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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

OT: The Soccer Thread: August 2012

Welcome to August! Notable Events:

Olympic Women’s Gold Medal Game: August 9
Olympic Men’s Gold Medal Game: August 11

(Both will be aired by NBC on or about August 15)

EPL Kick-Off: August 18
La Liga Kick-Off: August 19
Seria A Kick-Off: August 25

Let the excitement begin!

RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: July 31, 2012 at 10:35 AM | 1942 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: business

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   501. Mattbert Posted: August 13, 2012 at 10:41 AM (#4207167)
Are you sure? Clichy went to Arsenal at 18, he should count as "homegrown" since he played in England for 3+ years before he was 21.

Whoa, that might be right. I thought he was at least 20 when Wenger signed him, but not so.

Incidentally, the aforementioned Owen Hargreaves doesn't count as home-grown. He played his first club football in Canada and Germany. Didn't come to England until his mid-twenties.
   502. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: August 13, 2012 at 10:42 AM (#4207168)
Are you sure? Clichy went to Arsenal at 18, he should count as "homegrown" since he played in England for 3+ years before he was 21.

My google skills have failed to find anything concrete. The Daily Fail's article about the Rodwell signing implied they signed Rodwell in part b/c of the home grown rule but, you know...The Daily Fail so that's probably not true.
   503. Randy Jones Posted: August 13, 2012 at 10:44 AM (#4207169)
Why blow that kind of money on Rodwell just to meet the homegrown requirements? Seems like they could have found a much cheaper player if that was the only reason.
   504. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: August 13, 2012 at 10:48 AM (#4207172)
Why blow that kind of money on Rodwell just to meet the homegrown requirements? Seems like they could have found a much cheaper player if that was the only reason.

Maybe it's a combination of home grown AND that they rate him. He's not far removed from being a Man U target and England's next big thing.
   505. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: August 13, 2012 at 10:52 AM (#4207175)
Get your salt shakers ready, because--according to the ever-reliable New York Post--MLS near deal for $300 million deal Queens stadium! This one is officially in the "I'll Believe It When I See It" file for me, but perhaps someday I'll see it.
   506. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: August 13, 2012 at 10:55 AM (#4207177)
Get your salt shakers ready, because--according to the ever-reliable New York Post--MLS near deal for $300 million deal Queens stadium! This one is officially in the "I'll Believe It When I See It" file for me, but perhaps someday I'll see it.

You have to love it that MLS--MLS!--can come up with 300 million of their own money for a stadium but MLB with its billions and billions in revenue can't even imagine coming up with that kind of scratch. Egads!
   507. Randy Jones Posted: August 13, 2012 at 10:57 AM (#4207178)
You have to love it that MLS--MLS!--can come up with 300 million of their own money for a stadium but MLB with its billions and billions in revenue can't even imagine coming up with that kind of scratch. Egads!


Yeah, you have it backwards. MLS has to come up with $300 million of their own money because they can't get any municipalities to give them the money. MLB doesn't have that problem.
   508. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: August 13, 2012 at 10:59 AM (#4207180)
They could have Bolton's young English defensive midfielder Adam Blakeman for probably HALF of what they paid for Rodwell.
   509. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: August 13, 2012 at 11:05 AM (#4207186)
You have to love it that MLS--MLS!--can come up with 300 million of their own money for a stadium but MLB with its billions and billions in revenue can't even imagine coming up with that kind of scratch. Egads!
Randy Jones makes a good point, of course, but is MLS actually putting up the cash, or the group that will own the team that goes there? It's a little unclear to me, based on how the article is written.
   510. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: August 13, 2012 at 11:09 AM (#4207188)
Randy Jones makes a good point, of course, but is MLS actually putting up the cash, or the group that will own the team that goes there?

MLS is putting up the cash which they will then try to get back when they sell the franchise rights, presumably. That's going to be quite an investment for whatever group comes forward. Then again, a ready-made stadium in New York could be a valuable property.
   511. Mattbert Posted: August 13, 2012 at 11:12 AM (#4207191)
I think City are genuinely worried about Gareth Barry's fitness and age. Rodwell is the perfect heir apparent to the role of Incredibly Dull Midfielder Who Mancini Fancies For Some Reason.

I kid! Rodwell is still a fairly promising talent and has shown he can slot in as a center back in a pinch. That may be important to Mancini if City are serious about cutting Kolo Toure loose this year, as the squad is already a little thin at that position after Kompany and Lescott. Yeah, Richards can fake it there too, but I don't think Mancini trusts him defensively at fullback let alone in the middle. Savic and Boyata are still young and raw.

Rodwell's also a "freebie" for this year as he's still U-21 for the purposes of the 25-man. That means City can afford to bring him along gently this season without the pressure of him taking up a full roster spot.
   512. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: August 13, 2012 at 11:22 AM (#4207197)
L'Equipe are now reporting on the Tottenham bid for M'Villa. This is unexpected. L'Equipe usually seem a legitimate source.
   513. jmurph Posted: August 13, 2012 at 11:34 AM (#4207205)
I don't particularly have a problem with them signing him- I don't think he's good enough, but I'll concede that Mancini may know a bit more than me. It's the fee. If everything goes well and he develops well, in 5 years he might be worth 15-20 million. Why pay that now? "Because we can" doesn't seem like a great answer.
   514. DA Baracus Posted: August 13, 2012 at 12:10 PM (#4207228)
Alan Gordon has been called up for the USMNT. Wrap your head around that one.

