Date: 21st February 2013 at 2:45am
Written by:

Manchester United celebrate winning the Champions League in 2008

The first legs of this stage of the Champions League knockout ties have been played, and the picture as to who will advance to the quarter final begins to get clearer.

Manchester United are by no means through but have put themselves in a good position to advance with a crucial away goal at the Bernabeu, so if we do advance who are the main threats to us?

Juventus looked strong putting 3 past Celtic at Celtic Park last week and have set the Scots an almost impossible task of progressing. The Italian champions went the season undefeated in the league last season and could also bring a certain Paul Pogba back to Old Trafford if drawn against us.

Borussia Dortmund’s 2 away goals against Shakhtar in a 2-2 draw give them a good chance of progressing but the match also showed the team that looked so good in the group stages can be got at. One of the competition’s stronger sides will welcome the recently departed Shinji Kagawa back, but hope he doesn’t put in the kind of displays against them that he did whilst wearing their colours.

Bayern Munich looked menacing in beating Arsenal 3-1 at home last night. The Germans have been imperious all season, losing once and conceding just 7 goals in the Bundesliga as they look set to snatch back the title from Dortmund, having been well beaten for the last 2 seasons. Despite their strong defensive displays, there are chinks in the armour. The goal they conceded was comical and Arsenal could have got something from the game before a 3rd goal sealed their fate.

Then of course there is the perennial dark shadow looming large over us and the competition as a whole, Barcelona.

Capable of beating any team on their day and on an off day too, they suffered a somewhat surprise 2-0 defeat to a less than vintage AC Milan team at the San Siro, putting them in a precarious place in terms of qualification. At the Nou Camp Barcelona are more than capable of overturning the deficit, but in the event that they are knocked out United’s chances of winning the competition look a whole lot better!

So who would you prefer to avoid if we progress to the next round?