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Latest posts by Don T (see all)
- World Cup 2018 Preview: Argentina – Incredible Talent, Complete Chaos – May 25, 2018
- 2018 World Cup Preview: The Uruguay Way – May 18, 2018
- Enough Decorum: The Sports That Are Total SH*T – May 12, 2018
My friend Balls of Steel and Fury, Esq. notoriously scoffs at English teams making the Champions League knockout stages. I can do without English teams most of the time, which does not apply to top English Premier League teams. The distinction is clear, because the great EPL teams are as English as arroz con pollo.
Since 2008, the United Arab Emirates owns Manchester City. (Dear Corp. Law pedants: I’m aiming for concision; full info from Wikipedia here). The coach, Pep Guardiola, is from Catalonia. Looking at their roster, out of 30 players currently with the club, five are English—and only three can be considered regular contributors: Raheem Sterling, John Stones, and Fabian Delph.
Liverpool is owned by the fucking Red Sawx since 2010. Their manager is the nicest German eva and… OK, Liverpool has 12 Brits, of which nine are English—please don your sunglasses to protect from the star power of the notables: Adam Lallana, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, and James Milner. Now, distinguishing between Brit / English ain’t pedantry. This is me listening to a Scottish friend when I called him “English”:
Totally my bad.
Point is: the EPL is the top moneymaking league, thanks to TV money and talent culled from everywhere BUT England. With notable exceptions, the English SUCK at playing AND managing fútbol. Who’s the best English manager right now? No fucken idea, but the “names” are terrible: Allardyce, Hodgson, Moyes, Pardew…
Yes; as far as I’m concerned, Moyes is an English cooch. Never say I don’t luv ya, Scotland.
I’d say Eddie Howe has been tremendous for Bournemouth, and the Burnley guy (Sean Dyche) deserves recognition. Promoting small teams into the EPL and having them become mid-table perennials is very hard. But enough of grinders; the Champions is a crème de la crème competition.
ALL TIMES CENTRAL
Liverpool (UK) vs. Manchester City (UK) – 1:45 PM
Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah, the Egyptian international, has 29 goals in the EPL. No one else, in Europe, has more than 26. Roberto Firmino is also a top, TOP player:
Liverpool has been coasting in the Champions League. In the EPL, LIV has taken hard losses against top teams as a visitor (5-0 at ManC, 4-1 at Spurs, 2-1 at ManU), plus a 1-0 loss at Swansea. At home, Liverpool’s unbeaten and, in the EPL, it handed Man City its only defeat of the season 4-3.
Yeah yeah; Man City lost a cup match in England and two dead-rubber Champions games against Shakhtar and FC Basel—with B-teams. Sergio Agüero and Raheem Sterling are third and fourth, respectively, in the EPL top scorers table.
This game will be tense and balanced. I’ll be watching the Spanish feed—what’s the deal with English announcers and names that end in a vowel? Agoo Ererr? It’s Agooeroh! Gimme a break. [UPDATE: BBC Sport reported today that Agüero is out. Still, I stand by my perceived cultural slight about English announcers.]
Predicción: Liverpool 2 – 1 ManC
Hippo: Life is not going well, but it’s been awhile since I took one off the balls so hard that I couldn’t properly inhale. This week has been full of Evertonian talk of how we Blues would gladly take a drubbing in this weekend’s Derby in exchange for having the Redshite safely out of the Champions League. If they get past City, or even have hope after the first leg, the fear will be suffocating. My brain says City 4-2, but I am going with The Darkest Timeline.
Predicción: Redshite 3 – 1 (Ian Curtis turns over in his grave, Hippo goes to the v-profen factory in the sky)
Balls: If y’all think I’m going to talk nice about EPL teams in the Champions League, you must have me confused with another Mexican. The best thing that could have happened to EPL fans is that ONE team is guaranteed to be in the semifinals.
As it is, the LEAST English team happens to also be the best. Pep has adapted well to the EPL and is essentially dragging it out of the kick-it-long-and-chase prehistoric tactics the English have been mocked so long for. That’s like every NHL team playing dump and chase instead of carrying the puck into the offensive zone. It is boring and it’s ineffectual.
Prediction: City is the better side and will show it over two legs. Liverpool will play well at home, though, so let’s call it a 1-1 draw.
Litre_Cola: I think that Man City has a shot to win the whole thing, they are a good blend of International players with class who have adapted to rough and tumble English play. I really don’t care either way as long as Real doesn’t win and after yesterday they are through to the semis. Which one of these sides do I think could beat Real? City, most definitely.
Liverpool has been an absolute joy to watch in the prem this year and I rate Klopp as a top 3 manager in the world at the moment. Mo Salah is absolutely phenomenal and how the redneck Pool fans have accepted him is fantastic. Sadly I do not think that they will progress.
Prediction: Liverpool 1 Manchester City 1, the all important road goal.
FC Barcelona (Still Spain) vs. AS Roma (Take a Guess) – 1:45 PM
Messi is beyond overestimation. ‘Nuff said. He’s been dinged, missing the two friendlies for Argentina during International Break last week. Medics from FC Barcelona attended those matches, and were kept abreast of Messi’s state. My guess is doctors from the Argentina National Team will attend this Champions match, and will keep a close watch on the proceedings inside the underground stockade at the Camp Nou.
Dr. Mauro Spinetta, of the Argentine
Football Assn. requests a copy
of the starting lineup
Roma, what can I say. It was the team everyone in the Champions draw wanted to play. Memes don’t lie:
I gave Roma zero credit the last time they played, in their second leg match against Shakhtar Donetsk. It turned out to be a lively game, with a lot of good defense by Roma (IMHO). Plus, Edin Dzeko is an able forward, despite resembling a ‘roided Peter Crouch with lubricated limbs. And manager Eusebio DiFrancesco looks a lot like Elvis Costello.
And yet, Barcelona’s players are the attractions in this game. Roma, the backing lambs to slaughter.
Predicción: Barça 2 – 0 Roma.
Hippo: I am bold enough to predict that Roma will score. Beyond that, you are on your own. Didya know this gets FS1 coverage, ahead of the two Premiership sides? Just goes to show how big dat Barça name brand really is, yo. Enjoy your shite FS2 standard def (it’s HD if one streams it, as I will), Redcoats.
Predicción: Barça 4 – 1 Roma.
Balls: Messi played all of 30 minutes against Sevilla and that made all the difference. He didn’t necessarily run hard, but he made enough plays to salvage a tie and Barcelona’s unbeaten streak in La Liga. The injury situation is tricky as no one wants him to get worse and miss significant time or GASP the World Cup.
I think Valverde has a tough decision ahead of him. I would start Messi on the bench and bring him on in the second half, if needed. Then, I’d go with a mix of youth and experience to season and sharpen the young guys.
Predicción: A tight 0-0 first half leads to decision time in the second for Valverde. Messi comes on and Barcelona score 1 to get a bien sufrida victoria de 1-0 over Roma.
Litre: I like this draw a lot I really hope that Barca moves on and gets Real in the next round so the is MOAR CLASSICOS FOAR ALL!!! The Catalans can turn it on and off, and they have Messi who is otherworldly.
I miss Totti, he was a fantastic talisman for Roma and could always be counted on in big games. The man never left the club of his youth and hated Lazio with all of his soul. It is cool though, they hated him too but were proper in his goodbye.
Predicción: Barça 3 – Roma 1. Messi bangs in two real late.