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Friday, August 04, 2017

OT: New Season August 2017 Soccer Thread

Are you ready for some futbol?

EFL - August 4 (that’s today!).  Note that ESPN has taken over the broadcast rights from BeIN and is going to make most games available on ESPN3 including today’s Sunderland loss to Derby County.
EPL - August 11 (Arsenal-Leicester). Also 8/20 is Spurs-Chelsea, that’s a big big game early.
La Liga - August 18
Bundesliga - August 18 (Bayern-Bayer Leverkusen)
Serie A - August 19 (Juventus-Cagliari)
Champions League Playoffs - August 15 - The best of the bunch look to be Liverpool-Hoffenheim, Nice-Napoli and CSKA Moscow-Young Boys
Europa League - August 17 - Everton get Hajduk Split but generally I won’t pretend to be knowledgeable about the teams here.
Also assorted Community Shield type things and a bunch of World Cup Qualifiers get rolling on August 31.  This is the penultimate break before the end of qualifying for most places so these are likely to be some very big games (US-Costa Rica September 1).  An

Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: August 04, 2017 at 08:07 AM | 1192 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: off topic, soccer

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   801. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: October 02, 2017 at 09:29 AM (#5542606)
Here's a crazy stat--the 13 goals Harry Kane scored in September matches the best monthly total of both Messi and Ronaldo in their careers. Holy shit!
   802. jmurph Posted: October 02, 2017 at 12:17 PM (#5542799)
I know that those of you who don't actively root for either team were probably cheering for both to lose, but City were so damned good against Chelsea on Saturday, it was delightful. De Bruyne in particular was such a force.
   803. ursus arctos Posted: October 02, 2017 at 12:23 PM (#5542800)
De Bruyne is the best player in that league by some margin.

Which is yet another factor in the question as to why Belgium has underachieved given the genuine Golden Generation they currently have.
   804. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: October 02, 2017 at 12:42 PM (#5542815)
Don't worry, Roberto Martinez got this.
   805. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: October 02, 2017 at 12:58 PM (#5542824)
I know that those of you who don't actively root for either team were probably cheering for both to lose, but City were so damned good against Chelsea on Saturday, it was delightful. De Bruyne in particular was such a force.


I wish I had seen it because it sounds like such a watershed game for this season. It's not that City won it's that by all accounts they were dominant. No Aguero, no Kompany, no problem. The depth and talent there combined with what appears to be a coming together of the approach makes them terrifying.
   806. jmurph Posted: October 02, 2017 at 01:06 PM (#5542837)
De Bruyne is the best player in that league by some margin.

Which is yet another factor in the question as to why Belgium has underachieved given the genuine Golden Generation they currently have.

I think it was Michael Cox who suggested on a recent podcast that De Bruyne and Hazard were the top two in the league, further underlining this point.
   807. Mefisto Posted: October 02, 2017 at 01:26 PM (#5542857)
Also, Lukaku's no slouch. To say nothing of some defenders who play someplace in North London.
   808. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: October 02, 2017 at 01:43 PM (#5542881)
Mousa Dembele is aiight, as well. Napoli have a pretty good Belgian attacker these days, too. Hazard's brother Thorgan is making a name for himself, too. Do they have any good fullbacks, though? Alderweireld and Vertonghen are really miscast as fullbacks these days.
   809. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: October 02, 2017 at 02:14 PM (#5542905)
The Euro has to really rankle. That was a tournament there for the winning and to go out to Wales in the quarters, especially after having an early lead, is a big miss. Losing in the quarters at the World Cup to Argentina was no big shame. That was a damned good side they just had the misfortune of being drawn against. They've qualified already for Russia and should be in Pot One so they have a good chance to be set up for a run there.

But yeah, if they don't make some real noise in Russia it is going to feel like a big miss for Belgium.
   810. ursus arctos Posted: October 02, 2017 at 02:54 PM (#5542955)
In recent matches, they've been playing a combination of Alderweireld, Thomas Meunier (PSG) and Laurent Ciman (Montreal Impact) at full back.

Not world class, true, but then no nation fields an XI of exclusively world class players.
   811. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: October 02, 2017 at 03:42 PM (#5543031)
Not world class, true, but then no nation fields an XI of exclusively world class players.


I disagree!

Guzan
Beasley-Ream....oh I can't do it.
   812. Sean Forman Posted: October 02, 2017 at 05:12 PM (#5543133)
I know nothing about soccer, but maybe Belgium should play a defensive back four with Vertonghen, Alderweireld, Kompany and Vermaelen. Basically expect no offense from them. Maybe do the Pep thing where the FB's tuck in when holding the ball and then play wide on defense.

Mertens and Lukaku upfront, 2 of Hazard and Carrasco as wide players and then De Bruyne and Fellani/Witsel in the middle. I don't know. a 4-1-3-2.

Still not as good as France. :)


FWIW, Toons were pretty high on Yedlin's performance yesterday. Hopefully he can carry it through this week. Praying for an early USA goal on Friday.
   813. I am going to be Frank Posted: October 02, 2017 at 06:26 PM (#5543182)
So I'm in japan and my brother got tickets to the first leg of the japan cup semifinal. It's an Osaka derby. I know nothing about j-league soccer. This should be great though
   814. Mefisto Posted: October 02, 2017 at 06:48 PM (#5543190)
I also thought Yedlin looked good. His pace remains incredible and probably saved Newcastle at least once. I'd like to think that he'd do as well for the US, but defense is the most team-dependent aspect of soccer and Benitez is better at organizing a defense than any coach the US have ever had.
   815. ursus arctos Posted: October 02, 2017 at 06:55 PM (#5543194)
Should be good

It’s the League Cup.

