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Champions League draw gives English teams hope

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Phil McNulty | 11:32 UK time, Friday, 18 March 2011

John Terry will have had two flashbacks in the space of days - one to the era when he was England captain and another to a rainy Moscow night when he missed the penalty that cost Chelsea the Champions League.

Terry is back on course to regain the lost honour of England captaincy and a Champions League quarter-final draw packed with stories and sub-plots offers him the sight of redemption for a moment of misery he admits haunts him every day of his life.

Chelsea's pairing with Manchester United will revive memories of the 2008 final, won on penalties by Sir Alex Ferguson's side, while Tottenham's route forward in a tournament they have graced is laced with booby traps but also belief, starting with a confrontation with Jose Mourinho's Real Madrid.

Both Carlo Ancelotti and Sir Alex Ferguson will silently believe the draw, with the winners facing Schalke 04 or Inter Milan in the semi-final, gives real hope that there could be English participants in the Wembley final on 28 May.

And anyone foolish enough to discount Spurs will not have attended their Champions League games this season, especially at White Hart Lane where Harry Redknapp's players have been driven on by a tumultuous atmosphere.

For Chelsea, the Champions League has long represented the painful space in their trophy cabinet, a quest thwarted by a "ghost goal" at Liverpool, penalty shoot-out torment and the night against Barcelona in a semi-final second leg at Stamford Bridge when they were left heartbroken by Andres Iniesta's injury-time goal and the wayward decision-making of Norwegian psychologist Tom Henning Ovrebo.

Chelsea may feel a change of Champions League luck is long overdue - and BBC Sport's Mark Lawrenson believes it may just be coming this season.

He told me: "If you asked me to go down to the bookies and put money on the final now, I would go for Chelsea against Barcelona but the draw has given us so many possibilities.

"I suppose the odds were always on an all-English tie and probably Chelsea against Manchester United given their history. And another thing to say about it is that Barcelona have had a bucketful of luck with their draw.

"The only thing Champions League about the games between Chelsea and Manchester United will be the music. After that you will get the full English and the Premier League, with tackles flying in. I don't think they will be good games.

"Both managers will fancy their chances of winning and then they will certainly think they can beat Schalke or Inter in the semi. Chelsea have had some rough luck in the Champions League over the years and looking at that draw I think they will quietly fancy themselves.

"Chelsea and United is a 50-50 call but I just feel that Chelsea might come through. There is the growing suggestion that Didier Drogba may go at the end of the season and these are games in which he can really sell himself, and if he is going, to go out with a really big last hurrah.

"And whereas United have started to have defensive problems, Chelsea have started to get players fit, which could be a very significant factor if the injury situation is the same by the time the games come around.

"Chelsea also have Fernando Torres, who has form against Manchester United, available but to be honest I wouldn't have him in the team on current form. He still looks very, very short to me and I would go with a 4-5-1, playing Drogba through the middle and Nicolas Anelka out wider.

"Whoever gets through will think they can certainly come through that semi-final draw. You would back both against Schalke and in my opinion Inter are very beatable. Sure they had that great win against Bayern in Munich, but let's be honest Bayern could have been six up at half-time. It was an unbelievable game.

"Inter look more wide open than they ever did under Mourinho and Spurs took them apart at White Hart Lane in the group stage."

Lawrenson also refuses to write off Spurs' chances of beating Mourinho's Real Madrid - despite the growing belief that "The Special One" is destined to add another Champions League to those he won at Porto and Inter Milan.

He said: "I think the same can be said about Real that can be said about Inter. I really think they are beatable, but whatever happens I actually think this is the tie of the round.

"It is Harry Redknapp v Jose Mourinho and we know Harry's positive approach won't change. What he can do, though, is alter his teams in terms of tactics and from the bench. And we know now that they can restrict teams, like they did to AC Milan, as well as really tear into them in attack as they did with Inter.

"Real's squad makes them a little bit like the Harlem Globetrotters basketball team. The difference is that, unlike when the Harlem Globetrotters played basketball, the opposition will get the ball. Spurs will get the ball against Real and I can see them scoring in The Bernabeu. I can also see Real scoring at White Hart Lane but I really wouldn't write Spurs out of this one."

It is a test that appeared to hold no terrors for Spurs' Rafael van der Vaart as he contemplated his return to Real after moving to White Hart Lane earlier this season with an expression of delight on his Twitter feed.

And even in ,what is widely regarded as a less-than-vintage Premier League season when measured in quality, this is a draw that allows the elite of English football to loom large over the closing stages of Europe's premier tournament once more.

You can follow me at twitter.com/philmcnulty and join me on Facebook.

Comments

Page 1 of 4

  • Comment number 1.

    A link from the BBC football homepage might help kick things off a bit in here...

  • Comment number 2.

    All English tie tie at QF and possible Spanish tie at SF. I would love to see Madrid vs Manchester final and Mr McNulty even Manchester Utd player are comming back from injuries. With exception of Rio and may be O'shea, there are no other injury concern come 4/5 May!!

  • Comment number 3.

    No great surprise that two of the English clubs are drawn against each other. Funny that Barcelaona and Real Madrid aren't meeting each other.

  • Comment number 4.

    An interesting possibility from the draw today is a Real v Inter final,although I'd prefer Chelsea/Un**ed v Spurs.

    Well,that's not strictly accurate as I'd like Ipswich to be in the final.

    Must go,just seen a pig doing aerobatics......

