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Wednesday, January 30, 2019

OT Soccer Thread, v.2019

Looks like the last thread is closed, so onto the new!

Upcoming Matches of Interest
2/3 Madrid Derby
2/4 Manchester City v. Arsenal
2/10 Manchester City v. Chelsea
2/12 Manchester United v. PSG
2/13 Tottenham v. Dortmund
2/19 Liverpool v. Bayern Munich
2/24 Manchester United v. Liverpool
2/28 Chelsea v. Tottenham
3/2 North London Derby, Merseyside Derby, & El Classico
3/5 Dortmund v. Tottenham
3/9 Arsenal v. Manchester United
3/13 Bayern Munich v. Liverpool
3/16 Manchester Derby
3/30 Liverpool v. Tottenham

The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: January 30, 2019 at 07:08 PM | 1794 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: soccer

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   1701. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: May 10, 2019 at 09:14 AM (#5840545)
Oh, I have seen a lot of people post ridiculous flight itineraries like 'London-Moscow-Singapore-Dubai-Madrid*'... and that is just for the CL in Madrid... I am like, jeez just take a ferry to France, and get a rental and drive or something.

Seems like Madrid should be easy. From London just take the train to France and then rent a car or take a bus or just take another train if you can't get a flight. Baku just seems much more difficult. It borders Iran! The nearest "major" international city near Baku seems to be Tbilisi. I will not claim any knowledge of what the train system is like in that part of the world.
   1702. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: May 10, 2019 at 09:30 AM (#5840548)
I think there was a Grand Tour episode this season where they drove from Tbilisi to Baku (or at least through Tbilisi (that #### is hard to spell) to Baku)... and I don't think there was much of any infrastructure I would want to put my faith in. And based on the way their cars looked by the end, I wouldn't want to do the drive either!
   1703. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: May 10, 2019 at 09:34 AM (#5840551)
Then good luck to Chelsea and Arsenal fans! My god I don't miss the Europa League. I know one day Spurs will be back in it and I'm sure I'll say that I'm excited for Spurs to travel to new places and play new teams and blah blah blah, but, for now, what do we say to the god of Tin Pot competitions? Not today!
   1704. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: May 10, 2019 at 09:56 AM (#5840560)
clubelo has the middle of La Liga still significantly better than the EPL. Hell, it has the 7-9ish teams from the Bundesliga on the Wolves/Everton/Leicester level.


None of that is right.

7-9 on ELO are way better for EPL right now (1745 v 1717), 10-12 are better (1712 v 1702). 13-16 are better (1691 v 1673). 17-20 are better for La Liga (1576 v 1589). I actually think ELO is a bit too favorable for the EPL right now, though.

7-9 in bundesliaga: 1699. The 46 point difference is smaller than the league average difference between the two leaguse (73), but it;s not really that notable.


538 has the middle-upper class of La Liga as better and deeper.
This is true, but this is what drove my original post. 538 was way high on La Liga as a whole, especially the bottom teams), at the start of the year. They had the worst team in La Liga (#20!) as better than the 7th best team in the EPL. It was clearly wrong even then. They are still way high on La Liga, in part because they don't do in season league adjustments. They have La Liga as a whole as 4 points on average above the EPL. #20 in the standings (not by rank) Huesca is still ranked better than half the EPL teams. You'll see a massive correction for the two leagues in the offseason.

Betting odds all year have consistnetly favored the EPL teams against La Liga in Europe group play and head-to-head, and as overall winners of the tournaments.
   1705. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: May 10, 2019 at 10:10 AM (#5840564)
The nearest "major" international city near Baku seems to be Tbilisi. I will not claim any knowledge of what the train system is like in that part of the world.


Wikipedia reports that Baku has 2.2 million people and Tbilisi has 1.2 million people. Baku probably has more hotels and tourism infrastructure than Tbilisi because it's become an oil city not that different from those on the Persian Gulf.

On the other hand there seem to be no flights from England, unlike let's say Dubai. There are certainly lots of flights from all over the former Soviet Union.
   1706. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: May 10, 2019 at 10:15 AM (#5840565)
This seems another pretty big problem with Baku:

Another factor to add to the lengthy list of Reasons It Might Not Be A Great Idea To Hold Major European Finals in Baku: Arsenal say they are “hugely concerned” that the fact the Europa League final is being played in the Azerbaijani capital could rule out Henrikh Mkhitaryan because of the tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan. This from the Press Association:

The Armenia captain skipped the Gunners’ earlier fixture in the competition against Qarabag in the Azerbaijani capital city of Baku because of the issue, which has flared once again with the city set to host the final. Hostility remains over the disputed Nagorno Karabakh region, where a ceasefire was declared in 1994 after fighting erupted several years earlier.

Arsenal said in a statement: “The safety and security of our players is of paramount importance. We are seeking guarantees from Uefa that it will be safe for Henrikh Mkhitaryan to travel to Baku for the Europa League Final, which both Arsenal and Micki require for him to be included within our squad.

Acceptable guarantees have not been received yet, and we hope that Uefa will be able to supply these promptly. We are of course hugely concerned that the location of the final could lead to Micki not being able to play in a European final.”


My emphasis.
   1707. jmurph Posted: May 10, 2019 at 10:26 AM (#5840572)
I'm sure the built environment and people of Baku are delightful. But is there any possible chance it was chosen on its merits to be the host of the final, and not because of some weird UEFA shenanigans?
   1708. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: May 10, 2019 at 10:31 AM (#5840574)
Kayak has the cheapest ($722) timely itinerary between London and Baku as:

London - Stuttgart - Ankara - Baku
Baku - Tehran - Istanbul - Geneva - London

For $1100 you can just fly London - Antalya (Turkey) - Baku, then Baku - Kiev - London.

Kayak is also the web site that once tried to convince me to fly from Chicago to London via Los Angeles or Houston.
   1709. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: May 10, 2019 at 10:51 AM (#5840586)
But is there any possible chance it was chosen on its merits to be the host of the final, and not because of some weird UEFA shenanigans?

