Belfast Telegraph

The Punter: Barcelona v Manchester United final looks best Wembley bet

Wembley's Champions League final should be a cracker come May, and naming the finalists presents a decent punting opportunity.

It can't be an all-Spanish encounter as Barcelona and Real Madrid are due for a semi-final clash if they come through the quarters, but an all-English repeat of 2008 is certainly possible — though unlikely — with Chelsea or Man United taking on Spurs.

It's 12-1 for a Premier League contest and even bigger to name such finalists. Spurs v United and Spurs v Chelsea can both be had at 40-1 for those brave, or it might be said, foolish enough to risk the dosh.

But with their inability to score goals, Harry Redknapp's boys have as much chance of resisting the barrage of Barca's talents as Colonel Gaddafi has of surviving in Libya.

A Barcelona-Man United finale is more appealing at 7-2 and that means believing United can repeat that 2008 win over Chelsea in their two-legged quarter-final clash, starting next week. And there is no reason why they can't despite Chelsea's recent Premier League victory over the Red Devils.

The Champions League is virtually all or nothing for Carlos Ancelotti in terms of silverware ambitions, unlike Sir Alex Ferguson who has his eyes on a repeat 1999 treble of Champions League, FA Cup and Premier League.

No matter how poorly they play, United keep coming out the other side smelling of roses, and if they get Darren Fletcher back in midfield and a return of Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand (pictured) to the back four, then they are more than capable of ending Ancelotti's term of residence at the Bridge.

A Chelsea-Barcelona final and a repeat of the controversial 2009 semi-final which went to the Catalans on the away goal, is also available at 7-2, so a wager on United or Chelsea taking on the Spanish champions, works out at 5-4.

Barca and Real Madrid are 8-15 for an El Clasico 'semi' which looks very much on the cards as Madrid should be too good for Spurs and Barcelona ought not to be bothered by Shakhtar Donetsk.

Nationality of Champions League winners: 8-15 Spain; 5-2 England; 8-1 Italy; 40-1 other.

Name the finalists: 7-2 Barca v Chelsea; Barca v Man Utd; 9-2 Barca v Inter Milan; 9-1 Chelsea v Real Madrid; Man Utd v Real Madrid; 14-1 Inter v Real; 25-1 Barca v Schalke; 33-1 Real v Schalke; 40-1 Chelsea v Spurs; Man Utd v Spurs; Inter v Spurs; 66-1 bar.

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