The hype is gone, the waiting is over, and Messi takes home another award. Tomorrow is just a new day and a new opportunity for the city of Barcelona to celebrate a new trophy that only FC Porto can deprive them of. The two teams meet at Stade Louis II for the UEFA Super Cup match (match will kickoff 18:45 GMT – 22:45 Dubai Time).
The main football related event on Thursday night was the UEFA Champions League Group Stage Draw. The result of the draw may have upset some clubs, like poor BATE Borisov, and may have thrilled the fans because of the clash of FC Barcelona and AC Milan. For the details, and the full result of the draw, you can download the document here or visit the following link: UEFA Champions League Group Stage Draw.
Now let’s skip the formalities and jump into the analysis. It is not about predictions but expectations.
Group A: I really want to watch every single match in this group. It promises a lot of excitement and goals. From one side, Manchester City are all geared up with millions of dollars and big signings who dream of glory beside the exaggerated salaries. From the other side, Napoli are back on the European stage and they have no Maradona this time but a strong team. The obstacle facing both teams will be mighty Bayern. The Germans will host the final in May 2012 and they will not be the happiest of hosts if they were not part of the final game.
Group B: I read somewhere that even Gasperini cannot mess up Inter’s chances of qualifying from this group. It might not be the toughest of all groups but it surely is a mysterious one. Trabzonspor are participating with a wild card and things can turn into their favor, while Lille will be led with a “Hazard” in each game. It is not my favorite group but the two teams to finish top will be a good addition for the play-offs round.
Group C: No big expectations are set for this one. Sir Alex will have six opportunities to test as many youngsters as he wants before he decides on who can lead him all the way to Munich.
Group D: I don’t believe that Mourinho fears any déjà vu’s. Ajax or Lyon will only be the other two teams wearing white. My money is with Ajax to accompany Cristina and co. yet, I was never good with money.
Group E: Mata meets his ex-teammates. Mata hugs his ex-teammates. Mata and his ex-teammates proceed to the next round. Need more to say?
Group F: Monsieur Wenger is exotic. He gets an exotic group. It will be fun to watch this group’s matches if there are no other games airing at the same time.
Group G: I didn’t know there is “Group G”. Moving on…
Group H: This is everyone’s favorite because Barcelona meets Milan and then Milan meets Barcelona. But wait a second, what about the other two teams? Well, tough luck. It will be a great chance to see the reception prepared for Zlatan Ibrahimović at the Camp Nou. He had a big mouth last summer so he’d better be prepared to be the last samurai.
These are the seven groups, and you may believe they are eight groups instead if you counted Group G. The next few months will guarantee some quality European football encounters and the participants still have five more days to reinforce their squads. (you can read my advice to some of them here)
I will leave you now to your predictions and bets on who will top which group and who will make it to the next round. But before I do so, it is a must to mention that Lionel Messi, on the night of the draw, was selected UEFA Best Player in Europe 2010/2011. He came first ahead of Xavi and Cristina, who could not manage but grabbing Luis Figo’s “behind” (evidence below).