Cerezo are the older and more established team, Gamba are their relatively upstart rivals (funded by Panasonic)

Gamba have won the AFC Champions League and several national titles, but Cerezo is doing better in the league this season
   816. The Marksist Posted: October 02, 2017 at 09:03 PM (#5543242)
Yedlin is cartoon fast. Took a chance from Salah that I'm not sure any other full back in the league gets to.
   817. Mefisto Posted: October 02, 2017 at 09:09 PM (#5543244)
Yeah, that's the one I had in mind.
   818. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: October 05, 2017 at 08:40 AM (#5544876)
Unlocked! Here's Shooty's post;


249. There are a lot of good people in alt-Shooty Posted: October 05, 2017 at 08:01 AM (#5544870)
The other thread has been locked for some reason so I'm bumping this one. Anyway, Jupp Heynckes is back! I'm assuming that means Bayern are lining up Nagelsmann to take over in the summer instead of Tuchel.

   819. KronicFatigue Posted: October 05, 2017 at 09:56 AM (#5544911)
Couple questions about CL. First, now that the coefficient rules have changed, am I correct in thinking there's no reason to root for particular leagues (aka I like Cheslea so I rooted for EPL just to protect the 4th spot). France is too far away from the top 3 to put any pressure on them, correct?

Second, do any leagues cater to their CL representatives to make their schedule easier? Chelsea played CL on Wednesday and then Man City on Saturday. If I was running EPL I would push all CL teams to Sunday at the earliest (possibly the following Monday). Also, for the group stages and round of 16 of CL, I would be lining up teams 16-20 (aka newly promoted plus worst team that stayed from prior season).

In other words, for group stage weeks, when CL teams played on T/W, that Sunday/Monday they'd get 16-20, certainly not "automatic wins" but at least taking the pressure off a bit. A match like Chelsea vs Man City is very big for PL standings and neither team should be at an advantage. How is the EPL schedule even made? It seems like with a perfectly balanced schedule there could be efforts to balance strength of schedule, home vs away, and things like CL accommodations.
   820. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: October 05, 2017 at 10:05 AM (#5544920)
First, now that the coefficient rules have changed, am I correct in thinking there's no reason to root for particular leagues

The 4 big leagues are guaranteed 4 spots now so coefficient doesn't matter for them.

Second, do any leagues cater to their CL representatives to make their schedule easier?

Yes, La Liga does.

How is the EPL schedule even made?

Sky and BT send them a memo and the EPL does what it's told.

   821. jmurph Posted: October 05, 2017 at 10:15 AM (#5544923)
Second, do any leagues cater to their CL representatives to make their schedule easier? Chelsea played CL on Wednesday and then Man City on Saturday. If I was running EPL I would push all CL teams to Sunday at the earliest (possibly the following Monday).

They also have to work around the Europa League participants, though, who obviously have to play on Sundays (following the Thursday games in Europe).
   822. Richard Posted: October 05, 2017 at 11:25 AM (#5544987)
Why should the teams who play in the CL get "help" from their domestic league? They have enough advantages in financial terms as it is.

Sky are trying to play 2 games on Christmas Eve. One is Liverpool v Arsenal, the other West Ham v Newcastle - both long trips for away fans. Nobody is in favour of this except Sky, so no doubt it will go ahead.
   823. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: October 06, 2017 at 09:24 AM (#5545839)
If you didn't see the end of the CONMEBOL matches last night you missed out. I had a second screen going while watching the baseball game and it was nuts. After 75 minutes the scores were;

Colombia 0 - Paraguay 0
Chile 1 - Ecuador 0
Argentina 0 - Peru 0

from there it got nuts;

79th minute Falcao puts Colombia up 1-0
84th minute Ibarra scores for Ecuador 1-1
85th minute Alexis Sanchez scores for Chile 2-1
89th minute Cardozo scores for Paraguay 1-1
93rd minute Sanabria scores for Paraguay 2-1

So Colombia go from clinching a spot to having everything to play for in Peru. Chile go to Brazil and Argentina need a win at Ecuador to advance. Of the five games on Tuesday only Uruguay/Bolivia has no meaning.
   824. Baldrick Posted: October 06, 2017 at 09:56 AM (#5545861)
Why should the teams who play in the CL get "help" from their domestic league? They have enough advantages in financial terms as it is.

Force them to play two games in 48 hours and they will necessarily have to put out an understrength team in one or both games. That's both unfair (when rescheduling can provide a more reasonable rest time) and bad for the league's coefficient, which is bad for the league as such, not just for the individual team.
   825. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: October 06, 2017 at 10:19 AM (#5545877)
The coefficient only matters now for seeding purposes as England are guaranteed 4 CL places. I think I would argue that acceding to the demands of tv in order to collect a magnitude of order more money than anyone else for tv rights is a bigger competitive advantage for the English teams than having to play Wednesday then Saturday on occasion. Also, If all the teams in Europe played on Sunday, that would be 14 teams making scheduling on Saturday damn near impossible. I would say that the teams in Europe should never play on a Monday like Arsenal had to do a couple of weeks ago, though. Also, my preferred fix to all this is that the CL was a straight knockout tournament but there are many millions of reasons why that won't happen.
   826. Baldrick Posted: October 06, 2017 at 10:32 AM (#5545882)
The coefficient only matters now for seeding purposes as England are guaranteed 4 CL places. I think I would argue that acceding to the demands of tv in order to collect a magnitude of order more money than anyone else for tv rights is a bigger competitive advantage for the English teams than having to play Wednesday then Saturday on occasion. Also, If all the teams in Europe played on Sunday, that would be 14 teams making scheduling on Saturday damn near impossible. I would say that the teams in Europe should never play on a Monday like Arsenal had to do a couple of weeks ago, though. Also, my preferred fix to all this is that the CL was a straight knockout tournament but there are many millions of reasons why that won't happen.

