Champions League previews

by Mystical Mike

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Premier League tour continues

Villarreal host Arsenal in the Champions League quarter-final first leg with ex-Arsenal Midfielder Robert Pires looking to gain a scalp against his former club, where he played for six consecutive seasons.

Arsenal are without their key playmaker and striker Robin Van Persie, who is out with a groin injury.

Apart from that the Gunners are close to full strength with the Cesc Fabregas and Emmanuel Adebayor having returned to action at the weekend in the 2-0 win at home to Manchester City and Theo Walcott and Samir Nasri both being passed fit for the match.

Portuguese champions, Porto, knocked Man United out at the last-16 stage in 2004, the same year that they went on to be crowned European champions under Jose Mourinho but have not progress further than the first knockout round since.

Porto have injury problems including their captain Pedro Emanuel, whilst Man United have been bolstered by the return of Wayne Rooney, Paul Scholes and Nemanja Vidic from suspension. Rio Ferdinand is still ruled out with his recurring back injury.

With Porto are unbeaten since early November and Man United are still shaken from two losses and a narrow win against Aston Villa the result could go to the wire.

Liverpool’s match against Chelsea is likely to start slowly with several key players facing suspension if they are booked and both teams still contenders for both Premiership and Champions League glory.

Chelsea recent stabilisation under Guus Hiddink, may be rocked by fitness doubts to striker Didier Drogba, who has scored in their last three Champions League matches.

Chelsea will also be aware of the fact that they have not won any of their last seven European away matches, whilst Liverpool have currently gone eight matches without a defeat in the Champions League.

Liverpool’s skipper Steven Gerrard is fully fit, who has seven goals to his name in the competition, making him joint top scorer. Liverpool’s major losses are Javier Mascherano to suspension and Yossi Benayoun, who scored the late winner in Liverpool’s Premiership game against Fulham.

Barcelona against Bayern Munich promises to be goal fest for the neutral with both teams scoring a combined sixteen goals over their two knock-out ties.

Bayern will want to reclaim the Champions League, which they have not won since 2001. The Germans are unbeaten in the competition so far, but Barcelona’s first-rate attack of Leonel Messi, the third top scorer and ex-Arsenal striker Thierry Henry may hurt Bayern, who have mainly recorded losses against Spanish clubs.

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  • Darren

    come on you Gunners!! 0-1 to us

    Man United 0-0 Porto

    Liverpool 1 Chelsea 0

    Bayern 2 Barca 2

  • Darren

    not a bad little prediction that! United are having their blip, and what a time to have one. I can’t see them winning in Porto.

    Arsenal looked very good in the 2nd half, what a goal!

  • Jay

    Porto played excellent last night and made Man United look very very poor indeed. They should of won that game, how many shots did they have?

    Ronaldo’s arrogance seems to have flowed over to the rest of the team. United think they came turn up, easily win the game becos of who they are, 4 trophies? No, chance, they might end up just winning the Coca Cola at this rate

  • rob pullinger

    poor man u, not!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    expect arsenal to go through, and liverpool to beat chelsea tonight 2-0

  • Ray Stantonberry-banks

    ManYoo were terrible. i think they were surprised to see a team believe they could win at Old Trafford. like Aston Villa on saturday ManYoo were very lucky to turn things around……but don’t be surprised if their luck runs out on Saturday.

  • Matt Quinn

    No English team have ever won in Porto either. Man Yoo havent really been on form at all this season… even when they were winning, it was only 1-0’s. They have been lucky to get this far into the season without coming unstuck.

    Arsenal were given a taste of their own medicine in the first half last night too. Villarael were superb for first 45mins. They had the equivalent of 4 Fabregas’. Could be a tricky second leg.

  • Darren

    Even when Man Yoowho were playing poorly Talk Sport were still banging them out. Their squad is looking really thin. Too many players are out of form. Tevez is class, I don’t know why he doesn’t start with him, could be becos he’s so ugly and it would tarnish Man Yoowhoo, oooooh hellloooooooooo’s image?

  • Matt Quinn

    Tevez is not class. He has a terrible first touch but gives loads of effort. Very overrated.

    Dirk Kuyt gets stick for being exactly the same type of player. Wheres the difference?

  • Dexylongshot

    Well, Tevez single -handledly kept the Hammers up and i’d have him in my team every time over someone who really is over-rated, Divvi Berbatov.

  • Darren

    Matt, are being controversial on purpose? Tevez is world class. I didn’t rate him one bit at West Ham, but after being forced to watch Man Yoowho play all the time by Skychester United it’s obvious to see how much work he puts in for the team. He may not score 20 goals a season but his work rate and effort are phenomenal. He is twice the player Berbatov is and will ever be.

    He is the exactly the type of player that Aston Villa need right now. I would like to see which player covers the most ground in 90 minutes, I’m sure he’d be well up there.

  • Matt Quinn

    I didnt say he didnt work hard…. but he isnt good enough for Man Utd first XI. He would be first choice at second tier teams. He would never start for United, Chelsea, Liverpool, Barca, Real, Inter etc…
    He chooses the wrong option too many times and is a bit of a headless chicken. Definitely a good player but definitely not world class. Especially as he isnt first choice for Argentina (who are a world team!)

  • Darren

    that game proved what we already knew, how average most of the Liverpool squad really is.

    ps: Then why are Real Madrid sniffing around Tevez Matt? He’s class, simple as.

    Your BF scored another cracking goal, 32 for the season, looks like he will beat Ronaldos 42!!

  • rob pullinger

    no comment on liverpool last night except to say ive played against better sunday teams who can defend corners…….shocker….

    chelsae i have to say deserved…..

    rafa gotta let them off the leash for the second leg, go at them from the first minute, dont see us going through, but lets have a go,see if we have got some balls?????

    if we get stonked, so be it?????

  • Bernie

    Darren, every time I read one of your posts all you seem to do is moan about how everyones coverage of football is pro-Man United, be it Skysports, talksport or whatever. Im not a United supporter myself but I dont see this, United get all the attention they get because they have been the best team in the country for a long time now, one other suggestion, if you hate it so much turn your tv/radio off!

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