Thursday, April 16, 2009

When the dust has settled...

For the third straight year, there will be three English teams in the Champions League semi-finals. And for the 2nd straight year, Barcelona will be flying the flag for the rest of Europe against the English teams.

Man Utd vs Arsenal

The ultimate rivalry will be rekindled on the European stage. Can't wait!!!

Chelsea vs Barcelona

After a brief gap, these two get to tango with each other in Europe again. There was a time when Jose’s Chelsea were involved in some nasty tussles with Barca, especially given Jose’s false accusations regarding Swedish referee Anders Frisk. But Jose is no longer there and neither is Rijkaard.

In the UEFA Cup -- two local affairs in the semi’s.

The first semi-final will see Dynamo Kiev take on FC Shakhtar Donetsk while Hamburg will take on Werder Bremen in the other semi. So the UEFA Cup final held in Istanbul will be between a German team and Ukrainian team.

Arsenal certainly have the most intense 5-6 weeks in football ahead.

18 Sat The FA Cup Chelsea
21 Tue Barclays Premier League A Liverpool
26 Sun Barclays Premier League H Middlesbrough
29 Wed UEFA Champions League A Manchester United
02 Sat Barclays Premier League A Portsmouth
05 Tue UEFA Champions League H Manchester United
10 Sun Barclays Premier League H Chelsea
16 Sat Barclays Premier League A Manchester United
24 Sun Barclays Premier League H Stoke City
27 Wed UEFA Champions League Final
30 Sat The FA Cup

Like last year, Arsenal get to face an English team in the Champions League along with a corresponding league fixture close by, although thankfully not back to back but having Chelsea sandwiched in between two games against Man Utd isn’t easy either. In a way, Arsenal could play Man Utd 4 times in just over a month and Chelsea 3 times. Overall, Arsenal have atleast 6 games against their 3 main league rivals in the next month. And then there could be atleast two more games if Arsenal make the finals and either Man Utd and Chelsea make the F.A Cup and CL final respectively. Incredible!!

What this means is that Arsenal, Man Utd and Chelsea could stand in the way of each other for two trophies. And then Arsenal still have a huge part to play in the destiny of the English title as they travel to Anfield next week and have a league fixture at Old Trafford. Despite all the misery this season, the Arsenal vs Man Utd rivalry would take center stage again, just like those good old days. But Arsenal have to dispatch of Chelsea first this Saturday.

Bring on the good football.

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