I don't think an oil state buying a soccer tournament even qualifies as shenanigans any more. It's just the way it is.

More importantly, I am going to London for the game! This is probably the stupidest thing I've ever done but the ticket is booked and fuck it. A CL final, Dinosaurs in the Wild and a trip to the Whiskey Exchange. That's totally worth all my United miles and the cost of a hotel room for a weekend, right? Right? RIGHT?

London - Stuttgart - Ankara - Baku
Baku - Tehran - Istanbul - Geneva - London


Jules Verne would be proud.
   1710. spivey Posted: May 10, 2019 at 10:55 AM (#5840592)
None of that is right.

7-9 on ELO are way better for EPL right now (1745 v 1717), 10-12 are better (1712 v 1702). 13-16 are better (1691 v 1673). 17-20 are better for La Liga (1576 v 1589). I actually think ELO is a bit too favorable for the EPL right now, though.

7-9 in bundesliaga: 1699. The 46 point difference is smaller than the league average difference between the two leaguse (73), but it;s not really that notable.


That's interesting. I was looking at this earlier in the week and it was - it looks like Everton was always higher, I missed that, but La Liga had way more teams in the ~30-40 range than the EPL (clubelo has a change date feature so you can kind of look at how standings were before Tuesday, as well as between Tuesday and Thursday). I guess it goes to show how large the impact on the 4 European games this week was. It looks like Barcelona/Liverpool and Valencia/Arsenal were the big drivers. The Valencia/Arsenal game was a big win against the run of play, which 538 tries to account for more than clubelo. I guess it is fair to say it was one of the best weeks of European football for England since their years ~10-15 years back.
   1711. jmurph Posted: May 10, 2019 at 10:56 AM (#5840593)
Good for you, Shooty, this makes me 8% more likely to cheer for Spurs knowing one of you dummies will be there (I'm currently hoping for a dual loss, somehow).
   1712. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: May 10, 2019 at 11:22 AM (#5840614)
Was definitely a big ELO week for the EPL (+16) and a bad one for La Liga (-12). There have been bigger weeks in the past though.

Even if you throw out that week, which would be pretty unfair to the EPL, you still have 7-9 matching La Liga exactly, 10-16 in the EPL as slightly worse than La Liga, and 17-20 much worse. Pretty sure that's close to what my original post said. Even then, the top 6 in the EPL would have rankings massively higher than La Liga: 1901-1841 (60 points). As it is, the 88 point gap in ELO is enormous.

Unfair to give the EPL as a whole such a boost in ELO based on wins by a few of their top teams? I've always thought so, at least maybe it's an overcorrection slightly, but it's La Liga that has always benefitted from this in the last few years.

By the way, the EPL was flat in Europa this week, with Arsenal's road win almost completely offset by Chelsea's home draw. The +16 almost all came from the CL wins.

   1713. vortex of dissipation Posted: May 10, 2019 at 12:02 PM (#5840642)
Baku hosted a major international sporting event just two weeks ago, the Formula One Azerbaijan Grand Prix. Attendance was 85,000, but that's a bit skewed because a Grand Prix is a multi-day event - Practice/Qualifying/Race - and so the actual number of attendees per day will be less. The race was done in conjunction with a series of concerts by international pop stars, although headliner Sam Smith cancelled at the last minute. An article I found claimed that compared to last year's race, "...the number of fans from the UK rose by a huge 41%, from Austria by 28% and from the Netherlands by 26%. In addition, this year we have also seen a surge in visitors from China (+22%) and Turkey (+11%)…" Just from watching the race on TV, there seemed to be a lot of Finnish flags in the stands, supporting Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas, who won the race. But if a city has the infrastructure to put on a GP, they can put on a football match.
   1714. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: May 10, 2019 at 12:11 PM (#5840649)
538 average league rankings today (8/10/2018 in parens).

La Liga 75.6 (75.8)
EPL 71.5 (71.3)
Bundesliga 67.4 (67.3)
Serie A 66.7 (66.6)

The directional change is the same for ELO (EPL/Bundesliga up, La Liga/Serie A down), but the magnitude is massively different. Also, 538 had the difference between La Liga and the EPL as equal to the difference between the EPL and the Bundesliga at the start of 2018, which was clearly wrong. I noted this back in August.

   1715. A sad, lost penguin wandering the tundra, dreaming Posted: May 10, 2019 at 06:32 PM (#5840854)
More importantly, I am going to London for the game! This is probably the stupidest thing I've ever done but the ticket is booked and #### it. A CL final, Dinosaurs in the Wild and a trip to the Whiskey Exchange. That's totally worth all my United miles and the cost of a hotel room for a weekend, right? Right? RIGHT?


Awesome!

BTW, are you aware of this? UEFA Champions League Final – Live Screening at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
   1716. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: May 11, 2019 at 11:29 AM (#5840978)
WBA looked good early, but got a goal off a mistake and then just tried, unsuccessfully, to shut the game down. 2-1 Villa with WBA generating almost no chances. I'd like to see Leeds in the EPL, but if not I'll take Villa. WBA is not inspiring and Derby is not very good.
   1717. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: May 11, 2019 at 11:33 AM (#5840980)
Some wild results in the Bundesliga likely sets up a big final weekend. Dortmund is still alive for the title. Leverkusen, Frankfurt and Gladbach are all still in the top 4 race.

The last weekend has Gladbach hosting Dortmund, and Bayern hosting Frankfurt, with Leverkusen at Hertha. Seems exciting, right?

