Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Can Chelsea take their Champions League dream further?

Whatever happens this in the rest of this season, Roman Abramovich and his board feel vindicated in sacking Andre Villas Boas. They will reason that Chelsea's dramatic second leg comeback against Napoli in the last 16 of the Champions League would not have happened with the young Portuguese in charge and if that memorable 4-1 victory remains the extent of the Blues' success this term, the club's hierarchy will be content that pride was restored at Stamford Bridge.

Things are certainly going to get harder in Europe, with Benfica, vanquishers of Manchester United in the group stage, lying in wait. A possible semi final with Barcelona is hard to ignore, but this detracts from the claims of Benfica and AC Milan, who will pose a serious test to reigning champions and fans of Victor Chandler should remember this.

Real Madrid will be happy with their draw against Apoel, as they were last year in facing Tottenham Hotspur, who were last eight rookies like the Cypriots. Jose Mourinho's outfit eased past Spurs 5-0 on aggregate and a similar outcome should be expected in this tie.

Marseille and Bayern Munich will provide good entertainment in the last quarter final clash, qualifying as they did for this round in thrilling style. Marseille dumped out the fancied Inter Milan with a dramatic injury away goal, whilst Bayern laid down a marker with 7-0 drubbing of Basel, three days after they hammered Hoffenheim 7-1 in the Bundesliga. www.betvictor.com

Marseille are out of the Ligue 1 title race, slipping to eighth place after four straight domestic defeats. Shocks have been common in the Champions League, but  Real and Bayern have looked the closest challengers to Barça this year and it would be a surprise if that changed at the semi final stage. Chelsea would be delighted to just be in this company.

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