I don’t know what it is, but just hearing that Champions League anthem gets my hairs standing on end. Its now such an iconic tune that means you’re about to watch or listen to Europe’s elite in battle on the football pitch.
Now after Chelski’s dramatic run to the final and eventual victory (Roman has done what he intended) this seasons has started hopefully, as it means to go on and how will the British teams fare with Celtic having made a return to the group stages after a number of years.
Brilliant matches involving the two Spainsh superpowers with Real Madrid coming from behind twice to beat Manchester City in a humdinger at the Santiago Bernabeu by three goals to two and Barcelona being thankful to their Argentine genius senor Messi with two late goals to see off a spirited Spartak Moscow by the same score in the Nou Camp. Furthermore PSG and Malaga showed their intent with three goal thrashings of Dynamo Kiev and big spending Zenit respectively and lest not forget some great results for the so call minnows, with Anderlecht drawing at seven time champions AC Milan and victories for Bate Borizov and CFR Cluj at more seasoned teams with European experience. And what of the current ‘Kings’ well they were pegged backed after taking a two goal lead by a very resolute Juventus team – who look extremely dangerous and potential dark horses if keeping up their form and 40+ games unbeaten in Serie A suggests they can. I have not even mentioned English football’s most experienced campaigners – Manchester United and Arsenal – since the inception of the Champions League format, who both got fortuitus victories against teams they were expected to walk all over.
So what going to happen this year – FECK KNOWS. It is early days, clearly Barcelona (who in my opinion have been the best side in Europe for the last few years) and Real Madrid are the favourites and it will take a top team (and some luck) to beat them. But a lot of the sides have top players and if they are all kept fit, there will be a number of teams vying for position. There is a lot of money sloshing around European football at the moment, especially with wealthy backers investing in teams across the continent so there are fine margins in regards to winning. The team I support, in my opinion, were slightly lucky in the last Champions League Final they won and in my lifetime have not actually played well (maintained throughout the whole match) in any final they have played in the Champions League – despite being fantatstic in the preceding games (admittedly in one final we were just beaten by one of the greatest teams ever).
Anyways if I was to pick two from the field (not including my team) – i’ll be boring with my number one choice, but it has to be Barcelona – as previously said they have been the best team in Europe – in my opinion for a few years (only team close to them is Real Madrid) and my outsiders – well Arsenal – if they keep their key players fit and get a decent draw they can do it – but I feel they will need to top their group.
Remember the Champions League is a cup competition – and the best side does not always win it (invariably it does but not always) so its going to a roller coaster ride to Wembley in late May – and there are a number of teams that could do serious damage and challenge for the title – I can’t wait. I’d definitely take the same two teams who made the last Wembley Champions League Final to be fighting it out for the title – for obvious reasons 😉
What are your thoughts let me know.