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Sunday, December 02, 2012

OT: The Soccer Thread: December 2012

Is it December already? Well, it must be a few days in, because I’m posting the thread!

RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: December 02, 2012 at 09:22 PM | 727 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: soccer

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   1. Bug Selig Posted: December 03, 2012 at 07:51 AM (#4315006)
Not that it has anything to do with anything or that anyone else should care, but my 14 year old daughter is beside herself with joy after getting tickets to the U.S. vs. China women's match on Saturday.
   2. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 03, 2012 at 08:23 AM (#4315008)
Let the rumor mongering begin.

Man City seems the odds on favorite to me.
   3. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 03, 2012 at 08:46 AM (#4315011)
Also, I watched the PL highlight show on Fox last night and, man, I think Rafael was near in tears when he was subbed off. Also, that's the second week in a row Bale has been booked for diving after clearly being clobbered. I'm getting annoyed with this ####. Big Sam sure seemed to enjoy beating Rafa Benitez' Chelsea.
   4. RMc is a fine piece of cheese Posted: December 03, 2012 at 09:07 AM (#4315015)
I was watching the MLS Cup on Saturday, and my wife commented, "They're still playing soccer? In December?" Yep.

Luckily the game was in LA...but if Red Bull had won the East, they would've been hosting that game. In 30-degree weather. In New Jersey. Ouch.
   5. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 03, 2012 at 09:31 AM (#4315025)
Luckily the game was in LA...but if Red Bull had won the East, they would've been hosting that game. In 30-degree weather. In New Jersey. Ouch.

So what? That's good soccer weather. The English lads would be embarrassed to even wear gloves if it was as warm as 30 degrees.
   6. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: December 03, 2012 at 09:45 AM (#4315031)
Also, that's the second week in a row Bale has been booked for diving after clearly being clobbered. I'm getting annoyed with this ####.


The same thing happened to Balotelli last week. While it's frustrating to see calls made incorrectly it's a bit difficult to feel bad for these guys who earn the reputation of flopping. When you go diving to the ground at the slightest contact and then the whole world sees a replay on TV that night you've got to expect that the benefit of the doubt is not going to go your way in the future. If this helps get rid of diving, I'm not too bothered.
   7. Mattbert Posted: December 03, 2012 at 09:47 AM (#4315033)
Oh, come on. There are plenty of English players who opt for the gloves when it drops below about 45F, if that. And plenty of them would probably go for the snood if they could.
   8. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: December 03, 2012 at 09:48 AM (#4315034)
And responding to something posted late in the November thread, if Millwall get promoted the FA needs to be very clear right from day one that if they have one of their brouhahas with West Ham that serious sanctions including loss of points will be forthcoming. It's going to be 2013 in four weeks, this #### has no place in the game.
   9. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 03, 2012 at 09:54 AM (#4315041)
Oh, come on. There are plenty of English players who opt for the gloves when it drops below about 45F, if that. And plenty of them would probably go for the snood if they could.

But they'd be embarrassed, what, with Gary Neville snickering at them and all.
   10. Mattbert Posted: December 03, 2012 at 10:04 AM (#4315050)
That's never stopped Wayne Rooney.
   11. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 03, 2012 at 10:08 AM (#4315054)
That's never stopped Wayne Rooney.

Maybe he should get hair implants on his hands.
   12. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: December 03, 2012 at 10:35 AM (#4315075)
And responding to something posted late in the November thread, if Millwall get promoted the FA needs to be very clear right from day one that if they have one of their brouhahas with West Ham that serious sanctions including loss of points will be forthcoming. It's going to be 2013 in four weeks, this #### has no place in the game.
I agree with this completely. I will even point out that at the FA Cup match last time, it was the Hammers fans causing trouble rather than Milwall. It's a shame, because I think those matches just bring out the absolute worst in "fans," who are clearly more there for causing trouble than actually interested in the game.

Incidentally, Newcastle is currently looking up on two ex-managers of a recent vintage: Hughton in 12th, and Big Sam in 8th
   13. DA Baracus Posted: December 03, 2012 at 11:28 AM (#4315125)
Also, that's the second week in a row Bale has been booked for diving after clearly being clobbered. I'm getting annoyed with this ####.


Didn't see last week's, and I agree that this week's wasn't a dive, but the way he went down I can't really fault the ref. It looked like he traveled three yards in the air, you'd have a hard time convincing me he didn't embellish.
   14. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 03, 2012 at 11:38 AM (#4315135)
Didn't see last week's, and I agree that this week's wasn't a dive, but the way he went down I can't really fault the ref. It looked like he traveled three yards in the air, you'd have a hard time convincing me he didn't embellish.

If he gets clipped at a full run he's going to go flying. It's physics! The funny thing is that Dempsey is a much worse diver than Bale and never seems to get called on it. Clint is a pro!

