Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Why do I always seem to be away during Champions League weeks?

Apologies for the lack of posts around here, but I've been on vacation all week. I meant to put something up before I left, but an insufficient amount of time and an oversufficient amount of alcohol conspired against it. Probably just as well, because all my Champions League predictions would have been woefully inaccurate.

The resort did have ESPN, but even I wasn't about to give up valuable beach time in favour of watching football. So I'm just catching up now.

  • I did see the second half of United's game against Roma, as they took a 2-0 lead home to Old Trafford. It looked like a solid performance, not as over-cautious as they too often are when playing away in Europe. And Cristiano Ronaldo will have shut a few more people up with his goal here. The bad news is the injury to Nemanja Vidic; combined with Rio Ferdinand limping out of their game on the weekend, it leaves the back line looking rather shaky. Reminds me of last season, actually, when I think seem to recall them being forced into playing Darren Fletcher at right-back.

  • Liverpool drew 1-1 with Arsenal at the Emirates, which gives them a slight advantage going into the second leg. But it's a very slight advantage. It's quite possible that Fernando Torres will score a brilliant goal and they'll put together another magnificent defensive performance and stymie Arsenal for 90 minutes, but it's equally possible that Pepe Reina will have a brain fart and then Dirk Kuyt will fall over his own feet when presented with an open net. I am expecting dreading that it's going to be another 1-1 followed by penalties.

  • Chelsea took the lead against Fenerbahce through an own-goal, but then gave up two goals in the second half; it was the reverse of many of their games this season, as they played well but still lost. Ha. And Barcelona beat Schalke, as expected, albeit by only one goal -- the first Champions League goal for wunderkind Bojan Krkic.

  • Meanwhile, in the league, United started the week by destroying Villa 4-0, demonstrating what they can do if you are foolish enough to go to Old Trafford and attempt to play rather than stringing 11 men across the goalmouth. They followed that up with a snowy 2-2 draw at Middlesbrough, who have been surprisingly tough against the so-called big teams this year. Uh-oh.

  • Liverpool faced a couple of tricky games but have done pretty well, beating Everton 1-0 in the derby and then drawing against Arsenal with their second-string team in the league game sandwiched between their two Champions League matches. They still have only a narrow lead over Everton in the table, but it should be enough to preserve their spot in the top four. The boardroom drama continues; I continue to stick my fingers in my ears and chant "La la la I can't hear you."

  • Chelsea are still steadily winning games, beating Middlesbrough and then Man City. They're now only three points behind Manchester United and I'm starting to get a bit worried. But I refuse to believe that United can be caught by a team managed by one of the Gorgs from Fraggle Rock.

  • Arsenal staged an amazing comeback last weekend, beating a doomed Bolton 3-2 after going down 2-0 and then having a man sent off. I was laughing at them when I left for the airport at halftime, and then they had to go and win after all, the bastards.

  • Also, Newcastle apparently don't suck anymore...when did that happen?

  • In the FA Cup, Portsmouth beat West Brom and Cardiff beat Barnsley, both one-nil, to reach the finals. I am trying to care and failing miserably, especially now that designated minnows Barnsley are out.

  • And here at home, Toronto FC are off to another dismal start to the season, losing their first two games on the road, against Columbus and DC United. I think this could be a chronic problem for them, because they're probably going to start every season away from home while they wait for the snow to melt. Makes it hard to build any sort of momentum when you've already dropped points in your first few games. A bit of good news (I guess?) is that they've signed Laurent Robert from Derby. Yeah, only in MLS is picking up a player from the worst team in the Premiership seen as an asset.

1 comment:

weenie said...

It's quite possible that Fernando Torres will score a brilliant goal

You were so right! What a bloody brilliant match, a big rollercoaster ride of a game! Bring on Chelsea!