  • Comment number 5.

    #3

    Your right, I think platini fixed it so they both get to the final.....oh

    Anyway, good draws all round. I Like PLatinis Idea of splitting it over 2 weeks even more now, as we dont have to choose between games. I want to see all of them!

    For me, Manu, Schalke, barca and real to progress

  • Comment number 6.

    Revenge? These teams meet each-other at least twice a year, what are you talking about? These words would've applied to a potential Chelsea - Barcelona clash, yet UEFA's darlings are on the other side of Chelsea, MU and Inter.

  • Comment number 7.

    at least Martin Atkinson won't be refereeing - or could he?

  • Comment number 8.

    United to scrape through against Chelsea due to having home advantage in the second leg. United are also a different machine when it comes to the Champions League, as seen when they encountered Arsenal in 2009.

    It would be great if Spurs could progress but I envisage a valiant attempt that will fall just short. Barcelona will show the world what a great side they are by sauntering through an El-Classico semi-final en-route to a close game against an English finalist.

  • Comment number 9.

    methedaddy,very strange isnt it.uefa and fifa are leeches and i hate them.it is our game not a world game.on the draw it is very exciting,man u and chelsea the standout but real madrid and spurs could be interesting.

    barca will coast to the title as they are by a mile the best team in the world,never mind europe

  • Comment number 10.

    as much as spurs have done well this season in the champions league real madrid are a completly different prospect to inter and ac milan. also chelsea to win over two legs against utd and to go on and finally win the champions league title.

  • Comment number 11.

    cushcogs

    Nope. Refs don't ref teams from their own country in European competition. Plus I doubt Atkinson's a UEFA-standard referee.

    I certainly hope not anyway.

  • Comment number 12.

    I agree with Mark Lawrenson. I think Chelsea Barcelona would be my Final. I doubt United's defensive problems can withstand Drogba, Torres and Anelka and with United's record at Stamford Bridge, I think it leaves them too much to do at Old Trafford.

    I'd like to see Tottenham Barcelona at some point but I'm afraid Real and Jose will be too wily for Harry.

    I think to suggest Barcelona have been "lucky" in the draw is a bit much. No-one wanted Arsenal and they handles them pretty handily over the two legs despite the hiccup at The Emirates.

    http://www.soccerlimeyinamerica.com/?p=2029

  • Comment number 13.

    3. At 1:45pm on 18 Mar 2011, MeTheDaddy wrote:
    No great surprise that two of the English clubs are drawn against each other. Funny that Barcelaona and Real Madrid aren't meeting each other.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------
    they might in the semis if they both win their games

  • Comment number 14.

    If Chelsea beat United no one will stop them going on to win the lot

  • Comment number 15.

    Wow, no mention of Barca are going to win CL this season. Ofcourse Chelsea v Man U is going to be the boring game of the CL. 0-0 in 1st leg and 1-0 in 2nd leg. Chelsea to go through.

    I hope Spurs continue to show their attacking prowess and advance further in this competition. This will only help Bale's price to increase and become difficult for other clubs to sign him.

    I think it will be Barcelona v Chelsea in this season's finals and from there on anyone's game.

  • Comment number 16.

    12. At 2:04pm on 18 Mar 2011, SoccerLimey wrote:

    I doubt United's defensive problems can withstand Drogba, Torres and Anelka.

    _______________________________________________________________________

    On current form?

    We could play 4 Wes Browns and still keep them at bay.

  • Comment number 17.

    16. At 2:10pm on 18 Mar 2011, kanchelskis_legend wrote:
    12. At 2:04pm on 18 Mar 2011, SoccerLimey wrote:

    I doubt United's defensive problems can withstand Drogba, Torres and Anelka.

    _______________________________________________________________________

    On current form?

    We could play 4 Wes Browns and still keep them at bay.


    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    he may well do but he would just score for us !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 18.

    I seem to remember Wes Brown claiming a rather important assist in his last Champions League outing against Chelsea...

  • Comment number 19.

    For a take on who will be in the final that doesn't involve John Terry please read


    http://adampsb.blogspot.com/2011/03/competition.html

  • Comment number 20.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 21.

    Chelsea just aren't good enough nowadays, they'll lose this.

  • Comment number 22.

    And if I were a Chelsea fan I wouldn't count on Torres putting on a wonder display against Man U, even if Vidic is playing, he's lost his touch.

  • Comment number 23.

    I think that the final will be Manchester United vs Real Madrid as Mourinho will have watched Barca vs Arsenal and seen where they can be got at. Also he may just park the bus and play Ronaldo up front on his own and hope for some genius. Worked against Barca in the 2008 semis when United did it and last season when he did it with Inter.

    Real's fans won't care if they get to the final. Although I'd prefer United vs Spurs so we have a good chance if everyone is fit.

  • Comment number 24.

    I doubt United's defensive problems can withstand Drogba, Torres and Anelka.

    _______________________________________________________________________

    On current form?

    We could play 4 Wes Browns and still keep them at bay.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    More like 4 Gary Nevilles! We can't hit a barn door at the moment!

  • Comment number 25.

    United to win Champions League and secure the historic second treble and laugh in the face of those who questioned their ability to win anything.

    Yours sincerly, Phil McNulty

  • Comment number 26.

    Exciting? It barely rates as notable.

    Now what WOULD be interesting would be seeing a english team who weren't Man U, Chelsea, Arsenal or Liverpool in the knockout stages of the CL.

    Fat chance I guess while they keep all the money to themselves.

  • Comment number 27.

    Hey Adam! Mourinho's team don't park the bus. They park airplanes.

  • Comment number 28.

    Missed an e out there Phil.

    Yours sincerely,

    Chelseacowboy

  • Comment number 29.

    20. At 2:17pm on 18 Mar 2011, Lord Luggage wrote:
    Should be interesting to see how Chelsea cope against United without the blatant assistance of referee Atkinson for a third time - in contrast to the usual anti-Ferguson BBC agenda (he doesn't like you - just get over it!), it would be really refreshing for someone on the BBC to admit that it really was a shocking, error-ridden performance from a referee who has been promoted way beyond his competence level. BBC bias towards London Chelsea? - surely not!
    -----------------------

    It'll stop soon as they're all moving to Salford Quays so it'll soon be a we all love City bias (only United will keep beating them and making them cry)

  • Comment number 30.

    26. At 2:24pm on 18 Mar 2011, Nick wrote:
    Exciting? It barely rates as notable.

    Now what WOULD be interesting would be seeing a english team who weren't Man U, Chelsea, Arsenal or Liverpool in the knockout stages of the CL.

    _____________________________________________________________________

    What, you mean like Spurs?


    *massive facepalm*

  • Comment number 31.

    26. At 2:24pm on 18 Mar 2011, Nick wrote:
    Exciting? It barely rates as notable.

    Now what WOULD be interesting would be seeing a english team who weren't Man U, Chelsea, Arsenal or Liverpool in the knockout stages of the CL.

    Fat chance I guess while they keep all the money to themselves
    ----------------------------------------

    So do Tottenham Hotspur qualify as exciting as they are in the knockout stages of the CL and aren't Man U, Liverpool, Arsenal or Chelsea

  • Comment number 32.

    Soccer Limey how can you possibly believe that Man U couldn't cope with Chelsea's attack?

    Did you see Drogba's shot the other day against Copenhagen? It almost defied gravity. Torres is like a lost kid, no confidence and looks like he's about to start crying. Anelka, hmmm, he's ok.

    Torres is almost as bad as 'Smallsy' from Mike Bassett England Manager atm

  • Comment number 33.

    Drogba is the player to watch for the rest of the tournament. Suspect more and more that he may be leaving in the summer........

    Either he will blaze Chelsea to CL victory in one last great hurrah for the club, or he will inevitbaly be sent off trying. Either way; its going to be exciting.

  • Comment number 34.

    Sorry, I have developed "Spurs Blindness" from reading the BBC sports pages all the time. They have indeed qualified. No, they're not interesting, just another largely foreign team assembled at vast expense.

  • Comment number 35.

    #20

    Shut up. Just shut up shut up shut up. Or else ill tell my daddy on you seeing as we are back to being children

  • Comment number 36.

    For me a neutral I think the best final would be Spurs vs Chelsea. No London team has ever won the European Cup so to have that record broken in a one off game at Wembley would be absolutely fantastic.

    Despite what fans of either side say there isn't anything between Man Utd and Chelsea (and there wasn't in the Final in Moscow) but I would edge to Man Utd just because the second leg is at Old Trafford, though I actually think Chelsea look the stronger of the two currently. Barca of course look the strongest team in the world at the moment but I think an El Classico semi would be the best chance of stopping them winning it with perhaps a Real Madrid v Man Utd final the most likely outcome. The final will be hyped and overhyped about the two biggest teams in the world and will be a terrible game with fouls galore and then Man utd will win it 1-0 with a Obertan deflected header in the 89th minute and the commentators will say it proves the EPL is better than La Liga.

  • Comment number 37.

    RoyaltyinTheChampionship

    I like the sound of your scenario very much :-)

  • Comment number 38.

    Even on Champions League draw day, Mr McNulty manages to make a good chunk of his blog about John Terry... AGAIN. Wonderful. He's always worth talking about... So I'll leave others to do that.

    Think its a decent draw. Tie of the round is Real Madrid v Tottenham. Could be a couple of great matches to look forward to there. Ronaldo is always good against Totthenham and if you want another 'revenge' headline, how about Van der Vaart back at the Bernabeu.

  • Comment number 39.

    largely foreign--- are you looking at the same team: -

    Dawson - English
    Huddlestone - English
    Bale - Welsh
    Lennon - English
    Crouch - English
    Defoe - English
    King - English

    At least 7 players who when fit are first choice players

    Spurs team will likley be

    Gomes
    Corluks
    DAWSON
    KING
    Assou Ekotto
    LENNON
    HUDDLESTONE
    Modric
    BALE
    Van Der Vaart
    CROUCH

    5 English players, 1 welsh with other English players in the squad. They are not mostly foreign

    United will have

    Van Der Sar
    BROWN
    Vidic
    SMALLING/ FERDINAND
    Evra
    Valencia/ Nani
    SCHOLES
    CARRICK
    FLETCHER
    GIGGS
    ROONEY

    6 English & 1 Welsh starter + other English players on bench

    Chelsea

    Cech
    Ivanovic
    TERRY
    Luiz
    COLE
    Essien
    LAMPARD
    Malouda
    Kalou
    Drogba
    Torres

    So whih of these teams is mostly foreign again

  • Comment number 40.

