21 February 2006

The Chaaaaaaaaaampions, Part Two

OK, first of all, I thought we'd show up for the Champions League. Instead, we rest Gerrard over a "dead leg," even though he was training yesterday. And then we play Morientes. The hell. The Arsenal game was on a big-screen TV at the law school -- there was a little cadre of us gathered in front of it watching the game. I had just said I was a Liverpool fan, and then that little ticker ran across with "Liverpool 0 - Benfica 1." I may or may not have sworn out loud. At least it's just one goal, and not away. I'm coping.

Anyway. Back to handicapping the Round of Sixteen.

Chelsea/Barcelona -- See, I'm really not sure about this one. Chelsea have the knack of playing like shit and still winning games, while Barca are infinitely more entertaining, but have been in the middle of a little hiccup recently. The buildup to this one's been as dramatic as ever, this time centering around the condition of Chelsea's pitch. I don't know if that'll have affected the mood going into the game. (If people were smart, they'd just ignore every word that comes out of Jose Mourinho's mouth, but that doesn't seem to be a popular option for some reason.) I don't really know how to call this one, so I'll go with my instinct. Thus, Chelsea play very badly and draw at home, but can't hold on away. Therefore Barcelona win it. (In an ideal world, it'd be 5-0 losses both legs, but we can't get what we want.)

Rangers/Villareal -- Ladies and gentlemen, say hello to the luckiest teams in the tournament. Villarreal are only here because of Man U's total implosion in the group stage, and Rangers benefited from a fairly easy qualifying group on the way in. I don't really care about these; either way, a team that really shouldn't be here gets a free pass to the quarters. I think I'm going with Villarreal here, though I really have no basis for that judgment other than that their nickname is "The Yellow Submarine" and that amuses me.

Werder Bremen/Juventus -- This should really be a walk for Juve. They've got Serie A all but sewn up, and they were one of the first teams to qualify for the knockout rounds. Bremen have little, if any, experience in Europe, and that may start to tell here. I don't really care for Juve, but I don't really see them not winning this one, and handily. So, as you may have guess, I think Juventus are going to win this.

Ajax/Internazionale -- Right. This is one I'm not interested in at all, really. I've never been able to care much about Inter, and Ajax have a great history in this competition, but haven't lived up to that heritage recently. (As a Liverpool fan, I have carte blanche to point out when other teams are underachievers.) I feel strongly that every good cup competition needs one upset, and since Bayern winning that tie wouldn't be an upset, I'm randomly deciding that this is the upset. So, that means Ajax win. (You may also refer to this as the prediction most likely to make me look like an idiot.)

Finally, a really interesting article on homophobia, sports, and what really happens in the dressing rooms. I'm not sure that I agree with him, but he definitely raises some interesting issues.


E. Gao said...

I was in the library and headdesked so hard when Luisao scored that goal that I think I actually gave myself a headache. How could you NOT anticipate something like that, with Karagounis practically flagging the taller players forward? Jeebus. Oh well, Anfield should help the team turn things around. I've got faith in Rafa.

And oh lord, poor Momo. I hope it isn't as serious as it seems. :(

ynba said...

God, I know. Our set-piece defense is the weakest part of our game, after our complete inability to get the strikers firing. I think we can turn it around at home, though, you're right. Steven'll be playing, and come on. He'd play every position on the field at once if he could.

I know, poor Sissoko. I really hope it's not career-ending, especially as he's so very young.