Expect the expected from UEFA

They might call it a draw, but the picture drawn in Nyon last week left nothing to the imagination. If anything, it was permeated with a feeling of inevitability, an inevitability that would make a bookmaker smile; well, them and UEFA, obviously! Savvy punters would possibly have used their free bets on Real Madrid avoiding Barcelona had there been a market, as it is, the draw has kept the distinct possibility of that becoming the glamour final of glamour finals.

To the governing body of European football, the Champions League draw must be the equivalent of watching the premiere of a thriller already knowing who the killer is or if our heroes will make up and live happily ever after.

Because, you see, those canny old heads that somehow rule European football, like to leave the climax as late as possible, to engage the viewers until the end, like consummate filmmakers.

With the draw for quarters and semifinals done, we have a picture that is slowing nearing completion and that could see the final that UEFA dreams of: Barcelona against Real Madrid – the classy Pep against the arrogant Mourinho, Barca’s kids ( stop talking about Villa, Sanchez and Alves. Barca don’t buy players for hefty fees in the market) against Real’s costly assembled team, Barca’s tiki-taka against Real’s antifootball, Messi versus Ronaldo.

Of course, Milan and Apoel might crush the Spanish teams’ dreams in the quarters, but why spoil the party?

Why ruin such a perfect plan which sees Bayern Munich facing Marseille in the quarters, before progressing to a glamorous semifinal against Ronaldo and company, only to see a home final snatched away from them?

And, what an advert for the European championships that would be: Spain and Germany’s finests (ok, almost) one against the other two months before the final of Euro 2012.

And what about the other (potential) semifinal? Barca against Chelsea, the game that will present the Blues with the chance to rectify the injustice suffered in 2009 when they were knocked out by a late Andres Iniesta’s strike, albeit in controversial circumstances.

Make no mistake, Barca and Real are the best teams in the world, and not even the finest United side in recent years would have had if easy against them and, despite Fergie claiming otherwise, it’s perhaps a touch off the mark to say that, had they not been humbled by Basel, United would have set up a rematch of last year’s final.

Fantasy football? Perhaps, but don’t get offended if, in six weeks time, SKY SPORTS decide to bombard the public with adverts describe Real-Barca as the most anticipated final in years.

After all, UEFA are quite good at planning.

Daniele (@MUFC_dan87)



  1. It couldn’t have been a better draw to be honest. I hope Mourinho makes it a hat-trick in the Champions League, the first to do so with 3 different clubs.

    I firmly believe that being knocked out by Basel was a blessing in disguise, we could have drawn Barca/Real who would have annihalated us in front of a worldwide audience. We don’t want to experience that, because we have a pride and heritage to protect.

    • @Moscow is my heaven: Not him again mate!!! 😯 😈 👿 😀 Come on Barca!!!! Oh I am not allowed to say that.
      Sorry Ian!! 😀 😀 😀 😉


    • @Moscow is my heaven: That is a very defeatist attitude mate. I certainly think we would struggle against both sides, but under Fergie you never know. I would have certainly liked the chance to play both sides, don’t forget Barcs stuffed Real last season. Football is like that.

      • @Stephen: Buy some world class players to play around Rooney in the summer, and you will see how my attitude changes. There is nothing more I’d like than go to the Bernabeu and stuff them there to see Ronaldo’s face when we do.

        Chelsea vs Barca and Real vs Barca look like tasty ties, not just for the football but for the crying, whinging and punch-up entertainment 🙂


  2. I personally could give a flying f@*k who wins the Champions League. I hate both Spanish sides with a passion, Mourinho is my anti Christ and the other lot get away with murder. I know the Catalans play superb football and have the best player ever to play the game, but the walk between the rain drops to a degree with their behavior.

  3. Bloody Hell, look at the state of the bird on the Mature Dating website pop up.. 😯 That is enough to put you off..

  4. I have to say I am so please with the press backlash with regards to “King Kenny” Dogleash.
    His behaviour all season have been arrogant and smug. He stabbed Roy Hodgeson on the back to get the job in the first place, spend £100m of players like Carrol, Henderson and Downing and will still be no where near the top 4.
    The whole Evra business was sickening to the core and who really believes they are really sorry? He sneers and refutes to answer any question a journalist asks him if it remotely questions him or his players, he is a disgrace to football and Liverpool.