    The point about the draw is that it seems the English clubs get drawn against each other regularly, whilst it is unusual to see two Spanish sides against each other. I know about this year's semi-final possibility and appreciate Real Madrid have struggled in recent years, but is still odd how rarely they are drawn together compared with English clubs. I have a ratio/games played/possible ties equation that proves the point, but that is far too geeky and no doubt would draw comments about a chip on the shoulder. Whatever, not much doubt UEFA don't want another all English final. Refereees' decisions? Chelsea against Barcelona, Arsenal against Barcelona, Liverpool last night in the Europa League, even Manu sendings off in the Champions League. All makes our refs look class.

  • Comment number 41.

    36. At 2:46pm on 18 Mar 2011, RoyaltyinTheChampionship wrote:
    For me a neutral I think the best final would be Spurs vs Chelsea. No London team has ever won the European Cup so to have that record broken in a one off game at Wembley would be absolutely fantastic.

    Despite what fans of either side say there isn't anything between Man Utd and Chelsea (and there wasn't in the Final in Moscow) but I would edge to Man Utd just because the second leg is at Old Trafford, though I actually think Chelsea look the stronger of the two currently. Barca of course look the strongest team in the world at the moment but I think an El Classico semi would be the best chance of stopping them winning it with perhaps a Real Madrid v Man Utd final the most likely outcome. The final will be hyped and overhyped about the two biggest teams in the world and will be a terrible game with fouls galore and then Man utd will win it 1-0 with a Obertan deflected header in the 89th minute and the commentators will say it proves the EPL is better than La Liga.
    ------------------------

    I think that if that is the final and it is tight it will be decided either by the last long-range Scholesy Special before he retires but really a similar game to Manu- Porto and a CR7 piledriver is more likely

  • Comment number 42.

    I can only see Barcelona winning this. They have the easiest tie of the round and will most probably win. Tottenham have a difficult tie at Real, and, despite their home prowess, will be taken apart at the Bernabéu. Despite Bale's skill, I don't think they'll be able to handle an attacking force like Real's. Inter's and AC's are nothing compared to Real's. And Barcelona have already annihalated Real once this season, wouldn't put it past them to do it again.

    Man U v Chelsea will be interesting, but, again, there is really only one team for me that will win it, and that has to be Man U. Fernando Iscari... I mean Torres has been awful since leaving Liverpool, and Drogba hasn't scored since Bolton(?) back in January, so I don't think they have the strikers to do it. If I were a Man U defender, I wouldn't find that a scary or difficult partnership to face.

    Inter v Schalke is the only one I'm not so sure about. But I'm fairly sure it will be a Barca v Man U final, with Barca coming out on top. Again.

  • Comment number 43.

    Hands up who's surprised that UEFA has pitted the top two English teams left in the tournament together? what no-one? really...shocking!

    All things considerd though, regardless of whether David Luiz should or should not have been sent off a couple of weeks ago, I can see Chelsea being on top over two legs...we'll have to wait and see won't we??

  • Comment number 44.

    Croftalicious

    On the topic of David Luiz, I wonder how significant it could be that he'll be unavailable for the tie...

  • Comment number 45.

    A draw that gives both Chelsea and United real impetus to reach the final. I think that the tie will be decided by 1 goal, away goal, or pens. They have generally been very tight games in the past seasons with Chelsea just edging it.. perhaps with more than a little help from dubious decisions.

    It will be a great test for Spurs to see how far they have come.. After their performances against Milan in the last round they have no need to fear anyone.. but I think Mourinho will be too tactically astute for Harry's boys. I cant see the likes of Dawson, Corluka etc being able to contain the likes Ozil, Ronaldo, Benzema and Higuain (if he's back fit).

    Despite what many think Barca's draw is far from easy.. Shaktar are a really good side and a trip to the Ukraine will far from suit Barca. We normally see one major upset in the Champions League KO phases.. and it wouldn't at all suprise me if Shaktar pulled it off.

    Inter haven't been playing at their best.. but if they Have Eto'o and Sneijder fit I see them having enough all round to see off Shalke.

    My Heart says it will be a United vs Madrid final.. which would be a truly great spetacle and when you throw in all the sub-plots (Ronaldo returning to England, Fergie vs Mourinho) I think it would only add to the occasion.

  • Comment number 46.

    #45 especially as Fergie went as a kid to see Real vs Eintracht Frankfurt in the European Cup Final at Hampden in the 1950s

  • Comment number 47.

    43. At 2:59pm on 18 Mar 2011, Croftalicious wrote:

    Hands up who's surprised that UEFA has pitted the top two English teams left in the tournament together? what no-one? really...shocking!

    ***********************************************************************

    Wasn't it Gary Lineker who drew the teams out???, one by one???????

    Hardly a UEFA conspiracy!

  • Comment number 48.

    Chelsea should have a slight edge Over MU not because Chelsea plays better. It is maninly because MU is fighting three battles comparing to Chelsea sole target on CL. Chelsea may finish third or even second in the premiere title race, however the top honor is really out of the question for them.

    Tottemham is not an outstanding team. They got the better of AC Milan because that Antonio Casano, the key man for AC Milan now, was not allowed to play against them. Real Madrid plays quite well now and should have no problem to beat Tottemham.

    BTW, Barcelona is well overrated. Why ? Beating out 10-man Arsenal by a penalty shot over 180 minutes is not an impressive showing. If you still not believe it, go to check out you tube on how they gave up 3 goals to Arsenal, which is just an average team in Europe.















