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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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   301. ursus arctos Posted: December 13, 2012 at 06:33 PM (#4324261)
Flip
   302. SuperGrover Posted: December 13, 2012 at 06:48 PM (#4324277)
Moyes tends to have his thumb gently on the scales in favor of discipline and keeping a good shape, but when they do go forward (which is often) Everton are just as likely to pursue an "attractive" route to goal (e.g. the Baines/Pienaar combo down the left, Osman's subtlety in the middle, Mirallas or Coleman zipping down the right wing) as they are to target Fellaini with a long ball. In my view, what makes them so consistently effective is that they can mix up their attacking approach and not over-rely on any one option.


Agreed. I thoroughly enjoy watching this Everton side, probably more than any team in the league.
   303. SuperGrover Posted: December 13, 2012 at 06:57 PM (#4324290)
This is true, but they're holding in a stadium with a (retractable) roof, which makes all the difference.


Yeah....when they choose to close it.
   304. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: December 14, 2012 at 11:11 AM (#4324646)
I had briefly thought of Miami, but LA has more attractive stadium options.
You don't want to see the Marlins Stadium statue thing going off every time a goal is scored? Apparently it can be done.
   305. puck Posted: December 14, 2012 at 01:55 PM (#4324813)
In my view, what makes them so consistently effective is that they can mix up their attacking approach and not over-rely on any one option.

Yeah, that's what I meant when by Moyes being pragmatic. He seems to know his squad's strenghts and weaknesses well and how to deploy them for the situation. From Donovan's comments about being there, he also seems to manage the squad well as a leader--it seems like they're dedicated to the team (or at least to Moyes) and they usually play like it.
   306. puck Posted: December 14, 2012 at 01:55 PM (#4324814)
I hope everyone noticed that West Ham was featured on The Simpsons this week!


I missed that one. Though a mention of West Ham and tv brings up this classic episode of the IT Crowd.
   307. Mattbert Posted: December 14, 2012 at 02:04 PM (#4324828)
Yeah, that's what I meant when by Moyes being pragmatic. He seems to know his squad's strenghts and weaknesses well and how to deploy them for the situation.

Oh, okay. The English often use the term "pragmatic" as euphemistic shorthand for defensive, limited, and/or unambitious. In that sense, it would be a backhanded compliment for a coach like Moyes, but you obviously didn't mean it that way.
   308. puck Posted: December 14, 2012 at 02:06 PM (#4324830)
No, I mean it as a compliment, American style, like William James.
   309. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: December 15, 2012 at 08:47 AM (#4325390)
No Balotelli in the lineup or on the bench for City today. The one that surprised me a bit though was Nasri in the starting 11. After his pitiful "effort" in the wall last week I thought he might be on the bench.
   310. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 15, 2012 at 09:21 AM (#4325398)
City are dominating, obviously, but they're also dominating in a way that looks like it could be a team identity - it looks rather like the lineups they used in the run-in to the league title last season. They've got four little creative players interchanging up front (with Aguero in the most advanced position). Whenever Yaya makes one of his unstoppable runs, the little guys move into space and there's nothing any defense can do. Why didn't they just do this every time?

(And now it looks like Nasri might have pulled a groin.)
   311. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: December 15, 2012 at 10:32 AM (#4325430)
Why didn't they just do this every time?


Because Mancini isn't that good. He really seems determined to prove how smart he is rather than just letting the talent win for him. Guys like that (think Joe Torre or KC Jones) but it works. If you've got the most talent stay the hell out of the way.

There is a level of genius required not to #### up a good thing, Mancini doesn't have it.
   312. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 15, 2012 at 11:32 AM (#4325451)
There is a level of genius required not to #### up a good thing, Mancini doesn't have it.

He's just keeping the seat warm for the next guy, at this point. More interestingly, what do they do with Balotelli? There aren't many teams that can afford him so their options are extremely limited.
   313. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 15, 2012 at 12:14 PM (#4325477)
I don't think they have any options with Balotelli. He's the fourth striker on that side, and no one will pay them to take him. Seems unlikely they could do better than a subsidized loan to an Italian side.

