Champions League Draw

The draw is set for the knockout stages of the Champions League, and the result is some mouth-watering games that get under way in late February.

Arsenal vs. AS Roma – Two teams that are underachieving a bit in their domestic campaigns begin the knockout stage drawn together. As if it needs it, but Roma has a special reason to reach the final.

It’s in Rome, of course. 

Atletico Madrid vs. FC Porto – Don’t be surprised if Atletico makes some noise. Sergio Aguero leads a potent side that is currently unbeaten in 14 straight matches in all competition. In addition, the Vicente Calderon is an imposing home ground.

Unless Liverpool is in town…

Chelsea vs. Juventus – The Blues face their former gaffer Claudio Ranieri in a match-up of new money against “The Old Lady.” Both sides sit second in their domestic tables, and both will be geared up for European glory.

Inter Milan vs. Manchester United – I bet Sir Alex Ferguson thought he was through dealing with “The Special One” when Jose Mourinho had his nasty divorce with Chelsea. This time, Mourinho and the runaway leaders in Serie A will be looking to knock the defending champions out of the competition.

Remember, Mourinho wasn’t hired to win a Scudetto (Serie A trophy). He was hired to win the Champions League.

Lyon vs. Barcelona –I kind of feel sorry for the French champions as no team on Earth is any hotter than Barca. The Spanish giants are eight points clear atop the La Liga table with a staggering +37 goal difference in 15 matches.

Real Madrid vs. Liverpool – While its hated rival rolls, Real Madrid has been hit hard by injuries in the opening stages of the season. With “Magic Juande” now in charge, the Blancos will need some of his cup-winning wizardry to slow down Liverpool.

Sporting Lisbon vs. Bayern Munich – “FC Hollywood” is second in the Bundesliga on goal difference while Sporting is sitting fifth in its domestic competition. It’s also possible that U.S. international Landon Donovan might see the pitch for Bayern, since he’ll be on loan there starting next month.

Villarreal vs. Panathinaikos – Probably the least glamorous match-up, but one that could produce a compelling home-and-home series. It’s also possible that another American international, 18-year-old Jozy Altidore, might get added to the Yellow Submarine’s team sheet for the knockout stages.

And, not to brag, but I did correctly predict 15 of the 16 teams to advance to the knockout phase in the contest on World Soccer Daily’s Web site. My only miss was pegging Zenit St. Petersburg over Juve.

Hey, nobody’s perfect…

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2 Responses to “Champions League Draw”

  1. Gregory Phillips Says:

    My picks to advance: Roma, Atletico, Chelsea, Inter, Barca, Liverpool, Bayern, Villereal.

  2. Yahoo Says:

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