More importantly, the Confed Cup draw. It took me a minute to figure out what Italy was doing in the draw.

And what's the word with the MLS rumors? Kaka and Lampard to The Galaxy? The Saudis, Qataris and Abu Dhabi battling it out for the second New York team? I'm guessing Don Garber has erotic dreams about that second scenario.
   15. DA Baracus Posted: December 03, 2012 at 11:44 AM (#4315139)
If he gets clipped at a full run he's going to go flying. It's physics!


Yes, but he looked like he embellished. Whether or not he actually did is irrelevant, it's a subjective foul. A diver looks like he dove, he's not getting the benefit of the doubt from the ref or from fans.

The funny thing is that Dempsey is a much worse diver than Bale and never seems to get called on it. Clint is a pro!


Agreed.
   16. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 03, 2012 at 11:50 AM (#4315146)
Agreed.

U-S-A! U-S-A!

Donovan is a hell of a diver, too. When did we get so good at this?

Oh yeah, and one more question and then I'll shut up---when does Guzan start to become competition for Tim Howard? Because in what I've seen of Villa this season, Guzan looks really good.
   17. puck Posted: December 03, 2012 at 11:52 AM (#4315148)

Yes, but he looked like he embellished. Whether or not he actually did is irrelevant, it's a subjective foul. A diver looks like he dove, he's not getting the benefit of the doubt from the ref or from fans.

This, unfortunately, as I like Bale. On the replay he did get contact but it looked like he had time to put another foot down and then fall. He seemed like he opted to pull the leg back instead and take a hard fall. Not much, but given his rep, he was unlikely to get that call.
   18. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: December 03, 2012 at 11:53 AM (#4315153)
Donovan is a hell of a diver, too. When did we get so good at this?


When Klinsmann took over.
   19. DA Baracus Posted: December 03, 2012 at 11:55 AM (#4315157)
Oh yeah, and one more question and then I'll shut up---when does Guzan start to become competition for Tim Howard? Because in what I've seen of Villa this season, Guzan looks really good.


When Tim Howard stops being Superman for the US. Which doesn't appear to be happening anytime soon. Guzan should be the starter for the Gold Cup, then we'll go from there.
   20. puck Posted: December 03, 2012 at 11:58 AM (#4315163)
Not that it has anything to do with anything or that anyone else should care, but my 14 year old daughter is beside herself with joy after getting tickets to the U.S. vs. China women's match on Saturday.

That's awesome, I think she will love it. They'll have a pubic training session the day before, if you have time you should take her. It also seems like the best chance for an autograph if she's in to that, though I don't know how easy that is.

I don't know if the victory tour is losing steam or not (Portland's stadium wasn't full, though it looked cold), but the game in Colorado in September was a lot of fun. I don't think I've ever seen the stadium more electric, including playoff games. For starters, everyone was in their seats well before kickoff, with the proverbial buzz of anticipation. The girls screamed any time Solo, Wambach, Rapinoe or Morgan touched the ball. People came from all over Colorado to get to the came.
   21. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 03, 2012 at 12:01 PM (#4315167)
Klinsmann? The hell you say!

edit: Crissakes. I've decided I have to have that t-shirt.
   22. puck Posted: December 03, 2012 at 12:20 PM (#4315193)
And what's the word with the MLS rumors? Kaka and Lampard to The Galaxy?

There's been more about LA's interest in Kaka than Lampard. I wonder how that would work for Kaka. He's not out of contract, and while LA could pay a small transfer fee, if Real were willing to let him go that cheaply, wouldn't other clubs, including those from Brazil, get in on the action?

I recall interest in Thierry Henry before the Red Bull move, but Kaka is younger.

BTW, there are rumors that NYRB is somehow foisting Rafa Marquez on Columbus. That's like burying radioactive waste out in the desert, right?
   23. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 03, 2012 at 12:51 PM (#4315228)
There's been more about LA's interest in Kaka than Lampard. I wonder how that would work for Kaka. He's not out of contract, and while LA could pay a small transfer fee, if Real were willing to let him go that cheaply, wouldn't other clubs, including those from Brazil, get in on the action?

I imagine it only works if Kaka really wants to play in the States the way Henry did. I don't think Lampard moves the needle for MLS so they should just pass.

BTW, there are rumors that NYRB is somehow foisting Rafa Marquez on Columbus. That's like burying radioactive waste out in the desert, right?

Wouldn't Marquez be better off just going to Mexico? Hell, Columbus is the scene of some of his epic International failures!
   24. puck Posted: December 03, 2012 at 01:10 PM (#4315251)
Wouldn't Marquez be better off just going to Mexico? Hell, Columbus is the scene of some of his epic International failures!

