JamieD From UK - England, joined Apr 2002, 613 posts, RR: 11 Posted (6 years 5 months 2 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 1000 times:
So the group stage is finally over, and here are the remaining 16 teams in the hat for the first knockout round draw (draw to be made on 15.12.06 at 12:00 CET):
FC Bayern München
FC Internazionale Milano
LOSC Lille Métropole
Manchester United FC
Real Madrid CF
Who do you think/hope can go all the way? I personally think that Lyon could be the surprise package if they can steer clear of injuries/suspensions, and of course am hoping for Arsenal to repeat last year's success but go one better. Inter are looking stronger than ever (especially with new additions Ibrahimović and Crespo to the squad), as are Chelsea and indeed Real Madrid.
Of course, all predictions are merely speculation at this stage, but I'd like to hear your opinions all the same.
I sincerely hope Barcelona will fail in the second round. They have played far too inconsistent, plus they have people on the payroll, who IMO should not be paid those outrageous amounts of money they're getting paid. Even during the Werder Bremen game today, all they played was one half, then the second half, they stopped playing somehow.
Somehow I have my doubts on them. They played one hell of a season last year, but this year it hasn't been that great, especially in the Premier League. I see them going to the semifinals, but that's it.
Definitely a candidate for the finals, but they need to play more attractive. Instead of playing to get a goal and holding that score, they should be a bit more offensive and aggressive. Chelsea football is simply boring.
Arsenal@LHR From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2001, 7791 posts, RR: 23 Reply 5, posted (6 years 5 months 2 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 949 times:
I can't wait for the last 16 draw, i can see some very tasty fixtures. As long as Arsenal don't meet Barcelona or Real Madrid this early, we should be content. But no easy games in the CL, all are quality teams.
Agreed. Any team can beat any other on the day (or both days, as the case may be), whoever we get drawn against, it's going to be a tough two matches.
We showed that we had plenty of quality in the squad to go far last season, but we've lost Bergkamp, Pirès, Campbell, Reyes (he is a better player than Baptista, period) and Ashley Cole since then, which does worry me a little bit. Not that we haven't got a great squad now, but I feel that it isn't quite as strong as last season.
DAL767400ER From Germany, joined Feb 2005, 5721 posts, RR: 50 Reply 10, posted (6 years 5 months 2 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 909 times:
Quoting LTU932 (Reply 2):
Quoting JamieD (Thread starter):
FC Bayern München
If they stop playing only draws like during the last games in the CL, then they might go all the way. It's up to coach Magath to motivate them properly.
They have to go all the way, if only just for the UEFA's 5-year ranking. We don't need to lose another CL spot. Besides, if Deisler can play longer than 45 minutes, Poldi comes back, and the Dutchies Makaay/van Bommel continue to play well, they do have a realistic chance. Just hope they don't get Barca, though I would bet money that that will be the exact team Bayern will get.
Arsenal@LHR From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2001, 7791 posts, RR: 23 Reply 16, posted (6 years 5 months 2 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 883 times:
Quoting JamieD (Reply 9): We showed that we had plenty of quality in the squad to go far last season, but we've lost Bergkamp, Pirès, Campbell, Reyes (he is a better player than Baptista, period) and Ashley Cole since then, which does worry me a little bit. Not that we haven't got a great squad now, but I feel that it isn't quite as strong as last season
That's what a lot of Arsenal fans are thinking now, we've lost some half a dozen world class players in the last year or so with the only notable replacements being Gallas and Baptista. With Bergkamp, Campbell, Pires, Cole, Vieira and Edu, we had a killer team, arguably the best Arsenal squad assembled in history. The current squad is hugely talented with great potential, but the departure of these players has not gone unnoticed.
I think Vieira is arguably the most sorely-missed player of all the departures. His commanding presence in the middle (and quite often in front of goal) is irreplaceable; not to mention the mental blow of losing the captain. Fabregas is one of, if not the best young player in the world, but his physical presence pales in comparison to Vieira's.
Alas, with such a young squad we do have a lot of potential (as you mentioned), and I think a few weeks of rest will do Henry a world of good, hopefully we'll see him back to his best. Roll on the first knockout round!