Juve sides are typically strong at the back, where ex-Aston Villa defender Olaf Mellberg joined this summer. Ranieri tends to play traditional Italian cautious game plan and this tie won’t have many goals in it. Chelsea will be favourites, but not by much.
Liverpool is the only English team who didn’t get Serie A opponents. Instead they take on Real Madrid who are not in the best of form and recently changed manager. New boss Juande Ramos has also lost Ruud Van Nistelrooy for the campaign.
If the game was played now, Liverpool would be major odds-on to win it but Ramos may have restored confidence by the time the last 16 round kicks off. It is still quality squad at the Bernabeu and over the past decade Real have made habit of performing in Europe when their League form is average.
Finally, Manchester United drew the next hardest option after Barcelona when Inter Milan came out of the hat. Inter lead the Serie A table and have a core of players who have been champions three times in a row.
Inter are big under-achievers in the Champions League but with Jose Mourinho in charge they have a coach who should have his team believing they can go all the way. In 2004 he took Porto to victory over United and he will relish locking horns with Alex Ferguson again.
Four exciting ties are in prospect and balance at least one from the Premiership quartet will not make it through. This exciting situation of football game also was imitated to be appeared in the well known world soccer game Wining Eleven that is going to debut its new episode in Hong Kong Game Expo 2010.
While there are no easy games to be found in the last 16 of Champions League, Premiership representatives did get some of harder assignments in the draw on December 19th. On plus side, Chelsea and Arsenal did manage to avoid Barcelona, current form team in Europe. That short straw went to French champions Lyon. In fact Arsenal will be happiest of English quartet.
AS Roma are team to be respected, but they are not the best team in Italy and they have been found wanting in later stages of past two seasons. Manchester United beat them with ease at quarter-final stage in both 2007 and 2008.
They did defeat Chelsea in group stages but they are a bit lightweight up front for this level. Roma’s strength lies in midfield with Italian World Cup winners Perotta and De Rossi, tough Chilean Pizarro and long-term skipper Francesco Totti dropping deep.
Arsenal will fancy their chances in a passing contest and Arsene Wenger’s team thrive in Europe. The Gunners could have had much tougher opponents.
Chelsea avoided Barcelona but did get Juventus and a meeting with their former coach Claudio Ranieiri. Juve currently lie second in Serie A and are gradually rebuilding their dominant position which was shattered by their demotion to Serie B for match fixing.
Two players who stayed with them when they dropped down are still critical up front. The evergreen Alessandro Del Piero has 4 Champions League goals already and Davide Trezeguet is always threat around the box.
Somehow, these same commentators fail to also let you know when free kick is being taken or they will opt to not describe wonderful solo run taking place. No, commentators are more preoccupied with some trivial statistic or the other.
Other humorous takes from certain maddening football commentators include why a German team playing against the English national team was hell bent on playing the offside trap against immensely mobile England strikers. What is so hard to figure out? Were the defensive players meant to sit back and let forwards run rampage towards their goal?
Another infuriating characteristic of some dumb football commentators is their annoying habit of wondering why particular team is not more active even during lull in action. Somehow, these commentators fail to realise that the players are human and do need to regroup and gather their senses before trying new ploy or even tried and tested one.
It you are normal football addict, then you must have visited the local pub to watch your favourite team in action. Even after having imbibed in a few, you would still be able to make out what kind of general action is taking place on field. Somehow, commentators seem to call things in a totally different way. One game had Sweden bombarding the England goal but was still being accused of sitting back and waiting. The same went for Trinidad and Tobago side reduced to ten men who, per force, had to dig their heels in and defend deep.
Some pieces of football commentary can leave you gnashing your teeth in consternation, especially when the commentary is being given to you by an American who believes that all that listeners in the world are really interested in is simple statistics. Well, Americans may lap up statistics like hamburgers or hot dogs, but the rest of the football world wants to know about the real action taking place on the pitch.