Yeah, it's quite a crazy rumor. I don't know why Columbus would want to pay him millions, either. I guess I'll believe that one when he suits up in yellow.
   25. Mefisto Posted: December 03, 2012 at 01:12 PM (#4315253)
pubic training session the day before


Now this I'd go see.
   26. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 03, 2012 at 01:40 PM (#4315293)
Liam Ridgewell.

Follow this link at your own risk. I'm not even joking.
   27. puck Posted: December 03, 2012 at 02:35 PM (#4315392)
Oh yeah, any comment on the Lewandowski to ManUtd rumor? It is still just a rumor, right? I wonder if Gotze and Reus will stay long. Dortmund is an interesting team, it will be sad if they get raided.
   28. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 03, 2012 at 02:42 PM (#4315406)
Oh yeah, any comment on the Lewandowski to ManUtd rumor? It is still just a rumor, right? I wonder if Gotze and Reus will stay long. Dortmund is an interesting team, it will be sad if they get raided.

He only has 18 months left on his contract so I'd say there's some heat to the rumor, unfortunately. If they don't extend him soon he's probably gone in the summer. There was some talk last summer that he wants a move to England so it may be out of their hands regardless of money.

Speaking of more pressing contract issues, does anyone have any insight into the Raheem Sterling situation? Are they going to lose him? Is Sterling intent on getting back to London to his many multitudes of women and children?
   29. Randy Jones Posted: December 03, 2012 at 02:46 PM (#4315416)
Not that it won't happen, but why would United sign another striker? That's the one position where they have talent, health, and depth.
   30. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 03, 2012 at 02:51 PM (#4315428)
Not that it won't happen, but why would United sign another striker? That's the one position where they have talent, health, and depth.

Lewandowski would be a huge upgrade over Welbeck or Hernandez and Van Persie is always on the precipice of being crocked. Fergie, I'm sure, would figure out how to make it work. Or Mourinho, I guess, since he's soon to be unemployed.
   31. Mattbert Posted: December 03, 2012 at 02:51 PM (#4315429)
They'll have a pubic training session the day before, if you have time you should take her.

Somewhere, Mick McCarthy raises an eyebrow and smirks knowingly.
   32. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 03, 2012 at 02:54 PM (#4315435)
Somewhere, Mick McCarthy raises an eyebrow and smirks knowingly.

Hey, Ipswich is somewhere!
   33. Mattbert Posted: December 03, 2012 at 02:55 PM (#4315438)
Of all the towns in England, Ipswich is certainly one of them.
   34. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 03, 2012 at 02:57 PM (#4315441)
Of all the towns in England, Ipswich is certainly one of them.

I actually have no idea where Ipswich is. I could google it but....naw.
   35. Randy Jones Posted: December 03, 2012 at 02:58 PM (#4315444)
Sure, Lewandowski would be an upgrade, but why wouldn't they try to get a CM or CB or LB, where they actually have a need?
   36. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 03, 2012 at 03:03 PM (#4315452)
Sure, Lewandowski would be an upgrade, but why wouldn't they try to get a CM or CB or LB, where they actually have a need?

Why is it either/or? This is ####### United we're talking about.
   37. Mattbert Posted: December 03, 2012 at 03:05 PM (#4315456)
I actually have no idea where Ipswich is. I could google it but....naw.

East Anglia. It's about an hour's drive due south of Norwich, hence their long and fulminous rivalry. (In case you were wondering why Connor Wickham was getting viciously booed every time he touched the ball yesterday.)
   38. I am going to be Frank Posted: December 03, 2012 at 03:35 PM (#4315498)
United need to sell Chicharito. He's a great impact sub but I don't think he's good enough to play the full 90. Welbeck is still youngish. Not sure if Ferguson has finally decided to go away from wingers and pack the middle. Its kind of been forced upon United due to injuries but based on signings of the past few seasons it seems to me that he's moving towards a more "continental" team.
   39. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 03, 2012 at 03:46 PM (#4315521)
United need to sell Chicharito. He's a great impact sub but I don't think he's good enough to play the full 90.

Yeah, I don't think so either. He's a great, great poacher but that seems to be about it. Welbeck is good, but if you have a chance to get Lewandowski you don't let having Welbeck around stop you from doing it.

edit: Speaking of strikers...I watched the Spurs game last night and is Berbatov in good form or what? He just looked outstanding despite the result.
   40. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: December 03, 2012 at 03:56 PM (#4315534)
United need to sell Chicharito. He's a great impact sub but I don't think he's good enough to play the full 90.


