Friday, December 10, 2004

Champions League first round wrap up

At the start of this season's champions league I made some predictions as to how the groups would fare.
After a fascinating last round, the result of my predictions are as follows:

Group A: The group was closer than I thought. But as I predicted, Monaco won, after destroying Deportivo in La Coruna. Deportivo has been a great disappointment, and must be tired of humiliations from Monaco. Liverpool was extraordinary in the last game against Olympiakos, managing to get 3-1 after being down 0-1. With that result, they took the second spot, just as I had predicted.
Group B: I predicted Real Madrid would win. This looked far-away at one point, but with good fight, Real Madrid managed to get the second spot. Leverkusen was a revelation. They played very fine, and deservedly won the group after defeating Dynamo Kijev. The Ucranians were very strong as I had thought, and it must be disappointing for them to play the UEFA. I had predicted Roma to go on, but thankfully they did not: they were pathetic and uncharming.
Group C: Juventus won the group, as I had expected. They will be very hard to beat, but they are not entertaining. Bayern Munich was much stronger than I thought, and played well to get the second spot. I had predicted Ajax Amsterdam for this, but the youngsters were far from the glory of former times.
Group D: I am proud to say that I had predicted Lyon to win. The French side is amazingly strong this season, and any team will be wrong to believe it will be easy to beat them. They can get very far... Manchester United got the second spot. Just as I had predicted, they were the unchallenged winners of the group.
Group E: Arsenal won the group, which I had also predicted, although they fought harder for it than I thought. I had thought PSV would be second, but they were much stronger than I thought, in particular defeating Arsenal in one of the games. PSV is also a team to watch, and I still think Arsenal will have an early exit again this season.
Group F: AC Milan and Barcelona were unchallenged winners of the group, just as predicted. Celtic and Shakhtar both showed spirit, but Barcelona and Milan are very strong, and look as strong contenders for the title.
Group G: One of this season's disappointments have been the Spanish champions of Valencia. They were very bad in this round, and did not progress after their pathetic loss 0-2 to Werder Bremen. I had wrongly predicted them to win the group. Winners were Inter, whom I also had predicted for the second spot. Werder Bremen have been very strong, and deservedly got the second spot after defeating Valencia both at home and away.
Group H: I had predicted that Chelsea, under Mr. Mourinho, would win the group. They also did, and are looking strong, both in the Premier League and here in the CL. They can indeed get very far. FC Porto edged through on the second spot. The defendign champions have not been looking as strong as last season, but I had expected them to go through.

My biggest mistake was not expecting the German teams to do well. Actually, I had predicted they would all be out after first round. Instead, they are all through. I guess I fell into the old football trap of underestimanting the Germans. Never do that in football...

My UEFA Champions League League Fantasy team, Abruniohene, had a lousy round, and looks to get worse, as many of the teams the players are on, are out. Oh well, at least I was good at predicting...

Cannot wait till February 22nd 2005!!!!

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