Yeah, you have it backwards. MLS has to come up with $300 million of their own money because they can't get any municipalities to give them the money. MLB doesn't have that problem.


Shooty knows full well that MLB teams can afford it. I think we all do. He's just pointing out the hilarity of teams crying poor when MLS can afford it. Houston's new stadium cost... wait for it... $95 million. And $15 million of that was for the land.

This is another arrow in the quiver for those against public funding for stadiums. And yes, the tide might actually start to be turning, at least in other sports. Here in Atlanta the Falcons want the city (most likely it will end up being a suburban county) to pay for a shiny new stadium for them, and they're going to be fighting an uphill battle for a number of reasons. As someone who will be very opposed to that, this is another piece of information I can use.
   515. Topher Posted: August 13, 2012 at 12:22 PM (#4207236)
Pretty surprised that Javi Martinez is going to Bayern for €33M. Both for the team and the league. Not to often you see top-notch Spaniards move to the Bundesliga. I'm not exactly sure where he plays for them, which has me a bit surprised for the signing. I assume he starts but I'm not sure where on the pitch and who he replaces in the lineup. Boateng? Given his versatility, I think they will make it work. To be clear, I like him quite a bit - just surprised he ended up in the Bundesliga.

It's hard to say that €33M is a bargain, but I think for that price there would have been some Premiership teams interested and its a lot more common for Spaniards to make that move. Not to rehash everything I said last week, but a guy like Martinez that can offer you a lot of cover on the pitch would seem to have done wonders for a team like United. And City would do a lot better with Martinez compared to Rodwell.
   516. Mattbert Posted: August 13, 2012 at 12:28 PM (#4207243)
I think we're approaching the point where those "La Liga is Spanish for SPL" jokes can be put to rest. With the continuing exodus of talent from any and every Spanish club not called Barca or Real Madrid and the implosion of Rangers, the SPL is looking like a paragon of parity compared to La Liga. Sure, it's parity in the race for second place, but good golly. The Clasicos are going to be the only fixtures that one of the big two should conceivably lose. What a joke.
   517. I am going to be Frank Posted: August 13, 2012 at 12:39 PM (#4207254)
€33M? That's it? That's a little more than 25M pounds. United should have been all over that. Bayern seems to be the only team in the Bundesliga who will get players from England, Spain or Italy which I imagine always has to do with the money. I think he plays CB for them.

While 25M isn't pocket change, In today's market I think top teams (teams challenging for Champions League knockout stages) have to pay at least €20M for established starters in their prime (22-27). There are always bargains and you could get lucky but those opportunities are becoming fewer and fewer.
   518. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: August 13, 2012 at 12:51 PM (#4207262)
Really interesting post by Ciara McCormack on Canada's third-place finish and some thoughts on recent Canadian women's soccer history.
   519. Topher Posted: August 13, 2012 at 12:54 PM (#4207264)
Assuming that Llorente leaves La Liga and so does Jeremy Toulalan & Nacho Monreal due to the implosion of Malaga, would a La Liga 11 be able to beat either Barca or Real?

I suppose you would have Falcao or Soldado up top. Wings would be ok with Nevas and Turan. But I can't come up with a center midfield or a back line that could compete. That might just be my ignorance of La Liga but maybe not ...
   520. Topher Posted: August 13, 2012 at 12:57 PM (#4207267)
Re: Javi Martinez. I also don't understand why Barca seems to have selected Alex Song over him. Well, actually, I don't get why Barca wants Song at all. Song's a fine player but seems in my mind to be a cut below the Barca 11.

Not to mention that Martinez was obviously available for transfer and Song might not be. Arsene isn't exactly one to let his players go without a fight.
   521. The Kentucky Gentleman, Mark Edward Posted: August 13, 2012 at 01:09 PM (#4207274)

So can either Belsor or Beitashour play right back for the US? I guess you can move Castillo over to the right too.

I'd like to see something like this for Wednesday:
Boyd
LanDo
Beasley - Torres - Williams
Jones
Johnson - Cameron - MOF - Belsor/Beitashour
Howard
   522. Mattbert Posted: August 13, 2012 at 01:19 PM (#4207278)
The Guardian has released its 2012-13 season predictions for the Premier League.
1. Manchester City
2. Manchester United
3. Chelsea
4. Arsenal
5. Liverpool
6. Newcastle
7. Everton
8. Tottenham
9. QPR
10. Sunderland
11. Stoke
12. Aston Villa
13. West Brom
14. Fulham
15. West Ham
16. Swansea
17. Wigan
18. Norwich
19. Reading
20. Southampton
   523. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: August 13, 2012 at 01:20 PM (#4207279)
8th? Sheeeeeeyyyyyyittttt.
   524. jmurph Posted: August 13, 2012 at 01:25 PM (#4207282)
€33M? That's it? That's a little more than 25M pounds. United should have been all over that.


