The World Cup is over, and England’s massive population of sports fans move from obsession with the national football team to obsession with their favorite football clubs. The 2011 Champions League, the top tournament in club football, is back in February as it enters its Round of 16. Starting with over 70 clubs from around the continent, sixteen remain, and four of them, a full quarter, are from right here in England – three from London. Here’s a look at what each side faces in their upcoming matches:
North London’s Arsenal FC have perhaps the hardest task of any of the English clubs, taking on FC Barcelona in the Round of 16. Described by many as the greatest club side ever assembled, this Barcelona team includes World Cup winners Xavi and Andres Iniesta, as well as the best player in the world, Lionel Messi. Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal will have to call on all of their talents, and get a great performance from young Frenchman Samir Nasri, if they are going to proceed to the quarterfinals.
Arsenal Champions League Fixtures:
Arsenal vs. Barcelona in London: 16 February 2011
Barcelona vs. Arsenal in Barcelona: 8 March 2011
Reserve your seat with Arsenal tickets.
Another London side, Chelsea is no stranger to the Champions League knockouts, having been involved in every Round of 16 since the format changed to include this round in 2004. They have never won the tournament, but came agonizingly close in 2008 when they lost the final on penalties to Manchester United. They face a relatively soft opponent in FC Copenhagen, but at this level, no one is to be taken lightly.
Chelsea Champions League fixtures:
FC Copenhagen vs. Chelsea in Copenhagen: 22 February 2011
Chelsea vs. FC Copenhagen in London: 16 March 2011
Make sure you’re there to see them play with Chelsea tickets.
Manchester United have been champions of Europe three times, most recently in 2008, and are always hungry to add to the impressive trophy case at Old Trafford. This season, their attacking duo of Berbatov and Hernandez have fired them to an early lead in the domestic league, but the question is still open whether they have the squad to compete in the Champions League as well. They face off this round with France’s Olympique Marseille, a side looking to end a recent drought for French clubs in the later rounds of the competition.
Manchester United Champions League Fixtures:
Marseille vs. Manchester United: 23 February 2011 in Marseille
Manchester United vs. Marseille: 15 March 2011 in Manchester
Cheer on United at the Theater of Dreams with Manchester United tickets.
Spurs are a new team in the mix for the Champions League, this being their first-ever entry into the Round of 16. But with a talented young squad and a budding superstar in Welshman Gareth Bale, they are anxious to prove that they belong among Europe’s elite. They beat reigning champions Internazionale Milan in the group stages, and now face off with the other team from that famous city, AC Milan. It should be one of the great matchups of the year.
Spurs Champions League Fixtures:
AC Milan vs. Tottenham: 15 February 2011 in Milan
Tottenham vs. AC Milan: 9 March 2011 in London
Scream “Come on You Spurs!” alongside the Tottenham faithful with your Tottenham Hotspur tickets.