Or Balotelli could suddenly develop an entirely new psyche and become the best young striker in the world.
   314. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 15, 2012 at 12:26 PM (#4325478)
How's this for a crazy idea...loan Balotelli to Liverpool. That's not much different than Spurs taking Adebayor last year and Liverpool would be able to give him minutes.
   315. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 15, 2012 at 12:28 PM (#4325482)
QPR are going to win the battle of popular ex-Spurs managers. Oh, and they might break some infamous streak of futility or something, too.
   316. frannyzoo Posted: December 15, 2012 at 12:36 PM (#4325484)
Those "Liverpool possibly in Top Four by year's end" stories from midweek are looking like Onion reports right now.

I think B. Hughes has been hyped up a bit, but when you're bringing on Joe Cole down 0-2 at halftime, there's bigger problems afoot than coaching.
   317. JuanGone..except1game Posted: December 15, 2012 at 12:45 PM (#4325489)
How's this for a crazy idea...loan Balotelli to Liverpool. That's not much different than Spurs taking Adebayor last year and Liverpool would be able to give him minutes.


I think that you should be aware that Daniel Sturridge is already been auditioned for the role of the difficult but talented young forward for Liverpool. I do however think that Sturridge will be extremely productive on another side, but his instincts are still crap.

Those "Liverpool possibly in Top Four by year's end" stories from midweek are looking like Onion reports right now.


This looks really bad right now. Liverpool looks terribly lethargic. Benteke looks class out there and has some of what Liverpool is missing. He's likely to be a serious target for someone in a year or two.
   318. DA Baracus Posted: December 15, 2012 at 12:48 PM (#4325492)
Those "Liverpool possibly in Top Four by year's end" stories from midweek are looking like Onion reports right now.


They looked like Onion stories the day they were written.

How's this for a crazy idea...loan Balotelli to Liverpool.


Balotelli and Suarez together. This is an excellent idea.
   319. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 15, 2012 at 12:52 PM (#4325493)
Balotelli and Suarez together. This is an excellent idea.

I would watch!
   320. DA Baracus Posted: December 15, 2012 at 12:56 PM (#4325495)
I would watch!


As would I. I didn't mean my comment as snark, it would be genuinely interesting as a neutral fan to watch those two on the field together. Maybe they could get Joey Barton too.
   321. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 15, 2012 at 01:15 PM (#4325510)
   322. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 15, 2012 at 01:36 PM (#4325514)
Marouane Fellaini will miss the next three games, minimum. What an idiot.

I don't know the context for that gif, but since he did it to Shawcross I will assume it's justified and give the hairy one a pass.

So, for the record, when Villas-Boas leads Spurs to Champions League glory and a league title and leaves to manage Real Madrid, I want Spurs to hire Chris Hughton.
   323. zack Posted: December 15, 2012 at 01:44 PM (#4325518)
Dammit Shooty, I'm still watching that game.

Two minutes after Shawcross made one of the best goal line clearances I have ever seen, he heads one directly into his own net.
   324. zack Posted: December 15, 2012 at 01:55 PM (#4325527)
I'm a Stoke fan (nominally, I probably watch more Swansea and Everton matches than Stoke), but is Trackpants the worst dressed manager in England? In football?
   325. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 15, 2012 at 01:57 PM (#4325528)
I'm a Stoke fan (nominally, I probably watch more Swansea and Everton matches than Stoke), but is Trackpants the worst dressed manager in England? In football?

While Owen Coyle is unemployed...maybe. If you judge managers relative to the league they work in, then Torino's manager might be the worst. Italian managers in baseball caps just doesn't seem right. A jaunty scarf and Armani or stay the #### home.

Also, my apologies for the Norwich-Wigan spoiler. I had no idea anyone cared!
   326. frannyzoo Posted: December 15, 2012 at 03:18 PM (#4325586)
Enjoyable watching the Schalke debacle here as they stumble into the Break, but this ref has just pulled two "Starks" in the space of five minutes, the latter a make-up call of truly laughable proportions.
   327. Swedish Chef Posted: December 15, 2012 at 03:32 PM (#4325596)
If you judge managers relative to the league they work in, then Torino's manager might be the worst. Italian managers in baseball caps just doesn't seem right.

