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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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   101. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: December 05, 2012 at 12:02 PM (#4317577)
So, if all the clubs in London that want to build bigger stadium or move into bigger stadiums do so, is there enough appetite in London to support all the capacity? Arsenal moved into a 60,000 seater, Spurs are building a 55,000 seater, West Ham are moving into the OS (maybe) and QPR and Chelsea are both trying to build new, bigger stadiums. That's a lot of extra seats!
   102. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: December 05, 2012 at 12:20 PM (#4317599)
Loftus Road is practically elfin by stadium standards--it wouldn't even be in the five capacity-wise among League One grounds--so I can see why QPR wants to go bigger. Obviously Stamford Bridge isn't that small, but I can see why Chelsea feels they could sell out 55-60K.

I don't know if there's demand for this, but I can see why clubs like Orient are concerned, if West Ham is trying to fill the OS (or Spurs theirs, and QPR theirs) and they're selling EPL tickets for only marginally above what Orient are charing for League One, they're going to eat up all the neutrals in short order.
   103. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: December 05, 2012 at 12:30 PM (#4317609)
I don't know if there's demand for this, but I can see why clubs like Orient are concerned, if West Ham is trying to fill the OS (or Spurs theirs, and QPR theirs) and they're selling EPL tickets for only marginally above what Orient are charing for League One, they're going to eat up all the neutrals in short order.

I'm actually a bit nervous about Spurs' new digs. I wonder if they'll really be able to fill it for the games that aren't so sexy. Arsenal is a much, much more successful club and you see empty seats at the Emirates every time they have a stretch of rough form. I'd hate for the new WHL to look as empty as your average NFL stadium does these days.
   104. Mattbert Posted: December 05, 2012 at 12:37 PM (#4317615)
Brian Phillips on the walking dichotomy that is Le Professeur:
Wenger is intelligent enough and flexible enough to think like an executive as well as like a visionary coach — that for him, the two roles may even be synonymous. And that, ultimately, is why it's impossible to say whether Arsenal should fire him or not. Because we, as outside observers, however knowledgeable (and fun, and good-looking) we are, have no idea what the Arsenal board has demanded of Wenger. If they've made vast sums available for his transfer spending and pleaded with him to build the strongest team in England, then yes, his determination to buy bargain players and stick to his own vision has hurt the club. But what if they've ordered him to keep costs down, control wages, and just do the best he can while they get the club's long-term revenue and ownership structures worked out? Obviously, some managers would fail swiftly and hilariously in that scenario (I'm not convinced that Harry Redknapp knows how to subtract). But Wenger? He could just about keep it together under those circumstances, right? And wouldn't his corporate-administrative, "this club is in fantastic shape" side even approve of the project?

The only criterion by which we can judge a coach is what he accomplishes with the resources he has. And with Wenger, the background is so complicated that we simply don't know exactly what he's had. He's soccer's quantum uncertainty. He's a terrible coach whose decisions have ruined Arsenal, and he's a brilliant coach whose balancing act has saved Arsenal's future. We have no way of measuring which of those things he really is, so to us, he's both at the same time.

Well worth reading the whole thing. There's some very funny stuff in the first half of the column.
   105. ursus arctos Posted: December 05, 2012 at 12:38 PM (#4317616)
There's no way that West Ham would be able to fill the Olympic Stadium on anything like a consistent basis. I also share Shooty's concern about Tottenham (and Arsenal). Even London clubs, who benefit from a significantly wealthier supporter base and more football tourists than anyone else in the country, are finding that there is in fact elasticity of demand for tickets.

One question here is whether we are going to see a new model, in which you build to accommodate a capacity that you expect only to reach a few times a year, with the idea that the cushion provided by television revenue and luxury boxes will allow you to cover the additional costs. That can be a risky proposition if the club is funding the stadium itself.
   106. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: December 05, 2012 at 12:42 PM (#4317628)
Roger Bennett on the enigma that is Avram Grant.

It's pretty good, actually. Bringing in Avram grant to "help" Rafa Benitez would be the ultimate insult to Benitez, even worse than the Fat Spanish Waiter moniker, I think.
   107. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: December 05, 2012 at 12:45 PM (#4317632)
Hey ursus. Did you catch my link to Jonathan Wilson's new book about keepers on the last page? He's a writing fool right now!
   108. Flynn Posted: December 05, 2012 at 12:52 PM (#4317641)
Arsenal is a much, much more successful club and you see empty seats at the Emirates every time they have a stretch of rough form.


