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27 August 2009


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We can't draw Real AND Atletico as they play in the same country (not to mention city!).

I don't mind who we get, in fact I'd rather watch us play (and probably beat) the likes of Inter or Real than Porto or Alkmaar. It's what this competition is about, measuring yourself against the best. Unfortunately we seem to draw the same few teams every years (Barca, Liverpool, Porto) and rarely get the chance to see us up against the other big guns, except in pre-season.

And an additional thought, who had heard of CFR Cluj before last year? Yet they provided two very stern tests last year - hence there really are no easy games in this competition, especially when lesser known teams are fighting tooth and nail to enjoy what could be their one year in the sun. Much like Dan Petrescu's Romanian side, now there's a thought, the Special One and Super Dan coming back to the bridge...

Chris - thanks for your comments. You're right of course about clubs from the same country not being able to draw each other. Had a bit of a mind blank there, possibly thinking back to the group games against Liverpool not so many seasons ago. Was that because they'd won it the previous year and yet finished 5th, so needed special UEFA treatment to let them back in?

Also agree that it would be great to see us play some other sides for a change. From that perspective Real would be great.

You're also right about there being no 'easy' games, although of course some are easier than others and in a long season there's no need to wish for games to be harder than they need to be. Arguably we should have made easier work of Cluj though...

Who would Chelsea fans most like to see us drawn against this afternoon?

While it'd be potentially more entertaining to draw the likes of the names listed above, you'd be crazy to not want to play a lesser team in the early stages. Perhaps a team like VfB Stuttgart or someone on par with them. I don't really subscribe to the "playing harder teams throughout makes you even better for the finals" thought process in this case. Win and advance. The less strain, the better.

in the early games since as far as i remember we will be missing players through suspension I would rather we get easier teams since the suspensions in my opinion are not fare in the view that the ref got nothing.

I take the point about suspensions, we'll certainly miss Drogba in those games but maybe it will provide Sturridge or Kalou a chance to step up and prove their worth.

Looking through the 2nd seeds, I don't really see any team that we shouldn't take four points off of.

Mourinho's inter are desparately lacking dynamism and pace, even with the impending arrival of Snjeider, and so we should be too strong for them (as we were in pre-season and Man Utd were last year).

Real are the obvious threats and they'll no doubt be destroyers of poor defending, but Ashley Cole, Bosingwa, Ivanovic and Essien have all shown an ability to mark the world's best out of a game for 90 minutes.

Juve were reasonably comfortably beaten last year (no thanks to some dreadful referreing - makes a change!) although they've made some good signings and should go close in a weakened Serie A.

Lyon, Porto and CSKA are seasoned UCL teams and will provide stiff challenges, but having each lost their key player (Benzema, Lopez and of course Zhirkov) it remains to be seen how strong they are. Alkmaar had a great season last year and have some handy players, but the loss of Louis Van Gaal will be huge. As will the lack of experience.

And then there's Rangers, they will provide a great atmosphere though are lucky to be seeded this high given some poor performances in recent years, I think this would be a nice alternative to Real or Inter, perhaps a happy medium?

Atletico, Fiorentina and Wolfbsurg are the dangers from the lower pots, although Atleti are incredibly inconsistent, Wolfsburg (like AZ) have lost their title winning manager (although retained the excellent Eden Dzeko) and wouldn't you just love to welcome a certain Mr Mutu back to the Bridge. What an interesting reception that would be.

And one last note, it's worth noting that some of our poorest performances in this competition have come against supposedly weak teams. I am specifically thinking of Rosenborg at home (1-1), Levski at home (2-0), Betis away (0-1) and Cluj and Schalke away (both 0-0). Contrast to the wonderful wins in Valencia, at home to Barcelona and even going back to the draws with Milan in 1999. Of course there are exceptions to the rules (Roma last year - Mr Scolari) but nothing brings out the best in Chelsea than the big European nights. With our house finally in order, I say bring it on...

The draw is done, and its Athletico and Porto that we have to worry about and well as good as Kalou can be sometimes ( he is our most inconsistent performer ) I really would love our team signing a proven Striker or at the very least including Sheva for the CL squad group stage.

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