Sunday, April 10, 2011

INFTH Champions League Predictions

Manchester United vs Chelsea- United come into this tie as clear favorites, after Wayne Rooney's first half goal gave them a win at Stamford Bridge. However, a win for Chelsea by a margin of say, 2-1 or 3-2 would see the Blues progress to the semi-finals.

The mission for Chelsea is clear and simple, they must score, and they must win at Old Trafford. At the weekend, Fernando Torres was benched by Carlo Ancelotti, so it will be interesting to see with what duo he goes with upfront. Didier Drogba looked the most dangerous of Chelsea's strikers in the first leg, so I imagine that he'll start this match.

I reckon that United will win this game, if for no other reason then the imminent return of Rio Ferdinand. Ferdinand was rested by Sir Alex at the weekend, meaning that he'll be fully prepared to start Tuesday's match. Also key to United's chances will be the form of wingers Nani and Valencia, both were on form against Fulham at the weekend, and if both start, then the Chelsea full backs will have quite a job on their hands.

Prediction: 2-0

Shakhtar vs Barcelona- Coming into this game with a 5-1 advantage, I think it's fair to say that Barca are on their way to the semis. If the tie had been tighter, then I might have fancied the Ukranians to produce a shock, but following a thumping at the Camp Nou, a comeback looks unlikely.

In front of their home crowd Shakhtar are always dangerous, and if Barcelona come into this game in relaxed mood, then the may well be beaten. Douglas Costa, Jadson and Adriano form a dangerous attacking triumvirate, well Brazilian sensation Willian should also cause the Catalans some problems.

Virtually through, it will be interesting to see what kind of side Pep Guardiola puts out for this one, surely he'll not want to risk an injury to Lionel Messi, especially with the first of four Classicos right around the corner.

Prediction: 2-1

Schalke vs Inter Milan- Even Inter coach Leonardo has admitted that it would be a huge ask for the Nerazzuri to come from 5-2 behind and snatch this tie, and with Schlake riding a wave of momentum following Saturday's win over former boss Felix Magath, I really can't see a comeback.

Schalke will be missing star man Jefferson Farfan for this game, which may limit them going forward, but that shouldn't be a problem, the amount of goalscoring done in the first leg will more than make up for any attacking weaknesses on Wednesday.

Inter were forced to work hard for a win over Chievo at the weekend, with Esteban Cambiasso and Maicon eventually helping the reigning treble winners to a 2-0 victory. Inter showed none of the attacking fire power that will be needed to overcome Schalke, and while I'm going to tip them for a win, it won't be enough to see them through.

Prediction: 1-2

Tottenham vs Real Madrid- Enticing on paper, this tie has failed to live up to the enthusiastic predictions of so many. In the first leg, Tottenham were annihilated by an on form Real Madrid attack, one which benefited from an early Peter Crouch sending off.

After the game, Jose Mourinho refused to admit his side were through, and his decision to rest key stars over the weekend, showed that the wily Portuguese manager was not just trying to be respectful.

In all honesty though, the tie is over, but Harry Redknapp's men will want to go out on a high, and if Gareth Bale, Luka Modric and Rafael Van Der Vaart are all on form, maybe they will.

Prediction: 2-1

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