  5. Just to book end my bitter rant, Luis Suarez must be the most overrated footballer, 6 league goals this season is a joke to be labelled as “World Class” and he is not even English…. 😉

  6. Facts of the day:

    Danny Welbeck isn’t Manchester United quality.
    Wayne Rooney has scored 27 goals in 33 games this season, which is phenomenal especially as he gets more stick than any other player.
    Antonio Valencia is the most underrated footballer in the World.
    Jonny Evans is the most improved United player this season.
    We should have sold Berba in January and ideally signed Higuain.
    Keeping Anderson was not a better option than signing Sneijder.
    There is value in the transfer market.
    Fergie has done an amazing job this season.
    Chelsea players should be ashamed of themselves this season.
    Arsenal are a one man team.
    Liverpool are a revolting institution.
    Sacking Mick McCarthy was stupid and appointing Terry O’Connor was even more stupid.
    I will find it funny when QPR are relegated.

    • @Stephen: Its funny how your excited about Evan being a improved player(hes 24).And yet your deriding welbeck(who is 21) and already as good if not better than evans. Welbeck is going to be world class in 1 or 2 seasons max!

      • @johnsom33: Criticisms of Welbeck aren’t about his height or athleticism. He’s clearly a young, fit guy who has good pace.

        But his finishing sucks mate, and if you’re the striker leading the line, I’d imagine that’s quite a big problem. Don’t bring up his youth, Higuain was Real Madrid’s top scorer at his age. Don’t we frequently say at this club if you’re good enough, you’re old enough?

        Since Rooney now refuses to play as a lone striker, we need someone who can play up front on their own. Otherwise we have to play 4-4-2 and we have seen how that has fared in Europe this season. Welbeck, Chicharito (though still a valuable super-sub), Owen, Berbatov. NONE of them can do that.

        • @Moscow is my heaven: In fariness he has been banging on making excuses about Anderson for seasons.
          I for one see nothing in Welbeck, he plays like Bambi on ice skates, can’t finish an looks like he makes things up as he goes along.
          I like the lad but he will never be World Class as he lacks the technique I am afraid.
          We can all makes excuses, but some fans like certain players for their own reasons, for me he will never be a top class player.

        • @Moscow is my heaven: Rooney refuses to play as a lone striker? I think you find he plays where Fergie tells him mate.
          Also Rooney has more to his game than a simple number 9.

        • @Moscow is my heaven: Its not only about finishing, if it was then Chicha would be the undisputed number 2 striker. I love Welbeck because he is athletic and intelligent and knows how to play off others. He can play little 1-2’s with teammates in tight spots. Watch the runs he makes off the ball, his work rate and his link up play. Right now I will admit that his finishing does leave something to be desired but that will come in due time.

          I understand people frustrations with Ando, but frankly I dont understand the Welbeck hate. He cant be as bad as people make him out to be if Fergie prefers him over Chicha, Berba and Owen. Berba is supposed to be world class and SAF paid a kings ransom for him and yet he cant get a sniff of the first team in meaningful fixtures.

      • @johnsom33: How is Welbeck better than Evans? Welbeck is a striker and Evans is a defender? All I said is Evans has improved, you need to read my post better. 🙄

  7. “If the Premiership started on January 1st Liverpool would be bottom of the league. Interesting stat.”

      • @Moscow is my heaven: People go around saying that 1 point can be as vital as a win during this part of the season, but when you are the trailing team that certainly ain’t the case. 1-1 now is the same as a loss, we beat Fulham by 4 goals on Monday and we’re 3 points in front with an equal goal difference. Let’s do this lads….

        Crouch should be on that Ballon Do’R Galla in December!

  8. This talk about Goal Difference is interesting.

    IF (if if if) we beat Fulham by 4 goals and end up taking a 3 pts lead at the top of the table and have equal goal difference, that DOESN’T really mean anything. Why? Well, because even a 1-0 loss to City would still tip the goal difference in their favor and the 3 pts would put them on top. If we can to be “safe” we need:
    1) Lead by at least 4 pts by time we play City, or
    2) Lead table by 3 pts AND have a at least +6 better GD than City.

    That way, we are more or less immune to game against City. I still think we can beat City but I DONT WANT TO PLAY FOR A DRAW (you hear me, Fergie)!!


  9. Stephen mate, I thought we both wanted Rooney to play as a striker? He shouldn’t play in the hole because he can’t produce the little intricate passes, his first touch and dribbling are lacking for that role. Remember 09/10? That season brought the best out of him even though he was a simple No 9. The only reason we are playing him in the hole right now is to cover up for the team’s midfield deficiencies and the lack of attacking force centrally.

    I think the hype is getting to Rooney, he was supposed to be the lone striker in Bilbao but he kept dropping back leaving no-one to occupy the makeshift Bilbao defenders. His favourite cross field passes are also becoming increasingly predictable and ineffective.

    Solution: Assemble a world class 3 man midfield. Scream at Rooney to stay in the box, where he is flanked by Nani and Valencia.

    • @Moscow is my heaven: I do bro, but he can offer loads more. His goal record this season is superb and lets not forget he has played with many partners and midfield.
      But I totally get your point, when he plays deep he wants to be Paul Scholes and spray pointless passes and he really should be in the box.
      Well said.

