Thoughts On The Other Champions League Ties

Normally I don’t spend too much time thinking about the non-Arsenal games. This time though, the fixtures are intriguing enough to merit a post. Let me start with our English rivals.

Inter Milan V Chelsea

In the recent past English teams have been dominating the ties with their Italian counterparts. This fixture might just change that.

Mourinho claims the Chelsea team still plays the way he taught them to.

The last time I was there [Stamford Bridge] I was watching all the details with attention. Even the warm-up is the warm-up they did in our time. The way they defend set pieces is exactly the same. The position they have on set pieces is exactly the same.

Sometimes they play a 4-4-2 diamond, sometimes they play 4-3-3, which are exactly the systems we worked when there.

When I look at that team only Ivanovic and Anelka are not players from my time. All the other boys: Petr Cech, Carvalho, Terry, Ashley Cole, Essien, Mikel, Drogba, Malouda, Joe Cole, Kalou; all of them are boys from my time.

He is right and it makes sense. When somebody is given hundreds of millions to buy players it is likely that the squad will not change much over the next few years. Not even the richest owners can afford to revamp the whole squad based on each manager’s whim. Similarly, Mourinho is without a doubt the best defensive manager in the world so there is no reason for the team to change the systems that he has perfected and that have worked so well for them.

Just like Wenger said, “ nothing + nothing = nothing” about the Cesc story, I see this game as a, “boring + boring = boring” fixture. I guess this will be the most closely fought second round tie and one goal over 180 minutes might settle the contest. I wouldn’t mind the extra dose of boredom as long as Chelsea are dumped out.

AC Milan V Manchester United

A couple of weeks ago I thought Milan might put up a fight as they were on a nice run and United have been shaky this year. However, since the San Siro derby the Rossoneri have lost some momentum. Historically the Italians have a great record against United and their experience is their only hope. I can’t see them out scoring United or Leonardo outwitting Fergie in a tactical battle.

A lot will depend on whether Milan can keep a clean sheet in the home game. In the first round their away record was much better than their home record but they failed to keep the opposition out in all the six games.

An aging squad will struggle to keep up with the likes of Rooney over two legs and this game is likely show us why signing Huntelaar was not the solution in January!

The Spanish teams have a mixed draw. I think Barca will cruise through and there isn’t much to analyze in that fixture. Real on the other hand might be dumped out by the French side.

Lyon V Real Madrid

In many eyes Real are automatic favorites for winning the trophy after their summer spending spree. To me it’s down to one player, Ronaldo. If Lyon can keep him quiet they are in with a chance. Kaka, Benzema and Higuain are very good attacking players but a well organized team can keep them quiet. Lyon conceded only three goals in the first phase and if they can keep a clean sheet at home they will fancy their chances of going through.

Los Merengues have a weak midfield and their defense is nothing special. Lyon have enough firepower to trouble Casillas but they will have to be extremely clinical to cause an upset.

This one could be the exact opposite of the Chelsea/Inter game and we might see a goal glut.

Bayern V Fiorentina

Based on reputation alone the Germans are firm favorites. I saw their demolition of Juventus and they looked really impressive. Fiorentina, though, have managed some surprise results in the first phase. I have no idea how this one will pan out but if we were to meet the winner of this tie in the next round I will certainly prefer the Italians.

Olympiakos V Bordeaux

We have seen enough of the Greek side to think that the French champions should have an easy route to the quarter-finals. I guess most of us will follow this one with interest mainly because of Chamakh. In case he is coming to Arsenal next season, it will be good to see him perform at the big stage.

CSKA Moscow V Sevilla

The winner of this game can easily be considered the weakest team in the final eight. If we can get through Porto (and there is no reason we shouldn’t) I would love to face either of them in the quarter-finals. I know our record in Russia isn’t great but neither of these teams is a tactical, defensive unit and that makes me feel we would have a good chance.

I’ll preview our game in detail tomorrow. For now, let’s root for the Italians!

16 Responses to Thoughts On The Other Champions League Ties

  1. Nischit says:

    root for the italians?? Nooo! I hope they get through to the quarters and have a whole bunch injuries in each leg and hence they drop points in the epl!!

  2. IncredibleG says:

    Uh, question? How many injuries would Chelski have to recieve before they run out of world class arseholes to throw out?
    Man U… well… maybe if Mr PotatoHead got injured they’d suffer cause of his form of late. But sadly, Mr Rooney’s actually quite sturdy, quick too for a fat prick.
    Nah mate. Both Chelsea and Man U need a severe kick in the confidence before they run away with both these bastard trophies.
    Sorry for the language. Nightshift. Dedication!

  3. Aniruddh says:

    I think the best quality that Mourinho gave the chavs was their belief in themselves, fortunately that trait seems to be fading away, even though he’s probably the only personality in football, apart from Evra off course, that I really hate but still I’d like him getting one over the chavs because our only (I like to believe) stumbling block over the years has been the second largest football club in fulham.

  4. Aniruddh says:

    Hey Desi do you stay in Mumbai?

  5. Robespierre says:

    conflict of interests for a fan. On the one hand, you want our direct rivals to be spanked, dented, humiliated etc for its own sake, AS WELL as being taken out from the next phases of the competition.i.e.we don’t want to have to play them again.. We will do better against the europeans, I would love us to have a go at Barca.
    ON the other hand, if they are out, their run in the league is strengthened, not that I think we could really win the league, but , well , we just might.., but only if chels and manc are kept busy and stretched.
    Manu will prevail. The other one, I would say Chels , with such a CL master in Ancelotti will run with it,but then the charmed Mou’s guile motivation and self belief just might win it (with some set piece). Eto’o against Drogba, two great winners, wonderful to see who of them will be more decisive.. a close call then…

  6. herbert says:

    i can only sum it up by saying, all teams at this point are capable of a super victory or a surprising loss. its at this moment that all teams display their best and are bound to make the most unlikely of errors while trying to give fans their best.
    i say, arsenal have a superb chance of sailing through because they do just that despite the thin squad.

  7. BOOZY says:

    my predictions-
    AC MILAN VS MANU 0 – 1
    LYON VS MADRID 0 – 3
    CSKA VS SEVILA 1 – 1

  8. Nischit says:

    btw, since when are the quarterfinals on different weeks? I imagine its cos both Milan and Inter play at home first and the TV guys jumped on the chance to show more matches.

    • desigunner says:

      No, this season UEFA has spread the second round games to get better TV coverage. I like the idea as we get to see teams like Bordeaux who would otherwise be lost in the clutter.

  9. bobbygee says:

    Mourinho built the squad. This will be very strange for Mourinho battling his old players and club. I think Chelsea will win. Man U still has problems with the “D’. With Giggs out this hurts big time. A tie or win will give the Red Devils the adavantage. Away goals will be big. Real hasn’t proven anything yet. The fake Ronaldo is great in regular season games but when it comes to championship play he wimps out. He cries like a baby-Last years Champions league final and the 2008 FIFA World Club Cup final. On the World stage the fake Ronaldo is bupkis. HE IS NOT A MONEY PLAYER. Roanaldo is. Pele is. Zidane is.
    Real should advance. the French teams are not that strong.
    I want to see Arsenal and Barca in the Champions league final.

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