Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Come On The 'Pool!

Amazingly there is nothing pornographic or untoward about that title. It is what Liverpool fans say to root on their team, akin to "Go Dawgs" or "War Eagle" if you will. The reason I know this is because at Arsenal-Liverpool matches for several years at the BrewHouse in Little 5 Points {ATL} there was a big, bald, hard nut of a Brit who looked like a bad guy in a Guy Ritchie film, and he used to scream it in the pub at crucial times during the match. This was not a dude to be fucked with, and if we were ever sitting within say 30 feet of him our celebrations at an Arsenal goal would be somewhat muted, and wisely so. Anyhow, I now think of him and his hardnut scream and I echo his sentiment in a major way as the final four of the Champions League plays out.

Champions League Semifinals, 1st Leg

Chel$ea-Liverpool, 11.45 a.m. PST ESPN2

Manchester United 3-2 AC Milan, yesterday

Pretty grim options for an Arsenal fan really, with the prospect of hated ManUtd and hated Chel$ea contesting the Champions League Final in addition to the EPL title and the FA Cup final- the thought of that is just too much- talk about the ultimate meteor games. If you are a Georgia fan, imagine watching Florida play Georgia Tech for the national championship in football, and also in 2 other competition finals that are separate from the NC but equally prestigious and desired.

AC Milan? Hard to root for them, since they should not even be in this competition in the first place. Remember that they were kicked out of the competition for their role in the Italian corruption scandal, only to be re-instated during one of their 349 appeals. I predicted back in August that they would win the competition this year just to augment what a joke the massive reduction in punishments for the Italian teams were, and now they are 90 minutes from the final. So I cannot really root for them to win, although I would prefer them winning to United or Chel$ea.

So that leaves The 'Pool, a team that I am pretty neutral about. I don't hate them or love them, they are middle of the road to me. Well with this final four that puts them 5000 miles ahead of the other three, so hopefully they can do the business over Chel$ea and perhaps my least favorite person in all of sport, Jose Mourinho.

Now then:

Manchester United 3-2 AC Milan
Kaka is the shit {thanks, I'll be here all week} and staked Milan to 2-1 lead at Old Trafford, but the old men of Milan couldn't hold on and United ran circles around them in the last 30 mintutes and not only equalized through Rooneh the blockhead but then got a stunning winner from him at the death. But Kaka- holy shit that guy is amazing. No less than 10 goals in 12 Champions League matches this season- insane. I'm no huge fan of Milan but he is a joy to watch. Part of me thinks that Milan are in trouble because they are so old and United so dominated them in the last 30 minutes- I agree with Myles Palmer that Milan are a 60 minute team with all of their old legs. On the other hand they did bag 2 crucial road goals, so 1-0 or 2-1 at home and they are through to the final. And all those old men have a ton of experience in the Champions League, having been semifinalists in 3 of the last 4 seasons, finalists in 2 of the last 4, and champions a few years back.

Hopefully Milan can find a way to eek out a win next week, and Liverpool can do the business against Chel$ea, saving me from a ManUtd/Chel$ea final as well as the possibility of either of those 2 fucking teams winning a treble. That would set up a juicy rematch of the 2005 Champions League final in which AC Milan raced out to a 3-0 halftime lead, only for Liverpool to score 3 goals in a 10 minute span in the 2nd half and then beat Milan on penalties, completing the biggest comeback in European Cup final history.


"Come on The 'Pool!!!"
"Come on You Reds!!!"


Chel$ea 1-0 Liverpool

These two teams were never going to play as exciting or pleasing to the eye match as we saw yesterday, as both are well organized, fairly conservative, and lack any real width. Aside- with both teams playing so horribly narrow, how much more enjoyable a contest would this have been with Liverpool's 'Arry Kewell and Chel$ea's Arjen Robben available and playing on the wings?

Chel$ea's goal was great, an Arsenal 2000-2005 goal: a lightning quick counterattack that went from their own penalty box to the opposition's goal in about 8-9 seconds. Great pass from Carvalho, Drogba made Agger look completely foolish, and a great running one touch finish from Joke Hole. Liverpool never looked like scoring really, and it was hard to see another goal coming from this game. Unable to nick a critical away goal, Liverpool are going to have to keep a clean sheet next week at Anfield, because if they allow Chel$ea a road goal of their own then they will need 3 to win, and that simply isn't going to happen with Cech in goal.

So after an entire season of Champions League footy, these 4 teams now stand 90 minutes from Athens, Greece and a date in the final. Should make for two compelling matches next week:

Champions League Semifinals, Return Legs
Liverpool-Chel$ea, Tue 5/1, 11.45 a.m. PST, ESPN2
AC Milan-ManUtd, Wed 5/2, 11.45 a.m. PST, ESPN2


beast in 'bama said...

As a Liverpool fan, I can't tell you how much I've missed Kewell this season. Zenden played hard, bless his heart, but he's just not explosive enough.

But I think even if Robben and Kewell had been around, Rafa and Mourinho are still too tight-assed about losing to the other to let 'em play.

Neither ManU or Milan do anything for me, but that was one damn fine game the other day. Rooney misses so many chances to finish, I was shocked that he hit that closer. And the first goal he scored was all Paul Scholes. I'd pay money to watch that guy play any day of the week.

DC Trojan said...

I'll be honest, I would be hugely entertained to see a Man U vs Chelsea final - because it would be the old team that everyone despises, versus the new team that everyone despises.

I like a lot of the individual players for AC Milan, but their winning anything only encourages Berlusconi, and that is not good.

As for Liverpool, I'm just worried that someone will find the pictures of me aged 4 in a replica uni, so I shall say nothing just in case.

Michael said...

I spent a long time last night trying to decide whether I was rooting for Chelsea or Liverpool. In the end, I took a nap.