Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Sweet Sixteen, 2 Weeks Early Part Deux

Champions League Round of 16 2nd Legs


Bayern Munich 2-3 Real Madrid. 11.45 a.m. ESPN Deportes (replay on ESPN Classic 2 p.m. PST)
If you watch one match today, this is the one to watch. These two teams are European giants, Real winning the European Cup a record 9 times and Bayern 3 time champions themselves. Additionally these two have quite a history in the competition and do not like each other very much. On top of that, each team is a bit of a soap opera at the moment, and in a position that they are not used to historically - sitting in 4th place in their respective domestic leagues instead of on top. Bayern have 2 crucial road goals in their pocket, so 1-0 or 2-1 gets them through, while Madrid only need a draw to advance. This match has a great chance to be a cracker and even one of the classic European matches in recent times.

Good luck to king of the commenters Moin, a die hard Madrista.

Prediction: I have absolutely no idea, both teams are so unpredictable.

Arsenal 0-1 PSV Eindhoven. 11.45 a.m. PST. Setanta Sports USA
This is Arsenal's season, having been knocked out of the Carling Cup and FA Cup {the one competition I thought they had an excellent shot at winning this year} in the last 10 days, and with no chance to win the league (and little chance of failing to qualify for next season's Champions League). They basically need to win 2-0, or by 2 goals. PSV are really solid, organized, difficult to break down, and dangerous on the break, and if they are able to get an away goal then Arsenal must score 3 to beat them. They are like a much better version of Blackburn, who Arsenal failed to score against over 180 minutes in the FA Cup, so it seems a tall order. On the other hand, Arsenal are always capable of scoring goals in bunches. Some think that if PSV come to defend then Arsenal will rip them to shreds, but I'm not so sure - they haven't been able to finish things off and score many goals lately. Emirates Stadium has already had one huge game that started what will become it's legend this year, and this can be the 2nd if they can do the job. I sure hope so. I'm extremely excited and nervous all at the same time.

Heart: 3-1 to the Arsenal
Head: 1-0 to the Arsenal, and they go out on penalties, or 1-1

AC Milan 0-0 Celtic. 11.45 a.m. PST. Setanta Premium Closed Circuit.
The old men of Milan (and Kaka) host the team that plays great at home in the Champions League but have never won an away match in the CL. By holding Milan to a 0-0 draw in the first leg, they don't need to win to go through. Ronaldo cannot play for AC Milan as he is "cup tied" (already appeared for another team this season in the CL - Real Madrid before his move to Milan), and Celtic free kick assassin Nakamura is going to try to play despite having a broken hand. All the money is on AC Milan to handle massive underdog Celtic, and Milan historically almost always find a way to win in the end {especially at the 80,000 seat San Siro} even when they are outplayed, but something tells me that they are there for the taking and that Celtic may very well rise up and slay the CL road demons of their past.

Prediction: 1-1, and Celtic stay winless on the road but secure an historic road result and advance on away goals.

Manchester United 1-0 Lille. 11.45 a.m. PST. ESPN2
Not much for me to root for here. One one hand you have hated archnemesis ManUtd, so normally I would be 100% behind the plucky underdog with a punchers chance. But Lille were embarrassing in the way they protested a perhaps unsporting but perfectly legal goal, tried to walk off the pitch and quit the match, then protested to UEFA afterwards, lost the protest, and are now threatening to protest to the European Court of Arbitration for Sport , not to mention the disaster that was match security, which ultimately they are responsible for as the host club, even if it wasn't at their home ground- resulting in ManUtd fans being crushed and when they climbed a fence to escape had tear gas thrown at them by police. So I can't really root for those whiners with all my heart either. United have been living so lucky lately, somehow managing to win their last 2 prem matches against Fulham and Liverpool with last minute winners despite being totally outplayed in both matches and really deserving to lose both. Surely I would love it if Lille managed to somehow find a way to knock United out, but that's not going to happen.

Prediction: ManUtd 2-0 Lille



DC Trojan said...

The Celtic - AC Milan game is sort of like UCLA - Notre Dame for me... someone has to win, unless the ground splits in two and swallows them whole.

Bayern - Real is a no-brainer for support purposes, I just apply the "fascist club / not fascist club" rule, because there's no need to get over WWII quite yet.

And Lille are such a bunch of petulant bastards that I was tempted to get a Man U t-shirt to wear to work today but that would have been wasted effort and money... I don't need a car-wiping rag that badly.

Kanu said...

I call such games "injuries & Explosions" games, since that is all you can root for. That one doesn't rise to that level for me in the same way that any combination of Florida-Tennessee-Auburn-Ga. Tech-Notre Dame do in cfb, or Dook against Florida does in hoops, but it is definitely hard to root for either side.

Of course, that being said, you and I would both love it if ManUtd went out.

moin said...

The problem with Bayern and RM is that I'm not sure which one is the more Facist one. :D

It's really hard to pick RM that one really. There is no way we can hold Bayern to a clean sheet, so can we score at least 2 away goals in Munich? I doubt it. So there.

And FUCK United.

Allez L'OSC!

What was that other matchup? Oh yeah, Arsenal. If Arsenal doesn't get an early goal, they are in trouble. Koeman's PSV is organized and determined. It's gonna be tough to crack them open.

moin said...

And just I type that, Makaay scores on a RC mistake. That didn't take long did it?

Moin said...

DRAMA! So much more exciting than yesterday.