Ok, we know that you might think there’s a team or two missing from the draw for the quarter-finals to be made this Friday. Maybe you think Pirlo’s Juve side should be there or the Manchester City side featuring Agüero and co. But then the English side was no match for Barcelona and the Italians didn’t even get past the group phase. Meanwhile, the eight group winners have all demonstrated why they were the favourites for their respective round of 16 ties, something that has not happened since the Champions League has been played in its current format – the last 11 seasons to be precise.
The first conclusion is that there are no ‘dark horses’ amongst the last eight teams. You can read the list of teams time and again without finding a weak link, because although Manchester United might not be at their vintage best, it’s still United, and they still have world class players like Van Persie and Rooney.
Apart from Man United, the rest of the teams are all looking scarily strong, because they are all the best on offer from their domestic leagues: the three big Spanish clubs, with an ‘Atleti’ side that has been the revelation of the season; the two finalists from last year, Bayern and Borussia Dortmund; a PSG side that looks much more solid than last year and a Chelsea side that looks back to being the competitive side we all remember under the guiding hand of Mourinho. The likes of this has never been seen before.