FACEBOOK LIVE WITH GUILLEM BALAGUE...
OVER AND OUT!
That concludes this week's Q&A withe Guillem Balague! Head over to the Sky Sports Facebook page now for a review of the week's stories in the Spanish media and more reaction to today's Champions League and Europa League draws. Until next week, hasta luego!
"For me, Atletico. Arsenal have failed to impose a style, a winning mentality, a defensive structure well-oiled for the big games. Atletico have got that but there are still two rounds to negotiate! In Oblak they have a better goalkeeper. With Gimenez (for me one of top centre backs in the world) and Godin, plus the four centre midfielders (Saul, Koke, Thomas, Gabi), the best Griezmann and a Costa that has fitted in so well again, they are the best team of the competition."
"Jose Mourinho! He has to show his fans and us that he has the ability to evolve, that it is not all about getting new players, that he can coach a side to attack better, that he can give layers to his team so they come out with more answers than the opposition. He has to coach, he has to lead, he has to take United to be a winning side again respecting, if possible, their history, which is bigger than his own. Can he do that? Can he challenge himself which is what he used to do at the peak of his coaching powers? Does he belong to the 'now'. He has to stay and probe us all wrong."
"Good one but you just mentioned something that for me kills the importance of these individual trophies. Are we awarding these awards on a player's year or his last three months? What exactly are we awarding? Messi is playing the best football and more consistent football of his career, which is a lot to say when he has actually been at the top for more than a decade, but has won the champions league only once in six years. Ronaldo has won it three times in the last four. That tells you much more about their teams (and how Barcelona, club and squad, have let down their main star) than them individually."
"The only way they know - attacking! They will certainly have to decide where to pressure defensively, and perhaps see a Real Madrid that stops Juventus on their build-up as it is one of their weaknesses, but the only debate in the line up is not so much the style but who goes next to Ronaldo and Benzema. Another midfielder - Asensio? Bale? Vazquez? Isco? - or do they use Bale as the third attacker. Bale feels Zidane has lots confidence in him but has got time to show him he is wrong. How a top player deals with these things (he was on the bench for both PSG ties) also makes him even bigger."
"City are playing the best football in Europe but Klopp is the manager that has beaten Guardiola more than any other. Many say City are favourites but I feel Pep has in consideration the fact that City has only played 52 games in Europe. It is a work in progress! Juve, Real, Barcelona, Bayern... those are the favourites. Against Liverpool it feels very much like a coin in the air, they will attack. So will City. Let's see who blinks first. I give City a bit of advantage because they have shown such a consistency this season and their defence is stronger. But those will be games not to miss."
"What a game! 21 points separate them in the league, which reminds me of Chelsea-Liverpool of 2004/05 with 33 points separating them when Chelsea came to Anfield for the second leg. We were there for an hour before the game making noise and that shocked Chelsea. In fact, Mourinho went into the changing rooms before players finished the warm up, wrote 33 points in the blackboard and stood next to it. Everybody came in, looked at him and the blackboard and he said, '33 points. That is what separates you from Liverpool. Go and show it'. Well, they didn't...
Want to lowdown on today’s Champions League and Europa
League draw? Well you’re in the right place! Sky Sports Spanish football expert
Guillem Balague will be answering YOUR questions at 12.30pm. Tweet us your
questions using #AskGuillem
So the Europa League draw hasn’t provided the blockbuster
ties seen in the Champions League, but it’s certainly a welcome draw as far as
Arsenal are concerned.
With their season, and qualification for the Champions
League, hinging on this tournament, the Gunners will fancy their chances to
navigating their tie with CSKA Moscow.
Atletico Madrid will be confident of reaching the
semi-finals too after being drawn in an Iberian clash with Portuguese giants
Ties to be played on April 5 and April 12...
LAZIO v SALZBURG
ATLETICO MADRID v SPORTING LISBON
ARSENAL v CSKA MOSCOW
RB LEIPZIG v MARSEILLE
DRAW, DRAW, DRAW
The technical procedure has been explained to the
delegation in Nyon and we are ready for the draw. Stay tuned!
ABIDAL TO CONDUCT DRAW
UEFA Deputy General Secretary, Giorgio Marchetti, is back on stage and this time he's joined by this season's Europa League final ambassador, Eric Abidal.
The second draw of the day has just got underway at UEFA
Headquarters in Nyon. Host Pedro Pinto gives his opening statement before we look at the eight teams left in this season's competition...
