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I Missed Me Some Champions League

180px UEFA Champions League logo 2 svg I Missed Me Some Champions League

It’s that time again, time to listen to the official Champions League Hymn that we hear before and after TV matches and sing as high as we can. Don’t kid yourself; you do it, I do it, it’s no big deal, even if we don’t understand the words.

The Champions League is back tomorrow and I couldn’t be any more excited. There are some mouth-watering ties in the Round of 16 and to me, one of the best of the bunch will be on TV tomorrow as Liverpool hosts Inter Milan on ESPN2.

I made my predictions the week that the draw came out and did a small capsule for each pairing, so if you’re interested in those, go back to the blog archive from around Christmastime.

Just to put it on the record though, I’ll list the eight teams that I believe will advance right now:

Liverpool
AC Milan
Chelsea
Manchester United
Real Madrid
Barcelona
Porto
Fenerbahce

I know where I’ll be at 2:30 PM tomorrow afternoon, and hopefully you’ll be able to find a nice couch as well and enjoy the commentary from ESPN’s Derek Rae and Tommy Smyth, two of the best in the business. Should be a good game at Anfield; I can’t wait to watch.

The Champions!

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26 Responses to I Missed Me Some Champions League

  1. Kartik says:

    The manager who loses the Inter-Liverpool tie is going to be looking for work. Mancini maybe atop Serie A but in the eyes of many all of his Serie A titles look suspect and his accomplishments in Europe have been nill while rival Milan wins trophies and glory.

  2. Hudsonland says:

    Derek Rae gets a pass out of sympathy for having to work with Tommy but on what planet does Smyth count as one of the best? The man is a one-line, zero-comprehension, 37-IQ, audio monstrosity.

  3. TT says:

    Glad you said that, I don’t even live in the US so hardly get to hear the man thankfully. Decent bloke though (EPL Talk podcast interviewee) and no doubt he was a bloody good house painter too before he landed this gig.

  4. Michael says:

    Fellas, who else would you prefer as the color commentator? Eric Wynalda? Marcelo Balboa? John Harkes?

    Tommy Smyth is the best that ESPN has to offer on that side of the microphone. Granted, that’s not saying a whole heck of a lot, but come on. He’s not terrible and at least he maintains a sense of neutrality and professionalism in the broadcast booth, unlike any of the three guys I mentioned earlier.

  5. dragonki2012 says:

    damir selimovic is who i’d want to be the other commentator, that’s me btw.

    I disagree with some of ur predictions though buddy:
    Porto
    Real Madrid
    Chelsea
    Inter
    Arsenal
    Sevilla
    Man Utd
    Barca

    I think Celtic and Liverpool have the best chance of an upset, ESPECIALLY ACMilan

  6. Kartik says:

    Well for starters ESPN used to use Seamus Malin on these telecasts and US National Team matches until they ran him off. Also a number of color commentators for specific MLS clubs do a good job. That is after all where ESPN found Smyth in the first place when he did color commentary, albeit very poorly with the Metrostars. He was paired at various times with Glen Davis or Adrian Healy both of whom made him look very very good.

  7. jim says:

    Liverpool 0, Inter Milan 0

    the comma in an american scoreline: is there a special reason for that? makes it look like two separate games, instead of one.

  8. HamTheZenithMan says:

    Derek Rae is fairly good, but Smyth doesn’t know anything about football. He’s got no insight into the game and his puns are absolutely void of humor. Gaffer, or whoever posted this, please tell us why you think he’s worth anything? Is it the accent that fools you into thinking what he says has any merit to it?

  9. HamTheZenithMan says:

    Michael. Both Wynalda and Harkes are better than Smyth. Smyth’s lack of comprehension really becomes apparent when he’s co-analysing with Wynalda, as happened a few times during the last MLS season. Wynalda never, ever agrees with what Smyth is saying. And say what you like about EW, he knows about football. Personally out of the four you mentioned, I like Harkes the best. Balboa, oh well. If it was between him and Smyth, I think I’d just prefer to end it all in the village pond.

  10. Aroon says:

    Your xmas predictions are little different from wat u have mentioned here.. I do feel liverpool will be knocked off and i think it will be for the best the club if they did.. i think they need the wrath of their fans for the club to do well next season.. United will def go thru with chelsea .. and Arsenals pacy game will surely upset milan…

  11. Michael says:

    Aroon, go back and check them again. I predicted these same eight teams to advance back in December; not sure where you’re seeing that I changed some of them now.

  12. Hudsonland says:

    I’ll second what Kartik says about Seamus Malin. I kinda like Waldo, but his constant contrarian act does get tiresome. Smyth is just a performing seal.

