Can you imagine how much your life would suck if you had to go through life just surviving Tuesdays and Wednesdays rather than revelling in the glory that is Champions League? Man, I pity those mouth-breathing foos. Yesterday afternoon’s games were fantastic, and this was despite SIX of eight tickets to the knockout stage having already been booked. By comparison, only THREE of eight tickets have been punched today. Hold on to your knickers, boys and girls, because things are about to get really real.
Now on to the games…
So a quick recap of what happened yesterday:
– United took the lead then immediately gave it up, then later drew level and immediately conceded the winner. Double dick stomp for the Red Devils.
– City took the lead then immediately gave it up, then later… scored three late goals to ice it. Make that a triple dick stomp for the Red Devils.
– The only game that didn’t really go largely to plan (aside from Galatasaray’s rather lacklustre draw with Astan), in fact, was Sevilla’s win over Juventus, which handed City the top spot in the group and means – for the first time in the history of history (just about anyway), it won’t be getting knocked out of the Champions League by Barcelona in the Round of 16. Congrats!
– PSV – Sam’s Lock of the Century™ – came through, as if there was ever a doubt… except for the 85 minutes when there was a hell of a lot of it.
– Real Madrid apparently thought it could make up for its embarrassing dismissal from the Copa Del Ray by curb stomping wee Malmo. (Nope.)
Death to the EPL
Unfortunately United’s uncharacteristically porous defense means that, as it stands, only one EPL club has advanced to the knockouts, while the two more have a hell of a lot of work to do today. Indeed, there is a very real possibility that neither Arsenal nor Chelsea do what they need to in order to advance, leaving the league with only City flying the flag in the Champions League (which I’m sure will turn out just fine since the Sky Blues have such a great track record in the competition)… yadda yadda yadda, point being, yes the EPL can save face in the eyes of the UEFA coefficient if a bunch of clubs dominate the Europa League, but nobody wants that. So the task is simple: WIN, or else…
So this is how the tables for Groups E through G look at the moment:
As for today’s games, here is what’s in store:
PICKS OF THE DAY
Today is shaping up to be a serious emotional rollercoaster for yours truly. On the one hand, the small child inside of me that would like for nothing but bad things to happen to Arsenal (and to a lesser extent Chelsea) would love nothing more than for them to get thoroughly embarrassed and parachuted into Spursday “night” Europa League action.
On the other hand, any fan of Tottenham/Liverpool/Everton/Palace and any other clubs who have any hope of perhaps nicking fourth place in the EPL away from Arsenal would feel pretty stupid if their short-lived joy from laughing at the misery of the Gunners (and/or Chelski) ended up costing them a Champions League slot because it was stolen away by Serie A. So keep that in mind.
There are rumors that Jose Mourinho’s job could be on the line today against his former team, and betting against The Special One when the chips are down often turns out poorly. Having said that, this line seems like joke city to me. People seem to think that just because Mourinho have pulled rabbits out of hats in the past that means he has a very good chance of doing so again. I’m not convinced. Both teams are surprisingly healthy at the moment, and I’m not saying that Chelsea is going to shit the bed, but they just aren’t playing very good soccer at the moment and should feel fortunate given the form they are in to shares the points… 2-2 draw.
Half of Arsenal’s squad is – surprise surprise – on the injured list, otherwise I’d say the Greeks don’t stand a chance. As it is though it’s up to Mesut Ozil and (gulp) Olivier Giroud to carry the water for the Gunners, and the EPL in some respects (double gulp). Olympiakos has been in great form winning five of six so this will undoubtedly prove tricky, but I’m holding my nose and picking Arsenal to win 3-1.
Other games: Bayer Leverkusen [+200] host Barrrrthelona [+120] in a classic matchup of an insanely hungry team versus an insanely talented team. Yesterday I gave the edge to the more motivated sides annnnnnnnnd got my ass handed to me. Not gonna lie, I like Bayer in this one but fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice… well, you ain’t gonna fool me again. The Catalans are likely going to be sitting some important players but I still think they will have enough to pull it out. Barcelona to win 3-2. Gent [+130] has all the motivation in the world but Zenit [+215] – undefeated in the UCL up until now – at those odds is an absolute no-brainer. Russkis to win 2-0.
So there it is, the best-ever Champions League preview that Barstool will publish today. Big weekend ahead. Don’t miss me too hard.
Sam U.L. Army