Serse Cosmi says you're wrong.
   328. frannyzoo Posted: December 15, 2012 at 03:35 PM (#4325598)
+1 to Cosmi vote. He sets the bar...and he sets it very, very high. Or low. It's fun playing Lecce in FM 2013, because Serse is the "Lecce Legend" who tells me who I should watch out for in my next match. I laugh every time.
   329. DA Baracus Posted: December 15, 2012 at 03:51 PM (#4325605)
None of those are as good as the Guatemalan manager wearing a practice pinnie during a World Cup qualifier.
   330. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 15, 2012 at 04:00 PM (#4325608)
Enjoyable watching the Schalke debacle here as they stumble into the Break, but this ref has just pulled two "Starks" in the space of five minutes, the latter a make-up call of truly laughable proportions.

An enjoyable time looking at the Bundesliga table. Freiburg only 1 point off a CL spot!
   331. Mattbert Posted: December 15, 2012 at 04:12 PM (#4325611)
Serse Cosmi's fashion sense is a wonderful tribute to the great Bela Guttmann. Ya'll be philistines.
   332. Swedish Chef Posted: December 15, 2012 at 04:12 PM (#4325612)
None of those are as good as the Guatemalan manager wearing a practice pinnie during a World Cup qualifier.

That's the usual Swedish style too.

Presenting former Sweden coach Lars Lagerbäck.
   333. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 15, 2012 at 04:26 PM (#4325617)
Watching Liverpool-Aston Villa now. Liverpool have looked the better team but Guzan has been incredible and Liverpool fell asleep a couple of times on defense. The scoreline isn't great for Liverpool, obviously, but it's not like they're shit.
   334. Swedish Chef Posted: December 15, 2012 at 04:46 PM (#4325629)
The scoreline isn't great for Liverpool, obviously, but it's not like they're ####.

The defending on the third goal couldn't have been much worse
   335. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 15, 2012 at 04:52 PM (#4325634)
The scoreline isn't great for Liverpool, obviously, but it's not like they're ####.
As is usual for Liverpool, weird stats on the game. Liverpool had 29 shots, including 15 in the box and 7 on target (that's an extremely low on-target rate). Villa had only 11 shots, 5 in the box, but put 6 on target. Opta says two "big chances" for Villa and none for LFC.

I don't think it's so much profligate finishing as that Liverpool just consistently create below average quality chances, while they concede wonderful opportunities on the counter. That, and Benteke is class.

To be clear, I think they're far from ####. It's just that they're such a weird club, statistically - you could make a very reasonable statistical case for LFC in the top four, despite the actual results. I kind of wonder if LFC has some stat analysts trying to get players who take lots of shots in the box and put shots on target, or tactics that can maximize SiB and SoT, and they're missing something essential about how goals are actually created.
   336. SuperGrover Posted: December 16, 2012 at 05:02 AM (#4325920)
As is usual for Liverpool, weird stats on the game. Liverpool had 29 shots, including 15 in the box and 7 on target (that's an extremely low on-target rate). Villa had only 11 shots, 5 in the box, but put 6 on target. Opta says two "big chances" for Villa and none for LFC.

I don't think it's so much profligate finishing as that Liverpool just consistently create below average quality chances, while they concede wonderful opportunities on the counter. That, and Benteke is class.

To be clear, I think they're far from ####. It's just that they're such a weird club, statistically - you could make a very reasonable statistical case for LFC in the top four, despite the actual results. I kind of wonder if LFC has some stat analysts trying to get players who take lots of shots in the box and put shots on target, or tactics that can maximize SiB and SoT, and they're missing something essential about how goals are actually created.


Liverpool has twelve blocked shots today. Twelve! Take those away and their numbers come down precipitously, closer to what Villa recorded.

To me, a blocked shot indicates a defense that is in good position. So, I infer from those numbers that the Reds are throwing attempts at the goal when there really isn't an opportunity. Almost like they hit option J which in there case is to throw shite at the goal. I haven't watched the game yet, but I bet the footage backs the claim.

Or basically ditto to what you said...
   337. SuperGrover Posted: December 16, 2012 at 05:06 AM (#4325921)
I'm a Stoke fan (nominally, I probably watch more Swansea and Everton matches than Stoke), but is Trackpants the worst dressed manager in England? In football?


I don't know if he's the worst dressed, but he certainly is near the top when it comes to being a whiny arse. His quotes today about Fellaini were a bit rich, basically accusing referees for having it in for his club. Newsflash-Stoke is by far the most physical team in the league but are near the bottom in yellows even though they are second only to City in fouls. Seems maybe he might want to bite his tongue a bit eh?

