We're finally here, the final eight of the UEFA Champions League. No, seriously...we are. This is a fantastic achievement in its own right, but I know Tottenham Hotspur can progress further. Don't worry, I have my crystal ball again (the same one that predicted our final English Premier League results) and will now figure out how the Champions League plays out. Lets take a look at our potential opponents.
As you can see, there are few breaks we could catch from this point on. The two teams that jump out as "easy" in this stage are Ukrainian champions Shakhtar and German heavyweights Schalke 04. Shakhtar is no pushover, winning their group which had Arsenal & Portugese outfit Braga. Former Arsenal forward Eduardo powers the squad with fellow Brazilian Luiz Adriano. If you haven't caught on, the squad does feature numerous Brazilians, so containing their passing would be a key issue. They also hammered AS Roma in their last match 3-0.
Schalke 04 could be ripe for the picking though. The club recently fired manager Felix Magath and the team is underachieving in the Bundesliga. The uncertainty surrounding the club is high. That being said, they will probably be throwing their full efforts at the Champions League to reclaim dignity on this season. Raul has been lights out since coming over from Real Madrid and has another dangerous strike partner in Dutchman Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, and goalkeeper Manuel Neuer is playing himself into a possible transfer to Manchester United this summer.
Another team I wouldn't mind facing in the quarterfinals is Chelsea. "Whoa Evan, WTF?" you say? Not so fast. The team has endured some injuries this season and while they have been playing well, they are far from a consistent powerhouse. New additions Fernando Torres and David Luiz are still incorporating into the side; Luiz has made an easier transition than Torres, who was relegated to the bench in Wednesday's Final 16 match against Copenhagen. And speaking of the Blues match against the Danes, they couldn't even score a goal at home, squandering numerous opportunities (29 total shots, seven on goal). Even with world class strikers Didier Drogba, Nicolas Anelka and Torres, the forward corp is not producing (sound familiar?).
The only teams I'm dreading to play are Barcelona and Real Madrid, and for good reason. They both made a very talented teams (Arsenal and Lyon, respectively) look mediocre in the last round (insert joke about the Gooners shitting the bed here). I don't really need to speak too much about Barcelona (you already know they're awesome), but Real Madrid's resurgence is downright scary. Ex-Bernabeu benchwarmer Karim Benzema sank his former team with goals in both legs, and has been playing in the top form that prompted his transfer to the Spanish capital. Wingers Cristiano Ronaldo and Angel Di Maria get numerous opportunities from playmaker Mesut Ozil, and wingbacks Sergio Ramos and Marcelo cause headaches whenever they spring forward.
Here's my crystal ball on the draw:
Manchester United: Shakhtar Donetsk (Fergie rules apply)
Real Madrid: Tottenham
Inter Milan: Schalke 04
What are your thoughts on the impending draw? Who would you rather face and why? Terrified of anyone at the moment?