I don't think the first sentence is necessarily forced by the second. United have the financial resources to keep Chicharito and as long as he's not causing problems off the pitch having an impact sub is not the worst option in the world. There is something to be said for a guy who just comes off the bench and finds the back of the net. There is a skill to being able to be prepared mentally and physically in the 65th minute to step on the field and make something happen.
   41. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: December 03, 2012 at 04:01 PM (#4315539)
Follow this link at your own risk. I'm not even joking
All together now, Think Before You Act
   42. The Kentucky Gentleman, Mark Edward Posted: December 03, 2012 at 04:04 PM (#4315544)
The latest Lewandowski rumor had him moving to Juventus, but there's always talk of him moving onto some place or another. He won't be going anywhere in the winter because Dortmund's in the thick of the Champions League and they've still got an outside shot at the Bundesliga title. For what it's worth, I'm not sure if Julian Schieber was brought in as an eventual replacement for Lewandowski, but he hasn't impressed me so far.

Reus was just brought in this past summer so I doubt he'll be leaving soon. And folks have been saying Gotze was leaving Dortmund for like 2 years now.

While I love Lewandowski, Reus & Gotze (and to a lesser extant B?aszczykowski, Piszczek, Gündo?an, & Schmelzer) really make this team click. Lewy needs good service in order to be effective. It'd be fun to watch him play with Pirlo.

Newcastle-Wigan! One of the upsides to being unemployed is watching classics like these live!
   43. DA Baracus Posted: December 03, 2012 at 04:11 PM (#4315553)
Newcastle-Wigan! One of the upsides to being unemployed is watching classics like these live!


There seems to be a lot of running around so far, most of it needless except for staying warm. Which is reason enough.
   44. I am going to be Frank Posted: December 03, 2012 at 04:11 PM (#4315554)
United is a "rich" team but they do not have bottomless pockets and their cash flow isn't the greatest due to the debt. If someone is willing to pay good money for Chicharito then United should take it, especially if it allows them to buy a better player (like Lewandowski) or someone in the midfield or defense.

I can see the marketing-types at Old Trafford stepping in and not allowing Chicharito to go. It seems to me that I see more United jerseys on Mexicans then Barca jerseys nowadays.
   45. CWS Keith plans to boo your show at the Apollo Posted: December 03, 2012 at 05:06 PM (#4315614)
Speaking of more pressing contract issues, does anyone have any insight into the Raheem Sterling situation? Are they going to lose him? Is Sterling intent on getting back to London to his many multitudes of women and children?

Can't sign a contract 'til he turns 18, which happens in about a week. Or, at least I think that's the reason why nothing's happened yet. If this is the case, can someone explain how contracts work for U-18s? Sterling is presumably on some type of contract at the moment - did his parents or a guardian have to sign off on it? Also, somewhat related - is Sterling (and players like him who break into first teams before they turn 18) still doing some type of schooling, or is he pretty much a full-time pro from, say, age 16 on?
   46. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: December 03, 2012 at 05:10 PM (#4315620)
Also, somewhat related - is Sterling (and players like him who break into first teams before they turn 18) still doing some type of schooling, or is he pretty much a full-time pro from, say, age 16 on?


Dear Headmaster Jones,

Please excuse Raheem from Algebra class on Wednesday, he has to ride the bus to London to play QPR. His sister will collect his homework assignments for him.

Sincerely,

Sterling's Mom
   47. Mefisto Posted: December 03, 2012 at 05:19 PM (#4315633)
I watched the Spurs game last night and is Berbatov in good form or what? He just looked outstanding despite the result.


Berbatov was fantastic. I think he may have the best touch of any player in soccer today. Some of his stuff was unbelieveable.
   48. Bug Selig Posted: December 04, 2012 at 07:05 AM (#4316173)
They'll have a pubic training session the day before, if you have time you should take her.


I don't, but I did remind my son that he has a car and I pay for it, so he has time:-)

Thanks for the heads-up. Should be a great weekend for her.
   49. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 04, 2012 at 08:52 AM (#4316201)
Sure, Lewandowski would be an upgrade, but why wouldn't they try to get a CM or CB or LB, where they actually have a need?

Why is it either/or? This is ####### United we're talking about.
United seem to be bound to some sort of financial reality. They're not an oligarch club, just a super rich club. Given that Welbeck and Chicharrito are 22 and 24 respectively, I don't think United need to be spending money on a striker for 2014 yet.

Further, I think that United should be planning for the present more than the future. Is it crazy to think that United are only one or two January moves away from being a plausible competitor for the Champions League? Their attack with Rooney and RVP is just crazy good, and their depth with Young/Nani/Valencia/Kagawa/Chicharrito/Welbeck is fabulous. If they could buy a spine in central midfield, I think they would have a real shot at the double. Right now their best tackler in midfield is Darren Fletcher, and it's hard to count on him to handle a full elite squad schedule. After that you have the merely passable Tom Cleverly, and he's a huge upgrade over human screen doors Scholes and Carrick.
   50. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 04, 2012 at 08:52 AM (#4316202)
   51. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 04, 2012 at 08:58 AM (#4316204)
United seem to be bound to some sort of financial reality. They're not an oligarch club, just a super rich club. Given that Welbeck and Chicharrito are 22 and 24 respectively, I don't think United need to be spending money on a striker for 2014 yet.

