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Tuesday, July 31, 2018

OT: Soccer Thread (2018-19 season begins!)

Let’s get it on!

August 3 - English Championship (Reading v Derby)
August 4 - Scottish Premier League, League One (ENG), League Two (ENG)
August 10 - English Premier League (Manchester United v Leicester City), Eredivisie, Primeira Liga
August 11 - Ligue 1
August 17 - La Liga
August 18 - Serie A
August 24 - Bundesliga (Bayern v Hoffenheim)
August 28 - UEFA Champions League Playoff Round
September 6 - UEFA Nations League

TV Rights:
UEFA Nations League - ESPN
UEFA Champions League - Turner Sports
EPL - NBC
EFL - ESPN+
La Liga - BeIN
Bundesliga - Fox
Ligue 1 - BeIN

Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: July 31, 2018 at 01:10 PM | 1213 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: off topic, soccer

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   101. Count Vorror Rairol Mencoon (CoB) Posted: August 09, 2018 at 09:59 AM (#5723888)
And a flop in salute to Spurs transfer window.

Way to screw the pooch (and the Poch) Daniel Levy ...
   102. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: August 09, 2018 at 10:02 AM (#5723893)
I can't believe Spurs aren't going to sign anyone heading into the new stadium. It's baffling. I mean, I don't want to criticize Levy and the board too much since, they're going into a great new stadium! But this is the weirdest window since I've been following Spurs. They've never not signed at least someone.

As for LB, the only thing I can think of is they are going to play KWP there. It's not ideal but he needs to play and he can do a job over there. I wouldn't be surprised if he usurps Davies by Boxing Day.
   103. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: August 09, 2018 at 10:04 AM (#5723897)
Also, more worryingly, still no stadium naming rights sponsor. I can't think of a new stadium in recent memory that didn't have a sponsor lined up well before the opening. You're on the one yard line, Levy, don't drop the ball now!
   104. Palm Beach Pollworker Posted: August 09, 2018 at 10:27 AM (#5723928)
Premiership Rumours and Realities DEADLINE DAY MADNESS!

- ManU shows interest in Zouma, which might lead to Martial-to-chelsea

- Lucas Perez to West Ham for £5m and three-year deal

- ManU pursue Layvin Kurzawa

- Lille offer Thiago Maia to Watford -- in return for £17.5m

- ManU and Tottenham take interest in PSG's prospect Arthur Zagre

- Joe Bryan medical at Fulham

- Ocker prospect Daniel Arzani signs with ManC

- 15 players to leave Chelsea by sale or loan this month

- Southampton unimpressed with Fulham offers for Matt Targett

- Juve say 'Sturaro to Watford'

- Zambo Anguissa (Marseille) joins Fulham for five years, transfer fee €30m

- Valencia, Southampton in pursuit of Danny Welbeck

- Aston Villa: Grealish not for sale at any price

- Sturaro spurns Watford for Sporting

- Leicester City sign rising star Filip Benkovic

- Rangers seek loan of Liverpool's Dominic Solanke

- Watford arranging loan-to-buy deal for Jake Livermore

- Brighton pay £3.5m to Wigan for Dan Burn

- John Kitolano to Wovles

- Newcastle wait for Marlon's work permit

- ManC sign hot prospect Gavin Bazunu for January arrival

- Lookman to remain at Everton

- Huddersfield want to borrow ManC's Patrick Roberts

- Zinchenko rejects Wolves

- Everton to lend Cuco Martina to Middlesbrough

- Watford bid €16.5m for Emiliano Sala

- Victor Camarasa to Cardiff on loan

- Wolves turn to Danny Simpson after Zinchenko rejection

- Luciano Vietto loan to Atletico Madrid in Fulham plans

- Wolves turn to Chelsea's Victor Moses after Zinchenko rejection

- Federico Fernandez to Newcastle for £6m

- Leicester get Caglar Soyuncu

- Sergio Rico in London to meet with Fulham

- Jordan Ayew, relegation hoo-doo, signs on-loan with Palace

- Liverpool dismiss unsuitable offers for Danny Ings

- Arsenal offer €100m for Ousmane Dembele

- Chelsea desperation play -- €60m for Fekir

- Ighalo back to Watford?

- Wolves land Dendoncker

- Everton: Gomes getting medical with Mina

- Brighton to get Martin Montoya (Valencia), after Montoya rejects Fulham move

- Arsenal denies bid for Ousmane Dembele

- Godin exploits ManU's desperation to get pay rise from Atleti

- Leicester close to loan deal for Islam Slimani

- Everton lend Callum Connolly for season to Wigan

- Harry Arter to Cardiff for medical
   105. Palm Beach Pollworker Posted: August 09, 2018 at 10:37 AM (#5723940)
I can't believe Spurs aren't going to sign anyone heading into the new stadium. It's baffling. I mean, I don't want to criticize Levy and the board too much since, they're going into a great new stadium!

According to the 'Squawka Talker' podcast (which focuses on data analysis more than most), the problem is that because of the new ground, Spurs can't afford to disrupt their wage structure at the moment.

So, they have a lot of really good players, and can't afford to sign upgrades for them because the replacements would have to get paid more. They can't offer places in the first XI for moderate talents, who might be starting elsewhere. So they are left with signing younger players they can develop to take over when the current starters begin to lose the battle with age.
   106. J. Sosa Posted: August 09, 2018 at 10:52 AM (#5723960)
The Arsenal conundrum.
   107. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: August 09, 2018 at 11:04 AM (#5723976)
So they are left with signing younger players

But we didn't sign any of those, either!
   108. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: August 09, 2018 at 11:05 AM (#5723978)
Speaking of Spurs' really good young players, Bolton are excited to have added one of them, 21-year-old Joe Pritchard. He any good? Probably not.
   109. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: August 09, 2018 at 11:09 AM (#5723983)
BTW, I don't want to make it seem like I'm freaking out about Spurs. It was the second youngest squad in the PL last year. It's not an aging team that is about to implode without fresh blood so I think they'll be in the top 4 mix, but not challenging at the top. I just think it's weird for marketing purposes. They should have been trying to create a frenzy going into that stadium opening and I suspect that was the plan and they whiffed on it mightily. On the other hand, if they couldn't make it work for their top targets I'm happy they didn't make a Sissoko signing just to spend some money. There will be other windows and signing players gets difficult if you have a lot of dross to clear out first. I'd rather not spend than spend like drunken weirdos the way Everton do these days.
   110. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: August 09, 2018 at 11:12 AM (#5723986)
Oh, and if Spurs refuse to sell Aldeweireld to Man U, that's a victory. F U Man U! No Martial, no Toby! #nolongerafeederclub*

*Noting that there is still time in the window for me to regret this post.
   111. Count Vorror Rairol Mencoon (CoB) Posted: August 09, 2018 at 11:14 AM (#5723988)
As for LB, the only thing I can think of is they are going to play KWP there. It's not ideal but he needs to play and he can do a job over there. I wouldn't be surprised if he usurps Davies by Boxing Day.


The "Danny Rose to Schalke on loan" talk makes me want to punch myself in frustration and anger. I get that Rose was hurt last season (and frankly didn't seem fully recovered at the WC) but shipping him off on loan when the plan appears to be "start Davies or a RB out of position" just seems like a self-inflicted wound at a time when Spurs really can't afford one ...

According to the 'Squawka Talker' podcast (which focuses on data analysis more than most), the problem is that because of the new ground, Spurs can't afford to disrupt their wage structure at the moment.


Harry Kane's new deal could earn him around 200k per week with bonuses, which is somewhere around double what he was making before and, I'm almost certain, the most any Spurs player has ever been on, so the previous wage structure, if not broken, has been meaningfully bent (as, frankly, it needed to be).

But, between the lack of signings, injuries and the potential for a "WC Hangover" (especially as the season grinds on), I am quite worried about Spurs this season.

   112. J. Sosa Posted: August 09, 2018 at 11:24 AM (#5724005)
The Spurs thing does baffle me. Poch clearly, clearly, clearly had been promised he would be backed early and often. I don’t follow Spurs transfers enough to know who is reliable, but the links I saw to guys like Brozovic and Ndombele made a ton of sense. I just do not understand how that doesn’t get done. Brozovic and Grimaldo, that is a title challenging team if healthy in a non City world.

Edit: Maybe Levy pulled a Woodward. Got caught up going after glamour signings like Sessgenon and Martial rather than filling critical needs.
   113. manchestermets Posted: August 09, 2018 at 11:28 AM (#5724008)
Also, more worryingly, still no stadium naming rights sponsor. I can't think of a new stadium in recent memory that didn't have a sponsor lined up well before the opening.


The London Stadium still has no sponsor.


Noting that there is still time in the window for me to regret this post.


You've nothing to worry about - United are probably still in a spin after being played like a piano by Godin.
   114. Count Vorror Rairol Mencoon (CoB) Posted: August 09, 2018 at 11:35 AM (#5724016)
You've nothing to worry about - United are probably still in a spin after being played like a piano by Godin.


Yes, that was a moment of pure schadenfreude delight ... about all I can take from this window.

From the Graun:


It sounds like Manchester United have been played like a fiddle by Diego Godin and his agent. The timeline of this curious story, according to Sky, started with United being approached by Godin’s agent last week expressing the player’s desire to play at Old Trafford, United immediately making contact with Atletico with a generous offer, Atletico responding to the possibility of losing the Uruguayan by offering him a massive bumper new contract, and Godin chuckling heartily to himself as he put pen to paper.
   115. Palm Beach Pollworker Posted: August 09, 2018 at 11:37 AM (#5724018)
Premiership Rumours and Realities DEADLINE DAY MADNESS!

- Leicester, Arsenal, Watford and mystery EPL club ask about Sidibe

- Everton get Zouma

- Almamy Touré rejects Fulham approach

- Ospina's Arsenal to Besiktas move looks close

- Everton's blue eyes cast glance towards Red Devils' Rojo at £22m

- Bernard signs for Everton

- Nottingham Forest nab Huddersfield's Michael Hefele

- West Ham give up on Marega

- Fulham close to deal for Timothy Fosu-Mensah

- Newcastle hopes dashed as Marlon denied work permit

- ManC's Douglas Luiz denied work permit (again!)
   116. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: August 09, 2018 at 11:38 AM (#5724019)
The London Stadium still has no sponsor.

Well, I'd say the city of London is the sponsor of that one since they built it and still own it...
   117. manchestermets Posted: August 09, 2018 at 11:39 AM (#5724021)
Fulham close to deal for Timothy Fosu-Mensah


Yes, because centre halves going out of the club is exactly what we need. ####### useless.
   118. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: August 09, 2018 at 11:46 AM (#5724027)
Man U should have just sold Martial to Spurs for Aldeweireld. Now they have an unhappy French speaking buddy for Pogba to sow discontent and they don't have one of Europe's best CB's. Yeah, it hurt Spurs, but it hurt Man U just as much. Mourinho, being the suave continental, probably thinks this "we will only sell outside of the league" business to be loony.
   119. Count Vorror Rairol Mencoon (CoB) Posted: August 09, 2018 at 11:50 AM (#5724029)

Edit: Maybe Levy pulled a Woodward. Got caught up going after glamour signings like Sessgenon and Martial rather than filling critical needs.


I don't think so. Sessegnon was off the table once Fulham got promoted (and was identified as much at the time and Spurs haven't been seriously linked to him since ... nobody has) and Martial, well, I think that came down to something similar to #110 ...
   120. PreservedFish Posted: August 09, 2018 at 11:57 AM (#5724036)
That sounds to me more like Godin played Atletico like a fiddle more so than Man U.
   121. Count Vorror Rairol Mencoon (CoB) Posted: August 09, 2018 at 12:04 PM (#5724042)
Depends on what you think of Godin and how much he is worth to each side, I suppose ...

Bernard and Mina to Everton completed in the closing minutes ...
   122. The_Ex Posted: August 09, 2018 at 12:06 PM (#5724043)
I have been told that Everton have over 35 players to give playing time to.
   123. J. Sosa Posted: August 09, 2018 at 12:14 PM (#5724053)
Got Gomes on loan too to go with Mina and Digne.
   124. Count Vorror Rairol Mencoon (CoB) Posted: August 09, 2018 at 12:14 PM (#5724054)
Make that 36! Andres Gomes to Everton on loan!

[edit] Dammit! Coke to Sosa.
   125. I am going to be Frank Posted: August 09, 2018 at 12:14 PM (#5724056)
United still have Smalling, Jones, Rojo, Bailly and Lindelof. Now a lot of those guys get hurt a lot and some of them probably aren't good enough to be title winners, but Fosu-Mensah probably isn't better than any of them. Most importantly he needs to play and if he starts at Fulham, that would be great for his development. He's very fast and young, but he's been played a whole lot of positions (RB, CB and CM), and he hasn't really shown he can be trusted to play CB.

I can't believe United didn't clear up the log jam on the attacking side on the left. I really hope they move Alexis to the right and rotate Lukaku, Martial and Rashford on the left and middle. Mourinho won't, and Martial will end up leaving. That CB mediocrity stands out. Darmian, Shaw and Mata seem to be dead weight. They're going to need the midfield to be really good.

City - comfortable
Spurs - probably too high, but there is something to be said for continuity
Liverpool - signings look good, but there has to be some regression to the mean.
Chelsea - probably not as good as United, Morata probably isn't any good but Hazard stayed and the midfield is better and deeper
United - I think Mourinho gets fired after two rounds of Champions League group stage
Arsenal - defense is a mess, but they are more talented than everyone below them
Burnley - they have a better plan than the next two
Everton - money spent, don't know if they're better
West Ham - money spent, probably better but dysfunction
Leicester - sold another big money player, but seem very smart
Newcastle - Rafa is going to quit
Bournemouth - no idea
Fulham - soft spot because of all the Americans and the coolness of the stadium
Crystal Palace - Zaha can only carry them so far
Watford - see Bournemouth
Bright and Hove Albion - see Watford
Wolves - yo-yo club
Cardiff - yo-yo club
Southampton - all those sales finally caught up to them
Sunderland (because they will always belong here)
   126. spivey Posted: August 09, 2018 at 01:29 PM (#5724136)
Unless they get killed by injuries I have City as comfortably #1. Just too much depth across the field, especially in goal scoring positions. Liverpool can push them if healthy but I think if Firmino or Salah get hurt they're in a tough spot.
   127. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: August 09, 2018 at 01:58 PM (#5724159)
OK, let's have a whirl at this. The one thing I will predict is that this is going to be a year with some weirdness to it. I think the new timing of the transfer window plus the short time between the end of the World Cup and the start of the season and potentially even the impact of the Nations League means we are into some oddities.;

Liverpool - Their defense tightened up after the turn of the year.
City - I dunno, just because. If you want to put a reasoning to it they had a bunch of guys who played a lot of soccer over a short summer and Pep works his teams to the bone.
Spurs - As Frank said, continuity has value.
Arsenal - Arsene wasn't the problem I don't think but having him go means the team can worry about soccer.
United - Jose Year Three
Everton - Never say die!
Chelsea - Bleh, I think there is serious disaster potential here but the talent is such that 7th is as big a disaster as is likely.
Leicester - I think there is a case for this being the best run club in the country the last 5-6 years.
Fulham - Now we are into the big ol' shrug portion of the table. I always like the promoted side likeliest to play attacking soccer and I think Fulham are that team.
Southhampton - Like I said, big ol' shrug.
West Ham - Kind of a poor man's 1970s A's with the dysfunction and the talent blending the great and the awful.
Crystal Palace - Just because I like them.
Watford - There always seems to be a purpose to what they are doing.
Bournemouth - More shrugging
Brighton and Hove Albion - You know
Newcastle - Their fans will be in for a scare but they will survive...just.
Burnley - I can't get past the fact that they scored so few goals. I don't think that defense is repeatable.
Wolves - My pick for the team that gets off to a surprisingly fast start then doesn't win a game for about 4 months.
Huddersfield - It was fun while it lasted but unlike Frank at least I remembered them.
Cardiff - Nope
   128. jmurph Posted: August 09, 2018 at 02:12 PM (#5724173)
Ooh, Parma, which as you all know is the team I've long supported in Italy (ha), just had their 5 point deduction overturned.
   129. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: August 09, 2018 at 02:14 PM (#5724177)
I think you guys are underselling Wolves. Rival fans are going to be complaining how unfair all their shenanigans are when they are ripping up the PL this season.
   130. jmurph Posted: August 09, 2018 at 02:17 PM (#5724181)
Man City
Liverpool
Arsenal
Tottenham

United
Chelsea
Leicester
Crystal Palace
West Ham
Everton
Wolves
Fulham
Burnley
Southampton
Newcastle
Watford
Bournemouth

Brighton
Huddersfield
Cardiff
   131. jmurph Posted: August 09, 2018 at 02:17 PM (#5724183)
I think you guys are underselling Wolves. Rival fans are going to be complaining how unfair all their shenanigans are when they are ripping up the PL this season.

Both Wolves and Fulham have some serious talent compared to a typical promotion team. I'll be pulling for them both.
   132. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: August 09, 2018 at 02:21 PM (#5724184)
Both Wolves and Fulham have some serious talent compared to a typical promotion team. I'll be pulling for them both.

Can't say I'm pulling for Wolves. Nothing against their fans but something stinks at that club in the owner's box. I think it's become a money laundering operation. Fulham should be everyone's second team, though. Who dislikes Fulham?
   133. I am going to be Frank Posted: August 09, 2018 at 02:37 PM (#5724205)
Damn I can't count, so my Sunderland joke was a fail. I would have Huddersfield 18th just below the drop zone. Wolves stay up!

jmurph sell me on this current Parma team.
   134. jmurph Posted: August 09, 2018 at 02:45 PM (#5724213)
jmurph sell me on this current Parma team.

Oh I have quite literally no knowledge of the players, just the recent story of the team: they went bankrupt, were dissolved, reconstituted and placed in Serie D, at which point they became the first team in Italian history to win 3 straight promotions. And James Richardson did a podcast last year about their history of punching above their weight in the 90s, winning a couple of UEFA Cups if I'm not mistaken.

I'm assuming they play a dreadfully boring defensive style so it's possible my enthusiasm for their story wanes very quickly.
   135. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: August 09, 2018 at 02:46 PM (#5724216)
Damn I can't count, so my Sunderland joke was a fail. I would have Huddersfield 18th just below the drop zone. Wolves stay up!


It was driving me nuts. I was using your list to get all the teams and I couldn't figure out why I only had 19. You don't want to know how long it too me to figure it out.
   136. Palm Beach Pollworker Posted: August 09, 2018 at 03:09 PM (#5724235)
Bournemouth - no idea

Bournemouth are bringing back largely the same team, except they added two players who on paper deal with weak spots in last year's side.

Last season they won a lot of games in the closing minutes, as their dedication to fitness gave them a bit of an advantage. If those results had gone the other way, they might well have been relegated. They play quite an attractive style of game, with emphasis on outscoring the opposition rather than parking the bus.

So, on paper, it's a 'lucky' team that ought to have improved itself, but should be fun to watch. They could finish anywhere from about 9th to 20th.
   137. vortex of dissipation Posted: August 09, 2018 at 03:20 PM (#5724248)
Who dislikes Fulham?


I love the idea of having a designated "neutral" section for fans who just want to see a match and aren't supporters of either team.
   138. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: August 09, 2018 at 03:28 PM (#5724257)
I love the idea of Fulham's stadium too. It's very quaint.
   139. Palm Beach Pollworker Posted: August 09, 2018 at 03:37 PM (#5724263)
Premiership Rumours and Realities DEADLINE DAY FINAL EDITION

- Fekir agrees personal terms with Chelsea

- Besiktas, Arsenal agree deal for Ospina

- Bristol City sign Chelsea's Jay Dasilva on loan for season

- West Ham get Carlos Sanchez

- Brighton sign Dan Burn from Wigan

- Huddersfield sign Isaac Mbenza on loan

- Batshuayi on loan to Valencia

- Brighton sign prospect Peter Gwargis

- Sergio Rico loaned to Fulham

- Ings to Southampton deal sheet submitted

- Watford miss on Livermore

- Leonardo Ulloa leaves Leicester for Mexico

- Fulham say they rejected Montoya, not the other way round

- Four more years for Vardy at Leicester

- Federico Fernandez to Newcastle

- Domingos Quina joins Watford

- Done deal: Zambo Anguissa to Fulham

- Fulham sign Luciano Vietto on loan (and not the other way round as suggested in an earlier installment)

- Timothy Fosu-Mensah on-loan to Fulham

I might do a late-night round-up of anything I deem worthy of note. Otherwise, I consider my work here done.

Fulham seem to have brought in an entirely new first XI in this transfer window which ought to make their early matches interesting as the players learn how to function as a unit.
   140. Count Vorror Rairol Mencoon (CoB) Posted: August 09, 2018 at 03:39 PM (#5724264)
I love the idea of Fulham's stadium too. It's very quaint.


Craven Cottage ... who could quibble* with a stadium that looks like Shakespeare could have watched a match there ... and is somehow still called CRAVEN COTTAGE in this age of corporate whoredom?

I've a soft spot for Fulham, probably for the Spurs transfer connection ...

* especially now that the Michael Jackson statue has been banished.
   141. Count Vorror Rairol Mencoon (CoB) Posted: August 09, 2018 at 03:47 PM (#5724274)
Firsts and lasts only, predicting everything in between is a mug's game (firsts and last is likely as well):

I'm confident in these first two

City
>
Liverpool

>>
And I'm pretty confident these next four are a meaningful level behind the above but above the rest, but I've no bloody idea how 3-6 are going to shape out, Spurs really blew a chance to solidify themselves as best of the rest.

Chelsea
United
Spurs
Arsenal

Bottom 3

Brighton
Huddersfield
Cardiff

In some order seems pretty reasonable ...



   142. spivey Posted: August 09, 2018 at 03:48 PM (#5724276)
Fulham was my first real European team I rooted for, because of the Dempsey and McBride connections.
   143. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: August 09, 2018 at 03:49 PM (#5724277)
Burnley did not look very good in the first leg at Basaksehir today. Probably a bit lucky that it ended in a scoreless draw.
   144. J. Sosa Posted: August 09, 2018 at 04:38 PM (#5724326)
Ings deal to Soton made it through for... 18 million?!! Up to 20 million.

I didn’t think Soton or Palace would blink and pay it but wow. I like Danny and if he plays through the middle and is healthy he might score double digits for them, but a brief history starting from 2014:

- Tears an ankle ligament in the spring

- Heals and in the fall injures his hamstring

- First day with Klopp blows out a knee fall 2015

- Rehabs for a year, first week back, blows out the other knee fall 2016

- Rehabs another year some how manages 3 starts and eleven subs with one goal scored.

I have been terrified that he would tear something signing the contract.
   145. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: August 09, 2018 at 04:56 PM (#5724339)
It's so baffling that Spurs signed absolutely no one. They didn't even get that 16-year-old Irish goalkeeper they were linked to.
   146. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: August 09, 2018 at 05:08 PM (#5724344)
And they lost Joe Pritchard!
   147. Topher Posted: August 09, 2018 at 06:26 PM (#5724373)
Fulham fan here, primarily for its American connections. However, if you were looking for a reason to dislike them, I'd argue that their badge is the worst in the Premier League and I'm not sure it's close.

I'll concede that it's for the best that the Michael Jackson statue no longer exists, but it did give us some of the best team merchandise in the history of sport.


1. City

2. Liverpool
3. Arsenal - I think bringing in Emery was a fantastic move. This team is getting old so I'm a bit nervous about how they will handle recovery after the Thursday Europa fixtures but I believe they are young enough to not be impacted too much. I like Arsenal for this season, but think the age is going to be an issue in the 19/20 campaign. For 18/19, I think the trio of 29-year-olds (Aubameyang, Mkhitaryan, Ozil) will put enough goals on the scoreboard to offset a somewhat questionable back four.
4. Tottenham - I might regret this pick. 4th assumes the continental teams do not raid the squad too much over the remainder of the month. I think Alderweireld should stay but my understanding is that Pochettino has likely frozen him out and if the finances are poor due to stadium debt, I think you have to unload him to get proper value. I also suspect you need to get rid of Dembele before his contract expires.

5. United - An unbelievably poor roster for a team that has spent around a half billion assembling it. The defense is a mess and I don't expect as many heroics from de Gea. As good as de Gea is, I'm not sure you can expect him to repeat just how good he was last year. The defensive mess could quickly turn into calamity if Valencia and Young start to show the effects of being 33. As noted, way too many left wingers and nobody on the right. Mourinho has been less than inspiring so far.
6. Everton - A fantastic transfer window that was almost as good as last season's was bad.
7. Chelsea - I fully expect this team to be gutted before the month comes to an end; I think some players will force their way out even if the team is willing to reject silly offers from the mega-bastards. I'm a Giroud fan but I'm a bit nervous for how this team is situated up top.
8. Wolves - +1 to Shooty's thoughts. I'm not sold on them at 8th since we're starting to hit the mid-table where most of these teams can finish between 8-20. I think there's no chance Wolves finish 18-20.
9. West Ham - Pellegrini should have a solid team with what has been brought in over the summer.
10. Fulham - the non-Merseyside winners of the transfer window. Maybe the overall winners since they were able to hold onto Sessegnon in addition to bringing in a great amount of talent.
11. Palace - Benteke will rebound and this team was always better than the team that started winless last season.
12. Newcastle - This team is getting relegated if Benitez quits, but this ranking is with a belief he sticks around for the full campaign.
13. Leicester
14. Southampton - I think Danny Ings is a real good get for what they needed.
15. Bournemouth - Up the Cherries
16. Burnley - Not sure what to do with them since I think this is a team that could face relegation depending on the number of Europa games end up on the schedule.
17. Watford

18. Brighton - Might be a bit of stubbornness on my part; I had them pegged for 20th last season.
19. Huddersfield
20. Cardiff - I think I'll be more surprised if they escape the drop than I will be if City fails to win the league.
   148. ckash Posted: August 09, 2018 at 07:02 PM (#5724378)
1. Man City
2. Liverpool

City will not romp to the title this season. Liverpool will push them to the very end.

3. Chelsea

I can dream, can't I?

4. Tottenham.
5. Arsenal
6. Man U.

If Man cut their losses early with Mourinho before the inevitable year 3 player revolt, they can salvage their season and qualify for Europe.

7. Everton

And if Mourinho overstays Everton can glide into the top 6.

8. Leicester
9. West Ham
10. Crystal Palace

Any of 8 to 10 could catch a break and end up in Europa League.

11. Fulham
12. Wolves

Best promoted teams in my admittedly short time as a EPL fan.

13. Newcastle.

If Benitez stays they should comfortably avoid relegation. If he leaves then all bets are off.

14. Bournemouth
15. Watford
16. Huddersfield
17. Burnley

These 4 will flirt with the relegation zone.

18. Southampton
19. Brighton
20. Cardiff
   149. manchestermets Posted: August 09, 2018 at 07:04 PM (#5724381)
Manchester United veto José Mourinho’s transfer wishlist

Virtually identical stories to this one appear in a few of tomorrow's papers, and it absolutely bears the hallmarks of a Woodward press briefing - trying to make people see how wise and powerful he is, while transparently displaying the opposite. While he might well be right not to trust Mourinho's judgement on which players to buy, the outcome of that shouldn't be a lacklustre window, it should be firing the manager because judgement of players is, you know, fairly fundamental to the job. The bullshit about Varane is there to make us think that he's happy to spend money on the right players, but it's obvious to anyone with the slightest bit of knowledge that Madrid aren't going to sell possibly the best centre half in the world at the moment, and if anyone's got the slightest bit of knowledge, it's Woodward. He knows that the window's been a dismal failure on his watch, and now he's trying to make out that it's nothing to do with him.
   150. Sean Forman Posted: August 09, 2018 at 07:16 PM (#5724382)
United sound like Wenger whinging about the out of control spending every year.
   151. Count Vorror Rairol Mencoon (CoB) Posted: August 09, 2018 at 07:25 PM (#5724386)
And they lost Joe Pritchard!


Between him and Alex ... SPURS HAVE LOST ALL THE PRITCHARDS!!!
   152. Count Vorror Rairol Mencoon (CoB) Posted: August 09, 2018 at 07:36 PM (#5724395)
4th assumes the continental teams do not raid the squad too much over the remainder of the month. I think Alderweireld should stay but my understanding is that Pochettino has likely frozen him out and if the finances are poor due to stadium debt, I think you have to unload him to get proper value. I also suspect you need to get rid of Dembele before his contract expires.


I shall paraphrase The Pogues' "The Boys From The County Hell":


At the time I was working for Dan Levy

And he was the meanest bastard that you have ever seen

And to lose a single penny would grieve him awful sore

And he was a miserable bollocks and #####'s, bastard's whore
   153. Count Vorror Rairol Mencoon (CoB) Posted: August 09, 2018 at 07:50 PM (#5724406)
And on the subject of Spurs, The Pogues, this transfer window and "The Boys From The County Hell":


Five green bottles, sitting on the floor

I wish to Christ, I wish to Christ that I had fifteen more ...
   154. J. Sosa Posted: August 09, 2018 at 09:30 PM (#5724475)
Purely Subjective Summer Transfer Grades with adjustments for resources and expectations:

Arsenal: B

Finally broke with the Wenger era and did well to bring in Emery. Emery is a solid manager and is not above pragmatism. In terms of hires, it could have been a lot worse. He has a good reputation in Europe and should do well if given resources and time. I made fun of Mslintat repeatedly going to the Dortmund well, but the club has been proactive. They have gone all in around an older core attempting to secure Champions League. It is not without risk, but it is a rational strategy.

I was not crazy about the signing of Sokratis, but it was an area of need to say the least. Mertesacker was sent to the glue factory, Koscielny’s Achilles gave up the ghost, and Mustafi is not very good. They could use another center back, but Sokratis played for a good club in big matches and was a decent signing. Leno I am more down on. He fills out a kit, and looks like he should be great, but when I’ve watched him he’s tended to play poorly, and some of his underlying stats are atrocious. That said, Leverkusen played such a crazy style that I’m not super confident that my assessment is fair. Presumably Mslintat knows Leno, and one would have to assume he is an upgrade on the octogenarian Cech.

Lichsteiner I also wasn’t super keen on, but again, he was a veteran player at a big club that played in big matches, and Arsenal are attempting to fill in depth around the superstars like Auba while they still can. It is something Wenger repeatedly failed to do towards the end of his tenure, especially in the latter stages of the RVP era.

The signing that makes the window for me though is Torreria. I can not claim to have seen him play much, but I do know that well run sizable clubs like Napoli and Roma wanted him before Arsenal muscled them out. His stats are promising, but that isn’t the main takeaway for me. The main point is that Arsenal probably hasn’t had a player like him since Gilberto. He’s the type of player they have desperately needed for years. I expect him to have an outsized immediate impact.

Projection:

Putting a water carrier like Torreria with the firepower Arsenal has up front was the smart move. I expect Arsenal to put up a serious top 4 challenge if Europa can be managed.

Bournemouth: D

I admire Bournemouth for attempting to play an attractive style. They managed to keep Cook, which was important. I can’t claim to know much about Lerma, but his profile suggests a player they could have really used last year. Rico, again, I don’t know much about him, but it is a signing in an area of need. I know nothing about Brooks. Bournemouth is in a tough spot given the size of the club, but I do not understand the lack of activity.

Projection:

Unfortunately, one of my leading contenders for the drop. Wolves and Fulham are beating down the door and Bournemouth doesn’t have much room for error. They also play a style which might not be suited to a relegation fight. Hopefully not, but I think they are in trouble.

Brighton: A

Didn’t lose anyone of note. Attempted that most expensive and difficult of tasks: finding more goals by signing Jahanbaksh. The Dutch league is notoriously difficult to project, but he does look promising. The few times I’ve seen him play he looked legit. He might not adjust to the style of play or what have you, but I think it was a bold and impressive signing for Brighton. I don’t know anything about Bissouma, but he played often for a mid table French side, which is promising. Midfielders from Ligue 1 seem to translate well, and he is young. I think it is likely a good signing. Bernardo, again, a good signing. He started often for a good Leipzig team that has been churning out prospects. Montoya played a lot for a big Spanish team, he is a good signing. Very shrewd effective window.

Projection:

I think Brighton are a solid mid tablish team. I think they have done very well.

Burnley: C-

I love Sean Dyche. My only regret is that Goldie Lookin’ Chain has not yet released a tribute to his awesomeness. Burnley is the new Stoke. Finish seventh? Qualify for Europe? Concede 39 goals in the league, many of those gifted from the beach? Score 36? Obvious response: Sign a center back. Job done.

I can’t lie, Burnley signing Ben Gibson was perhaps my favorite signing of any team during the window. I laughed out loud when I first read it. The dude is legit, and many other teams would have done well to go in for him, but Burnley already had Mee and Tarkowski. Every other position at Burnley is fungible. But center back? Gotta keep em fresh.

Perhaps my second favorite signing of the window: Vydra. That also slayed me. That is Dyche’s version of bringing out the big gun. Joking aside, Vydra will work his butt off and might score 10. For Burnley, that’s a shot of nitrous.

And for a grand finale: Joe Hart. Perhaps my third favorite signing of the whole window. Joe Hart, whose corpse has been carrying his corpse’s corpse since 2014. But with Pope out for months and other injuries, he might get a chance. All he has to do is plant himself in front of the narrow windows of Sean Dyche’s parked bus.

Projection:

Europa will probably hurt them if they take it seriously. They should have done more in the market. But I just can’t see them being in the relegation scrap. They are just too nasty. One of my very favorite teams to watch, just as Stoke was back in the day.
   155. Mefisto Posted: August 09, 2018 at 09:32 PM (#5724477)
I think United are in a really volatile situation here. I can see them finish 4th (behind City, LFC, and Spurs), but I can also see them finish in the bottom 10.

I think Woodward is poor at his job (the Fellaini transfer was a tell), and there's no way United's talent is good enough to challenge for the title. That doesn't mean he should have bought anyone Mourinho wanted. I don't even know who those targets might have been, but no coach gets carte blanche. And Mourinho is more in the category of "I gave him an unlimited budget and he exceeded it" anyway.

But in that case the solution is, as 149 says, to fire Mourinho. Who never should have been hired. Which brings us back to Woodward being poor at his job.
   156. J. Sosa Posted: August 09, 2018 at 09:37 PM (#5724481)
Cardiff: F

The triumphant return of Vincent Tan and Neil Warnock. Warnock will be fired by November. No departures of note. Added Murphy from Norwich. Reid from Bristol City. Procurement found a copy of Footie Manager 2010 in an Asda bin and signed Alex Smithies. Terrible, even allowing for the size of the club.

Projection:

If Cardiff don’t go down I will be shocked.

Chelsea: A (If keeping Hazard) C - (If not)

It appears that the rumors of Roman’s demise were greatly exaggerated. I hoped he had lost interest, but nope. Chelsea has done some odd things the last few years, but they are a dark horse challenger for the title in my opinion if Real is not sand bagging. I suspect Real may be, I don’t think the plan is to tank this year, they are likely just waiting for the English clubs to go away with the early window. I realize a lot of pundits have Chelsea in trouble, but if they keep Hazard, I don’t see why. Chelsea finished fifth and added Kovavic and Jorghino to that team. Courtois couldn’t be bothered last season.

Brought in Sarri, who lead one of the most entertaining teams in the world in Napoli. Kept Hazard, which was a miracle if it sticks. Lost Courtois but given that his head was noticeably turned most of last season and the fact that he was on strike, they did well to replace him with Kepa. Kepa is very good and suits Sarri’s style. My only concern would be that he is on the smallish side and might get battered around to start with. It might take him a season or two to adjust, but he is talented. The fee was huge but given the size of the check they gave Kepa to give to Bilbao, I’m going to go out on a limb and say liquidity isn’t an issue.

Signed Jorghino, beating out City and Liverpool. Jorghino is very, very good. Among the best line breakers in the world. Putting him next to Kante is almost unfair. And they also added Kovavic. That is a devastating midfield. Absolutely nasty. I’ve seen some Chelsea fans that are concerned at the lack of a creative midfielder, but I don’t think that is warranted. Hazard is a creative type, basically a supercharged Insigne if he stays. Morata and Giroud don’t really fit the style, but they are ok. They could have used a winger, but if Willian is one of the weaker parts of your team I reckon you are doing alright. Very underrated window. They might take some time to adjust to Sarri’s style, but they will be entertaining, and they will be good.

Projection:

Probably top 4, maybe more if Hazard stays. If Hazard goes, probably fifth or sixth.

Crystal Palace: D

Lost nothing of note. Employ Roy Hodgson. Kept Zaha, which was an interesting microcosm of what is going on in the league. The money for staying up has become so huge that it has had an interesting impact on the market. What is a guy like Zaha to a club like Spurs? Depth. What is a guy like Zaha to Palace? Maybe the difference between relegation and staying up. Which means any transfer fee is necessarily going to be enormous.

Palace signed Kouyate who is a solid player and will likely help. Gave an incredibly laughable deal to Meyer on a free. Rumor has it that with the various bonus payments from the free Meyer might be on the equivalent of close to 200k a week on terms that are transparently intended to use Palace as a stepping stone. Meyer’s agent was leaking to everybody on the planet that Schalke wasn’t a big enough club for Meyer. And he ended up at Palace. Myer was viewed as toxic and an absolute pox by Schalke, I can’t imagine he’s going to show much respect for the likes of Palace and Hodgson. He’s an ok player but is absolutely not worth the money or the headaches.

Lost out on Ings, which might turn out to be a blessing given that the man basically hasn’t played for years. Got Ayew, which is hilarious. The guy is a relegation magnet, and personally I think it isn’t entirely coincidence. I don’t think I saw any player in the entire league mail it in as badly as he did at times last season. He is probably a case of subtraction by addition.

Projection:

Despite everything they kept Zaha and have Hodgson, who for all his faults, will probably keep them out of trouble. Completely hum drum, but probably safe.

Everton: B +

If somebody randomly was given a few billion dollars, decided to buy a football club, and then went on a transfer spree this is what it would look like. Took a loss on Klassen. Got rid of Rooney. Sold Mori, who I’m very glad to see the back of. Depending on how hysterical one wants to be, maybe wrecked Origi with dirty play. Might keep Lookman, which would be smart, because he looked legit at Leipzig. Added Digne, who was highly regarded at one time before getting paid to ride the pine at bastard clubs. Baines is done, so Digne is likely a good signing.

Paid a ton of money for Richarlison and got ridiculed for it, but there is reason to think it might prove shrewd. Richarlison had played a lot of soccer and probably wore down. His underlying metrics suggest he might have been unlucky. He may surprise, and given some of the other fees flying around, it might not end up being all that outlandish.

All that said though, they were in dire need of centerbacks and got a couple. Mina did not fit at Barcelona at all. He has the turn radius of a battleship, but in a low block in the right system I suspect the guy would be a monster. I don’t think United was ever super serious about getting him, but Lyon really wanted him. If they play the right system, they did well to get him. Probably got Zouma who is better than what they had. Desperately needed.

Got Gomes on loan, a guy that struggled to get time at Barcelona but that was highly regarded at one time. The few times I saw him play it looked like he didn’t fit Barcelona’s style. I think the Premiere League might suit him. A good signing. Also picked up Bernard who is a pretty talented player but I’m not sure what they are going to do with him.

