So we are at the time of the year when the European Cup finally gets interesting. It's said every year but this competition would be so much better if it was a knock-out comp from Round One. It will never go back of course but we may as well enjoy the knock-out stages whilst they last. The Super League wont be far away.
So the draw for this years knockout stage threw up some interesting ties with Arsenal preparing for a tonking off Barcelona whilst Bayern will be confident of getting revenge on Inter for last year. United and Chelsea will fancy their chances of getting through but Spurs will find it tough to get past Milan. If they don't win at White Hart Lane they are going out as they concede way too many goals away from home and Milan have been on fire this year.
Initial predictions on Quarter Finalists:
And onto this weeks picks. Last week a respectable six out of ten although I must add that that is in part to Didier Drogba and his inability to score from twelve yards.
Sunderland v Bolton Home Win
Gut feeling here is a Sunderland win. Bolton played with ten men for a decent amount last week and got a great result but this has the feeling of a let down game for them.
Arsenal v Stoke
Flat track bullies win comfortably here.
Birmingham v Newcastle
Brum look good at home. Pardew might find out he has only really 4 players of quality.
Blackburn v West Ham
Big Sam's sacking is hilariously stupid and what these guys who've taken over are thinking I don't know. It's ironic that he will take Avram Grant's job after he gets beat at Ewood on Saturday.
Wigan v Aston Villa
Despite them drawing the last couple of games, I still believe they are the worst team in the league.
Liverpool v Fulham
Liverpool reasonable at home, terrible away. So logic dictates they win on Saturday night.
West Brom v Wolverhampton
This West Brom team is the best of the three teams promoted, and Di Matteo could get a better job somewhere next year if they keep doing what they are doing.
Blackpool v Tottenham
This game may not happen if the cold weather sets in. Maybe they could play it on the beach. Even if they did play on sand Spurs are still winning this game.
Chelsea v Man Utd
Chelsea had looked below par to say the least in the last few weeks but were showing signs of life at Spurs last week. Add that to United's rubbish record at the bridge and I'm worried.
Man City v Everton
The Tevez story is just strange. What message it sends the rest of their squad is another matter. Add that to Balotelli's strop last week at West Ham and they would in theory be a complete mess. Yet they are still getting results and with Everton being all over the place they should win here.