Well, maybe. One big problem is that Frankfurt hosts lowly Mainz tomorrow, and if they win, a draw between Bayern and Frankfurt next weekend gives Bayern the title and Frankfurt the CL spot. That possibility puts a major damper on things.

edit: Wolfsburg and Hoffenheim could have stayed alive with wins today, but both lost.
   1718. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: May 11, 2019 at 11:52 AM (#5840983)
Dortmund got out xG'ed hosting midtable Dusseldorf, but still won. Again it was quality finishing on the offensive end, not Favre magic on the defensive side. Bayern was fairly dominant traveling to probably the 2nd best team in the Bundesliga right now, Leipzig, but only could manage a draw. Kind of a microcosm of the season. Even with the results today, 538 is still giving Dortmund just a 2% chance to win the title, same as before today. Bayern is very heavy favorites not to lose to Frankfurt at home, and Dortmund is being given only about a 1 in 3 chance of beating Gladbach on the road.

edit: betting odds has Dortmund higher, probably 4% to 5%
   1719. A sad, lost penguin wandering the tundra, dreaming Posted: May 12, 2019 at 11:48 AM (#5841188)
Congrats to City; that's a hell of a team and likely to get better in the close season.

Sorry about Champions League ...
   1720. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: May 12, 2019 at 01:03 PM (#5841196)
With the season over, I'd rank the quality of the teams as follows, based on performance this year with 2nd half performance given a little more weight:

Manchester City
--gap--
Liverpool - they had a great season and almost pulled it off, but they're not City's equal.
--very big gap--
Chelsea
--small gap--
Tottenham
--gap--
Manchester United/Arsenal - United gets the nod mostly on 2nd half improvement
--gap--
Leicester/Everton/Wolves - Wolves was great in the first half of the season, but Everton and Leicester had better 2nd halves. I'd put both slightly ahead of Wolves still. 538 has Everton ranked ahead of both United and Arsenal.
--gap--
Palace/Bournemouth -Statistically these teams separated themselves from the next group, and both had very good 2nd halves. I'd give Palace the nod for 10th in the league
--small gap--
Watford/West Ham/Southampton/Newcastle -These teams are very hard to rank, in part because the ones that had the best statistical performance on the year also had the worst second half, and vice versa. I could almost rank these in any order, and I wouldn't be surprised if Watford was the worst of them (538 thinks so, based on recency.)
--small gap--
Burnley - what a crazy season. They had a great second half and an abysmal first half. So they fit in well with the prior group, and I'd almost throw them in there. However, their first half was just so terrible that they don't quite bridge the gap for me.
--big gap--
Brighton/Cardiff -In the end, there wasn't that much to choose between these two teams. I'm hoping Brighton goes down next year unless they get their act together.
--small gap--
Fulham -- showed flashes of inspiration, but way too inconsistent even to even be on the relegation bubble.
--big gap--
Huddersfield


   1721. A sad, lost penguin wandering the tundra, dreaming Posted: May 12, 2019 at 01:14 PM (#5841197)
Manchester United/Arsenal - United gets the nod mostly on 2nd half improvement


I dunno, Arsenal are going to end their season playing in the Europa League Final.

United ended their season losing at home to relegated Cardiff City and with only 2 wins since OGS was made permanent manager in March ...
   1722. Mefisto Posted: May 12, 2019 at 01:21 PM (#5841198)
They didn't lose just to Cardiff, but they drew against ####### Huddersfield. Those were the only 3 points taken by bottom 3 teams against the top 6 all year.

As consolation prize, they did beat Cardiff today on xG (and the penalty was a travesty, but hey -- John Moss).

But this team needs a LOT of work, and they don't have the management in place to do that.
   1723. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: May 12, 2019 at 01:27 PM (#5841199)
I dunno, Arsenal are going to end their season playing in the Europa League Final.
League only.

They didn't lose just to Cardiff, but they drew against ####### Huddersfield. Those were the only 3 points taken by bottom 3 teams against the top 6 all year.
Both true, but you may have also seen what Arsenal did over the last several games... United was the stronger team against Huddersfield and Cardiff, they just didn't win. Arsenal played Brighton even at home just last week. And if you go back further than the last several games, where Arsenal was terrible, you go into United's great run in the second half.

   1724. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: May 12, 2019 at 01:35 PM (#5841202)
Frankfurt down 0-2 at home to Mainz in a game they need to win. Mainz missing a couple further chances. How do they outplay Chelsea in London, and then this?
   1725. A sad, lost penguin wandering the tundra, dreaming Posted: May 12, 2019 at 01:38 PM (#5841204)
League only.


Well, you didn't specify, did you!

;)

But a lot of this comes down to what your definition of quality is, for a match, for a season? Spurs finished the league campaign in a deep swoon, but they've also been a MASH unit for several months and have been running on fumes nearly as long. I'd take a healthy Tottenham over a healthy Chelsea and I'd say the table reflected that fact before the injuries.
   1726. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: May 12, 2019 at 01:43 PM (#5841206)
It's not that easy to choose between Chelsea and Tottenham, but to be fair to Chelsea, they outperformed Spurs statistically pretty much evenly in both halves of the season. Spurs was the biggest outperformer of xG (and non-shot xG) in the first half of the season.
   1727. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: May 12, 2019 at 02:04 PM (#5841211)
Devastating result for Frankfurt. Now they need to win at Bayern and some other results to go their way. It won't happen. There's even a chance they'll miss out on Europe completely now, because they could drop into 8th place.
   1728. spivey Posted: May 12, 2019 at 03:33 PM (#5841228)
Tottenham was dealing with a lot of injuries, Asian Games, and WC malaise in the first half too. But, some of this is their own doing. Everyone knew it would be very risky to not get any subs. Tottenham also played most of the year without a "true" home field. All this is to say, I think a healthy Tottenham would be slight favorites over Chelsea in a home-and-home, but let's be fair to Chelsea. They really were pretty good this year, and "deserved" 3rd.

Of course, so, so much of that comes down to Kante and Hazard, and Hazard's likely leaving.

It's amusing in it's way. This is probably the worst team in 4 years for Tottenham. Maybe the team the year Leicester won was worse, just because I think the EPL is miles stronger now than it was then. But it's also the year they're in the CL final. This will always kind of be a bittersweet year for me, even with a CL win. But what this year absolutely has done for me is prove that Poch really is all that. This was an insane bridge year with the stadium troubles and no new signings.
   1729. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: May 12, 2019 at 05:30 PM (#5841250)
How do they outplay Chelsea in London, and then this?

