Peter Giesen has news from Amsterdam:
“In the Dutch papers this morning, many here in Amsterdam are hoping for Manchester United as the easiest draw. Ajax has never been beaten by City. Juventus, Porto and Spurs are feared the most. Spurs are preferred over Porto as they play a more open game, allowing the Ajax tactics to flourish.”
Interesting. United, eh? And yes, I did wonder that about Porto – easiest opponent on paper but they can do a number on you …
Maybe we English do need something to feel proud of at the moment, in fairness.
“Call me Barry Glendenning,” begins Peter Ferry, in an unusual act of masochism. “But UEFA will ensure that they is at least one all-English tie. An all-English semi-final would be their absolute worst nightmare. And quite frankly, with Barcelona not being the Barcelona of old, and Juventus being a one-man team, it’s not beyond the realms of possibility.”
Theories like this do abound, don’t they
Peter? I do tend to agree, though, that the odds are significantly in favour of an English team winning it this year. I could easily see all four going through to the semis. Is that a Good Thing? Objectively I’d say it’s overwhelmingly not.
Have some nostalgia – have some highlights of the last time Ajax won this competition:
I loved that team. I found that Ajax away shirt in a market in Tangiers that summer and was so proud of it, but I’d never heard of knock-off shirts at that point and was slightly put out when a rather more worldly member of my Under-13 team back home took joy in telling me how and why it was fake.
Anyone got a fantasy draw lineup? I’d like to avoid all-English ties really, they don’t particularly do it for me, but a Manchester derby at this stage would be both unprecedented and fine. Don’t know about you but I *really* want to see Ajax go far before their delightful side is stripped bare in the summer; would they be best going sub-radar and facing Porto?
Well, not quite, but one of these eight will be – and this year we are partying like the late-2000s, a period not particularly known for its cultural idiosyncrasies, because it’s Premier League vs The Rest!
Your runners and riders are:
Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham, Ajax, Porto, Barcelona, Juventus
A nice spread of interest in the other four teams there, in fairness. Does anyone fancy Ajax? Does everyone want to get Porto? Can Messi or Ronaldo do it at a feted craft beer vendor’s in Tottenham? We’ll find out shortly and, in a special twist, we’ll also see the semi-final draw. The path all the way to Madrid will be plotted! Fire away with your hopes, dreams and predictions; the teams will be drawn out sometime after 11 (UK time), depending on how much pageantry UEFA have the stamina for today.
Nick will be here soon. In the meantime, here’s what James Milner thinks about the prospect of meeting another English side in the last eight.