Walking on the moon
The draw for the next round of the Champions League was made this morning and Barça drew 2005 winners Liverpool. The full draw is as follows:
FC Porto v Chelsea
Celtic v AC Milan
PSV Eindhoven v Arsenal
Lille v Manchester Utd
AS Roma v Lyon
Barcelona v Liverpool
Real Madrid v Bayern Munich
Internazionale v Valencia
The first leg will be at the Camp Nou on February 20/21st and the return at Anfield on March 6/7th. I'm no great fan of Liverpool (sorry Mal, but it's not like it's a secret) and while they've hit some amazing heights under Rafa Benitez, namely the Champions League victory over Milan, I've seen far too many scrappy nil-nil draws and useless away performances to have any affection for their style of play or lack there-of. I do very much like Robbie Fowler and Xabi Alonso is fantastic but Gerrard is somewhat over-rated (in the same way Lampard and Terry are simply because they're English and constantly having their egos massaged by the English press), Crouch is a load of shite and Bellamy is a total knacker and I don't much care for knackers, much like Padraig Nally. There's an absolute age between now and these games so I'm not going to weigh in with any wild predictions only to say that I reckon both sides will win their home games so Barcelona are going to need a big win in the Camp Nou to carry them into the quarter-finals.
Superbowl Sunday and la Real
Barça are still on the surface of the moon playing in the World Series which thankfully comes to a conclusion on Sunday with the final against Internacional. Whoever wins will be champions of the universe. The blaugrana, who clearly weren't suffering too much from jet lag, beat Mexican side America 4-0 on Thursday. Woooo!
Before catching their Saturn Five rocket, Barça played La Real last Sunday and despite Sociedad being winless thus far this season and missing at least four first-teamers, the blaugrana made very hard work of beating them and had Victor Valdes to thank for making an excellent save late on to keep the score at 1-0. Valdes has had his fair share of critics, me among them, but he's really stepped up in these last few months and been in top form, pulling games out of the fire ala Casillas at Madrid. At the start of the season I would definitely have been looking to Jorquera as Valdes was struggling but he's got it together and the defense is looking a lot less shaky as a result.
The next league game is on Thursday against Athletico Madrid which Barcelona are sure to lose, as they always lose to Athletico. It's just the way of the world. The sky is blue, grass green and Fernando Torres will always play like god against Barcelona, who will look like they have lead in their boots.