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Mourinho and Beckham light up CL draw

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Phil McNulty | 12:18 UK time, Friday, 18 December 2009

David Beckham will sail back into Old Trafford on a tidal wave of emotion with AC Milan - but Jose Mourinho's return to Chelsea with Inter Milan might just be "The Special One" in a Champions League draw that is pure box office.

Beckham admitted a reunion with Manchester United as part of his loan spell in Milan would be "beautiful", and as most dreams come true for the former England captain it was duly delivered.

He will get the rapturous reception he deserves after contributing so much to Manchester United's success, but intrigue and sub-plots will be behind every door when Mourinho walks back into Stamford Bridge.

becks_blog595getty.jpgBeckham rejoins AC Milan on loan from LA Galaxy next month

Mourinho is guaranteed a welcome every bit as good as the one that will be afforded to Beckham. He is still adored at Stamford Bridge by many of the staff and also players such as Frank Lampard, John Terry and Didier Drogba, who were willing slaves to his methods.

The same may not be said for Chelsea coach Carlo Ancelotti, who often bandied words with Mourinho during their one season on opposite sides of a city's footballing divide. And Ancelotti's status as a symbol of AC Milan's success in the European Cup and Champions League, a source of irritation to Inter, will only add to the dramatic backdrop to this tie.

To Chelsea's supporters Mourinho remains an iconic figure, the charismatic leader of the club who brought the title back after 50 years and elevated their standing around the world.

And yes, we might as well admit it, almost every member of the media will welcome Mourinho's return to London with delight. He is headline news almost every time he opens his mouth, and while some may not have missed him since he was sacked by Chelsea two years ago, we certainly have.

Mourinho will no doubt say and do the right things. He has too much respect for Chelsea and their fans to risk even the slightest portion of his popularity, but it is almost certain an agenda will be hidden beneath the surface, and why not?

He will want to show Roman Abramovich what he is missing. He might just like the idea of demonstrating to Ancelotti that he is unlikely to ever be as loved in west London as Mourinho and he will want to remind the elite of English football that he remains the "go to" man should they require anyone to lead them to new glories.

Ancelotti, for his part, will remain unmoved by the hype that will surround Mourinho's return - but as an affirmed man of AC Milan he will enjoy the thought of putting Inter in their place.

When Chelsea chief executive Ron Gourlay said "it will be quite a spectacle" he was spot on.

In a footballing context, Chelsea will not be unhappy with the draw. Inter were hardly impressive in the last 16, only confirming qualification with a win against Rubin Kazan in their final group game.

Inter's Champions League record is indifferent and they have lost to English opposition in Liverpool and Manchester United at this same stage in the last two seasons. But Chelsea will be wary of Mourinho on an occasion such as this - it a stage designed for his personality.

Samuel Eto'o, a tormentor of Manchester United when they were comfortably beaten by Barcelona in last season's final in Rome, will be a major threat but Chelsea will still feel they have enough in their weaponry to prevent Mourinho progressing at the expense of the club he revived.

Beckham may not be the player he was when he won six Premier Leagues, three FA Cups and the Champions League at Manchester United, but make no mistake he has earned every ounce of the affection he will receive when he walks out again at Old Trafford.

He was a central figure in all the years of success during his United career and his devotion to the club has never wavered despite leaving for Real Madrid in 2003.

And, as with Mourinho, there is also a sense that he might be in the right place at the right time to showcase his talents. Where better than "The Theatre of Dreams" for Beckham to demonstrate he still has what it takes to be part of England's squad at the World Cup in South Africa next summer?

There are doubters (here is one for starters) who question Beckham's right to a place in Fabio Capello's party, but on this occasion all should have the good grace to acknowledge that this is the sort of occasion he deserves in the light of his previous wonderful service to Sir Alex Ferguson.

United, like Chelsea, will be satisfied with the draw. Tough but very winnable and Ferguson's elephant memory will have him recalling how United were outclassed by AC Milan in the 2007 Champions League semi-final in Italy. He is a man who likes to set the record straight and here is an opportunity. He will also remember United losing to the same opponents at this stage in 2005.

AC Milan were inconsistent in the group stage, but a 3-2 win against Real Madrid in The Bernabeu, with two goals from the gifted Alexandre Pato demonstrating his danger, posted the warning signals that a side leaning towards the elderly cannot be taken lightly.

Ferguson will be hoping the AC Milan that lost to FC Zurich in the San Siro will be the one that presents itself in these two ties.

So Chelsea and United will harbour real hopes of progressing to the last eight - and Arsenal will certainly fancy their chances against FC Porto.

The Portuguese side finished a comfortable second behind Chelsea in their Champions League group and have a formidable record at the Estadio do Dragao - but Arsene Wenger will surely feel Arsenal have been given the best draw of the three English teams.

Of course, the glamour of this draw will not be lost on Liverpool and their followers as they are on the outside looking in at a competition that has given them so much pleasure. It will hurt to get such obvious reduced billing to Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal when the European action starts again.

They have not been handed an easy tie in the last 32 of the Europa League, against Dan Petrescu's Romanian side Unirea Orzicen, who won 4-1 at Rangers in the Champions League group phase. Neighbours Everton will hope for better fortune on their second trip to Lisbon in the tournament.

They were thrashed 5-0 by Benfica in the group stage and now confront Sporting Lisbon - while Fulham have also been handed a tough test against Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk.

But all the headlines will belong to Mourinho and Beckham as they return to the scenes of so many previous successes - what nights they will be.

You can follow me throughout this season at http://twitter.com/philmcnulty and join me at Facebook (requires registration)


Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    Hi Phil - This is going to be an interesting few ties - not least the Chelsea one.

    Beckham returning to Old trafford - it will be interesting to see if he actually plays - but I think he will and knowing him - score a free kick at the end of the game to knock them out.

    I predict though the following....Chelsea, Arsenal, Barcelona, Sevilla, Man Utd, Real Madrid to be the defo's - cant pin down the other 2.

    Liverpool will be interesting if there get through.

  • Comment number 2.

    I think AC Milan will be a very difficult proposition indeed. Ronaldinho seems to be improving his form weekly and Pato is always dangerous. Seedorf has found fresh legs and Nesta is back to his imperious best. United will definitely need a full strength 11 to come out of this one successfully but still should be confident of doing the deed.

  • Comment number 3.

    Beckham will still deservedly get his name chanted at old trafford.

    The AC milan without Kaka doesn't frighten me anywhere near as much as it would have done last year.

    Arsenal get a typically easy draw. Ah, suppose they need it.

    Chelsea match looks like a belter.

  • Comment number 4.

    Nice blog...
    Expect Arsenal and Utd. to walk through their ties though...
    Chelsea,I think will scrape through.
    Utd. just have too much firepower for greasy Milan and Arsenal should beat Porto as they did last year at home.
    Fulham I suppose came out the worst,a tough match at Shakhtar and then if they win either Ajax or Juve...

  • Comment number 5.

    Arsenal's year has come in the Champions League. Unlucky in recent years. I'll be putting my house on them this year.

  • Comment number 6.

    There probably won't ever be a statue at Old Trafford for David Beckham (unlike Charlton, Best, Law and, no doubt eventually, Ryan Giggs), but Beckham was a genuine Manchester United hero and deserves a great welcome back. If in doubt, check the stats.

  • Comment number 7.

    taken from the football front page of this site, "Manchester United will face former midfielder David Beckham in the last 16 of the Champions League after they were paired with AC Milan, while Chelsea face Inter and Arsenal meet Porto"
    Looks like United have the easiest draw as it's against one player only.