I had forgotten about the new 4 guaranteed spots. That is true that coefficients matter less now. Still, I think it's perfectly reasonable for the league to desire its teams do well in Europe. So modest rescheduling to give three days between matches where it's possible seems absolutely fine.
   827. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: October 06, 2017 at 10:47 AM (#5545892)
Baldrick's point in #824 is the important one to me. If you put Chelsea on Sunday with a CL game on Tuesday all you are doing is creating a situation where one of those competitions, and the people paying full price to attend those games, are getting screwed.
   828. Richard Posted: October 06, 2017 at 11:11 AM (#5545914)
Well, making sure teams have time between games, that's fair enough.

It's the idea of making the schedule after CL games "easier" by ensuring lower ranked opposition are scheduled raised in post 819 that I find objectionable.

And fans of 80 odd of the 92 clubs couldn't care less about the co-efficient. And many fans of non CL teams actively root against English teams in the CL, in my experience.
   829. Baldrick Posted: October 06, 2017 at 11:21 AM (#5545920)
It's the idea of making the schedule after CL games "easier" by ensuring lower ranked opposition are scheduled raised in post 819 that I find objectionable.

A post which I somehow missed, and which helps me now understand the context of people's comments. I also missed the conversation about the coefficient, and just blundered in talking about something y'all had just covered. Oops!

So yes, I absolutely agree that messing with the schedule along those lines would be no good. I'm in favor of modest rescheduling to provide reasonable rest time, but nothing more than that.
   830. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: October 06, 2017 at 11:22 AM (#5545923)
   831. jmurph Posted: October 06, 2017 at 11:51 AM (#5545954)
So Colombia go from clinching a spot to having everything to play for in Peru. Chile go to Brazil and Argentina need a win at Ecuador to advance. Of the five games on Tuesday only Uruguay/Bolivia has no meaning.

It's wild that Argentina is in such trouble.
   832. PepTech, the Legendary Posted: October 06, 2017 at 01:09 PM (#5546003)
It's wild that Argentina is in such trouble.
Argentina and Chile *both*. At least Chile has the theory that Brazil doesn't care, and in fact may be "motivated" to let Chile have a point, if only to increase the chance of Argentina missing out.

Every team, two through six, are win-and-in. That's pretty cool. I'm thinking it's going to be Colombia on the outside come Wednesday. New Zealand is hoping they don't have to face Messi in the playoff; if Argentina did make it there I'd set his over/under at five goals on aggregate.
   833. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: October 06, 2017 at 01:15 PM (#5546007)
How much are Fox execs NOT enjoying qualifiers. At the moment the United States, Leo Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are all in position to potentially miss the World Cup.
   834. PepTech, the Legendary Posted: October 06, 2017 at 01:33 PM (#5546023)
Eh, Portugal's fine. F'n Ronaldo will score three against Switzerland on Tuesday. He always does.

Group I is tremendously exciting; pretty much impossible to predict what will happen there. Group D has a Wales/Ireland throwdown that might not matter if that team ends up the worst second-place team. Netherlands looks dead, but it's not clear if anyone cares any more. And who knows *what* weird crap will go down in Africa. If the past is any indication, at least one match will end up forfeited between now and Tuesday... Group D looks ripe for craziness.
   835. KronicFatigue Posted: October 06, 2017 at 02:08 PM (#5546041)
It's the idea of making the schedule after CL games "easier" by ensuring lower ranked opposition are scheduled raised in post 819 that I find objectionable.


Who does it hurt? Everyone in the EPL benefits by EPL teams doing well in CL. TV deals and so forth. Presumably last years top teams will be vying for the top spots this year. Shouldn't the winner of the league be a team that had to face the same obstacles as everyone else? Chelsea had an advantage last year b/c it could focus on just the EPL while other teams had to split their focus and energy. This year Man City got to face a tired Chelsea (yes Man City was tired as well, but slightly less so). That gives Man U an advantage.

If you give the CL teams weaker opponents the week following a CL match you encourage those teams to play their best players in CL (again a win for all of EPL) and gives the newly relegated teams a chance to play against backups/fatigued starters. So yeah, the "not quite at the bottom" teams are now at a disadvantage, b/c they're fighting against relegation with teams with an easier schedule.

Why is "totally random, which inevitably leads to some teams having worse schedules than others" a better solution?
   836. Textbook Editor Posted: October 06, 2017 at 05:08 PM (#5546222)
The most points Ireland can get to for 2nd place purposes is 13 (with a win over Wales; you toss the 6 points they earned against the last-place team). That *might* be enough for them to scrape into the playoffs as the 8th best 2nd place team... but they'll need help. Of course, they *could* win and combined with a Serbia loss at home to Georgia win the group but... there's just no way Serbia's not at least getting 1 point from that game.