Lewandowski won't cost that much as he'll be in the last year of his deal so they can probably get him for what they paid for Kagawa. Seems a no-brainer to me if Lewandowski wants to play there. Selling Hernandez or Welbeck would cover most of the transfer fee, too.

Supposedly Paul Pogba is ripping things up for Juventus. That's gotta sting Fergie a bit.
   52. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 04, 2012 at 09:00 AM (#4316206)
Can't sign a contract 'til he turns 18, which happens in about a week.

I was under the impression that his signing wasn't a sure thing and was greatly annoying Brendan Rodgers but I have no idea what the implications of his not signing are. Does that make him a free agent or would it go to a tribunal if Sterling signs a deal with another club?
   53. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: December 04, 2012 at 09:42 AM (#4316227)
Is it crazy to think that United are only one or two January moves away from being a plausible competitor for the Champions League?


They have the opportunity to shore things up in defense but the way they are conceding goals it's hard to see. There isn't just a little work to be done defensively, there is a LOT of work. I just can't imagine them bringing in the necessary talent and integrating it effectively in time to make a meaningful difference.

They are somewhat reminiscent of the mid-00s Yankees where they have a devastating offense but allow the opposition too much. At some point that offense just isn't potent enough to make up for the failings. I like them better over the course of a long season where the occasional hiccup is not too disruptive than I do in a two-legged tie. If they have one game where they just don't finish they're going to be down 2-0 or 3-1 and that's going to sink them.
   54. Mattbert Posted: December 04, 2012 at 10:04 AM (#4316245)
Unintentional hilarity level: Off the chart.

Oh, don't be such a joyless cynic. You're telling me you didn't weep softly when you first saw that beautiful emerald carpet?

Okay, so that was a bit much. At least it seemed genuine. And his send-up of the footballer's interview cliches was hilarious and eerily accurate.

I'm not too proud to admit I got goosebumps when they faded in the fans singing "When the Spurs Go Marching In" at the end.
   55. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 04, 2012 at 10:22 AM (#4316255)
Oh, don't be such a joyless cynic. You're telling me you didn't weep softly when you first saw that beautiful emerald carpet?

My favorite part was how awesome he thought the banquet program was! Alas, I did not weep when I saw the pitch, though it is a brilliant pitch. The tour guide almost crapped himself with rage when one of the Chinese tourists bent down to touch the grass on the tour I was on. On my first trip I did almost weep when Alan Hutton scored as I knew I would never see the like of it again...
   56. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: December 04, 2012 at 10:41 AM (#4316280)
I'm not too proud to admit I got goosebumps when they faded in the fans singing "When the Spurs Go Marching In" at the end.
The clip isn't loading at my office, did they use my footage of everyone singing "When the Spurs Go Marching In" on the PATH Escalator at WTC?

Alas, I did not weep when I saw the pitch, though it is a brilliant pitch.
I did cry the first I saw the pitch at Upton Park. Of course, that's because it was the coldest weekend in London in something like 25 years and I realized I was now committed to spending 90 more-or-less consecutive minutes sitting outside in it.
   57. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 04, 2012 at 10:45 AM (#4316284)
Okay, so that was a bit much. At least it seemed genuine. And his send-up of the footballer's interview cliches was hilarious and eerily accurate.
"A bit much, but it seemed genuine" is a pretty good summing up of Adam Richman as a television personality in general. It got awkward a few times watching him get choked up at basically everything within his line of vision, but I'm really looking forward to seeing the pitch in person for the first time, and I do get a bit emotional when I go to Fenway now that it's not a multiple-times-per-year thing for me anymore. There's something about great sporting grounds that brings up the sentimental version of me, so I sympathize.
   58. Mattbert Posted: December 04, 2012 at 10:49 AM (#4316288)
From a recent Gab Marcotti column:
Robert Lewandowski, Marco Reus, Mario Goetze, Kevin Grosskreutz, Iklay Gundogan, Sven Bender, Mats Hummels, Marcel Schmelzer, Neven Subotic, Moritz Leitner … all these players are aged 24 or younger.
I mean, everyone who's paying attention knows BVB are really good, but when you list off all their incredible young players like that...wow.
   59. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 04, 2012 at 10:55 AM (#4316295)
"A bit much, but it seemed genuine" is a pretty good summing up of Adam Richman as a television personality in general. It got awkward a few times watching him get choked up at basically everything within his line of vision, but I'm really looking forward to seeing the pitch in person for the first time, and I do get a bit emotional when I go to Fenway now that it's not a multiple-times-per-year thing for me anymore. There's something about great sporting grounds that brings up the sentimental version of me, so I sympathize.