Another set of dates for the diary...
Similarly to the Champions League draw, there are no new rules at this stage in the
competition. There is no 'country protection' rule to separate clubs from the
same country playing against one another although somewhat unusually, all eight
clubs remaining are drawn from eight different countries.
One rule that
remains in force for Arsenal, though, is that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is
ineligible to feature even though his former club Borussia Dortmund, are no
longer in the competition. Aubameyang couldn't be registered for his new club
in the competition as Dortmund dropped into the Europa League after failing to
qualify from their Champions League group.
NAMES IN THE POT
Here is the quarter-final line-up for this season’s
EUROPA LEAGUE LIVE!
Keep across the Sky
Sports platforms for more reaction to the Champions League quarter-final
draw. But our attention here now turns to the draw for the last eight of the
Europa League, where Arsenal and Atletico Madrid are among the clubs waiting to
learn their fate.
Manchester City are now joint favourites alongside
Barcelona to lift the Champions League trophy in Kiev on May 26.
WATCH: LIVERPOOL 4-3 MAN CITY
Let's hope both quarter-final ties live up to this belter in the Premier League in January!
IT'S BEEN A WHILE
FEAST OF FOOTBALL
There’s no denying that the Liverpool-Manchester City tie
is the standout tie of the round, but the rest of the draw has thrown up some
There’s a repeat of last season’s final as Juventus look
to avenge their defeat in Cardiff against 12-time champions Real Madrid.
Sevilla’s reward for dumping Manchester United out of the
competition is a tie with five-time winners Bayern Munich – can they repeat the
feat against another European heavyweight?
With the La Liga title seemingly wrapped up, Barcelona
can focus on winning a sixth Champions League crown against Roma.
The first leg of the last-eight fixtures will be played on April 3/4, with the return legs a week later on April 10/11.
Guillem Balague has offered his take on the mouth-watering
quarter-final clash between Liverpool and Manchester City...
“The Liverpool-City tie reminds me of the infamous
Liverpool-Chelsea tie in 2005. A staggering 33 points separated them when they
played the second leg in Anfield and Chelsea were viewed as favourites, but
they went out.
“But let’s see how Manchester City arrive at the tie,
they may be tired. City should be favourites but Liverpool at Anfield may well
play it’s part. It’s two completely different ways of playing the game and
should be fascinating for the neutral.”
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE QUARTER-FINAL
Here's this season's Champions League quarter-final draw in full
LIVERPOOL v MANCHESTER CITY
JUVENTUS v REAL MADRID
SEVILLA v BAYERN MUNICH
BARCELONA v ROMA
THREE, TWO, ONE, GO!
Here we go, the draw is now just seconds away!
'A TIGHT COMPETITION'
Andriy Shevchenko's address the congregation in Nyon...
“There are a lot of great teams. Real Madrid, Manchester
City, and great teams like Juventus. It will be a very tight competition.”
UEFA Deputy General Secretary Giorgio Marchetti makes his way on stage, and pays tribute to
Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi after they reached goalscoring landmarks in
the previous round. He is soon joined by a goalscoring icon of yesteryear,
Andriy Shevchenko, who will help conduct the draw.
Today’s draw has just kicked off at UEFA Headquarters in
Nyon, with host Pedro Pinto introducing the teams who make up this season’s
Champions League quarter-finals. Before we get underway, he’s a quick reminder
of who’s in the pot.
ROAD TO KIEV
Stick these dates in your diary...
WHEN ARE THE
The first leg of the last-eight fixtures will be played
on April 3/4, with the return legs a week later on April 10/11.
Two-time champions Juventus have been runners-up in two
of the last three finals.
Roma, beaten finalists in 1984, are playing in the
quarter-finals for the first time in 10 years while Manchester United’s conquerors
Sevilla have not got this far in Europe since 1958.
Despite reaching this stage of the Champions League for
the first time, Sevilla are no strangers to success on the continent, having won
the Europa League five times since 2006.
Talking of European pedigree, the eight clubs remaining
have 29 European Cup and Champions League titles between them. City, Roma and
Sevilla are the only sides still without a win in the competition.
Real Madrid lead the way with 12 titles and boast the
strongest recent form in the competition having won three of the past four
Barcelona and Bayern Munich, both five-time winners and
the current leaders of La Liga and the Bundesliga respectively, were beaten in
the quarter-finals last year.
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