Cause playing 120 minutes 3 days ago doesn't magically disappear. And on top of that, it was a very high tempo game.

This is why we have penalty shootouts, and don't just keep playing forever, like Americans usually demand. It takes a solid week to fully recover from a game like that. I didn't watch Chelsea's effort today against Leicester, but I have seen it described as 'toothless', and 'lacklustre'.
And Frankfurt's squad is thin to begin with, so they don't have the luxury of rotating much. They played 10 of the starting 11 from Thursday, and the exact same 3 subs.
   1730. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: May 12, 2019 at 08:58 PM (#5841333)
Preseason expected point totals (with xG point totals from understat in parens, rounded to nearest 0.5) - and differential.

Man. City 88 (90.5) +2.5
Liverpool 81 (83.5) +2.5
Chelsea 74 (71.5) -2.5
Tottenham 74 (61.5) -12.5
Arsenal 71 (59) -12
Man. United 75 (62) -13
Wolves 48 (60) +12
Everton 53 (55.5) +2.5
Leicester 47 (56) +9
West Ham 49 (43.5) -5.5
Watford 40 (46) +6
Palace 45 (52) +7
Newcastle 42 (39) -3
Bournemouth 42 (51.5) +9.5
Burnley 42 (42) 0
Southampton 43 (45) +2
Brighton 39 (36) -3
Cardiff 34 (37.5) +3.5
Fulham 43 (33.5) -9.5
Huddersfield 35 (29.5) -5.5

By this measure, Tottehnham, Arsenal and United all performed the most below expectations, with Fulham not far behind. Dishonorable mentions to West Ham and Huddersfied. Most overperforming versus expectations was Wolves, with Leicester and Bournemouth close behind. Honorable mentions to Palace and Watford.


Sources:
expected points and xG standings.
   1731. spivey Posted: May 13, 2019 at 10:09 AM (#5841438)
Dortmund v Gladbach and Frankfurt v Bayern are incredibly compelling matches (edit: these aren't ties!). I mean, Bayern is at home and are way better than Frankfurt, but Frankfurt's front 3 are good and they did just look good against Chelsea. Big top 4 implications as well, as AuntBea mentioned. I'll be watching.
   1732. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: May 13, 2019 at 12:42 PM (#5841516)
Dortmund v Gladbach and Frankfurt v Bayern are incredibly compelling matches (edit: these aren't ties!).

Listen here! You shouldn't be trying to lecture anyone, when you have the teams listed back to front!
   1733. jmurph Posted: May 13, 2019 at 03:02 PM (#5841608)
Manchester City look to be taking an unorthodox approach to avoiding disappointment in next year's Champions League by... getting banned? We'll see if this works!
   1734. A sad, lost penguin wandering the tundra, dreaming Posted: May 13, 2019 at 04:23 PM (#5841634)
TOTTENHAM
UEFA rank: 17th
Possible pots: 1 (seeded), 2, 3

Spurs are the one Premier League team with a bit of a complicated situation. Of course, if they win the Champions League they will be in Pot 1.

However, if they lose to Liverpool then, as it stands, they are going to need some help to avoid being in Pot 3 and the prospect of a tougher group draw.

To be in Pot 2, Spurs would need two of the following to happen:
- Arsenal lose Europa League final
- Sevilla fail to qualify
- FC Porto fail to qualify
- Roma fail to qualify

How likely is this? Well it looks like Sevilla only have a slim chance of making it, two points adrift with one game to play and an inferior head to head record on those above them (Getafe, Valencia). Roma are a point outside the top four with two games left. FC Porto will be in the Champions League but seem set to go through qualifying.

It could be the case that Tottenham have an extra reason to hope Arsenal are beaten in the Europa League final.


-ESPNFC
   1735. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: May 13, 2019 at 04:51 PM (#5841657)
   1736. A sad, lost penguin wandering the tundra, dreaming Posted: May 13, 2019 at 05:05 PM (#5841663)
I wish UEFA and their lawyers good luck and godspeed!

They're going to need a bigger boat ...
   1737. A sad, lost penguin wandering the tundra, dreaming Posted: May 13, 2019 at 05:16 PM (#5841667)
Didn't do so bad.

141. A sad, lost penguin wandering the tundra, dreaming 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 ...


BBTF thread
   1738. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: May 13, 2019 at 05:21 PM (#5841673)
To be in Pot 2, Spurs would need two of the following to happen:
- Arsenal lose Europa League final
- Sevilla fail to qualify
- FC Porto fail to qualify
- Roma fail to qualify


Sevilla is being given under 2% chance to qualify, and Roma under 10% chance. By the time Arsenal play in the Europa final, Tottenham is very likely to be set in pot 2.
   1739. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: May 13, 2019 at 10:23 PM (#5841760)
187. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: August 10, 2018 at 09:40 PM (#5724985)
(I also think Liverpool will win the league. Again, fight me.)


Argh, so close!
   1740. A sad, lost penguin wandering the tundra, dreaming Posted: May 14, 2019 at 10:23 AM (#5841824)
Sad story that just keeps getting sadder:

An emergency food bank has been set up to help Bolton Wanderers staff who have gone unpaid for two weeks.

The club’s Community Trust has received food and essential items from charities and local businesses to help employees and their families while Bolton, who entered administration on Monday, look for a solution so wages can be released.

Bolton will start next season in League One with a 12-point deduction and owe more than £1m to HMRC, putting them in danger of dropping into the fourth tier for only the second time in their history. Players have recently been given financial assistance in the form of a small loan by the Professional Footballers’ Association but of more pressing concern is the welfare of employees on modest incomes who have had to go without pay.

“We have tried to offer whatever support we can to people and that has included trying to get some provisions in order that people can continue to live a normal life,” the club chaplain, Phil Mason, told the Bolton News. “Through the chaplaincy and the Community Trust we have been able to offer food provisions.

