Barstool’s Champions League Preview – Group Stage Matchday 4(b)
The weather is shitty. TPS Reports are piling up. The weekend is still a long ways off. Thanks be the holy fathers for making us soccer fans so life is still worth living on days like today. Reminder: GAMES WILL BE KICKING OFF AN HOUR LATER THAN USUAL (meaning 2:45pm CT for people cool enough to live in flyover country) due to British daylight savings time rules, so plan your early departure from work/class accordingly.
But first, get your mind right:
– EPL was unbeaten in 15 straight Champions League games coming into this matchday but the streak was snapped by Chelsea, who came out and laid a youge egg against Roma. If only somebody could have seen that coming a mile away…….
– Shouts to Sporting, Olympiacos and Qarabag for holding Juventus, Barcelona and Atletico, respectively, to draws. Celtic really should have come out of their game against Bayern with a point as well if we are being honest, but that’s just how the cookie crumbles sometimes.
– No love for you, Anderlecht. You suck. (Speaking of which)
– UPDATED DEAD clubs: Benfica, Anderlecht, Karabakh, Olympiacos, Maribor, Feyenoord, APOEL, Celtic
“I’m not dead yet!”
– DEATH’S DOOR: Monaco, Dortmund, Atletico Madrid
Again, all due respect to Tottenham/Real Madrid, which seems to be getting more pub, but Napoli/City should be the featured game of the day. The Italians have been one of the better clubs in Europe this season so crashing out of the Champions League this early (while perhaps good for their chances of winning the Serie A) would nevertheless be a massive failure, and could well happen due to their slip-up at Shakhtar on Matchday 1.
Unfortunately for Napoli, City has looked like the best club in the world for much of this season.
At the same time though, City is not perfect. They may be damn close on offense, but no shutout/lead is safe with Nicolas Otamendi on the field. City’s wingbacks also have a habit of getting a little too confident and can get caught too high up the field (though tough to imagine this being a problem in a road game against one of Italy’s best teams).
Some things to keep in mind: Napoli rested some starters in the reverse fixture because they were coming directly off a tough game with Inter, and if you have seen some of the ridiculous goals guys like Dres Martins has been scoring you know City – as good as they have been – should be nervous. For me though this game comes down to motivation, which can be a helluva drug. City want three points; Napoli need three points.
Napoli to win 2-1.
Real Madrid [+110]
Member when I said something is off about Chelsea and they proceeded to get their dick kicked in? Right, that was just yesterday. Well, something is also off with Real at the moment. To be fair, their results haven’t been all that bad at all, but last season’s team would have beaten Girona with six guys on the field… this season they managed to lose 1-2 on Saturday. Los Blancos still have talent galore so it is probably only a matter of time until they start clicking – whether it will be too late to catch Barcelona in La Liga remains to be seen (my hunch is they’ll claw back into the picture) – but they would have to be their best to beat Tottenham at home when Harry Kane is healthy. Alas Spurs are not at home. They are at Wembley. Gimme a 1-1 draw.
Liverpool is a missed penalty and some habitual defensive miscues (against Sevilla) away from sitting pretty at the moment, but are instead locked in a dogfight in the most competitive of all the groups. Last time out they took Maribor out behind the woodshed on the road. Doubt they manage the same kind of performance, but at the end of the day Maribor is still Maribor. Liverpool to win 3-1.
Bonus picks (to increase the chances I actually get one right):
• Porto/RB Leipzig may be one of the more entertaining matches of the day (if you can find it), and when it doubt go with the Portuguese in UCL – gimme Porto to win 3-2.
• Dortmund desperately need to wipe the floor with APOEL, and they shall – BVBabyjesus to win 3-0.
• Sevilla will probably wipe the floor with Spartak Moscow but considering how well the Russkis looked in the reverse fixture the odds on offer (+600) are too tempting to pass up – I’ll go [UPSET ALERT] Spartak to win 3-2.
• Finally, I done been telling y’all about Besiktas. Help me help you! [Note: I was leaning heavily towards a draw but Monaco is just plain missing too many guys through injury.] Besiktas to win 1-0.
Reminder: got another biggggggggg slate on deck tomorrow……… kidding, lol, it’s just Europa.
Check ya this weekend when we’s gots some bigggggg’uns: