Everything Else

Friday Foofaraw – Fast Kicking, Low Scoring and Ties

As we expand our remit here at FFUD it gives us the chance to pester you with other non-hockey stuff that we like, such as European soccer (you’ve seen it before with English Premier League pieces from our fearless leader). To that end, the quarterfinals of Champions League are coming up in two legs over two weeks. And, despite the fact that my personal rooting interest (Napoli, Serie A) is out, these will still be some quality matches plus there’s the chance for some schadenfreude (at least for me, although unlikely). Let’s line them up:

Tottenham vs. Manchester City

1st leg: Tuesday, 4/9, 2pm central

2nd leg: Wednesday, 4/17, 2pm central

These teams are going to play each other three times in 12 days, with the first two matches being Champions League quarterfinals. Seeing as familiarity breeds contempt it should automatically be interesting, and the Spurs will be bordering on desperate to win this first match to prevent things from getting out of hand. On paper Man City is the better team, and they’ve pulled away from Tottenham in the Premier League table. However, at this very same time last year an equally dominant Man City got their ass kicked out of the quarters by Liverpool, so it’s not like it couldn’t happen. This first match will also be at Tottenham’s long-awaited finally-open new stadium, which they played at (and won) for the first time earlier this week. So maybe there will be some adrenaline rush with that. The bigger issues for them are staying healthy (at least Harry Kane and Dele Alli are both back), and their goalkeeper, Hugo Lloris, not being a sieve. He played pretty shitty against Liverpool recently and they’re comparable to Man City, so it sort of feels like a matter of time until Pep Guardiola’s squad gets to him.

Prediction: Manchester City

 Liverpool vs. Porto

1st leg: Tuesday, 4/9, 2pm central

2nd leg: Wednesday, 4/17, 2pm central

This one is going to be ugly for Porto. Liverpool is good—really good, and even when they aren’t that good they still find a way to pull shit out of their ass and/or take advantage of their opponents’ mistakes (Napoli had to score one goal…one fucking goal to get past them in the group stage and couldn’t do it but it’s their own fault and I’m not bitter and THAT’S NOT WHY YOU CALLED). Anyway, Porto may sneak in a goal or two but likely it’ll be over quickly.

Prediction: Liverpool

Ajax vs. Juventus

1st leg: Wednesday 4/10, 2pm central

2nd leg: Tuesday, 4/16, 2pm central

Ajax (pronounced “eye-ex”) is having a better run than I figured they would. They’re dominant in the Eredivisie in the Netherlands, but I definitely pooh-pooh’d their chances in Champions. Which gives me hope that they can get past Juventus (pronounced “you-vent-oos”, and no I’m not trying to be a dickhead I’m honestly trying to be helpful with some of these). They probably won’t, seeing as Juve’s entire motivation for existing is to win Champions League and it’s literally the exact reason they brought Cristiano Ronaldo over (and it’s been working out for them thus far). Juve’s backfield has been beat up but the bigger issue was that Ronaldo himself was injured. But as of today, their manager Massimiliano Allegri hinted pretty damn strongly that Ronaldo would play, and it would be nigh impossible to imagine him not taking part in what is his entire job description, i.e., winning in Champions. I would love nothing more than to see Juve lose this round, but I doubt it. They’ve got too much depth and keep getting bailed out by CR7 even when they don’t deserve to win.

Prediction: Juventus

Manchester United vs. Barcelona

1st leg: Wednesday 4/10, 2pm central

2nd leg: Tuesday, 4/16, 2pm central

This one has the potential to be the most interesting match-up of the round. Barca is leading La Liga, forward Ousmane Dembele may be back if not for the first leg than by the second (after tearing a hamstring in their ass-whooping of Lyon in the last round), and oh yeah Lionel Messi’s on this team. They played earlier this week and scored twice in extra time to get it to a draw, and although that was not against Man United so perhaps not apples to apples here, it should go without saying they can score (Messi is the leading goal scorer in Champions so far). And what about Man United? Since jettisoning international toxin Jose Mourinho as their manager they’ve been the annoyingly successful team you probably know from that one obnoxious acquaintance you had in college who had to be different and not watch American football. You know that guy—he was always a Manchester United fan. Anyway, they were a surprise coming out of the round of 16 after losing their first match to PSG, but they came back with a 3-1 win for the second match and since that was their away game, they ended up winning on away goals (a tie-breaker function—both teams scored a total of 3 goals over 2 games). So Barca is really the better team but Man United may be the hotter team…honestly I’m pissed for adding a prediction to these because it’s really tough to choose on this one. Luckily I’m under no obligation to be right.

Prediction: Barcelona

 

 

 

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