“When people talk about football they often associate it with big salaries and luxurious living but the reality is that many of our staff – as we all do – live within their means. And that becomes very difficult when you have not been paid for a couple of weeks. It has hit home hard.”
   1741. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: May 14, 2019 at 11:08 AM (#5841847)
I wish UEFA and their lawyers good luck and godspeed!

Is there some way to invest in lawyers in Europe? Because so many lawyers are about to make so much money and I want a piece of it. It's pretty clear Man City have been flouting the FFP rules but the FFP rules are so weird and convoluted I'm pretty sure one group of lawyers created them as a kind of treasure map for another group of lawyers to find and make their fortune. Theoretically, though, if Man City are banned next year and Arsenal win Europa, would Man U be the next man up? That would be so, so funny.

Very sad about Bolton. It seemed only yesterday when they had Cahill, Stuart Holden and that Korean player who was awesome and I can't remember his name and people were talking up Owen Coyle for a big club. Then Holden and the Korean suffered career ending injuries and it all went to crap.
   1742. jmurph Posted: May 14, 2019 at 11:36 AM (#5841858)
Very sad about Bolton. It seemed only yesterday when they had Cahill, Stuart Holden and that Korean player who was awesome and I can't remember his name and people were talking up Owen Coyle for a big club. Then Holden and the Korean suffered career ending injuries and it all went to crap.

I have a friend from Burnley (or thereabouts) who is a big fan of that club, and I remember expressing a lot of confusion to him when Coyle left Burnley for Bolton, thinking they were roughly comparable. He (correctly, at the time) mocked me for my lack of a grasp of the history. But hey, all these years later who's right, now!
   1743. A sad, lost penguin wandering the tundra, dreaming Posted: May 14, 2019 at 12:53 PM (#5841883)
If you had told me told me that the CFC commentariat would *overwhelmingly* vote for Moussa Sissoko as Tottenham's player of the year before the season started, I would have quietly placed a call to have you committed. And yet:


Community Player of the Season: Moussa Sissoko

A couple of days ago, I asked members of the Cartilage Free Captain community to vote for who they thought should be Spurs’ Player of the Season. We expected a big response, and we got one — there were over 1700 responses to the poll. The community’s pick for Player of the Season was likewise overwhelming, with an even 50% of the vote, making him the runaway favorite — and it’s Moussa Sissoko.


CFC

And ... one of my favorite scenes from the season.
   1744. Jose is an Absurd Kahuna Posted: May 14, 2019 at 04:58 PM (#5841986)
Villa-West Brom going to extra time. For 80 minutes WBA were the superiorteam but Chris Brunt got sent off for a second yellow (no complaints) and since it’s been all Villa. Villa have to be heavy favorites now.
   1745. I am going to be Frank Posted: May 14, 2019 at 05:00 PM (#5841988)
Lots of noise that Griezmann is (finally) going to Barca.
   1746. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: May 14, 2019 at 05:39 PM (#5842006)
I wasn't able to watch the game today, but the announcers are saying that WBA deserve it more than Villa, primarily because they played 41 minutes out of 225 with 10 men.

If the second game was anything like the first, I find that hard to believe. The first game had an xG of 1.6 to 0.2.
   1747. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: May 14, 2019 at 05:41 PM (#5842007)
Steer jumping around did not give me confidence. He saved the first two PKs though, so what do I know.
   1748. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: May 14, 2019 at 06:06 PM (#5842013)
Lots of noise that Griezmann is (finally) going to Barca.

Sounds like they are triggering the 120m buyout clause in his contract.

Griezmann is obviously a very good player, but not exactly a spring chicken anymore. If I were Barca, I think I would have preferred more of an infusion of youth, and to spread that around a little on 2-3 younger players.
   1749. aberg Posted: May 14, 2019 at 06:15 PM (#5842014)
Griezmann is obviously a very good player, but not exactly a spring chicken anymore. If I were Barca, I think I would have preferred more of an infusion of youth, and to spread that around a little on 2-3 younger players.


In most situations, I think that's the better route. Barca is trying to maximize the last few year's of Messi's prime and Griezmann should still be world class during that period. Since Neymar left, they have had much more of a tendency to stand around and watch Messi (Coutinho was expecially guilty of this). Griezmann should not have that problem, and he provides some versatility along the front line (can start more centrally when Suarez rests).

If Barca enter next season with Griezmann, De Jong and De Ligt in place of Coutinho, Rakitic and Umtiti, I think they will once again be the best team in the world.
   1750. A sad, lost penguin wandering the tundra, dreaming Posted: May 14, 2019 at 07:18 PM (#5842027)
Thing is, I figure Barca sees it as $$$ Griezmann - $$$ Coutinho = Not unreasonable.

Somebody will bite on Coutinho to the extent that Griezmann will essentially cost Barca "couch change" and I think it's a clear upgrade, so ...
   1751. aberg Posted: May 15, 2019 at 01:08 PM (#5842336)
I also think that whoever buys Coutinho will get a bargain if they go back to using him as a #10 rather than isolating him on the wing.
   1752. spivey Posted: May 15, 2019 at 01:22 PM (#5842344)
I also think that whoever buys Coutinho will get a bargain if they go back to using him as a #10 rather than isolating him on the wing.


It seems like most of the top teams are using a 4-3-3 rather than a system that has a 10. Coutinho also doesn't press or have any strong physical attributes and doesn't have pace. Unless Man U moves for him, I think the market for him could be pretty dry.

In most situations, I think that's the better route. Barca is trying to maximize the last few year's of Messi's prime and Griezmann should still be world class during that period. Since Neymar left, they have had much more of a tendency to stand around and watch Messi (Coutinho was expecially guilty of this). Griezmann should not have that problem, and he provides some versatility along the front line (can start more centrally when Suarez rests).


