It’s that time again…
Maybe because it only has two words (that I can make out). Maybe because it means a 90-minute orgasm is in my direct future. Maybe because it is sneakily catchy. Whatever the reasons may be, this, the “Star-Spangled Banner” and the University of Wisconsin’s “Varsity” are the only three songs that I sing along with every time, regardless of context, no questions asked.
I know JJ Watt says that you and he probably wouldn’t be friends if you don’t like breakfast food, which is all well and good and white-bready as hell, but as far as snap judgments go, if you don’t like this song it doesn’t mean we wouldn’t get along so much as it means you are probably an asshole.
Now on to the soccuh…
I have went into some detail about (a) why this season’s Champions and Europa Leagues is slightly more important than normal for fans of the EPL and (b) identified a couple dark horses and clubs you should be fading going into the first round of the UCL knockouts – yesterday’s post can be found HERE – so I won’t regurgitate the same stuff over again and instead suggest you take a quick peek at that post.
As for the results from yesterday and the schedule looking forward, here you go:
Recap of Tuesday’s action:
– In much the same way that Liverpool’s most impressive performance all last season came in a one-goal road loss against Real Madrid, Chelsea offered up its best overall 90 minutes all season and held on for a one-goal loss at PSG. It could have been more but the makeshift defense looked surprisingly competent. Down 2-1 heading home… could not possibly have asked for anything better than that going in.
– Zenit almost managed to hold Benfica to a scoreless draw, only conceding in extra time. Major dick dagger for The Russkis but, like Chelsea (and actually probably more so), they are still very much alive heading home only down one goal.
– We all got rich off my picks for once, proving that miracles really do happen sometimes.
PICKS OF THE DAY
Real Madrid (-130)
I know that a lot of people, particularly Americans who tend to follow the World Cup a lot more closely than Champions League, will always remember Zinedine Zidane for the headbutt, which is such a shame that it defies description considering how amazing he was to watch. He and Messi are a close (respective) #2 and #1 for me from a pure entertainment standpoint, and this is how I will always remember Zizu:
But now that he’s hung up the boots, will he be anywhere near as good as a manager? There are hot takes and told takes and lukewarm takes galore about why great players have a hard time coaching, and we shall soon see if Zidane has what it takes. Anything less than at least making the finals is likely to be thought of as a massive failure. Good luck with that.
As for today, your best bet just might be to go with both teams to score, seeing as how both have been putting goals away at an impressive clip lately (and neither have been playing shutdown defense).
There are some injury concerns on both sides, with Real definitely going without Bale and possibly Pepe, while Roma may still be without Pjanic up top and Salah on the wing. Both clubs are in good form though. The Spanish club is unbeaten in its last nine and the Italians, after an atrocious start, brought back an old manager and have come on strong lately, riding a four game win streak coming into today. My guess is that the Romans are going to make it difficult on Real, and remember clubs often play a bit more tentative than usual in the first leg of home-and-homes, but the combination of Isco/Modric/Kroos in the midfield will eventually allow the visitors to assert their dominance, and an in-form (and extra ornery) Cristiano Ronaldo will be too hard to contain. Real Madrid to win 2-1.
POP QUIZ! What European league (ie, country) does Gent play in? Did you say the Austrian Bundesliga? Congrats, you are smart… or more likely cheated.
Anyway, interesting odds in this puppy. Both teams tend to favor offense over defense, though that whole this-being-a-first-leg-of-a-home-and-home thing could be an issue. But fuck it, YOLO and under-betting is for missionary style sex addicts, I think both teams score in this one as well. Tough to get a strong read on Gent since, yes, they have been winning most (though definitely not all) of their games, but that is mostly against domestic minnows. One notable result to keep in mind though was a 2-1 win at home over Zenit last December, which was when the Russkis were playing some damn good soccer (before their winter break/off-season). My beloved Wolfy, on the other hand, comes in riding an impressive one-game win streak, which was preceded by a five-game winless run. In fact, Ze Germans haven’t won a game on the road since NOVEMBER when they took down CSKA Moscow. All these things lead me to think the Other Aussies have a good shot at winning this thing. Gent to win 3-2.
PS: okay so if you’re so smart, which one is Austria?
PSS: just kidding, if you said Austria you are a dummy and/or a really bad cheater. Gent plays in the Belgian Pro League.
So there it is, the best-ever Champions League preview that Barstool will publish today. I’m not usually too interested in Europa League but given the unusual importance of the European competition for the EPL this season I just might post something tomorrow. We’ll see. Gotta keep you hoodlums on guessing, after all. Otherwise we got more FA Cup action coming up this weekend.
Sam U.L. Army