The Latest Lowdown on the Champions League Knockout Phase
Top Contenders for the cup Barcelona who have won the title 3 times since 2006 face a trip to the San Siro where they will encounter an AC Milan side in the round of 16 that looked a lot different to the one they played in last year’s Quarter-final. The match will kick off at around 2.45pm Easter Time. The ‘Rossoneri’ as they are so affectionately known by their own fans have lost some prominent figures in the 1st team over the past season that include the sales of world class players Thiago Silva and Zlatan Ibrahimovic to Paris and Brazilian international striker Alexandre Pato to Club World Cup Champions – Corinthians. The unconventional looking new lineup won’t include recent flamboyant addition to the squad Mario Balotelli, as he is cup tied by his previous employers Manchester City. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the in’s and out’s of Mario, this guy set off fireworks in his own bathroom and set fire to his house. He is one of the biggest liabilities in the world of soccer and has the brain capacity of your average goldfish. The Argentinian wizard himself Lionel Messi will obviously be one to watch along with his talented disciples Xavi and Iniesta, and it will be interesting to see how veteran defender Carlos Puyol will fair again in this competition at the ripe old age of 34. Although it maybe easy and blindingly obvious to predict that Barcelona the stronger of the sides will come out on top, this is the Champions League and a big upset is always on the cards.
However Turkish outfit Galatasaray F.C is the team that I’m really excited about watching tomorrow, who also play at 2.45pm ET. This is because of the recent additions to their first team – former Champions League winners Wesley Sneijder and Didier Drogba. Both are players that I have admired for a few years now and the combination of these players along with the rest of the already established first team will create a formidable lineup.
Galatasaray are likely to play a (4-4-1-1) formation, and not only will the lethal combination of Sneijder and Drogba up front be crucial to the club’s chances for the up and coming game but so will the attacking and defensive work ethic from their full backs Emmanuel Eboue and Albert Riera. Both must be as enigmatic when defending, as they are when they enter the attacking equation.
They welcome the German side Schalke 04 who have been significantly weakened by the deadline day sale of playmaker Lewis Holtby to English Club Tottenham Hotspur. Much like AC Milan they should not be ruled out however with Target Man Klaas Jan Huntelaar always a danger for the opposition’s defense along with some recent impressive performances from the rapid Jefferson Farfan who plays on the right wing.
Schalke are likely to play a (4-2-3-1) formation, with Julian Draxler taking the playmaker position that belonged to the departed figure Holtby.
The most intriguing matchup in this game will be to see the tussles between Farfan and Riera on one flank of the pitch. This will definitely make for an exciting game.
– Asgard over and out.