Fellaini certainly deserved a red (and will get a 3 game ban I suspect) but Pulis just is not likeable in any of his post match commentary.
   338. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 16, 2012 at 03:26 PM (#4326044)
Spurs dominated today far more than the scoreline showed. Defoe had by far his worst day as a finisher this season, should have been 3-0 based on the chances created. Moussa Dembele's poor-man's-Yaya act is getting richer and richer. He both dominated midfield and effectively played the role of primary creator. Andros Townsend had a really nice twenty minutes as a substitute - he earned the foul that led to the goal, and he was consistently outmatching the Swansea defense on his runs. Andros Townsend also has a strangely shaped forehead.

I was a bit confused by Swansea's tactics and I don't understand why Dyer and Routledge were so entirely absent from the game - I figured Swansea would be trying to counterattack down the flanks, but instead almost all of their counters came down the center of the pitch, where Sandro and Dembele were just a brick wall.
   339. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 16, 2012 at 03:42 PM (#4326048)
The gf and I celebrated Christmas today so I missed Spurs. From the match reports it sounds like they did well and it's nice to have Super Scottie Parker back so Dembele can play farther up the pitch on occasion. Did the tv crew really say Parker is an upgrade on Sandro? Because that is FALSE.

More importantly, I didn't get the soccer trading cards I asked for but I did get a brilliant 1976 Torino FC shirt. I'll just come out and say it--I look damn good in that shirt.

And congratulations to Corinthians, Champions of the World!
   340. DA Baracus Posted: December 16, 2012 at 04:16 PM (#4326065)
Enjoyable watching the Schalke debacle here as they stumble into the Break


Huub Stevens got fired.
   341. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: December 16, 2012 at 07:04 PM (#4326167)
I am Jack's complete lack of surprise.
   342. ursus arctos Posted: December 16, 2012 at 07:18 PM (#4326173)
Happens every ten years, like clockwork
   343. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: December 16, 2012 at 07:42 PM (#4326193)
Meh. It was coming. Didn't take much reading between the lines to know it was.
   344. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: December 16, 2012 at 07:57 PM (#4326201)
His quotes today about Fellaini were a bit rich, basically accusing referees for having it in for his club
Pulis: You despise me, don't you?
EPL Referees: If I gave you any thought I probably would.
   345. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 17, 2012 at 10:27 AM (#4326537)
Should we discuss Fellaini? How much of what happened is that the refs don't call the game properly against Stoke? They've been getting away with murder in the box on set pieces for years now and Shawcross is the worst of the bunch. I'm not anti-Stoke as I enjoy the variety of play they offer, but I don't think it's even arguable that they get away with excessive physical play on set pieces.
   346. CWS Keith plans to boo your show at the Apollo Posted: December 17, 2012 at 10:29 AM (#4326540)
Not a good week for Sersi Cosmi -- first he's slagged by BTF fashion experts for a lack of style, then he's given the sack at the weekend.
   347. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: December 17, 2012 at 11:05 AM (#4326571)
Should we discuss Fellaini? How much of what happened is that the refs don't call the game properly against Stoke? They've been getting away with murder in the box on set pieces for years now and Shawcross is the worst of the bunch. I'm not anti-Stoke as I enjoy the variety of play they offer, but I don't think it's even arguable that they get away with excessive physical play on set pieces.


I think it's a big part of it. You see this in all contact sports. The officials can set the tone for a game and if they allow Stoke to do some shoving and smacking then they are likely to allow the opponents to respond in kind. When you get a guy like Fellaini who isn't afraid to mix it up you are going to get these kinds of incidents. It's pretty hypocritical for Stoke to complain. I'm with Shooty in that I enjoy their game but when you play a physical brand of soccer teams are going to hit back.

Players recognize the way a game is being played. If they are going to be able to get away with some physicality they are going to do it. You don't have to call a game super tight but you have to demonstrate that there is a line. That was the mistake Webb famously made in the 2010 WC Final.
   348. Swedish Chef Posted: December 17, 2012 at 11:57 AM (#4326634)
first he's slagged by BTF fashion experts for a lack of style, then he's given the sack at the weekend.

I don't believe in coincidences, so I'll chalk that one up as a victory for our impeccable taste.
   349. zack Posted: December 17, 2012 at 11:59 AM (#4326638)
I don't think Stoke are any worse on set-pieces, they're just bigger and better at it. They don't play especially dirty but they do play much more overtly physically than other teams.

