Who can look forward to the Champions League next season?

With Manchester United’s firm grip on the Premier League title looking impossible to break, the race for Champions League qualification is arguably proving to be the more exciting conclusion to the 2012-13 season. Tottenham are flying high with Gareth Bale’s imperious displays and pundits are highlighting the realistic chance of Spurs finishing above Manchester City in the table.

Their victory over Arsenal last weekend was a major blow for their north London rivals, whose manager seems to be under real threat from supporters. In West London, Chelsea are the club constantly in the spotlight and are surrounded by negativity following the signing of interim coach Rafa Benitez.

Liverpool and Everton are not technically out of the race, but I think that the three London clubs are the most likely to take the remaining Champions League positions. Although, both of the clubs from Merseyside may play a crucial role in deciding which London clubs will finish in the coveted fourth spot.

Continue reading

Oscar thrills in the Champions League… again

Oscar's 40-yard strike helped the Blues to their 3-2 win.
Source: theaustralian.com.au

Last night in the Champions League, it was time for two of the British teams in the competition to show Europe how both talent and desire can help you win. Chelsea’s late 3-2 victory against Shakhtar Donetsk Chelsea was arguably overshadowed by Celtic’s remarkable … Continue reading

Didier Drogba

Didier Drogba points to the heavens after scoring Chelsea's equaliser.
Source: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire.

If Chelsea’s Champions League final win last night could be told through one man it would be Didier Drogba. Eight years as a Chelsea player and eight years as their talisman was encapsulated in one breathtaking performance. Of course, if possession statistics could win … Continue reading

Arsène Wenger: the Premier League manager of the season?

Wenger's team back to winning ways.
Source: Getty Images

Arsenal’s 2011-2012 season has rightly been described as a ‘rollercoaster ride’ by all that follow the club. Arsène Wenger has arguably faced the most serious rumblings of discontent since his North London arrival in 1996 and the 8-2 loss against Manchester United seemed to … Continue reading

The Champions League gives us a Knockout Stage to remember.

It’s been a great month at the top of European football. In my opinion, the Knockout Stage of the UEFA Champions League provided the drama and competition that this stage has needed in the past. Perhaps, the lack of English dominance in the draw has left the European competition much healthier and open to an exciting unpredictability. There were still one-sided encounters, with Bayern Munich easing past TSG Hoffenheim and Barcelona continuing their imperious form, both scoring 7 goals in the second leg. However, an exception can be made for the latter, a team who are quite simply the best footballing side of our generation. Even Messi managed to shock, by scoring 5 goals in a Champions League match, with another record to add to the list. This performance demonstrated how Barcelona are not only the team to beat, but as always they are the team to watch, and enjoy.

On top of this, we were treated to several great comebacks and a true fairy tale. Arguably, Chelsea provided us with the greatest turnaround result with their 4-1 (agg 5-4) second leg win over Napoli. Their display was spirited considering the troublesome fortnight that they have endured. The match contained some perfect irony, with the three main men of the night being the senior players that dominated the discussion on the back-pages towards the end of AVB’s tenure: Drogba, Terry and Lampard. Unfortunately, Arsenal did not have the same fortune a week earlier, in a match that seemed firmly set for the Champions League Hall of Fame. Yet, with such a poor first leg performance Arsenal will have learnt their lesson.

Finally, Apoel Nicosia have firmly written their name in the Champions League history books, as the first Cypriot team to reach the quarter-final. A proud moment for Cyprus and not an undeserved one. Of course, Apoel were extremely lucky to escape the first leg with only a 1-0 deficit but Lyon were the team who did not take their chances. With a home crowd, Apoel gave their fans a greatly improved performance that should be merited.

Now that the draw for the next round has been made, let’s hope for more of the same!

The UEFA Champions League Knockout Stage in pictures: