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Thursday, August 01, 2019

OT Soccer Thread - A New Season is Upon Baldrick

Everyone enjoy the break that was about 25 minutes long?  Anyway;

August 2 - Championship begins (Luton-Middlesbrough), Eridivise begins (Zwolle-Willem II)
August 3 - Scottish Premiership, League One, League Two begin
August 4 - Community Shield (Manchester City-Liverpool)
August 6 - Carabao Cup (Portsmouth-Birmingham City), Third round qualifying Champions League first legs
August 9 - EPL begins (Liverpool-Norwich City), Ligue Une begins (Monaco-Lyon)
August 16 - Bundesliga begins (Bayern-Hertha), La Liga begins (Athletic Bilbao-Barcelona)
August 29 - Champions League group stage draw
September 5 - All manner of World Cup and Euro qualifying international break begins

BTF FANTASY SOCCER COME ONE COME ALL (the link for the post now takes you to the signup page).

League name:  BTF Soccer

Code: my8hl1

Jose is an Absurd Time Cube Posted: August 01, 2019 at 06:46 PM | 911 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: off topic, soccer

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   701. manchestermets Posted: September 01, 2019 at 01:59 PM (#5876106)
flip
   702. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: September 02, 2019 at 11:58 PM (#5876367)
After just 4 games, the hypothetical xG standings, especially the top half, are surprisingly close to the preseason projections, with a few notable exceptions (Sheffield United! Southampton against a fairly hard schedule even, and Arsenal). The actual standings, not so much.

Preseason Projection (xG standings from understat) [actual standings] --SOS rank so far based on preseason expected points of opponents

1. City (1) [2] -- 15
2. Liverpool (3) [1] -- 18
3. Tottenham (6) [9] -- 7t
4. Arsenal (12) [5] -- 3
5. Man U (2) [8] -- 13
6. Chelsea (4) [11] -- 17
7. Everton (9) [6] -- 20
8. Leicester (8) [3] -- 16
9. Wolves (10) [17] -- 10
10. West Ham (11) [7] -- 12
11. Watford (15) [20] -- 19
12. Southampton (5) [13] -- 5
13. Palace (17) [4] -- 4
14. Bournemouth (18) [15] -- 9
15. Villa (20) [18] -- 11
16. Newcastle (19) [14] -- 7t
17. Burnley (14) [12] -- 1
18. Brighton (13) [16] -- 6
19. Norwich (16) [19] -- 2
20. Sheffield (7) [10] -- 14
   703. Richard Posted: September 03, 2019 at 05:39 AM (#5876378)
I was hoping for 5 points out of the Blades' first 4 games, and they got them, although I expected a draw against Leicester rather than at Chelsea. I had also budgeted for 3 points in the next game against Southampton, but that looks a taller order than I first thought - they are doing ok against good teams after a bad start at Burnley. Still, encouraging beginnings.
   704. spivey Posted: September 03, 2019 at 09:00 AM (#5876385)
Every team has little small things like this to point too, but despite only having 5 points from 4 games I'm pretty ok with where Tottenham are at. RB is going to be a problem this year, but Eriksen, Toby, and Rose stayed. Hell, Aurier also stayed which I think could be good later in the season. Ndombele and Lo Celso have looked good when playing and I'm hoping coming out of the international break both are able to start. Alli is back and Son missed the first couple of games and is back. Moura seems to score every time he gets to play.

The amount of attacking and attacking midfield depth Spurs have right now is incredible, and I think a lot of the problems of their team in the early season do come back to Eriksen being in and out of the lineup and still getting a whole lot of Winks/Sissoko in the midfield. In 2 weeks I'm hoping those are more distant problems.
   705. Sean Forman Posted: September 03, 2019 at 09:46 AM (#5876395)
I suppose it will sort itself out, but the relegation race this year looks like it's going to be nuts. In my mind I can make the case for about ten different teams. I get down on Crystal Palace and they win two matches. Southampton? They draw United. Villa? they win a match.
   706. Mefisto Posted: September 03, 2019 at 10:30 AM (#5876413)
I don't know as much about statistical analysis for soccer as I do for baseball. I'm wondering how much predictive value xG has over a very short term (4 games thus far). Yes, in "the long run" it's a good measure, but what is "the long run" for this purpose? Would it make sense to go back half a season for the teams (perhaps not for the newly promoted)? A full season? Does a change of manager matter or substantial turnover of players?
   707. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: September 03, 2019 at 11:06 AM (#5876422)
Unless you are a very sophisticated analyst, it's hard to beat betting odds for predictive power. Things like xG, etc. usually don't really come close, whether over 4 games or 40.
   708. Mefisto Posted: September 03, 2019 at 11:34 AM (#5876436)
I guess it's like the bond market. :)
   709. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: September 03, 2019 at 05:17 PM (#5876515)
I don't know as much about statistical analysis for soccer as I do for baseball. I'm wondering how much predictive value xG has over a very short term (4 games thus far).

How much predictive value do baseball stats have over such a short period? Small sample size problems are universal.
   710. Mefisto Posted: September 03, 2019 at 07:28 PM (#5876560)
None, afaik. That was my point, though it's always possible there is something different about soccer stats that I don't understand.
   711. jmurph Posted: September 04, 2019 at 09:12 AM (#5876661)
Laporte being out for 3-4 months is not ideal.
   712. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: September 04, 2019 at 10:44 AM (#5876702)
None, afaik. That was my point, though it's always possible there is something different about soccer stats that I don't understand.
Don't you think that's an oversell? It's definitely not purely coincidence that the top 10 teams in xG over 4 games are almost the same set as the top 10 in preseason projections, and in mostly ths same order.
   713. Mefisto Posted: September 04, 2019 at 11:23 AM (#5876714)
As a matter of statistics, I doubt that "none" would be wrong answer. It's a small sample size. As a practical matter, yeah it looks to be playing out the way we'd expect (allowing for movement within that top 10).
   714. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: September 04, 2019 at 12:11 PM (#5876732)
That's not right. If you knew nothing else about the league except the xG standings after 4 games you could have some idea of how good teams were. It's absolutely not statistically insignificant.

