Friday, March 14, 2008

Thoughts On The Champions League Draw

I really, really, really, should be working on my MA right now, so this is going to be a quick post. Just wanted to get my thoughts out there for the record.

1. Barca-Schalke
This could not have turned out better. With Messi out, we needed to draw a relatively weak team. There are no guarantees, particularly in cup competitions, but Barca have to get through, right? If they don't, Rijkaard has to be fired the very next day, right?

2. Man United-Roma
There are one of two logics at play here. The first says Roma are a better team than they were last year, they're within striking distance of Inter in the Serie A, and they're going to be uber-pissed off after the 7-1 thrashing at Old Trafford last year at the exact same stage in the competition, and they have a surprise or two in store for the Red Devils. The second says that Man United, on paper and on form, are the best team in Europe this year, and that there might well be teams qualified to stop them, but Roma cannot count themselves among that select group, and that this will be a relative cakewalk.

I believe, for some strange reason, the first logic.

3. Chelsea-Fenerbache
The first leg will be key here. As long as Fenerbache don't concede an away-goal to Chelsea, they have a shot. This Chelsea team is eminently beatable, especially in cup competitions this year. For some reason, many think Chelsea are going to waltz through to the semis. I wouldn't put money against that outcome, but I wouldn't put money on it either.

4. Liverpool-Arsenal
Three things to consider. First, this is Europe and Benitez and Liverpool. They always get it done. Second, Arsenal has a brute of a schedule, playing Chelsea, Bolton, Man United (away) and Liverpool thrice, all in the space of twenty days. Third, Liverpool are not even bothering with the Premiership. Because they've been terrible in the EPL this year, they can afford to go all guns blazing in the CL. I think Arsenal are a fantastic team, but I don't think this is their year in Europe.


Over Rated said...

Ah! A Pakistani with a sense of humor who does not hate India and doesn't shout obscenities at Madhuri Dixit!! Didn't know you existed!!

I'm just kidding with this stuff!! I don't want to start a nuclear war!! I'm just glad to see that they are other mature people who hail from this continent (I might not be one of them)!! And I hate bollywood so the Madhuri Dixit comment was kind of self destructive.

Read a few of your posts and I even allowed myself enjoy them!! :P :P

Asfandyar said...

Barca/Schalke vs ManUtd/Roma

I can't wait. I don't think we'll lose to Roma because we handled them fairly easy at OT when we were nowhere near our best.

On the other hand, we still aren't anywhere near our best, either in the league or at home...but we do seem 'strong' and 'obdurate' more than anything.

Goddamn Chelsea. what a jammy team.

Ahsan said...


we don't hate india because we're actually self-loathing muslims who hate everything to do with islam and therefore don't have time to hate others. we pick on islam and muslims incessantly and unnecessarily in order to show how open-minded we are.


man u have the second-leg-at-home advantage so they have that going for them. but i cant shake the feeling they're in for a surprise. as i told nikhil, you should be happy i picked against your team because that then means their chances of going through have exponentially increased.

Over Rated said...

Then we need people like you on both sides of the border. And instead of hating Islam they can hate their own personal religion. Or like me, hate every religion. Not that I am an atheist.

And I criticize everything to show how open mindedly closed I am. And really bad with words.

Nikhil said...

I'm so glad you picked Liverpool. We really needed that lift after the Boro draw...Arsenal looked horrible. Van Persie is still a couple of games away from being his petulant, goal-scoring self - he only has the bolton game to get his act together unfortunately.

we're REALLY going to miss Eduardo - he was just getting his feet under him...what happened was really tragic. I dont care if that chap meant it (but if you look at the replay, he went in studs showing, and high - it was a really absurd tackle, and Gary Megson is a choot. if i ever see him on the street, i shall punch him in the face), he has to get suspended for more than just the regulation 3 games.

but i digress. very quickly, for the record, my picks for the CL:

barca wins at home after drawing away.

chelsea pulls through in a shockingly close pair of encounters.

ditto red chootiyas (much against my hopes and wishes).

as for gunners - reds, i'm not going to say anything, no good comes from predicting outcomes for teams you support. btw, sidenote, had floor seats for jazz-nets today, and of course the jazz lost. i'm now 0-3.

btw, i cant tell you how much i HATE cristiano (although i obviously respect his talents), especially because of how likable the other premier young midfielders of today are: kaka, leo and cesc. simply despise the chap. my dream is to see him cry this season.

kenny miller almost succeeded in realising it for me. almost.

Ahsan said...

kaka and leo are hardly midfielders, but yes, your point is well taken.

zeyd said...

Was gonna email you about this so I'm glad you've already broached it. Congratulations on drawing Schalke. You guys will stroll through, the Germans are just ecstatic to be there. I'm fairly happy about Chelsea's draw, though a trip to Istanbul is one of the toughest and most dangerous assignments in Europe. Having said that, coming to Stanford Bridge isn't exactly easy (77 in a row now) so I like our chances. The semis, if we get there, will be infinitely harder. Really don't want to see Liverpool again in the semis, though it's not like Barca, Manure, or the gooners would be any easier.

Dude, you mention Arsenal's schedule, check out Man u's: vs liverpool, vs villa, @ roma, @ middlesbrough, vs roma, vs aresenal, @ blackburn, @ chelsea.

Their next game is against bolton and they finish with west ham and wigan, but in-between that, god damn man, that's one hell of a schedule.

zeyd said...

Oh and btw, Liverpool are definitely bothered about the EPL. Unless they win the CL, they have to finish fourth in the EPL in order to qulaify for the CL and that's no foregone conclusion with Everton breathing down their necks.

Could you imagine the reaction in Liverpool if they finish the season without any silverware or a spot in the CL?

Ahsan said...

yes, i think it will be along the lines of pakistan not qualifying for the super eights after losing to ireland. and we know how that turned out.