Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A rather hasty CL Preview

Who is more intelligent: Sepp, Gordon Brown, or the balls they're holding?

As noted in a previous post, the CL groups are ready to go, and things will begin in an hour or so. I made my predictions way back when, but now it's everyone else's turn to estimate who's going through to the knockouts.

Has anyone picked BATE? Could anyone even identify Borisov on a map? We shall find out!

Chelsea, AS Roma, Girondins Bordeaux, CFJ Cluj

One of the softest groups in the competition (thanks to Mr. Abramovich and his clever hidden network of payoffs), and we almost have a consensus amongst the group. It will be Spartak London and AS Roma advancing through on a landslide, if not for the nationalistic myopia of resident Frenchie, The NY Kid. He is confident that Bordeaux will make it to the next round, where they'll almost certainly lose anyway. The French sure do love the agony of delayed heartbreak.

Inter Milan, Werder Bremen, Anorthosis Famagusta, Panathanaikos

This is the group with by far the best names. Mourinho should suffer no such Anorthosis in waltzing past the rest, and we all agree: this is an Inter Milan group through and through, except for Precious Roy, who has the Greeks gutsying past 'em for the group win (unless that was a mere formatting issue in his email; it could swing either way).

Behind that, a whole mess of questions. Bremen's an unknown quantity, and you never know what you're going to get from a Greek side. It's either a 1-0 win or a 5-1 defeat. Thusly, such confusion spread to the UF braintrust, as opinion split 50/50 between the bruisers from Germany, and the defensive boredom brought by Panathanaikos.

One thing we could agree on: Famagusta have less chance of qualifying than Chinese Democracy has of topping the charts.

FC Barcelona, Sporting Lisbon, FC Basel, Shakhtar Donetsk

Another slew of unpronounceables. Everyone picked Barca and Sporting, to the surprise of no-one.

Liverpool, PSV Eindhoven, Olympique Marseille, Atletico Madrid

Tons of intrigue here, at least in possible storylines, but not with UF when it comes to boldly proclaiming that LFC will live to canter another day. Beyond that, a lot of variety (well, as much variety as having three teams to choose from could bring).

The NY Kid once again exhibited his unflinching loyalty to that most uninteresting of leagues, selecting Olympique as his group runner-up. u75 went to another uninteresting league for his pick of PSV, whereas the rest preferred the flair of the other Madrid.

This is definitely the wrong group to bet money on.

Manchester United, Villarreal CF, Celtic, Aalborg BK

For every Russian string-puller, there's also a gum-chewing Scottish contingent hell-bent on rigging the odds in their favour, and it comes in this absolute cake of a group. 2 teams in Celtic and Villareal that they've played (and dispatched of handily) in the Champions League, and then a team from Scandinavia, which might as well translate to "6 points" in English.

Thusly, no-one of the crowd displayed the testicles necessary to pick away from the crowd, as Manchester United and Villareal are the ones with the golden tickets..... EXCEPT ONE. (can you see where this flimsy conceit is going yet?)

The NY Kid, bold and perhaps stupid, feels Celtic can shimmy and glasgow kiss their way past the La Liga outfit to claim a sacrificial lamb place in the next round. If he displays any more outliers, I'm going to have to assume he's picking at random. If there's a BATE pick in there, I might have to step down as a blogger and as a human being.

Olympique Lyon, Bayern Munich, Steaua Bucharest, Fiorentina

Well, there's a French team in here too, but thankfully everyone else picked Lyon and Bayern to cruise on, so no NY Kid joke in this one. Phew.

Arsenal, FC Porto, Fenerbahce, Dinamo Kiev

Arsenal are gifted passage into the next round by virtue of the fact that a. they're a good side and b. just about every UF staff member is a Gooners fan. The 50/50 split beyond that is for the Portugese and the Turkish, which makes me almost want to go back and pick Kiev just so they don't feel left out. It's only the kind, NY Kid-esque thing to do.

Real Madrid, Juventus, Zenit St. Petersburg, Bate

Mercifully, a rather soft group to close out. Lots of squabbling about the 1-2 order, but almost everyone has Real and Juve so it's immaterial. The Fan's Attick fancies the Russians (as does our favourite prognosticator, The NY Kid), and to be fair, they're a stylish pick right now having dispatched of Man U in the SuperCup. However, Liverpool just beat them, thus neutering the impact and significance of Zenit's performance a little bit. Still, it'd be nice to see one of the juggernauts fall, especially either one of these two snooty collectives.


So there you have it. Close to 1000 words (probably), and yet no closer to figuring out who's winning this bloody thing. I mean, we can't be that bold, can we?

(Of course, I am picking LFC, instantly making me several notches worse than NY Kid on the guessing game scale)


Andrew said...

Spartak London is brilliant. Keep it.

Mike Georger said...

bayern to take it all

Lingering Bursitis said...

Thank you Andrew. It shall now, and forever be, the UF name for Chelsea.

The NY Kid said...

I am nothing if not a predictable homer.

ΓΌ75 said...

The Eredivisie is not uninteresting, it's just poor. Make sure you know the distinction.

strong like bull smart like tractor said...

Spartak London it is, but only if I can refer to the 'pool as Athletico Mersey.

Lingering Bursitis said...

Have at it, StrongBull. It would be Atletico, not Athletico though. I still like it

strong like bull smart like tractor said...

Sorry, accidentally combined Atletico Madrid and Athletic Bilbao in my brain while typing. Atletico Mersey it will be.