In 2016-2017 the top 6 (i.e. City/Liverpool/Spurs/Chelsea/Arsenal/United) were in the top 8 of the xG standings after 4 games. In 2017-2018 they had all the top 6 slots after 4 games. In 2018-2019 the top 6 were in the top 9 slots. In 2019-2020 5 of the top 6 are in the top 6 slots, except of course Arsenal who are in 12th.
   715. Mefisto Posted: September 04, 2019 at 12:56 PM (#5876740)
Well, that was pretty much my original question in 706. It looks to me like a small sample, but maybe there's more to it.
   716. spivey Posted: September 04, 2019 at 01:00 PM (#5876741)
It's only a 4 game sample, but soccer games are way less random than an MLB game. And to the extent it's a small sample, I think a lot of that is more about who you've faced than the results not being a good barometer of team talent.
   717. KronicFatigue Posted: September 04, 2019 at 01:04 PM (#5876742)
Can you all help me pick some teams to support? I need an english team that's below EPL and a serie A team. I'm a Chelsea fan. For the English team, I'm leaning towards AFC Wimbledon because I like their story of the supporters creating the team after their club left. Also, the banter of refusing to put Don's on the scoreboard when they played MK Dons was great.

For Serie A, as a kid, I always played as AC Milan. Roberto Baggio was my favorite (because of the game) and I remember him in the world cup IRL. However, I just looked him up and his AC career was pretty short and uneventful.

Inter Milan would be my backup choice because I love Conte. But I'm pretty sure I want my Serie A team to be one of those two clubs.

Thanks
   718. jmurph Posted: September 04, 2019 at 01:14 PM (#5876745)
Inter Milan would be my backup choice because I love Conte. But I'm pretty sure I want my Serie A team to be one of those two clubs.

I'm trying to will myself into Inter, too, as the big Serie A team to root for. Lukaku certainly helps. Napoli is another solid choice among the bigger teams, or Roma, though they're in a bit of weird place right now.

For England, if you're an American I think it would be difficult to follow anything below the Championship on a regular basis. Those games are, I think, all on ESPN+.
   719. Jose is an Absurd Time Cube Posted: September 04, 2019 at 01:36 PM (#5876750)
If you are looking for a non-EPL English club I'll point you to Fulham. Craven Cottage is (at least on TV) genuinely beautiful and the bar at the stadium is named after an American player, Brian McBride ("McBride's").

For Italy I'll note that if you are a hockey fan at all Roma includes Hall of Famer Cam Neely on their Board of Directors.
   720. Mefisto Posted: September 04, 2019 at 01:55 PM (#5876756)
And to the extent it's a small sample, I think a lot of that is more about who you've faced than the results not being a good barometer of team talent.


Of course, but that's part of what I think of when I think "small sample".

soccer games are way less random than an MLB game


That's a good reason why a seemingly small sample might be predictive. Good point.
   721. KronicFatigue Posted: September 04, 2019 at 04:31 PM (#5876807)
Thanks for the suggestions. I'm not feeling Fulham for the irrational reason that when I first started following EPL Fulham was in it so I associate them as failures. I know this is stupid, but for whatever reason, they are EPL-->relegated in my mind. Also, I was only so-so on Dempsey.

I really like Napoli's logo. I f'n love love love Roma's jersey and how Totti was there forever. I really like Lukaku, and if I got an Inter jersey it would be his.

Pirlo is probably my second favorite Italian after Baggio.

I don't expect to watch the non EPL team. I only have time for maybe 60% of Chelsea's matches and I do expect to spot in the occasional Serie A now. For the english team, I just want to read about them and root. And eventually use them in my FIFA video game and build them up.

   722. DCA Posted: September 04, 2019 at 04:33 PM (#5876809)
I always liked Nottingham Forest as a non-EPL team. Shadow of greatness and all.
   723. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: September 04, 2019 at 06:40 PM (#5876829)
I know this is stupid
I wouldn't worry. From my perspective, approaching fandom too rationally limits one's ability to be much of a fan.
   724. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: September 04, 2019 at 07:37 PM (#5876835)
Really weird start to the season for Spurs. Draws away at City and Arsenal are both good results, even if the performances weren't great, but a loss at home to Newcastle is close to a disaster. In the end I probably would have expected 6 points from these 4 games and they have 5, so that's about right...
   725. the Centaur Nipple Paradox (CoB). Posted: September 05, 2019 at 12:04 AM (#5876894)
Internazionale fans have claimed in an open letter to their striker Romelu Lukaku that the monkey chants directed at him by Cagliari fans were not racist.


“We are really sorry you thought that what happened in Cagliari was racist,” the letter, written in English and Italian, says. “You have to understand that Italy is not like many other north European countries where racism is a REAL problem.

“We understand that it could have seemed racist to you but it is not like that. In Italy we use some ‘ways’ only to ‘help our teams’ and to try to make our opponents nervous, not for racism but to mess them up.

“We are a multiethnic fans organisation and we have always welcomed players from everywhere. However, we have always used that ‘way’ with other teams’ players in the past and we probably will in the future. We are not racist and so are not the Cagliari fans.

“You have to understand that in all Italian stadiums people cheer for their teams but at the same time they use to cheer against the opponents not for racism but to ‘help’ their own team.

