Blogs & Opinion


Barcelona, Arsenal, Malaga and Galatasaray tipped for Champions League exits by Niall Quinn

Niall Quinn - Niall Quinn Posted 11th March 2013 view comments

Arsenal travel to Bayern Munich knowing they face an awfully tough task and, although I hope I'm wrong, I can't see them turning things around.

I said before the first leg of their last 16 tie with the German giants that the players owed their manager a performance after the defeat to Blackburn in the FA Cup and they didn't come up with one. They lost 3-1 and were outplayed by last season's Champions League runners-up.

Arsenal:  Left trailing by Bayern at the Emirates

Arsenal: Left trailing by Bayern at the Emirates

Now Arsenal's players don't just need a performance for their manager, they need a performance for their pride.

They're 3-1 down after a tough night at the Emirates and I expect they'll be in for another tough night on Wednesday. (See it live from 7pm, Wed, Sky Sports 2 HD)

Bayern, in the first game, were brilliant; they zipped the ball around and everyone was on song while Arsenal could only chase, chase and chase. They were blown away by the visitors.

I don't think Arsenal have enough about them to win on the night, let alone turn the tie around.

Niall Quinn
Quotes of the week

I've not seen anything since which makes me think the game in Munich will be any different and I don't think Arsenal have enough about them to win on the night, let alone turn the tie around.

They'll be hoping to keep Munich quiet and pinch the first goal to give themselves hope. But it's a huge ask.

PREDICTION: Bayern to win and progress

This week's other Champions League games

Barcelona (0) v (2) AC Milan

AC Milan produced a really polished performance to pull of the surprise result of the first leg matches. They frustrated Barcelona, prevented them from getting an away goal and scored two vital goals of their own, which gives them a cushion going to the Nou Camp.

Barcelona are a team who have looked patchy recently. I was at the Copa del Rey semi-final in Barcelona and saw Real Madrid absolutely out-play them; they looked a pale shadow of their former selves.

Yes, Lionel Messi is still scoring goals and there are a lot of positives in their team and I'm sure they'll produce a huge effort to pull this back. But the reality is Barcelona have to score three goals - and against an Italian team that is never easy.

Milan will employ the classic Italian tactic of sitting and waiting, soaking up the pressure before trying to strike on the break. And if AC Milan do get a goal then it makes life really difficult for the hosts.

Of all the teams to hold onto a lead, the Milan teams - whether it's Inter under Jose Mourinho in the Champions League final or AC Milan - are well equipped.

It's going to be a huge challenge for Barcelona, it really is. And, scoring three past an Italian rear guard action is going to be very hard to do.

When I was at the Nou Camp for that semi-final I got the impression they were a team not at their highest point. I can see them winning the tie but scoring three is going to be difficult so I would look at Milan coming away with a hard fought, defensive success to go through.

PREDICTION: Barca to win, Milan to go through

Schalke (1) v (1) Galatasaray

Live: 7pm, Tue, Sky Sports 2 HD

Schalke got a very important goal in Turkey when they were behind and that changed this tie. It's 1-1 on aggregate at the moment but it isn't 50-50 at this point. That away goal swung the tie in the German teams favour.

If you look at Schalke's league form you wouldn't be too excited about their chances but something tells me this tie is tailor made for them to go out and put on the performance they need to go through.

Galatasaray will give it everything. I've seen them a couple of times in the Champions League this year and they have the ability to go out and get goals and attack - but it's a difficult tie for them, especially after not winning on their home turf. To beat Schalke in Germany is a much more difficult task.

German football is on the up and Schalke want to be a part of that.

PREDICTION: Schalke win and go through.

Malaga (0) v (1) Porto

Live: 7.30pm, Wed, Sky Sports 4 HD

This, for me, is one of the most intriguing second legs of the last 16 phase.

Malaga have been the surprise package of this year's Champions League and have equipped themselves well so far - and this is not a foregone conclusion by any means, despite Porto's first leg advantage.

You'd expect the experience Porto have from being at this stage of the competition many times in recent years to see them through when it gets to the crunch - but you never know. Malaga - who have to be applauded for getting this far - belied most people's thoughts by staying well in the game with the first leg.

Unfortunately for them I reckon, despite a heroic effort from the hosts, they may just not have enough to go through.

PREDICTION: Porto go through

back to top

Other Football Experts:

Latest Posts in Football:

Graeme Souness

Souness: Stevie still a star

Graeme Souness says Steven Gerrard would still get into the starting XI of any Premier League team....

Dwight Yorke

Yorke: Benteke's return huge

Dwight Yorke believes Christian Benteke's return will provide a huge boost for Aston Villa. ...

Guillem Balague

Balague: Contenders not ready

Athletic, Sevilla and Valencia haven't yet got what it takes to crack the top three, says Guillem Balague....

Latest News RSS feeds

Matic header edges Sporting

Nemanja Matic's header earned Chelsea three away points against Sporting Lisbon in UEFA Champions League Group G.

City pegged back by Totti

Manchester City endured yet another night of Champions League frustration as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Roma.

Pellegrini remains defiant

Manuel Pellegrini remained confident of Champions League progress after Manchester City's 1-1 draw with Roma.

Terry relieved with Lisbon win

John Terry admitted his relief after Chelsea grabbed a 1-0 win away to Sporting Lisbon in the UEFA Champions League.

Mourinho happy with Lisbon win

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho was pleased with his side's performance in their away 1-0 win over Sporting Lisbon.

Features

Manuel Pellegrini is still struggling to bring the best out of Manchester City after Champions League draw with Roma

Manuel Pellegrini is still struggling to bring the best out of Manchester City after Champions League draw with Roma

"I am absolutely sure that Manchester City will eventually win the Champions League," said Manuel Pellegrini before City's 1-1 draw with Roma. The key word being 'eventually'. On this evidence, City's date with destiny still lies far in the future.

Champions League: Andre Villas Boas has made a strong start to his time in charge of Zenit St Petersburg

Champions League: Andre Villas Boas has made a strong start to his time in charge of Zenit St Petersburg

“If we win all nine matches, Zenit will be champions.” The words of Andre Villas Boas upon being named Zenit St Petersburg manager in March seemed wildly optimistic given the circumstances.

Inter's 2010 Champions League side: Where are they now?

Inter's 2010 Champions League side: Where are they now?

Some have retired, others are back in South America. One has even found his way to the Indian Super League, while another has opted for the less exotic climes of Leicester. Here we remember Inter's Champions League winning squad from 2010...