Projection:

Probably top 10ish.

Fulham: A +

The Wrath of Khan. Some people kind of chuckled *cough* after Khan bought Fulham, panic bought players, hired Magath, cratered, and went down. But I am happy to see them back up. I generally root against the promotion of London clubs, but I have missed Fulham, and I’ve missed the Cottage. I’m glad they are back. Good for Khan.

Lost nothing of note. Brought in Chambers on a loan, a good move. Signed Seri, who has perhaps the hardest working agent in the biz, Seri was linked to every big club under the sun including Barca last summer in the press. I have ripped on Seri a bit in the past, because the Xavi comparisons were ludicrous, but he’s a decent enough player. Was a key man for a top 10 Ligue 1 team. Allegedly may or may not have some type of Raynaud’s issue though, so that’s something to keep an eye on.

Signed Mitrovic, who likes the club and showed a lot of development for Fulham. Might continue to develop and is probably a decent source of goals. Got Vietto on loan, a guy that couldn’t beat out the likes of Griezmann, Costa, and Correa, but is a good versatile player. Signed Mawson who is a solid defender to go with Chambers. Signed Joe Bryan, who will probably allow Fulham to avoid any lingering pretenses that Sessegnon is a left back.

Also signed Le Marchand who is a defender that started a bunch for a top 10 Ligue 1 team. Signed Mensah, who I don’t know a lot about but a guy that played quite a bit on loan for Palace. Signed Anguissa, who played a lot for a good Marseille side that made a European Final. Signed freakin’ Sergio Rico, who played on one of the better teams in Spain for years, played in the Champions League, and won a European final! The list goes on and on.

Fulham isn’t screwing around this time. They identified defense as a problem and went about solving it. And signed good Ligue 1 midfielders to boot. And a big-time keeper just for the hell of it. And a quality support striker to go with another striker. As an afterthought, they also signed Schurrle whose career has fallen off a cliff but is still decent enough for a promoted side. Most promoted sides would tout a guy like Schurrle as a signature signing. For Fulham, dude ranks at the bottom of a top 10.

And, perhaps most importantly of all: they kept Sessegnon.

Projection:

This is a very talented newly promoted team. Everyone is talking about Wolves, but damn, Fulham is loaded. Anguissa, Seri, Le Marchand, and Rico are legit. I mean, Fulham brought in some serious dudes. I’m not talking prospects, or flyers, or retreads, or iffy loans like most promoted teams. I’m talking legit European competition quality dudes that are ready to play. It will take some time to adjust to that many new players, but on pure talent this might be a top 10ish team. I would be shocked if they were in a relegation battle.

Huddersfield Town: C -

They tried, but they just don’t have any bite at all. Lost nothing of note. Signed Kongolo who is decent. Signed Sobhi who is well regarded and might develop. Signed Diakhaby, who was a bit player for Rennes and Monaco, but might be promising. I haven’t seen him play. Premiere League proven players and Ligue 1 transfers aren’t fancy or inventive, but it tends to be low risk. A small team that tried, but they are going to need at least one of the offensive signings to hit big.

Projection:

I like Wagner a lot, but last season was something of a miracle. I don’t see how he pulls it off again. Other than Cardiff, probably my biggest pick to go down.

Leicester City: B

Lost Mahrez, which is going to hurt. Kept Maguire, which may or may not have been a good idea. He’s a good player, but at the fees being tossed around might have been worth moving him on. I haven’t seen Soyuncu play much but he is very highly regarded. Liverpool and some other big clubs were scouting him. Maddison is very highly regarded, if not for the injury one of the big six clubs might have come in for him. It is debatable whether he would have chosen the move this soon, but Leicester did well to sign him. He is talented.

Pereira could have played just about anywhere. He is a very good right back. There are a ton of Champions League teams that would love to have him. Ghezzal has been a depth player for Lyon and Monaco, he might pan out. Signed Evans for cheap, who has some talent but probably should start taking his career more seriously. Signed Benkovic who I know nothing about. It is puzzling that they signed three centerbacks, I thought for sure Maguire would go.

Signed Ward for a decent amount of money. Some Liverpool fans argue that coaches always spoke well of him and that he just wasn’t suited to Liverpool’s style of play. Skeptics point out that he never got a sniff off the likes of Mignolet and Karius.

Projection:

Remain a solid team. I don’t like Puel, but even without Mahrez they shouldn’t be in trouble. If Vardy falters they have Iheanacho, who is talented. There is enough firepower and defense there to be a top 10 team again.
   157. J. Sosa Posted: August 09, 2018 at 09:42 PM (#5724485)
Liverpool: A+

Right from the start I’m going to admit that time has proven me incapable of rationally assessing Liverpool transfers. With that caveat out of the way, I am very excited. Renewed Salah, Mane, and Firmino. Lost Can on a free in what was the worst kept transfer secret all time since about June of 2017, but it shouldn’t hurt that much. He never did adapt to the system and was allegedly often at fault when the press broke down. Still, a rugged player who played hard. I think his strength might be missed in some matches.

Sold Ward for a good fee. Sold Ings for a ridiculous fee. He’s a good player when he isn’t played out of position out wide, and if healthy he’s a good bet for double digit goals, but man… He hasn’t really played for years and has blown out both knees.

Keita is finally here. People are probably tired of me touting him, but the dude’s a monster. Projects as an elite midfielder. Kante lite on the defensive side and very good attacking numbers. Also has an edge, which is very welcome. I’m tired of winning the fair play league. I think it has hurt Liverpool under Klopp, especially last season. Klopp got some stick for his Ramos comments, but what he said was true. Klopp’s teams play clean, maybe too clean.

Fabinho was a signing the team has desperately needed for years. They will hopefully match up better with teams like Man U now. He is a very cerebral skilled player and reads the game in a way that Henderson is just not capable of. It might take a few months to adapt, but he is an excellent signing. I was shocked by the transfer, he had been nailed on for Atleti. One of the top DMs in the world. Midfield was a weakness and was rather brutally exposed in the Champions League final.

It is hard to describe how happy I was about Alisson signing. I don’t care about the fee. The man is a joy to watch. If people enjoyed Ederson, they are going to love Alisson. Ederson is probably a little more skilled on short range passes, but it is amazing to watch Alisson hit long passes. Exceptional distribution and excellent shot stopping. I’m not sure the shot stopping numbers are repeatable, but he is an excellent sweeper style keeper. If healthy, one of the very best keepers in the world. It is interesting to watch guys like Alisson and Ederson, for years people said defensive mids were going out of style in favor of deep lying playmakers, but the game evolved. Keepers like Ederson and Alisson basically are deep lying play makers.

As for Shaqiri, I think he is going to prove to be a good signing if he stays healthy. The dude can generate chances at a good rate, and that’s mostly what he is going to be asked to do. I know I feel much better having him as a backup on the wings and at the 10 than anything they had available last season.

Losing out on Fekir was a bummer, but frankly, if Liverpool weren’t willing to sign him even at the purported (ridiculously low) fee for a player of his immense talents, that is telling as to the status of his knee. It also says something that nobody else signed him despite how good he is.

Projection:

In my heart I don’t truly believe they will win the title. They are very talented, but something always seems to go wrong. City is awesome, if not perhaps as otherworldly as the numbers would indicate last season. City will probably fall off some, but I just don’t think Liverpool has quite enough. I would be crushed if they don’t finish top 4 though.

Man City: D

I get that they blew away the league. I get that they are loaded. I get that there is very little they can do to improve. But I think they might be tempting fate a bit. They signed Mahrez, which I don’t think they really needed. I think the idea is for him to provide cover at several spots, I think Pep may well be planning on using him through the middle some.

But I am surprised that they didn’t get cover for Fernandinho. To me, that is the achilles heel of the team. He is aging and is a key cog in what makes City work. They missed out on Jorghinho, who would have made them even scarier. I was terrified that they were going to get Weigl. Weigl may or may not be going to PSG in the latest spat between the two ownership groups. But if City is going to fall, that is how I think it will happen. An injury to Fernandinho, and a couple of injuries at the back, and maybe they start losing a shoot out here and there.

Projection:

Still the overwhelming favorite to win the league. It is hard to repeat, but I think a lot would have to go wrong for them not to win. Pep excels at grinding out wins domestically, and if teams are going to continue to cower and let City run amok, they will run rampant again.

Man U: F +

Lost Blind, which was a case of addition by subtraction. Did well to get what they did for him. Added Fred, who is a good player, but one I’m not sure they needed. Signed Dalot, who probably isn’t ready. And… That’s it.
I am perplexed. I thought for sure they would get a guy like Savic, a center back, and an elite fullback. Why that didn’t occur, I do not know. Liverpool really wanted Savic but discovered that there were too many sharks in the water. It was assumed that he was Man United bound, but Real has been suspiciously quiet and I don’t see a scenario where Lazio is able to hold onto him. They must have lost out.

That is understandable, but not bringing in a center back, a fullback, and a right sided player is inexcusable. The Sanchez deal was a huge mistake from the moment it was signed. The team is unbalanced, and Mourinho is running off prime assets like Pogba, Martial, and maybe Rashford. I think management should just bite the bullet and get rid of Mourinho and Woodward both. Just do it now and work towards landing an elite manager and a functional player recruitment team. Simeone, Zidane, whomever. But Mourinho is an active detriment. How much truth there is to various players refusing to come play for him there is I don’t know, but something reeks.

Projection:

De Gea is a great player, and I think there is something to Mourinho’s style that doesn’t fully get captured by metrics, but wow United was fortunate last season. I would think De Gea has to fall off at least a little bit. Surely. And Mourinho is poison right now. It might be wishful thinking, but I think United is fifth or sixth best in the league. They didn’t fix what was wrong, and I don’t think it can be papered over again.

Newcastle: C -

Rafa continued performing miracles in the transfer market. He was not backed at all. Zilch. But he did manage a few useful transactions. Mitrovic was viewed as a distraction and they didn’t want him back. Rafa binned him because he wouldn’t listen to coaching. Got a decent price for him. Moved a couple of other players for good money. Signed Muto, who started often for a relegation threatened German team.