“Please consider this attitude of Italian fans as a form of respect for the fact they are afraid of you for the goals you might score against their teams and not because they hate you or they are racist.

“True racism is a completely different story and all Italian football fans know it very well.”


And when they throw bananas at you, they're just suggesting you look a little potassium deficient ...
   726. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: September 05, 2019 at 07:51 AM (#5876906)
I will just say, that the best thing you can say about the 2 Milan teams, is that they are not Juve. But they are both comfortably on the axis of evil.

But of course this is Italy, so good teams are hard to find.
   727. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: September 05, 2019 at 07:53 AM (#5876907)
And when they throw bananas at you, they're just suggesting you look a little potassium deficient ...

As long as I can still throw bananas at Oliver Kahn... not that the opportunity comes up much any more.
   728. spivey Posted: September 05, 2019 at 01:15 PM (#5876962)
For non-EPL teams my rooting interests ebb and flow based on the players and style of soccer. I don't need more heartburn by rooting for teams whose tactics/talent/coaching will change over time and they could become a real bore. Right now I'm rooting for Napoli and Atalanta in Serie A.

Fulham is a great team as an American to root for. They were my initial team, but then they lost Dempsey and Dembele at the height of their powers, and the valleys with such teams are very low, and can be pretty long. I think they went down to League 1 for a while a few years back. I kind of went aimlessly without a team for a while, but really enjoyed how early era Poch Tottenham played, and felt like they were more of a fit for what I wanted than rooting for one of the mega clubs like Chelsea/City/Man U. Anyways, back to Fulham, they're a great secondary team.
   729. aberg Posted: September 05, 2019 at 01:24 PM (#5876967)
For non-EPL teams my rooting interests ebb and flow based on the players and style of soccer. I don't need more heartburn by rooting for teams whose tactics/talent/coaching will change over time and they could become a real bore. Right now I'm rooting for Napoli and Atalanta in Serie A.

Fulham is a great team as an American to root for. They were my initial team, but then they lost Dempsey and Dembele at the height of their powers, and the valleys with such teams are very low, and can be pretty long. I think they went down to League 1 for a while a few years back. I kind of went aimlessly without a team for a while, but really enjoyed how early era Poch Tottenham played, and felt like they were more of a fit for what I wanted than rooting for one of the mega clubs like Chelsea/City/Man U. Anyways, back to Fulham, they're a great secondary team.


QPR are the team I support and the team that got me interested in club soccer. A few years ago, we took a trip to Barcelona and went to the Camp Nou. I already had a great affinity for Messi from watching the 06 WC in Argentina when he was merely a prodigy, so it was easy to adopt them as my favorite non-English club. I figure I'm due for some front-running with the misfortunes of QPR. I agree that Napoli are a fun Italian team. My wife lived outside Naples for a while as a young child, so I have some connection there. Also, I doubt their fans are much more progressive, but they have taken enough crap themselves to get at least a bit of sympathy.
   730. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: September 06, 2019 at 03:40 PM (#5877215)
ESPN gave the xG totals at the end of the first half of the Netherlands/Germany game (along with a very few other basic stats like shots and possession). Have they been doing this for a while? In case you were wondering, Germany led in xG 0.88-0.41. Actual score is 1-0 at the half.
   731. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: September 06, 2019 at 04:13 PM (#5877226)
Things have taken a turn. 2-1 Netherlands.
Now an absolutely ridiculous handball penalty given to Germany. Never should have been given. Will it be reversed on VAR? No it will not. Germany draws level.

edit: de Ligt slid to block a shot with his leg, the ball popped up high in the air above his head as he stood up. With de Ligt looking downfield seemingly unaware of where the ball was it came down and glanced off his arm, which was in a pretty normal position. Penalty?!
   732. Jose is an Absurd Time Cube Posted: September 06, 2019 at 04:20 PM (#5877230)
I’m someone who thinks far more handballs should be called but that was in no way shape or form a handball. Just an atrocious call.
   733. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: September 06, 2019 at 04:24 PM (#5877233)
No VAR in qualifying, turns out.
   734. Baldrick Posted: September 06, 2019 at 10:47 PM (#5877325)
Five weeks left in the NWSL season. My take on the six teams still challenging for playoff spots.

Utah really have no business being in the hunt, but Christen Press is playing out of her mind this year and so there they are.
   735. Mr Dashwood Posted: September 07, 2019 at 10:36 AM (#5877359)
I don't expect to watch the non EPL team. I only have time for maybe 60% of Chelsea's matches and I do expect to spot in the occasional Serie A now. For the english team, I just want to read about them and root.

If you've got a credit card, it's fairly easy to watch non-EPL teams now, via iFollow, except iFollow doesn't always work very well for various reasons. I watch AFC Wimbledone sometimes, and once we lost the picture for the last ten minutes, and another time there was some issue that took ages to sort out. But, then again, twice I've seen the match from beginning to end. I stumped up for the NBC Premier League Pass thing, which is considerably cheaper and more varied than an iFollow season pass for one club, but there are moments when I wish I had just gone all-in on AFC Wimbledon.

My recommendation to Americans looking for clubs to follow is always to pick something that kind of relates to your own past or present American sports fandom (eg, Yankees fans should follow ManU or Arsenal), or any connections you might have to Blighty. The important thing, if you want credibility and care about not being seen as a plastic, is to stick with it. People who took up Sunderland and kept with them down to League One are top drawer fans.

