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Barcelona look unstoppable this season but did Sporting Gijon coach Manolo Preciado tempt fate when he said it was crazy to think La Liga was not already in the bag?
Pep Guardiola’s team swept aside Sporting 3-1 on Sunday to make it 10 consecutive league wins.
After Sunday’s game, when Samuel Eto’o’s double took his tally for the season to 21 and Barca’s right-back rapier Daniel Alves scored a screamer of a third, Preciado was full of praise.
“We came (to the Nou Camp) with the idea of frightening them a little, but it was them that frightened us,” he said. “When you are in the stadium you see the true significance of this team. They are the best in the world. They have everything — fighting spirit, physical strength, attitude, play etc. They were far superior to us. (more…)
With English clubs so competitive in the Champions League in recent years, you might have expected Italy to react with trepidation after Inter Milan, Juventus and AS Roma were pitched against Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal in the last 16.
The teams in question betrayed no nerves after the draw, although they could hardly be expected to raise the white flag before a kick of the ball.
Jose Mourinho will clash with old foe Alex Ferguson in the Champions League last 16 with holders Manchester United playing Inter Milan.
It is England v Italy twice more with Juventus coach Claudio Ranieri facing former club Chelsea while Arsenal and Roma, two teams who love to play the beautiful game, also meet.
Didier Drogba reminded Chelsea fans of his importance to their cause with a match-winning performance against Cluj in the Champions League this week, but recent reports have suggested that the controversial striker may be on his way to Inter Milan to link up with former manager Jose Mourinho.
Can Chelsea afford to let him go? Click on the video above to see Vlogonthepitch regulars Owen Wyatt and Jon Bramley have an elevated discussion. Let us know your views.
The 16 teams that reached the Champions League first knockout round were again the usual suspects expected to go through. The group stage of Europe’s premier club competition unfolded rather predictably after a few early shocks.
Ten of the teams qualified for the same stage last season while the other six include twice winners Juventus, who returned with a roar after a two-year absence, as well as former finalists Panathinaikos and Atletico Madrid.
The Serie A champions have remained true to Italian form by limping through the group stages, losing twice, drawing twice and winning convincingly only once.
Ronaldinho has returned to form since joining AC Milan from Barcelona, producing some nice assists and seven goals in Serie A.
According to Kaka though, the close-season arrival of his Brazil team mate has also mucked up the tactical balance of the seven-times European champions.
The William Gallas saga behind them, Arsenal have reached the last 16 of the Champions League after a 1-0 win over Dynamo Kiev.
A late winner from substitute Nicklas Bendtner was enough to send the Gunners through with a game to spare but will Arsene Wenger have to change things if his young side are to progress further in the competition?
Celtic might stick it to Hamilton Academical and Falkirk on a regular basis but AaB Aalborg proved too good for them on Tuesday as a 2-1 win for the Danes ended the Glasgow club’s interest in the Champions League early – again.