    Lots of personality stuff in the blog and nothing about current European records, standings, places, facts, personel or anything really football related to this year. Astounding!

  • Comment number 8.

    hey who did liverpool draw in the champions league.

  • Comment number 9.

    chelsea v inter is definately the most interesting tie of this draw.

    As you say Phil there is a real dichotomy of issues with this one. On the one hand you have the return of the blue eyed boy between jose and the chelsea fans, on the other the renewal of the rivalry between Mourinho and Ancelotti - one comment from Ancelotti that i liked (in response of course to one of Jose's jibes) was "don't ask Mourinho about football, he's never played it" - love it!

    As for Jose coming back to england, I would welcome it. He did get on my nerves a bit at times (he is just so full of it, you've got to admire it really!) but in retrospect he is made for the premiership, the english media etc and i would guess he probably would rather come back here than go to spain or stay in italy. I would love to see him take over a club in the premiership next year, it would be great for him to see him go at in the league as it is now with 6 or so teams who are in contention.

  • Comment number 10.

    Also, does anyone see Fulham just giving up on the Cup this year?

    Got a horrible tie with Shakhtar Donetsk, followed by Ajax/Juventus if they win! Maybe they should just concentrate on the league and do a 'Villa'.

  • Comment number 11.

    First of all, absolutely delighted Becks will be returning to Old Trafford, as he was absolutely marvellous for us, and I think the United supporters will use this occasion to show thweir gratitude towards him.

    There is no 'if' - Beckham gets a great reception, - he will, and there is no one in the world, more worthy of it than him, a truly wonderful player.

    Now onto the match, Becks aldo wa reported to have said he wanted to retun, - and knock out his old club, - whether this was the case, or whether this was mis-reported, I don't know? But what I do know is in my opinion there is little chance of this happening.

    I would expect once United have all their injured players back, - in particular the defence, and bearing in mind the first leg of the tie is in mid- February, - generally when United are beginning to hit top gear it will be ominious for an aging Milan side.

    What do you think on this Phil.

    Thinking back to thwe Inter Milan fixture, last year, - United won that tie comfortably and I would say Inter, are far superior to their Milan neighbours at the moment, - not that Inter are anything startling I would point out.

    United should have won in the San Siro, creating chances galore in the first half, - almost like an attack versus defence game, albeit with the second half being a bit more even/ competitive.

    In the second game United won playing in reverse, they looked lethargic and as though they were playing very much within themselves, - yet still won comfortably, - just shows you the difference between the PL, and Serie A.

    On the Chelsea, Inter tie, I expect it will be tight because of the 'Jose Mourinho effect' however I expect Chelsea to come through, of that I am really confident.

    Your thoughts, Phil.

    Probably the team I'm most concerned about is Arsenal, who by reputation are playing the weakest of the teams (out of AC and Inter), however I feel, they are probably in the same class, as both these sides, - certainly Inter. United just edged them lasy year, - and that team is far stronger than Arsenal's. I think thev key factor is the second leg is at the Emirates. I don't fancy Arsenal going to Porto and coming away with a lead,- (not because of Englisg clubs record when playing there)more so because of the intense/ hostile environment the locals create, and I wonder if Arsenal have the experience to handle that.H owever at the Emirates I think it will be a different story, and I think Arsenal, - perhaps with a help of an early goal and a packed Emirates stadium could beat Porto comfortably, thus taking them through, - just!

    I predict all 3 English teams make it through to the next stage.

    Your views Phil?

  • Comment number 12.

    5. At 2:46pm on 18 Dec 2009, fla109 wrote:
    Arsenal's year has come in the Champions League. Unlucky in recent years. I'll be putting my house on them this year.

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

    Have you picked your shelter yet then mate?

  • Comment number 13.

    Inter and AC have some proven match-winners...
    They could put out their respective opponents with a moment of magic.
    Even though Utd. and Chelsea will fancy their chances they wouldn't be the happiest with this draw...

    Barca seem to have got off the easiest.
    Lehmann might have been relieving himself a lot lately,he has a real fight on his hands to keep it down in february.

  • Comment number 14.

    I think Chelsea will be too strong for Inter over two legs.

    A Beckham inspired Milan however could go to Old Trafford with a lead and really make life tough for United.

    Chelsea and Milan to go through.

  • Comment number 15.

    hey seriously guys ,did liverpool get a favourable draw for the 1st knockout round of the champions league..

  • Comment number 16.

    #7 collie21 - "taken from the football front page of this site, "Manchester United will face former midfielder David Beckham in the last 16 of the Champions League after they were paired with AC Milan, while Chelsea face Inter and Arsenal meet Porto"
    Looks like United have the easiest draw as it's against one player only."

    You're not funny.

    No, I'm afraid it's not Arsenal's year. As much as I enjoy watching them, I can't see past Barcelona again this year.

  • Comment number 17.

    My predictions:

    STUTTGART v BARCELONA
    Stuttgart are a decent side and I don't think Barca are as strong as last year (although Iniesta is back). Having said that, barca should qualify with relative ease.

    OLYMPIAKOS v BORDEAUX
    I have been very impressed with Bordeaux. They deservedly overcame Bayern and Juve in the group stage and they looked impressive. Gourcuff is the standout player for me. I strongly expect Bordeaux to come through and I hope they play against a top team in the next round so we can see how good they really are.

    INTER MILAN v CHELSEA
    It's being hyped as one of the two standout draws but I think Chelsea will have too much for Inter. Inter have flattered to deceive for a number of years. They don't seem to do well against the big teams but make sure that the win against smaller ones.

    BAYERN MUNICH v FIORENTINA
    Tough to call. If Ribery is fit for the two legs then Bayern are slight favourites (only slight because Fiorentina play home second). Otherwise Fiorentina are favourites. I'll go with Fiorentina!

    CSKA MOSKOW v SEVILLA
    Another tough call simply because I havn't seen them play for a while! I don't think either of these teams are particularly good though. Leaning slightly towards CSKA.

    LYON v REAL MADRID
    Lyon are not the same team as a couple of seasons ago when they had the likes of Benzema and Juninho. Even though Real are not quite the real deal (forgive the pun) I think they should progress with ease.

    PORTO v ARSENAL
    Not easy for Arsenal. Porto have some good individual players. Should be a very attacking tie since both teams have very good attacking talents but not so good defence. I'll go for Arsenal as they play home second.

    AC MILAN v MAN UTD
    Again, another one of the hyped ties. United are definately favourites but if Ronaldinho is in an inspired mood, it may make the difference for Milan. Very unlikely though.

  • Comment number 18.

    I predict: Barcelona, Bordeaux, Chelsea, Bayern Munich, Sevilla, Real Madrid, Arsenal, Man United (just) to go through.

    Can't wait to see Becks at Old Trafford. Milan will be a tough game - Pato is seriously dangerous. I worry for united if they don't have a full strength back four.

    As much as it pains me to say it, I think it's Chelsea's year in the Champions league. They seem to get results even when playing poorly which is always a sign.

  • Comment number 19.

    Hi Phil, fantastic blog as usual. I will not agree that Man U drawing AC Milan is a good one for Man U. AC Milan are on the rise again after their faltering start to the season and the resurgent Ronaldinho can be a handful for the currently struggling defence of Man U who incidentally have just one effective striker - Rooney. Uunless United buys in january, i don't see them going through.
    Chelsea as you rightly point out will progress against Inter because of the sheer quality of the Chelsea side currently.

  • Comment number 20.

    Utd should get thru and I feel it could be the return of the old boys for Utd....'the winker' and Real next!!

