Chelsea and United Champions League tie gives English clubs the best chance to progess
For one, it pits together two of most experienced teams in the competition in Chelsea and Manchester United in what is a a repeat of the 2008 Final in Moscow. And Spurs will have to face the might of Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid, who have won 22 games on the trot at home and eat the likes of Sandro for breakfast.
But, when you look at it again, the draw represents the best chance for at least one English team to progress.
Alex Ferguson, for starters, will be pleased as punch that his stuttering side don’t have to play any of the Spanish giants or even the buoyant Schalke or Shaktar Donetsk, who both could have posed a threat to United’s injury ravaged side. And, although facing United in a European competition will send shivers down poor ‘ol John ‘Teary’ Terry after his penalty spot miss three years ago, both he and Carlo Ancelotti won’t be too displeased with the outcome.
Both captain and manager will know that a bore draw at Old Trafford and a scrappy win, not dissimilar to the one they secured a few weeks ago in West London, when David Luiz ran the show, will see them through. The familiarity between the two teams will mean that either could go through to secure a tasty and very winnable semi-final against either Schalke or Inter Milan.
Meanwhile, Spurs, the cocky upstarts of this year’s competition, obviously have a a tougher ride in Madrid but, to be frank, they won’t care. They’ve beaten Inter and AC Milan and, what’s more, they should have Gareth Bale and Raf Van der Vaart fully fit after long spells out. And the way the North Londoners play, with verve and on the counter, they’re probably more suited to tackling Madrid than United or Chelsea.
So, when put in those terms, perhaps the Champions League quarter-final draw isn’t the worst set of outcomes. At least England will have one representative in the latter stages – that’s better than nothing.