Today, we get to know which team will join Manchester City in the next round and how many goals City will score on those poor boys from Switzerland.
To the games!
Manchester City v Basel
Balls: If I remember correctly, we all correctly predicted that City would win and score at least 3 goals. They actually scored 4 (FOUR!) to Basel’s zero (or nil, if you’re so inclined).
The only thing I could think of to enliven the preview was to give you a Basil Fawlty gif. Here is another:
Which is what our Swiss boys will be saying about Pep.
PREDICTION: 3-0 to the home team as Pep eases up and the reserves play a lot.
Hippo: I am going out on a ledge here, as I have seen City lose their edge in a match that kinda sorta meant sommet (FA Round of 16 tie against Wigan), and surely Team Spice Rack is better than League One Wigan? I am going with a result that pays out 20 to 1, because I am bored. And because it changes absolutely fuckall.
PREDICTION: 1-2 to the visitors (5-2 to the swingin’ dicks of Man City on aggregate)
Litre_Cola: Well we all know what is going to happen here. Pep is going to roll out his “B” side who would be in the top 6 in the prem anyway. We can still have hope that Young Boys make it to Europe next year. I will not be gambling on this game even though I am sure we all agree that this is a sure bet.
PREDICTION: 2-0 Man City “B” team in a match I will not be watching.
Don T: Basel FC fortified its hospitable reputation by laying down after the first goal in Man City’s 4-0 shellacking in the first leg. Thus, this match is dead-rubber, tied by a yellow ribbon.
Man City’s manager, Pep Guardiola, has been wearing a yellow ribbon in solidarity with Catalonian politicians jailed by Spanish authorities. For declaring independence in the local parliament—damn: sedition through Robert’s Rules of Order.
The only ones really pissed about the ribbon, surprise, are the English FA. Them folks are still the world leaders in toff condescension. FA boss Martin Glenn explained that Pep’s yellow ribbon falls inside banned “highly divisive” political symbols, like “the Star of David, […] the hammer and sickle, […] a swastika, anything like Robert Mugabe on your shirt—these are the things we don’t want.” An “Isis badge” was also thrown in there, to validate total prickness.
The golden promotional tie-in with Brexit was RIGHT THERE, but the English FA are only concerned with well-heeled subjects—especially foreign folks. Without European (and South American) talent, the EPL would consist of Burnley and 19 Stoke City / Norwiches. In sum, fuck Martin Glenn and the FAssholes.
Predicción: ManC 1 – 0 FC Basel (Manchester City advances 5-0 in aggregate).
Tottenham v Juventus (2-2)
This may be the most bananas game of this entire round. This will actually be one of those ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN games. To that, I can only add that it would be really cool if a bunch of buddies from Italy raced each other, two on train, one in a Mustang GT, to get to the game…
PREDICCIÓN: Italians win a Cray Cray 1-2 game.
Hippo: This is absolutely the match everyone is looking for, and my inner Eeyore worries that the match will be a total wet fart and stroll in the park for Italy’s bae (as the betting lines are absolutely all over Spurs). I mean, Dele Alli and Harry Kane are really fucking good, but they are swimming against the tide of history here. But I want this really badly, for one of the “unfashionable” sides of the Premiership to be the one that breaks through in Champions League play. Let it be Spurs, in added time.
PREDICCIÓN: 3-2, Son scoring the winner in the 100th minute or so (5-4 Spurs on aggregate).
Litre_Cola: I have been really looking forward to this one, and I will hopefully be escaping work in order to watch this game. I think top to bottom Tottenham is the most entertaining to watch from England. Hear me out. Kane, Alli and Son are electric on offense and the Dane Eriksen and ex-Fulham midfielder Dembele steady the side in the midfield. The reason they are exciting is that on defense they are susceptible to the counter and other gaffes.
Juve will defend, then defend, then they will defend some more and then catch you on the counter while you’re napping. As I have stated I don’t want the most interesting man in the world Buffon to have his swan song yet. I rarely watch Italian football and Turin is lovely but an absolute bitch to drive in.
PREDICCION: 2-2 Oh we goin to extra time bullleee dat. Juve through on kicks due to Buffon. (I did not read Hippo’s preddicion prior to writing this)
Don T: Kickoff time promises a barrage of vindictiveness and petty squabbles—but I’d rather not talk about work. So, again, it’s DVR for me, and this game promises “Keep Until Manually Deleted” status.
Spurs are ON FIYAH: only one home loss this season (on August 20, against Chelski), and they’ve gone three months without a loss in all competitions. (That loss was in ManC, who scored four on Spurs; the only game this season they’ve allowed more than two goals.) In the Champions, Spurs are undefeated in seven games, winning five and two draws (1-1 at Fucking Real Madrid, at the 2-2 in the first leg at Juve). Soccerstats.com also says that Spurs score 60% of their goals in the second half, which suggests resilience. More on that aspect: in the first leg, Juve led Spurs 2-0 after the first ten minutes.
The broad consensus favors Tottenham. In advance of this game, Juventus goalie Gianluigi Buffon was asked the yearly question on whether this will be his last Champions League season. (This topic is usually brought up by the Champions semis.) Gigi, an all-timer at goaltending and being a righteous dude, answered the same way as always. The guy’s the bizarro Brett Favre: everyone foists retirement upon Buffon, and he always says there’s more to come.
Classless “name” forward Mario Mandzukic is out for this game,
Thus, Juve will have to rely on Douglas Costa and the Argentinian duo of Paulo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuaín. Last year, Dybala was hailed as “the new Messi”; this year he’s been injured and did not play in the first leg. It’s do or die, so he’ll play. Higuaín scored Juve’s two goals in the last game and, true to his gaucho roots, missed a PK at the end of the first half. Higuaín’s a strange cat: a top scorer, who still holds the Serie A season goal record, but has the gait of a beer drinker and the speed of a chain smoker.
Still, you gotta give it to him: he’s relentless in front of goal. Whatev; I’ll never miss him.
Predicción: Spurs 2 – 1 Juve (Tottenham advances 4-3 on aggregate).