  • Comment number 21.

    interesting draw,both europa and champions league. I expect both utd and chelsea to have too much pace and power to overcome the milan clubs. However, i dont think arsenal should underestimate porto, without van persie, they will struggle,especially with porto being so good at home and dangerous away from home with the pace of hulk etc. Liverpool should have no problems in reaching the semis, comfortable ties v unirea and then either fenerbahce or lille, put it this way, itl be a shock if liverpool dont get through those ties.

  • Comment number 22.

    bashir kiddaahh saab lol

    why is wayne rooney automatic first choice striker for england

    everyone bangs on about his sublime touch... his silky feet, how he runs all over the pitch like a mad dog but does he do much really

    he takes 5 chances to score one goal and u know thats a fact whereas drogba, torres, villa, eto'o will score using the one chance so why is wayne rooney so overhyped. am i missing something

    when cristiano ronaldo and wayne rooney first came together, you could have argued that they had the same ability.. more or less..

    now you tell me out of the two, who has improved thier game year by year

    and dont give me rubbish about how a certain someone has learnt to control his temper. no one gives a monkeys about temper

    wayne rooney is not all he is cracked up to be

  • Comment number 23.

    Ive watched 3 Milan games in Europe this year - home and away vs Madrid and home to Marseille. Against Marseille they were VERY lucky to get a draw. If Marseille had won, Milan would be out. Home to Madrid they were again average and deserved a draw at best. I missed the home to Zurich game but they lost 1-0. This tells us Milan at home are there for the taking. On the other hand Milan looked dangerous on the break in Mardid and won 3-2 in the Bernabeu which is no mean feat. Pato took a couple of excellent goals and looks a real danger. Milan still do possess some real quality in their ranks - although some of it may slightly be past its sell by date. Rule out Milan at your peril. Saying that, Utd should still win.

    Seen several of Inters games in Europe too and again not overly impressed. They scraped through against Kazan in the final game and the scoreline flattered them. They also snatched 2 late goals in Kiev - although they bossed this game and deserved the win in my opinion. In Barca they were shocking and got what was coming to them. Decent team, but realistically Chelsea should be to strong for them. But again, they have the individual quality to win if Chelsea are not a 100%

  • Comment number 24.

    Are Arsenal in the Champions League ?

    from the contents of the blogg I think the name is mentioned Twice?

    So Liverpool having capitualted in the competition we are now all to be treated to a lot of drivel about Chelsea, beckham and the " mouth "
    mourinho.

    Was it really 50 years since chelsea won the title? wow just think if it was not for the RA millions it would have been another 50 years.

    Inter Milan are in fact a very poor side and as the " mouth " does not have millions to spend his so called expertise are now being shown up for what they really are. LUCK!

    as for beckham i suspect the guy will make a cameo appearance and thats about all.

    The most difficult of all the ties is without question Arsenal v Porto

    and Phil McNulty is very very wrong just like he was when 1st tipping Liverpool to win the Title and then for chelsea to be running away with it and unstoppable etc etc etc.

    and as for the " mouth " being welcome back here, I think not and i would also dare to suggest the guy would not make the same impression as he did with chelsea with any other PL Club unless he had millions to spend on players his acheivments are grossly over stated.

  • Comment number 25.

    With all the hype, that is if Bechkam actually features for Ac milan...They are presently playing in a 4-3-3 formation and I don't see how he will fit in that formation except if they are desperately looking for a goal where they sometime play two strikers up front.. Pirlo, Ambrosini and Seedorf are the trio that start in the midfield because Ambrosini is the destroyer, Pirlo is the Maestro and Seedforf play behind Borriello and also cover back to help defend.. I think Bechkam will just be an aoption for Milan if they are playin with two strikers upfront.

    There attacking trio of Ronaldinho, Pato and Borriellio means that they need hard working midfielders and I would hardly put the present David Beckham in that bracket..I am sure the press would be dissapointed not to see him feature but I don't see Leonardo changing a formation that ha sw on them 7games in a row only because of a certain David Beckham.

  • Comment number 26.

    To Jamie Riley...as you might know my record with predictions is just slightly flawed (although Liverpool can still mathematically win the title) but I would agree Manchester United should edge out AC Milan if they have all their big players back and Chelsea to go through as well for me. I am very confident Arsenal will also beat Porto - so three Premier League representatives in the last eight again for me.

    And who are those cruel posters asking about Liverpool? Come on let's stick to Chelsea, United and Arsenal.

    Don't leave the prediction to me though...let's hear more from you on how you think ALL of the Champions League ties will pan out and on the return of Beckham to United and Jose to Chelsea.

    The great things is both will be guaranteed fantastic receptions. I cannot actually see any fans of United or Chelsea not being glad to see these two back on their old territory.

    As I said earlier, I can't wait for these games.

  • Comment number 27.

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

  • Comment number 28.

    8. At 2:55pm on 18 Dec 2009, ANCELOTTERI wrote:
    hey who did liverpool draw in the champions league.
    ______________________________________________________

    We're not in it this year so your team have a chance to close the gap in Champions League Trophies from a deficit of five, to only four.
    LOL

  • Comment number 29.

    I think with Eto'o plying his trade at Inter they do have a chance of knocking a suspect Chelsea out of the competition. He is a poacher & they have lacked that in recent years.

    Man Utd may also struggle if the crowd are right behind Milan, thay do have the talent to knock any side out & Ronaldinho is finding some form again.

    I asked this on another blog but I will ask again, does this mean that they will move one of these ties back a week? I cant imagine UEFA wanting English fans in Milan over two days, I am sure they moved the game last time this happened!

  • Comment number 30.

    As a cfc fan, i wasn't delighted with the draw, though people have been talking up cfc's chances. I would much rather have had Porto or even A.C milan. Inter have a stronger squad than previous years where their CL campaigns have been disappinting. The likes of Milito, Balotelli, Sneijder and Eto'o would cause any side problems. Also at the back they've got the likes of Maicon, Samuel and Chivu protected by Cambiasso. However, I can still see us getting a hard-fought 0-0 away from home then sneaking it 1/2-0 at home thanks to Drogba or Anelka.

  • Comment number 31.

    With Liverpool out I'd still prefer an English club to win the League. Hopefully it'll be Arsenal because I like most of their players and another trophyless season may finally make Fabregas leave and I just want best players to stay in England even if they don't play for my club.
    Regarding the draw, I think all 3 teams will make it through and are likely to dominate the later stages. Paradoxically my highlight in the last 16 is Chelsea v. Inter. I'm almost sure it'll be tight and maybe even boring and I strongly dislike Chelsea and am hardly bothered about Inter but I'm simply fascinated by Mourinho. He's such a great personality and a top man. I'd even wish he won though if he doesn't he may be sacked and return to England. That would be the best outcome!

  • Comment number 32.

    I agree, Liverpool are getting unfair stick here. Everyone knows that Benitez sacrificed the CL this year so they could make sure they win the Premier League. But if that plan doesn't work out (what could go wrong?), and if they perform well against Unirea (who beat the mighty Glasgow Rangers recently), it will at least bolster their claims for entry into the Scottish Premier League next season.