I'd like to think you could get a world class guy 2-3 years younger than Griezmann for that amount of money. I'm unsure how Griezmann will play with Messi. I'd hope well, but Griezmann kind of has carte blanche as the offensive creator at Atletico and for France, when I've watched.
   1753. Sean Forman Posted: May 15, 2019 at 01:56 PM (#5842353)

Man City
Liverpool
Arsenal ( I put a good chunk on them to win the title at 20-1. I think they could surprise)
Tottenham

Chelsea
United (heard that Mourinho was the current fave to be sacked or leave)

West Ham (pelligrini)
Wolverhampton
Everton
Crystal Palace
Leicester
Watford
Brighton
Burnley
Newcastle
Fulham
Southampton (they get pulled into the sunderland vortex this year)

Huddersfield
Bournemouth
Cardiff


Wow I did much better than I expected.

Heard an interesting thought experiment on StatsBomb podcast. Where would City finish if they could only play with 10 men in every match? The hosts thought they'd be around even money to still finish top 4 given their XG/90 difference and the avg red card penalty to xg.

Also we've added match reports to fbref.com along with a pretty big WoSo section of clubs and data.
https://fbref.com/en/matches/
   1754. Sean Forman Posted: May 15, 2019 at 01:57 PM (#5842354)
If Barca enter next season with Griezmann, De Jong and De Ligt in place of Coutinho, Rakitic and Umtiti, I think they will once again be the best team in the world.


Not if they have to play Busquets.
   1755. A sad, lost penguin wandering the tundra, dreaming Posted: May 15, 2019 at 02:02 PM (#5842356)
Congrats to ckash!


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.


As an aside ... boy, was *everybody* wrong about Fulham. Yeesh.
   1756. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: May 15, 2019 at 03:33 PM (#5842431)
Leeds with a terrible defensive ###### and the lead is down to just one goal again.
   1757. aberg Posted: May 15, 2019 at 03:54 PM (#5842444)
3. Chelsea

I can dream, can't I?


Funny that it was described as dreaming before the season, they did it, and somehow most of their fans are still angry about how they got there.
   1758. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: May 15, 2019 at 03:56 PM (#5842449)
I'd like to think you could get a world class guy 2-3 years younger than Griezmann for that amount of money.

Pretty much what I think. I also agree that Barca are trying to maximise their window for Messi... I just think that is an insane thing to do.

This is FC Barcelona, not the ############# Kansas City Royals. They don't need to worry about "windows." In fact, the only way they can not be a top 3-4ish team in the world in the foreseeable future, is if they go all in on a "window" and get old all at once, and end up with too many holes for even them to buy their way out of. And end up like ####### United right now.

Get better, AND get younger.
   1759. Mefisto Posted: May 15, 2019 at 04:38 PM (#5842492)
Unless Man U moves for him, I think the market for him could be pretty dry.


I don't think United would go for Coutinho unless Pogba leaves (there are rumors). But then again, United management is pretty clueless so it's hard to predict.
   1760. aberg Posted: May 15, 2019 at 04:55 PM (#5842500)
Get better, AND get younger.


Sure, but who are these versatile attackers who can play on the wing or in the middle at a world class level and are currently available for under 100m?

Edit: The other names I've seen linked to them are Lacazette and Richarlison. I like both of them, but they're not on Griezmann's level and might end up like Malcom, struggling to make an impact.
   1761. jmurph Posted: May 15, 2019 at 05:10 PM (#5842507)
Well speaking of (eh, maybe not versatile?) young attackers, there are reports that Manchester City might sell Sane to Bayern for... reasons? I don't get it, and would hate to see him go.
   1762. aberg Posted: May 15, 2019 at 05:13 PM (#5842510)
Is Sane really hard to get along with? I seem to remember that Schalke was eager to get rid of him, he had problems with the national team that badly needed him, and now City are shopping him? He seems too talented to not be a fixture on a top team.
   1763. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: May 15, 2019 at 05:28 PM (#5842521)
Sure, but who are these versatile attackers who can play on the wing or in the middle at a world class level and are currently available for under 100m?

Why is that the sole focus? I feel like that is needlessly boxing yourself in. And stupid to boot. Barca scored 25 more goals than any other team in La Liga. Why focus on an attacking player at all. I think their biggest weaknesses were in the back 4, and holding mids. Their defense is good, but not elite, and is made to look somewhat better than its talent, because Barca can generally hold the ball for long periods at will, which reduces the opportunities for other teams to generate chances and goals.

The problem is, they can't do this nearly as well against other elite teams. So the weaknesses there stand out in the games that matter most. There is a reason LFC was able to run all over them in the second leg (and Barca were lucky they didn't put 2 past them in the first).
   1764. spivey Posted: May 15, 2019 at 05:34 PM (#5842528)
Isn't Sane's thing that he wants to be convinced he'll be first choice before he extends, and he isn't now?

I really like Sane, but he isn't as good as Sterling or Silva, and they play the same position and are also very young. I think selling him makes sense if they can get fair market value.
   1765. aberg Posted: May 15, 2019 at 06:08 PM (#5842543)
Why is that the sole focus? I feel like that is needlessly boxing yourself in. And stupid to boot. Barca scored 25 more goals than any other team in La Liga. Why focus on an attacking player at all. I think their biggest weaknesses were in the back 4, and holding mids. Their defense is good, but not elite, and is made to look somewhat better than its talent, because Barca can generally hold the ball for long periods at will, which reduces the opportunities for other teams to generate chances and goals.


They have already signed De Jong in the MF and it looks like De Ligt is coming to bolster the back 4. They were pretty toothless against Liverpool in 3/4 halves they played, so I don't think you can say that they're set on the attacking side against top teams.
   1766. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: May 15, 2019 at 07:03 PM (#5842559)
They were pretty toothless against Liverpool in 3/4 halves they played

I completely disagree with that. They scored 3 goals in the first game, and should have scored a fourth at the end.

And they had at least a half dozen quality chances in the second leg. Normally they put away at least 2 of those. Messi dragged a couple of shots a foot wide. Alisson pulled a couple of magnificent saves out of his butt. It happens. But calling that toothless just because they ended up not scoring, is a massive oversell imo.
   1767. jmurph Posted: May 16, 2019 at 09:12 AM (#5842661)
Isn't Sane's thing that he wants to be convinced he'll be first choice before he extends, and he isn't now?

He is but it has to be more than that. Mahrez started the final game, for instance. I don't really understand it, but there must be something there with Pep.
   1768. Mefisto Posted: May 16, 2019 at 10:05 AM (#5842688)
As further evidence that United are clueless, there are reports that their talks with Jadon Sancho have broken down because they failed to make the CL. The problem here is that while they certainly could use Sancho, their actual needs are in the midfield and defense. Spending that much money on Sancho would reduce their ability to fix the real problems.
   1769. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: May 16, 2019 at 10:36 AM (#5842708)
Meanwhile, Spurs are linked with Julian Brandt which would be a nice piece of business. I think United going after Sancho is another data point that there is a strong commercial consideration to their transfer strategy.
   1770. Mefisto Posted: May 16, 2019 at 11:43 AM (#5842777)
I guess it's news that Spurs are linked to anyone at this point. :)
   1771. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: May 16, 2019 at 11:59 AM (#5842789)
Brandt has a low release clause, so it's not completely off brand. Sell Eriksen for 80 million, buy Brandt for 20... It looks like Sessegnon will almost certainly be with Spurs next season, too. Things are happening!

BTW, any of you Spurs fans want to meet up in London for the game? I'll be staying in Shoreditch if anyone else wants to lose their mind and head over there for the game. You'd be welcome to sleep on the couch of the room I rented for the weekend. My schedule for that weekend is to fly from San Francisco to Newark on Friday morning (I already had a trip planned to Calif to visit family), take the red-eye from Newark to London. Get to London about 10 am Saturday, take a short nap and then head up to Tottenham to stake out a place at a pub or, hopefully, to the stadium to watch the game. My plans for after are for it to become all a blur because of wild celebrations and then fly home 6 pm Monday evening while be not quite sure where I am or what happened but with a sore ass from where I had the UEFA Champions trophy tattooed.
   1772. aberg Posted: May 16, 2019 at 11:59 AM (#5842790)
Spurs are supposedly also going after Sessegnon. Those are two players who probably won't start right away but can at least by squad players and who are young enough to get better, and both look quite cheap.
   1773. aberg Posted: May 16, 2019 at 12:05 PM (#5842794)
Shooty- what would be your ideal Spurs summer window? They're already thin and probably have to replace a few guys, so one-for-one replacements will probably leave them still thin.
   1774. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: May 16, 2019 at 12:09 PM (#5842795)
This is the shirt I'm wearing to watch the game!

Shooty- what would be your ideal Spurs summer window? They're already thin and probably have to replace a few guys, so one-for-one replacements will probably leave them still thin.

Hoo boy. I haven't actually thought about it much with all the CL hoolabaloo going on. A replacement for Eriksen, a ball playing DM, and a forward who can play wide or centrally are musts. Sessegnon would be a signing for the future, I think, and an important home grown player.
   1775. spivey Posted: May 16, 2019 at 12:21 PM (#5842801)
Spurs are supposedly also going after Sessegnon. Those are two players who probably won't start right away but can at least by squad players and who are young enough to get better, and both look quite cheap.


Brandt had 14 assists in the Bundesliga and is a capped German. He's one of the 2 or 3 best players on a fringe CL team there. I think he's one of the best real fill-ins available for Eriksen if Eriksen does end up leaving.
   1776. A sad, lost penguin wandering the tundra, dreaming Posted: May 16, 2019 at 02:40 PM (#5842845)
Shooty- what would be your ideal Spurs summer window?


Extend Eriksen and Toby. Sign a RB and CM.
   1777. A sad, lost penguin wandering the tundra, dreaming Posted: May 16, 2019 at 05:24 PM (#5842894)
Well, #### Chelsea and all, but this suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuucks:

Ruben Loftus-Cheek is facing a period of rehabilitation that will stretch well into next season after rupturing an achilles during Chelsea’s Final Whistle on Hate charity match against New England Revolution.

The England midfielder, who had surgery on Thursday, fell awkwardly barely 20 minutes after his introduction as a half-time substitute at Gillette Stadium, near Boston. He had to be helped back to the dressing room by two of the medical staff and departed on crutches wearing a protective boot on his left foot.
   1778. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: May 17, 2019 at 08:38 AM (#5842990)
Allegri is leaving Juventus at the end of the season. 2 thoughts: First, it sure would be nice if Man U had given themselves a chance to hire him and secondly, I imagine Pochettino will be on their shortlist since Conte is taking over at Inter. I'm not too worried, but I'm worried a little. If they can't get Poch I wonder who they'll go for?
   1779. jmurph Posted: May 17, 2019 at 10:15 AM (#5843028)
Conte is taking over at Inter.

