A big welcome back to the Champions League.

by Ben McAleer

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

Finally, a reason to look forward to Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s again. With The Champions League kicking off again tonight, it is hard for any football fan to not get excited by what this year’s European spectacle has in store for us. The usual suspects are back in the form of Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal, Barcelona, Real Madrid, AC Milan and Inter Milan all challenging to be lifting the most coveted trophy in Europe. A big welcome goes out to some of the new boys including Tottenham and Braga now rubbing shoulders with Europe’s elite whilst Ajax are finally back in the competition they deserve to be in. But, is this a step too far for some of the newbies?

Don’t get me wrong, any team is capable of a big upset (seen Rubin Kazan vs Barcelona last season) but with all the big guns drawn against ‘lesser teams’, bar of course Real Madrid being in the same group as AC Milan, and with the European experience that comes with them, I can’t see many upsets occurring this year.

As a Spurs fan, I would love to see Spurs turn over current European Champions, Inter Milan at the San Siro (who wouldn’t?) but as a realist, I am just praying for a point away from home and a narrow 1-0 at White Hart Lane would do me nicely. Tonight is a real test for the North London outfit as they look to prove the doubters wrong and, believe me, every player has to have their head screwed on tonight because they will be punished if not. Even without they key trio of Mertesacker, Naldo and Pizarro, Bremen are a team not be taken lightly and I am 100% positive Redknapp is telling his players exactly the same thing.

As for the rest of the English teams, I feel Manchester United’s toughest will come from a much weakened Valencia side following the sales of The David’s (Silva and Villa) yet, Rangers and Bursaspor, for me, don’t pose much of a threat in my opinion and I fully expect them to qualify comfortably with at least 16 of the 18 points available.

Chelsea, haven’t got the most difficult group yet have to travel a fare distance around Europe for the away encounters in Group F. A trip to French Champions Marseille and the 3000 mile round trip to Moscow won’t be easy either however, anything short of 16 points, in my opinion, isn’t good enough for a team hoping to become eventual winners.

I also expect Arsenal to win their respective group however, a trip to Ukraine for the away tie to Shakhtar Donetsk and Champions League new boys, Braga, won’t be the easiest of trips for Wenger’s team. I can see a defeat occurring in either Portugal or Ukraine yet they will still top the group with at least 15 points.

As for my beloved Spurs, I would love to reach the Knockout Stage but getting out of Group A will be a tough task. Still, if all English teams reach the Knockout Stage, it will, once again, prove the strength of the EPL and re-enforce the fact that it is the greatest league in the world.

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  • http://www.roofofthe.net Roof Of The Net

    I hope I’m wrong but I can’t see any English team do well this season.

    Would like to see Spurs to well though

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