If you want a lower-league club to follow, and are intrigued by the 'Phoenix club' kind of AFC Wimbledon experience, I might suggest my grandad's old club Portsmouth FC, owned by former Disney Boss Michael Eisner, and also revived from a near-death experience by the fans. The fans kept it going for a while and then sold it on because they knew they would always lack the financial wherewithal to push the club back into the Premiership one day. OTOH, BITD they were legendary for having some of the ugliest, nastiest sets of hooligans in football. (657 Crew or something like that.) You might want to keep away from that.
   736. the Centaur Nipple Paradox (CoB). Posted: September 07, 2019 at 10:53 AM (#5877360)
(eg, Yankees fans should follow ManU or Arsenal)


Or they should follow Spurs, as penance.

Side note: I'm moving soon and don't expect to have cable. Is there anyway to get *all* of the matches NBC shows without even basic cable (i.e. purely via streaming)?

   737. Mr Dashwood Posted: September 07, 2019 at 11:20 AM (#5877365)
Is there anyway to get *all* of the matches NBC shows without even basic cable (i.e. purely via streaming)?

Unless you want to wait until later in the day (9 pm or something like that), there is no legal way to get all the matches.

But if you don't mind waiting later in the day or even later in the week, you can watch ALL the Premiership matches via streaming each week, at your convenience.
   738. Mr Dashwood Posted: September 07, 2019 at 12:14 PM (#5877374)
Leicester City 3-1 AFC Bournemouth

To demonstrate my point in 737 -- before it crashes and burns? -- I watched this one split over Tuesday and Wednesday night.

My first note is that 'Three at the back again? Hasn't worked yet.' And it didn't here either. Except, as I thought at the time, and read on a message board later, during the first 20 minutes when the Cherries had the ball they switched up to four at the back, with Aké shifting over to left back and the Wee Man (Fraser) pushing up to his more natural winger position. Whether the formation fell apart because the players forgot about it, or Howe told them to stop it, after the opening exchange of goals they kept to a 4-4-2 for the rest of the match. Curious.

Vardy opened the scoring in the twelfth minute. It was one of those bizarre goals that one sees in football on occasion, that doesn't really tell you a lot about the two sides, but often can be give a disproportionate weight on the outcome of the game. A Bournemouth attacking move had broken down, so the centre-halves were on the halfway line and most of the players in or around the Leicester area. Vardy broke for the gap between Mepham and Cook, chasing a very long pass flighted over the trio. Vardy saw the Ramsdale, in the current fashion for sweeper-keepers, was well off his line and made a nicely judged lob that ended in the back of the net. Quite spectacular.

Three minutes later, the Cherries levelled the scores. Fraser is making a move down the left, cuts in towards the box and sends a pass into space between the keeper and the defensive line. Callum Wilson breaks through to slide it past Schmeichel, and one thinks 'They are going to make a game of this.' Heartening.

In the 40th minute, Vardy gets away from Mepham and puts a scrambled cross ahead of Tielemans who loses his own marker, The Economist (Adam Smith), and scores. Worrying.

One can only wonder about what happened in the dressing room at the half, but Bournemouth came out looking disorganised and completely lacking any cohesion. They had this look during the bad run during the second half of last season, like they had lost the self-belief that so often carried them to late minute equalisers or winners previously. There was more of a man-to-man approach to marking than there had been in the first half. A foul by Tielemans on Wilson in the 54th minute was extremely alarming and turned my stomach, to be honest, the way Joe Theisman's notorious injury (was it 1982?). Fortunately, Wilson was able to carry on, but if VAR couldn't pick that up, I do wonder what the point is. Distressing.

Vardy sealed the match in the 72nd minute with a goal where once again Bournemouth's defensive cohesion just fell apart. At the start of the move, Mepham, Cook and Aké looked like they had everything covered. However, Vardy, Maddison and a third Leicester player (possibly Tielemans again), through a byzantine combination of runs and passes, pulled them apart. Mepham in particular looked fooled, being dragged out of position and then confounded by a sudden reversal where he kept running and opened space. Aké was caught in two minds and Vardy scored. You should really look that one up if you can find it somewhere, and follow it through a couple of times. Genius teamwork.

When Surman was brought on for King I just sat open-mouthed for the rest of the match. OTOH, Surman probably made more attacking sense than Rico, whose (expensive) signing remains perplexing to me (and probably to him). Puzzling.

By all accounts, Leicester are liable to push one of the Top Six out of a top six finish, so perhaps I am overreacting. However, if Bournemouth don't break out of this funk soon, I don't see how they can escape relegation. It's not so much that they lost, as that they look bereft of any spirit. Aké is constantly looking frustrated about his options when trying to start a move. Fraser looks disinterested now his big-money move to Arsenal is off. Mepham looks out of his depth. Billing is a red card waiting to happen. I am hoping that when Brooks returns, the side might pick up some good results, but how much ground will they have lost by then?
   739. Jose is an Absurd Time Cube Posted: September 07, 2019 at 01:49 PM (#5877393)
Is there anyway to get *all* of the matches NBC shows without even basic cable (i.e. purely via streaming)?


Unless you want to wait until later in the day (9 pm or something like that), there is no legal way to get all the matches.

But if you don't mind waiting later in the day or even later in the week, you can watch ALL the Premiership matches via streaming each week, at your convenience.


NBC Sports Gold allows you live access. You don’t have to wait until later in the day to watch.
   740. Commissioner Bud Black Beltre Hillman Fred Posted: September 07, 2019 at 03:09 PM (#5877402)
Jose, is that for all matches? I thought you could watch the non-televised ones live, but had to wait until the evening for the ones that were shown on TV.
   741. Jose is an Absurd Time Cube Posted: September 07, 2019 at 03:20 PM (#5877406)
Ah yes, I misread it. The non-NBC network matches are the only ones which are live. The ones that are available on NBC, NBCSN or CNBC you have to wait for 9PM. I thought they were live.
   742. Sean Forman Posted: September 07, 2019 at 03:40 PM (#5877409)
Good on all of you for choosing not to watch the USMNT. To be honest it looked like the USWNT vs Portugal with Mexico in the role of the USWNT.

