The Champions League Obsession

Posted: August 10, 2011 by derekorourke in Andres Villas-Boas, Barcelona, Champions' League, Chelsea, Jose Mourinho, Manchester United, Real Madrid

With the new season drawing near, we are all 100% focussed on the Premier League, THE most important trophy to win in my humble opinion. However, there has been a long standing elephant in the room, with two very big ears – The Champions League. Fleet Street’s finest (if there’s such a thing) claim it’s an obsession whilst the players play it down somewhat. We know however, that deep down, the likes of JT, Lampard, Drogba and Ashley Cole will forever regret it if they don’t win this famous trophy.

Fans of other clubs say Chelsea will never be seen as a top club until we have won it, and we all know that Roman has his eyes firmly set on this particular prize. So what are our chances this year? I have picked a handful of teams that I feel will challenge for the title and given my thoughts on how they will fare.

Barcelona:

No better place to start than the champions. Play the most attractive football in the world? Yes. Full of world class players including in my opinion the best ever? Yes. Possibly the best team of our generation? Yes. Can they be stopped? YES.

As good as they are, and as deserving as they are to be the European champions, I think they will come unstuck this season in Europe. I predict they will do well and advance to the semi-final stage before losing over two legs to one of these three teams….

Manchester United:

Yes, they were totally outplayed in last year’s final by the Catalan giants. But I just have a sneaking suspicion that if they are paired up (over two legs) again this year, it will be a different outcome. I feel Man United were a game changing player short of brilliant last season. Rooney may be an outlet but can’t be relied on all the time in every big game. If United secure the services of Dutch magician Wesley Sneijder, then I think he is the added impetus needed to tilt a big game in their favour.

From back to front they are strong but just lack that creative genius in midfield to take them up a level. Added to the fact that Fergie rarely loses to the same team three times in a row (not including the meaningless pre-season friendly), I think United could surprise a few people.

Chelsea:

A poor showing over the last two years by their usually high standards from Chelsea in Europe’s elite competition – Chelsea will be extra motivated this season I suspect. Why? Well as I mentioned, the backbone of Chelsea’s team won’t have many more chances to land the only prize which has eluded them thus far, added to the fact that AVB is a master of the art of motivation and team spirit.

We know Chelsea have the pedigree and the ability to beat Barcelona over two legs, we just need that little bit of luck (or cheating) to go our way this time. I believe we will win it this year; my only worry is if we draw man City over two legs – it’ll remind me of when we beat Arsenal at Highbury in 04.

Real Madrid:

Jose is a very quick learner. Like Fergie, he doesn’t lose to the same team too many times. The last four El Classico’s ended in a win each and two draws – compared to the 5-0 drubbing previous to that…is he turning the tide in the head to heads? Add Nuri Sahin to their squad and possibly Neymar in January and we are looking at a serious squad of players. I think they’ll be well groomed into the Mourinho ethos this season and will not be such a pushover as they were earlier last season.

Barcelona are clear favourites, no doubt, and Guardiola will like to finish with a bang at the Camp Nou this season if the reports of him leaving are to be true. Mourinho is Mourinho and we know Fergie loves this competition. But there’s a new kid on the block now, and wouldn’t it be one hell of an achievement if he wins this competition at his first attempt (Remind you of anyone?).

Just to get the monkey off our backs, let’s win it this season boys!

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Comments
  1. angjer says:

    Every team that wins the CL builds around a strong midfield. Roll back to 2005-2008 when we could call upon Makelele, Essien, Lampard and Ballack. For our lack of creativity in that area, we still had the imperious German captain, the founding father of the Makelele role, the train and Super Frank to run over our oponents with sheer brawn and power.

    Who can we can upon today? Ramires is improving, Essien lost abit of his mojo and Super Frank is a year older. Modric WILL be the catalyst that brings this team together. The Chelsea train needs to upgrade the engine before we can start thinking of challenging Barcelona. I say we “ninja” the Sneidjer deal from the 2 Manchester clubs as Modric is looking more and more likely to stay as the days go by.

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