  • Comment number 49.

    Interesting draw, but there is no one good enough to hold Barca over 180 minutes in my view, Inter stuggled last season and there is no team that is even half as defensively solid as them this season.

    Mourinho may have fancied has chances but he's seen how well his team held up at the Nou Camp.

    Schalke to suprise Inter on penalites.
    Chelsea to edge United by 1.
    Real over Spurs by 2 in a high scoring tie.
    Barca to dispatch Shakter convincingly.

    Chelsea to push past Schalke to face Barcelona in the final.
    Chelsea are arguably the team best equipped to stop Barca but I think even they will fail.

    Final: Barca 2-0 Chelsea

  • Comment number 50.

    As much as i dislike UEFA and think that Platini does have quite a bit of bias against English clubs and the EPL, the notion that the draw was fixed is quite frankly absurd. Just because two English clubs have drawn each other while Barcelona got arguably the easiest draw doesn't mean the draw was fixed. Chelsea were lucky enough to get the easiest draw in the last round, anyone else and they really could have struggled to get to this stage the way they've been playing, while United didn't get the most difficult draw either.

    The reason we've had several all-english ties over recent years is because we've usually had 3/4 team at this stage making the odds more likely, whilst there hasn't been many el clasico matches in the CL because Real Madrid have struggled to get to the QF's, and before that Barcelona weren't the force they are now.

    I think United-chelsea will be a very close game, not many goals in it. Hopefully won't be decided by poor refereeing, just cos I am sick and tired of SAF and all United fans moaning about dodgy decisions, despite the fact they've been more than lucky with some themselves down the years. Tie of the round will be Real-Spurs, i reckon Real will win comfortably but hopefully shoiuld be a few goals.

    Real, Inter, Barca and Chelsea to go through.

  • Comment number 51.

    There'll be many fantastic games of football along the way, but anyone who doesn't think Barcelona will walk it is deluded.

  • Comment number 52.

    I have a real suspicion that Barca may come unstuck out in the Ukraine. The Donetsk home record is not to be sniffed at, and, unlike many of the other teams, Barca won't have played them too often. I suspect that it could be a 3-1 Barca win at the Nou Camp, but then a 2-0 win to Donetsk at home. I may be wrong, of course, but wouldn't it be lovely to see someone new in the semis for a change?

  • Comment number 53.

    51. At 3:26pm on 18 Mar 2011, lukenadal wrote:
    There'll be many fantastic games of football along the way, but anyone who doesn't think Barcelona will walk it is deluded.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Why? because they hammered Arsenal 4-3 on aggregate. An arsenal with 10 men in the 2nd half (although i dont think this is an excuse).

    It makes me laugh that people think Barca are a team of super humans who cannot be beat! the media hype has really overtaken peoples judgement.

    However, they probably will win it! lol

  • Comment number 54.

    Utd fan here.

    Judging by how long it has been since we won at the bridge, the best I expect is a score draw at the bridge and finishing the job at OT.

    Hopefully this tie won't be marred by controversial decisions as these matches are usually tight in nature.

    The danger for us is unlike them, we have a juggling act on our hands with the league and FA Cup aswell. If we really want to win the Champions League (looking at our defensive frailty and midfield inefficiency , not to mention Barca), we will have to sacrifice something as we aren't built to cope on all fronts at this stage.
    We'd need nothing short of a miracle to achieve the trebe...but I do believe in miracles anyway :-)

    Nothing worse though than trying to win everything and falling apart in the last moment, as nearlys don't get trophies!

  • Comment number 55.

    Lawro Robinson can say whatever his opinion is about the Chelsea/ManUtd draw but the fact is that Chelsea has lack good composure in European decisive nights.Let us watch and see.
    In my opinion, there is no way Chelsea will eliminate ManUtd under the nose of Sir Alex Fergurson whom I deem fit in both psychology, consistency and otherwise.He knows how to get what he wanted in a game like this.
    ManUtd has the upper hand in this tie! 3 times eurpean champions and have not lost any champions league game this season.ManUtd will go to the bridge first and return to old trafford to see off Chelsea.

    Go go go ManUtd!!!!

  • Comment number 56.

    Hardly unfair against England - well, certainly not United and Chelsea. As well as guaranteeing one goes out, it also guarantees one English team stays IN, unlike last season, and has a very winnable semi-final to boot. Spurs have the hardest draw, as they will play a Madrid team packed with stars and then probably Barcelona - having already beaten AC Milan while Utd and Chelsea trundled past Marseilles and FC Copenhagen.

  • Comment number 57.

    @52. Suzzbert

    I Agree, why is that people overlook the difficulty of travelling over 5 or 6 hours to get to Ukraine and play a side which outplayed Roma over the two legs including winning in the Olimpico. Remember Barcelona travelled to Rubin Kazan and Kobenhavn in the group stages and could only manage a draw and I would rate Shakhtar as twice the team of Rubin & Kobenhavn.

  • Comment number 58.

    I'd like to see Mourinho's Real Madrid defeat Chelsea in the Wembley final...more heartbreak for Chelsea(i had to edit) :D

  • Comment number 59.

    #39

    6 English & 1 Welsh starter + other English players on bench
    -----------------------

    Are you really sure Darren Fletcher is English?! Captained Scotland last time out!

  • Comment number 60.

