Saturday, December 20, 2008

OTWT: UEFA Cup predictions

During its history the UEFA Cup has been the red haired step child to the Champions League, but this year in its final year as the UEFA Cup, it has some interesting match-ups in the the Round of 32. There are a couple of former European Cup winners and even some up and coming clubs.

Here is how I see the round going:
  • Paris St Germain v Wolfsburg: PSG, the only top flight club in Paris has shown a rebirth this year after a couple of years battling relegation.
  • FC Copenhagen v Manchester City: Manchester City, the only question is what will the roster look like after the January transfer window.
  • NEC Nijmegen v Hamburg: Hamburg.
  • Sampdoria v Metalist Kharkiv: Sampdoria
  • Braga v Standard Liège: Standard Liege, could be a team that makes a run deep into the knock of rounds.
  • Aston Villa v CSKA Moscow:Villa, this might be one of the hardest ties to call. I would not be shocked if the former UEFA Cup champions beat the rising English team.
  • Lech Poznan v Udinese: Udinese
  • Olympiakos v St Etienne: Olympiakos
  • Fiorentina v Ajax: Fiorentia
  • Aalborg v Deportivo de La Coruña: Aalborg
  • Werder Bremen v Milan: Milan, maybe Golden Balls will make an appearance in the knock out stages.
  • Bordeaux v Galatasaray: Galatasaray
  • Dynamo Kiev v Valencia: Valencia
  • Zenit St Petersburg v Stuttgart: Stuttgart. Zenit look like a team that could care less to be there.
  • Marseille v FC Twente: Marseille.
  • Shakhtar Donetsk v Tottenham: Donetsk. I think that Harry will be more concerned with the Premier League rather then the UEFA Cup.

The match ups are really not that bad, some are really interesting.

Friday, December 19, 2008

OTWT: Champions League Predictions

After a slow start to the Champions League, UEFA has some cracking Round of 16 games. Today's draw showed what kind of event the Champions League can be.

Here are some predictions for the Round of 16
  • Chelsea v Juventus: Chelsea on away goals.
  • Villarreal v Panathinaikos: Villarreal, who would have thought that the Yellow Submarine would have an easier game then group winners United.
  • Sporting Lisbon v Bayern Munich: Munich.
  • Atletico Madrid v FC Porto: Atletico Madrid
  • Lyon v Barcelona: Barcelona, the class of Europe right now.
  • Real Madrid v Liverpool: This has two 0-0 legs and pens written all over it, but I guess Liverpool advances, cause they never drop ties that go to penalties, just ask Chelski and AC Milan.
  • Arsenal v Roma: Roma, I think this season gets away from Arsenal really quick.
  • Inter Milan v Manchester United: Out of all of the second place group teams this was the one that no United fan wanted to see. As a United fan, I want to pick United, but something tells me that Inter and the Special One might pull this one out. I could see a situation where Jose is running down the touch line at Old Trafford just like he did when his Porto beat United in the Champions League a couple of years ago.
Just by the look of the round of 16 draw, this could be a year where a smaller team like a Porto or Sporting could make a run deep. But lets hope that the knock out stage is more interesting then the group stages.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Late nights with Berba

The NBA does it, the NFL does it, the NHL does it, and Major League Baseball is in the process of doing. All of the major sports have decided to go into the TV network business, now the EPL might be doing the same thing. Premier League heads have said that they would explore the idea of creating their own network, if they do not receive the type of bids that they would like for their television rights.

A Premier League Network could offer great program from reserve matches to weekly shows on different clubs, but their are a couple of shows that I would like to see on the schedule if the league decides to move in this direction.

Here are some of the possible new shows the network should explore:
  • Late Nights with Berba: With the emotion of a piece of paper, the United forward could host a talk show that would cure insomnia. Vampires are also welcome guest.
  • Cooking with Rafa: The Liverpool manager shows the world how to create the best pie and then eats everything that he makes, quality TV.
  • Tanning with Phil Brown: The Hull City manager shows everyone the best way to get the perfect tan.
  • Emirates Street: A combination of Sesame Street and the Arsenal Youth Academy. Wenger, is joined by Viera and Big Bird to teach children all types of things like their ABCs and passing skills.
Any other shows suggestions are welcomed.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Changing of the Guard

Last year Juventus made their return to Serie A with a team of older veterans. During last season the likes of Nedved, Del Piero, and Camoranesi did the Old Lady pround returning her back to the Champions League. As the season went on the older members of the squad started to slow down and show that the end of their career was coming.

But this year the old guard has been joined by some talented kids coming through the Juventus youth system. Sebastian Giovinco, Claudio Marchisio (pictured above), and Paulo DeCeglie have given the Old Lady some zip. The trio has given the squad a fresh outlook and fresh skills.

During Juventus win over AC Milan on Sunday Marchisio gave a man of the match performance. He was all over the midfield making key passes and providing a joint of speed , that has been needed for the last couple of years. While DeCeglie helped provide width on the wing. Both showed that they will be wearing white and black for a long time.

Giovinco did not appear in the game but clubs from all over have been around Turin trying to get the 21 year old away from Old Lady. Arsenal and West Ham have been two of the most rumored destinations for the talented attacking midfielder. Giovinco oozes attacking talent and would be a great partner for Marchisio in the Juventus midfield for the next generation.

So as the some of the old guard begins to drop a step the next generation of the Old Lady is ready to break through.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Professional Taigating: Christmas in the City

On Saturday, part of the Only Time Will Tell Tailgating Crew took a trip to big city to see the holiday sights and sounds. There was no shortage of sports related sites int he big city.

Lebron James looks down on the city, Knicks fans hope that he is in the city for good in 2010.
It's snowing golf balls at New York Golf Center

The NBA store was into the Christmas Spirit.
Mr. Met is really excited about K-Rod and J.J. coming to the Mets pen.
Gary Carter in tall bobble head form, not that good.