Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Manchester United are Through!!!

And there was much rejoicing!!!!

Manchester United knocked off Benfica 3-1 today at Old Trafford to advance to the knockout stage of the UEFA Champions League. Benfica will move to the UEFA Cup. Ryan Giggs was the big hero of the match, with an assist on Vidic's goal that tied it up and scoring the match winner.

Not only did United move into the knock out phase, but they won the group with 12 points, as Celtic lost 3-1 to FC Copenhagen and advanced with 9 points. In my humble opinion, this might have been a pretty bad move on SAF & Co. Why do you say?

Well, as they finished first, as I understand it, United will play one of the clubs that finished in 2nd place. They will host the second leg of the two legged series as well. UEFA rules prohibit clubs from the same country from playing each other in the first knockout round, so United would not be able to play Chelsea, Liverpool or Arsenal. That is a mute point as all three finished first in their groups. The following is a list of potential opponents for United in the second round:

- Real Madrid
- Barcelona
- FC Porto
- Lille
- Celtic
- Roma
- PSV Eindhoven
- Inter Milan

No offense meant towards any of these clubs, but the only ones I would be ok with United facing would be AEK Athens, Celtic or Roma. The rest will be tough challenges.

Now if United had just qualified second, which as Celtic lost, was impossible, the first place clubs that they could have been drawn against are:

- Chelsea
- Liverpool
- Bayern Munich
- Lyon
- Valencia
- AC Milan
- Arsenal
- Celtic

As the UEFA rules would have eliminated Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal, United could have only faced Bayern, Celtic, AC Milan, Lyon or Valencia. Lyon are the only ones that scare me on that list. The road to the Quarter Finals would have been "easier" if they finished second in their group.

As I stated before, with Celtic getting smashed by FC Copenhagen, this is all a mute point. Manchester United would have finished first with a draw or the win. The big question now is who do they play and how tough a road will things be for the Red Devils?

Here are my predictions for the 2nd Round:

Chelsea vs. Inter Milan
Arsenal vs. Lille
Manchester United vs. PSV Eindhoven
Lyon vs. Celtic
AC Milan vs. Real Madrid
Bayern Munich vs. Roma
Liverpool vs. Barcelona
Valencia vs. FC Porto

The actual draw is conducted on the 15th, so we will see if any of these (which I pulled out of my ass) are correct or not.

Edit - I mistakenly claimed that AEK Athens has advanced instead of Lille. I have corrected this mistake.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, I'm just starting blogging and was browsing through some Man U blogs. You definitely seem to know what your doing.
yo but I missed the whole first half of the Man U/Benfica game yesterday cuz I didnt get home from school till the 50th minute of the match. So I missed both teams' first goals. I saw Saha's brilliant upper corner header to seal off the victory and Giggs' wide open header. Why was no one covering him at all?? Did they think he was offsides or something? Anyways, if you can leave a comment on one of my posts regarding the match, that'd be great. I just started it today tho soo there won't be too many posts up just yet. Thanks

9:58 AM  

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