I've seen multiple reports he was waiting on Juventus before committing to Inter, so that might not be done yet.
   1780. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: May 18, 2019 at 10:55 AM (#5843360)
Fuck Eintracht. Freaking tease.
   1781. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: May 18, 2019 at 01:07 PM (#5843384)
So if Man City win, that gives Wolves the Europa League qualifying spot from the League Cup for finishing 7th?
   1782. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: May 18, 2019 at 01:22 PM (#5843386)
Also, end of league power rankings:
the two best teams in the world
Manchester City
Liverpool - They're very nearly city's equal and at the same level as they're the second best team in the world, and they may be better best 11 v best 11, but they're not as deep and that's the difference in the league and cups.
very big gap
Chelsea
Tottenham - Tottenham's injury woes and lack of depth hurt them, but they're as good as Chelsea right now and Chelsea is facing a transfer ban AND Hazard is probably gone.
big gap
Arsenal
Manchester United
Leicester/Wolves
Everton- Would any of us really be shocked if Man U or Arsenal finished 8th next season, or if one of Leicester/Wolves/Everton pushed for 5th? Man U and Arsenal's underlying numbers underlying numbers look a lot more like these teams than the top 4.
gap
Bournemouth
Palace - Best of the rest. Bournemouth in particular underperformed.
gap
Watford/Southampton -Both were fine, but one underperformed and one overperformed their xPTS.
small gap
Burnley/Newcastle/West Ham - If these teams have the same types of seasons they just had, they could be at risk for bad luck and a relegation fight. Newcastle is screwed if Rafa leaves.
big gap
Cardiff/Brighton - One had to go down.
gap
Fulham - Nailed on relegation bait since January.
big gap
Huddersfield - I don't think they're coming right back up.
   1783. spivey Posted: May 18, 2019 at 03:07 PM (#5843401)
Yes, Wolves are in Europa. Which is great. I think they'll take it seriously, and they're way better than Burnley was last year. But they don't have a ton of squad depth. Hope they're able to walk the fine line of trying but still staying mid-table.
   1784. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: May 18, 2019 at 07:52 PM (#5843451)
Way better than Burnley, definitely. I wonder if Wolves will have more trouble than one might expect, because for the most part they will be facing opposition weaker than them (at least until the late stages of the tournament), and they haven't been that great yet as the favorite pushing the action.
   1785. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: May 19, 2019 at 03:37 PM (#5843565)
Paderborn is back in the Bundesliga! Crazy story. They have been (or should have been) promoted or relegated each of the last 6 years. After the 20-13-2014 season they were promoted to the Bundesliga for the first time ever. They immediately finished bottom of the table and were relegated back to Bundesliga 2. They repeated that feat the next year in Bundesliga 2, so went down to Bundesliga 3. They again repeated that feat in Bundesliga 3, and should have gone down yet again, but Munich 1860 unbelievably failed to register for Bundesliga 3 and were demoted, leaving an extra spot for Paderborn. The next year (last year) Paderborn finished second in Bundesliga 3 to be promoted to Bundesliga 2, and just this year they did it again, finishing second in Bundesliga 2 to go back to the Bundesliga for next year.

It scarcely seems possible.
   1786. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: May 19, 2019 at 04:11 PM (#5843576)
My parents moved to Paderborn when I was 7. If you think that sounds scarcely possible, you should hear some of the stories I have heard, behind the construction of their new stadium...

But suffice to say, that construction started in July 05, and was supposed to last 6 months. The stadium eventually opened in July 08.
   1787. spivey Posted: May 19, 2019 at 05:45 PM (#5843591)
Atalanta looks in fairly good shape to make the CL, though the final day of the season looks like it should be quite entertaining. I watched the second half of the Juve/Atalanta match. It was pretty dull, really. In fact, the few times I've watched Atalanta, it's been pretty dull, but they seem like they'd be a great addition to the CL.

Juve really need a squad overhaul. I think they're well run enough to realize that - they've ridden a lot of this core about as far as it's gonna take them.
   1788. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: May 19, 2019 at 06:46 PM (#5843603)
I've only watched Atalanta a few time this year, and also haven't had the best luck. Best xGD on understat! (Ok, effectively tied with Napoli and Juve, but with the least penalties in their favor.) More importantly for excitement, they have also had the most expected goals scored, and have given up expected goals at a rate as high or higher than anyone else in the top 7 Serie A teams except for Roma. (Including Lazio and not Torino in the top 7, because Lazio is significantly better),
   1789. jmurph Posted: May 20, 2019 at 11:41 AM (#5843771)
Conte to Inter looks just about official.
   1790. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: May 20, 2019 at 12:30 PM (#5843792)
EPL current betting odds 2020:

Man. City
--big gap--
Liverpool
--very big gap---
Tottenham
--gap--
Chelsea/Man. United/Arsenal - these three are very close, probably in this order with Arsenal definitely last. United is favored over Chelsea at many sites.
--big gap--
Wolves/Everton/Leicester - also very close
--big gap--
West Ham
--small gap--
Palace/Watford/Southampton/Newcastle/Bournemouth
--gap--
Burnley/Brighton
--gap--
Norwich/Sheffield United (with Norwich given a slightly better shot to stay up).

I'm guessing Derby, if they win, would be slotted somewhere below the bottom two, and Villa somewhere above, but I don't know how high.








   1791. Baldrick Posted: May 20, 2019 at 02:49 PM (#5843862)
FIFA, or France, royally screwed up the ticketing for the Women's World Cup. Many many people bought tickets in a bunch and have only just now been informed of where the seats actually are. And, surprise! the seats aren't next to each other. The response: "we said when you bought tickets that it wasn't guaranteed they'd be together."

30% of the tickets have been sold to people from the US, who I'm sure will all be thrilled to travel 4000 miles only to be sitting next to a bunch of strangers.
   1792. jmurph Posted: May 20, 2019 at 03:57 PM (#5843897)
FIFA, or France, royally screwed up the ticketing for the Women's World Cup. Many many people bought tickets in a bunch and have only just now been informed of where the seats actually are. And, surprise! the seats aren't next to each other. The response: "we said when you bought tickets that it wasn't guaranteed they'd be together."

This seems almost impossible to believe except it's FIFA.
   1793. Commissioner Bud Black Beltre Hillman Fred Posted: May 20, 2019 at 06:40 PM (#5843994)
Shooty -- how were you planning to get into Spurs Stadium? I'll be in London randomly and was thinking of trying to watch from there but it looks like all tickets are going to club members. Is there a reliable resale outlet?
   1794. The_Ex Posted: May 20, 2019 at 07:05 PM (#5844001)
The EPL teams are upping their managerial game. There is the big six, then the Leicester, Wolves, Everton. But then in the bottom halfish, managers include Manuel Pellegrini, Javi Gracia, Ralph Hassenhuttl; Graham Potter (who I rate highly), Rafa Benitez and Roy Hodgson. Its puts a lot of pressure on Eddie Howe, Sean Dyche and the three promoted teams.

I would also bet the over on Brighton's line for next year.
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