Last night, the Champions League group stages for the 2010-11 season came to an end. Looking at the final standings, it doesn't look, as usual, as if it is an advantage getting second position. But saying that, it doesn't look like it is an advantage to have got the top spot with Inter Milan, Arsenal and other quality sides only managing to get second place.
Obviously you do have the big teams not disappointing such as Barcelona, Chelsea etc. but because of teams like Tottenham and Shakhtar Donetsk doing so well, we might see some very interesting ties in the last 16 stage.
It shows you how great the competition is when you see that the champions could only manage second as well. Inter Milan boss, Rafa Benitez, has failed to impress this season after only being able to secure second place behind Spurs and are fifth in the league. That is less than impressive for Inter especially after such great success last season. The Inter fans have come to expect a lot better from their side.
Even though it is great to see the smaller teams do well, you do wonder why the big teams are failing to do so. The pressure is on them now to get to the the quarter finals but first they will have to face a tricky tie no matter who they get. The draw for the round of 16 is on next Friday, December 17th.
Of course the European adventure isn't over for all those teams that came third in their respective groups. Quality teams such as Benfica and Ajax will now go into the Europa League, which by no means will be a walk in the park for them. You have Man City, Porto and Byern Leverkusen all in contention of getting to the Aviva Stadium in May. The group stages will come to an end next week with the draw for the round of 32 being on the 17th December also.
I would love to hear any comments that you may have.