Barcelona and their chances in the Uefa Champions League.

So with Real Madrid dropping points once again in Laliga against Real Betis, hopefully Barcelona can capitalise again and increase the 8 point advantage to a 11 with a win at Levante tonight. I know Atlético Madrid are in second position at the moment and seem our biggest threat at the moment, however In my opinion I think they will take a slump sooner or later within the season. And if they do not I take my hat off to them and applaud them.

Anyway to my focus!!
Barcelona's chances in this years Uefa Champions League.
I know its still only early in the UCL and it seems premature to talk about their chances at this stage, but why not?

Afterall this years final will be played at Wembley, which has seemed to favour Barcelona in the UCL as we all know before. So touch wood it will do again!!

Ok, Firstly with Barcelona going through as winners of group G with 12 points and still a possibility of getting 15 points bearing we beat Benfica on the 5th of December (which I'm hoping so for celtics sake) our confidence must be very high at the moment. And with important personal hopefully nearer to coming back from injury and getting closer to been on form this can only give Barcelona a better chance.

I think key raw talent such as Thiago and Cuenca close to coming back will only increase Barcelona's options.

Also the return of Puyol and Pique (bearing they stay fit) seem to be reaching again a good partnership as expected. Likewise Alves whom in my opinion had his best game of the season against Spartak Moscow the other night which is good to see. And the midfield maestros Xavi, Iniesta and Busquets all playing well it seems again what midfield could be better. The list goes on the likes of David Villa whom can score at any moment, The new pacey left side when Alba and Tello combine I think gives us new qualities to this already marvellous team. The players like Mascherano, Adriano who seem tobe able to play anywhere and do it well. The new signing song coming to form, and to give barca another option.The magical Lionel Messi well being Messi (the greatest) means we with all players fit we have the strongest team in Europe in my opinion.

Moreover as the season goes on and knowing that the game against Benfica doesnt really matter this could give the young players a chance to experience a tough game in Europe which can only benefit these players and Barcelona in the future.

I believe that Barcelona so far have done extremely well both in Laliga and the UCL because of how many injuries they have simply had to deal with, the swapping and changing of the back four which has meant the midfield and strikers have simply had to be at their best infront of goal to outscore teams. I think only thinks can get better, For example doing so well without Pedro really finding his scoring boots, likewise Alexis the same yet we are still winning games with ease. Whether this is down to again the magical Leo or not, but surely at some point in the season which will be the latter stages of the Champions League hopefully if all these players hit form at once I cannot see anyone beating Barcelona. Also With Abidal nearing a very amazing return just having his presence in the dressing room before big matches will only help Barcelona and the players.

Now to the other teams
So far 13 teams including Barcelona are through to the last 16 stage of the UCL and the likes of Celtic and Benfica, Chelsea and Juventus and Galatasaray and Cluj are battling in out for the remaining spots.
The 13 teams already qualified:

Group A Group B Group C Goup D Group E Group F Group G Group H
Porto Shalke Malaga B.Dortmund Shakhtar Bayern Barcelona Man United.
PSG Arsenal Ac Milan Real Mdrid Valencia

So at the moment with Barcelona finishing top of their group they can draw any team that comes second in their groups other than the same country they are from (Spain) and the second team from their group.
So at the moment with a round of games still left to be played Barcelona can at this moment only play Ac Milan.
So it is far too early to say whether we will get an easy draw through but these are the teams I believe we will be in the pot to draw against.

My prediction who we could play!

From Group A : Porto, as they will come second in the group after losing on the last day to PSG.
From Group B : Arsenal, as Shalke will win their last game away at montpellier
From Group C : Ac Milan.
From Group D : Real Madrid, will finish second however we cannot draw them.
From Group E : Shakhtar, After losing to juventus, chelsea go out after beating Nordsjaelland but not being enough.
From Group F : Valencia will finish second however we cannot draw them.
From Group G : Celtic (or so I hope) However we canot draw them.
From Group H : Galatasaray.

Therefore In my opinion I dont think Barcelona would be too frightened of drawing any of these teams in the last 16. The likes of Ac Milan who although through are hardly the dominant force they used to be of old and without a real on form striker I would happily draw them, likewise with Arsenal although pleasing on the eye at times I dont think there even as good as the team we beat heavily a few years back.

I think Porto could be a tricky game although I think over two games I would expect to see that out easily.
Likewise with Galatasaray lets say not an easy place to go, and is a draw that I dont think anyone would want even if its not for footballing reasons, although I think we would win.
And last but certainly not least Shakhtar I'd say if and probably a big if as this is only my prediction out of these teams Shakhtar would definatedly be the hardest team to get drawn against, anything can happen when playing them as they are on great form and full of confidence, not to mention we wouldnt want any drop balls against them !!

Also so far this year In my honest opinion I think overall most teams are actually slightly weaker than that off seasons before.

Chelsea obviously stand out as on the verge of an early exit which I think will happen, and prove this omen once again that stands that " know team can retain the UCL".
Also Manchester United although already one step better than last year I hardly see them as a brilliant team and ones to watch out for.
As above Ac Milan one of the Giants of the Uefa Champions League are simply well not playing like Giants at the moment.

However on the other hand their are teams that certainly will be dangerous the like of lets say the suprise package this year Borussua Dortmund looking very dangerous.
Also I think Bayern wth Gomez returning and Robben likely to be getting back to fitness Bayern will be there and abouts as ever.
likewise Juventus who are really playing some great football (its like the italian sides take turns to be good) and could win it this year, but also might not yet go through. They did make Chelsea look real ordinary eventhough Chelsea although easier on the eye than last year they simply cannot defend.

Then to Los Blancos, bearing Barcelona can beat Levante tonight and increase the lead to 11 points, surely Mourinho not that he doesnt will really start to concentrate on the Uefa Champions League even more, which means with the players they have they can always cause problems.
However I still do not see Madrid as been better than they were last year, with many players off form and Mourinho under pressure, In my opinion they do not look like a dressing room full of players realy playing together with passion and determination. Rather a bunch of individuals.
The likes of Ronaldo whom still playing well, I do not see him keeping up with our little magician this year in terms of goals an assists (an general play as ever) this season which in result will and is affecting Madrid of late.
They were hardly good against Man city and Dortmund didnt exactly have to be in amazing form to beat them either.

So overall with our team in form and important players could return and the right moments, and teams not been quite as good as in previous seasons in the past when we have won it, that we can make it to Wembley again. I don't want to jinx it but it hard not to believe that we do have a good chance this year if all goes to plan. After all we should of won It last year In my opinon, if not for them lucky blues!! Anything can happen but why not be positive!!


<em>This does not represent the views of Barca Blaugranes or SBNation</em>

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