The Run of Play is a blog about
the wonder and terror of soccer.
We left the window open during a match in October 2007 and a strange wind blew into the room.
Now we walk the forgotten byways of football with a lonely tread, searching for the beautiful, the bewildering, the haunting, and the absurd.
It’s been decreed: Chelsea will play Liverpool in the Champions League this year, as they have every year since the breaching of the Weald–Artois anticline unleashed the catastrophic floods that destroyed the isthmus connecting the island of Great Britain to mainland Europe between 450,000 and 170,000 years ago. “We probably know the inside leg measurements of Rafa’s trousers,” Chelsea secretary David Barnard said today.
Part of me thinks that this ancient and enduring rivalry won’t be the same without John Arne Riise, whose heedless leaping about and own-goal scoring seemed to capture some of the spirit of the peasant fertility rites that sprang up around this fixture in medieval times, but those are the breaks. There will probably be some complaints about the lack of variety, but seriously, this has the potential to be a really exciting matchup. Both teams are in the middle of periods that completely confuse the traditional distinctions between a collapse and a resurgence—they both somehow seem to be doing both at once, and in the process, finding new ways to turn the act of falling apart or caving in into a way of destroying their opponents. This could be like watching a black hole take on a slowly exploding star.
The draw in full:
This seems pretty great to me. I assume Manchester United will crush Porto to complete their revenge on 2004, but Villarreal (feat. Robert Pirès!) might be just good enough to make Arsenal think (always the situation in which they either go out with a whimper or overwhelm the world with goals), and Barcelona-Bayern should be intriguing while saving the big “Barça vs. the Premier League” storyline (the major outstanding question in this year’s tournament) for the last two rounds. The matches are April 7-8 and 14-15. Liverpool won’t have to play on the 20th anniversary of Hillsborough.
I don’t know. I’m excited. What do you think?
Read More: Champions League
by Brian Phillips · March 20, 2009