Got cover for the back by signing Fernandez and Schar. Schar was a nice signing for cheap. Other teams could have used him for that price. Kept Dubravka. Brought in Ki. Brought in Rondon. Kept Kenedy. Biggest moves of the window were keeping Rafa and Lascelles. It isn’t hard to see what Rafa is planning. All out-siege style defending and relegation firefighting.

Projection:

Not much talent here, but then, there wasn’t last season either and Rafa managed top 10. Any injury to Lascelles would be devastating, they did well to get more cover. Almost no firepower at all, but Rondon will work hard, make a nuisance of himself, and generally do the work Mitrovic wouldn’t be willing to do. Players of his ilk tend to get undervalued by analytic types. Essentially, I don’t think they will go down. The league is more talented this year, so I can’t see them finishing as high, but I would be surprised if they were in a relegation scrap unless Rafa leaves. With him there I think they will be too hard to break down and Newcastle will be a tough out, especially at St. James.
   158. J. Sosa Posted: August 09, 2018 at 09:46 PM (#5724487)
Southampton: D

The team was snake bit last year, but the season was also the result of a long-term talent drain they were not able to sustain. Lost Tadic this offseason, who was a key man for them. I think losing him will hurt. Elyounoissi isn’t an adequate replacement I don’t think. Vestergaard is probably a good signing, he played a lot for a top 10 Monchengladbach. Spent 18 million on Danny Ings. I love Danny, but that is insane. He works hard, and if he had two healthy knees and started 30 plus matches, I genuinely think he might score double digit goals, which is super valuable, but the odds of him staying healthy are not good.

Projection:

Relegation battle. Hughes has a history of this type of thing. People railed on Pulis, who generally kept Stoke well up the table, got them into Europe, and got them into a cup final. But his style was boring. So, in comes Hughes with his European contacts and allegedly prettier style, and it eventually all goes to crap. I really don’t like Hughes as a manager, and I don’t like what has been going on at Soton the last few years. They could be in serious trouble.

Tottenham: Blutarsky

I’m not sure what to say. Surely, they didn’t have the balls to lie to Poch’s face to get him to stay on. They must have planned something big. Surely. I don’t get it. Even the lack of outgoings is puzzling. I get that there is a bottom line for a club like Spurs, and as such, Toby had to go. Had to. Why is he still there? Maybe he goes somewhere on the continent. The truly infuriating part is that Spurs at full strength last year probably had the second best starting 11 in the league. Add a class midfielder and a left back, and I think they would be legitimate title contenders if City stumbles.

I understand that maybe United refused to sell Martial to an English club, and I understand if Sessegnon was happy to stay with a promoted Fulham. I get that maybe Kovavic was too expensive. I understand that maybe Brozovic was not obtainable from a team like Inter. But why not a guy like Ndombele? Aulas is a tough negotiator, but he’ll sell. Even failing that, why not go for a guy like Lemina? He wouldn’t be super expensive, and he would be good cover for Dembele and Wanyama if they leave or are injured. I’m amazed. There are a lot of players that could help Spurs. For the love of God, Fulham signed a couple that would have helped.

Projection:

Probably scrambling for the fourth Champions League spot. It is arrogance bordering on insanity to expect Alli, Eriksen, and Kane to continue the iron man act coming off a World Cup year especially with Son’s situation. Insulting insanity. Those three guys could play for just about anybody, not getting them help borders on a fireable offense even for Levy. Levy has done a lot of good, but this window was beyond parody.

Watford: F +

Watford seem to think they are better than they are. Lost Richarlison but didn’t adequately replace him. Deulofeu has bounced around from place to place and has never done much. I know nothing about Masina, Sema, and Navarro. Watford ownership has good contacts, it is possible that those players are better than what the evidence might otherwise suggest. But I think they are worse than they were last year, and the league has gotten better.

Projection:

Relegation candidate.

West Ham: B –

Lost Kouyate which was a little odd. Brought in Wilshire, which might be the most West Ham signing of all time. I’m not a Wilshire fan, but maybe he finally figures it out and starts taking his career seriously. He has talent. Signed Anderson which is interesting. He is very talented, they are probably trying to catch lightning in a bottle like they did with Payet. He is mercurial but could make a real difference.

Signed Diop who played a lot for a relegation threatened Toulouse in France. Several big clubs have followed him, he is a well-regarded player and is young. Yarmalenko was a dud at Dortmund, and probably is a bad signing given his age and production. Fabianski is getting older but might help. Pellegrini is a steady hand at the tiller. All in all, they are probably a better team than last year.

Projection:

Probably mid table. It was a somewhat mixed window, but I think they are better than they were, and Pellegrini is a sound manager if they give him time.

Wolverhampton: A +

I have been looking forward to Wolves’ arrival for almost a year. For many years forums have talked about Chinese investment groups getting into the sport, but for the most part, the backing turned out to be illusory. Xia at Aston Villa turned into a mirage. Yonghong at Milan also turned out to be a mirage. But Fosun? Liverpool and other clubs have voiced complaints about Fosun for a long time. Which is telling. Predictions of Wolves becoming the new City might be premature but given the reactions from some of the top six clubs Fosun appears to be in it for the long haul.

They brought in Mendes, which means they are not only as connected as you can be in Europe, they are also connected to the seedy underbelly of third party ownership in the sport. It remains to be seen what will happen, but if Wolves manage to establish a beach head the next season or two in the Premiere League the top six might want to start checking the rear-view mirrors.

Wolves are exceptionally interesting to follow not only for the shady overtones, but also for the type of players they go after. Fulham made a lot of good buys, but they were a little all over the place. Wolves have a set plan in place for roster construction. They know the system they want to run, and they get players to fit that system. A good example of that is Coady, he was kind of a tweener at Liverpool, not really a mid or a center back, but they played him as part of a back three he has done well. Watching Coady and the other domestic guys play last season with Neves’ merry band of ringers reminded me of Lenny and Carl playing with Darryl Strawberry. It was hilarious.

Anyway, in terms of this window, they kept Jota, one of the Strawberrys. He is very talented and a significant goal threat. They signed Adama Traore who has some of the most hilarious outlier metrics in the sport. Pundits like to mock him for his lack of end product, but I suspect the plan is to stick him at wing back. It will probably get a lot less funny after Neves starts pinging diagonals to Traore on the counter.

Kept Boly who is a decent player. Signed Moutinho who is a little past it but was still good enough to start for Monaco, a team that finished second in Ligue 1. Took advantage of the situation at Sporting to sign Patricio, who is a good keeper. Signed Dendoncker, who is like a more talented Coady. He is a tweener who is probably better as a defensive mid but will slide right into the Wolves back three. Wolves are a well-built team.

Projection:

It has been become fashionable to predict a top 10 finish for Wolves, but I suspect that isn’t the target. The actions they have taken tend to show that they are taking the long view and are happy to stay safely well out of the relegation zone. That doesn’t mean they won’t contend for top 10, they are talented enough to, just that isn’t what they are after. The club is much more ambitious than that and they won’t take actions that impede long term goals as long as they are in no danger of relegation.
   159. Count Vorror Rairol Mencoon (CoB) Posted: August 09, 2018 at 10:03 PM (#5724493)
They signed Adama Traore who has some of the most hilarious outlier metrics in the sport. Pundits like to mock him for his lack of end product, but I suspect the plan is to stick him at wing back. It will probably get a lot less funny after Neves starts pinging diagonals to Traore on the counter.


This seems a fair encapsulation of Traore, for better and for worse ...
   160. Sean Forman Posted: August 09, 2018 at 11:51 PM (#5724522)
That's some Barry Sanders level stuff.
   161. manchestermets Posted: August 10, 2018 at 04:06 AM (#5724533)
I think management should just bite the bullet and get rid of Mourinho and Woodward both. Just do it now and work towards landing an elite manager and a functional player recruitment team.


This mis-supposes that management - ie ownership - are actually interested in winning things. Their interest is only in how much money they can extract, and the most efficient way to do that is to spend the bare minimum that allows them to finish in the top 4. In terms of income, beyond Champions League qualification the rest is rounding errors. Mourinho will be fired if and only if he fails in that goal - it's clearly been the thing that post-Ferguson managers have been judged on. Until he fails, why bother spending the money it will cost to pay him off and bring in someone new? Woodward isn't going to be sacked because he's doing as he's told.
   162. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: August 10, 2018 at 08:54 AM (#5724568)
Can I just say that annually Sosa's recaps are the best writing I see on the EPL? Seriously, that's great stuff.

Question about the transfer window; can players still be transferred out if the receiving team has an open window? e.g. Could Real Madrid still swoop in for Harry Kane next week or is the transfer window both in and out?
   163. manchestermets Posted: August 10, 2018 at 09:08 AM (#5724573)
Question about the transfer window; can players still be transferred out if the receiving team has an open window? e.g. Could Real Madrid still swoop in for Harry Kane next week


Yes, they could(although if they swoop in for anyone it's more likely to be Eden Hazard). I've no idea why the English clubs thought this was a good idea.
   164. I am going to be Frank Posted: August 10, 2018 at 09:30 AM (#5724580)
I have no idea what the Glazers' plans for the club beyond making tons of money. However, I do think they want to win and keep the club long term, and Mourinho's wishlist was basically old players from clubs who could demand massive transfer fees, with the exception of Varane. The Glazers are not a bottomless pit of money like City or PSG, or even Chelsea when Roman decides he wants to spend some of his oligarch money. They still have spent massive amounts of money over the years - Pogba everyone knows about. Alexis' fee was "reasonable" but he's on some massive wages. Lukaku, Matic and Fred were not cheap.

The Glazers (if you want to believe their mouthpieces) just want to have a more sustainable model. I don't think reasonable people would bemoan them for that. Of course sports fans are not reasonable. There is a fundamental organizational problem when the manager has vastly different goals than ownership. That's on ownership. If United finished a bit closer to City last season or didn't crap the bed against Sevilla, I think Woodward would have been more likely to appease Mourinho by bringing in some of his wishlist.

