Friday, December 16, 2005

A Brilliant Final in the Last 16

An incredible Champions League draw today.

Now we know for sure that these things are not fixed, because otherwise we would not being seeing what would have been an incredible final game here in just the round of 16. Chelsea (and Barcelona) must rue the fact that the Blues finished second to Liverpool in group play, as now one of these giants will not even reach the quarterfinals of the competition. In a rematch of last year's epic quarterfinal match-up won by Chelsea 5-4 on aggregate (the second leg of which I watched in a bar in Puerto Rico), I believe that Barcelona has a slight advantage, as Chelsea have been struggling to score goals of late and Ronaldinho and Eto'o have been in sensational form. But no matter what, these two games are sure to provide some of the best football in the world this year.

The other massive matches pit Arsenal against Real Madrid (with both sides struggling, this one is a toss up), and AC Milan against Bayern Munich (normally I would choose Milan in a heartbeat, but they have had a number of troubles recently, so Bayern might spring the upset here). Holders Liverpool (my boys), playing brilliantly, should stroll past Benfica. Juventus should also have no problem with Werder Bremen, an exciting, but overmatched squad.

In other matches the two Dutch clubs, PSV Eindhoven and Ajax, will have trouble advancing against Lyon and Inter Milan respectively. But you never know in the Champions League. Anything can happen over just two games. Finally, the real dud of the draw pits Rangers against Villareal. Villareal should advance, but this one is just ugly.

Things could change considerably with many of these teams in the two months before they play the games, but these are my early picks.

No comments:

Post a Comment