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Barstool’s Champions League Preview – The “R16 Reckoning (Part 1 of 4)” Edition

Sam’s Soccer Safe Space For Stoolies

Hi haters,

What a damn day. What a godamn game. If you don’t know what I mean by that fear not, ya boy Sam is here to learn you up nice and proper like. But first, I hope you’re not at work wearing sweatpants…

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CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

Time to pare the field down from 16 to the final eight. Reminder of the scores from the first legs:

3-scores

And the schedule for today, tomorrow and next week:

4-schedule

Let’s start with the biggie…

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PSG [-115]
Real Madrid [+275]
Draw [+310]

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5-neymar

No point crying over spilled milk (which means I’m about to cry just a little bit over spilled milk), but godamn what a spectacle this was shaping up to be before Neymar went and broke his damn toe. On a nothing play. In a blowout. Sigh. Just the way the cookie crumbles, and more importantly just because he’s out doesn’t mean there isn’t still going to be an embarrassing amount of talent out on the field.

6-rm-psg

Real Madrid have Real Meh by their standards for much of the season, but may be finding their sea-legs just in the nick of time – both to make their annual deep UCL run and perhaps even saving Zizou’s job – and has reeled off six wins in seven games, including the 3-1 result at the Bernabeu last month. (Neither here nor there but there’s a good chance that the losing coach of this game will be kicked to the curb this summer. Unai Emery was brought in expressly to win the Champions League so not a big surprise that he’s on the chopping block, especially since he seems to have left his brain back in Sevilla, but insane that Zidane, fresh off winning every trophy under the sun last season, could be gone this season.)

Speaking of Real’s first leg victory, though, it was FAR from convincing. Possession was essentially 50/50 and, while the home side had a few more chances, PSG definitely felt hard done by losing by multiple goals.

That result means 2-0 is the score that PSG will come in gunning for. Tough road to hoe but by no means impossible.

Player to watch: Angel Di Maria. I’ve heard this being called a “revenge game” for the Argentine, but I don’t really buy that. It’s not like Real Madrid Soul Cycled him back in 2014. Rather, reports seem to suggest the club was worried about him going to Barcelona so they pre-empted that by selling him to United (for a ton of cash). So I’m not sold on him having “extra motivation”. There is at least one big tactical advantage to Di Maria though, as he prefer to play on the right thus allowing Kylian Mbappe (assuming he is recovered from a little ankle injury) room to roam on his preferred left side. A small silver lining, but not nothing.

One of PSG’s big weak spots is defensive CM, which is a spot that will likely be filled by either Giovani Lo Celso (n00b who had a nightmare game against Real in the first leg) or more likely AARP candidate Lassana Diarra, who is plenty experienced but also about three steps slower than he once was. Part of me thinks that that could be the difference in the game, with PSG’s decision to let Blaise Matuidi go to Juventus last summer coming back to bite them in the butt.

There is no doubt in my mind that PSG could go through, not just because they have one of the more dangerous offenses oil money can buy, but also because Real Madrid’s defense – last few games aside – has looked clueless for much of the season against the Real Betis and Celta Vigo’s of the world, not Cavani/Mbappe/Di Maria/Drazler. I’ll be honest, my heart is leaning towards the Parisians to win back some of the pride after getting shitkicked by Barcelona in that historic second leg of last season’s Round of 16… but my head thinks they are French so they will inevitably blow it. So I’m going with PSG to “win” 3-2.

Get some new material, bruh

Get some new material, bruh

**

Liverpool [-215]
Porto [+550]
Draw [+320]

Would have been nice if Porto could have graced us with their presence in the first leg, but since that apparently was too much to ask this game – or at least the “tie” (as the two legs together are known) – is essentially done and dusted. Liverpool have a big big bigggggggg game coming up this weekend though

which means Klopp could be inclined to rest some guys, and the huge lead means players may inevitably take their foot off the gas a bit. Given that and the fact that underestimating a Portuguese club – doesn’t matter which – in Champions League is a big time no-no… I’m going with a 1-1 draw.

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Lots more action to come tomorrow… and next Tuesday… and next Wednesday. Thank you, soccer gods, for all that you do.

You ain't lyin, himminy

You ain’t lyin, himminy

By the way, the votes are in and we have a “winner”:


Holler,
Samuel Army