I'm getting a bit concerned about Berhalter. Tri was flooding the forward areas because they knew the US wanted to play out of the back and refused to ever play it long. There were soooo many sequences where the ball went from Trapp to a CB to Steffen to the other CB and then a trick ball out out to the fullback who couldn't control it or reach the pass. I know lumping it is passé, but if they'd had Altidore in play they might have gotten a bunch of flick ons and second balls.

It looked like Nolan Richardson's 40 minutes of hell when the US was trying to play out of the back. After the game Berhalter seemed happy with the amount of play out of the back, but unless the US picks up Xavi, Modric or DeJong in the next two weeks I suspect they may get pressed off the pitch in the rest of their matches. Such was there refusal to ever play deep.
   743. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: September 07, 2019 at 04:43 PM (#5877418)
Turkey got the crucial goal it needed to stay tied with the top of the group. That's the good news. The bad news was they didn't get it until the 89th minute, at home against one of the worst teams in the world, Andorra, who have two competitive road draws in their history (and no road wins of course).
   744. Mefisto Posted: September 07, 2019 at 05:22 PM (#5877425)
Some of the US stats from the first half are … remarkable. They had more touches in their own defensive penalty area than in their attacking third. Zardes -- why does he play? -- had 6 touches in the first half.
   745. the Centaur Nipple Paradox (CoB). Posted: September 07, 2019 at 06:15 PM (#5877430)
Meanwhile ... WTF Hornet Mooses, WTF?

Gracia gets you to 11th last season and you sack him after four matches???

Frankly, now I hope you go down.
   746. the Centaur Nipple Paradox (CoB). Posted: September 07, 2019 at 06:23 PM (#5877431)
I wish Zardes was even remotely decent, because he reminds me of Wesley Snipes in Demolition Man and I love intoning "KNEEL BEFORE ZARDES" whenever he does something, anything good, but yeesh, is he utterly useless.
   747. Pirate Joe Posted: September 07, 2019 at 07:40 PM (#5877444)
I'm getting a bit concerned about Berhalter.


Good coaches adjust their strategy to fit the team that they have and the opponent that they are playing. It seems as if Berhalter is going to be one of those "we are going to do it my way no matter how disastrous that turns out to be because my way is the only way" kind of coaches. And those coaches never succeed, unless they have more talent than most of the other guys. The US does not have more talent than most of the other guys.

   748. the Centaur Nipple Paradox (CoB). Posted: September 07, 2019 at 08:58 PM (#5877462)
Good coaches adjust their strategy to fit the team that they have and the opponent that they are playing. It seems as if Berhalter is going to be one of those "we are going to do it my way no matter how disastrous that turns out to be because my way is the only way" kind of coaches. And those coaches never succeed, unless they have more talent than most of the other guys. The US does not have more talent than most of the other guys.


Well, a club coach can, if given enough time, change over the team's roster to acquire players that fit the system and can make it work. A national team coach just doesn't have that luxury. Devise a plan to play to your squad's strengths and minimize their weaknesses.

So far, Berhalter doesn't seem to even acknowledge that reality.

This could get worse before it gets better.
   749. Sean Forman Posted: September 08, 2019 at 10:53 AM (#5877532)
This could get worse before it gets better.


I'm of the view that our primary focus should be the 2026 WC we are hosting. Our squad could be right at its peak for that WC. The current cohorts are simply too young to make much noise in 2022.

So I say focus on U-23 players. With the only exceptions to that being if you are clearly the best player in our pool at your position, which at the present is probably Steffen, Brooks, Altidore and maybe Yedlin.

Then send our absolutely best possible team to the Olympics next summer and try to win the thing.

I think the young core is more than good enough to qualify for the 2022 WC, so I'm not worried about that too much. We just need the youngsters to take their lumps and be battle-tested by 2026.
   750. spivey Posted: September 10, 2019 at 01:47 PM (#5878123)
Lo Celso is likely out several weeks. Pretty frustrating. Edit: Also, this was picked up during a damn friendly, not even a real match.
   751. the Centaur Nipple Paradox (CoB). Posted: September 10, 2019 at 06:25 PM (#5878200)
#750 If by several weeks, you mean we won't see him again until sometime in November (probably *late*), then yes, several weeks.

From CFC:
Update: It’s bad, folks. Tottenham Hotspur just issued an official update on their website, something they don’t often do when it comes to injuries. The report states that Lo Celso will be out for at least the next 4-5 weeks, not returning to full training until “the end of October.”


Sigh.
   752. jmurph Posted: September 14, 2019 at 10:24 AM (#5879095)
Can’t believe NBC finally realized they should put some good games on Gold the year I decided not to renew. Chelsea-Wolves should at least be close.
   753. the Centaur Nipple Paradox (CoB). Posted: September 14, 2019 at 11:03 AM (#5879100)
Who was that team in white in the first half and what have they done with the Spurs team from the rest of 2019???
   754. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: September 14, 2019 at 11:55 AM (#5879104)
That was easily Manchester United's worst performance of the season, but it was a win, so all the pundits will say they are "going in the right direction". They missed Pogba a lot in this game.
   755. jmurph Posted: September 14, 2019 at 01:14 PM (#5879111)
Sure sure this is fine. Norwich are titans of the league after all.
   756. spivey Posted: September 14, 2019 at 01:19 PM (#5879112)
I'm interested to see the xG from a lot of the early games. Spurs look like they took their foot off the gas the second half, but that first half was as well as they've played in a long time. Also, ####### christ, I know Aurier isn't perfect, but jesus, we look better with a real right back out there.

Chelsea taking it to Wolves like that surprised me. Maybe Lampard does know what he's doing.

