The undeniable truths:
- 4 capable teams all from the English Premier League out of the 32 teams that qualified make up half of the teams remaining. Perspective - 1 Italian, 1 Turkish, 1 Spanish, 1 German
- Both Jim Edward and, emphasis on - and the Great Robert Pires agree that this indicates the strength of the EPL (Jim did publish his thoughts first for any sheep accusers out there)
- Who the deuce am I to disagree with Rob Pires and Edward Stanley?
Facts worth noting*
- Manchester United advanced past Lyon. Nobody, except maybe this guy, argues that the French Ligue as a whole competes with the EPL. Man U fulfilled expectations right? Right.
- Arsenal advanced past AC Milan. It's not Arsenal's fault last years Chammmmpppppiiiiiooooon has Stephon Marbury'd, but fallen from grace they certainly have. Yes, yes, if you're a Gunner you could contend that Arsenal caused ACs downward spiral. Not so much - they were 5th when they entered the fray (maybe 6th) and they're 5th after they busted out. They've been struggling immensely. I've watched their last 6 games (starting before CL and after) and man does Pirlo look tired. More on that later. Anyway, the point still stands, (then) 1st place Arsenal beat 5th place AC Milan - expectations again.
- Chelsea advanced past Olympiacos. Nobody, except maybe this guy, argues that the Super League (despite their name) as a whole comes even close to the EPL.
- And then there is Liverpool past Intenmen Milan. This was an upset. It turns me into the angry Serie A penguin just thinking about Materazzi mouthing out "duo??!?!?!" and holding up two fingers with an expression that screamed, you can't be effing serious that's my second yellow. The Gerrard goal to me occurred in slow motion (except it was in real time) and I'm still on conspiracy watch after Burdisso got his duo of yellows turned red. I will always remember Torres' goal. For some reason I had this (nap) dream after the game that this really attractive Italian grad student was staying with me for study abroad and as we're approaching this sick Georgetown party, Torres opens the door, gives my girl a classy look up-and-down, puts his arm around her waist, pulls her inside and smiles at me while he slams the door - SLAM! Wake up sweating - still gives me goosebumps right now.
So in summary I believe it's one round too soon to start assuming the EPL is as good as they probably are and you heard it right here first, Arsenal/Liverpool will be the only English sides to advance from here.**
* if you're trying to prove my point
** hop on friendly monkey