Champions League last 16 2nd leg preview
Posted 25th February 2010
The expected English dominance of the Champions League has not materialised. Despite having a presence in the last four finals, only one Premier League team, Manchester United in 2007/08, have lifted the trophy during this time.
Indeed, there is a real possibility that only one English club will feature in the quarter final line-up. Liverpool crashed out in the group stage, whilst Arsenal and Chelsea must overcome 2-1 deficits if they are to progress. Manchester United hold a 3-2 advantage over AC Milan and have surely got one foot in the last eight already.
The only other team to win away in the first leg was Bordeaux, who triumphed 1-0 at Olympiakos. The Greek side did not score away from home in the group stage and the French Division One leaders' progression should be a formality.
Barcelona and Sevilla can be expected to turn respective 1-1 draws at Stuttgart and CSKA Moscow into aggregate wins, but Real Madrid, trailing 1-0 to Lyon, must work harder to complete a La Liga trio in the quarter finals.
Bayern Munich lead Fiorentina 2-1 and many will expect the Germans to protect that advantage better than Porto and Internazionale will at Arsenal and Chelsea. Fiorentina are struggling domestically and will struggle to keep the required clean sheet against Bayern.
Both London clubs are experts at reaching the last eight, but they have tough tasks this time around. Porto hammered second placed Braga 5-1 at the weekend, while Inter drew 0-0 for the second consecutive week. A third stalemate at Stamford Bridge would give them a quarter final berth.
Arsenal and Chelsea are formidable at home though and they can be relied upon to score the crucial goal they need to reach yet another Champions League quarter final.
However, England manager Fabio Capello might be hoping that Premier League sides fail to progress in the tournament.
The Champions League final takes place less than two weeks before the start of the Football World Cup and those taking part might not recover in time.
Meanwhile, in horse racing news, pundits will be hoping for a spell of good Cheltenham Festival weather.
Many of the horses entered into the event do not enjoy heavy ground and testing conditions could make it tricky to identify potential winners.