Today is actually a day for me to catch up on the Bundesliga, as there are two huge games. First was Dortmund-Leverkusen. Dortmund dominated the high percentage chances, but did look vulnerable in the back. I think they probably won xG by a decent bit. Leverkusen took a lot of pot shots from 20-30 yards out rather than really trying to get a high xG shot.

I'm now watching Leipzig-Bayern, and Bayern is just absolutely taking it to Leipzig on the road. Dominating possession, dominating the good looks. (Though Bayern just gave up a stupid penalty which let Leipzig tie it up!!) There has been some hopeful chatter about Bayern getting pushed this year, and unless Lewa gets hurt I don't see it. I love the front of BVB's team. Alcacer, Brandt, Sancho, Reus. That's world class, and there is depth behind those guys too. But for all of the talk of Delaney and Witsel, they got bossed in the midfield by Sissoko and Winks and I don't know that they're athletic enough to really take on the top teams. Maybe if they are just ruthless against the bottom teams, they could get by, but they also looked vulnerable on the back line. I give Bayern a huge edge there as well.
   757. spivey Posted: September 14, 2019 at 01:20 PM (#5879113)
jmurph - I'm sure you know this, but Norwich is also playing without like half of their first team (iirc). Cheers.
   758. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: September 14, 2019 at 01:27 PM (#5879114)
538 xG is up within 5 minutes after game ends. Understat almost never takes more than 15 minutes. Both include pens.

Spurs made the most of their chances, but didn't have a lot of xG. They had few shots in the box, and non-shot xG was only 1.3-1.2 as well. No indication by xG they played a great game.

538 xG (understat in parens)

Spurs 1.4 - 0.7 Palace (1.04-0.58)
United 1.1 - 0.7 Leicester (1.10-0.48) United was the inferior team by this measure except for the pen.
Sheffield 2.0 - 1.6 Southampton (1.88-1.58)
Wolves 1.5 - 2.5 Chelsea (1.48-3.07)
Brighton 1.5 - 0.5 Burnley (1.69-0.34)
   759. spivey Posted: September 14, 2019 at 01:43 PM (#5879115)
RasenBallsport are way, way better this second half. They changed their formation. They were playing 3/5 at the back the first half, and now look to be playing a more standard lineup, with high pressing.
   760. jmurph Posted: September 14, 2019 at 01:52 PM (#5879117)
Sure spivey but you’re forgetting Norwich won the Championship last year. This is a battle of two equals. Totally understandable loss.
   761. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: September 14, 2019 at 01:53 PM (#5879118)
City only gave up 3 goals once last year, at home in the 2-3 loss to Palace. Considering this one is on the road, it really can't end up as a bigger upset than that game from last year, but the scoreline could of course be more dramatic.
   762. spivey Posted: September 14, 2019 at 02:01 PM (#5879119)
How quickly you forget Son Heung-Min putting City to the sword last spring!
   763. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: September 14, 2019 at 02:03 PM (#5879120)
league only of course!
   764. spivey Posted: September 14, 2019 at 02:22 PM (#5879121)
An absolutely great day of football, lads.
   765. jmurph Posted: September 14, 2019 at 02:26 PM (#5879123)
Isn’t there actually a Norwich fan in the thread? Congrats, if so, it was certainly earned.
   766. spivey Posted: September 14, 2019 at 03:38 PM (#5879128)
I don't know if it's a blip or what, but is the Championship getting markedly better? Wolves last year were quite the team, and then Norwich and Sheffield both seem like teams based on early returns could be battling for mid-table. Chelsea also seems like the cornerstone of their attack (Mount, Abraham) were playing in the Championship just last year.
   767. spivey Posted: September 14, 2019 at 04:05 PM (#5879135)
Also, since it has to be said - Neymar's stoppage time goal to pull the win for PSG was absolutely incredible. He's been injured so much it can be easy to forget he's the second best footballer on the planet.
   768. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: September 14, 2019 at 10:41 PM (#5879278)
I don't know if it's a blip or what, but is the Championship getting markedly better?

I think undoubtedly, yes. The Championship now makes more money than any league, other than the big 5 (ENG/SPA/GER/ITA/FRA). They can outcompete most other countries' top leagues. And there is much less pressure to sell talent upwards early and often, or sell off players after being relegated from the EPL.

I think there has also definitely been a lot improvement in England when it comes to tactics, coaching, and management. Mostly driven by the EPL of course, but the lessons have filtered down, and lower division teams are now as a rule much smarter than they used to be.
   769. Jose is an Absurd Time Cube Posted: September 15, 2019 at 11:34 AM (#5879327)
Roger Bennett needs serious work on his first pitch quality.

I’m with Fancy Pants. I feel like the really huge gap comes between the Championship and League One. I think once you get past the top 7-8 EPL teams there isn’t a lot of difference between the majority of EPL clubs and the majority of Championship clubs.
   770. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: September 15, 2019 at 12:45 PM (#5879343)
Deloitte UK has the Championship as slightly behind the Russian Premier League in total revenue, and behind Russia & Turkey in average revenue per team.. Of course ~22% of the Russian/Turkish revenue comes from Zenit/Besiktas, and much of the rest from a handful of mega clubs. I'd guess the median EFC team is well ahead of the median Russian/Turkish top flight team.
I feel like the really huge gap comes between the Championship and League One.
Deloitte's numbers have the EPL as having about 7.3 times the revenue of the EFC, the EFC 5.1 times the revenue of League One, and League One 1.6 times the revenue of League Two. So, yeah.
   771. Jose is an Absurd Time Cube Posted: September 15, 2019 at 01:13 PM (#5879354)
Arsenal have been truly horrible today. Quite frankly the way they’ve played I think a draw will flatter them.
   772. Jose is an Absurd Time Cube Posted: September 15, 2019 at 01:20 PM (#5879355)
So wait, all goals are reviewed but encroachment on a goal kick is not reviewable even if it leads to a goal? Got it.