The pitch really is immaculate. You'll get to see the progress of the new stadium construction, too! They had quite a pile of dirt built up 6 weeks ago. But watch out for those Norf London girls wearing too much makeup. They'll eat you alive.
   60. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 04, 2012 at 10:58 AM (#4316298)
I mean, everyone who's paying attention knows BVB are really good, but when you list off all their incredible young players like that...wow.

What's Hummels' situation? Of all their great players, he might be the one I'd want most on my team. He's not going to get poached by a mega bastard club, is he?
   61. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: December 04, 2012 at 11:01 AM (#4316300)
"A bit much, but it seemed genuine" is a pretty good summing up of Adam Richman as a television personality in general. It got awkward a few times watching him get choked up at basically everything within his line of vision, but I'm really looking forward to seeing the pitch in person for the first time, and I do get a bit emotional when I go to Fenway now that it's not a multiple-times-per-year thing for me anymore. There's something about great sporting grounds that brings up the sentimental version of me, so I sympathize.


A couple of years ago I took my cousin, a diehard Red Sox fan from North Carolina, to Fenway for the first time. I brought her through the tunnel under home plate so when she emerged the first thing she saw was the Monster. She stepped out and her jaw literally dropped. She didn't tear up but I could tell she got emotional, that does happen to people.
   62. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 04, 2012 at 11:05 AM (#4316304)
   63. CWS Keith plans to boo your show at the Apollo Posted: December 04, 2012 at 11:06 AM (#4316307)
I was under the impression that his signing wasn't a sure thing and was greatly annoying Brendan Rodgers but I have no idea what the implications of his not signing are.

Outside of general RAWK-fan hand-wringing over day-to-day minutiae, I've seen nothing that indicates Liverpool are in serious danger of losing Sterling.
   64. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 04, 2012 at 11:18 AM (#4316322)
Outside of general RAWK-fan hand-wringing over day-to-day minutiae, I've seen nothing that indicates Liverpool are in serious danger of losing Sterling.

I think most likely you are correct, but after Man U losing a couple of youth players because they wouldn't sign new contracts I wonder if agents are seeing this as a chance to play hardball with clubs. Any other club that would sign him isn't going to play his as much as Liverpool, so it's probably in his interest to stick around. Man City, Man U or Chelsea would probably just bury him. Arsenal might seem him as a Walcott replacement, though. Still, applying Occam's Razor to this he most likely stays--I'm just curious about the contractual ins and outs of the hypothetical if he doesn't sign a deal.
   65. PepTech Posted: December 04, 2012 at 12:21 PM (#4316430)
Richman needs the next size up on the jacket...
   66. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 04, 2012 at 12:27 PM (#4316449)
Richman needs the next size up on the jacket...

I guess we know who ate all the pies...
   67. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 04, 2012 at 12:30 PM (#4316452)
I've read rumors about Richman's health and weight fluctuations that are pretty scary. He's done some nasty things to his cardiovascular system in pursuit of television semi-fame.
   68. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 04, 2012 at 12:35 PM (#4316464)
I've read rumors about Richman's health and weight fluctuations that are pretty scary. He's done some nasty things to his cardiovascular system in pursuit of television semi-fame.

Yeah. I should have said, "I guess we know who ate all the pies...at one sitting."
   69. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 04, 2012 at 12:51 PM (#4316492)
Not a lot of drama today in the CL. Only a Europa League place or two at stake and some seeding for the qualifiers.
   70. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 04, 2012 at 01:21 PM (#4316534)
I'm interested in just how bad tomorrow's Shakhtar-Juventus game will be. Obviously there's some value in coming first, but not much - only groups G and H show a significant gap in quality between first and second place (Barca over Celtic/Benfica and United over Galatasaray/Cluj). Both clubs just need a draw, and Juventus is probably out if they lose. Implicit collusion seems like the order of the day.
   71. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 04, 2012 at 01:24 PM (#4316541)
Implicit collusion seems like the order of the day.

It's a good thing a club like Juventus would never engage in such sordidness.
   72. DA Baracus Posted: December 04, 2012 at 01:36 PM (#4316553)
Yeah I don't think you can rule out that Richman wasn't emotional about being on the field and that instead it was his cholesterol level catching up with him at that very moment.
   73. ursus arctos Posted: December 04, 2012 at 01:54 PM (#4316577)
Pretty much everyone in Italy was convinced that Juventus and Shakhtar would concoct a "biscotto" (biscuit, i.e., a pre-cooked result) as soon as the fifth round of matches were completed.

I'm told that the odds on a draw in Italy are prohibitive, and that very little action is being taken.