What? When you can pay almost twice as much for a teenager who someday might be as good as him? SAF scoffs at you.
   525. DA Baracus Posted: August 13, 2012 at 01:26 PM (#4207283)
Belser is a CB, Beithasour is a RB. My guess at the lineup:

Shea/Torres-Boyd/Gomez-Donovan
Torres/Edu-Beckerman-Jones
Johnson-Cameron-MFMOF-Beithasour
Howard

And they will get smoked.
   526. jmurph Posted: August 13, 2012 at 01:30 PM (#4207285)
Hmm, we should probably go ahead and make 1-20 predictions, right, so we can all mock each other in May? Here goes:

1. Manchester City
2. Manchester United
3. Arsenal
4. Tottenham
5. Chelsea
6. Newcastle
7. Everton
8. Liverpool
9. Sunderland
10. QPR
11. Stoke
12. West Brom
13. Fulham
14. West Ham
15. Aston Villa
16. Swansea
17. Norwich
18. Wigan
19. Reading
20. Southampton
   527. Mattbert Posted: August 13, 2012 at 01:34 PM (#4207289)
I'm going to wait until at least Friday before making any season predictions. There's bound to be one or two more significant transfers before then.

Of course, if football made any sense they'd shut the transfer window two weeks before the season starts rather than two weeks after, but whatchya gonna do?
   528. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: August 13, 2012 at 01:43 PM (#4207299)
While 25M isn't pocket change, In today's market I think top teams (teams challenging for Champions League knockout stages) have to pay at least €20M for established starters in their prime (22-27). There are always bargains and you could get lucky but those opportunities are becoming fewer and fewer.

There are still plenty of bargains to be had. Plenty of players who could be regular starters for most big teams, move for 10m quid or so. The problem that big clubs have, is that nobody is stupid enough to sell them those kind of players that cheaply*. In a way, the interest of a big club acts as proof of the players' value, and sets the minimum that they can pay for somebody.

*except Dortmund apparently
   529. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: August 13, 2012 at 01:56 PM (#4207311)
Also from the "this is really going to happen, isn't it..." department, Hope Solo is going to release a book this Tuesday (!). Apparently it's about her life. There's an excerpt up on ESPN about the aftermath of Solo's 2007 comments after the 2007 WWC defeat. It's, uh, interesting (and that Solo/whoever wrote it isn't a particularly great writer). The Women's National Team appear to have a flair for the, erm, dramatic, especially when it comes to "punishments".
18. Wigan

Something tells me they're going to end the season on a really good run of form and avoid relegation. I don't know why, just a feeling.
   530. Mattbert Posted: August 13, 2012 at 01:58 PM (#4207312)
I will repeat this forever: I hate this August friendly.

Forever? FIFA is taking it off the calendar after this year, right?
   531. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: August 13, 2012 at 02:04 PM (#4207318)
Forever? FIFA is taking it off the calendar after this year, right?

I think so, but my hate burns forever.
   532. jmurph Posted: August 13, 2012 at 02:08 PM (#4207323)
18. Wigan
Something tells me they're going to end the season on a really good run of form and avoid relegation. I don't know why, just a feeling.


At some point it has to stop, right? Speaking of which, at some point Everton will not finish strong after starting poorly.
   533. DA Baracus Posted: August 13, 2012 at 02:08 PM (#4207324)
Forever? FIFA is taking it off the calendar after this year, right?


Correct.

I don't mind it being a younger team of North American-based players. That's a good thing. I do mind that Orosco Fiscal is in, he clearly isn't good enough, and I'll mind if Klinsmann plays Torres or Danny Williams on the wing again. Yes, it's a meaningless friendly... but it's Mexico. Any other team and I wouldn't care.
   534. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: August 13, 2012 at 02:13 PM (#4207326)
15. West Ham
Ah, safety, sweet safety!
   535. The Kentucky Gentleman, Mark Edward Posted: August 13, 2012 at 02:14 PM (#4207327)

So are Jonathan Spector & Tim Ream completely off Klinsmann's radar? Spector can play a number of defensive positions adequately and he was starting regularly in the Championship last season (not a great accomplishment but IMO a step up from MLS). Ream was starting regularly in the EPL last year.

I realize both players may have turned down invites to focus on their clubs, but we haven't seen either guy with the US for almost a year.
   536. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: August 13, 2012 at 02:17 PM (#4207329)
1. What is up with all these Xabi Alonso rumors suddenly?
2. WTF is Spain having a friendly with Puerto Rico for? Puerto Rico? And in Puerto Rico days before La Liga starts? Weird.
   537. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: August 13, 2012 at 02:19 PM (#4207330)
Benoit Assou-Ekotto ?@AssouEkotto
With a nap,the day is not enought long...i make a dream!As we signe a BIG STRIKER. Very good! who score many goal!!!but it was. A dream LOL


Even Disco Benny is making fun of Spurs now...
   538. Spivey Posted: August 13, 2012 at 02:52 PM (#4207352)
1. Man City
2. Man U
3. Arsenal
4. Chelsea
5. Tottenham
6. Liverpool
7. Newcastle
8. Everton
9. Fulham
10. Sunderland
11. Stoke
12. Aston Villa
13. Swansea
14. QPR
15. West Brom
16. West Ham
17. Reading
18. Wigan
19. Southampton
20. Norwich
   539. Randy Jones Posted: August 13, 2012 at 02:59 PM (#4207358)
1. Manchester United
2. Manchester City
3. Chelsea
4. Arsenal
5. Tottenham
6. Liverpool
7. Newcastle
8. Everton
9. Swansea
10. Fulham
11. Stoke
12. Sunderland
13. QPR
14. West Ham
15. Aston Villa
16. West Brom
17. Norwich
18. Wigan
19. Reading
20. Southampton
   540. Mefisto Posted: August 13, 2012 at 03:04 PM (#4207363)
Also from the "this is really going to happen, isn't it..." department, Hope Solo is going to release a book this Tuesday (!). Apparently it's about her life. There's an excerpt up on ESPN about the aftermath of Solo's 2007 comments after the 2007 WWC defeat. It's, uh, interesting (and that Solo/whoever wrote it isn't a particularly great writer). The Women's National Team appear to have a flair for the, erm, dramatic, especially when it comes to "punishments".


