In last week’s article, I described the current status of the UEFA Champions League (an international competition of the best soccer clubs from all around Europe). Now, the final two quarterfinal matches have been played, only four clubs remain, and the semi-finals are just around the corner.
The semi-final match-ups this year are FC Barcelona versus Chelsea and Manchester United versus Arsenal. If these clubs look familiar, it’s because three out of the four were in the semi-finals last year. Arsenal is the new face, replacing Liverpool, who was in the semis last year but ended up losing to Chelsea.
FC Barcelona and Chelsea had their last match in 2006. Barcelona beat Chelsea 2-1 in London and eliminated them from Champion’s League in the first knock-out round. Although this is predicted to be a close couple of games, Barcelona is the favorite. With the first and fifth place goal scorers in the Champions League (Leo Messi and Tierry Henry), and the top goal scorer in any League in Europe (Eto’o), their attack is arguably the best in the world. And with a comfortable place on top of the Spanish La Liga, Chelsea looks to have their work cut out for them.
Manchester United and Arsenal, being both from England, have already played each other twice this year, both of which ended in Manchester’s favor. Arsenal has some tricks up their sleeves though, with players like Andrei Arshavin and Theo Walcott showing big promise in recent games. Manchester United is still the favorite in this one, however. Being the reigning Champions League Champions and sitting on top of the English Premier League tends to have that effect.
The first round of games is next Tuesday at 4 p.m. and
Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. on