This is true, but we're not talking 20,000 empty seats here, we're talking maybe 200-400 seats tops at the moment. This is with the most expensive tickets in the league.

Arsenal have a huge fanbase, probably the biggest in London. They should always be able to sell out if they want, it's just a matter of pricing tickets correctly. They dropped the tickets on some of the less desirable games this year like Swansea and Southampton and they've sold out just about every game so far. Demand has certainly softened (it's much easier to get tickets now than it was 4-5 years ago, when Red tickets would go in a heartbeat), but they get by.

The thing with West Ham is I have very little confidence they would sell out a 60,000 seat stadium even if they charged £20 a seat. They are a reasonably well-supported club, but that's a very big ask considering they are something of a yo-yo club and their fans are surprisingly pissy about their play. West Ham fans get on their team's back very quickly, as quick as Arsenal fans do.
   109. ursus arctos Posted: December 05, 2012 at 12:53 PM (#4317646)
Shooty, yes, I heard him mention that book recently, and am looking forward to it.

He has indeed become incredibly prolific on the book front.
   110. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: December 05, 2012 at 12:54 PM (#4317649)
Arsenal have a huge fanbase, probably the biggest in London.

I thought Manchester United had the biggest fanbase in London.

Wakka wakka!
   111. zack Posted: December 05, 2012 at 01:05 PM (#4317670)
Wenger has been Arsenal for so long that when I first started to follow soccer more closely I wondered whether the team was named after him like the Cleveland Naps or New York Rangers. In my defense, I did quickly realize that was retarded because there was no way a big EPL team could be less than 100 years old.
   112. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: December 05, 2012 at 01:08 PM (#4317682)
The thing with West Ham is I have very little confidence they would sell out a 60,000 seat stadium even if they charged £20 a seat. They are a reasonably well-supported club, but that's a very big ask considering they are something of a yo-yo club and their fans are surprisingly pissy about their play. West Ham fans get on their team's back very quickly, as quick as Arsenal fans do.
Does anyone--outside of Karen Brady, I suppose--really think West Ham is going to sell out a 60K stadim with any kind of regularity? It seems that they're averaging around 30-35K this season, if they got it up to a 40K average, and sold the other 20K for Arsenal, United, etc. that would be a victory for them, I imagine.
   113. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: December 05, 2012 at 01:11 PM (#4317686)
Does anyone--outside of Karen Brady, I suppose--really think West Ham is going to sell out a 60K stadim with any kind of regularity? It seems that they're averaging around 30-35K this season, if they got it up to a 40K average, and sold the other 20K for Arsenal, United, etc. that would be a victory for them, I imagine.

Do the Davids get to sell the Upton Park land if they get the OS?
   114. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: December 05, 2012 at 01:13 PM (#4317690)
I don't say this often, so please make note of it:Hurray for UEFA!
   115. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: December 05, 2012 at 01:13 PM (#4317692)
Do the Davids get to sell the Upton Park land if they get the OS?
Seemingly yes, based on the little bit of this article I can see.

EDIT: To add, Hammers would apparently add retractable seating to cover the athletics track, which is nice to hear.
   116. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: December 05, 2012 at 01:16 PM (#4317698)
Seemingly yes, based on the little bit of this article I can see.

So, an essentially free 60K seat stadium with better transport AND they get to develop a chunk of London property? Ian Beale gives a hearty applause! (If any of you get that reference, you are a dork.)
   117. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: December 05, 2012 at 01:23 PM (#4317711)
So, an essentially free 60K seat stadium with better transport AND they get to develop a chunk of London property? Ian Beale gives a hearty applause! (If any of you get that reference, you are a dork.)
I have no idea what that reference is--though Google tells me--but if the little Q&A at the end of this article is correct, West Ham (and the Two Davis) are making out like bandits.
   118. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: December 05, 2012 at 01:39 PM (#4317730)
In happy Spurs news, Bale, Parker and Assou-Ekkoto should all be fit for the Swansea game. Gotta get everyone ready for the festive season!

edit: Dawson will be fit, too.
   119. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: December 05, 2012 at 01:53 PM (#4317753)
I thought Manchester United had the biggest fanbase in London.

Hehe. In my experience, not particularly strangely, it's either Liverpool or Arsenal. Way too many Liverpool fans around.

On another note, heading out fairly soon to see my first game in a European stadium, Chelsea-FC Nordsjaelland. As I've been joking to my friends, maybe I'll see Rafa's first victory...or his last game as Chelsea manager.
   120. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: December 05, 2012 at 01:58 PM (#4317760)
maybe I'll see Rafa's first victory...or his last game as Chelsea manager.