The more gossipy boards are having a field day with this.
   541. Mattbert Posted: August 13, 2012 at 03:36 PM (#4207384)
The more gossipy boards are having a field day with this.

I can imagine. The bit about being ordered to call Julie Foudy is hilarious.
   542. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: August 13, 2012 at 03:51 PM (#4207398)
I can imagine. The bit about being ordered to call Julie Foudy is hilarious.
Hope is lucky they let her sit with them at lunch again because, like, if she had to sit the lacrosse girls, that would mean her social life was just dead and she was going to have to room with one of the Mom's in the Olympic Village
   543. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: August 13, 2012 at 04:06 PM (#4207420)

A day after Brazil lost the Olympic soccer final to Mexico, the country's soccer playing authorities took the unusual step of singling out full back Rafael for his part in the defeat.

...

The Brazilian Football Confederation on Sunday singled out 21-year old Rafael for criticism on its web site, saying:

"Right back Rafael knows he made a mistake that led to the first Mexican goal in the Olympic football final in the London 2012 Games.

"There's no denying it. Nevertheless, with his skill and determination, the young No. 2 can't be tainted by the error."

"Mistakes are for correcting. Rafael knows that. Later, when things have calmed down, he will surely look at the move and learn from it. At the end of the day, as the saying goes, to err is human and we learn from our mistakes."

   544. Mefisto Posted: August 13, 2012 at 04:07 PM (#4207421)
It really does sound more like middle school than an adult team.
   545. Mattbert Posted: August 13, 2012 at 04:30 PM (#4207445)
Even Disco Benny is making fun of Spurs now...

A link for Disco Benny.
   546. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: August 13, 2012 at 05:26 PM (#4207497)
1. Manchester City
2. Manchester United
3. Chelsea
4. Arsenal
5. Tottenham
6. Liverpool
7. Newcastle
8. Everton
9. Stoke
10. Norwich
11. Swansea
12. Aston Villa
13. Fulham
14. West Ham
15. Sunderland
16. Reading
17. Wigan
18. QPR
19. West Brom
20. Southampton
   547. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: August 13, 2012 at 06:44 PM (#4207560)
Probable Spurs lineup Saturday:

Friedel
Walker Kaboul Vertonghen BAE
Livermore Jenas
Lennon Sigurdsson Bale
Defoe or Kane

Hoo boy!
   548. Gaelan Posted: August 13, 2012 at 07:00 PM (#4207574)
Are you guys still going to do a BTF premier league fantasy league?

   549. DA Baracus Posted: August 13, 2012 at 07:19 PM (#4207587)
In practice today the backline was Johnson-Cameron-Edu-MFMOF. At least it isn't Jose Torres at LB.

Plus, this gem of a penalty kick.
   550. JH (in DC) Posted: August 13, 2012 at 07:19 PM (#4207588)
Are you guys still going to do a BTF premier league fantasy league?


I've set up one on the official Premier League site - same as last year. League code is 556627-143171.

Someone post this on the top of the next page as well.
   551. Textbook Editor Posted: August 13, 2012 at 10:50 PM (#4207690)
I have no idea what gets you points in a fantasy football league, but I signed up figuring what the hell, why not.
   552. Gaelan Posted: August 14, 2012 at 06:56 AM (#4207816)
I had no idea last year either. Fantasy scout is a good resource as is a blog by some guy named Chris Glover. Basically goals and assists from forwards and midfielders, clean sheets from defenders. Don't pay for defensive midfielders and play the team for defenders. Fantasy 101 on Glover's website will help you avoid newbie errors. It's easy and surprisingly fun.
   553. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: August 14, 2012 at 07:15 AM (#4207818)
Yeah, I found it a great way to get to know some different players that I wouldn't otherwise know.
   554. Mattbert Posted: August 14, 2012 at 10:21 AM (#4207897)
Jonathan Wilson writes about the bipolar nature of Brazilian football: the pragmatists versus the expressionists.
A generation has grown up watching Nike adverts showing carefree men with questionable hair-cuts freestyling through airports, cityscapes and prison ships and wondering how that equates to Dunga and César Sampaio, or Edmilson and Gilberto Silva, or Zé Roberto and Gilberto Silva, or Felipe Melo and Gilberto Silva, sitting doggedly in front of the back four. Nike's advertising hasn't created the contradiction that lies at the heart of Brazilian football culture, but it has highlighted it, perhaps even accentuated it.

[...]