Everyone knows what you're going to get with Mourinho. It's ok putting up with his shenaningans if he's winning trophies, but less so when an expensive team with a lot of talent can seemingly only score on the counter. Add to that where every analytics website out there says De Gea was the difference between 2nd and 5th and that it isn't sustainable.

The squad isn't perfect, but it should be a safe top four team. Instead a lot of "smart" people think they're going to be fighting for 4th.
   165. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: August 10, 2018 at 09:38 AM (#5724583)
Goddam you Brexit!

I love Poch, but I am skeptical. You have to love an Argentinian pitying the English people for their economic plight, though... On the plus side, let the games freaking begin!
   166. manchestermets Posted: August 10, 2018 at 10:08 AM (#5724599)
I have no idea what the Glazers' plans for the club beyond making tons of money. However, I do think they want to win


What's that belief based on?


with the exception of Varane


Don't get sucked in by Woodward bringing up Varane. It's a complete red herring - Woodward basically saying "Of course, I'd have paid the money for [player that there was no realistic chance of getting]." to make it look like he hasn't just #### the bed again.
   167. I am going to be Frank Posted: August 10, 2018 at 10:54 AM (#5724634)
Winning brings in more sponsorships, more prize money and prestige. Playing a game where you hope for fourth (the Arsenal way) is dangerous. There are clauses in some sponsorship deals where they get less money if they miss Champions League too much. Their revenue advantage is so big that they can spend 50M more than any other club and still be profitable.

Man City was basically a yo-yo club 10-15 years ago and Chelsea was the second/third team in London 20 years ago. Those two are now global clubs now with big followings, probably even bigger than Liverpool now, when based on history, they have no right to be. United don't want those clubs to supplant them.

Mourinho wanted Varane too. I'm sure Woodward inquired and was told no. No way Madrid was ever going to sell, unless Varane wanted to leave. Plus the relationship between the two clubs aren't that great. Seemingly every other "name" player Mourinho wanted was at least 28 and were being quoted at least 40M.

The Glazers and Woodward may be greedy SOB, but they're not stupid. Winning gets more Instagram followers and better noodle sponsorships. I'm not defending the Glazers. I just don't think big money for players have ever been an issue in the past 5-10 years, its just problems with Mourinho's targets. They just don't want to spend like some drunken Chinese League billionaire.
   168. The_Ex Posted: August 10, 2018 at 11:00 AM (#5724639)
Excellent write-ups Sosa.

Here are a couple of comments:

I heard that John Stones might play a different position this year. Could it be at DM to spell Fernandinho? City bought LaPorte in the winter last year so he could take Stones spot in central defense and let Stones move up?

I heard on some podcast that Lichsteiner is like a mini manager, he is demanding on his fellow players. Maybe he was signed to work over the dressing room and move on from Wenger's perceived lax attitude.

   169. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: August 10, 2018 at 11:00 AM (#5724640)
What's the line assigned to Joe Kennedy? "I'm not paying for a landslide." That's what the Glazers seem to be doing. They want to win but they don't want to do what City or PSG are doing. They want to be just good enough. I don't think consistently finishing fourth and losing in the round of 16 of the CL like Arsenal would satisfy them but 2nd place with some consistency, a title every 3-4 years and consistent quarterfinal Champions League appearances will do the trick. Obviously it's been a few years since they won a title but I think that's the general framework of what they want to achieve.
   170. spivey Posted: August 10, 2018 at 11:13 AM (#5724648)
Mourinho wanted Varane too. I'm sure Woodward inquired and was told no. No way Madrid was ever going to sell, unless Varane wanted to leave. Plus the relationship between the two clubs aren't that great. Seemingly every other "name" player Mourinho wanted was at least 28 and were being quoted at least 40M.

I think this is the biggest issue. Mourinho wants proven guys, but it seems like with reasonably few exceptions most of the guys he targets and was targeting this year have their best football behind them. I think the bigger issue for Man U is not that they didn't spend more money, but it's the guys Mourinho wants are not good long-term or even short term buys, imo. Edit: of course, ownership deserves some responsibility for this too.
   171. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: August 10, 2018 at 11:20 AM (#5724651)
I think, partially, Man U didn't want to commit cash for players for a manager who has never stayed at a club more than 3 years. They are in a Catch-22 with Jose and this only ends one way.
   172. The_Ex Posted: August 10, 2018 at 11:20 AM (#5724652)
Will Poch play Toby now that he wasn't moved on or will he remain in the Poch sin-bin?
   173. I am going to be Frank Posted: August 10, 2018 at 11:22 AM (#5724654)
Jose, I think that's what they are looking for, and also adopt something like Chelsea has done. Buy young talent, keep the ones you want and sell the others for (hopefully) some profit.
   174. manchestermets Posted: August 10, 2018 at 11:31 AM (#5724663)
I'm sure Woodward inquired and was told no. No way Madrid was ever going to sell


I'm sure the first of those two facts is entirely contingent on the second.

Correlation may not be causation, but I'm 100% sure it's no coincidence that the line between being fired and keeping the job for the next season for post-Ferguson managers is Champions League qualification.

If they want to win so badly, explain the level of success they appear to be happy with from the Buccaneers as long as the money keeps flowing in.
   175. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: August 10, 2018 at 11:44 AM (#5724671)
Is the disincentive for signing the player after the deadline that he can't play in the league? What's the disincentive for signing a player before the window opens?
   176. I am going to be Frank Posted: August 10, 2018 at 11:45 AM (#5724672)
The extra revenue for "winning" in US sports is not nearly the same than in European football. There is a significant difference finishing between 4th and 5th in Premier League. There is even more significant difference between finishing last in NFL and European Soccer. Also, talent acquisition is much different and they can only spend so much money on players every season.

   177. Mefisto Posted: August 10, 2018 at 11:53 AM (#5724680)
If United management really have the goal of qualifying for the CL, I'd say they're cutting it awfully close this year. The talent on the team is adequate for that, but no more, and with even a slightly less incredible performance from DeGea they could plausibly finish 6th. And that's assuming Mourinho doesn't alienate the entire team and we see a repeat of his second stint at Chelsea.
   178. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: August 10, 2018 at 02:02 PM (#5724753)
Is the disincentive for signing the player after the deadline that he can't play in the league? What's the disincentive for signing a player before the window opens?


There isn't a disincentive. You just can't complete a transfer outside the transfer window. Like the trade deadline.

You can sign a player after the window if the player is a free agent. But you can't conduct a transfer where you acquire him from another club.
   179. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: August 10, 2018 at 02:24 PM (#5724769)
You can sign a player after the window if the player is a free agent. But you can't conduct a transfer where you acquire him from another club.
This response was not informative. What exactly is a "transfer"?

Is the contract signed outside the window void, legally speaking? Or can the player just not be listed on the roster and play in any games, based on internal rules of the league? If you sign someone a day before the transfer window begins, presumably he still cannot be added to the roster the next day once the window does begin... you'd have to sign him again?

You just can't complete a transfer outside the transfer window. Like the trade deadline.
A trade deadline is actually quite different. It's a deadline rather than a window... so anyone signed after the deadline is ineligible to play in the league. It doesn't explain why there needs to be a start to the window.
   180. Count Vorror Rairol Mencoon (CoB) Posted: August 10, 2018 at 02:52 PM (#5724790)
Add to that where every analytics website out there says De Gea was the difference between 2nd and 5th


I'd say 5th might be generous, De Gea was an absolute beast last season, maybe the most valuable player (in terms of the results) in the world, the difference between his expected and allowed was ridiculous.

Is the contract signed outside the window void, legally speaking? Or can the player just not be listed on the roster and play in any games, based on internal rules of the league?


Internal rules. They can be signed, but they can't be registered for the 25 man PL squad until the January window opens.
   181. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: August 10, 2018 at 02:57 PM (#5724794)
They can be signed, but they can't be registered for the 25 man PL squad until the January window opens.
ok. So from this description I would understand it as you can sign/transfer at any time, but if you do so outside a window, the player won't be eligible for the 25-man roster until the date the next window opens. Is that right?
   182. Count Vorror Rairol Mencoon (CoB) Posted: August 10, 2018 at 03:05 PM (#5724804)
ok. So from this description I would understand it as you can sign/transfer at any time, but if you do so outside a window, the player won't be eligible for the 25-man roster until the date the next window opens. Is that right?


Essentially. All the leagues and competitions (CL, Europa) have deadlines (and windows) to declare a roster. There is some overlap, but as AFAIK continental competitions are not affected by domestic registrations ... for example ... if Daniel Levy ENIC went insane and signed Lionel Messi (before the CL deadline, which is end of August, beginning of September), he could play for Spurs in the CL, but not the PL (until the next window).

((which frankly (Messi joke aside), is what Levy should be looking to do at this point, since anyone coming into Poch's scheme seems to need about 4-6 months to be useful (and trusted) at all))
   183. Palm Beach Pollworker Posted: August 10, 2018 at 05:05 PM (#5724889)
A lot of people are picking Bournemouth for the drop which... I get that, because they came from behind a lot to win last season, and were arguably one of the most, if not the most, lucky teams last season.

But so was ManC, a club it seems is universally acknowledged to have a good chance at being even better than last season.

But Bournemouth actually did sign some players to reinforce their weaknesses in the squad (leaking goals), and ManC didn't.

I don't get it. I think if one fancies Bournemouth for the drop, one also ought to fancy a closer battle for first, with probably Liverpool being the top challenger.
   184. The_Ex Posted: August 10, 2018 at 05:18 PM (#5724900)
Last year Leicester signed Adrien Silva but registered him ten seconds too late. He was on the Leicester team, was getting paid by Leicester, but he couldn't play a game until the registration window opened on Jan 1. He was unable to play for five months.
   185. Mefisto Posted: August 10, 2018 at 07:07 PM (#5724943)
xG for the match: United .8 (+pen); Leicester 1.7
   186. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: August 10, 2018 at 07:49 PM (#5724952)
I don't get it. I think if one fancies Bournemouth for the drop, one also ought to fancy a closer battle for first, with probably Liverpool being the top challenger.