Incidentally, have I ####### about the new goal kick rule? If they wanted to eliminate players stepping into the box to get a re-kick taken the chance should have been that a player doing that resulted in an indirect free kick for the attacking team.
   773. spivey Posted: September 15, 2019 at 01:48 PM (#5879358)
Wait, Arsenal gave up how many shots to Watford?
   774. Jose is an Absurd Time Cube Posted: September 15, 2019 at 02:18 PM (#5879361)
Like I said, Arsenal were truly horrible. Leno saved their bacon at the end with a great save with about 5 minutes to go.
   775. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: September 15, 2019 at 02:22 PM (#5879363)
To pile on, xG had Arsenal getting solidly whipped today, even without the pen (and especially with, of course). Almost entirely in the second half, when they were quite poor.

current top 4 odds (approximate):

Spurs: 65%
Arsenal: 46%
ManU: 38%
Chelsea: 33%
(anyone below): 22% (Leicester 9, Everton 4, West Ham 3, Wolves 3...)
   776. Jose is an Absurd Time Cube Posted: September 15, 2019 at 02:33 PM (#5879364)
They weren't very good in the first half either. Neither team was actually but the first Arsenal goal was out of nothing (actually it was set up because the Watford players thought a foul was going to be called and Arsenal kept going). Arlo White described it as being played at a testimonial pace and Lee Dixon throughout was talking about the lack of energy particularly on the part of Arsenal. The Arsenal midfield was absolutely invisible for 99% of the game.

It almost seemed like Watford expected one thing but then realized at halftime that Arsenal weren't worth a damn so even though they were down they could take the game to them. Arsenal then gave them a goal on a spectacular bit of tomfoolery from a goal kick then the penalty.
   777. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: September 15, 2019 at 02:39 PM (#5879366)
It may be they weren't great shakes in the first half (I saw only bits of the first half but almost all the second), but at least they weren't getting blown off the field:

per understat:
First half xG: Arsenal 0.80-0.39 Watford
Second half xG: Arsenal 0.21-2.42 Watford (with the penalty being 0.76 out of the 2.41)
   778. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: September 15, 2019 at 03:18 PM (#5879377)
Arsenal has allowed 94-96 shots against (depending on who's counting) plus 3 penalties this year.

Manchester City has allowed 31 shots.
   779. Mefisto Posted: September 15, 2019 at 04:20 PM (#5879394)
Yeah, but to be fair all 94 of those shots were by Watford in the second half.
   780. spivey Posted: September 15, 2019 at 05:39 PM (#5879436)
Xhaka said in a post-game interview that Arsenal were scared in the second half. Their defense is absurd. Just to keep the piling on going, based on something I read on reddit (so veracity tbd), Arsenal's shots allowed is the highest of any team in the big 5 leagues.
   781. Mefisto Posted: September 15, 2019 at 07:21 PM (#5879455)
Saying that Arsenal's shots allowed are the highest is to understate the problem. City have allowed 31 shots on the season. Arsenal allowed 31 today, against a team that had 2 goals all year before today.
   782. jmurph Posted: September 16, 2019 at 09:52 AM (#5879553)
Some more Arsenal tidbits courtesy of Duncan Alexander on twitter:
- Derby, the worst Premier League team of all time (if I'm not mistaken), faced 82 shots in their first 5 league games. Arsenal have faced 96.
- 2% of all shots in the PL this season came from Watford in the second half.
- Luiz: 3 penalties conceded in 160 league games for Chelsea, 2 in 4 league games for Arsenal.
   783. KronicFatigue Posted: September 16, 2019 at 10:19 AM (#5879561)
Does anyone know the history of how the rules of player transfers came about? In American sports, players can't even talk to other teams until they are a free agent. It leads to situations like Kevin Durant getting hurt right as his contract is expiring. That seems unfairly risky from a financial standpoint. Maybe not with Durant who has F-U money, but lower quality talents.

Soccer seems much more fair. Specifically this rule: "With six months or less remaining on an existing contract for players aged 23 or older, they are free to negotiate with other clubs and sign a pre-contract agreement, indicating their ability to move to their intended club on a Bosman transfer when the next transfer window opens."

In soccer, you have guys out on loan, future transfers signed, etc etc, but in American sports, the world ends if a GM says "yeah, I'd love to have that player on my team." How did these two opposing viewpoints come about? Why have American players' unions not fought for some more protection for the Durant type events.

   784. jmurph Posted: September 16, 2019 at 10:31 AM (#5879568)
Good questions Kronic and I'm not even remotely an expert on the subject, but my guess is that it begins and ends with the anti-trust exemption?
   785. It's regretful that PASTE was able to get out Posted: September 16, 2019 at 12:13 PM (#5879616)
In American sports there is only one serious professional league. That must make it much easier for the clubs in that league to operate as an enclosed cartel, particularly when considering what movement rights players have.

Compare to European soccer, where, sure, the English Premier League is the richest league--but if the EPL teams got together and said "from now on our contracts forbid any player from talking to any other club until the contract ends"...

1) They'd probably have the UEFA to contend with;
2) They'd have a hell of a time enforcing such a clause in a British contract beyond not having to pay out the remaining salary on it, were a player to go and make an agreement with e.g. an Italian team;
3) Good players just wouldn't sign with EPL teams anymore; they can go to Germany or Spain or Italy or France or Portugal or Russia or China and get paid.

In the U.S. there is only one remotely major league, and contract clauses can be enforced by U.S. courts if necessary (though in practice that is hardly ever necessary due to CBAs.)

