Blogs & Opinion


Alan Smith:

Most Popular Posts:

Opinion Archive:

Champions League: No glory for Manchester Utd or Chelsea this season

Alan Smith - Alan Smith Posted 20th March 2014 view comments

Alan Smith can't see Chelsea or Manchester United going on to win the Champions League this season.

The Sky Sports pundit was at Old Trafford on Wednesday to see David Moyes' side overturn a 2-0 deficit against Olympiakos to qualify for the quarter-finals just 24 hours after 2012 winners Chelsea had booked their place in Friday's draw with victory over Galatasaray.

Man United are unlikely to win the Champions League, says Alan

Man United are unlikely to win the Champions League, says Alan

No English teams reached the last eight last season and while Smith is pleased to see an improvement, he says the bookmakers are right to class United and Chelsea among the outsiders to lift the trophy in Lisbon in May.

"It is important to keep a couple of English teams in there," he said on the Sky Sports Champions League Podcast.

Quarter-Final Draw

11am, Fri, Sky Sports News

"You look at last season and it was all about the coming of the Germans with Bayern and Dortmund in the final. We were all questioning the Premier League and the strength of it.

"It's nice to have two teams in there and the draw will obviously tell us a lot. All the big hitters are left in this competition now and there's not going to be an easy draw, that's for certain.

"Chelsea showed when they won it that you don't necessarily have to be the best team in the competition, but I certainly won't be having any money on either of them.

"The bookies - and the odds that they are offering - probably reflects the general attitudes towards their chances.

"There's some very good teams in the competition that I think have got more than both Chelsea and Manchester United."

Reason

The Premier League clubs will go into Friday's draw - which is live on Sky Sports News from 11am - along with Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain.

And while Smith says defending champions Bayern Munich are rightly listed as favourites, he is backing La Liga leaders Real Madrid to win the Champions League for the first time since 2002.

He added: "Bayern have got to be favourites with a fantastic manager in charge in Pep Guardiola.

"We wondered how he'd take it on with Bayern after they won the treble, but he seems to have done that, playing a slightly different brand of football.

"For whatever reason, I've got a sneaking suspicion for Real Madrid. They haven't won it for a while but they are so full of goals.

"They probably haven't got the best defence in the competition, but when you've got Cristiano Ronaldo at the peak of his career plus Gareth Bale and everyone else then who knows?

"It's going to be a fantastic last eight. This is the business end, as they say, and there are no passengers at this stage.

"Just look at Atletico Madrid and how well they've done under Diego Simeone; they have got a real togetherness and are a tough team as well, who are very disciplined under that manager.

"Whoever the English teams get, it's going to be really tough."

For more from Alan Smith, Geoff Shreeves and the rest of the Sky Sports pundits, download the Sky Sports Champions League podcast now.

back to top

Other Football Experts:

Latest Posts in Football:

Jamie Redknapp

Redknapp: Costa big loss for Chelsea

Diego Costa is a big loss but Chelsea can still pass a tough Everton test, says Jamie Redknapp....

Gary Neville

Neville: Arsenal must sign a striker

Arsenal must sign a replacement for injured Olivier Giroud if they want to win the title, says Gary Neville....

Jeff Stelling

Stelling: Fears for Leeds

Jeff Stelling is worried that headline-making Leeds could end up slipping back into League One. ...

Latest News RSS feeds

Sky Sports Today

Premier League build-up, Europa League draw and reaction plus all the manager press conferences.

Live transfer updates

Aston Villa and Valencia want Tom Cleverley, Xabi Alonso joins Bayern Munich and Arsenal linked with Sokratis Papastathopoulos.

Merson's predictions

Merse expects a losing start for Neil Warnock, but wins for Arsenal, Chelsea, Man United and QPR.

Premier League preview

Chelsea travel to Everton for Saturday Night Football, while Super Sunday features Tottenham against Liverpool and Leicester versus Arsenal.

Spurs handed Besiktas test

Tottenham will face Arsenal's UEFA Champions League victims Besiktas in the group stage of the Europa League.

Features

Tottenham's Erik Lamela ready for Premier League lift off

Tottenham's Erik Lamela ready for Premier League lift off

Everyone agreed that Tottenham had acquired some fine players in the summer of 2013, but the notorious line that Spurs sold Elvis to buy the Beatles soon became a source of embarrassment. Not least because that cast young Erik Lamela as John Lennon, the most celebrated of the lot.

Analysis: Everton's signing of Samuel Eto'o can be significant on and off the pitch for Roberto Martinez's side

Analysis: Everton's signing of Samuel Eto'o can be significant on and off the pitch for Roberto Martinez's side

Saturday’s opponents Chelsea might have expected Everton’s Romelu Lukaku to come back to haunt them, but Jose Mourinho surely thought he’d seen the back of Samuel Eto’o. Instead he’s back in the Premier League and eyeing another challenge in his remarkable career.

Mario Balotelli's track record on the pitch makes him a gamble worth taking for Brendan Rodgers and Liverpool

Mario Balotelli's track record on the pitch makes him a gamble worth taking for Brendan Rodgers and Liverpool

When it comes to the art of signing players, few did it better than Brian Clough and Peter Taylor. In the latter’s book With Clough by Taylor he explained some of the science behind it in detailing how Nottingham Forest actively sought to buy players they perceived to have personal problems.