Still. By tomorrow we'll know the set of results needed along with a win over Wales to scrape into the playoffs.
   837. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: October 06, 2017 at 06:34 PM (#5546287)
Howard
Villafana-Besler-Gonzalez-Yedlin
Bradley
Nagbe-Arriola
Pulisic
Altidore-Wood
   838. Count Vorror Rairol Mencoon (CoB) Posted: October 06, 2017 at 07:34 PM (#5546309)
[837] Is Yedlin on the left or right?
   839. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: October 06, 2017 at 07:46 PM (#5546318)
He’s on the right.

AND PULISIC IS IN THE MIDDLE!!!! What a great great great start.
   840. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: October 06, 2017 at 07:48 PM (#5546323)
Holy crap right now Pulisic is absolutely unplayable.
   841. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: October 06, 2017 at 07:50 PM (#5546325)
How is that not a ####### red card???
   842. Textbook Editor Posted: October 06, 2017 at 07:51 PM (#5546330)
Jose--that's a straight red in EPL for sure.
   843. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: October 06, 2017 at 07:57 PM (#5546334)
This is going about as well as could be hoped.
   844. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: October 06, 2017 at 07:58 PM (#5546336)
Back to the non-card, that has to be at least a yellow for recklessness. If you don’t think Baloy knew Besler was there fine, he’s still being reckless but that has to be something.
   845. I am going to be Frank Posted: October 06, 2017 at 08:02 PM (#5546340)
I'm sort of watching a stream on my brother's computer while I watch the Yankees game on TV in Taiwan (thanks Japanese broadcasting!).

Our defense is still crap, but hopefully we can use this formation to just let Pulisic do everything for us. It's really our best bet to be better.

Also - that Japanese Cup semifinal was a treat. The players in the match are so much more technical than MLS players. They are also short and not terribly athletic. The atmosphere is something to behold. Gamba ultras seemed to outnumber the Cerezo ultras, even though it was technically a home game for Cerezo. They are loud and organized.
   846. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: October 06, 2017 at 08:10 PM (#5546346)
I think Twellman is right. If we get to the half up 2-0 I wouldn’t hate Cameron coming on to give Bradley some help.
   847. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: October 06, 2017 at 08:11 PM (#5546348)
That sounds cool Frank.
   848. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: October 06, 2017 at 08:18 PM (#5546355)
We have had 3 or 4 really great chances to make this 3-0.
   849. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: October 06, 2017 at 08:19 PM (#5546356)
OK, now we have to do it.
   850. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: October 06, 2017 at 08:20 PM (#5546357)
PANENKA!
   851. Howie Menckel Posted: October 06, 2017 at 08:51 PM (#5546407)
Ireland v Wales, 'winner take all' Monday!
(well, 'winner take 2nd' in the group, or 1st if Serbia loses)
   852. Mefisto Posted: October 07, 2017 at 03:57 PM (#5546894)
Man, does Fox suck. I was watching France/Bulgaria. At halftime they switched the game to FoxSportsGo in order to show the end of some college football game. Now, I don't care that much about France/Bulgaria, but I was watching it and I care a lot less about that college football game. Viewers shouldn't be treated that way.

Maybe Antonio Conte couldn't bear to watch and insisted that they put the game somewhere obscure. I wouldn't blame him.
   853. Count Vorror Rairol Mencoon (CoB) Posted: October 07, 2017 at 04:36 PM (#5546909)
It was good to have Yedlin back at RB. He did't rampage forward much to my eye, but he seemed a real presence on defense with his speed, mopping up with a least one brilliant saving tackle. With him and Brooks (when he gets back) the right side of the defense should be solid.

Who knows about the left side, though ...
   854. Count Vorror Rairol Mencoon (CoB) Posted: October 07, 2017 at 04:37 PM (#5546910)
Man, does Fox suck.


Cannot wait until they lose the CL and I can stop paying them ...
   855. Mefisto Posted: October 07, 2017 at 04:54 PM (#5546912)
Yedlin seems to do much better defensively when he stays home more. That's a truism in some sense, but I think he tends to anticipate going forward sometimes and gets caught out. And he sure is fast.
   856. Baldrick Posted: October 07, 2017 at 05:00 PM (#5546913)
NWSL playoffs start this weekend. First half of Portland-Orlando was pretty nuts. Second half about to start.

I'm going to the final in Orlando next weekend. Should be fun. Except for being in Orlando, I guess.
   857. Mefisto Posted: October 07, 2017 at 05:05 PM (#5546916)
There's this great bar in Orlando that Alex Morgan recommends...
   858. Count Vorror Rairol Mencoon (CoB) Posted: October 07, 2017 at 05:39 PM (#5546924)
Yedlin seems to do much better defensively when he stays home more


Ending up playing for Rafa is quite the blessing there, I think.

[edit] It's almost like playing for the best coaches in the top tiers of leagues might make our good players ... better.
   859. Pirate Joe Posted: October 07, 2017 at 08:34 PM (#5547005)
Costa Rica with a 95th minute equalizer against Honduras, which means that realistically the US only needs a tie on Tuesday to advance to the World Cup. Panama would need to win by seven and even a 7-0 or 8-1 wouldn't be enough as the second tiebreaker is goals scored and they are nine goals behind the US in goals scored. Honduras would have to win by at least 12 to overturn the US advantage in goal difference.

