Monday, April 4, 2011

Champs League Q-Finals: High-Time For a Hero, No Time For Mistakes

It is nitty-gritty time in the UEFA Champions League. At this stage, minor gaffes and blunders could cost a team the chance to vie for the final. As we approach the crucial quarter-final matches of the tournament this week, I thought I would remind you of who's playing who, and lend my expert opinion on who will win:

Inter Milan vs. Schalke 04
Inter comes into the first leg of this match after being demolished by Milan in the Derby della Madonnina. Though morale might be low, the form of the holders is still on the rise. They have clawed their way back towards the top of the Serie A table, after a dismal start to the season, and will be ready as ever for a reaction against Schalke.

Schalke on the other hand, have been spotty all year round. They currently lie in 11th place and have recently fired their coach, which is strange for a UCL quarter-finalist. That said, they've been brilliant in Champions League play. Raul has been a real leader on the pitch and contributions from crafty Peruvian Jeffrey Farfan have created a beacon of hope for the struggling Bundesliga side.

Prediction: Inter will win this tie...their record against German opposition has been tremendous. But please note, I have been wrong about every prediction involving Schalke this season.

Real Madrid vs. Tottenham Hotspur
The Spurs run through Europe is subject to a major obstacle in Jose Mourinho's Real Madrid. Tottenham gaffer Harry Redknapp has guided his side through some difficult challenges thus far, but a quarter-final date with Madrid is the toughest yet.

Each team has a few notables missing: Karim Benzema for the Merengues (Cristiano Ronaldo and Marcelo are in the squad but doubtful) and Steven Pienaar for Tottenham (William Gallas is in the squad but doubtful). Welshman Gareth Bale most likely will feature and it appears that Gonzalo Higuain is back from a long injury layoff.

Prediction: Real Madrid will take the tie...Tottenham has ridden luck for far too long in such a high-caliber competition.

Manchester United vs. Chelsea
Two English powerhouses square off in what should be an entertaining quarter-final. Chelsea continue to falter in Premier League play while Manchester United remain on course to lift the title. At this moment, I do not think Chelsea has the form to overcome a sturdy side in United. Perhaps Fernando Torres will choose this vital moment to bag his first goal for the Blues?

Prediction: Manchester United will run away with this one...Chelsea are under-performing in the EPL and will most likely carry their poor form with them to the tournament.

Shakhtar Donetsk vs. Barcelona
Prediction: No description necessary - Barcelona will dominate this tie and waltz into the semi-finals. Shakhtar got lucky with their draw against dreadful AS Roma, but that luck has run out. This one was over at the drawing.

Well, what do you think?

1 comment:

  1. chelsea will defeat man u, just like they did in their meeting in the premier league this season.