Unprofessional Foul


September 29, 2010

CL Bootroom, Matchday 2, Pt 2

Redknapp, by Matthew Craven (http://matthewcravenillustration.com/)

Yes, I know we’re having a slow day today. It’s hard to muster up the courage to write when you’re drunk by lunchtime. Excuse our mess. We’re working on it.

Here we are again with the CL, though this time, Spurs are playing. Less than 24 hours after Chelsea’s canter over Marseille, and the Gooner’s graft to glean all three points from a bus trip to Belgrade, we get to see what the other capital collective can concoct with the visit of FC Twente.

Rubin Kazan, being all special with their time zone, are done and dusted with Barthelona, and Twitter’s soccer cognoscenti seemed to think Rubin would get murdered playing defensively at home. See how that turned out, eh?

Predictions and guff are merely a click away.

Internazionale v. Werder Bremen
After both sides experienced the sweet drawing sensation in Matchday 1, now would be the time to get a bit of breathing room from the pack with a comfortable win. Question is, who’s procuring the points? The Benitez Boys bungled the Roma game at the weekend—though if we’re being fair, Mirko Vucinic stole it more than Inter threw it away—while Werder threw away a 2-0 lead only to win at home to Hamburg via Hugo Almeida’s 85th minute strike.

Domestic form is a push for both, so we look to Inter’s age/experience matched up against Werder’s speed and youth. The Marko Men, Marin and Arnautovic, will cause Inter’s D some issues, especially as Thiago Motta, Marco Materazzi, and Javier Zanetti are all out with injuries and Walter Samuel didn’t train yesterday. That said, Bremen have problems too: they’ll be without Naldo, Sebastian Boenisch, Clemens Fritz, Claudio Pizarro, and Torsten Frings while defender Petri Pasanen remains a game-time decision.

Though both sides are understaffed, you’d fancy Bremen’s strikeforce to thrive, though Inter will be ably equipped if Goran Pandev and Diego Milito, who also skipped Tuesday’s training, can turn out.
PREDICTION: Inter 1, Werder Bremen 2

Tottenham Hotspur v. FC Twente
Um, whatever Yankee Yiddos said? Seriously, Spurs have an injury crisis in their backline, and the goals aren’t exactly flowing like wine and nachos at the other end, either. No Defoe, Dawson, Kaboul, King, or Gallas, with Assou-Ekotto at 50/50 and Heurelho Gomes still uncertain: this is not good when you’re facing a quick team that hung two on Inter in the Meazza thanks to their assortment of tyros: left-mid Theo Janssen, central enforcer/creator Wout Brama, CB Douglas, and frontman Luuk de Jong, who has 4 in Die Tukker’s first 7 games.

Expect more of the nerve-wracking European fun at White Hart Lane today. Another high-scoring draw awaits.
PREDICTION: Spurs 2, Twente 2

Hapoel Tel Aviv v. Lyon
The Israelis provided meek opposition for Benfica in the first matchday, and though Lyon are in no semblance of scintillating form quite yet—seriously… winless in Ligue 1 since August 21, drawing 1 and losing 3 since—they should have enough in the tank to grind out points this afternoon, even without Jean Makoun (doubtful) and Lisandro Lopez.
PREDICTION: Hapoel 0, Lyon 1

Schalke 04 v. Benfica
Can I get a Home Win, people? Not only have the Bundesliga bunglers (1 win, 1 draw, 4 defeats in 2010-11) beaten Portuguese teams all three times they’ve faced them in the Champions League, but they’re able to name a close-to-full-strength side now that Atsuto Uchida’s fully recovered from his toe injury (and he was good in Schalke’s off-the-schneid 2-2 v. Borussia this past weekend). Benfica, like seemingly everyone else in this godforsaken group, can’t pull it together on the domestic front—3 wins, 3 draws in 2010-11, good for 5th place so far—and should struggle tonight, especially if they play without Alan Kardec (super-sub), Aimar (playmaker), and Ruben Amorim (puller of strings).
PREDICTION: Schalke 2, Benfica 1

Rangers v. Bursaspor
It might be different if this were taking place in a Crocodile Arena, but instead, it’s an equally-inhospitable and unwelcoming environ: Ibrox. Both sides are undefeated in domestic play, which means I can’t point to league form in the hopes of divining a winner, and there aren’t really any significant injury absences to report (unless you consider James Beattie as being “significant”). The one outlier is Mr. Kenny Miller, who’s already racked up 10 goals in the Gers’ first six SPL games, which means he’s as en fuego as anyone else in Europe. That’s enough to swing this out of the push category, folks.
PREDICTION: Rangers 3, Bursaspor 1

Valencia v. Manchester United
I don’t think any of us expected the bats sans Villa and Silva to bludgeon La Liga, attacking opponents much in the same way that David Hasselhoff pummels hamburgers after a few vodka and vodkas. Oh, and they beat Bursa 4-0 in Turkey, so they’re clearly unafraid of this “Europe” business, and with good reason: United limp into tonight’s game with a slew of big injuries (Rooney, Valencia, Carrick, Giggs) and an uncharacteristically leaky defense with Rio Ferdinand more active on Twitter than on the pitch.