Perhaps needless to say, this is seen as completely normal by the Great Italian Public.
   74. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 04, 2012 at 01:56 PM (#4316581)
I have trouble blaming teams for gaming the system. Group stage qualifying inevitably produces situations where the interests of the teams and of neutral fans are mis-aligned. (I figure Shakhtar and Juve fans would be just fine with qualifying regardless, and as someone who's discovered profound reserves of hatred for Chelsea in the last year, I'm right with them.) I think there should be rules in place to prevent explicit collusion, but I don't see how you can create a situation where both clubs want a draw and one really doesn't want a loss, and then demand a high-quality game.
   75. Swedish Chef Posted: December 04, 2012 at 01:56 PM (#4316582)
Betfair has 1.93 on a draw. A Juventus win is great value for the non-cynical at 3.85.
   76. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: December 04, 2012 at 01:59 PM (#4316585)
Is it a draw for the round of 16 or is done based on group (e.g. Group E winner plays Group F runner up)? If it's the latter it seems that winning the group would be likely to have some positive impact as I'd rather deal with Valencia than Bayern Munich in the knockout stage.
   77. Swedish Chef Posted: December 04, 2012 at 01:59 PM (#4316586)
I think there should be rules in place to prevent explicit collusion, but I don't see how you can create a situation where both clubs want a draw and one really doesn't want a loss, and then demand a high-quality game.

This is football, nobody ever demands a high-quality game.
   78. DA Baracus Posted: December 04, 2012 at 01:59 PM (#4316587)
Perhaps needless to say, this is seen as completely normal by the Great Italian Public.


I find it comforting that every team in Italy cheats, it levels the playing field.
   79. Swedish Chef Posted: December 04, 2012 at 02:02 PM (#4316592)
Is it a draw for the round of 16 or is done based on group (e.g. Group E winner plays Group F runner up)?

The winners meet runners-up. Doesn't matter too much when teams like Real, Arsenal and Milan are second in their groups.
   80. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 04, 2012 at 02:02 PM (#4316593)
If it's the latter it seems that winning the group would be likely to have some positive impact as I'd rather deal with Valencia than Bayern Munich in the knockout stage.
So would I, but we won't know until tomorrow which of them will be in the 1st place pot and which in the 2nd. It could easily be Valencia.
   81. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: December 04, 2012 at 02:04 PM (#4316597)
I have trouble blaming teams for gaming the system. Group stage qualifying inevitably produces situations where the interests of the teams and of neutral fans are mis-aligned. (I figure Shakhtar and Juve fans would be just fine with qualifying regardless, and as someone who's discovered profound reserves of hatred for Chelsea in the last year, I'm right with them.) I think there should be rules in place to prevent explicit collusion, but I don't see how you can create a situation where both clubs want a draw and one really doesn't want a loss, and then demand a high-quality game.


I think there is a line between being willing to play for a draw and agreeing to play for a draw. The former is reasonable while the latter is a serious breach of...something. I would compare it to the difference between trying to save Strasburg's arm for long term benefits versus outright throwing a game.

If Juve and Shaktar have an agreement in place, they should be booted out of the knockout stage. I don't know how you'd prove such a thing. I expect a very convenient 1-1 draw. A goal each says "see, we were trying to score."
   82. Swedish Chef Posted: December 04, 2012 at 02:14 PM (#4316612)
If Juve and Shaktar have an agreement in place, they should be booted out of the knockout stage.

If they have an agreement and it comes to light, it can't and won't be such a slap on the wrist.
   83. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 04, 2012 at 04:52 PM (#4316882)
Michael Cox on 'Arry's impossible job

I'm not saying he can't pull it off, but he took over Spurs with more time in the season and that Spurs team was more talented and had a better balance than QPR has now. I do wish him the best of luck, though. I'll always associate him with those huge wins over Man City, Inter and AC Milan. Those games were just unreal and I was grateful for them.
   84. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 04, 2012 at 04:54 PM (#4316892)
Kaka! He lives!
   85. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 04, 2012 at 05:00 PM (#4316912)
Man City will not be winning any European Cups this year.
   86. DA Baracus Posted: December 04, 2012 at 05:07 PM (#4316922)
Michael Cox on 'Arry's impossible job


Serious question, what's better, remaining unemployed or managing QPR and probably getting them play better, even if they're relegated, but with the risk of not being able to turn it around in any fashion?
   87. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: December 04, 2012 at 05:14 PM (#4316936)
Man City will not be winning any European Cups this year.


At this point is this better for Man City? I can't imagine there is a big clamoring to win the Europa League by City fans and if dropping out of all European competitions makes them a bit fresher for an EPL run in they might be better off. I can't help but think that last year's strong finish was aided by being bounced out of the FA Cup in January and a relatively short run in the Europa League (though United really didn't play much more, one more FA Cup game was the difference between the two).
   88. DA Baracus Posted: December 04, 2012 at 05:22 PM (#4316956)
At this point is this better for Man City?