  • Comment number 33.

    whao! what a draw! so interesting. *stuttgart vs barcelona: i see this as an easy one for barca though they shouldnt expect both legs to be easy though. i see the match being won at nou camp. *olympiakos vs bordeaux: bordeaux have been impressive all season both in the french championnat & champions league. i see them maintaining their form & pipping the turks. *inter vs chelsea: i really do hope that we hear more from mourinho this time around-this is probably the most interesting draw in that ancelotti & mourinho have not had it all smooth from their days at italy & also because jose is going back to stamford bridge.hmmm.i hope he is going to prove abrahamovic wrong this time. i see inter edging chelsea on this one. *bayern vs fiorentina: i tip fiorentina because i do not see how b.munich will be handle them. the germans have been inconsistent-they were just lucky to have defeated juventus on match day 6. *cska vs sevilla: probably the easiest. i dont actually know where its going. *lyon vs madrid: lyon is definitely going out of the competition with this draw. the spanish giants will be too strong for them. *porto vs arsenal: i dont know how arsenal fans will feel after reading this but the truth is that arsenal cannot just go through. they are out already. porto will carry the day. *man utd vs milan: im relishing beckham back at old trafford but utd is winning this one.

  • Comment number 34.

    Did anyone put a bet on Jose coming to Chelsea and Beckham going to Man U?
    Could anyone even get odds?
    There were absolutely no surprises in this years Champions League fix, (or draw if you're naive).

    Now who will give me odds for the referees to be from Iceland and the Faroe Islands?

  • Comment number 35.

    Phil McNulty | 12:18
    Of course, the glamour of this draw will not be lost on Liverpool and their followers
    _____________________________________________________________________

    Phil, apparently I'm not allowed to respond negatively to your comment.

    What I will say then is I think there will be no English teams in the Champions League Final this year.
    Is that OK?

  • Comment number 36.

    Well as stated in my previous blog, I think all our english represntatives will progress on the other ties, I would go for.

    I also think the two B's Barca and Bordeaux will ease through. I think Madrid will be too good for Lyon, although I don't think this is a given.

    I'm going to tip Fiorentina to progress, - not really sure if that's considered an upset!

    And on CSKA v Sevilla, it's the tie I'm least interested in, to be honest, but I am leaning just towards Sevilla on this one.

    As also stated in my above blog, I'm chuft to bits Becks is going to return to the club he loves, I think it will be a great occasion - hopefuly crowned by United progressing, with the home fans seizing the opportunity to salute their not once, but still hero! Regardless of the result it will be an unforgettable occasion, which I am eagerly anticipating.

    Similarly I think Mourinho will get a great reception for what he did at Chelsea, - which he is also worthy of. He is probably the one manager, who managed to outwit Alex Ferguson both in one on one contests and in terms of silverware in his years at Chelsea, - this achievement desrving to be recognised. Even though United halted their march in the 06/7 season, - and began threatening to reassert themselves as the top footballing power in England, towards the end of his era (the start of the 07/08 season), his time at Chelsea was, as is a suitable choice of word for him, - 'special.'

    This may sound sad, but I enjoyed writing that, reliving past confrontations whilst doing so!



  • Comment number 37.

    STUTTGART v BARCELONA
    Barcelona for sure, they will have far to much for an average Stuttgart team.

    OLYMPIAKOS v BORDEAUX
    I would say Bordeaux will go through, looked impressive in the group stages, have a solid team and a very good player in Gourcuff!, i rekon they are dark horses to win the tournament!

    INTER MILAN v CHELSEA
    Evan though Chelsea aren't playing well at the moment, feb is along way away for there fortunes to turn for the better, either way i can't see a good Inter team beating them, they always seem to choke on the big stage and i can't see them doing anything diff this year!, With the squad they have they should at least got to 1 final in the last 4 seasons.

    BAYERN MUNICH v FIORENTINA
    This could be one of the closest ties of the round, for me Fiorentina have been been the most impressive team behind Bordeaux so far, i would say Bayern are favorites as they have more experience in this tournament but i'm going to edge towards Fiorentina.

    CSKA MOSKOW v SEVILLA
    I'm going to go for CSKA but only slightly, Sevilla could go through just at much, so tough one to call.

    LYON v REAL MADRID
    Real Madrid for me here, even though Lyon are a solid team, I reckon Real will leak some goals in but they will just outscore Lyon.

    PORTO v ARSENAL
    Tricky game for Arsenal not going to be easy, Porto have some talented players and did very well against Man Utd last season, only a Ronaldo stunner was the difference.

    AC MILAN v MAN UTD
    Another tough game to call, Man Utd don't seem to do well against Milan, could go down to a penalty shoot out this game, if Pato is on form for Milan i can see him being the difference(future Balon dOr winner), Beckham to get the winning peno.

  • Comment number 38.

    United, like Chelsea, will be satisfied with the draw. Tough but very winnable and Ferguson's elephant memory will have him recalling how United were outclassed by AC Milan in the 2007 Champions League semi-final in Italy. He is a man who likes to set the record straight and here is an opportunity. He will also remember United losing to the same opponents at this stage in 2005.
    _______________________

    You say Utd will be satisfied with the draw (couldnt disagree more) and then remind us Milan have outclassed Utd twice in 4/5 years in the tournament.

    Barcelona, Bordeaux, Chelsea, Fiorentina, CSKA, Madrid, Arsenal and Milan to progress.



  • Comment number 39.

    At this stage of the competition any team can qualify for the next round,considering the fact that this is a knock out competition that will be played over two legs at home and away.
    Mr McNulty,you are no good at predictions so I hope you have not put the kiss of death on the English teams.
    While a lot of fans are talking about the return of Beckham and Mourinho to their former clubs,I still feel the most dangerous tie is the one between Lyon and Real Madrid.This could be a real banana peel for Madrid. Despite all the world class players available to Madrid I think Lyon should fancy their chances over two legs.

  • Comment number 40.

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

  • Comment number 41.

    I predict Man Utd to go through, and Chelsea. That's if both of them play like we know they can.

    Both AC and Inter have some world class players and if either of the english teams aren't 100%, they have the ability to take advantage of that, no doubt.

  • Comment number 42.

    Why was Mourinho sacked?

  • Comment number 43.

    david beckham at old trafford...fantastic. he is going to be cheered no doubt,i dont see them taking anything out of the game. they are now a weakened side compared to what they looked like last season. ronaldinho is in form and he s gonna pose a lotta threat but i still think man utd will carry the day. dont say i didnt tell you.

  • Comment number 44.

    #32 hehehe, good post.

  • Comment number 45.

    looking forward to seeing Beckham back at United, he'll definitly get a warm welcome. Tough draw but winnable, though am baffled why people are worried about our defensive crisis when the game isnt for two months.

    hey Mods, any chance of getting the post moderated a little quicker please? cheers

  • Comment number 46.

    2 out of 3 to go though for me. I think United will go out to Milan, but I hope Chelsea go out becuase of Terry, Lampard, Aston Cole etc. I wish none of these men success and dislike them immensly. So Santa, that's my stocking filler sorted, thank you very much.

  • Comment number 47.

    i guess the moderators are stil on thier morning tea break

  • Comment number 48.

    With Liverpool out I'd still prefer an English club to win the League.

    --
    The chances of that not happening seem somewhat remote. Not unless the old firm join half way through the season. Even then.. ;-)

    I guess failure just becomes a blur after a while, eh? :)

  • Comment number 49.

    I bet there isn't a team in the top flight that would not welcome Mourhino as manager, even MU. As a city fan I would love to see him at Man City.
    I don't know if he is a special tactician or coach, but without doubt he is a brilliant motivator and more than a match for that great old grisly bear, Ferguson.
    From an outsiders point of view he is pure entertainment so long as it's not your team he is tormenting.


  • Comment number 50.

    just picture this....................
    aggregate scores tied after 2 legs , 3 minutes into injury time, rooney gives a free kick into man u 30 yard goal-post......beckhams steps-up .........n scores .
    Man U Kicked out of Champions Cup, some1 juss whispered the way fergie did to becks 7yrs...is that no.7lucky for english or scott, we'll see.
    beckhams always had destiny on his side.....
    so man u fans start gettin' used to 2009 being ur trophyless season !!!



