Tim Lovejoy - Chelsea are my pick for Champions League glory
Published: 26 Nov 2009 - 12:25:32
Aside from Liverpool's miserable exit, it's been another successful Champions League campaign for English clubs so far.
Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United have breezed through to the knock-out stages, and all three will now be disappointed if they don't reach the semi-finals or better.
It's great that English football has become so dominant on the European stage. The Premier League is now fighting it out with La Liga for the title of Europe's premier division, and nobody will want to face one of our teams in the next round.
I might be biased, but Chelsea are my favourites to lift the trophy next May at the Bernabeu. They've got the right mixture of experience and quality to do it this time.
But as the great Jose Mourinho once said, "The best teams win their leagues, but they don't always win the Champions League".
As for Liverpool, it's sad to see a great European dynasty leave the tournament at this early stage. They've had a woeful season and a place in the Europa League won't come as much of a consolation.
Putting Liverpool in the Europa League is wrong on two levels. Firstly, it's degrading to their fans. And secondly, it's disrespectful to the teams already in the competition, who will now be up against one of Europe's strongest clubs.
Moreover, the format of the tournament itself is an absolute joke. It should be a straight knock-out - that would bring back the excitement of European competition and get people interested.
Last season, Martin O'Neill thought so lowly of the Europa League he sent out under-strength teams and concentrated on improving Aston Villa's position in the league. That says everything. It may as well have been the Carling Cup.
CALLING MR PLATINI
The Thierry Henry affair remains a hot topic of debate, but amazingly we are still yet to hear from UEFA president Michel Platini on the subject.
After such a major incident in world football, I find it incredible that Platini hasn't adopted his usually outspoken approach.
Platini should have come out and denounced Henry's handball. And Platini should have come out and demanded a replay. Surely that would be in the interest of fair play?
To borrow Delia Smith's famous Carrow Road rant, "Let's be 'avin you!" Platini.
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- Tim Lovejoy rose to fame as the genial co-host of Soccer AM, deploying his sharp wit and extensive football knowledge alongside Helen Chamberlain when the show launched in 1996. A Saturday audience of millions tuned in, and Lovejoy fast became a household name. After leaving Sky in 2007, Lovejoy is now a regular presenter at BBC Radio 5 Live, and co-hosts the popular Friday night show, ‘Murray and Lovejoy’s Sports Express’ with Colin Murray. He can also be found hosting BBC Two's Sunday magazine show, 'Something for the Weekend'.
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