With Roman you could wind up seeing both.
   121. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: December 05, 2012 at 01:58 PM (#4317762)
On another note, heading out fairly soon to see my first game in a European stadium, Chelsea-FC Nordsjaelland. As I've been joking to my friends, maybe I'll see Rafa's first victory...or his last game as Chelsea manager.

Have a good time! Be sure to cheer on Michael Parkhurst...and I have a feeling you'll be seeing Rafa's first win and then a bunch of dumb articles on the internet how "the pressure is off" now.
   122. ursus arctos Posted: December 05, 2012 at 02:01 PM (#4317764)
Especially enjoy your plastic flag . . .
   123. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: December 05, 2012 at 02:12 PM (#4317777)
The Harry Redknapp Website

You're welcome.
   124. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: December 05, 2012 at 02:15 PM (#4317781)
Oh man, it's already excellent with the "Footballer, Manager, Family Man" bit. And there's actually a section called Ask 'Arry. I can't even decide if this is legit or not.
   125. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: December 05, 2012 at 02:17 PM (#4317788)
Oh man, it's already excellent with the "Footballer, Manager, Family Man" bit. And there's actually a section called Ask 'Arry. I can't even decide if this is legit or not.

I like that he has about 20 sponsors and you can be one, too. Thanks for the interest!
   126. ursus arctos Posted: December 05, 2012 at 02:31 PM (#4317805)
The tax advice tab must only be visible to Platinum Level sponsors.
   127. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: December 05, 2012 at 02:33 PM (#4317807)
Hooray, the Champions League games today have some relevance!
   128. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: December 05, 2012 at 02:35 PM (#4317813)
Europe's newest minnow.

I basically have nothing to do today. I admit it freely.
   129. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: December 05, 2012 at 02:47 PM (#4317829)
   130. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: December 05, 2012 at 02:48 PM (#4317831)
Gibraltar FA say inclusion is 'not about politics,'
adding "It's all about getting our heads beat in in exchange for some major kickbacks."
   131. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: December 05, 2012 at 02:51 PM (#4317836)
adding "It's all about getting our heads beat in in exchange for some major kickbacks."

Prudential should sponsor them, right? Seems only fair.
   132. The Kentucky Gentleman, Mark Edward Posted: December 05, 2012 at 03:26 PM (#4317887)
So what's the game to watch today? Shakhtar-Juve might be a bore with both teams playing for a tie. Chelsea could destroy Nordsjaelland early on. Spartak has nothing to play for against Celtic & the same could be said for Braga against Galatasaray.

Probably just go with Celtic-Spartak.
   133. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: December 05, 2012 at 03:30 PM (#4317893)
So what's the game to watch today? Shakhtar-Juve might be a bore with both teams playing for a tie. Chelsea could destroy Nordsjaelland early on. Spartak has nothing to play for against Celtic & the same could be said for Braga against Galatasaray.

I have no idea. I'm torn, as well. I think I'll watch Celtic-Spartak as the A game and keep tabs on Shakhtar v Juve to see if they bother even running around.
   134. DA Baracus Posted: December 05, 2012 at 03:31 PM (#4317894)
Celtic-Spartak if only because the announcer is such a Celtic homer it's hilarious.
   135. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: December 05, 2012 at 03:31 PM (#4317895)
Chelsea: 1-Petr Cech; 2-Branislav Ivanovic, 4-David Luiz, 24-Gary Cahill, 3-Ashley Cole; 6-Oriol Romeu, 7-Ramires; 17-Eden Hazard, 10-Juan Mata, 13-Victor Moses; 9-Fernando Torres.

Chelsea going with the A-team, mostly. Parkhurst in the 11 for the visitors.
   136. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: December 05, 2012 at 03:35 PM (#4317901)
The Guardian MBM for the Chelsea game doesn't give a whiff of any worry that Shakhtar and Chelsea might just kick the ball to each other for 90 minutes. As a know-nothing Yank even I find that naive.
   137. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: December 05, 2012 at 03:42 PM (#4317915)
Just as I say that, this pops up on the MBM:

I will, of course, bring you regular updates from Donetsk. I must confess that I don't concur with the sages in the Stamford Bridge press box, as a draw between Shakhtar and Juventus will be enough to send both teams through to the last 16, with the hosts proceeding as Group winners.

