As much as I clown Manchester United, I have to say that I’m really excited for this tie with Chelsea. I think the added history, familiarity and league pride etc. will make this tie far more intense and exciting than, say, a United v. Schalke match-up.
The Real Madrid v. Tottenham match-up is beyond fascinating. Will Harry Redknapp furiously attack this dangerous Madrid side? I don’t even know if Spurs could/would change their offensive philosophy at this stage of the tournament, especially since it has worked so well for them. Rafael van der Vaart gets a chance to do some serious damage against his old team. Will he be able to work his magic against Pepe, Marcelo and Carvalho? Can’t wait for this one!
Inter drew Schalke and Barca drew Shakhtar Donetsk. As I wrote in the previous post, I’m seriously getting excited about this Inter side. They seem to be hitting their stride at exactly the right time. Barca is Barca, but I have to admit I’m slightly less excited about these ties in comparison to the first two match-ups. Having written that, I’m sure they will still produce some excellent action and I wish all of these matches were starting today -instead of:
Quarter-finals: April 5, 6 and 12, 13
Semi-finals: April 26, 27 and May 3, 4
Final (Wembley): May 28
Europe league draw and musings-
The Liverpool v. Braga match was so damn boring yesterday that I’ve already forgotten most of it, save for David Ngog’s baffling botch of an absolutely gorgeous ball played into the box, during the waning minutes of the match, by Raul Meireles. I didn’t get to see the Manchester City match, but apparently the often touted, never demonstrated “brilliance” of Mario Balotelli struck again. It’s interesting that all Premier League sides have been bounced out of the Europa League, yet three remain in the Champions League. In fact, Villarreal is the only side left in the final 8 from La Liga, the EPL, the Bundesliga or Serie A. An impressive three Portuguese Liga sides (Benfica, Braga and Porto) remain as do two Dutch Eredivisie sides (FC Twente and PSV).
The draw looks like this:
Porto v Spartak Moscow
Benfica v PSV Eindhoven
Villarreal v FC Twente
Braga v Dynamo Kyiv
Matches start next month.