The semi-final first legs are coming up this week and what contests, they promise to be.
Barcelona vs Chelsea at the Nou Camp.
Two very different sides, who play differently. This is the leg, where Chelsea need to defend really well. Terry, Alex, the full backs and Michael Essien will need to be immense. Going forward, though with Drogba back in form, they should be able to test the Barca defense.
For Barcelona, the holy trinity of Messi, Eto'o and Henry will be expected to score a few as usual. But for me, it is the trio behind them, Xavi the playmaker, Iniesta the puppet master (as Sportcenter put it the other day) and Yaya Toure the anchor man who have been equally brilliant and they would hold the key in the battle for midfileld superiority.
I can't predict a winner for the tie yet, but expect a narrow win for Barcelona at the Nou Camp with crucial away goals for Chelsea. 3-2 to Barca.
Manchester United vs Arsenal at Old Trafford.
United vs Arsenal has always been the greatest game on earth for me. United, the most successful team in England for the last twenty years or so, against my team. It is a rivalry that has captured the imagination of people around the world and I believe these two teams produce the games of greatest quality and beauty when pitted against one other. Let me make it clear that while I don't like United, I respect them, not just for what they have won, but also for how they play the game.
Coming to this match, United are definitely the favourites. Their season has been slightly different to what we have come to expect from them, with lesser number of goals being scored by them, but more importantly much, much lesser number of goals being conceded by them. You get the sense from them that they are in control of a game at any point. With Vidic and Ferdinand at the back, I don't expect Arsenal to be troubling them much at OT. The only player who I see, being a serious threat is Walcott with his pace and current good form. On the other hand, if Arsenal do not improve significantly at the back, United will punish us.
I will not dare to make a prediction, but here is my rather practical wish list: I hope the game is still alive when the second leg starts in the Emirates and we get an important away goal (or 2).