Now, call me a cynic, but if an Italian club whose name is a byword for corruption and a team owned by a shady Ukrainian oligarch can't engineer a draw between them, my complete lack of faith in humanity will need a major overhaul.
   138. DA Baracus Posted: December 05, 2012 at 03:44 PM (#4317919)
Is this the least pastiest Celtic side ever? And without Wayanama!
   139. ursus arctos Posted: December 05, 2012 at 03:49 PM (#4317931)
Prudential should sponsor them, right? Seems only fair.


Only problem with that is that the European Prudential uses a figure of "Prudence" as its logo.

I don't have access to matches, but would think that Barca-Benfica would be interesting, given Barca's lineup of kids.
   140. I am going to be Frank Posted: December 05, 2012 at 04:21 PM (#4317984)
This is ridiculous. Two PK given two PK saved.
   141. I am going to be Frank Posted: December 05, 2012 at 04:23 PM (#4317990)
and another.
   142. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: December 05, 2012 at 04:24 PM (#4317991)
oof. Some shambolic defense from Celtic. 1-1 now.
   143. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: December 05, 2012 at 04:26 PM (#4317996)
Three given...two saved now.
   144. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: December 05, 2012 at 04:29 PM (#4317999)
So, right now, Benfica in, Juve in and Galatasaray in. Celtic, Chelsea and Cluj are out.

edit: scratch that--Cluj is in, Galatasaray is out as it stands.
   145. I am going to be Frank Posted: December 05, 2012 at 04:33 PM (#4318003)
Torres scores! Of course its all on Parkhurst.
   146. DA Baracus Posted: December 05, 2012 at 04:33 PM (#4318007)
FYI, Shaktar has apparently yet to shoot on Juventus.
   147. The Kentucky Gentleman, Mark Edward Posted: December 05, 2012 at 04:46 PM (#4318020)
Spartak-Celtic is entertaining so far. Spartak's not laying down, and it seems like they've controlled most of the possession.
   148. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: December 05, 2012 at 05:08 PM (#4318056)
It would be disappointing to see Celtic miss out. Those two performances against Barcelona were so enthralling it would be a real shame to see them come up short.
   149. DA Baracus Posted: December 05, 2012 at 05:24 PM (#4318070)
Celtic get a questionable penalty IMO. Ten minutes and they're through.
   150. ursus arctos Posted: December 05, 2012 at 05:36 PM (#4318084)
Messi stretchered off.

Somewhere in Bavaria, Gerd Mueller strokes his cat.
   151. zack Posted: December 05, 2012 at 05:38 PM (#4318088)
All these Chelsea goals are for naught if Juve wins, right? Goal difference only matters from matches between the tied teams, which is 4-4, and Shakhtar wins on away goals?
   152. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: December 05, 2012 at 05:40 PM (#4318091)
That is correct. Shakhtar are through as are Galastaray and Celtic.
   153. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: December 05, 2012 at 06:41 PM (#4318157)
Wenger has been Arsenal for so long that when I first started to follow soccer more closely I wondered whether the team was named after him like the Cleveland Naps or New York Rangers. In my defense, I did quickly realize that was retarded because there was no way a big EPL team could be less than 100 years old.


My favourite one of these was when Wolfgang Wolf was coaching Wolfsburg.
   154. SuperGrover Posted: December 05, 2012 at 07:55 PM (#4318222)
In happy Spurs news, Bale, Parker and Assou-Ekkoto should all be fit for the Swansea game


Where did you see that Bale will be fit? Everything I've read says AVB is hopeful but it is still up in the air.
   155. Mattbert Posted: December 05, 2012 at 09:18 PM (#4318260)
AVB is quoted as saying he hopes Bale will be available for the Stoke game, which is the week after Swansea.

At which point Bale will surely suffer a horrific season-ending mugging from Charlie Adam, so maybe he should just take his time.
   156. SuperGrover Posted: December 06, 2012 at 01:01 AM (#4318363)
Yeah I saw that as well. The Times is now reporting he is definitely out for two weeks too. I would think it is definitely still up in the air.

Might not necessarily be a bad thing to rest him as he is on 4 yellows as well. Would be an annoyance to rush him back and have him pick up a yellow and have to sit anyway. Might as well wait for the January amnesty.
   157. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: December 06, 2012 at 10:19 AM (#4318458)
It has begun.

Drats. I forgot to set the DVR!
   158. Mattbert Posted: December 06, 2012 at 10:24 AM (#4318463)
The match report seems to be from a Brazil-Argentina friendly rather than the Club World Cup. Amusing.
   159. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: December 06, 2012 at 10:26 AM (#4318466)
The match report seems to be from a Brazil-Argentina friendly rather than the Club World Cup. Amusing.