If you ask why all the big European leagues don't all get together and make such rules, well, that would just be a legal/logistical nightmare (especially historically) in a way U.S. baseball or basketball wasn't.
   786. Sean Forman Posted: September 16, 2019 at 03:50 PM (#5879724)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bosman_ruling

It's a basic worker rights question in the EU. For some reason, US courts do not see American sports franchises as workplaces.
   787. aberg Posted: September 16, 2019 at 04:02 PM (#5879729)
Saying that Arsenal's shots allowed are the highest is to understate the problem. City have allowed 31 shots on the season. Arsenal allowed 31 today, against a team that had 2 goals all year before today.


It doesn't excuse the poor play, but they'll probably have 3 different starters in the back 4 within a month (Tierney, Bellerin, Holding). I'm also not sure why Torreira hasn't played more, since he's the best defensive mid they have. Starting Ozil and Onions together might not be tenable. A MF of Torreria, Guendouzi, and Ozil/Onions with Auba, Pepe, and Lacazette up top seems like the best formation to me. Not everyone is exactly where they'd want to play, but you could say that about pretty much every team in the world other than Liverpool.
   788. the Centaur Nipple Paradox (CoB). Posted: September 16, 2019 at 04:11 PM (#5879732)
At least the response is encouraging ...

An Italian TV pundit has been sacked for saying that the only way to stop Romelu Lukaku is to give “him 10 bananas to eat”. Luciano Passirani, an Italian football journalist, was a guest on the Qui Studio a Voi Stadio show when he made the racist remark and the director of the Telelombardia show reacted immediately by saying that he would never appear on the programme again.

The show was debating Lukaku’s impact for Inter so far since joining Manchester United in the summer and Passirani said: “Lukaku is one of the best signings that Inter could have made. I don’t see another player like him on any other team in Italy. He is one of the strongest, I like him a lot because he has that strength: he is the twin of [Dúvan] Zapata at Atalanta.”

He then added: “They have something extra that the rest don’t have, and then they score the goals and drag your team forward. This guy kills you in the one-on-ones, if you try to challenge him you wind up on the floor. Either you have 10 bananas to eat, that you give to him, or …”

The director of the show, Fabio Ravezzani, said that Passirani had apologised but that that was not enough. “Mr Passirani is 80 years old and to compliment Lukaku he used a metaphor that turned out to be racist,” he said. “I think it was a terrible lack of momentary lucidity. I cannot tolerate any kind of errors, even if momentary.”
   789. Jose is an Absurd Time Cube Posted: September 16, 2019 at 04:36 PM (#5879749)
For a nil-nil (so far) Villa-West Ham has been entertaining.
   790. jmurph Posted: September 16, 2019 at 04:39 PM (#5879750)
I'm sure there are Villa and West Ham fans who could go on at length about the differences in their traditional kits, but you turn on a game not knowing who is at home and it takes a bit to figure out who is who.

EDIT: Should also note I have it on my phone, so it's even harder!
   791. Jose is an Absurd Time Cube Posted: September 16, 2019 at 04:43 PM (#5879752)
I actually had the same thought when I tuned the game on. Fortunately NBC does a nice job with the scorebug to make it clear which is which.

By contrast FoxSports does NOT do a good job of that with their scorebug.
   792. spivey Posted: September 17, 2019 at 09:39 AM (#5879911)
Speaking of TV complaints, is there even an option to watch the Dortmund v Barcelona game that doesn't require paying or signing up for a streaming service? I'm pretty bummed that Napoli/Liverpool was picked as the TNT game instead.
   793. Panik on the streets of Flushing! (Trout! Trout!) Posted: September 17, 2019 at 11:04 AM (#5879953)
Very psyched for my first Champions League as a soccer fan. I have made several efforts in the past but this year it is finally clicking. Been lurking here for awhile. You folks have been a big help. :)
   794. jmurph Posted: September 17, 2019 at 11:35 AM (#5879967)
Oh cool now John Stones is out for 4-5 weeks. So, uhhhhh, Otamendi and........ Fernandinho, maybe? Should be fine.
   795. spivey Posted: September 17, 2019 at 12:07 PM (#5879978)
I guess that means the Nathan Ake for 70 million pounds transfer in January is happening.
   796. KronicFatigue Posted: September 17, 2019 at 12:29 PM (#5879986)
Oh great, it's that time of year again where TNT pisses me off by not having all the matches on.
   797. jmurph Posted: September 17, 2019 at 01:13 PM (#5880014)
Oh great, it's that time of year again where TNT pisses me off by not having all the matches on.

They own so, so many tv channels. It's insanity that they're not airing more games.
   798. KronicFatigue Posted: September 17, 2019 at 01:33 PM (#5880029)
They own so, so many tv channels. It's insanity that they're not airing more games.


I don't know what's crazier, that TBS is currently* running a Friends block of episodes, or that the episodes jump around from season to season randomly!

*I know the game overlaps don't start until 3pm, but I'm not totally comfortable figuring out how to use YoutubeTV's channel guide
   799. the Centaur Nipple Paradox (CoB). Posted: September 17, 2019 at 01:52 PM (#5880051)
It's like TNT, having had the chance to absorb the lessons of how *not* to cover football and the CL from FOX, while also having the chance to absorb the lessons of (generally) how *to* cover football and the PL from NBC, heard the grateful sound of millions of football fans around the world exclaiming, "thank the heavens that FOX Sports lost the rights to cover the CL, they were ####### awful" and went, "oh yeah? Hold my beer".
   800. jmurph Posted: September 17, 2019 at 02:29 PM (#5880073)
Whoa, Prague go up 1-0 on Inter.
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