   860. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: October 07, 2017 at 09:37 PM (#5547040)
That’s such a huge result. Now we just have to Trinidad and party like it’s 1989. What’s Paul Caliguiri up to these days?
   861. Textbook Editor Posted: October 07, 2017 at 09:53 PM (#5547045)
Eyeballing it, it seems that should Ireland win they'd be guaranteed a playoff spot if Croatia and Scotland draw each of their games. Otherwise it might depend on the margin of victory over Wales vs. margins elsewhere.

   862. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: October 07, 2017 at 10:19 PM (#5547053)
Here’s a page that seems pretty complete.. According to them Ireland are a playoff team with a win, Wales get it with a win or a draw. Greece plays Gibraltar so for playoff seeding that game is irrelevant. If my math is right removing games against Moldova;

Ireland - 2-4-1 - 10 points, 5 GF, 5 GA

I think they get bounced with a win if Scotland win their game AND there is a winner in the Ukraine/Croatia game. Scotland are at Slovenia who can still finish second with a win over Scotland. The Ukraine/Croatia game puts Croatia through with a draw.
   863. Textbook Editor Posted: October 08, 2017 at 08:18 AM (#5547128)
Thanks, Jose. Yeah, it looks like they need results to go their way in 3 separate events (which means it probably won't happen). The draw away to Georgia really killed them, and in that one they scored early and then tried to park the bus for like 75 minutes, with predictable results.

I'm not a huge O'Neill fan, but I also know the reality is a big-name manager isn't walking through that door...
   864. Count Vorror Rairol Mencoon (CoB) Posted: October 08, 2017 at 01:35 PM (#5547179)
First England cap for Harry Winks!

Well done!

COYS!
   865. SPICEY WITH A SIDE OF BEER ON A BABYYYYYYY Posted: October 08, 2017 at 04:31 PM (#5547252)
Winks not only being capped but starting is really weird to me. I guess Tottenham has become my team, though I really root for players/groups of players and styles of play more than teams, so I've rooted for Arsenal and Liverpool earlier as well.

Anyways, I digress. I just don't get what Winks brings to the table that's very special.
   866. Richard Posted: October 08, 2017 at 08:03 PM (#5547318)
Winks was in the team for one reason only: he plays for Spurs. If he was at West Brom or Burnley he'd be nowhere near the senior England squad. He's done nothing to justify his selection.
   867. Textbook Editor Posted: October 08, 2017 at 08:16 PM (#5547322)
IRELAND UPDATE:

Results in Group F today have completely bailed out the boys in green. Sitting 2nd there now with all games played is Slovakia, who (for 2nd place playoff purposes) have 12 points. That's great news for both Ireland and Wales: if either of them win, they will have more than 12 points for 2nd place finish purposes, which means--in that scenario--whoever wins Wales v. Ireland is assured of at least a playoff spot.

A draw is a bit trickier--Ireland is out with a draw, of course, but Wales still could qualify for the playoffs, but only if Croatia-Ukraine is also a draw, and in the process is a lower-scoring draw than Wales-Ireland. If Wales-Ireland is 0-0 and Croatia-Ukraine is 1-1, they go to the 4th tiebreaker, which is fair play points (no idea where those teams sit there, but Wales certainly had at least 1 red card this campaign). 5th tiebreaker is drawing of lots.

At the moment, Portugal, Wales, Italy and either Croatia (if they place in top-8 2nd place finishers) or Northern Ireland would be the "seeded" teams in the playoff draw. If Ireland replaced Wales, then Sweden might also get a seeded position if Croatia doesn't qualify. So... in theory there could be a Northern Ireland v. Ireland playoff, which... would be a hell of a thing. (More likely: Ireland draws Portugal and gets their doors blown off.)

Of course, Serbia could still fall on its face and lose to Georgia, and Ireland beat Wales and then Ireland would go through as top of the group... But that's just too damn fantastical to dream about.

Anyway, all to play for tomorrow... and naturally it's on FS2 which means I'll be Guardian MBM'ing...



   868. Count Vorror Rairol Mencoon (CoB) Posted: October 08, 2017 at 08:20 PM (#5547323)
He's calm on the ball, good dribble, solid defensive understanding and he's progressive and accurate in his passing. With Dembele out, I'm very happy he's healthy again.
   869. Count Vorror Rairol Mencoon (CoB) Posted: October 08, 2017 at 08:24 PM (#5547325)
Harry Winks England Debut:

98 Passes
96% Pass Accuracy
1 Interception
2 Tackles
2 Take-Ons
3 Chances Created



"I was really pleased [with Winks], I thought he showed great maturity, he didn't look fazed by wearing an England shirt.

"His quality on the ball was good, he was the one that found forward passes and he looked to play forward. I thought he could be very proud of his debut."

   870. Textbook Editor Posted: October 08, 2017 at 09:03 PM (#5547337)
I'd like to offer a slightly less harsh take on the Winks selection. The game meant nothing to England; they already won the group; aside from (maybe) helping their coefficient out, the game's a dead rubber. The Winks selection is more an aspirational one than anything else, but I think it was made for two reasons: (1) They wanted to see if he could do a job in midfield, should he be called upon due to injury & (2) They wanted to see how he meshed with the rest of the team in such a role. I didn't see the game, but the reports in the Guardian suggest he wasn't overmatched.

I very much doubt that--unless he has a major, breakout season this year--that Winks starts in Russia. But injuries can and do happen, and you need to feel confident a guy won't soil himself if called upon to suit up on the WC stage...