The twin pressures on the Brazilian game have resulted in a style of football that recalls Arrigo Sacchi's description of Real Madrid in the galacticos era: it is full of specialists. There are those who dribble and run and shoot, and there are those who sit back and fill the spaces to allow them to do so. It's simplistic and effective against weaker opposition, but vulnerable to more streetwise opponents: even before Mexico beat them, Brazil had stuttered against Egypt and Honduras, before being extraordinarily fortunate against South Korea, who should have had two penalties in the semi-final. It also explains why so many of Brazil's holding midfielders are tacklers and distributors like Lucas or shuttlers like Ramires, and so few of them deep-lying creators in the way Falcão or Gerson once were.
   555. JuanGone..except1game Posted: August 14, 2012 at 10:34 AM (#4207906)
Hope is lucky they let her sit with them at lunch again because, like, if she had to sit the lacrosse girls, that would mean her social life was just dead and she was going to have to room with one of the Mom's in the Olympic Village


Was at a bookstore yesterday and ready some of the WC parts of the book. Just unbelievable. That team was like a sorority from a bad 70's movie. I completely get Hope's bitterness and she gets a complete pass from me. I normally not for the self-serving biographies, but Hope is ok by me for this one. The passive agressiveness, the intervention like sit downs and the cattiness were so over the top to almost be unbelievable. Amy Wambach and the rest of those mean girls on that team deserve to be humiliated by this if even a portion was true.
   556. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: August 14, 2012 at 02:47 PM (#4208119)
Let's keep in mind we're only getting one side of the story re: Hope Solo and she seems to have fairly thin skin. All in all, it seems a step in the right direction people care about this, no? So Julie Foudy can be proud she helped create a team people are interested in gossiping about!

More importantly, have Spurs signed a striker today? That, of course, is a rhetorical question. They have not signed a striker today. No, sir, they have not.
   557. Topher Posted: August 14, 2012 at 04:11 PM (#4208213)
Would it make any sense for Spurs to consider bringing back Berbatov? I know he's not the long term solution and even in the short run would be a let down compared to other possible signings. At the same time, it seems like he still has a decent amount of magic in him in the limited opportunities he gets to play and it also appears he's not likely to see the pitch for United.
   558. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 14, 2012 at 04:23 PM (#4208234)
Would it make any sense for Spurs to consider bringing back Berbatov?
He's a striker. So, yes.

One thing I've been wondering about as I've been looking over the season projections. How serious a title contender is Arsenal in their present state? Say that their club's plan was to keep the roster together and spend £35M on attackers. They're not the strongest at the back, but they're not bad, and the attack would be electric. Are they particularly far behind the Manchester superteams? I think they're pretty clearly #3 in the league, and a case could be made to place them higher.

It's seemed to me that they're being evaluated based on the presumption that Robin van Persie won't stay. If that's wrong, then they need to be re-evaluated significantly.
   559. Mattbert Posted: August 14, 2012 at 04:24 PM (#4208236)
Would it make any sense for Spurs to consider bringing back Berbatov?

I floated this idea to Shooty as we were walking to Red Bull Arena, and he scoffed. Scoffed, I tell you!

It'd take a considerable amount of humble pie consumption from all parties involved, but it makes a certain degree of sense for those same parties. I'd hope Berba would be Plan B rather than Plan A at the center forward position, though.
   560. jmurph Posted: August 14, 2012 at 04:33 PM (#4208249)
I actually think Arsenal is probably 2nd on paper, but I picked them to finish behind United on the assumption that United always finish a place higher than seems likely. I think the story with Arsenal, as always, will be health. If the starting back four can stay on the field, and Ramsey can stay on the field, and Wilshere isn't dead, I think they can make a serious run.
   561. jmurph Posted: August 14, 2012 at 04:36 PM (#4208254)
Another key thing for Wenger will be somehow tricking Podolski into thinking each game is an international fixture, because he's a manimal for Germany.
   562. Mattbert Posted: August 14, 2012 at 04:46 PM (#4208262)
One thing I've been wondering about as I've been looking over the season projections. How serious a title contender is Arsenal in their present state? Say that their club's plan was to keep the roster together and spend £35M on attackers. They're not the strongest at the back, but they're not bad, and the attack would be electric. Are they particularly far behind the Manchester superteams? I think they're pretty clearly #3 in the league, and a case could be made to place them higher.

Raise your hand if you think Robin van Persie will play in every single league match for the second consecutive season. (His previous high in league appearances was 28.) I think the discussion of Arsenal's title chances flows from there.

Arsenal's defense is as good as their ability to dominate possession and thereby prevent the other team from actually attacking their defense that much. If you can get the ball, you can get at their defense and score. All their fullbacks are liabilities defensively except for Sagna. Their center backs are either short and prone to getting sucked upfield (Vermaelen, Koscielny), tall but slower than molasses (Mertesacker), or just plain bad (Djourou, Squillaci). They still haven't replaced the protective midfield presence that Flamini and Gilberto Silva gave them, unless you're convinced that Frimpong is ready for the big time. Song is the only other senior midfielder they've got who's somewhat defensively inclined, and even he spent a lot of time playing high up the pitch last season.

The attack could be electric, as you say, but they've got an awful lot riding on the continued presence and perfect health of van Persie and the settling of Podolski, Cazorla, and Giroud. If van Persie leaves and/or their three big signings take some time to adjust, it might not be so electric. I am assuming that the new guys will integrate pretty well because Wenger is a superb coach and his teams' attacking play is always top class. I wouldn't bet on another 30-goal season from van Persie, though. That's 12 more than he's ever managed before.

Looking at the whole package, I see a team with the same strengths and the same weaknesses they've had for at least three years. I think 3rd or 4th is about right.
   563. Mattbert Posted: August 14, 2012 at 04:48 PM (#4208265)
If the starting back four can stay on the field, and Ramsey can stay on the field, and Wilshere isn't dead, I think they can make a serious run.

