UEFA Champions League StandingsBy: The Offside | December 8th, 2010
The Group Stage is over we’re into the knockout rounds. Check out our Champions League homepage for all the latest tournament news.
Group stages: done. And despite Michel Platini’s best efforts, there are very, very few surprises. Tottenham and Shakhtar as group winners is one – double win there for a certain fandom – while…err…that’s about it. Maybe, just maybe, Kobenhavn sneaking in as the first Danish club to ever grace the knockouts, but Rubin is hardly the team of last year and that second spot was something of a toss-up.
Without too much difficulty, I gather someone with modest knowledge of football could’ve nailed these groups in August.
In Jose Mourinho’s first year, Inter also finished second in their group. To Panathinaikos.
Chew on that one for a bit.
On paper coming into the year, Schalke looked formidable. And then they didn’t. And now they do again.
Lyon, on the other hand, aren’t quite living through a rerun of their early decade dominance.
This group could’ve gone any which way, unlike most, and it did. So there.
Playing this group 100 times, this would probably be the outcome for roughly 99 of them. In that 100th quasi-reality scenario, Rooney doesn’t ink his contract and Valencia nips first.
The top was always a formality, while the second spot less so.
As expected, right down to the tight race for that Europa League spot.
Chelsea’s rough recent run continued with a loss at the Velodrome, but it wasn’t quite enough to disrupt the natural order of this group either.
It really is time to insert some sort of random handicaps to make the whole group stage system less assured.
(Though we probably couldn’t have expected Real doubling Milan’s total, particularly not with Milan playing very well this year.)
Slightly shocking result, since Arsenal’s always so solid in the Champions League right until the knockouts when they run up against a team which is simply better, or so it seems.
Impressive from Shakhtar, but there are several – possibly seven – who will be doing some tribal rituals in the hopes for a February trip to Donetsk.
Can’t imagine that happens often.
In summation, however, too much of this seemed predictable at the beginning of the year. Just one knockout participant which could’ve been labeled a ’surprise’, but that in a very weak group 2-4. Time to insert those aforementioned handicaps, such as balls on fire, moving goal posts or strategic wind gusts, with anything from Super Mario Bros. fair game.
Tough to win the group when a Koopa Troopa’s running down your arse, no matter the budget.
[Tables via Soccerway]