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Varied cast in Champions League will add spice to latter stages

The Champions League has the air of a costume drama this week. Its varied cast harks back to simpler days when there was bound to be a diverse group of clubs to contest the quarter-finals. In England replica prada outlet, it might have been a twinge of jingoism that left anyone aghast that Chelsea would be sole representatives in the quarter-finals. Those whose interest lies with the health of the tournament itself will feel a mixture of jubilation and relief.

Seven different countries will be represented and if a single nation had to send a pair of clubs into the last eight it should not try anyone’s patience that Barcelona and Real Madrid should both be in action. There has never been such variety since Uefa decided that the competition would no longer be reserved for domestic champions and the holders.

The Authentic Prada Messenger Bag For Sale consequences were apparent from the start. In the 1997-98 campaign, Borussia Dortmund mounted the defence of their title and were accompanied to the quarter-finals by Bayer Leverkusen and Bayern Munich. At least there were five other countries involved that year. Of late, there has been a terror of predictability as wealthier clubs made their money count.

Only a Premier League zealot could have been exhilarated when Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United were all quarter-finalists in 2008-9, just as they had been the previous season when United went on to overcome Chelsea in the penalty shoot-out that settled the final in Moscow.

The scene has altered since then. There has been a randomness in some cases and, given the sums plunged into the club, it was almost perverse of Manchester City to come third in their Champions League group before turfed out of the Europa League Authentic Prada Bags Outlet Online by Sporting Lisbon. The second leg with the Portuguese side saw Roberto Mancini’s side go down 2-0 at the Etihad Stadium and the mishandling of the whole tie looked particularly gauche from a squad that had cost so very much.

At least vilification is being shared in Manchester. United, too, malfunctioned in their Champions League group and had a chastening time in the Europa League when pitted against Athletic Bilbao. There was an energy and fluency to the Basque club that swamped Sir Alex Ferguson’s squad.

No one, at least, need be left alone with their misery. Much as Arsenal rallied with the 3-0 win over Milan at the Emirates, the muddle and mediocrity of All Prada Nylon Bags the 4-0 beating at San Siro was so shaming that there could not be any deep feelings of sympathy for Arsène Wenger and his squad. The best that can be said About Alex Pradas Quiles Prada Products is that a reaction to the woe has come with the renewed vigour of their Premier League form.

The ailments of the English game are varied. At Old Trafford, for instance, Sir Alex Ferguson sustains a dogged equanimity and professes himself happy with the means at his disposal, yet it is not a state of mind that is shared by United fans as they contemplate the ownership of the Glazers.

Nothing seems entirely right at the English clubs who have fought this season’s campaign. There are better days for Arsenal at present, but they came only when all hope of a first trophy since 2005 has again been extinguished since they were a dozen points off the top of the Premier League table before United’s fixture with Fulham.

There is no single explanation for the comparative decline in standards at our most prominent clubs. Roman Abramovich, at Chelsea, and Manchester City’s Sheikh Mansour cannot Authentic Prada Vitello Daino be accused of stinginess but all the outlay has not had a proportionate effect so far. Chelsea, of course, are not to be treated lightly while their hopes are still alive in the Champions League.

They got this far thanks to a gripping match in which Napoli were beaten 4-1 at Stamford Bridge after extra-time. It was a night that smacked of fortitude, but a more considered type of football will be demanded of them when they Agatha Ruiz Dela Prada Online Shop take on Benfica at the Stadium of Light as the quarter-final gets underway.

England, for the Are Prada Nylon Bags Worth The Money moment, has ceased to look Black Prada Chain Bag like a centre of excellence where participants on the European stage are concerned. There is Authentic Prada Milano Handbags no single explanation for the faltering efforts and it may be that the general impact of these teams will be greater next season. As it is, the greatest contribution of the Premier League clubs has, with the exception of Chelsea, been to lay down their lives in the service of a varied and reinvigorated Champions League.

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