  • Comment number 51.

    " Similarly I think Mourinho will get a great reception for what he did at Chelsea, - which he is also worthy of. He is probably the one manager, who managed to outwit Alex Ferguson both in one on one contests and in terms of silverware in his years at Chelsea, - this achievement desrving to be recognised. Even though United halted their march in the 06/7 season, - and began threatening to reassert themselves as the top footballing power in England, towards the end of his era (the start of the 07/08 season), his time at Chelsea was, as is a suitable choice of word for him, - 'special.' "



    Utter Rubbish!

  • Comment number 52.

    MR MCNULTY, YOU STILL HAVE SEVERAL OUTSTANDING QUESTIONS REMAINING UNANSWERED FROM YOUR LAST BLOG ABOUT MICK MCCARTHY.....

  • Comment number 53.

    "i swear liverpool fans should have 18 times and 5 times stamped on thier forehead"

    ah, that made me laugh. i guess all fans are guilty of living in the past a bit, us gunners like to talk about the invincibles and all that. although i don't think any fans bang on about it more than pool's.

    as for the draw, i could't be more pleased, other than getting lyon. i'm not sure were all this talk of lyon being on a level of real madrid comes from. they were lucky to get our the groups really, only a very poor liverpool side allowed them to.

    of course the main talking points are chelsea's and united's games. i think the english clubs will win on both fronts.

  • Comment number 54.

    To Jamie Riley...then write away. No problem to me.

    Interesting some posters think these could be tricky ties for Manchester United and Chelsea in particular. I agree, but think they will go through.

    Harsh words from richmay1 for my prediction skills or lack of them. My New Year's Resolution may well be no more predictions.

    And yes, as many have pointed out, the meeting between Lyon and Real Madrid will be interesting. What do our Euro experts out there think will be the outcome of that?

  • Comment number 55.

    I was expecting United to get Bayern Munich. Great draw, hopefully we will be victorious this time around. The defeat in 2005 still rankles seeing as I went to OT to watch that game and definitely looking forward to our Becks coming back home! I expect United to qualify over the 2 legs.

    Inter v Chelsea you just couldn’t write the script. Jose goes back to Chelsea, will be interesting to see how this one pans out. We need Jose back in the premier league ASAP, we are missing his charm and his 1 liners.

    How easy are Barca's and Arsenal's draws?

  • Comment number 56.

    40. At 4:32pm on 18 Dec 2009, ANCELOTTERI wrote:
    We're not in it this year so your team have a chance to close the gap in Champions League Trophies from a deficit of five, to only four.
    LOL

    =========================
    i swear liverpool fans should have 18 times and 5 times stamped on thier forehead
    _______________________________________________________________________

    I didnt bring the 18 league titles up, you did. Maybe we could chat about Chelsea's League history between 1956 and 2004. I doubt that will take very long. Over to you......

  • Comment number 57.

    Interesting draw, my Porto have been paired up with a difficult but familiar Arsenal, and i'm not too worried. Only problem is we play them in Portugal first, so the pressure is on us. I highly disagree that Arsenal got the easiest draw, let's not forget that Porto had the best team in England by far in Chelsea, and we gave them a hard time in both games with Anelka being the only difference. If you ask me out of all the English teams Arsenal got the second toughest draw behind
    Chelsea's draw. As for the usual underestimating of Porto in England, i'm used to it, and welcome it infact, because i'm going to love to see the look on the Arsenal fans faces when Porto walks away at least 2-0 winners at home, and then frustrates Arsenal to a 1-1 draw in
    England hehe.

  • Comment number 58.

    Nice Blog!!

    I would predict all the teams who are playing away on the 16/17 to advance to the quarters!

  • Comment number 59.


    " Why was Mourinho sacked? "

    he proved to be anything but special

    just like at Inter Milan.




  • Comment number 60.

    Beckham's a good footballer but not a great one, his 'brand' has helped the hype of his ability. Real Madrid didn't sign him for him for his ability, they have said as much. Would he be so highly regarded had int he footballing world had he not married who he married, i don't think so.

  • Comment number 61.

    40. At 4:32pm on 18 Dec 2009, ANCELOTTERI wrote:
    We're not in it this year so your team have a chance to close the gap in Champions League Trophies from a deficit of five, to only four.
    LOL

    =========================
    i swear liverpool fans should have 18 times and 5 times stamped on thier forehead
    _______________________________________________________________________

    I didnt bring the 18 league titles up, you did. Maybe we could chat about Chelsea's League history between 1956 and 2004. I doubt that will take very long. Over to you......

    =========================================================

    perhaps if you could...... if you wouldnt mind, tell me your league history between 1990 and 2009. not that its very long. over to you.......

  • Comment number 62.

    61. At 6:27pm on 18 Dec 2009, ANCELOTTERI wrote:
    40. At 4:32pm on 18 Dec 2009, ANCELOTTERI wrote:
    We're not in it this year so your team have a chance to close the gap in Champions League Trophies from a deficit of five, to only four.
    LOL

    =========================
    i swear liverpool fans should have 18 times and 5 times stamped on thier forehead
    _______________________________________________________________________

    I didnt bring the 18 league titles up, you did. Maybe we could chat about Chelsea's League history between 1956 and 2004. I doubt that will take very long. Over to you......

    =========================================================

    perhaps if you could...... if you wouldnt mind, tell me your league history between 1990 and 2009. not that its very long. over to you.......
    ___________________________________________________________________________

    Now we've spoken about our ten years of nothing and your 50 years of nothing...Perhaps we should talk about Champions League Titles. LOL
    5-0. :D

  • Comment number 63.

    Phil, The team I pity most in this draw is Chelsea. Its not because they don't have the firepower to win but it reminds me of the Semi-Finals of the World Cup played in 1990 in Italy in Naples between Italy and Argentina. That day Diego returned home and the support was divided. I think the fans in Naples where more loyal to Diego than to their National team and Italy lost on penalties. I see the same scenario happening here. In Milan there will be no sympathies for Chelsea. Infact the support will be hostile because of Ancelloti(AC Milan) and if Inter win or draw(0-0) that game then they have the advantage. The Mourinho loyalists (People whojoined Chelsea because of Mourinho) are too much at Stamford bridge and the support for Mourinho(not Inter) will be massive to the detriment of Chelsea. I bet he will lead Inter out so that the inter players will not be booed and the Fans will fall for it. One thing he knows how to do is to play mind games and if Chelsea don't get the maximum support in that tie they are out. I see 1990 semi all over again in this tie.

  • Comment number 64.

    I think anyone who fancied LFC for the league this year should stay way from predicting anything else, for a while.

  • Comment number 65.

    ANCELOTTERI

    i really think you should give up any attempt to make chelseas history anything like comparable to that of Liverpools. ( note the small c )

    your not even close to Arsenal's let alone Liverpools despite the ammount of " special " ones you have had in charge or the millions thrown at your outfit. ( note the capitol A and L )

  • Comment number 66.

    Just a comment about Inter, which I support. A thorough analysis would highlight the fact that we have very strong individual players, second to none. The goalie is one of the best in the world. The defence is prime quality. Maicon is arguably the best in his role. Good individuals in midfield, although Muntari is a joke and I hope he won't play. Sneijder is impressive, I'm falling in love with him. Eto'o is a bit out - at least he's not been showing enough up to now, but everyone knows what he could do. Milito scores good, Balotelli is unpredictable but can score at any time from any position.

