It has been rumored that the Champions League this year is robust with talented and legit teams.
The rumors are true:
Chelsea 4, Bordeaux 0
Bordeaux may have been the most uninspired team of the first round. I didn't expect much of them going into the Fortress but there was a moment in the game when Bords missed a sitter down 2-nil and I got to thinking how nice it would have been for them to leave England with an away goal. The game never really materialized for them and Chelsea looked like they were having fun. Lampard barely celebrated his wide open header and Joe Cole smiled annoyingly after his flick-on goal from no angle off a corner. Gosh, writing that makes me irritated. Anyway, then Eaux collapsed and the two kings of garbage time smashes, namely, Florent Malouda and Le Suck, scored easily just in case there was a 2nd leg to played. Turns out there isn't. Way to go Bordeaux.
Roma 1, CFR Cluj-Napoca 2
Highlights will self-destruct soon.
I'm going to try and go the remainder of the group stages without a horrendously cheesy joke about CFR Cluj-Napoca's choice of squad name. Honestly I hope to last this paragraph. Anyway, CFR absolutely diagnosed* Roma. Rome hasn't been sacked like this since 1527. I kinda with CFR was a French team because that historical reference would be a little more savvy. Regardless, Juan Culio crushed any lingering thoughts that Roma might escape from their early season slump with two brilliant strikes. Roma has looked so awful the last 3 games it's beginning to pass "slump" stages and enter into "diarrhea" mode - currently what the Cardinals are in just in case you were wondering. CFR should have won this game 3-1 and maybe even 4-1. It wasn't close.
Napoca better not blow this - something difficult to do at home - but I've seen Totti steal games more guarded than this.
*diagnosed - the new term I'm trying to get to stick. As in, I went to the cancer clinic and got straight diagnosed, it was terrible.
Panathinaikos 0, Inter Mourinho 2
When Ibrahimovic is on, he's on. If you haven't seen the highlight yet, look up Inter's first goal. Something possesses Zlatan and he dogs a play for 40 meters until finally he wins possession and gifts Mancini a relatively easy goal. Other than that, the Greeks couldn't seem to crack Inter's armor in a somewhat sloppy game that saw the likes of Adriano seal a win. I'm intrigued with Adriano by the way. He was apparently torching dudes during his rehab/comeback stint over in Sao Paulo and I wonder if he can keep it up. Mourinho, who I've started to really dislike since he dissed Arsenal, is just the type of coach that may inspire Adriano to play for a better contract.
Werder 0, Anorthosis 0
FC Basel 1, Shaktar Donetsk 2
Saint Jakob park still hasn't recovered from England's chirades as FC Basel fell at home. I don't know much about these teams but I must say its worth the highlights because the goals in this game were absolutely phenomenal.
Barcelona 3, Sporting Lisbon 1
I still don't think Barca has recovered from whatever it is that ails them. For me, the only reason that is disappointing is because a player like Messi should never have to deal with a struggling team. If somehow Barcelona doesn't qualify for The League next year by shatting La Liga, the soccer soul in me will die a little. Kinda like how it dies a little whenever he tears his hamstring, or how Kaka will not be splitting dudes as they collide. Sigh.
PSV Eindhoven 0, Athletic Madrid 3
Sergio Kun Aguero. Wow. He played powerful, fulfilling futbol today. His hair is flowing and so are his short strides. Madrid looked good in their Unis and looked like they belonged in the Champions League. This is a team I want matching up with everyone. I look forward to more of their matches.
Marseille 1, Steven Gerrard 2
Must see highlights... that will self-destruct of course.
(Shaking head) (roll eyes) (deep breath) Alright, Stevey G is really good. He made nothing into something absolutely brilliant and the announcers are right - only Steven Gerrard. Marseille gets my award for "friskiest team so far" and that makes Group D all that much more interesting. I'm predicting the Madrid-Marseille tie to be something like Fenerbahce-Anyone last year. Anyhoo, this match was easily the game of The League so far and it pains me to say it but Liverpool looks scary. I always thought Babel was good and it appears he's seeing more playing time which is bad news for everyone else. So long as Torres is healthy and Captain Fantastic is too then I believe Pool is worrisome.
On a side-note: I'm beginning to understand why Gerrard and Lampard were the twin saviours for the English squad going into 2006 (more like the twin towers... zing!!). I still don't think it's justified and here's why. Stevey G and Lampard are so over-exposed in the EPL that if they experience a normal amount of success, which is what I think they've experienced (Torres being the most amount of success and hmmm, lets go with Shevchenko as being the least), then due to their over exposure, fans are going to think they are sweet. But as it turns out, they play like, 50 games a year and yes, they do absolutely shine in some of them. But the World Cup is a 3 game set, and if you're fortunate, more than that, and it turns out Gerrard and Lampard were slumping - sorry.
Ah but I digress. Enjoy tomorrow - I know I will.
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.