Nobody really cares a hoot about being informed that Miloslav Klose had the honour of scoring first for Germany (the hosts) during their first game in the recent World Cup and that he did so on his birthday. So, alright we can read about that on the Internet or in the morning papers, but when the game is on, why don’t footballs commentators just stick to describing the action taking place during the game.
However, I digress here because it is American football commentators that have this annoying habit of bombarding listeners with statistic after statistic. Others have their own idiosyncrasies. You and I can certainly do without knowing that Miloslav Klose scored twice in separate World Cups and did so without sporting a handlebar moustache. Not that any of it matters since what matters is what is going on in the match. Comprende?
Sometimes, football commentators come up with some laughable gaffes, such as suggesting that Beckham’s first name could be Michael or that Henrik Larsson played wonderfully against Chelsea in a Champions League match.
While the calculations reported in newspaper state that Blades might receive approximately £30 million for the relegation, Chairman Kevin McCabe said it cost United no less than £50 million in lost revenues.
He recently stated, “I can confirm that both clubs have been notified of ruling. The arbitration panel has awarded in our favour. The matter is still legally in process so I do not wish to comment any further until we have completed that process.”
What is curious is that the club statement raises another question, the one about intervention by Premier League in the future.
The club statement read, “The Blades began their legal fight for reinstatement some 16 months which also included arbitration hearing against the Premier League. This award could now pose question as to what the Premier League will do.”
A West Ham spokesperson stated for BBC Radio 4, “We need to digest the full findings of the arbitration panel and will consult our lawyers on next steps we might take before making any further comment.”
The matter is not over yet and West Ham may appeal on the ruling through the Court of Arbitration for Sports. However, their decision whether to appeal or not will most likely depend on the final figure that the arbitration panel will define as compensation for relegation.
Just like Sheffield United, West Ham also pointed out possibility they may withdraw from debate while consulting legal representatives and they added: “It would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage.”
The Football Association arbitration panel ruled in favour of Sheffield United in the claim from West Ham regarding the Carlos Tevez affair.
Even if the final figure has yet to be confirmed, reports indicate that West Ham might have to pay the Blades approximately £30 million to compensate their income loss after they were relegated to the Championship in May 2007.
The FA failed to penalize the Hammers any points, even if the club broke a number of rules in the purchase of Tevez and Javier Mascherano by not explaining the relation between the players and Media Sports Investments (MSI). According to Premier League rules, a third party can own no player.
The FA penalized the East London side club with only £5.5 million based on the decision of an independent panel, less than a month before the end of the 2006/07 campaign.
One of the crucial reasons West Ham had such a superb form at the end of the season was Tevez, who saved them from relegation by scoring the only goal in the game at Manchester United.
After failing to overturn the relegation from the Premier League, Sheffield United concentrated on the compensation for the income loss they suffered because they were relegated.
On the official website of the club www.sufc.co.uk, one can read their statement in which they claim success in the above mentioned case, even if the real nature of the compensation is still unclear.
Sepp Blatter’s comments make you wonder why the FIFA president is so concerned about what one footballer wants rather than the organisation as a whole. Many are speculating that there is a hidden agenda or agreement between the famous footballer and the FIFA president. If so, what would be the drive behind the agreement? A future contract? Both sides will gain for as long as both sides are happy, but the chance of Ronaldo threatening to quit and lose the lifestyle he is accustomed to isn’t very likely.
The organisation needs to have a certain set of rules, not only to keep the peace, but also to define a set of limits and equality. Otherwise, the best football team would translate into the one that has the most money. Not that this isn’t so now, only that this division would become considerably more defined. Also how much can even the richest clubs afford to pay out to their players before they can no longer afford to keep going?
The comments made by Sepp Blatter were not only ridiculous but dangerous as well. His remarks could signal a swift end to his career. Instead of focusing on pampering favourites, the league needs someone who will promote a brother-ship between the teams. In the end, without this one important component the entire league will falter.