19 December 2008

Champions League Knockout Draw

Liverpool v Real Madrid
Juventus v Chelsea
Panathanaikos v Villareal
Bayern Munich v Sporting Lisbon
Porto v Atletico
Barcelona v Lyon
Roma v Arsenal
Manchester United v Inter Milan

So the laws of probability held firm, and I got two of my eight guesses. And they were the two big ones.

Liverpool are paired with Real Madrid, a team they last met in the 1981 European Cup final. And United have Inter.

When it came down to the last couple of balls, and it was going to be Liverpool or United against Inter or Real, you knew it was coming. Thankfully. It’s been too long since two of the most dominant teams in European competition have met. Now Liverpool just has to do the business. And we wait, until February 24th or 25th.

Rafa going back to Madrid, Torres against his old rivals, Arbeloa returning to face the club he was trained by, and a homecoming for the other Spanish lads. So many storylines. Real may be 6th in La Liga now, but I’m willing to bet that under Ramos, as they get healthy and with the transfer window coming up (Diarra and Huntelaar at the least), they won’t be there in February.

The second week of March, hosting the second leg against Real on the 10th or 11th before a trip to United, should be a fun one.

All in all, it’s an interesting draw. Juve v Chelsea (Rainieri against his old club) and Barca v Lyon should be good matches, Arsenal won’t look forward to the second leg in the Stadio Olympico, and we’ll be treated to gallons of ink in the run-up to Mourinho against Ferguson. That’ll do.

And on the strength of those pairings, I’d be willing to guess that we won’t see four English sides in the quarterfinals this time around. So Platini’s probably chuffed as well.

Preview of Sunday’s Arsenal game up in a few hours.

1 comment:

Mike Georger said...

Are Huntelaar and Diarra going to be available as they've been playing in the Uefa Cup for their respective teams?

I hope not.