I like Arsenal's chances more if they play Ramsey less. He was brutal last season. Absolutely brutal.
   564. Randy Jones Posted: August 14, 2012 at 04:53 PM (#4208270)
I agree with Mattbert about Arsenal. They are at least a couple steps behind the Manchester teams.

EDIT: Agree with Mattbert again about Ramsey. He was bad for Arsenal last year and bad for GB in the Olympics.
   565. Swedish Chef Posted: August 14, 2012 at 05:09 PM (#4208293)
1. Manchester City - The best squad, they still have a relatively lousy coach and they haven't managed to get rid of the troublesome two. Still favorites.
2. Manchester United - They have the depth and organization. Still the main challengers.
3. Chelsea - Have splashed some cash. Drogba is a veteran they will miss. Di Matteo is a lucky guy, not fit to carry The Special One's jock.
4. Liverpool - Hey, I gotta be different, right? I believe in Brendan Rodgers.
5. Aston Villa - Let's be eccentric, if not totally insane. While out camping in the Lake District, Paul Lambert finds a golden ring in a stream, it is a nifty ring that turns you invisible when you wear it. Another oddity is that when you heat it, an indecipherable inscription in glowing runes becomes visible. Lambert keeps the ring as a good luck charm.
6. Tottenham - Good first year from AVB.
7. Arsenal - And then the little train couldn't.
8. Newcastle - Well, where else?
9. Everton - Frothing fans get their way when Moyes leaves, next year finds them 19th.
10. Fulham - Mid-table is a strange place full of serenity. Fulham belong there.
11. Sunderland - If the height of their ambition is to get Steven Fletcher, they will end up in 11th.
12. Southampton - This year's surprise package.
13. Norwich - Normal for Norfolk.
14. West Brom - Bonus points for having Swedes and honorary Swede Hodgson.
15. Stoke - All their goals this season will be from Rory Delap throws.
16. West Ham - Allardyce will keep them up.
17. QPR - Will prosper without Barton, struggle with him, and finally get rid of him.
18. Swansea - I don't believe in high-profile coaches from La Liga in Wales.
19. Reading - One of the newcomers have to go, I've anointed the saints and Sam is a wily devil. That leaves Reading.
20. Wigan - The high-wire act comes to an end.
   566. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: August 14, 2012 at 06:59 PM (#4208415)
I'm not against Berbatov at Spurs, I just think the egos involved make it impossible. I'm really puzzled why Ferguson buried Berbatov last season and at the end of the season before. He's got the nous to unlock a packed in defense and he's a great passer. Is it something personal between the two? Fergie seems a vindictive soul, the Robert Moses of English soccer you could say.
   567. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: August 14, 2012 at 07:02 PM (#4208416)
#### you, #### off, #### me, #### tottenham, #### my life, #### everyone.

From a Spurs board about the quest for a new striker. The natives are getting restless! Half the ITK's say Adebayor is wrapped up the other half say it's panic time. It's good theater. Not quite RAWK level hysteria but getting there.
   568. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: August 14, 2012 at 07:05 PM (#4208423)
18. Swansea - I don't believe in high-profile coaches from La Liga in Wales.

The bigger issue is no Allen, no Caulker, no Sigurdsson and possibly no Scott Sinclair. That is a massive drain of talent for Laudrup to overcome. Sigurdsson had the second highest average game rating on whoscored.com the PL after January. Stats and lies and all that, but the #'s back up how good he looked on the pitch and Joe Allen was their heartbeat. I fear for Swansea as I have a soft spot for them and would love for them to stay up.

edit: And why are Wolves rejecting 12 million for Steven Fletcher? Am I underrating Fletcher, because I don't think he's worth nearly that much. Though I guess from the Wolves perspective, getting back to the PL is worth much more than 12 million and Fletcher is certainly good enough to help them get promoted. So, never mind I guess, I think I'm answering my own question here...
   569. DA Baracus Posted: August 14, 2012 at 09:06 PM (#4208479)
5. Aston Villa - Let's be eccentric, if not totally insane. While out camping in the Lake District, Paul Lambert finds a golden ring in a stream, it is a nifty ring that turns you invisible when you wear it. Another oddity is that when you heat it, an indecipherable inscription in glowing runes becomes visible. Lambert keeps the ring as a good luck charm.


They still wouldn't finish 5th.
   570. vortex of dissipation Posted: August 15, 2012 at 04:57 AM (#4208583)
Now, this is a bad penalty kick:

He MUST have some English blood in him...
   571. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: August 15, 2012 at 12:32 PM (#4208745)
A case study for why the internet is ####### stupid.

Everyone knows Modric is going to Real. No one knows the fee yet. No one knows what Spurs wanted in June and no one will know what the fee is once Modric goes. No one really knows what Chelsea offered last year. It's all made up BS, really, but here are a group of Spurs fan calling the Levy a failure and he should get fired in a summer in which he pulled Sigurdsson and Vertonghen from the market for what Liverpool paid for Joe Allen. Brilliant. I seriously think the only reasonable place to discuss Spurs is right here.

That said, sign a striker already, damn it!
   572. Mattbert Posted: August 15, 2012 at 01:03 PM (#4208768)
I seriously think the only reasonable place to discuss Spurs is right here.

The regular posters at the blog that carried my (our?) Red Bulls v Spurs writeup tend to be quite reasonable. Perhaps unsurprisingly, traffic there is pretty low.