Eh, the "now they can be fresh and focus on the table" was said in what, 2009? Back then it made sense but at this point with all the money they've spent not making it past the group stage is unacceptable, group of death or not.
   89. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: December 04, 2012 at 05:30 PM (#4316972)
This Bittencourt kid coming on for Dortmund looks like he's 12.
   90. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 04, 2012 at 05:39 PM (#4316991)
At this point is this better for Man City?
They have like five hundred world-class first team players. I can't imagine that having European competition would hinder them much at all.
   91. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 05, 2012 at 08:11 AM (#4317392)
Serious question, what's better, remaining unemployed or managing QPR and probably getting them play better, even if they're relegated, but with the risk of not being able to turn it around in any fashion?

Harry isn't getting any younger, he prefers to work in London so he can commute home, and Tony Fernandes is a super rich guy who pays well and Harry likes him some money. Even if he fails the media will scapegoat Mark Hughes so he should come out with his reputation intact. I'm wondering now what kind of push--if any--he's going to make for Joe Cole and Scott Parker?

Man City's point total is the worst ever for an English club in the group stages. I know it was a killer group, but jeez. It'll be interesting to see which of Mourninho or Guardiola ends up at Man City this summer.
   92. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 05, 2012 at 09:31 AM (#4317418)
ursus' wheelhouse.

Also, things are not working out in Russia for Hulk.
   93. jmurph Posted: December 05, 2012 at 09:36 AM (#4317423)
They have like five hundred world-class first team players. I can't imagine that having European competition would hinder them much at all.


Whether it does or not, literally nobody associated with the team could possibly care about winning the Europa League. So, if you're going to completely embarrass yourself in the Champions League like they just did, this is the best possible outcome.
   94. jmurph Posted: December 05, 2012 at 09:38 AM (#4317425)
It'll be interesting to see which of Mourninho or Guardiola ends up at Man City this summer.


Eh. It's funny to think about, but if they win the league for the second straight season, it would be hard to justify firing Mancini (and yes, I realize Mancini was fired by Inter after winning more than two league titles in a row).
   95. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: December 05, 2012 at 10:21 AM (#4317466)
Eh. It's funny to think about, but if they win the league for the second straight season, it would be hard to justify firing Mancini
Hard, but not impossible. You're firing him not for what he's done (win the league twice) but for what he hasn't (made it out of the group stages in the Champions League).
   96. Mattbert Posted: December 05, 2012 at 10:45 AM (#4317486)
It will be interesting to see how the team responds to Mancini now that they're out of Europe. The conventional wisdom would be that their domestic performance will improve (tough to improve on unbeaten, mind) now that their fixture list is less cluttered and they can "focus on the league". I would not be surprised to see them fade a bit, though. I have to wonder if more than a few players will take a similar view to the one RB articulates and see the manager as a lame duck.
   97. Mattbert Posted: December 05, 2012 at 11:19 AM (#4317525)
Marcotti again, this time offering some suggestions for spicing up the group stages of the Champions League:
Why not make first place more meaningful? How about rewarding the two clubs who get the most points with a bye straight to the quarterfinals?

That's a huge carrot, not just because it automatically means more prize money, but mostly because -- in an already congested calendar -- two more weeks without midweek football are a boon to anyone. Going into this week, Manchester United, Barcelona, Bayern, Valencia, Borussia Dortmund, Malaga, Schalke, PSG and Porto all had a shot at finishing with one of the two highest points totals. Maybe if this had been in place, some of them would not even think of putting out reserve teams or sides packed with kids. They would actually try to win their final game and that would help the integrity of the competition.

At the same time, take the four best third-place teams and the four worst second-place teams and have them play off against each other in February, with the winners advancing to the round of 16, where they would face the four best second-place teams. The logic here is much the same. These final round games would actually matter: Most of the third and second place teams heading into Matchday 6 would have had something to play for -- either the chance of qualifying for the knockout phase or the opportunity to avoid the "play-in" round and go straight to the round of 16. Indeed, so would some last-place teams.
   98. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 05, 2012 at 11:24 AM (#4317529)
I still think the best idea is get rid of the group stages go straight knockout ties. At least, it's the idea that appeals to me the most.
   99. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: December 05, 2012 at 11:51 AM (#4317557)
Perhaps to no one's surprise, West Ham won the Olympic Stadium bidding. According to the ever-trustworthy Karen Brady, this "does not mean that West Ham United have at this stage agreed to the move and it remains the case that we will only do so if the final proposal is right for the Club and our supporters." I'm guess they're more concerned about it being right for the former than the latter, but time will tell.
   100. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 05, 2012 at 11:59 AM (#4317573)
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