    However unpalatable it seems, Spurs have the toughest job facing a Spanish side laden with talent and firing on all cylinders so far this season. Simly put . Jose Mourinho's presence is the deterrent

  • Comment number 61.

    we will without a doubt get torn a new one if we play barca but i have a sneaking suspicion we will beat real so long as we dont have an inter milan type of collapse away form home.

  • Comment number 62.

    no. 33

    Either he will blaze Chelsea to CL victory in one last great hurrah for the club, or he will inevitbaly be sent off trying. Either way; its going to be exciting.
    -----------------

    That made me laugh out loud. Now, where is the best place the bet...

  • Comment number 63.

    This pains me to say it as an Arsenal fan but only Chelsea playing physical football can stop the Barcelona from walking this competition.

    It will be a strange day but in a English versus Spanish final i'll back Chelsea or Utd.

    I don't think Utds current team is good enough to stop Barcelona and Madrid have shown in the 5-0 thrashing that as per usual a team of ego's is no match for a skillful and committed team of players who work for each other.

  • Comment number 64.

    If I were Chelsea, I would play for the 0-0 at home because I believe any decent strikers taking on United at OT will prosper.

  • Comment number 65.

    Having already bowed out of the tournament, I wish all the remaining Prem clubs well, but can't honestly help but think it will be Barca vs Man U in this years final, with Barca winning 3-0!

  • Comment number 66.

    Is no one giving Shakhtar Donetsk a chance i think if they can keep it tight at the nou camp

    they can destroy barca at home they are 60 games unbeaten at home and have brilliant forwards like jadson, douglas costa, eduardo and luiz adriano.

    so barca goin through not a fore gone conclusion

  • Comment number 67.

    What a joyous draw for Spurs, they've had the weight of expectation completely lifted off their shoulders. They can now really enjoy having a right go over two legs against the marvelous Real Madrid. All we want to see now is bravery and the Spurs we know they can be.

  • Comment number 68.

    Unfortunate at this level when you get 2 English teams drawn against each other,but let battle begin.
    My beloved Utd,2008 final apart,have not had the rub of the green against the Pensioners in recent meetings,so perhaps a European referee may be the difference.
    By the time the game is due,Vidic and Raph should be fit and that will be boost to the team..and Rooney finally showing his form,the tie should be fascinating.
    2 very hard games with the Reds to shade it.
    Hoping the Spurs do themselves justice against Madrid and win through.

  • Comment number 69.

    Great article Phil. Chelsea have a big edge in midfield. Essian, Lampard and Malouda would get in the utd team. How many of utd's midfield would get in the Chelsea team? Giggs maybe. I think utd's defensive quartet of Vidic, Smalling, Evra and Rafael are excellent and it will be important for utd to get them fit. It will be an edgy game an lets hope its not decided by shocking refereeing. Thankfully Mr Atkinson will not be eligible to referee it!

  • Comment number 70.

    Hmmmmm. Spurs got it bad. Facing Madrid then almost likely, Barcelona. Then if they get through those two. Forgive me for my arrogancy in not seeing Schalke or Shaktar as a threat but Spurs then have to face either Inter, Chelsea or Utd in the final! Jesus. Toughest ever route to the CL Final?

  • Comment number 71.

    Can someone tell me who Arsenal got in the draw? Thanks in advance.

  • Comment number 72.

    69. At 4:02pm on 18 Mar 2011, Michael058 wrote:
    Great article Phil. Chelsea have a big edge in midfield. Essian, Lampard and Malouda would get in the utd team. How many of utd's midfield would get in the Chelsea team? Giggs maybe.

    _____________________________________________________________


    With Malouda's form this season, Nani and Valencia would run the wings of a combined Utd/Chelsea midfield. No question.

  • Comment number 73.

    "And another thing to say about it is that Barcelona have had a bucketful of luck with their draw." Lawro, quoted by Phil in the article.

    Um, what? They have already beaten Arsenal, while 52, 57 and 66 highlight the difficulty of playing Shakhtar. While I do back Barca to win that one, I would back them against anyone, as would the bookies. Then, they will probably (though it is by no means certain) play Real Madrid. Maybe the 5-0 earlier in the season has made everyone dismiss Madrid, but they have improved since then and it is hard to see where Lawro is coming from if he thinks being drawn against them is somehow favourable, except that Barca will not have to travel far. Then again, they could face Spurs, who will also provide a good game. Being new to the competition has made them give the extra 5% effort so far, and they are actually the team with the toughest draw, especially having already played Milan.

    So, how exactly have Barca had a lucky draw, Lawro? Compare Arsenal, Shakhtar and Spurs/Madrid to Marseille, Chelsea and Schalke/Inter and there isn't much in it, given the fall from the previous season's heights of Chelsea and Inter. I think you have seen Shakhtar, a team you know nothing about, and Spurs, a team you obviously don't seriously rate at this level, somehow ignored Madrid completely, and come to your conclusion without a proper analysis.

  • Comment number 74.

    One thing that is helping spurs is the weight of expectation is practically ZERO. Their first timers so they fear and respect no-one. That has helped them top the toughest group and get past ac milan.
    I reckon they would have been in greater trouble had they been drawn against an english side.

  • Comment number 75.

    Why was there no blog about how rubbish Liverpool & Man City were last night? I wasted an evening trying to watch them but there were boring, boring, boring. To mention these teams in the same breath as Arsenal, ManU or Chelsea is a real insult. Atleast liverpool team lack a bit of talent, but what's Man City's execuse? I think Mancini is not good enough and should go. Is he going to play like this next year in the Champion's league? He will not make it out of the group stages, ever!!