However, I am loosely committed to trying my hand at being an abjectly destitute man's Michael Cox insofar as I will be writing the occasional tactical preview and/or post-mortem for Spurs games at that site. I will do my best to be reasonable!
   573. Mattbert Posted: August 15, 2012 at 02:34 PM (#4208852)
Manchester United and Arsenal have agreed terms for the transfer of Robin van Persie. Confirmed on both clubs' official websites.
   574. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: August 15, 2012 at 02:36 PM (#4208853)
However, I am loosely committed to trying my hand at being an abjectly destitute man's Michael Cox insofar as I will be writing the occasional tactical preview and/or post-mortem for Spurs games at that site. I will do my best to be reasonable!

I should probably register and mock your reports. Longwell? Try WRONGwell!

Manchester United and Arsenal have agreed terms for the transfer of Robin van Persie. Confirmed on both clubs' official websites.

Despite this being obvious for a couple of weeks, just let me say...HOLY CRAP!
   575. Mattbert Posted: August 15, 2012 at 02:38 PM (#4208861)
I should probably register and mock your reports.

You can do that from the safety of anonymity!
   576. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: August 15, 2012 at 02:42 PM (#4208863)
You can do that from the safety of anonymity!

No no no. I WANT you to know its me. I will haunt the spaces between your every waking thought.
   577. Swedish Chef Posted: August 15, 2012 at 02:43 PM (#4208864)
I will do my best to be reasonable!

I hope you're going for frothingly insane reasonableness.

Despite this being obvious for a couple of weeks, just let me say...HOLY CRAP!

When did Arsenal become this meek selling club forever bullied around by its players? Is it all David Dein's fault for leaving? Or the board's fault for kicking him out?
   578. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: August 15, 2012 at 02:58 PM (#4208892)
When did Arsenal become this meek selling club forever bullied around by its players? Is it all David Dein's fault for leaving? Or the board's fault for kicking him out?

Spurs would never be treated like this!

Naw, I think the gap between Man U, Barca, Real and the Petro-Clubs is just so wide now that even a big club like Arsenal gets pushed around. I don't see how David Dein could force Van Persie not to sulk about losing out on 220K a week.
   579. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: August 15, 2012 at 03:02 PM (#4208899)
Are they going to sell Song, too? I think Arsenal can replace these guys--continental players especially seem to all want to play for Wenger--but I know Wenger himself has said he never wants to flip more than 3 guys in his starting lineup in one offseason because it becomes increasingly difficult to bed new players in. He already has to work in Cazorla, Giroud and Podolski so I'm going to go out on a limb and say no way he sells Song.
   580. Swedish Chef Posted: August 15, 2012 at 03:07 PM (#4208907)
I don't see how David Dein could force Van Persie not to sulk about losing out on 220K a week.

No, but he could at least have made sure that valuable players didn't have expiring contracts. Arsenal has that problem every offseason now.
   581. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: August 15, 2012 at 03:11 PM (#4208914)
Naw, I think the gap between Man U, Barca, Real and the Petro-Clubs is just so wide now that even a big club like Arsenal gets pushed around. I don't see how David Dein could force Van Persie not to sulk about losing out on 220K a week.
That does rather make the line in The Guardian preview about "United keeping the chequebook closed not only appears uncharacteristically defeatist, it raises suspicions that the owners are being tight with funds" look rather silly.
   582. CWS Keith plans to boo your show at the Apollo Posted: August 15, 2012 at 03:26 PM (#4208936)
If the rumors of Liverpool beating Arsenal for Sahin's signature are also true, there is going to be a lot of hand-wringing tonight.

(Not that selling RVP for the quoted 24 million British is a bad move. Still, there seemed to be a bit of momentum building after picking up Cazorla for a pittance.)
   583. DA Baracus Posted: August 15, 2012 at 04:31 PM (#4209044)
   584. Mefisto Posted: August 15, 2012 at 04:32 PM (#4209045)
I'm surprised by the VanP signing. United violated a long-standing policy regarding the age of acquisitions. That made sense at 8 million, but hardly at 24. They need help much more in the midfield than up front. He's a great player, but still.
   585. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: August 15, 2012 at 04:58 PM (#4209065)
Not so fast on the MLS stadium in Queens.
I'm shocked--shocked!--to hear that the stadium is not a done deal!
   586. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 15, 2012 at 05:06 PM (#4209077)
Everyone knows Modric is going to Real. No one knows the fee yet. No one knows what Spurs wanted in June and no one will know what the fee is once Modric goes. No one really knows what Chelsea offered last year. It's all made up BS, really, but here are a group of Spurs fan calling the Levy a failure and he should get fired in a summer in which he pulled Sigurdsson and Vertonghen from the market for what Liverpool paid for Joe Allen. Brilliant. I seriously think the only reasonable place to discuss Spurs is right here.
First, it's obviously an overreaction to call for Levy's head.

Second, well, there are two basic goals in making a transfer. First is to get a fair price. Second is to make the transfer quickly, so that you have time to spend the money you received, and so that the new players have time to train with the squad, learn the system, and build relationships with their manager and teammates. Selling Modric this late in the transfer season means you've lost on goal (b), so you better be doing better on goal (a) than you would have if you'd sold him earlier in the window. This seems implausible, though I could certainly be wrong.

There are scenarios in which Daniel Levy handled the Modric transfer particularly well - if the sum he gets from Real is significantly larger than what he could have extracted from them in July - but it seems much more likely that this was poorly handled. So long as the money gets spent intelligently, presumably on a striker and a creative midfielder, it won't be the end of the world. But it doesn't seem like Levy covered himself in glory on this one.
   587. Swedish Chef Posted: August 15, 2012 at 05:21 PM (#4209086)
United violated a long-standing policy regarding the age of acquisitions.

