18 February 2007

Champions League round of 16

Oh, Champions League, I have missed you. Really, it's been far too long since Liverpool got ignominiously knocked out of a cup competition. And with Barcelona coming up on Wednesday, I can't really see this going any other way, honestly. I know Barca have had some dressing room turmoil recently, but nothing on the level of attacking your teammate with a golf club, I don't think. Seriously, boys? Now is not the time. (Not that there's ever really a time to attack your teammate with a golf club, I suppose.) I'd like to discount this, but the club's not denying it, so I'm inclined to think it's true. Which, what the hell? I can think of very few things worth attempting to break a person's legs, and "refusal to perform karaoke" sure as hell isn't on the list.

Anyway. The Champions League returns this week with the round of 16, and for some reason, I feel the need to predict the winners. Mostly because it's distracting me from my ridiculous amounts of reading. So, without further ado:

Tuesday's games

  • Celtic-Milan: Say whatever you want about Milan having a bad year (and it's probably true). Celtic can't win away in Europe, and they've had some trouble scoring at home against quality opposition. UEFA.com is saying Inzaghi is out for Milan, but I don't see that making much of a difference, honestly. Celtic's been lucky to get this far, and I think this is where their lack of experience will show. Milan.

  • PSV-Arsenal: This one's hard to call for me. PSV aren't anywhere as solid as they've been in the past; Liverpool drew them away and beat them pretty handily at home, and I think in the past they would have struggled there. PSV have been struggling a bit since Hiddink left, but my god, Arsenal have been incredibly inconsistent all season, and unable to score when they really need to. That CSKA game comes to mind, as does the FA Cup match against Rovers this weekend. I think they'll be able to pull it out, though, especially since they actually care about this competition. Arsenal.

  • Lille-Manchester United: Man, I never want to hear Man U fans complain about a difficult draw again. Lille are improving, but Man U is worlds better than they were when they finished fourth in their group last year. As much as I'd like to call this as an upset, I just can't. Man U.

  • Real Madrid-Bayern Munich: Hm, this is two traditional powerhouses, both in all kinds of trouble this season. Well, where all kinds of trouble is defined as still being in the top four in their domestic leagues. But they're both having managerial issues, with Capello not being the cure-all Real had hoped, and Munich firing their manager. Considering Bayern topped a more difficult group, and Real got swept by Lyon, I'm going with Bayern.

Wednesday's games
  • Roma-Lyon: Um, two teams from leagues I don't really follow. Lyon have been good in the Champions League the past few years, but they've struggled in their domestic league recently (though they're still about 500 points clear of everyone else). This is Roma's first trip to the Round of 16 in a few years, but they've been a lot stronger domestically in the past few weeks than Lyon have. I have no idea how to call this one, so I'm going with who has the better uniforms. Since there's no brown in theirs, that means Lyon.

  • Barcelona-Liverpool: Liverpool's coming off a disappointing loss to Newcastle, an extremely distant third in the Premiership, and they're apparently choosing to spend training beating each other up over karaoke. Barcelona are having a little bit of difficulty over Eto'o's return and Ronaldinho's morale, but most of that seems to be resolved now. Oh, and also they're top of La Liga and looking to defend their double. As much as I'd love to believe Liverpool will win this, I just can't. Sorry, boys. Barca.

  • Porto-Chelsea: Meh. This is another one I'd like to call as an upset, but as great as that would be, I don't think it'll happen. Porto way overpeformed when they won in 2004, and their squad has been really weakened since then. Oh, and also, Mourinho's now at Chelsea, as y'all may have heard. Chelsea's having an off-season for them, and their two big buys haven't really paid off. But you don't really need Shevchenko to be firing on all cylinders when Drogba's scoring enough for two strikers, which he has been recently. This is an easy call, as much as I hate it. Chelsea.

  • Inter-Valencia: Inter's running all over (a weakened) Serie A. Valencia's struggling in La Liga. Inter's got a gigantic squad, with a lot of quality acquired by picking over Juve's team. Valencia has some good players, but they're in a bit of difficulty recently, too. While this could be tough, I'm saying Inter.

You may notice that I didn't mention the FA Cup. This is because I am pretending it doesn't exist. Unless Reading manage to beat Man U, in which case I will be cheering for them all the way.


Anonymous said...

Oh thee of little faith...

Although we concede our first goal at the Nou Camp, Liverpool comes back to the Merseyside with two vital away goals.

Apparently, taking a golf club to a teammate's legs is a strong motivator for both parties...

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...


No idea how to post links but for those that missed the game, here are the highlights (albeit with announcing in a foreign language). These include Bellamy's enjoyable embracement of controversy.