24 March 2006

Wheaties, a short play, and handicapping the CL.

That's the only solution for what's going on with Liverpool these days. From barely scoring since the New Year, they've now won their last three games by a combined score of 15-2. I guess Wheaties aren't the only solution; Rafa might be threatening the strikers with sale to Spurs if they don't score more often. (As far as that sale, I fully support it. This drought they just got out of would never have happened if we had a reliable goalscorer in the first place. I would also support a sale of Morientes, but 1) they couldn't get as much for him, 2) it's better to dump a Houllier signing, 3) Rafa likes the Spaniards.) Anyway, even though it's not against the most quality opposition -- 3-1 to Newcastle, 7-0 to Birmingham -- I'll definitely take it. I just hope it holds out for a month or so, since we have, inevitably, been drawn against Chelsea in the FA cup semis. I've really gotten tired of the Chelsea/Liverpool games; I mean, I know they have to happen twice a season, but this will be the fifth time, when you add in the Champions League games. I could probably write out the buildup at this point.

JOSE: *insults Rafa, mentions "goal that never was," which is now eleven months old*
RAFA: *refuses to engage Jose, retreats to charmingly-accented platitudes*
JOSE: I'm not touching you! I'm not touching you!
GAME: *is boring*
DRAMA: *ensues*

And really? I'm over it.

Okay, I promised Champions League commentary, and since the games start Tuesday (yay!), now's as good a time as any. I don't know how much stock y'all should take in my predictions, since I finished a sparkling 5-for-8 in the Round of 16. But that's never stopped me before -- exhibit A, my March Madness bracket -- so I don't know why it'd stop me now. Um. Anyway, here we go!

Benfica/Barcelona -- This draw makes me kinda happy that Liverpool completely sucked against Benfica, because we would've gotten slaughtered by Barcelona. Benfica's shown a bit of giant-killer spirit this year, but I don't think that it'll hold out against the runaway leaders of La Liga. I mean, I love Liverpool, but they're not really on the same level. I'm pretty sure Barca have been the favorites to win since August, so I'm gonna go with the tide and call this for Barcelona.

Arsenal/Juventus -- Oh, geez. This all comes down to whether Arsenal are this year's Liverpool or not. If they are, then they win this and go on to defeat the favorites in the most dramatic manner possible. If they're not, then Juve wins, and I cry a little bit. Arsenal have really been on a roll since beating Real last round, so they could probably pull off the upset here. However, Juve are even better than they were at this stage last season, and who knows what weird psychological effect Vieira's return will have. (On a purely personal level, I'd like to see Cesc Fabregas win that battle, just because I love the wee Spanish Muppet.) My rational side says Juve have this, but my heart's with Arsenal, and I think the momentum's for them right now, so what the hell. Arsenal.

Internazionale/Villarreal -- Ew, ew, ew. As the most casual Milan fan ever, I don't like Inter. However, I can't help but feeling like they've got more of a right to be in the quarters than Villarreal. (I don't really know what that means, but the league tables bear me out. Inter's contending for second, but Villareal are seventh.) I don't see Villarreal being strong enough to hold out over both legs. I don't like it, but I'm going with Inter.

Milan/Lyon -- See, this is the bad side of Inter/Villarreal, since a team I like gets knocked out in this tie. Lyon's still kicking ass all over the French league, and while I admit that's not the most difficult task, it's still pretty impressive. Milan are still contending for second place in Serie A, but they haven't been convincing for a while now. This is exactly what I said about them before they beat up on Bayern in the last round, though, so they seem to take joy in proving me wrong. Lyon beat PSV by a pretty lopsided score, too, however. And like I said all along, Lyon's gonna win it all. So I'm predicting Lyon.

Finally, in schadenfreude of the week: Bruce Arena admits playing Germany was a mistake. Too bad you couldn't have called that before they slaughtered you 4-1. Fifth in the world?


brookster said...

Don't know if you saw this prediction before the Birmingham game, but, wow. And who'd want to warm the Spurs bench?

The FA Cup Semi will be, well, pretty much exactly as you say.


ynba said...

I didn't see that before, but yeah. Pretty impressive.

No one would want to go to Spurs; this is why it makes a great incentive for the strikers to start scoring.

I'm glad the FA Cup semis aren't for a few more weeks. All the drama Jose creates is just boring now. I've completely gotten over loving to hate him, and now it's just like, "meh."

(Hi, by the way!)