   871. Richard Posted: October 08, 2017 at 09:10 PM (#5547340)
Winks has started four league games. Four. He has done nothing to suggest he should be anywhere near the England squad.

There are sound reasons to blood young players in a dead rubber. The Maguire selection was a good example of that. But Maguire has a full PL season under his belt, and has played 200+ league games at all levels. He has done things. Winks has done nothing.

Winks played well. Good for him. But he only got that opportunity because he is a Spurs player IMHO.
   872. Richard Posted: October 08, 2017 at 09:14 PM (#5547343)
Who does it hurt? Everyone in the EPL benefits by EPL teams doing well in CL. TV deals and so forth.


No they don't. The TV and prize money goes to the clubs in the CL, not the other PL clubs. The CL money is one of the big things that distorts competition in European leagues. If you qualify, you can outspend everyone else and qualify again, and again.

The CL teams get enough "help" from the money they rake in.
   873. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: October 08, 2017 at 09:15 PM (#5547344)
Why he got the opportunity is less important than what he has done with it. The Totally Football show noted that guys like Sterling, Rooney and one other all had four or fewer PL starts when they made their English debut.
   874. Richard Posted: October 08, 2017 at 09:45 PM (#5547363)
There was a good reason for blooding Rooney early. He was clearly a great talent, and everyone knew it. Sterling if anything proves the point. He looks lost at international level.
   875. Sean Forman Posted: October 08, 2017 at 09:54 PM (#5547368)
http://americansoccernow.com/articles/the-missing-years-u-s-soccer-s-development-gap

I thought this was a pretty good article on the problems that the USMNT has been having and point why they are having a struggle qualifying for the WC this year and also got spanked by Mexico last year.

The main gist is that this is what we've produced in American homegrown players who are now 23-27. These are the players from those ages who played on USYNT and also have gotten callups.

1990: Darlington Nagbe, Joe Corona, Brek Shea, Bill Hamid, Matt Hedges, Ethan Finlay, Miguel Ibarra
1991: Greg Garza, Kelyn Rowe, Gyasi Zardes, Steve Birnbaum
1992: Bobby Wood, Sebastian Lletget, Ventura Alvarado, Perry Kitchen, Joe Gyau, Juan Agudelo
1993: DeAndre Yedlin
1994: Jordan Morris


Three legit starters and not a whole lot else. For instance all of the team's current CM's are over 30 or under 22.
   876. SPICEY WITH A SIDE OF BEER ON A BABYYYYYYY Posted: October 08, 2017 at 10:14 PM (#5547384)
There was a good reason for blooding Rooney early. He was clearly a great talent, and everyone knew it. Sterling if anything proves the point. He looks lost at international level.

I don't think he proves the point as he's a heavy rotation player at Man City and is absolutely deserving of starting or being the first or second guy off the bench for England.

Winks did play solid in the bits I watched but frankly they were ####### playing Lithuania who by and large weren't even trying to get out of their half, let alone score. If he's even injury cover, I'd argue that's a pretty bad thing for England. I feel like he normally looks quite pedestrian when playing for Tottenham. I take Drinkwater all day over him.

I will note that it seems like Henderson has really been good lately when I've watched. I mean, I was high on him a few years ago and I guess it was some combination of forgetting about how good he was and wondering if it's get it back. But he's impressed me this year quite a bit, and is showing a lot more physicality and defense than I remembered from the good old days of SaS.
   877. SPICEY WITH A SIDE OF BEER ON A BABYYYYYYY Posted: October 08, 2017 at 10:17 PM (#5547387)
Three legit starters and not a whole lot else. For instance all of the team's current CM's are over 30 or under 22.

I'd say 2 (Wood and Yedlin). Nagbe is ok but really I'd like him to be squad depth. I think he's quite possibly the weakest starter.
   878. Count Vorror Rairol Mencoon (CoB) Posted: October 09, 2017 at 03:36 AM (#5547445)
I feel like he normally looks quite pedestrian when playing for Tottenham. I take Drinkwater all day over him.


You can have him.

I'll take Winks and stand by everything in #868, he's going to play important minutes for Spurs this season and I think he'll take them well.
   879. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: October 09, 2017 at 08:09 AM (#5547460)
Winks has a much higher ceiling than Drinkwater. I'm not sure what the problem is with getting him a cap in a dead rubber. He could be in Tottenham's first 11 by Christmas and making a strong case for going to Russia. Selfishly, I'd prefer if England ignore him so he can train with Tottenham and get some rest during these international breaks. Clearly all these Tottenham players are crap for England so Southgate should stop calling them all up. Please!

   880. Topher Posted: October 09, 2017 at 09:20 AM (#5547488)
Shooty (or anybody else) -- when you say Winks has a higher ceiling than Drinkwater .... Well what would be a player that approximates his ceiling?

I've watched a good amount of Spurs the past couple of seasons and while I understand how Winks is getting integrated into the Spurs 11, I can't say I've ever been overly impressed with him. That comes with the appropriate caveats that he's young, he seems to not be in over his head, and there is room to grow. But in my eyes he doesn't seem like this far he's going to be much more than a squad player. I also suspect that as (if?) he fills out his body, he might turn into a much different player.

I do know that the Spurs fans on this board (a) will have seen more action than myself and (b) will have been paying more attention to Winks. So I'm curious as to what I'm missing.
   881. Topher Posted: October 09, 2017 at 09:26 AM (#5547491)
I suspect it will get buried after the blowout win on Friday, but I found it quite alarming that Geoff Cameron couldn't even make it onto the field. I am extremely curious to see what happens on Tuesday but I would be quite surprised if there is a change in the back.

