Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Man Utd to pile more misery on Chelsea?

Real Madrid just thrashed Tottenham 4-0 and there shouldn't be any doubt that they've already qualified for the next round. The recommendation on them was a winning one as soon as Crouch was ejected from the game. Schalke have stunned holders Inter in the other quarter-final game and the Germans continue to be a surprising force to reckon with in the competition.

Obviously, on Wednesday, Barcelona are huge favourites to overcome Shakhtar Donesk at home. The  Ukrainians actually stunned the Spaniards a few years back by winning at the Nou Camp, but it's tough to see a repeat of that given the current stakes and the form of the Blaugrana. Shakhtar have a good mix of Brazilian players, particularly a jewel of a midfielder in Douglas Costa, but I can't see them beating Barcelona. I recommend the Spaniards as a draw-no-bet.

The other quarter-final sees Man Utd travelling to Chelsea for an all-English battle. Peter Cech stoked the flames  of the rivalry yesterday by declaring that Man Utd did not "really win it" when they beat Chelsea on penalties in the Moscow final a few years back. Sour grapes from a sore loser. Whichever team you support or hate, the result has to be respected and the winners acclaimed at the end of a match, particularly that the outcome was not decided by a referee or dubious error. Absolutely class-less Cech. Getting back to the game, it can go either way really. Even though Man Utd lost at Chelsea a few weeks ago, they left everyone with the impression that the result could easily have gone their way. I don't think Chelsea will be more motivated than the Red Devils because they lost that final. At this stage of the competition, motivation and hunger should not be lacking in any of the 2 teams. I have a feeling Man Utd will be happier team once the game is over; whether they win it, or whether they get a draw with a crucial goal, I don't know. No recommendation on this one, I just hope the referee does not mess up this clash by unnecessarily sanctioning tackles that would otherwise be "fine" in the Premier League.

Draw-no-bet: Barcelona.

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