Have they really? They splashed out £30M on 27 yo Berbatov. van Persie has just turned 29, it doesn't seem all that radical in comparison.
   588. I am going to be Frank Posted: August 15, 2012 at 05:26 PM (#4209092)
Looks like Modric to Madrid is finalized. I really hope Anderson and Cleverly have progressed enough and can stay healthy.
   589. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 15, 2012 at 05:33 PM (#4209097)
What is the deal with English papers running headlines that significantly overstate what's actually in the article?

Guardian: Tottenham's Luke Modric on way to Real Madrid for £26M plus add-ons. Hey, wow, this is the first word on the transfer fee. That's about what I've been expecting, I wonder what the specific escalators are, or how much they can add up to. I'll take a look at the article itself...
The Madrid president, Florentino Pérez, has been confident throughout the summer that he would get his man and the indications from Spain on Wednesday were that the initial fee could be as low as £26m, albeit before add-ons. Tottenham can be expected to insist on a greater sum.
Seriously Guardian? You cite "indications" from Spain that £26m is the low point, and you hedge by saying Tottenham wants more? That's the basis for your headline?
   590. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: August 15, 2012 at 05:36 PM (#4209101)
There are scenarios in which Daniel Levy handled the Modric transfer particularly well - if the sum he gets from Real is significantly larger than what he could have extracted from them in July - but it seems much more likely that this was poorly handled.

We don't have enough info to tell. Did Madrid lowball Spurs and play hardball because they had already tapped Modric up? Were Spurs holding out for Sahin who for some reason thinks playing for Spurs is like a rainy Tuesday night in Stoke? Is Modric unwilling to put in a transfer request? Is AVB willing to roll the dice on an unhappy Modric if he's unable to get Moutinho? There are a million things that could be holding up this transfer and the reaction in the Spurs blogosphere to every rumor that is dropped is past the point of silly. It happens every window and you'd think people would learn. What I do know is that we signed one of the most promising young defenders in Europe and Sigurdsson (who looks like he's going to be a star) and didn't have to pay the odds for either, hired one of the brightest young managers in Europe, opened a 40 million pound training center that everyone is raving about, started the process of building a new stadium and signed Bale to a long term contract all while Levy's mother died and his wife is seriously ill. I think Spurs fans should cut Levy some slack, already. Not you in specific, just in general. It's been a good summer, except for the lack of a striker though I imagine Adebayor will be sorted soon. If Defoe can beat Italy maybe he can get us past Newcastle to start the season?
   591. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: August 15, 2012 at 05:38 PM (#4209103)
Seriously Guardian? You cite "indications" from Spain that £26m is the low point, and you hedge by saying Tottenham wants more? That's the basis for your headline?

See, even The Guardian falls for this crap! But, you know, if Modric puts in a transfer request, I'll take 26 million with add-ons that take it to around 30. That seems reasonable.
   592. I am going to be Frank Posted: August 15, 2012 at 05:46 PM (#4209114)
And Javi Martinez to Bayern for the whole 40M Euros.
   593. Mefisto Posted: August 15, 2012 at 06:15 PM (#4209149)
They splashed out £30M on 27 yo Berbatov. van Persie has just turned 29, it doesn't seem all that radical in comparison.


It's arbitrary, but they've had an age policy of 27 for quite some time. In fact, they generally won't go above 24.
   594. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: August 15, 2012 at 06:23 PM (#4209155)
It's arbitrary, but they've had an age policy of 27 for quite some time. In fact, they generally won't go above 24.

I wonder if this isn't their attempt to gazump Man City.
   595. Spivey Posted: August 15, 2012 at 06:29 PM (#4209164)


It's arbitrary, but they've had an age policy of 27 for quite some time. In fact, they generally won't go above 24.


Yeah, and it's a good rule. But we're talking about F'n van Persie here. He's arguably the best striker in the world. You have to make exceptions for the best players in the world. I like that van Persie's transfer fee is so much smaller than Andy Carroll's.
   596. DA Baracus Posted: August 15, 2012 at 06:34 PM (#4209171)
NCAAer Marc Cintron just scored against Spain.
   597. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 15, 2012 at 06:52 PM (#4209187)
I'm sorry for making this Tottenham Hotspur Modric! Rumor! Forum, but also I'm not.

The Telegraph is reporting that Real upped their bid to over £30m. That would mean that Levy's brinksmanship paid off, maybe? Ok, now I'll wait til there's an official confirmation. (Or until there's another rumor! that I want to talk about. Either way.)
   598. Juan V Posted: August 15, 2012 at 07:21 PM (#4209205)
A bit late on the RVP news, but still did not see that coming.
   599. The Kentucky Gentleman, Mark Edward Posted: August 15, 2012 at 08:02 PM (#4209221)
Oh hey, US-Mexico friendly. How about that. US lineup:
Gomez
LanDo
Torres - Jones - Beckerman - Williams
Castillo - Cameron - Edu - Johnson
Howard

I'd rather see Boyd over Gomez but this is reasonable.
   600. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: August 15, 2012 at 08:05 PM (#4209223)
Bit of pop psychology here but with the exception of Donovan and Howard the USA players looked about ready to wet themselves during the anthem.
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