Champions League Kicks Off

The Champions League gets things kicked off today. So the wait is coming to an end finally. These early qualifying matches aren’t anything very interesting and are very unlikely to produce any surprises. They’re never meant to. At least we can finally begin to watch matches that count for something again.

Arsenal faces Dinamo Zagreb today. Liverpool will get Maccabi Haifa tomorrow–this leg is in England, so there’s no danger of Hezbolla disrupting things yet. Both England sides should take comfortable leads into the second legs. That goes for AC Milan as well. The undisputed powerhouses of the disreputable Serie A shouldn’t need to break a sweat against Crvena Zvezda on Wednesday. They may even be able to give Chelsea reject, Hernan Crespo, a decent run-out.

Unless you have access to Setanta Sports Channel, though, you’ll have to follow the results on the internet. Satanta is usually only available on the Dish Network or in pubs. They also have snapped up many of the Premier League games for this season along with the Champions League, The Championship, and various other leagues and tournaments. They are the channel you need if you want to follow football live.

Unfortunately, Setanta remains a little difficult to get. No major cable outlets offer them. I’ve heard there is something called IPTV which is supposed to let you get it without a dish for about $14/month. I’ve been trying to look into that in time for the season, but there’s not a lot of information on it yet. The Fox Soccer Channel is slipping under this stiff competition, so an early (and lengthy) trip to the pub will practically be a necessity for most Americans wanting to follow European football.

I should mention Ipswich will also be going for loss number 2 against Wolves today. The good guys look even worse than I feared–even through cringing eyes.

The Community Shield match between Chelsea and Liverpool will give us a taste of the Premiership a week early on Sunday. A match that will be carried by the Soccer Channel. Liverpool is picked by many to be the main competition for Chelski this year. I may be alone in this, but I think Chelsea will get nipped at the post for the title this year–and that’s not just wishful thinking.