Ha! I didn't even read it.

edit: Rafa must be feeling a real sense of deja vu as he prepares Chelsea for this. I wonder if he'll last as long at Chelsea when they get back from Japan as he did when he won this for Inter.
   160. Mattbert Posted: December 06, 2012 at 10:58 AM (#4318495)
Rafa must be feeling a real sense of deja vu as he prepares Chelsea for this. I wonder if he'll last as long at Chelsea when they get back from Japan as he did when he won this for Inter.

I'm sure I'm not alone in hoping that Chelsea's fortunes follow those of Inter. Win the Champions League, hire Rafa, fire Rafa, freefall to a 6th place finish domestically...

Hang on, they've done just about all of that already, just in the wrong order.
   161. zack Posted: December 06, 2012 at 12:00 PM (#4318592)
Are there any other deep-lying playmakers of or near Pirlo's class right now? Also I gotta say the Chuck Norris look really works for him.
   162. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: December 06, 2012 at 12:02 PM (#4318595)
I know nothing about Eritrean politics.

But seeking asylum in Uganda seems to me an indicator that things are not so hot to trot back in Eritrea.
   163. Mattbert Posted: December 06, 2012 at 12:29 PM (#4318639)
Are there any other deep-lying playmakers of or near Pirlo's class right now? Also I gotta say the Chuck Norris look really works for him.

Modric usually plays a bit higher up, but I can see him moving into a Pirlo type of role as he ages.
   164. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: December 06, 2012 at 12:54 PM (#4318678)
Euro 2020 is official.

Prepare yourself for NCAA-style venues.
   165. DA Baracus Posted: December 06, 2012 at 12:58 PM (#4318687)
I think it's pretty cool, but then I'll just be watching on TV so where the games are doesn't matter to me.
   166. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: December 06, 2012 at 01:03 PM (#4318696)
Have a good time!

Thanks! It was pretty incredible (and, sadly, Parkhurst didn't have a very good game - sorry Shooty!) and I'm definitely going back. Observed some interesting stuff: in particular, you can really see in person why managers and talent analysts like David Luiz so much. He's just so physically gifted; strong, fairly quick, and all of that was on display. I was amazed - like most fans, I've found his good moments exciting and his bone-headed moments highly frustrating, but in person I think I finally understood the potential that I imagine managers see in him. So that was great. Otherwise, had a great time in the game itself, which was generally spoiled by the overall context of Chelsea's no longer being in the Champions League, but otherwise was great!

Also, this is a really interesting result and also curious to see if you guys saw this on applying a kind of Pythagorean expectation to football.
   167. ursus arctos Posted: December 06, 2012 at 01:04 PM (#4318698)
The true significance of the 2020 decision seems to be that UEFA are now taking a similar view to that expressed in 165.
   168. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: December 06, 2012 at 01:09 PM (#4318707)
   169. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: December 06, 2012 at 01:25 PM (#4318728)
The Guardian comments section on Euro 2020 universally loathes the idea, but I like it. I've said this before but I think it will give a chance for great European cities to be able to host a few games when they otherwise might never be able to--Prague, Dublin, Budapest, Helsinki, etc.
   170. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: December 06, 2012 at 01:31 PM (#4318733)
It was pretty incredible (and, sadly, Parkhurst didn't have a very good game - sorry Shooty!) and I'm definitely going back. Observed some interesting stuff: in particular, you can really see in person why managers and talent analysts like David Luiz so much.

It's amazing how much different it is in person. You really get a feel for which players are the best athletes and you get to see their work off the ball. I wish I could see an entire season live. One day! If we ever move to Glasgow as the gf wants, I'll definitely get a season ticket for Partick.
   171. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: December 06, 2012 at 01:58 PM (#4318769)
Who's ready for some hot and steamy Europa League action? Liverpool need a win at Udinese and Udinese have absolutely nothing to play for so I like Liverpool to get it done, especially with Suarez in the 11.

Udinese: Padelli, Faraoni, Heurtaux, Danilo, Pasquale, Pereyra,
Agyemang-Badu, Pinzi, Armero, Fabbrini, Ranegie.

Subs: Brkic, Di Natale, Benatia, Marsura, Berra, Reinthaler, Frison.