    Liverpool Inter is a fascinating match-up. On paper, Inter should walk it, but they under-perform in Europe and Liverpool do the opposite. Add in the pressure on Rafa (lose and he’s out?) and pretty much anything can happen.

  13. Eli says:

    I second Michael’s opinion. I enjoy Tommy Smyth. He understands the game. And he’s neutral.

    Wynalda? Waaay too opinionated. I think if he toned it down he’d be pretty decent. Harkes and Balboa? No freakin’ way! Seamus is good but often adds too much explanation, like he’s talking to complete novices of the game. I think that’s the problem with most US commentators in general.

  14. Kartik says:

    Seamus talked that way because when he began commenting he was talking to novices of the game here in the states. He and Paul Gardner have the same style.

  15. Alex Hleb says:

    why would you pick milan over the Arse?
    why?
    and why would it be an upset for the leader of the premier league (5 points clear, one hand on the trophy) beating a barely 4th place Serie A team? especially one with an average age of about 45.

    please, some one tell me why ray hudson hasnt been hired by espn to replace tommy smyshit yet?

    you tell me how ac milan will actually score against arsenal? or how ac milan will stop adebayorrr adeebayooor give him the ball and he will score.? or eduardo or fab cesc or gael clichy running up and down the left flank or, etc.

    ac milan will play behind the ball the whole game, but we’ve gone through this before with teams like slavie prague and beat them 7-0. another team like milan is blackburn who we beat in the league and during that rainy night in the carling cup with our young guys and a man down. we came back and one 3-2.we’re a different team from last year and we have the experience. we’ve played the most games of any team this year. ac milan is just another blackburn. we’re fighting for every goal this year and theres no limit on the way we score. as fabio copello says, we’re a dangerous team. we defend with 10 men and attack with 6, our counter attack is lightening quick. but the best thing about us is that we have heart, something i dont think milan has. theyve seen it all before and i just dont think theyll make the extra effort to win. most of their team is in their twilight . kaka’s heart is somewhere in spain by now, he just thinking about the shoes he’s going to wear at the press conference in madrid when he signs for real.

    tomarrows result- arsenal 3- milan 0

  16. Michael says:

    3-0?? Would you like to bet something on that?

    I never said that Arsenal beating AC Milan would be an upset, but technically it would be considering that AC Milan won their group and Arsenal didn’t, and AC Milan won the Champions League last year.

    You lost all credibility to me when you compared AC Milan, the defending European champions, to Blackburn Rovers and Slavia Prague.

    AC Milan doesn’t have heart? Oh ok, say that to Gattuso or Maldini or Inzaghi or Cafu or Seedorf and see what happens. Tell that to Alexandre Pato, who was so overcome with emotion after his first career senior team goal that he actually cried.

    Arsenal has so much heart; so much so that two teammates nearly fought each other on the field a couple weeks ago. Yep, that’s heart for you.

    Here’s the deal. Fabregas will be hounded so closely all night by Gattuso that the Spanish lad won’t be able to breathe without Gattuso hearing. Fabregas thrives on space and room to pass the ball; Gattuso will give him none of that.

    The combination of Alexandre Pato, Gilardino, Pippo Inzaghi, and Kaka is more dangerous than anything Arsenal has seen all year, and this is a back line that just gave up 4 goals to a Cristiano Ronaldo-less Manchester United.

    I don’t care how fast your counter attack is because AC Milan won’t be playing an all-out attacking style tomorrow; they’ll look to slow the game down and play for one away goal. Arsenal will be forced to play a long-ball style game because of Gattuso and Seedorf’s ability to break up everything in the midfield, and I’m not sure that Adebayor will be able to thrive in a European environment.

    I will tell you how AC Milan will score against Arsenal. Flamini and Silva (whichever plays) aren’t good enough to contain Kaka. Clichy and Sagna aren’t good enough defensively to contain Pato and Gilardino. A goal will be scored by one of those three players, I guarantee it.

    Tomorrow’s result–AC Milan-1, Arsenal-1

  17. Alex Hleb says:

    1.remember, we did beat juventus a few years ago, even though they were match fixing, ..with even less experience , and we beat real madrid.

    2. arsene wenger has only lost 3 games out of 12 games to serie a teams

    3. Valerio Fiori is standing in goal for milan, ..he hasnt played since 2003

    4. flamin flamini is our own gattuso, he’s been very underrated this season but has performed consistently every night

    5. sagna is one of the best defensive right backs, i dont know where you get your player analysis from, the only reason he would let up on defense is because he’s always looking to attack,.. he is a regular call up for the french

    6. gattuso isnt fit, as he’s been battling with injury

    7. our centre backs have been suspect but they are good enough to contain milan, if they were good enough to contain chelsea and liverpool

    8. dont count head butting into not having heart, adebayor head butting bendtner was showing that he had heart, but he was caught up in the moment and just trying to put the youngster in his place

    9. please disregard the fa cup game against man u, it was a disaster, we’re just not going for the domestic cups this year and just focusing on the leagues.