    So, we have the men. What I haven't seen is the team. And there's only one culprit: Jose Mourinho. It's not up to the players to create a team, it's up to the manager. He's being paid more than enough for that. What I saw in Barcelona is not worthy of a parish team coach. He's either going to step it up (and in that case Chelsea will face more than a problem) or he's going to suck money until the end of the year, and then back to his beloved Premier League, where people love to see him acting like a clown. In Italy everyone is already sick of him, and nobody gets bullied by him. He's stressed and wants to go away. Well, he better realize that if he wants to go away, a good Champions League performance would do him good, beacuse nobody would pay a loser as much as we are doing now.

  • Comment number 67.

    Typical boring boring post's from anti Chelsea fans (note the capital C?) and they all seem to be from liverpool and arsenal fan's. This bemuses me a little as chelsea are now the premier league hot dog's along with nited and liverpool and arsenal have both be pushed out...I wonder if this is why your all so bitter...

    Chelsea will beat Inter just like they beat liverpool united and arsenal this year when everyone doubted them.

    YAWNNNNNNNN!

  • Comment number 68.

    I dont think Mourinho will be at Inter come the tie, based on what I am reading that is. But it will still be a great match.

    I expect all three English teams to go through because personally I feel Italian football is on the decline and Arsenal are far too strong for FC Porto.

  • Comment number 69.

    "He is still adored at Stamford Bridge by many of the staff and also players such as Frank Lampard, John Terry and Didier Drogba, who were willing slaves to his methods."

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

    Willing slaves? Slaves earning 5 million pounds a year?

  • Comment number 70.

    well what can i say i think only english team will get through and that is arsenal maybe be united as one person before said fergie likes to even the score and he is the greates manager of all time after all. chelsea cant see it dont think they play well when there team line up changes to much therfore when the african cup starts and there players go and come back and hopefully injury free that will be more squad changes which will uspet yhe apple cart and also depending on form of how they do when there gone we will have to wait and see as for arsenal teams in this stage play to win and porto will be no diff they wont do a bolton or wolves and close shop and hide which will leave the gaps wide open and with a couple of good buys in jan i see goals not being a prob as for man u well my decison isnt based on football but fate beckham coming back to ot and scoring the goal that puts ac through soz for no puncuation but its not my style have to type what is in my head at the time or it is lost forever lol

  • Comment number 71.

    60. Beckham's a good footballer but not a great one, his 'brand' has helped the hype of his ability. - pretty harsh i reckon. every time he has been written off in his career his football does the talking and his doubters have been put to rest, Most notably when he declared his intent to move to the MLS, capello dropped him from Real and said he would never play a player who had his mind elsewhere, Beckham then worked his way back into the team, and forced an apology from Capello, a no mean feat in itself.
    Im not english but a czech legend Karel Poborky is a testament to Beckham's ability. Poborsky played fairly well for manchester united, yet who forced him out of the team? yep you guessed right, one David Beckham. Although i have to say there is one czech player that was one of the greatest players i have seen, and that is the most two footed player in history Nedved(although forlan is very close).
    however, getting back on track your comment of "Would he be so highly regarded had int he footballing world had he not married who he married, i don't think so" is quite absurd really. at the time they got together their media image was roughly comparable, however now, Victoria Beckham is effectively unemployed, except for the odd perfume that she releases. Also if she was a separate entity she would be considered a z list celebrity, yet i believe her marriage to David beckham has propelled her public image, and not the other way in which you suggest.
    Also can you tell me of a better dead ball specialist than Beckham? i might consider sinisa Mihajlovic as a contender at closer range, but I honestly think of any 1 as talented, not even the greatest player to grace a football pitch, Zinedine Zidane.

    I am a chelsea fan, and i believe the cl draw all across the board has been quite even. the easiest draw from the outset appears barca stuttgart, but you have to take into consideration that barca could not beat rubin kazan over two legs, and perhaps the greater statistic, is that no club has managed to defend their crown since the new formation of the european cup in the guise of the champions league.

    Chelsea hold the upper hand in the tie in my opinion because the second leg is at stamford bridge. Inter have limped into the second phase of the competition, but how many times have you seen liverpool do that and then reproduce their better performances in the latter stages? I think inter have a very strong squad and have several players that i would love to see at chelsea, for example maicon, cambiasso, sneijder and eto'o, however their pairing in the centre of defence could be their undoing. chivu and samuel have plenty of international experience with Romania and Argentina respectively, yet they dont have the physical attributes to match Drogba's physical presence or Anelka's pace. so my prediction is a 2-0 victory for chelsea on aggregate.

    All the comments (including Phil's) are implying that the Manchester United Ac Milan game shall be a somewhat easy victory for Man utd with Beckham appearing as an insignificant cameo. when you look at milan's results in recent years, one thing remains constant, against the biggest teams in Europe their wily old players roll back the years and produce! that can be seen by the amount have times they have reached the latter stages whilst languishing in 4th spot in their relatively weak domestic league. I think United will score in Milan and go through on the away goals rule.

    Arsenal are the greatest enigma in the modern game. beautiful to watch and on their day the greatest side bar none on the planet, yet painfully inconsistent. this can be seen when they got comprehensively beaten by Chelsea 3-0. following that defeat they got back to winning ways and then beat liverpool to plausibly make the PL a three horse race, and then falter again so soon against Burnley. I believe Arsenal's problems are very identifiable, and that is wether they are winning or losing they have only one style of play. there is just no plan B. it could be quite easy to say that they dont have a Drogba to play high balls into the final third but there over reliance on playing the short passing game limits there counter attacking side. I think the greatest exponent in modern times of executing a long ball for an attacker to go 1 on 1 with a defender after soaking up pressure was the Manchester United side of 2007-2008 with ronaldo being the lynchpin. I still see Arsenal beating Porto though, as i cant see Porto scoring more than a single goal at home before going to the Emirates

  • Comment number 72.

    N. 70 Mark

    No worries, it took me 20 min to read through it and my conclusion is that you're a literary genius. Like James Joyce's stream of consciousness. You should start a blog with your style.

    Cheers

  • Comment number 73.

    62. At 6:58pm on 18 Dec 2009, Kíllìnghölmê_Clᥠ(aka Charlie Cheesecake) wrote:
    61. At 6:27pm on 18 Dec 2009, ANCELOTTERI wrote:
    40. At 4:32pm on 18 Dec 2009, ANCELOTTERI wrote:
    We're not in it this year so your team have a chance to close the gap in Champions League Trophies from a deficit of five, to only four.
    LOL

    =========================
    i swear liverpool fans should have 18 times and 5 times stamped on thier forehead
    _______________________________________________________________________

    I didnt bring the 18 league titles up, you did. Maybe we could chat about Chelsea's League history between 1956 and 2004. I doubt that will take very long. Over to you......

    =========================================================

    perhaps if you could...... if you wouldnt mind, tell me your league history between 1990 and 2009. not that its very long. over to you.......
    ___________________________________________________________________________

    Now we've spoken about our ten years of nothing and your 50 years of nothing...Perhaps we should talk about Champions League Titles. LOL
    5-0. :D


    =================================

    fair play to liverpools 5 european titles and your 18 league titles in way back when however you cant keep bringing another club down by using history as an excuse forever...

    ive got one particular liverpool supporter friend, evreytime i question him about your questionable results, he always seems to bring up 18 titles and 5 european cups.

    its been drummed into every fan that this is the reason you should give to anyone questioning your results.

  • Comment number 74.

    thats a bit of a bold claim to make that mourinho wont be there to face chelsea

    does anyone else think he'l be sacked before then....