Liverpool: Reina, Johnson, Skrtel, Carragher, Downing,
Henderson, Allen, Sahin, Suso, Jose Enrique, Suarez

Subs: Jones, Cole, Assaidi, Coates, Sterling, Shelvey, Wisdom.
Referee: Duarte Gomes (Portugal)
   172. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: December 06, 2012 at 02:06 PM (#4318785)
I think it's pretty cool, but then I'll just be watching on TV so where the games are doesn't matter to me.


This was my first reaction too. For purposes of TV viewers which is what matters it probably makes sense. There is something about not having a "host" nation that detracts from the "Great Big Event" feel of it though.
   173. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: December 06, 2012 at 02:09 PM (#4318792)
The Guardian comments section on Euro 2020 universally loathes the idea, but I like it. I've said this before but I think it will give a chance for great European cities to be able to host a few games when they otherwise might never be able to--Prague, Dublin, Budapest, Helsinki, etc.
This is my view of it, though I suspect the "real" reason is as ursus mentions in #167.
   174. I am going to be Frank Posted: December 06, 2012 at 02:15 PM (#4318798)
I haven't been watching Liverpool until last week and I noticed that downing is playing left back while Enrique is playing left wing. Enrique has been good apparently but downing looks bad back there defensively. I'm surprised I haven't heard more about it
   175. DA Baracus Posted: December 06, 2012 at 02:22 PM (#4318806)
No Eric, Wynalda, this would not be cool, unless you are an opposing striker.
   176. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: December 06, 2012 at 03:33 PM (#4318884)
I'll be watching this hot and steamy action on delay tonight. Can't wait!:

Friedel, Walker, Caulker, Vertonghen, Naughton, Lennon, Sandro, Carroll, Dempsey, Adebayor, Defoe

Subs: Cudicini, Huddlestone, Livermore, Townsend, Stewart, Dembele, Sigurdsson

Panthianikos Team

Karnezis, Seitaridis, Triantafyllopoulos, Vyntra, Spyropoulos, Sow, Vitolo, Sissoko, Zeca, Toché, Mavrias
   177. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: December 06, 2012 at 03:54 PM (#4318912)
Whoa. Di Natale MISSED by inches on the last touch of the game that would have knocked out Liverpool. He just cracked up in disbelief.
   178. OsunaSakata Posted: December 06, 2012 at 04:31 PM (#4318949)
On SkySports News, the talking heads said Turkey would be most upset about a dispersed Euro 2020, since they wanted to host it all by themselves. I suppose they might be placated with hosting the semi-finals and final. My guess is Istanbul will be given the consolation prize of sharing a group with Athens.
   179. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: December 06, 2012 at 04:43 PM (#4318963)
So the Euro is going to be back to how it was in the 70s and 80s, except what were once "qualifying games" played all over the place are now "part of the tournament".
   180. ursus arctos Posted: December 06, 2012 at 06:44 PM (#4319124)
More 60s and 70s.

Euro '80 in Italy (with 8 teams) was the first real tournament with group stages. Before that you had groups followed by home and away two-legged quarters and a final four at a single location (or, in the very early days, a two-legged knockout from the beginning).
   181. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: December 06, 2012 at 07:02 PM (#4319131)
Are there any other deep-lying playmakers of or near Pirlo's class right now?

There's a pretty obvious selection bias working against that type of player. If you can create and distribute like Pirlo, they put you higher up the pitch. Defensive midfield tends to be the domain of more destructive than creative players.

Probably easier to find comparisons to Pirlo in the libero era of football. Beckenbauer could obviously distribute the ball. But my impression is that he ran directly at defenses than Pirlo, who seems to rarely keep the ball at his own feet. Much better dribbler, and much more deadly from distance...
   182. ursus arctos Posted: December 06, 2012 at 11:50 PM (#4319220)
Though to be fair, the marauding Beckenbauer was younger than Pirlo is now, and the younger Pirlo played further up the pitch.

The current Pirlo doesn't play that differently from Cosmos-era Beckenbauer (though Beckenbauer did play more defense than Pirlo does).
   183. Mattbert Posted: December 07, 2012 at 12:04 AM (#4319223)
I'll be watching this hot and steamy action on delay tonight.

