With the Champions League starting tomorrow (I ignore the tedious group stage)  I’m going to take the opportunity to look like a fool by offering some predictions.  The snow is horribly wind affected right now, so I don’t plan on doing  much skiing the next day or two.  But luckily 6 of the 8 games are fascinating so the next two days should be very entertaining.  

  • Roma looked to have been slowly improving since their horrible start, but then they go out and lose 3-0 to Atalanta.  Arsenal are looking tough to beat, but struggle to score goals.  I think Arsenal will take it, one Van Persie free kick over the two games could be enough.
  • Both Inter and Manchester United are running away with their respective leagues and have been coasting for weeks.  I think Inter will be more able then United to bring their play up to another gear.  I caught the way Inter came back against Bologna and I was impressed by the ease with which they stepped up their play after the equalizer.  ManU is facing a defensive injury crisis, so I’ll guess that Inter will win.
  • When the draw came out in December I thought Liverpool would win this tie easily. But since then Liverpool have looked to be on the decline, and Real Madrid have look both motivated and sharp the last couple games.  Real Madrid hasn’t made it past this stage for the last 4 years.  Torres, in his Athletico days, struggled in games against Real Madrid.  I wouldn’t be surprised either way, but I just have a feeling Liverpool will win, this competition is Benitez’s specialty.
  • Before Hidink arrived Chelsea looked to be ready to implode.  I guess they’ve won two games since, but they haven’t looked great either.  Juventus hasn’t impressed me this season, I always took their high position as a sign of Serie A’s weakness this year.  Trezeguet is back, and I hope Juventus win, but I think Chelsea will.  I think Chelsea can play poorly and still squeak by.
  • Barcelona lost to Espanyol over the weekend, but I think they’ll go back to their normal selves against Lyon.  I don’t think Lyon has the energy to harass and annoy Barcelona like Espanyol did.  Juninho may hit a free kick, or a Benzema goal might make this interesting, but I can’t see Lyon controlling Barcelona over two games. 
  • And for those of you who I’ve confused with this sudden shift in scenery from an Alaskan winter to a smokey French apartment, I have this view of the Wrangells from yesterday.