Friday, March 20, 2009

Champions League Draw

Villarreal v Arsenal (YES!!!)
Manchester United v Porto
Liverpool v Chelsea (Not again.)
Barcelona v Bayern Munich (The one to watch.)

(Villarreal or Arsenal face Man U or Porto in the Semifinal)

7 comments:

Asfandyar said...

*dances, though a bit tentatively*

Villareal v Arsenal will be fantastic.

I really hope Bayern v Barca is on a different day to Man Utd v Porto. Would NOT want to miss that game.

Did you catch the highlights of the two Bayern v Sporting games Ahsan? To be a bit cynical, both games consistent of unbelievably horrendous defending from Sporting rather than outright sexiness from Bayern - but goddamnit weren't they ruthless in finishing off their chances.

Ahsan said...

The fix is in for Man U. They don't have to play any of the other four toughest teams (Barca, Bayern, Liverpool, Chelsea) until the final.

adeel said...

was definitely dreading this. i guess it's down to hoping that both bayern and barca hit bring their A-game to have good games to watch. i do think on a bad day bayern are worse off than barca...aks you up for watching the 1st legs together? i'm in your neighborhood at the time.

Ahsan said...

I'm actually quite happy, and I'll tell you why. If we win the CL, I don't want there to be any excuses. If we win, we would have beaten Bayern, Liverpool and Man U. That would be fucking sweet.

Adeel, I've only watched Bayern for about 135 minutes the entire season. My question to you is: do they have the capability to make a football match a back-alley fight? The only teams that have troubled Barca all year are teams that get in your face, give you no space, and don't mind picking up a multitude of yellows to send a physical message.

My second question is: are they good at adapting to being dominated possession-wise? The best thing about Man U last year in the semis was that as usual Barca dominated possession, but this didn't really bother them (Man U). Other top-quality teams sometimes don't know how to react to that (Lyon and Arsenal for instance). How are Bayern in this regard? I ask because I can guarantee they will get 40-45% possession, max.

adeel said...

both your questions reinforce my fears that bayern isnt up to the task.

regarding your first...for the last 2/3 years bayern have changed to become a poor man's barca/arsenal (mmm, maybe better finishing than arsenal). zenit ripped them to shreds in last years uefa cup by doing to them exactly what you say they must do to barca...no holds barred (kind of), in-your-face assertiveness. besides van bommel and demichelis i dont see who has the stomach for that....imagine little ol lahm forcing eto off the ball...hm. they are ribery/ze roberto centric in building play but have shown some adaptability in the bundesliga (i know you're sniggering at that name) to play the 'absorb and counter attack' game...even though isnt his preferred style of play, klinsmann is a wily guy.

which leads to the second question, given they prefer to try and string passes and are usually erratic on finishing (porto goals were a surprise relief...but klose is now out for both legs!)...i'd say possession starvation will do them in. i do get annoyed at their wannabe 'we're so silky technically proficient, oh shit i gave the ball away again' crap.' they will have to work hard x2 to keep the ball from the first millisecond in the manner you suggested or else rely on their mental resilience to keep absorbing barca attacks.

it sounds obvious but i do think given the 1st leg is an away game they'll try to set the tone with an aggressive start but likely settle into aborb-counter in the hope of snatching an away goal and not leaking too many (rensing is a bit of a laughing stock) but come home game they'll def go all out. (i'm SURE that's the pareto efficient strategy though i havent worked it through!). low possession will bother them as it did lyon and arsenal.

Ahsan said...

Adeel:

Yeah, the second leg away bit really worries me. I think Barca would be favorites if they played at Camp Nou second, but as things stand, the tie is probably even-stevens.

On a different topic, the more I think about it, the more this Man U thing pisses me off. They've basically been given a bye to the final.

Arsenal have also been incredibly lucky, facing Roma and Villareal, two of the weaker top teams in Europe. Actually, I think it might be worthwhile comparing the draws the surviving teams in Europe have had this year:

1. Man U: Porto and Inter.
2. Liverpool: Real and Chelsea.
3. Chelsea: Juve and Liverpool.
4. Arsenal: Roma and Villareal.
5. Barcelona: Lyon and Bayern.
6. Bayern: Sporting and Barca.
7. Porto: Atletico and Man U.
8. Villareal: Panathinaikos and Arsenal.

So Chelsea, Liverpool and Barca have had the toughest draws. Villareal have had the easiest. Man U somewhere in the middle, but closer to the easiest end of the spectrum for sure. And this completely ignores the prospective semis, which really pissed me off.

I think UEFA needs to either make one draw (randomly at the round of 16 stage) or draw them at every knockout stage (16, quarters, and semis). This in-between crap is pissing off.

lala pathan said...

damm...MANUTD got lucky again...i was hoping they get liverpool , barca or bayern but thats ok...i have a feeling it will be a cracker b/w arsenal and MANUTD....can't wait to c them lose...barc wins the whole thng ....:)