Alright, United fans, I know we’re usually like “it doesn’t matter who we play”, but who would you prefer to meet in the next round of the Champions League?
Here are the teams we could be drawn with at the moment:
- Inter Milan
- AC Milan
- Asenal (currently 2nd in Group H)
- AS Roma (currently 2nd in Group E)
The draw against Valencia, which United should have won, was enough to put United top of their group and avoid teams like Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich.
The Milan teams
But games against both Milan teams won’t be easy either.
Even though I’ve never really warmed to his personality, any team managed by Rafa Benitez will be tough to beat. He is a very good coach, and if Inter knew what they were doing, they would give him the time he needs to build a trophy-winning squad. I mean, that’s as obvious as a penguin on a mountain of snow, right?
With AC Milan, the pressure isn’t as much on coach Massimiliano Allegri as it is on their star-studded attacking line-up. Players like Ronaldinho, Zlatan and Robinho all have something to prove, and on their day, they can do serious damage to any defense.
So for me, avoiding both teams will be crucial.
To be honest, I don’t know much about French football, but Marseille are currently fourth in Ligue 1, just two points behind leaders Lille, so I guess they’ll be tough opposition too.
Going forward, they have players like French internationals André-Pierre Gignac, Mathieu Valbuena and Loic Remy, who’s fast becoming a regular with Les Bleus.
Lyon are one spot behind Marseille in the league, but level on points. They’re no longer the dominant force they used to be in French football, but they do have the player I long to see at United, the mercurial playmaker Yoann Gourcuff.
On his day, he can pull strings better than anyone in midfield, and he has the physique to get stuck in as well; but to be considered one of the world’s best, he just has to be a little more consistent.
Lyon also have the classy Jérémy Toulalan in midfield and Bafétimbi Gomis, a former future Didier Drogba whose potential is still somewhat unrealised.
So that makes Copenhagen the obvious pick, but they’re currently runaway leaders of the Danish league with 52 points, 19 ahead of second-placed Odense, and they held Barcelona to a 1-1 draw in the group stages, so they won’t be pushovers either.
They do have a former Premier League star in ex-Chelsea player Jesper Gronkjaer. Remember him? The tall, speedy winger who used to do everything right until the final pass/cross/finish? Yup, he’s still playing, and in fact, was at the World Cup in South Africa with the Danish national team.
Still to come…
Arsenal and AS Roma would most likely join this list soon, seeing as they are second in their groups at the moment, and will play their games later tonight.
Roma will probably stay second behind Bayern Munich, needing only a draw against bottom-of-the-table CFR Cluj to progress; while Arsenal will have to worry about qualifying first by beating Partizan Belgrade.
If Arsenal fail to qualify, Portuguese outfit Braga will take their place.
So, who’s your pick? Leave a comment! =)