The Champions League has a strong Quarter Final line up this season and the draw has produced some intriguing ties that may provide some surprising results with no easy route of passage to the final.
Whilst Barcelona seem to have got the easiest draw with Shakhtar Donetsk they have struggled against Rubin Kazan and Dynamo Kiev in recent seasons so the Ukranians may not prove the easy passage that some Barcelona fans anticipate. If they do negotiate the cold of the ex-Soviet city they could well come unstuck against Real Madrid who will have a point to prove following their thrashing in the El Classico match earlier in the season.
Whilst Tottenham have done extremely well in this year's Champions League I expect Cristiano Ronaldo to prove the difference between the two sides as he has played against Spurs on several occasions whilst at Manchester United and while Van Der Vaart will want to prove a point against his ex-employers and Gareth Bale will force them to defend deep Sergio Ramos has a good goal threat as well and may well force Bale to start deeper than he would like. The two matches between Spurs and Madrid will be exciting and entertaining but I think the Spaniards will produce one or two moments of special skill that will ultimately turn the tie in their favour.
Spurs will be a side that Inter Milan will be glad to have avoided and the defending champions will (with some justification) really fancy their chances against Schalke but while the Germans have struggled in the league this is a competition that Raul loves and will want to win again before retirement but I think it will be Milan who progress.
The tie that stands-out though is Chelsea vs Manchester United simply because of the rivalry between the teams and the controversy surrounding refereeing decisions within recent meetings between the two at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea will want revenge against United for their defeat in Moscow whilst United will want to ensure that Chelsea remain without any silverware this season.
The key in this match will be the battle between Didier Drogba and Nemanja Vidic. Whilst Torres has historically been a difficult opponent for Vidic he seems to have forgotten where the goal is and turned the tide of the league match at the Bridge when he came on as United were in cruise control at that point. That is not to say that Chelsea are a one-man team but for all the skill of Essien, Lampard, Malouda and Cole, Drogba is the natural outlet and a player that causes every opponent problems. United need to get a grip on their midfield which will be helped if they can get Fletcher and Ferdinand fit. If so I fully expect a 4-5-1 line up with a midfield of Nani, Giggs, Fletcher, Scholes and Valencia with Rooney leading the line on his own.
As a United fan I am going to be biased and say that United can reach the final as they do have the ability to see off either Inter or Schalke, but it is Real Madrid not Barcelona who I think will ultimately stand between Sir Alex Ferguson and a 3rd Champions league triumph at Wembley.