Friday, December 18, 2009

Stuttgart? Yes, Stuttgart

Give me a moment, will you?


Good times. Seriously, I know all those cliches about hatched chickens and what not, but seriously, just put Barcelona in the pot for the last eight so we can get the draw started early. The only suspense is how bad Barca will make Hleb feel for being useless, not learning Spanish or Catalan, and bitching about the team and his place on the bench after he left.

I'm actually super excited about some of these ties, given that this year, the quality was overwhelmingly in the top spots in each group (last year, by contrast, Chelsea, Inter, Arsenal and Real were all second place in their group, making the ties almost inevitably tasty). The headline event will, of course, be Jose Mourinho's return to Stamford Bridge. Though I don't know who I'm going to root for -- this will be the football equivalent of an India-Australia cricket match -- I do know it's going to be captivating. My inclination is to suggest that Chelsea will be too strong for Inter, but the tie is two months from now, and who knows what's happening at that time?

The other headline event is, of course, United and Milan. Milan are playing pretty well, probably the best they've played in three years. Pato is getting up close to that "world class" level, Ronaldinho has shed some weight, and they look more organized as a general rule. Plus, without Ronaldo, I don't see where United's goals are going to come from against top teams in Europe.

Reserving the right to change my opinion closer to the date when injuries, form etc all will become clear, here are my quick predictions on the last 16 of the Champions League:

1. Barcelona vs. Stuttgart -- please.

2. Inter vs. Chelsea -- Chelsea relatively comfortably (say 3-1 on aggregate).

3. Lyon vs Real Madrid -- Real in a high scoring tie (say 5-3 on aggregate).

4. Milan vs. Man United -- Milan squeaking by (say 2-1 on aggregate).

5. Porto vs. Arsenal -- Arsenal on away goals (say 2-2 on aggregate).

6. Sevilla vs. CSKA -- The weather gets Sevilla (say 1-0 on aggregate).

7. Olympiakos vs. Bordeaux -- Bordeaux in a canter (say 3-0 on aggregate).

8. Bayern vs. Fiorentina -- An absolute toss-up. Really have no idea. Let's just give it to Bayern because I feel bad about what happened last year. Bayern on away goals (2-2 on aggregate).



Ali K. said...

/ Plus, without Ronaldo, I don't see where United's goals are going to come from against top teams in Europe./


Darren Fletcher ofcourse!

Anonymous said...

Offtrack, but this video is brilliant

adeel said...

Even though Barca are favourites still overall, let's please give Stuttgart credit for putting in a solid show today, at least certainly in the first half, don't take it away from them by saying it was just Barca not showing up initially ;)

Ahsan said...

1. Barca didn't show up initially.

2. The moon has a flatter and smoother surface than that pitch.

3. Pep played the wrong team (Iniesta should never be LW -- either Henry or Pedro should always be there to provide width; don't need both Yaya and Busquets in the same team).

4. 2-1 would've made it interesting, but they're out. Done. Dusted.