  • Comment number 75.

    Why Thank you Dear Sir. lol

  • Comment number 76.

    Dont listen to the head of communication (What a job title, the irony!), I doubt whether Beckham will get the standing ovation he craves for.

  • Comment number 77.

    " does anyone else think he'l be sacked before then.... "

    na, most chelsea managers seem to manage at least 1 year

  • Comment number 78.

    N. 74
    I don't think Mou risks being sacked. At least until the 2 legs with chelsea, in case we lose.

    There have been worrying signs, though, most of all after the awful game in Barcelona. It wasn't all to be credited to Barca's strength: there are many ways of losing a game, you should show a bit of guts. Our president commented "we just didn't go to Barcelona", referring to the appalling performance. Second worrying sign: Mazzola, just before Rubin Kazan game, told Mourinho that either we go through or he goes away. Mourinho retorted "He doesn't pay my wages". Mazzola answered "Well, actually, I'm a shareholder, so I do. Mourinho should research better". Another sign of the nervy situation is Mou's appalling sentence "I am not paid to win the League or the Champions League, just to do my duty". What the hell does that mean, you tell me. Last worrying sign is his temper: press conferences are reduced to shy questions from journalists (one of them has been recently violently abused by him), followed by jeers and acid answers from Mourinho, and final chill. If we go down against Chelsea, it better happen in a dignified way, at least.

    It wouldn't be the first time that Moratti kicks a manager away even if he still has to pay him for another year.

  • Comment number 79.

    It says a lot about Beckham and Man U fans, the positive welcome he is promised in these comments. It will be interesting to heat, if he plays, how his playing style hss changed if at all, since leaving Man U.
    Hope its a showcase end to end thriller

  • Comment number 80.

    71-
    beckham IS all hype. he does not have the talent of ronaldhino, zidane, ronaldo, figo, rivaldo, kaka, messi etc, but his lifestyle and marketability is what he has survived on.
    he is not a footballer but a celebrity. in 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004 and 2006 he was average. a few assists and a penalty but nothing against the big boys. he even missed a few penalties, got sent off and was at fault in the brazil game during these tournaments.

    as for dead ball specialists better than 1 footed beckham:
    zidane
    pirlo
    juninho
    riquelme
    and loads more who have more than just set pieces to their game.

  • Comment number 81.

    Stop trolling, ANCELOTTERI. What are you really trying to achieve? What's the point of just trying to get a rise out of people on the web? Surely you have something better to do!

  • Comment number 82.

    My predicitions:

    STUTTGART v BARCELONA
    Barcelona to go through

    OLYMPIAKOS v BORDEAUX
    Bordeaux to go through

    INTER MILAN v CHELSEA
    Inter to go through

    BAYERN MUNICH v FIORENTINA
    Fiorentina to go through

    CSKA MOSKOW v SEVILLA
    Sevilla to go through

    LYON v REAL MADRID
    Real Madrid to go through

    PORTO v ARSENAL
    Arsenal to go through

    AC MILAN v MAN UTD
    Man Utd to go through

  • Comment number 83.

    Phil,

    Is this the way it works at the BBC. You express your views, you attack certain people, then realise you got your facts wrong, then move on and hope that people forget.

    Please just reply to the many people from your previous post about Wolves and McCarthy. Now you have realised that Wolves didnt play a reserve side, please just admit that in fact you got your facts wrong and just jumped on the bandwagon.

    You have lost so much respect by many for an article you could have written so much better.

  • Comment number 84.

    Sorry to derail from the current topic,but can somebody please tell me how many goals Wayne Rooney has scored in the premier league this season? Is it 12 goals or 13 goals?

  • Comment number 85.

    80- beckham IS all hype? beckham has been successful for all the teams he has played for, which span the best three leagues in europe. Rivaldo was a fabulous footballer, he left barca on the crest of a wave. what did he do at milan? next to nothing! ronaldinho was the best player in the world, now he is at best a bit part player at milan, even though he is having a somewhat indian summer at present. the england squad may have won nothing over the last decade but the quality within that squad is the highest it has ever been, so to become the record cap holder for an outfield player means he is no slouch! and of that list of dead ball specialists only juninho and zidane can be mentioned in the same gulf as Beckham. Riquelme is an awesome playmaker but beckham is better from 30 yards.

    I dont think beckham is one of the best players to have played the game, but i do believe that all of his achievements have been merited and have not been gained because of his media image.

  • Comment number 86.

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

  • Comment number 87.

    I think this is an exciting Draw.
    Who'd though that Beckham returning to Milan to be in the World Cup would see him and his Meelan Teammates up against Utd?
    I hope he goes get registered for the Champs League, it would be the top bill.
    Inter v Chelsea...oh yes Mourinho v Chelsea....classic.
    I dont know who fixed the draw but it brought out some plump ties...as for Liverpool....oh yeah, they didnt get through!

  • Comment number 88.

    fair play to liverpools 5 european titles and your 18 league titles in way back when however you cant keep bringing another club down by using history as an excuse forever...

    _________________________________________________________________________

    So where does history start and finish?
    Last century ? Last year? Last week? yesterday? Three minutes ago?
    History? where dos it begin?

  • Comment number 89.

    Ok here it is:

    Inter - chokers on the European stage and will go out to Chelsea.

    MAn Utd - Never beaten AC Milan in Euros and i dont see them doing it this year, losing just.

    Arsenal - should beat Porto, but im not 100% confident of it.

    Fulham - tough tie against my Shakhtar, i dont see them beating us.

    Liverpool - all you fans assuming an easy ride - youve just been knocked out of a Champs League group you should have qualified from and now you have the gall to assume the beating of Unirea?

    Unbelievable. No wonder you are not popular fans.

  • Comment number 90.

    30. At 4:00pm on 18 Dec 2009, messien wrote:
    As a cfc fan, i wasn't delighted with the draw, though people have been talking up cfc's chances. I would much rather have had Porto or even A.C milan.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
    As a "cfc fan" surely you should of known that it was not possible to draw Porto due to the fact that you just played them in the group stages.


    As an Arsenal fan I think our draw with Porto is a lot tougher then many seem to think. Porto have a great home record, many good players and as if I remember correctly gave Chelsea a good couple of games this season only losing by a single goal in both matches.
    Many will point to our 4-0 victory over them in the group stages last year, but they beat us too at their ground and gave Utd a good run for their money in the knock out stages. These guys are no mugs and I'm sure that AW will treat them with the respect that they deserve.
    If we can finally get a bit of luck in the injurys department and get a good number of our squad fit, then I believe we have a good chance of progressing, but it is far from a foregone conclusion.

    I feel the Italian teams are not as strong as they were in years gone by, so I think that United and Chelsea will be too strong for the Milan taems over two legs. The English teams and Barcelona are the teams the rest all want to avoid in these stages of the competition.

  • Comment number 91.

    Beckham back at Old Trafford may be pure box office but this translates as another opportunity for the media to indulge in yet another boring and psychophantic story about the most over - rated player to kick a ball. How much do you think Ferguson cares about the return of a player he was glad to see the back of, thanks to his insatiable attention seeking and self-indulgent obsession with celebrity? Thousands of shirts will be sold to those fools who can't tell the difference between contribution to football and vanity, only for an anti-climactic 5 minute appearance when the tie has been decided. What is it with the British and celebrity?

  • Comment number 92.

