The Champions League draw today sets up some intriguing quarter-final and semi-final match-ups. The quarter-final draw was:
Arsenal v Liverpool
AS Roma v Man Utd
Schalke 04 v FC Barcelona
Fenerbahce v Chelsea
The team listed first plays the first leg at home and first-leg ties take place on 1 or 2 April, with the return games on 8 and 9 April.
It is a tough draw for Arsenal and Liverpool who will play each other three times in a week with a league match sandwiched in between the two legs of the quarter-finals. Liverpool are the masters of European soccer and expect them to knock Arsenal out in a low-scoring affair.
Manchester United should be pretty happy with the draw as they get Roma at home for the second leg. Whi can forget last years thrashing that Roma got at Old Trafford last year. Hopefully this match will not be over-shadowed by any off-field violence as these two sets of fans have clashed four times in the last year. I think it will be a massive shock if Roma wins this tie.
I watched Barcelona play Celtic and I was so impressed by them. Not having Messi hurts but I think that Ronaldinho and Co will dispose of Schalke pretty comfortably.
That leaves Chelsea and the long trip to Turkey. Fenerbahce has never got his far in the competition and they would have to pull off a major upset to beat Chelsea here. I expect that even with Avram Grant guiding them that Chelsea will win this one comfortably.
That sets up the following Champions League semi-final games:
Liverpool v Chelsea
Barcelona v Man Utd
Two great games. Chelsea and Liverpool have played a couple of epic Champions League games and both time Rafa came out on top on The Special One. Well the special one has left and I think that Rafa can out-coach Grant over the two legs. Even though the second leg is at Stamford Bridge this time around I still fancy Liverpool to edge Chelsea is a low scoring game. This will be the loss that will cost Grant his job.
The Barcelona versus Man Utd promises to be the glamour game of the semi-finals. Who knows if Messi will be fit but when you have players like Ronaldinho, Henry, Rooney and Ronaldo all playing, it promises to be an offensive show. In a high scoring affair I am predicting that Barcelona will come out on top. The Premiership race this year is really close and I think will take a lot out of Man Utd again. I see them tiring the last month of the season and a slightly fresher Barcelona team beating them 4-3 on aggregate.
That means that Liverpool and Barcelona will play in Moscow in the final. Do you agree or disagree with my crystal ball predictions?