Monday, February 19, 2007

Champions League Round of 16: Part 2

Second verse, same as the first: Wednesday's games.

Roma - Lyon
Wheeee, two teams I don't care about at all. That being said, I hope that Roma win, because Lyon annoy me for some undefinable reason. I think the French team will win, though, because Roma have been up and down this season, whereas Lyon are currently thrashing everybody else in Ligue 1 and can afford to divert some of their attention to European competition.

Barcelona - Liverpool
There's been a lot of infighting going on at the Nou Camp recently -- but at least none of the Barca players have been beating their teammates with golf clubs. That we know of. Aside from whatever the hell has been going on at their training camp in Portugal (which, frankly, I wonder how much it's been blown out of proportion by the media, but regardless it's idiotic behavious and it's the last thing they need right now), I think there are two main issues. First of all, obviously, is shutting down the Barcelona attack. Samuel Eto'o may not be 100% fit, but still the thought of Steve Finnan and a gimpy John Arne Riise up against Ronaldinho and Leo Messi is a bit terrifying. The other question is where the goals are going to come from for the Reds. They've put in some uninspiring displays against Everton and Newcastle recently, and I suspect they're going to miss Luis Garcia's uncanny ability to conjure up European goals out of nowhere. I really want to think that Liverpool can win, but I'm going to go with Barcelona, just so I can be pleasantly surprised if I'm wrong.

Porto - Chelsea
Chelsea are going to win this one, aren't they? Just so Jose Mourinho can go on being insufferable. Not that I'd really want to cheer for Porto either, since (a) the residual taint of Mourinho lingers and (b) I'm still mad at the whole country of Portugal after the World Cup. Anyway, Chelsea have got John Terry back now, which is apparently all they needed -- who cares that they're down to two centre-backs again, with Khalid Boulahrouz injured. Michael Ballack may be out as well, but I think that would actually help them, because it gives Mourinho a reason to start Arjen Robben and kickstart their attack, which has looked kind of aimless without any wingers. As for Andriy Shevchenko: well, he's doing great against teams from the Championship. So the Champions League should be no trouble at all, right?

Inter Milan - Valencia
Valencia may have topped their group easily, but I think Inter are going to knock them out here. Which sucks, because Inter are another of those teams that I inexplicably dislike (hey, football is all about irrational likes and dislikes, ok? I just go with it). The Nerazzurri are cruising at the top of Serie A right now, thanks partly to the aftermath of last year's scandal but largely due to their own unstoppable form -- they're currently on a record 16-game winning streak. Valencia are doing okay in La Liga, sitting in third place, but Inter are a steamroller.

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