    Beckham isn't guaranteed his place in Capello's side?
    Beckham isn't guaranteed his place in the Milan side either.
    I understand the hype and nonsense that surround these games - they sell papers and get people talking when there's nothing to really talk about. Beckham might sneak into an ageing and decrepit AC Milan side who crept their way through to the knock out stages. I'm sure if he does play for Milan at Old Trafford (and maybe he will because from a marketing point of view, Milan have a lot to gain from this) the United fans will give him a good reception. But who really cares?
    He may be the richest footballer of all time, he may be a Hollywood celeb, but he is by far the most overrated player that has ever been in the game.
    The easy response to that is to say that it is so easy to criticise him because of his fame, blah, blah, blah..........
    It's all nonsense. You can try to build up his legacy and hope he'll get into the World Cup squad so it will all fit neatly into a grand finale of his glittering career, etc, etc. But you won't fool the real football people who know his place. A good player, never a great player, always an overrated player.

  • Comment number 93.

    The beauty of football lies in it's uncertainty, otherwise none of us would be here. Right?
    As for the hilarious rhetoric from the liverpule people outside looking in on our party, talking about mou' wouldn't have taken cfc to the title without all his millions etc. and the won 18 won 5 mantra we always here, history this vs history that, well, I wouldn't give up the memories I have of standing in the rain watching a second division team in front of less than 12000 people, knowing I was watching them through thick and thin. All around me in the late 70s and early 80's were liverpool fans, who'd never been to liverpool or even had a tate & lyle sugar cube. And ok, so cfc are rich now, I don't care. Pool fans will never know the anguish we felt when our club was on it's death bed and our ground was threatened and walking through parts of SW6 meant taking your life into your own hands. I wouldn't swap this painful history for any 18 bloody titles or 5 european cups.
    It's all about what you choose to personally identify with. It's like asking me to believe in a totally different god, to presume remarks by sour-grape scousers sore that CFC became rich and then stole their loot bag. LEt's face it--back when CFC were about to die, Liverpool, were quite, um, rich. Didn't Dalgleish and Barnes, and Emelyn Hughes and Kevin Keegan and (name some dood from 20 years ago) all get paid the top wages at the time? Couldn't Liverpool afford just about any bonus?
    I marvel at the history of LFC as much as I do Munch Utd's and do not begrudge it a bit. I cried that day, April 89, in Leicester when Chelsea lost 0-1 in the lowly 2nd division, but it was of the news from Hillsborough that had us all upset, and that day all fans stood as one. If you had asked me then if CFC would ever bring out the sour-grapes wrath of a Liverpool fan for becoming just as Worldly popular or successful, I wouldn't have ever beleived it.
    When the League was won again 'after 50 years' I thought about my Grand-dad who grew up in the World's End estate, and his stories of going to CFC one saturday, then Fulham the next, and how at half time all the fans would change ends to support the goalkeeper in a mass parade musical chairs--except it was the terraces, I laugh at the scorn the scousers pour on my 'history' and my teams 'pedigree.'
    let's face it, Football Clubs are no longer the organic community based structures where sustainable relationships endure over time, where the chairman knows everybody down to the tea lady and the ivy growing on the administration office curls down the streets to Mrs Jones's house on the corner where everybody's welcome on a saturday. Those days are gone, and so have the days of Liverpool running up the ladder. In fact the bad old days for liverpool started circa 1995 with Cantona putting in for Utd 1-0 victory in the FA Cup final. And the last Euro Championship liverpool won was indeed a phenomenal blip--well deserved and dramatically satisfying to the neutrals, but hey- they won 1-1 against cfc in the semi and won 3-3 in the final, and the subsequent fetishization of Rafa into hero is total proof it was a flook in the hearts of LFC fans.
    Don't get me wrong--I welcome a strong football terrace culture and LFC can be sure to go down as the standard bearers for all of us. But to take the piss coz CFC has money is a joke that is five years old. Look around you, they've all got money. When I first went to football it cost the same as a pint of beer and the best players in the league earned a bit more then a doctor. Don't tell me Liverpool FC remains in that time warp.
    At least, as somebody living in Montreal, I can finally support the hometown Montreal Canadians hockey team. They are the Liverpool or Manchester U of hockey in canada, whenever they go to Vancouver or Calgary it's like a home match for them. Since those rag-and-bone men, paupers if you like, Gillette et al sold them I can now 'identify' with a team that has won more championships than any other professional sports team and one that is no longer associated with Liverpool Football Club.
    Vive la difference

  • Comment number 94.

    Would be a little concerned if I was a Man U fan. Milan are not the same proposition they were even 12 months ago. They have overhauled their formation and are now a team that really will take the game to their opposition. They will look at Man U's defensive frailties and definitely see an opportunity. They will be vulnerable to an attacking midfield with Rooney dropping deeper but I don't think it will become the kind of pitch battle in which Fletcher so frequently shines for Man U against the bigger teams. Both sides have the weapons to hurt each other. It'll be a tough one to call.

  • Comment number 95.

    FOR those chelski fans who think inter will be easy to beat, two names for you- eto & Milito- Eto has scored in 2 CL finals and his last 5 seasons and this season he has scored 139 in 222 games. Milito has scored Milito has scored 34 goals in his last 45 games. Add to this a midfield of cambiasso,stankovic & sneijder and a defence of samuel,maicon,lucio & chivu and a goalkeeper in the class of Julio Cesar. Inter are better than chelsea and should be favourites. Yes they have gone out early the last few years but chelsea are not going to do this one. I think a Barca/real vs inter final is in order.

  • Comment number 96.

    i swear liverpool fans should have 18 times and 5 times stamped on thier forehead

    anytime you try to talk to them about something, they reply with "18 premier league titles and 5 european cups"

    never i have ever seen a team living in the past more than liverpool. FACKKKKKKTTTTTTTTTTT LOL

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

    Anyone who says Liverpool has won 18 PL titles needs their head examining. They haven't.

  • Comment number 97.

    No. 70 anonimolombardo

    Thats was one of the funniest comments I've read!! lol

  • Comment number 98.

    Lots of people belittling Man Utd's chances! Never say never, we are weaker without Ronaldo and aint having the greatest of seasons but hey at least we are in that draw! Unlike some other team!!

  • Comment number 99.

    Sorry got the numbers mixed up

    No. 72 anonimolombardo

    That's one of the funniest comments I've read!! lol

    No. 70
    what other thoughts are in your mind, im interested in reading more.
    - who do you think Arsenal should buy in January?

  • Comment number 100.

    Good blog Phil, if perhaps a bit Beckham-centric.

    Many people beleive the English teams to be too strong, given their dominance. I don't think it will be as easy this time around. Whilst Inter have a poor CL record for many years now, they seem to have gained a different mentality under Mourinho as opposed to say the ream under Mancini. Players like Eto'o, Milito, Cambiasso and Stankovic can never be underestimated, and Zanetti truly is magnificent.
    We will have a very difficult game against them, more so the home leg, which could work to Mourinho's advantage. I think he was happier with the draw than we were.

    On United's chances: Yes, their record against Milan is not the best- but what better time will they have of breaking their hoodoo against them then now, when they are wounded? Kaka's loss has been huge, Ronaldinho has not quite found his complete, breathtaking form and Pato has been blowing hot and cold recently (his performance against Palmero case in point). But then again, they did beat Real Madrid... The emotion and histroy between the two will make this probably the toughest game of United's season.

    And Arsenal: I am not convinced that they have what it takes, both squad wise and mentally, to go all the way. I do feel however that they will have the edge over Porto, and will probably break their duck at the Dragao. For too many years now Porto have let their best players go (Diego, Luis Fabiano, Quaresma etc) and will continue to struggle in the latter stages for a while yet.

    But there are still two months to go before the first games- anything can happen until then..

 

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