Following a smooth passage through the third qualifying round of the Champions League for both Arsenal and Liverpool, the two English clubs line up alongside Chelsea and Man Utd as the 2007/8 Champions League group stages begin this week.
Last seasons European Cup saw Manchester United, Chelsea and eventual runners up Liverpool all reach the Semi Finals. Indeed, with an English side reaching the final the last three years on the bounce, Footy Boots is confident we could see an English club lifting the Champions League trophy at Russia’s Luzhniki Stadium on Wednesday 21 May 2008.
AC Milan and Barcelona are sure to provide a stiff test to the English quartet’s hopes, however if the two north west and two London clubs progress through the group stages, past history shows that once the knockout rounds begin, teams can often come out of nowhere to win. Look at Porto in 2004 and who can forget Liverpool’s dramatic win against AC Milan in 2005.
Arsenal currently sit top of the Premier League, and although they have lost Thierry Henry (Reebok Sprintfit) to Barcelona, they have a young and eager team, who are hungry for success. In new signing Bacary Sagna (Puma V-Konstrukt II), they possess a pacy full back, likely to run the line all day long. Cesc Fabregas (Nike Air Legend) is beginning to dominate the midfield and chip in with fantastic goals, whilst striker Robin Van Persie (Adidas Predator Absolute Power) is every defender’s nightmare.
Manchester United, after a patchy start, have Wayne Rooney (Nike Total 90 Laser) returning from injury, to partner newly recruited Carlos Tevez (Nike Air Legend), with wing wizard Christiano Ronaldo (Nike Mercurial Vapor III) back from suspension.
Liverpool have spent wisely in signing Fernando Torres (Nike Total 90 Laser), Marcus Babel (Nike Mercurial Vapor III), and Andriy Voronin (Adidas Predator Absolute), and look like they have finally solved their Premiership goal scoring problem; well apart from last weekend! This season’s squad shows increased depth, which may allow the Anfield club to challenge on more than one front.
Chelsea’s Florent Malouda (Nike Total 90 Laser) has stated that he has struggled to settle into the English way of life, but he is likely to put his worries behind him and tear into opposition defences. Didier Drogba (Nike Mercurial Vapor III), although missing tonight through a knee injury, will surely spare Chelsea’s blushes on more than one occasion this campaign with his vital goals. Though the Michael Ballack (Adidas Predator Absolute) saga continues to run, with the club seemingly looking to force him out, the Stamford Bridge club are well equipped in midfield with ‘Super’ Frank Lampard (Adidas Predator Absolute), Michael Essien (Nike Total 90 Laser), and Joe Cole (Nike Air Legend).
Matchday 1 fixtures:
Chelsea v Rosenborg
Porto v Liverpool
Sporting v Man Utd
Arsenal v Sevilla