      • @Stephen: I’ll tell you what, no other player has dealt with constant harassment of their position as Rooney and come off with such a high level of performance. He really is a victim of his own versatility, but he loves playing football, that’s all I can put it down to.

        • @Moscow is my heaven: Spot on, he can play anywhere which has been to his detriment. I still can never understand the stick he gets from some people on this site.. He desereved what he got for the transfer business, but fans need to move on. Ronaldo was constantly talking about wanting to leave for Real, at least Wazza stayed, but he did himself no favours. But on the positive he has got his head down and really produced, 16 goals in his last 16 games has beed the reason why we are top.

  10. I like it Moscow.

    Problem is that Ferguson wants to build the side around youngsters like Welbeck and Cleverley which forces us into a 4-4-2 which may work quite well in the Premiership but is hideously ineffective in Europe.

    My dream would be this kinda team:

    De Gea-Rafael, Smalling, Evans, Evra-Carrick, Pogba-Valencia, Sneijder/Gaitan/de Marcos/Modric, Nani-Rooney/Hernandez

  11. I like Rooney as a player but he is not creative enough to play in the hole. But he has shown that he is more than capable of leading the line and scoring goals

    Besides our woeful defending the main thing we were missing in Europe this season was a creative player who can unlock disciplined defences and help us keep possession

        • @Stephen: just read this interesting article below, since u mentioned silva


          It kinda points towards why we play the system we currently do and how our squad is built. The league is a gruesome marathon like no other in europe and it takes its toll on our squad’s fitness and probably explains why we suffer in Europe. I personally think our league adapts to different play styles much quicker than most and why towards the end of every season, the top half of the league becomes a grind fest for results.

          Just a thought.

  12. Is Yaya Toure the most complete,if not the best, player in Premier Leagure..?

    • @Owen: I’d say Rooney is the best player in the Premier League. With the departure of Ronaldo we have been a one man team despite the excellence of Nani and Valencia. We’ve won the league 4 times in the past 5 seasons, reaching the CL final 3 times in the past 4, and the one season we didn’t win the league and didn’t reach the CL final was when Rooney did his ankle at the crux of that season.

      It doesn’t take much to be a top midfielder in the Premier League these days, when Anderson still plies his trade at Old Trafford.

    • @Owen: It definitely didn’t help City that Yaya and Kolo missed 1 month+ during ANC in Jan/Feb. Next year, they don’t have ANC!!!

  13. Big game tonight, these were the times in seasons past when United really got going, over powering sides like Fulham. Is this current side good and mentally strong enough for the battle ahead? I hope so as the title really is in our hands and at this stage of the season you can’t ask for anymore.
    Personally I think there will be many twists and turns to come, this league is far from won, but we are in good shape.
    Mancini looks like he is on the verge of self destruction and not surprising when he has spent a Kings ransom on players, pressure is certainly getting to him. Fergie is playing it well, looks totally in control and we will soon have nearly a fit squad. I hope we do not over rotate, stick to a core 12 or 13 players and drive it over the line. The game at the Wastelands as pivotal, we need to go for the win as we are rubbish at playing for a draw…..
    I am proud to be a Red.
    Come on United!

    • @Stephen: It was always just a matter of time before shitty self destructed mate. Too many egos, a manager who lets them do what they like without punishment, cautious tactics returning after looking fantastic for much of the season etc etc.
      I said it at the start of the season, after the 6-1, and around january- city arent what people are bigging them up to be. A good team yes, but go back 4 years to the 07-08 season, we’d have been out of sight by january, and id hazard a guess they’d have been struggling against the likes of chelski, arsenal and even liverpool back then, who were all much stronger at that time.
      And thats what hurts me. If we’d have gone all out, and broke the bank to bring in that badly needed world class midfielder in the summer, we’d have already walked the league by now, of that im positive.
      City are just a expensively assembled group of tossers, whose only concerns are their inflated pay cheques. And at the end of the day, without team spirit, you’ll end up with nowt (even chelski back in 2004, had terry, lampard, cole who formed the core of the side, players who actually gave a shit about the club).
      So i personally think the league will have been all but been decided by the time we go to wastelands, but i suppose as you said, you dont know with this team.
      Its telling though, with a united side that i feel is quite rightly, being labelled one of the more average united sides in recent times, were still ahead of “the best team in the world”, “the new *********”, who look like theyre just about running on empty right now.

  14. De Gea
    Rafael, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra
    Valencia, Carrick, Giggs, Young
    Rooney, Welbeck

    subs: Amos, Jones, Berbatov 😯 , Hernandez, Scholes, Cleverley, Smalling

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