Omar Gonzalez simply isn't up to speed. I defended the inclusion of Matt Besler a couple hundred posts ago but that was mostly a case of:
-- Besler is left footed
-- Besler tends not to embarrass himself (although he's come quite close to doing that)
-- Our other options are poor

But I find it baffling that there isn't room for Geoff Cameron. I think it's going to be an extremely uphill climb to get out of group stage in 2018 and I can't imagine it happening if we're still entertaining the likes of Omar Gonzalez in the lineup.

I know there is time to "figure this out" but you'd like to see a partnership form in the back. And at this point, the only pairing that is getting the reps to develop that partnership is Gonzalez and Besler.
   882. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: October 09, 2017 at 09:51 AM (#5547511)
I think Winks projects out to be like Mousa Dembele but with all little less strength and more quickness. I think he'll be more direct that Mousa, too. He's always looking to get the ball forward whether by beating his man, which he has the strength to do, or by passing long which he can do with accuracy. I'd like to see him improve the quickness of his one touch passing and I still don't know how he'll be in the final third (hopefully more aggressive than Mousa) but all the ingredients are there for a creative CM who plays with tenacity. And, yeah, he only has 4 league starts and shouldn't be going to Russia, as of now, but he's played in Cup games and is often put in games as a sub. And those sub appearances are often in games still in doubt. Pochettino trusts him in crunch time. Also, he weirdly looks like Coutinho and that may confuse the opposition into thinking they're playing Liverpool. That may be helpful in the right situation.
   883. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: October 09, 2017 at 10:12 AM (#5547528)
881 - At this stage I think I'd rather see continuity than shoehorn people in there. My biggest gripe with Klinsmann was he seemed to be constantly tinkering and we never developed that cohesiveness. I like Cameron a lot but I also think he's a nice option off the bench because of his versatility. You can bring him on with a lead or to protect a draw as a defensive midfielder, a full back or as a center half depending on how the game is playing out.

Gonzalez/Besler isn't exactly dominant but I don't think there is a huge talent difference between them and any of the other current options to make breaking up the pairing the right move. Wrap things up tomorrow night then hopefully Brooks can come back and we can try and look into finding our options during the lead in to Russia. Regardless of what decisions get made I'd like to see 3-4 games before the World Cup with a consistent duo.
   884. SPICEY WITH A SIDE OF BEER ON A BABYYYYYYY Posted: October 09, 2017 at 10:13 AM (#5547529)
I think Topher highlighted one of my big concerns with Winks, is that physically and athletically he doesn't seem ready for top level soccer. I don't think his skill is so vast that it should be ignored. I threw out Drinkwater as a reference point, although it does seem like England may be pretty weak in the center of the field.
   885. Mefisto Posted: October 09, 2017 at 10:53 AM (#5547559)
I'd much rather see Cameron than Gonzales. I don't see a problem pairing Gonzales with Besler for the sake of consistency, but only on the assumption that they're both backups (for Cameron and Brooks). I certainly think we'll be ok at T&T with Gonzales/Besler, but I'd hate for that to be the pairing in the WC.

I'm waiting for Baldrick to weigh in on Chicago's truly awful play in yesterday's NWSL semi-final. That must have been an all-time record for unforced errors.
   886. Topher Posted: October 09, 2017 at 12:09 PM (#5547631)
My biggest gripe with Klinsmann was he seemed to be constantly tinkering and we never developed that cohesiveness.


This is a very fair point.

But what bothers me is that you could keep Cameron in the lineup and not be tinkering whatsoever. But instead, in what was one of the handful of the most important CONCACAF matches of the past 20 years, Cameron sits and Gonzalez plays.

And what bothers me most about that is that I question if Gonzalez would be playing if not for his association with Arena with the Galaxy. I'd hope that Arena doesn't stay loyal to his guys when there are better options ... because it's awfully easy for coaches to do that. To me, Arena failed the test on Friday. And yes, I'm making too much of it.

The fact that Zardes would be in camp if not for injury is baffling at this point.
   887. Baldrick Posted: October 09, 2017 at 12:24 PM (#5547639)
I'm waiting for Baldrick to weigh in on Chicago's truly awful play in yesterday's NWSL semi-final. That must have been an all-time record for unforced errors.

It was awful. I'll probably write a full article up about it, but the short version is: despite having one of the best midfields in the league, they chose to play like a bad League 1 team. It was a thoroughly embarrassing performance, and leads me to seriously wonder whether Dames is capable of turning them into genuine contenders. Despite some hints about tactical flexibility to start the year, they played the exact same system all year (a pinched 442 diamond) and never at any point looked like they were even aware, much less trying to address, the limitations of that approach. It's baffling.
   888. KronicFatigue Posted: October 09, 2017 at 01:00 PM (#5547657)
No they don't. The TV and prize money goes to the clubs in the CL, not the other PL clubs. The CL money is one of the big things that distorts competition in European leagues. If you qualify, you can outspend everyone else and qualify again, and again.


Sorry, I meant indirectly. Teams that do well in CL get a bigger global following. Bigger global following means the next time EPL's TV rights are up for bid, countries/stations are willing to pay more money. I presume (of course I could be wrong) all EPL teams benefit from the EPL/NBC Sports/USA deal. Then, a team like Stoke is going to develop some US fans who are going to shell out money directly to them.

