Something Great

Arsene Wenger cobbled together starting lineups with spit and duct tape and Denilson and somehow the team dragged its ass over the finish line in third or fourth.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Another Great Round...

Of Champions League action has been set. Take a look at the draw here. And here's the bracket which is now in place. Some initial thoughts from the TLOCA headquarters:

Jim on Liverpool vs. Arsenal:

Liverpool and Arsenal must be cursing their luck right now. First off, this draw means that they'll have to play each other THREE TIMES IN A ROW in the beginning of April. Secondly, it means that the road to the trophy (if you're a betting man) after this tie will run through Chelsea and Manchester United. Not really a cupcake schedule. It's bad for Liverpool because Arsenal have definitely had their number over the past few years. It's bad for Arsenal because Torres is on fire and Liverpool turn their game up a notch when they're in Europe. But it's good for us, the viewers, because it should make for two pretty entertaining matches.

Juan's sloppy seconds on Liverpool vs. Arsenal:

The arrogant side of me loves this draw because of its volatility. Liverpool loses it's mythical mystique in the Champions League because the competition is in house and knows them well. It reminds me of how the outside world thinks of Will Smith. Getting jiggy with it right? I Am Legend was a great movie right!... Well he's a Scientologist and everyone in house knows he's fu^$ing crazy.

The cautious, March Sadness side of me (RIP Maryland) is afraid that my new hatred baby born last Wednesday will grow up all too fast if Pool manages to beat Arsenal and the gushing continues. I wanted Liverpool to make like Terry Shiavo last round but if it turns into a Barbaro saga I suppose that will do as well.
With this draw however I do feel that Arsenal is essentially choosing between advancing in the Champions League and keeping pace in the Premiership. I'd love to think Wenger can have it all but I'd also love to think Pujols isn't going to have surgery 22 games into the season.

Jim says about Romechester:

Roma should be getting really amped to play Manchester United. After last year's 7-1 humiliation at Old Trafford, they'll be looking to avenge themselves. They played United pretty tough in the group stages, but lost a close 1-0 contest and eeked out a draw at home. They'll have to step it up, and hope that United gets cocky now that their three English rivals are on the other side of the bracket.

Juan adds about Mana:

I believe that either of these two teams can advance. I think if Roma advances it would be considered an upset to some degree but here at TLOCA that shouldn't be the case. In fact, I think the winner of Arsenal-Liverpool will be the only English side that advances. This English flood into the quarters reminds me of the NCAA Tourny too much. One conference will have a great first and 2nd round, then just about all of them will lose out once conversations about the dominance of the ACC or PAC10 start gelling. The strength of the EPL however is a debate for another time. Onward -

Jimbo Jones on the clean-up:

Barcelona and Chelsea should be penciling themselves into the semifinals. Of course, after what we've seen in the FA Cup, you can't ever count out a team. And Schalke and Fenerbahce certainly know how to scrape together a victory. If things go to penalties, we already know they're capable.

Juan shows you the door:

I'm going to respectfully disagree with my colleague here about Chelsea (this ensures at least one of us will be right, holler!). Olympiacos went all cautious-catherine against Chelsea and they paid the price. If the first round indicates anything it's that Fenerbahce is willing to run with anyone. I like the Turks with the upset spesh.

Let's see here, how much can I continue to hate on Schalke? Let's put it this way - if Barca hadn't lost Messi, which is very very significant, I'd be scouring the internet for a picture of a man in a Barca jersey ramming a homeless woman wearing a Schalke jersey in an alleyway.



Jake said...

i'm pretty speechless about the liverpool arsenal draw, lord knows they need to score at home because they can't expect to get a result in anfield in this competition (ask chelsea) Torres is on fire and perhaps the best striker in the EPL right now, but if torres and gerrard don't have good games liverpool will lose and most likely look awful doing it, so the match really comes down to i suppose three matchups, gallas and toure vs. torres, fabs vs. gerrard, ade vs. cara and skertel, lets look at the schedules before the craziest week of the season, the gunners have to go to stamford bridge (and end chelsea's bijillion match unbeaten streak if they want to win the title) and then they go to the reebok (bolton usually plays arsenal well, but they're just horrific this year, so hopefully not to tough a match) liverpool on the other hand have to go to old trafford (one of the few times i'll ever say i hope they win) and then get everton at anfield right before the crazy week, i think this gives a slight edge to arsenal, also the first two matches are at the emirates they absolutely have to win the league match (a 0-0 draw may be good but probably not in the QL1 match), now lets say everything goes swimmingly the gunners have a perfect week thrash bolton 3-0, then beat liverpool 2-0, 2-1, the next week all they have to do is avoid the daunting task of anfield on a champions league night and then (if they get through or not) avoiding a let down when they go into old trafford, basically FUCK,
but at the beginning of the year i think any gooner would be happy to have this oh so horrible dilemma of competing of the title and champs league.

well i think we can safely say that roma won't be too full of themselves no matter how large their lead going to old trafford is (don't expect totti to make an ass of himself again), they seemed to learn their lesson when they played a great match at the bernabeu, but man u is steaming after being bounced from the FA cup, secretly ferguson thought the treble was within reach (the same way the slam is within reach for Tiger), so for them to do anything less than win the champions league and the league the season would almost feel like a huge disappointment, you would have to be a fool to bet against united,

Thank god fenerbahce got paired with chelsea, there is no way the match can be boring now as it seems all fenerbahce (and the 300 brazilians on that team) know how to do is go forward, Istanbul is a scary environment, it'll be interesting to see which chelsea side comes out (the one content with a 0-0 draw or the one that looks like they can score 10 times a game), i think chelsea will get a result in turkey or at least an away goal and then i think its pretty much all over (of course late heroics can always happen in Europe)

barcelona vs. schalke,
barca has to be jumping to joy with this draw, it buys messi two more weeks to recover from his injury and means he should be back to full strength for the semi's, how good is Messi? well let's see he's 20 years old and not only was he runner-up for world player of the year last year, there are already players being dubbed the new-messi, how is this possible, he CAN"T EVEN DRINK IN THE US, anyway for me he is the key to barca winning the champs league (european scoring record this season 6 games 6 goals, 2 assists, i think had he not been injured 30 minutes in, the goals and/or assists total would be higher, do you really doubt that?)

Juan the Happy Juve Dog said...

I agree the run arsenal has to make is exactly how you outline, "fuck." I'm not quite convinced liverpool is what's important though. Meaning - imagine if we had drawn chelsea, or man utd, the run would have been ManU, ManU, Pool, Chelsea, ManU. The fact that we drew an english side at all was bad but I think we drew the weakest of the bunch. I suppose it's unfortunate that its not another premier race contender cuz now it cant go both ways, but at least i know we can probably get something out of this. Plus I'd rather lose to an effing reasonable team then keep playing great opponents great and then drawing to Wigan.

I also love the mathup you gave of Ade vs cara/skrtel - very favorable for andre 3000

in the end, i kind of hope the draw was rigged because everyone got an interesting yet eerily fair deal

Ben said...

So pumped, but distracted by the AU EAGLES!

Oh, and how about the Cuban players on the U-23 team defecting.