Chelsea will face Benfica in the quarter final of the Champions League

After overcoming Napoli, Chelsea will face Benfica in the next round of the Champions League as they look to progress to the semi final.

Roberto Di Matteo will not be too disappointed with this draw as they know Benfica are a good side therefore they will not underestimate them and make sure his team prepare for the game properly but on the other hand he will also know that it could have been worse for his side. They came back fantastically against Napoli after a 3-1 defeat in the first leg but they managed to win 4-1 in extra time at Stamford Bridge and by doing this they have let everyone in Europe know that they are not finished yet and they still have enough quality left to win the whole competition.

Would they have progressed if Andre Villas Boas was still in charge? In my opinion no because the players looked happier and looked like they wanted to play for the man in charge. John Terry scored and had an all round fantastic game before going off injured, he wanted to get his head on every ball possible which he may not have done a few weeks ago. Frank Lampard scored a crucial penalty and he was also more influential in this game than I have seen him for quite a while and when he is on form you know he can get a goal or provide an assist. Didier Drogba opened the scoring and looked like a man possessed and someone that wanted to get Chelsea through all by himself and his performance reminded me of when Jose Mourinho was in charge and he destroyed opposition defences.

Lampard, Terry and Drogba celebrate a goal

These players may be a few years older now but they have proven when they want to, they can still put in match winning performances and on the night they all had to. The players showed a lot of togetherness and as soon as the first goal went in there was no doubt in my mind who would go through.

If Chelsea do progress, and they will be favourites to do so, they will face either Milan or Barcelona. Which will not be easy as Barcelona are clearly the best team in Europe right now and Milan showed everyone against Arsenal that if they are on form they can give a team a good beating, so it will not be easy for Chelsea but if they can get through the Benfica tie, they will grow more in confidence and they could spring a shock in the semi final.

The other quarter finals drew together APOEL from Cyprus and the European giants Real Madrid and in the other semi final they will face either Marseille or Bayern Munich. In my opinion even though APOEL  have done amazingly well Real Madrid will be the happiest of all the teams in the draw while Marseille and Bayern could be really close as they both possess real quality in their side.

It could be a fantastic quarter final this year with a lot of goals rather than the usual tactical battle so I for one cannot wait for the games to get underway.

The curse of Aaron Ramsey

Sunderland are beating Arsenal at the Stadium of Light 1-0 and Aaron Ramsey prepares to come on, nothing strange about this so far, he comes on and equalises and the Arsenal fans celebrate the goal like it was any other but then some Gunners fans begin to realise that whenever Ramsey gets on the score sheet someone famous dies. Obviously this is just a strange coincidence but hours after Ramsey scored, Whitney Houston tragically dies. I am not making a joke out of her death by any means as she was a fantastic singer and one in a million but she became the next victim of the curse.

It all goes back to a game against Manchester United when the young Welshman scored the only goal in a 1-0 win on the 1st May. The very next day, the American government announce that their troops killed Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan. There is no connection between these two events and they will have been in the same newspaper but one story on the front page and the other on the back page.

On the 5th October, Steve Jobs, one of the main men at Apple tragically lost his battle against cancer, yet again no connection to Ramsey but the day before he scored in a 2-1 defeat at White Hart Lane against Tottenham Hotspur. Still nobody would even think about putting these stories together but it is a very strange pattern developing.

And it continued after he scored the only goal in the game against Marseille in the Champions League, Colonel Gaddaffi’s death was announced. Now people are starting to put two and two together and thinking that he is a curse and whenever he scores somebody famous will die.

But surely this is all just a mad coincidence and they aren’t seriously connected as the player himself had nothing to do with anything that happened to these people. However, some people are taking it even further than this and saying he doesn’t even have to score to make something happen in the world because when he hit the post against Manchester City, the next day Kim Jung Ill died. Obviously people are just jumping on the bandwagon and now trying to find things and in my opinion if you look hard enough you will probably find something somewhere, like in this case, he has hit the post on other occasions and nothing has happened.

But the one that really caught my attention about this curse was the day he suffered a double fracture in his right leg, there was a massive earthquake in Chile which devastated many people’s lives and killed 525 people. I have no idea why it keeps happening when Ramsey scores but it has to be a coincidence it cannot be anything else.

I bet the next time he scores, on every social network site and forums people will be asking who is next? Because now it has made the news and a lot of people are talking about it.

Hughes looking to improve QPR

A slow start to the transfer window might be starting to pick up the pace with QPR and Mark Hughes finally getting somewhere. They had been in talks with a lot of players and clubs to bring players in but finally they got in Taye Taiwo, a left back from AC Milan who has been linked to Arsenal and Newcastle in this transfer window.

The 26 year old has only played four league games for Milan but he was a very good full back for his previous club Marseille and was rated as one of the best in Europe at one point. QPR fans will be hoping he can rediscover this type of form and can aid them in their quest to stay in the Premier League.

No offence to the current left backs at the club but that is where they are the weakest and obviously Mark Hughes has identified this quickly. In his first two games he played Clint Hill in that position and although he is a very steady player in the Championship he is not good enough for the Premier League and left back isn’t even his best position as I believe he does a better job at centre back. The other left back in the squad is Armand Traore who is 22 and does seem to have some potential which former manager Neil Warnock spotted but against the better side he looks poor when defending and not very effective going forward with wayward passes and awful crosses. Which was shown mostly in his last game for Arsenal when they shipped eight at Old Trafford and then proved once again that he is a liability in one of his first games for QPR when he was branded a disgrace by Warnock for his sending off in the game against Aston Villa.

Hughes obviously wants to improve the defence with QPR being linked to players such as Chris Samba and Wayne Bridge. However, both of these look unlikely as Blackburn are reluctant to let Samba go and if they do Tottenham seem very interested and will probably be a better destination for the centre back. Wayne Bridge is a strange one for me as he doesn’t seem interested to leave Manchester City even though he gets nowhere near the first team, he just seems to want to pick up his wages and sit in the reserves. I hope I am wrong about him because to me he has been the second best England left back for years and if it wasn’t for Ashley Cole, he would have been first choice. I also feel sorry for him because he always joins a club with a lot of money and potential and then gets replaced, at Chelsea with Ashley Cole and now at City firstly with Kolarov and now Clichy. They are also in talks with Nedum Onuoha who may be a good signing as he did look promising for City.

QPR need to focus on improving their strike force though if they have realistic ambitions of staying in the league because Jay Bothroyd, DJ Campbell (although he was impressive for Blackpool last season), Rob Hulse and Federico Macheda they are not going to score a lot of goals. I would have put Heidar Helguson in that list but so far he has done the business somewhat surprisingly but I don’t think he alone will score enough goals to keep them up.

They also need a goal scoring midfielder but they aren’t easy to find so they may just be hoping that when Taarabt comes back from the Africa Cup of Nations he will live up to his potential because I was expecting a lot more from him but he has been unable to step up to the plate.