Some Top Teams Look Very Sharp in Champions League Play

Thursday, 6 March, 2008

Some of the teams that made it to the first knockout stage of the Champions League are on good form, and are poised to go all the way to the title game in Moscow. It’s good to see at least one team from England, Spain, and Italy playing at their best.

England have their big four of Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea, and Liverpool, with their 2 to nil aggregate lead over Inter Milan, all in great shape for the next round. Liverpool are the only one of these sides that haven’t officially qualified for the second knockout round, the final 8. It’ll take a lot from Inter to deny them a spot in the next round. Christiano Ronaldo, the world’s best player, has been awesome for United the whole duration of Champions League competition. So have Emmanuel Adebayor, Eduardo da Silva, and Cesc Fabregas of Arsenal. People may or may not overlook the contributions of Theo Walcott and Robin van Persie, who have certainly provided good play for Arsenal.

Spain’s Barcelona have been dominant of late on the European stage, pummeling Celtic on their way to the final 8. Their only issue, other than Lionel Messi’s injury, is who their next opponent will be. Barcelona have picked up their game in Europe after not looking their absolutely excellent selves in the group stage.

Italy’s Roma took out a good side in Real Madrid. Totti is still the man, and Roma are happy that’s the case. I don’t know if Totti is underrated, but he’s certainly awesome to me and most everyone else. Mirko Vucinic has been a very key contributer for Roma, and may be their most important player other than Totti.

What to look at for the next round is what the matchups will be after the Liverpool and Inter clash is decided. The best teams right now are Arsenal, Roma, and Barcelona. Without Messi, Barca made it look like they didn’t miss his skills at all during their two clashes with Celtic. (Celtic, obviously, need to go back to the drawing board and do some work on their level of play, particulary when it comes to scoring.) Two hot clubs going at it may produce great quality. A matchup of Arsenal and Roma would be something to see. Let’s hope for good games in the next round and the rest after that.

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