I see what you're saying though. That benefit is tiny compared to the CL teams directly bringing in CL money.
   889. Count Vorror Rairol Mencoon (CoB) Posted: October 09, 2017 at 01:14 PM (#5547668)
I presume (of course I could be wrong) all EPL teams benefit from the EPL/NBC Sports/USA deal.


International rights money is split evenly among PL teams. It's actually a point of contention right now, as the big 6 are trying to get 35% of any future international rights money allocated based on league finish.

That's unlikely to happen.
   890. Mefisto Posted: October 09, 2017 at 01:16 PM (#5547669)
I'm looking forward to the article.
   891. PepTech, the Legendary Posted: October 09, 2017 at 04:17 PM (#5547935)
At the 70' mark, Iceland is taking care of business, and Serbia hasn't found the net yet against Georgia - opening the door for (as of this writing) Ireland to eliminate Wales and top the group. After getting shafted by Henry that time, I'm sure Ireland would love to avoid a playoff...
   892. PepTech, the Legendary Posted: October 09, 2017 at 04:24 PM (#5547959)
And... add the Irish to those who curse my name. Serbia in the 74th.

Look at the bright side. IF you make the playoffs, it *probably* won't be against France!
   893. PepTech, the Legendary Posted: October 09, 2017 at 04:45 PM (#5547992)
Congrats to Iceland, for their impending WC Debut!

Serbia is also in, Ireland and Croatia to the playoffs - knocking Slovakia into "last runner up and therefore out" status. Cruel way to go.
   894. PepTech, the Legendary Posted: October 09, 2017 at 04:51 PM (#5547996)
Coming up tomorrow: I think Slovakia could back their way in, iff Greece fails to beat Gibraltar. Minor drama surrounding which of Portugal/Switzerland and France/Sweden tops their groups or winds up second.

Oh, and CONMEBOL sorts itself out :) And the US tries not to screw it up in TnT...

For geeks who care, your seeded teams would be:

Portugal/Switzerland
France
Italy
Croatia

Unseeded:
N. Ireland
Denmark
Ireland
Greece

So the Irish Derby will have to wait: UNLESS! If France falls and Sweden tops the group, the Swedes would fall to the unseeded pot and N.Ireland would become seeded.
   895. PepTech, the Legendary Posted: October 09, 2017 at 05:38 PM (#5548095)
Wait, I'm an idiot. France topping the group is what's likely to happen, so the Irish Derby is back in contention:

Seeded: Portugal (3)/Switzerland (7), Italy (17), Croatia (18), N. Ireland (20)
Unseeded: Sweden (23), Denmark (26), Ireland (34), Greece (47)

This assumes Greece beats Gibraltar, which is a pretty reasonable assumption. If they don't, they're replaced by Slovakia at 19, which would bump N.Ireland down.
If France (8) does choke and come in second, they'd be seeded and N.Ireland also would move down.

France has Belarus at home, but they couldn't beat Luxembourg in their last home match, so who knows. Sweden is mostly trying not to lose by seven to the Dutch, and could score on some counterattacks and steal the top spot. I would bet money that Portugal beats the Swiss at home, but I suppose stranger things have happened. Doesn't matter, either will almost certainly win their playoff.
   896. Textbook Editor Posted: October 09, 2017 at 06:00 PM (#5548123)
If Ireland can avoid Portugal/Italy I think they have maybe a 33% shot. Slim but better than none.
   897. Textbook Editor Posted: October 09, 2017 at 06:13 PM (#5548159)
But a hell of an achievement to make the playoffs out of Pot 4 for Ireland. Austria and Wales shitting the bed early really helped.
   898. PepTech, the Legendary Posted: October 09, 2017 at 07:11 PM (#5548306)
CONMEBOL could be epically awesome. If Brazil plays to win, and does, we could see Peru/Uruguay/Paraguay through, and Chile, Argentina, and Colombia all tied for the play-in spot, meaning two of the world top 10 don't make it at all.

Alternatively, if Chile can nick a point in Sao Paulo and Colombia and Argentina get away wins, we have a normal-looking Brazil/Uruguay/Colombia/Argentina with Chile whomping NZ and getting in.
   899. Copronymus Posted: October 09, 2017 at 08:06 PM (#5548387)
http://americansoccernow.com/articles/the-missing-years-u-s-soccer-s-development-gap

I thought this was a pretty good article on the problems that the USMNT has been having and point why they are having a struggle qualifying for the WC this year and also got spanked by Mexico last year.

The main gist is that this is what we've produced in American homegrown players who are now 23-27. These are the players from those ages who played on USYNT and also have gotten callups.


I also thought it was interesting that Thomas Rongen brought up the Netherlands. Their national team is doing really poorly by their usual standards, but I looked up who's actually playing for them and, divorced from how it seems like the Netherlands should be doing given their history, it's pretty grim stuff. It's pretty much Arjen Robben and a bunch of guys who are playing for teams hoping to make a decent run in the Europa League.
   900. Sean Forman Posted: October 09, 2017 at 09:50 PM (#5548447)
CONMEBOL could be epically awesome. If Brazil plays to win, and does, we could see Peru/Uruguay/Paraguay through, and Chile, Argentina, and Colombia all tied for the play-in spot, meaning two of the world top 10 don't make it at all.


Brazil should play to win right given that those three are among the best in the world and keeping good teams out helps them.
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