    10. if fabregas is indeed hounded, wont that give me alex hleb and rosicky room to dance in the midfield?

    *we’re going for it tomarrow against milan. so i would say the score will be 3-0. ferraris going up against some old italian first world war humvees painted in red and black..oh and kaka.

  18. BD Condell says:

    Anyone noticed how rattled the gooners are since their humiliation on Saturday?

    Go to any of the Blogs and websites and you’ll find them bleating defensively and excusing Saturday’s hiding with any number of excuses.

    Just hark at Hleb above. With the FA Cup and Champions League coming so close together….it’s clearly the wrong time of month for Arsenal fans!!

    If Milan were to do them on Wednesday watch their season collapse like a house of cards.

    Yep, the pressure is on and the first signs of cold sweat have started to appear on gooners’ upper lips.

    Nervous Hleb??

  19. Josiah says:

    I disagree with your generalization that all Gooners are rattled. I am as big an Arsenal fan as you can find but I am not going to provide an excuse for the fact that our players simply didn’t turn up against Man Utd and it is a game I’d rather forget. However
    as any fan would, I still feel optimistic about the season(Top of the league by 5 points) and if this is considered bleating defensively then I think every football fan has to be guilty as charged.

    It was a bad day for us on the pitch and I do not believe there is a team in the world who does not have these crappy days where nothing goes according to plan. We were simply unlucky to have met United(with a revitalized Rooney) on our bad day. So we lost big. So the performance was horrendous. Does that mean that we Arsenal fans should all be gloomy and conceed that our 5 points lead counts for nuts? I don’t think so.

    As for us Gooners getting the first signs of cold sweat, i say Not at all!! I am enjoying this season very much and I believe I speak for many other Arsenal fans. This was a team you doubters wrote off at the start of the season! This was the team so believed would be pushed off the top four by our North London nemesis! This was the team some believed would not even make it out of the Champions League group stages if they made it pass the qualifying rounds! So considering all these I would say that we have defied critics and I’m damn glad we did. So what if we are no longer in the running for an unprecedented treble? This is a young team and the future is indeed bright.

    Now for the Milan game itself. Every fan believes their team can win fixtures of whatever magnitude so y be so biased against us gooners and scorn us for believing we can get a result against Milan? So perhaps 3-0 is a little hopeful. I may not agree with the predicted scoreline but I like Hleb I do believe in my team and I believe that when they are playing at their best, they are capable of beating every team in the world. Which fan awaits a game anticipating a lost? So cut is some slack I say!

    And finally to Michael, the back 4 that conceded 4 goals to Ronaldo-less MU were without the two first choice defenders, namely, clichy and Sagna. I do not believe that this will be the same line up that plays against Milan. As for team mates nearly fighting, inexcusable and I for one hopes it never happens again. Adeboyor not thriving in Europe, well no one thought he would thrive in the EPL;) Clichy and Sagna not good enough to cuff Pato and Gilardinho..well, we shall see won’t we. Isn’t that one of the joys of football? I say we leave the footballers to do their own talking on the pitch. Cheers!

  20. Alex Hleb says:

    right on Josiah! josiah the messiah.

  21. Alex Hleb says:

    still, im keeping my prediction.

    arsenal 3
    milan 0

  22. Ferd says:

    sad to see your prediction was wrong Hleb but it really could have easily been correct!

  23. Alex Hleb says:

    that was my prediction for the aggregate of both legs

  24. Michael says:

    Alex Hleb, stop lying.

    “tomarrows result- arsenal 3- milan 0″

    That’s a direct quote from your post on the 19th, a day before the first leg. You picked Arsenal to win that game 3-0 and in fact, you did it twice, one more time at 11:11 AM the day of the game.

  25. Alex Hleb says:

    what i meant when i said, tomarrow’s result arsenal 3- milan 0, was that tomarrow’s A result.

    tomarrow is a result.

    arsenal 3- milan 0

    yeah. thats what i meant.

  26. Alex Hleb says:

    but i also want to say that we did get a result. a good result for us because all we need it to score one goal, even if we let in 1 at the san siro. i think thats the only thing they will manage to put on the board if they do manage to put one on the board. because i believe that they wont manage to put one on the board really.

    oh and i believe this picture should serve justice that we should have won 1-0 even when ade missed the header in injury time. take a look at the pic because it should have been a penalty.

    http://img183.imageshack.us/img183/5440/arsenalalw468x308zt8.jpg

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