Me too! FSC has the replay starting now. Dunno if I'll make it through the whole thing...
   184. frannyzoo Posted: December 07, 2012 at 12:13 AM (#4319228)
Shakhtar has to be figured as a good bet against at least half of their potential draw (Schalke and Malaga, especially), which means, of course, that they will implode and be a total disappointment. I'm hoping for a Felipe Melo meets Juve matchup. Pretty much all Juve has built over the past 18 or so months would crumble if they lost out to Galatasaray. Fun times. A Dortmund skinning of Arsenal would be much fun, as well.
   185. Mattbert Posted: December 07, 2012 at 12:29 AM (#4319230)
I'm about 20 minutes into this game, and Dempsey has been the best player out there by far. He's not totally sharp (his final ball has let him down a couple times), but he's had great feet in some tight spaces around the box and the quality of his ideas has been excellent. It's not all coming off for him quite yet, but he looks A LOT more confident.
   186. Mattbert Posted: December 07, 2012 at 12:43 AM (#4319238)
Terrific work by Clint to put Adebayor through for the opener. Got himself into a pocket of space between Panathinaikos' defensive lines, picked up the ball on the half-turn, two touches and *boom* perfectly weighted through ball for Adebayor.
   187. Mattbert Posted: December 07, 2012 at 12:52 AM (#4319243)
I love Tom Carroll. LOVE.
   188. Mattbert Posted: December 07, 2012 at 01:08 AM (#4319246)
Dempsey nearly with another assist. Lovely reverse ball to pick out Defoe making a run at the edge of the area. He rounds his man to the outside, but his left-footed shot is off the post. So close!
   189. Mattbert Posted: December 07, 2012 at 01:17 AM (#4319248)
Oh man, Kyle Naughton totally caught napping to concede an equalizer. Simple cross in from the Panathinaikos left and Naughton gets his pants pulled down by Zeca, who just ambles around him completely uncontested and heads across Friedel for the goal. Terrible defending.
   190. Mattbert Posted: December 07, 2012 at 01:33 AM (#4319253)
Naughton with a poor attempt at a clearance that ricochets off Vertonghen and falls to Toche, who puts it *just* wide. Hate to pick on Naughton, who's clearly not as comfortable on the left side after having a very solid game at right back against Fulham, but he's been really bad. Caulker's certainly not had his best game either.
   191. Mattbert Posted: December 07, 2012 at 01:37 AM (#4319255)
Dempsey scores! Sandro wins a free kick down the right hand side after a good run. Excellent ball whipped in by Walker, and Clint heads in off the crossbar.

EDIT: On further review, it appears the ball may have come down off the bar and then gone in off the keeper's back. Still a fine header.
   192. Mattbert Posted: December 07, 2012 at 01:42 AM (#4319260)
Aaron Lennon cuts in from the right and drives at the heart of the defense before slipping a nifty little reverse ball through to pick out Defoe. A classy half-chipped finish over the onrushing keeper. 3-1 Spurs.

Kyle Walker, who's the only one challenging Dempsey for MOTM honors, should get a lot of credit for that goal. It was his pressure and tenacity in midfield that won the ball to set Lennon away and his bursting run past Lennon that helped make the space for Defoe.
   193. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: December 07, 2012 at 02:00 AM (#4319263)
I'm reading Soccernet's report on the Spurs game (no, I don't know why) and I see this:

"Needing just a draw to progress, Spurs had an air of complacency about them in the opening period, which Panathinaikos controlled for large parts.

Emmanuel Adebayor put Tottenham ahead just before the half hour, but the Greeks, who have never won in Britain, played the better football and deservedly equalised through Zeca just after the re-start."

They must have been watching a different game than I did. Spurs played much better and were much more threatening up until the Panathinaikos goal. The period immediately after the equalizer was the one period where the Greeks were the better side.
   194. Mattbert Posted: December 07, 2012 at 02:14 AM (#4319265)
Yeah, that's a garbage match report. I mean, obviously I have my biases here, but I haven't been afraid to call a spade a spade when Tottenham have played lousy this season. This was not one of those times.

Panathinaikos controlled fuhqall in that game except for, as you say, a brief period where they had a couple chances in the second half (and took one of them). Tottenham were extremely assertive in the opening quarter of the game, dominated the first half, and eventually bounced back pretty well after the equalizer.
   195. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 07, 2012 at 06:18 AM (#4319278)
First game at the Lane last night. Great game, perhaps a little chilly. Will report more later (not that I have much to add, but hey. I was there.)
   196. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: December 07, 2012 at 08:19 AM (#4319291)
Yeah, Biff, I think that match report may have been written by an Arsenal fan. Except for 10 minutes or so after the equalizer, Spurs bossed that game. I really like Tom Carroll. Am I nuts or is he modeling his game after Modric? Just the way he makes himself available to receive the pass by taking a step this way or that way to give the passer a better angle and his quick look to play an incisive ball to the wingers or the striker before settling for a safer option if it's not there. He obviously doesn't have Modric's quality yet (or ever, most likely), but it seems he was paying attention the last couple of years. I think he might be ready for a high level loan in January to get a run of games under his belt. It was good to see Adebayor back. He and Dempsey are going to be great together, I think. Adebayor loves making those nifty little runs between the CB's and Dempsey loves to thread passes into him when he does.
   197. Mattbert Posted: December 07, 2012 at 10:06 AM (#4319316)
First game at the Lane last night. Great game, perhaps a little chilly. Will report more later (not that I have much to add, but hey. I was there.)