  • Comment number 76.

    72. At 4:10pm on 18 Mar 2011, kanchelskis_legend wrote:

    Says this blog was published 11.32 - Where the hell was it then ?

  • Comment number 77.

    Re Bennet

    Is no one giving Shakhtar Donetsk a chance i think if they can keep it tight at the nou camp

    they can destroy barca at home they are 60 games unbeaten at home and have brilliant forwards like jadson, douglas costa, eduardo and luiz adriano.

    so barca goin through not a fore gone conclusion

    --------------------------------------------------------

    Shakhtar have a very good team this year and playing 1st at the nou camp def helps. Russian East European football is getting stronger all the time but I don't think they'll have enough to knock out Barca.

    At least I'm sure they won't bottle it like Arsenal did.

  • Comment number 78.

    shaun9528 wrote:
    What a joyous draw for Spurs, they've had the weight of expectation completely lifted off their shoulders. They can now really enjoy having a right go over two legs against the marvelous Real Madrid. All we want to see now is bravery and the Spurs we know they can be.

    ----------------------------------------------------------

    This is a great draw for this Spurs side, looking for that glamour tie, and who have been great in this years CL so far. However its made winning the competition for you as difficult as it could have been: Real, Barca, Man United; and they don't come much harder then that. Also considering your path back into this competition next season would be to win the thing, then the expectation will be heavy! Rather than going for it like a 100 meter sprint, IMO to progress 'arry has to find the tactical nous to out manoeuver Mourinho, which would be a feat. Mourinho will play a very defensive game and 'arry's approach could play right into his hands - good luck though!

  • Comment number 79.

    Phil- After todays CL quarter-final draws Mourhino's the one with the biggest smile, he believes he can beat anybody (including Barca)over two legs (which he proved last year) and that he can beat SAF and United over one; so he has the biggest grin today!
    The Chelsea v United tie will give the reds a chance (over two legs) to right the wrong done earlier this season at 'the Bridge' as long as a certain (not to be named person) is not officiating!
    However I think Spurs will surprise everybody (including themselves) and 'stick it' to RM at 'the lane', especially with VDV involved; and then they will succumb to Barcelona in the semi's; but not before putting another £10m on Bale's price.

  • Comment number 80.

    Mr Chelsea wrote:
    Can someone tell me who Arsenal got in the draw? Thanks in advance.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------

    We lost to this years winners by one goal - no shame in that!

  • Comment number 81.

    What Shaktar shouldn't do is defend high up the pitch with 2 banks of 5, and a a midfield 3 of players who can't tackle to save their lives.

    Ahem...Arsenal.....Ahem

  • Comment number 82.

    Mr Chelsea

    Phil linked to it from his Twitter. But didn't get linked from the main page til much later.

    Looks like you'll have to join the Twitterati, Mr Chelsea ;-)

  • Comment number 83.

    80. At 4:16pm on 18 Mar 2011, Montegooner wrote:

    Mr Chelsea wrote:
    Can someone tell me who Arsenal got in the draw? Thanks in advance.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------

    We lost to this years winners by one goal - no shame in that!
    -----------------------------------------------------

    You didnt play Chelsea. You played Barcelona. Silly.

  • Comment number 84.

    Utd Fan - I'm usually confident that we will win everything but not so this season, so hopefully we can take the lot!

    Tbh I can see Utd beating Chelsea but it'll be a poor tie

    Real v. Spurs is the pick of the round, I expect high scoring.

  • Comment number 85.

    Mr Chelsea wrote:
    80. At 4:16pm on 18 Mar 2011, Montegooner wrote:

    Mr Chelsea wrote:
    Can someone tell me who Arsenal got in the draw? Thanks in advance.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------

    We lost to this years winners by one goal - no shame in that!
    -----------------------------------------------------

    You didnt play Chelsea. You played Barcelona. Silly.

    -----------------------------------------------------

    Taxi....for John Terry????

  • Comment number 86.

    In fact disregard my previous post, I've just thought about it and we're gonna walk it this season.

    We'll beat Chelsea given the second leg is at OT, then win the semi again due to OT factor and I reckon we can take Barca in the final if we defend properly

    UTD for the treble

    UTD - In decline since 92*

    *nicked off another poster!

  • Comment number 87.

    82 kanchelskis_legend

    Mr Chelsea

    Phil linked to it from his Twitter. But didn't get linked from the main page til much later.

    Looks like you'll have to join the Twitterati, Mr Chelsea ;-)
    ------------------------------------------------------------------
    Well, and I'm aware that I am labouring on a theme here, but should I have to join and external site to find something on the BBC?

    (p.s. in expectation of this blog, I clicked on Phil's link at the bottom of the sports page, at a time after 11.32 I'm sure, and it wasn't here.)

    Bring back 606!

  • Comment number 88.

    #49 -Chelsea are arguably the team best equipped to stop Barca but I think even they will fail.
    -------------------

    How do you work that one out considering their best defender isn't eligible for the tournament and they have never beaten Barca in the knockout stages whereas Inter and United have done so

  • Comment number 89.

    UEFA bias against English clubs? Because of the tie?

    Maybe my eyes deceived me, but I could swear we currently have more teams in the CL quater finals that any other nation, thus making it more likely they would be drawn against eachother?