That said, the Spaniards are hardly bulletproof: no Joaquin or Ever Banega in the midfield, and no telling how effective Juan Mata will be after twisting his ankle in Monday’s practice. The decider here—and I never thought I’d say this—is Dimitar Berbatov. His rich vein of form should be enough to have Fergie smiling at the final whistle.
PREDICTION: Valencia 1, Manchester United 3

Rubin Kazan v. Barcelona – too late

Panathanaikos v. FC Copenhagen
As my prognostication runs out of steam, I posit that this will be a draw, only to end up being the most exciting, end-to-end, goal-stuffed game of the round. That’s often how this works, right?
PREDICTION: Panathanaikos 3, FC Copenhagen 3

About the Author

James T



  1. Lennon's Eyebrow

    And that just says it all. Pavs standing there watching the ball as it heads toward two defenders, while Bale charges out of nowhere, wins the ball, and scores an awesome goal.

  2. Outside Mid

    Sweet Pea got to play for ManU? I thought Sir Alex didn’t have confidence in him or something?

  3. Outside Mid

    @ LE: Exactly. Glad the lads look to be taking the full 3 in this one with a good GD, but cannot fathom why Pavs has been allowed on the pitch to start and finish this one; there are other penalty takers I assume.

  4. Lennon's Eyebrow

    I must say, this might be the least convincing 4-1 win in the history of everything.

  5. Outside Mid

    Now he comes off to kill time.

  6. Anonsters

    @OM: Yes, VDV took the first one. :P

  7. Outside Mid

    Wow, and Inter’s smoking Werder 4-0.

  8. Anonsters

    Eto’o’o’o’o’o’o with the hattie for Inter.

  9. James T

    Much worse with predictions today. Drank too much Werder Kool-Aid.

  10. Outside Mid

    @ Anon: Yeah, I was just trying to find a reason why Pavs remained, especially after VdV was booked out of the match. What is the order of the penalty takers? VdV, Pavs? Thudd? Modric?

  11. @LE: The fact that Spurs scored two after going down a man is quite shocking.

  12. Lennon's Eyebrow

    Man, Twente suck at finishing. Really really suck.

  13. Outside Mid

    @ JT: All is well, the Bootroom will be your legacy.

  14. Lennon's Eyebrow

    @TFA: We got insanely lucky with the penalty (tho we had a better penalty shout turned down afterwards so I guess it balances out). And then Bale out of nothing made and scored a goal because he’s a total beast. The team still looks shaky and impotent. If Twente could finish their chances this game would have gone very differently.

  15. Anonsters

    @OM: No way Huddlestone is #3. God Forbid. Penalties would end up in orbit.

  16. Anonsters

    Yeah, the penalties saved our bacon.

  17. Adrian

    Convincing of what? The officiating was downright pathetic at times, 3 penalties were given (of which the first VDV couldn’t even convert), and the game was at WHL. Twente have looked deflated for most of the 2nd half and understandably so, even though they managed to pull one back.

    It’s an important victory for Spurs but most convincing win in the history of anything at all? Hardly.

  18. Lennon's Eyebrow

    @anon: No, don’t you remember that time he took a penalty? He was so scared of blasting it over he just lovetapped it to the keeper.

  19. Anonsters

    Our strikers still f**king suck. Hopefully Daniel has noticed this.

  20. Outside Mid

    @ LE: Well, their 1st choice LM got taken off early for injury, and BAE/King looked good in blocking Ruiz off at the other side

  21. Lennon's Eyebrow

    @Adrian: If you fine-tuned your reading abilities, you may be surprised to learn that I actually said, “[T]his might be the least convincing 4-1 win in the history of everything.”

  22. Anonsters

    @Adrian: It’s safer either to ignore the match commentators, or only to pay attention in order to mock them.

  23. Outside Mid

    @ Anon: That’s what I was wondering: who are the main takers? I know it used to be Keane mainly.

  24. Adrian

    Wow I fail at reading comprehension, sorry.

  25. Outside Mid

    Wait, did somebody say that was convincing? No, that was an extremely odd match. But, I’m happy with the points. COYS!

  26. Outside Mid

    The only thing that was convincing was that last strike from Bale–excellent.

  27. Adrian

    @Anonsters, I was watching the game on a Hungarian TV feed and mocked their funny sounding language.

    Did I do it right?

  28. Anonsters

    Oh. I thought one of the TV commentators said it was convincing. I fail at reading, listening, and everything else too, apparently.

  29. Lennon's Eyebrow

    @OM: Don’t forget VDV’s goal and almost-goal. Those were awesome too.

  30. Outside Mid

    @ LE: See, I think I stepped away and missed both–def missed the early 2nd half goal of his

  31. James T

    Andy Gray and Alan Shearer would say 4-1 is convincing. It would help them avoid actually watching the game.

  32. Anonsters

    @JT: Andy Gray thinks watching games is a f**king disgrace. That’s not how they did it in his day.

  33. Wedel

    Wes Brown thinks that nil-1 is the most convincing score, like, ever.

  34. Anonsters

    For the Liverpool supporters out there, thought I’d post this to cheer you up about things.

  35. Anonsters

    Inter could easily have scored 5 goals in the first half. Truly dominant performance.

  36. Anonsters

    Also, color me intrigued to see a Bale v. Maicon matchup.

  37. Anonsters

    Also, check out Eto’o’s goal celebration on the third goal.

  38. Shane

    Soooo… what’d I miss?


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