Sweet. I look forward to the latest entry in Spurs Therapy. The weather looked to be just a little bit more precipitation away from being utterly miserable.

I really like Tom Carroll. Am I nuts or is he modeling his game after Modric? Just the way he makes himself available to receive the pass by taking a step this way or that way to give the passer a better angle and his quick look to play an incisive ball to the wingers or the striker before settling for a safer option if it's not there. He obviously doesn't have Modric's quality yet (or ever, most likely), but it seems he was paying attention the last couple of years. I think he might be ready for a high level loan in January to get a run of games under his belt.

Right now, the guy he reminds me of the most is Joe Allen.
   198. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 07, 2012 at 09:39 PM (#4319782)
1) I Richman'd just a little when we walked up the stairs to the pitch. It is gorgeous. Melodramatically gorgeous. Very much a Fenway moment where you get up the steps and you're in a different space and a different world.

2) Thankfully, we were in the east stand under the roof. I was a little chilly, my wife (my wiiiife) would have probably physically injured me if I'd taken her to a game to be rained on.

3) We went with friends, one of whom is a Spurs fan, who took us to a Spurs pub in the neighborhood before. It was pretty gloriously trashy, just a paved garden and a friendly, chilly lady selling cans of beer, and there were a not insignificant number of moderately offensive Arsene Wenger songs practiced (none racist, so, um, yay Tottenham). During the game, along with just getting to sing "When the Spurs go marching in", I particularly enjoyed the anti-Chelsea taunts - "Champions of Europe / you're not any-more" - that sprung up. The lack of singing at American sports events continues to gall me. At the pub after the game (they said waiting for the train in the hour after the game was basically pointless), they played old Tottenham team songs from the 70s and 80s, which I clearly need to learn. They were somewhere in the range between Meet the Mets and the Super Bowl Shuffle. And half of the guys at the pub knew the words and were singing along.

4) So, the game. I really like Tom Carroll. What I love about him is his aggression with the ball. He gave away possession more often than someone in his position probably should, and he's still too small to win possession back. But most of the time when he gave away possession, it was in attempting a through ball or a direct pass forward. His passing attempts reminded me or Modric or some other great passing midfielder, though his execution was not at the level it needs to be. I feel like Carroll has a real chance to be legitimately excellent, but there's also a real chance that he just doesn't take that step forward in execution and never quite becomes a worthy starter.

5) More on the game, probably this numbering system will break down as I move forward. My friends were really down on Adebayor during the game, I wasn't. He definitely had some bad touches at notable moments, but I thought his workrate was really impressive. He was everywhere to receive the ball, he defended, he finished the one big chance he was given, and he made himself available for Friedel's constant long balls. It wasn't a special game by any means, but I thought he was good, and I can see some of the questionable touches as rustiness.

6) Everyone else already said Dempsey was the best player on the pitch for Tottenham, and that Naughton had himself a real stinker, so, yes, that was also what I saw. I'm excited about Dempsey if he can be the club's primary creative midfielder. I'm worried about our depth on the back line if Naughton can't be trusted.

7) Sandro is a bad man. He clearly frightened Panathinaikos, they seemed happy to just cede possession rather than deal with him one-on-one.

8) The Greek fans were mental. They didn't stop singing, chanting, and performing weird dances all night, even as Pana played maybe 5-10 inspired minutes at most. After Tottenham got the third goal, they all sang something in Greek and held their scarves in the air, waving side to side. My wife (my wiiiife) got the line of the night. She suggested the song translated as "Scarves half off, debt service." Burn, Greece, your country is bankrupt and fascism is disturbingly rampant. And you lost.
   199. Sebastian Posted: December 08, 2012 at 12:05 AM (#4319825)
I know that that’s not the kind of soccer you usually talk about, but Hamburg’s on 24 points now. They got 7 of those without van der Vaart. Talking about vdV: have you seen this?
   200. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: December 08, 2012 at 09:56 AM (#4319873)
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