I think you raise some fair issues but you don’t mention the massive gap between City and the team most people expect to be second best (Liverpool). Even if you accept that City was a bit lucky (and I think that’s fair) and dock them, what, 8-10 points? You are still looking at a 15 point difference. Some decline from City, some improvement from Liverpool (again, fair) and that just about makes up the difference.

The problem is if City get some luck again, or make some shrewd moves in January, or the assumptions above are simply wrong they win the league.

And I say this as the guy who picked Liverpool to win the league. I think everyone agrees City won’t win the league by 19 points again but even if they drop by 15 points, that’s still an 85 point season and that is about the breakeven point to win the league.
   187. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: August 10, 2018 at 09:40 PM (#5724985)
I don't get it. I think if one fancies Bournemouth for the drop, one also ought to fancy a closer battle for first, with probably Liverpool being the top challenger.


On top of what Jose said, Liverpool can't expect Salah to be one of the two best players in the world next year (fight me). Mane will probably be better, and they've improved overall, but unless Salah turns out to be a late blooming Ronaldo they're going to lose some offense.

(I also think Liverpool will win the league. Again, fight me.)
   188. J. Sosa Posted: August 10, 2018 at 09:53 PM (#5724992)
Thanks for the kind words.

Yes, that is my thinking on City and Bournemouth. Last season in the Premier League Liverpool was 25 (!) points off City. The Cherries were 11 off the drop and will welcome the two strongest newly promoted teams to the league I can recall. Last season’s City was what happens when a great team plays towards the top end of ability with perhaps a little good fortune mixed in.

But even so the gap was so enormous even if City plays towards the bottom of ability, has bad fortune, and a team like Liverpool plays lights out and catches some good fortune, City still might win. The gap was that huge. That isn’t to say that it would outlandish for City to lose to the field. Liverpool for example famously (in LFC circles) drew less penalties at Anfield than Spurs last season. On the whole I would say they were unfortunate. But the gap was so huge...

Re: Man U

Like we were saying, United can’t possibly continue to... Oh. Sigh.

Edit to add:

Re: Stones

It is possible he will be used as a hybrid DM or in a back three, but I would be surprised if playing as a de facto DM happens by choice very often. He is a good athlete by center back standards but mobility is an issue. The counter argument would be Javi Martinez. There is precedent.
   189. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: August 10, 2018 at 10:38 PM (#5725009)
xG for the match: United .8 (+pen); Leicester 1.7
Not that United were great or anything, but they got 1 goal outside of the penalty on 0.8 xG, which is about what you would expect. Vardy's goal was given an xG of about 0.8 or something, which wildly overrates it because it was a bit of a fluke. For example, if the dead ball was played 6 inches to the right it would have gone straight in, and 6 inches to the left it goes out of play. In either case it would have been about 0.1 xG. That it bounced straight off the post to Vardy right in front of goal was very fortunate for Leicester, and not likely to be repeated often. Give a little credit (say another 0.1 xG for Vardy being in a good spot just in case) and the play was really only worth about 0.2 xG on average (numbers more or less just guesses, but you get my point).
   190. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: August 11, 2018 at 08:30 AM (#5725087)
Not a lot of quality in this game, as you'd expect for the first game after a WC, but that cross from Aurier was as good as it gets. Kane looks a little off.
   191. I am going to be Frank Posted: August 11, 2018 at 08:39 AM (#5725090)
Spurs look sloppy, but luckily Newcastle is no good.
   192. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: August 11, 2018 at 09:24 AM (#5725099)
Well, Spurs weren't very good today, but 3 points is 3 points.
   193. Palm Beach Pollworker Posted: August 11, 2018 at 12:20 PM (#5725127)
AFC Bournemouth 2:0 Cardiff City FC

Bournemouth picked up pretty much where 2017/18 finished off by scoring a late goal to secure all three points. With the exception of young David Brooks (late of Sheffield United), who started on the right-wing, the side Eddie Howe sent out to start the season was also almost identical to last season's personnel, as new signings Lerma and Rico sat out the match, next to one another, presumably swapping observations on their new team.

I missed the first 25 minutes and the first 10 minutes of the second half, so my observations are coloured somewhat by missing the Wee Man's (Ryan Fraser's) goal and the play leading up to it. I did tune in just in time to see Callum Wilson telegraph his shot location a little too clumsily, allowing Cardiff's keeper Etheridge to save the penalty awarded in the 33rd minute. At that point, whoscored.com showed Bournemouth with a 0.49 advantage in team scores.

The rest of the first half saw play mostly flowing Bournemouth's way, until they got around the penalty area, where the seemed unable to trouble the Cardiff defence. Perhaps the incident that best summed up what I saw was the yellow card to Charlie Daniels, who made a fair challenge on IIRC, Hoilett, but the angle just didn't favour him from the ref's perspective. By half-time Cardiff had reduced that whoscored.com gap by about half.

By the time I was able to resume watching, around the 52nd minute, the commentators led me to believe the match had continued as before. But at this point Bournemouth's midfield weakness began to assert itself again, and the cohesion between the defenders and the midfield completely fell apart. Cardiff pressed forward with energy for the next 10-15 minutes. What saved Bournemouth was some good defensive work by Steve Cook and Nathan Aké, who managed to keep the Cardiff players from being in a position to finish strongly, and Cardiff's own miscues on shots on goal.

Brooks, who didn't look all that sound defensively, now began to relieve the pressure by breaking down the right. (During the first half Bournemouth's play had been mostly down the left, it seems.) His good work in the five minutes before he was substituted in the 66th minute allowed Bournemouth to recover and made Howe's swap look a bit churlish.

The flow of play now turned in Bournemouth's direction, and although Cardiff ably weathered it through the full 90, Bournemouth's stoppage time hoo-doo on other teams reappeared when Simon Francis (who came on for Brooks) took the ball near the right flag and crossed to Callum Wilson who slid it past the left post rather gently and ended the fear that Bournemouth would yield an equaliser. Eddie Howe then rather cynically made a double substitution that chewed up a lot of time and Bournemouth's fans went home happy.

This was a great result for Bournemouth, who historically have started poorly in the Premiership, and don't get many points from matches against the Top Six. Thus they must win at home against mid-table and weaker sides in order to survive. It was an early-season 'relegation six-pointer', and the three points are going to be valuable come next April. Cardiff just didn't look Premiership quality today, but before being too gloomy about their future let's see how they play at home against the likes of Huddersfield, Brighton and Watford.
   194. Palm Beach Pollworker Posted: August 11, 2018 at 12:55 PM (#5725140)
The team my grandad supported, Portsmouth FC, defeated Blackpool away, scoring all three goals in a 2-1 League One (or Third Division) victory.
   195. KronicFatigue Posted: August 11, 2018 at 03:05 PM (#5725155)
Chelsea played 3atb (you know, which is basically 5) last season and are playing 4 this season. Late in the match, rwb Moses came in for rw Pedro I believe and the announcers made absolutely zero effort into explaining what the formation now was.

Did Moses play in the midfield or did we drop 5 back with Dave moving over to cb? I have no idea (and I'm not soccer savvy enough to trust my own eyes).

Also the score bug for nbc sports is obnoxiously big. Teams (and color of shirts), score, running time and advertising shouldn't need that much space. It's not like the score changes too often. And why do they leave a little gap above it? Most sports presentations do that and I can't figure out why
   196. I am going to be Frank Posted: August 12, 2018 at 09:18 AM (#5725310)
So Liverpool does not look like they've regressed. West Ham still look like West Ham.
   197. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: August 12, 2018 at 10:56 AM (#5725317)
And why do they leave a little gap above it? Most sports presentations do that and I can't figure out why


I’ve always assumed that they need to leave the gap because it wouldn’t fit on a screen that wasn’t HD. A quick search suggests that about 80% of households in the US have at least one HDTV and that about 52% of households have a second TV with HD which is high enough that you don’t want to make it possible for those people to see the score.

The thing I’ve always wondered is why broadcasts don’t put the scorebug at the bottom of the screen. It seems to me that the bottom is less intrusive than the top of the screen.
   198. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: August 12, 2018 at 11:44 AM (#5725327)
It makes sense for soccer because at the top of the screen it's usually in front of the crowd instead of blocking the action.
   199. JuanGone..except1game Posted: August 12, 2018 at 11:52 AM (#5725329)
Watching this Arsenal match is making me appreciate the absurd amount of money spent of Keba. Cech looks like a horror show waiting to happen. Still love the man but to think that might have been an option for Chelsea this year chills the soul. Lucky enough to not have to deal with a bad goal keeper in quite some time and I don't need that kind of anxiety.

Did Moses play in the midfield or did we drop 5 back with Dave moving over to cb?

KronicFatigue, Moses came in like for like for Pedro though slightly less forward. He actually is a natural right winger, his usual position for Nigeria as well as previous best version at Wigan. Conte turned him into a wing back which allowed him to continue playing forward which he is good but not great at, while not having the full defensive responsibilities of a wing back.

Chelsea looked really good yesterday, especially in the 2nd half, which turned to exceptional upon Hazard's introduction. If Kante continues to shine in his more advanced role in Sarri ball, I feel even better about my top 4 prediction. Morata continues to struggle which is disappointing but I think that a time share between him and Giraud should be ok for the year.
   200. KronicFatigue Posted: August 12, 2018 at 12:15 PM (#5725334)
Thanks JuanGuan. I agree they looked good to my untrained eyes. Glad to hear that matches with someone who actually knows what they are talking about.

Jorgino is quickly becoming my favorite player. I like when Hazard attacks hard through the middle instead of drifting to the outside. Seemed like he was dropping back more and being a creator through aggressive dribbling. Let's hope that continues.
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NewsblogOT: Soccer Thread (2018-19 season begins!)
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NewsblogManny Machado: Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner wants 'essential' chat
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