelsea the last two seasons. The talent is there, strength and depth at every position, a good manager, but I just don't trust them.

We will have a better idea of each club's chances very soon, when the draw is completed.

1 comment:

Joey said...

Happy to see Chelsea out. Could John Terry be a bigger baby??