Blogs & Opinion


Niall Quinn:

Most Popular Posts:

Opinion Archive:

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:

Martin Tyler

Tyler's stats and facts

Martin Tyler's stats and facts column is back for a new season. Read on to find out which team has lost the most games in Premier League history and who has scored the most opening-day goals......

Jamie Carragher

Are the top two too powerful?

The MNF pundits say Arsenal and Liverpool lack the power to match Man City and Chelsea in the title race....

Gary Neville

Are the top two too powerful?

The MNF pundits say Arsenal and Liverpool lack the power to match Man City and Chelsea in the title race....

Guillem Balague

Balague's best buys

Guillem Balague picks his top 15 under-the-radar signings set for a big La Liga this season......

Latest News RSS feeds

Ramsey off as Arsenal are held

Aaron Ramsey was sent-off as Arsenal were held in the first leg of their Champions League play-off tie with Besiktas.

Live transfer updates

Man United agree deal for Marcos Rojo, with Nani loaned the other way, as QPR line up Eduardo Vargas and Leroy Fer.

Mackay set for Palace job

Crystal Palace are expected to name their new manager today and Malky Mackay is the frontrunner to replace Tony Pulis.

United reach Rojo agreement

Manchester United have reached an agreement with Sporting Lisbon to sign Marcos Rojo, with Nani heading the other way.

Suarez: I won't bite again

Luis Suarez has promised Barcelona fans he will never bite another player, as he was officially unveiled by the club.

Features

Transfer News: Sky Bet rate Liverpool's chances of signing each of the strikers on their reported shortlist

Transfer News: Sky Bet rate Liverpool's chances of signing each of the strikers on their reported shortlist

In a recent statistical write up by Whoscored.com, over 60 per cent of Skysports.com readers named Marco Reus as the much-needed forward they believe Liverpool should sign before the summer transfer deadline.

Premier League: Cesc Fabregas's creativity in Chelsea's midfield might be the final piece in Jose Mourinho's jigsaw

Premier League: Cesc Fabregas's creativity in Chelsea's midfield might be the final piece in Jose Mourinho's jigsaw

After so much had been written about Chelsea’s striker problems last season, the way Diego Costa rammed home his first goal at Turf Moor served as a stunning punctuation mark. A full stop has been punched on that phase in the development of this Chelsea team. The page can be turned.

The Science of Scouting: Signings

The Science of Scouting: Signings

The recruitment strategies of some clubs may seem like a case of sticking pins in a board while blindfolded but the reality is that the processes behind player acquisition in modern football are exhaustive.