    As for our tie against Chelsea, I think well pull through. Not easily, but pull through all the same. Im hoping well snatch a win at Stamford Bridge and really set ourselves up nicely, but even if we didnt Id fancy us to make the difference at Old Trafford.

    Still, Im looking for a good win over Chelsea in the first leg, and Ive got a good feeling this time no moronic referee decisions will get in the way. I guess you never know for sure, with those poor darling referees under such pressure all season long, getting the sack left, right and centre (oops, sorry thats managers Im thinking of).

    Im thinking possible United v Barca final where we actually play and win this time, the unlike 09 disgrace. Wouldnt mind Tottenham pulling off the "impossible" though. Real and Barca are fantastic sides who are woefully overrated. I would love to see Tottenhams amazing grit and character come through on both occasions. Id also like to see them deprive citeh of a CL spot yet again, but something tells me Im not going to see Tottenham get everything I would like one way or another.

  • Comment number 90.

    #88 PetShopBoys_Forever

    [Chelsea] never beaten Barca in the knockout stages
    ----------------------------------------
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/europe/4321491.stm

  • Comment number 91.

    59. At 3:42pm on 18 Mar 2011, Rob04 wrote:
    #39

    6 English & 1 Welsh starter + other English players on bench
    -----------------------

    Are you really sure Darren Fletcher is English?! Captained Scotland last time out!
    -------

    yep overlooked that error - still British though

  • Comment number 92.

    Mr Chelsea wrote:
    80. At 4:16pm on 18 Mar 2011, Montegooner wrote:

    Mr Chelsea wrote:
    Can someone tell me who Arsenal got in the draw? Thanks in advance.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------

    We lost to this years winners by one goal - no shame in that!
    -----------------------------------------------------

    You didnt play Chelsea. You played Barcelona. Silly.

    -----------------------------------------------------

    Taxi....for John Terry????
    -----------------------------------

    Ha! I can assure you Terry wont be allowed anywhere near the penalty spot this time.. And Anelka & Cole. S..t, That's half our team

  • Comment number 93.

    76. At 4:12pm on 18 Mar 2011, Mr Chelsea wrote:
    72. At 4:10pm on 18 Mar 2011, kanchelskis_legend wrote:

    Says this blog was published 11.32 - Where the hell was it then


    --------------------------

    Phil was reading my blog so that he could write teh direct opposite

    http://adampsb.blogspot.com/2011/03/competition.html

    Summarising may have taken longer than he intended

  • Comment number 94.

    With the draw for the Champions League Quarter Finals completed there has been some very attractive ties drawn which do not provide easy passage for anyone to the final.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Is it just me, or is this nonsense, and written in the absence of a better introduction?

  • Comment number 95.

    90. At 4:28pm on 18 Mar 2011, MrBlueBurns wrote:
    #88 PetShopBoys_Forever

    [Chelsea] never beaten Barca in the knockout stages
    ----------------------------------------
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/europe/4321491.stm
    ---------------------------

    OK 6 years ago you managed a win - but how many times have you played then since then?

  • Comment number 96.

    All those ties (except maybe the Inter-Schalke one) are potentially very interesting. Yep, by no means is Barcelona walking it against Shakhtar, they are virtually unbeatable at home and they are full of confidance, I don't think they will be in awe of Barca's air of invincibility. Real-Spurs, well you never know with Spurs, could go either way for them, but I'm sure they'll make a go of it. It might all go wrong for them or they might, just might be able to play their style and surprise the rest of Europe. RM didn't look that good in the first leg against Lyon.

    The only certainty for me though, is that the Utd-Chelsea tie will be a close one. For those who have mentioned Utd's poor record at the Bridge, don't forget Chelsea have also a very useful record at OT. If Chelsea gets a result in their home tie, they are a team who can definitely stifle Utd at OT and knick it.

    Regardless, I'm sure they'll be talks of refereeing decisions at the end of it all. When do you hear about refs in Rugby? Even in Cricket, refs decision are discussed but they are never pointed out as game changers. Only in football. I guess it's the losers' way of getting some closure.

  • Comment number 97.

    Blueburns quit your whining old chap :) Just discuss the ties. Dont even read the blog if you dont like it.

  • Comment number 98.

    Mr Chelsea wrote:
    Mr Chelsea wrote:
    80. At 4:16pm on 18 Mar 2011, Montegooner wrote:

    Mr Chelsea wrote:
    Can someone tell me who Arsenal got in the draw? Thanks in advance.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------

    We lost to this years winners by one goal - no shame in that!
    -----------------------------------------------------

    You didnt play Chelsea. You played Barcelona. Silly.

    -----------------------------------------------------

    Taxi....for John Terry????
    -----------------------------------

    Ha! I can assure you Terry wont be allowed anywhere near the penalty spot this time.. And Anelka & Cole. S..t, That's half our team

    -----------------------------------

    Haha...yeah that was the most boring final in the history of CL finals! thats why I'm happy your both playing now, as it will hopefully distract you both, and take your mind off the league ;) but in all seriousness as a neutral good luck to all, just gutted we're out of the best cup competition!!

  • Comment number 99.

    Soooo... Mr Lawrenson predicts a Chelsea victory does he? You know what that means!!

  • Comment number 100.

    Chelsea will beat Man U. I wdt write Tottenham off v Real M.

    As usual the draw is a big fix. 2 British clubs v each other was as sure as night following day and the other getting a tough tie was just as predictable.

 

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