And Pulis' whining was just a continuation of last week when Shotton's second yellow (which was soft) set him off. He's just doing what the coach of a physical team in any sport does, breaking wake for his players.
   350. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 17, 2012 at 12:15 PM (#4326657)
'Arry is saying he sold Taarabt against his wishes when he had him at Spurs now. Ha!
   351. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 17, 2012 at 01:18 PM (#4326758)
I don't think Stoke are any worse on set-pieces, they're just bigger and better at it. They don't play especially dirty but they do play much more overtly physically than other teams.
I guess this is the sticking point. From the games I've watched, I think they play especially dirty compared to other teams, and they seem to especially get away with it at home.

Stoke's home advantage is way out of line with normal home field in the Premier League. There's evidence that a big chunk of home field advantage has to do with effects on refereeing, and it certainly seems from watching Stoke that they get away with murder at the Brittania.

Over the last three seasons, the normal HFA for points is 1.53 (teams produce about 50% more points at home than on the road) and the normal HFA for goal difference is 1.34 (teams average 34% more goals scored / 34% fewer goals conceded at home compared to on he road). These are the numbers for all the teams that have been in the top flight all three seasons:

1.53 Pts, 1.34 GD - Average
------------------------------
1.28 Pts, 1.33 GD - Arsenal
1.36 Pts, 1.39 GD - Aston Villa
1.52 Pts, 1.28 GD - Chelsea
1.53 Pts, 1.28 GD - Everton
1.88 Pts, 1.45 GD - Fulham
1.49 Pts, 1.45 GD - Liverpool
1.51 Pts, 1.39 GD - Manchester City
1.40 Pts, 1.35 GD - Manchester United
1.51 Pts, 1.51 GD - Newcastle United
2.19 Pts, 1.86 GD - Stoke City
1.17 Pts, 1.16 GD - Sunderland (huh)
1.46 Pts, 1.33 GD - Tottenham Hotspur
1.37 Pts, 1.28 GD - West Bromwich Albion
1.40 Pts, 1.29 GD - Wigan Athletic

They did reportedly play on a smaller pitch until standardization was imposed this season, but Stoke has maintained an outlying HFA this seasons so far as well (2.0 Pts, 2.4 GD). It demands explanation, and I think that refereeing - and underlying that, peculiarly dirty play - makes a lot of sense as an explanation.
   352. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: December 17, 2012 at 01:28 PM (#4326771)
It demands explanation


The announcers often talk about the atmosphere and the noise at the Britannia as being the best and loudest in the country. I don't know if that's got any truth to it but it's a common enough theme that I'd bet it's not far from the truth. It would make sense that those things would have an impact on referees.
   353. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: December 17, 2012 at 01:32 PM (#4326777)
This is...something bad.

Landscrona, the largest Zenit (St. Petersburg) supporters club, released a manifesto Monday demanding the club field an all-white, heterosexual team. It added that "dark-skinned players are all but forced down Zenit's throat now, which only brings out a negative reaction" and said gay players were "unworthy of our great city.


Fans insisted that "we are not racists and for us the absence of black Zenit players is just an important tradition that underlines the team's identity and nothing more."
   354. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 17, 2012 at 01:42 PM (#4326801)
Fans insisted that "we are not racists and for us the absence of black Zenit players is just an important tradition that underlines the team's identity and nothing more."

Bwahahahahahahaha!
   355. DA Baracus Posted: December 17, 2012 at 01:44 PM (#4326805)
3 games for Fellaini.

And Juninho has signed with the Red Bulls. More of this please.
   356. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 17, 2012 at 01:49 PM (#4326819)
Bin Hammam, you remember him and his envelopes of money surely, is FINALLY out of FIFA. He "quit" just as FIFA banned him. The cleansing begins!
   357. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 17, 2012 at 01:53 PM (#4326825)
Also, is this trip to Reading that big a deal for Arsenal? I don't see any way Arsenal lose this game. No one cares about the Capital One Cup so losing to Bradford City is embarrassing and not an indictment of their quality. Reading is pretty bad and Arsenal haven't fallen that far.


*Not a reverse jinx, though I would certainly be ok if it turns out to be.
   358. I am going to be Frank Posted: December 17, 2012 at 01:54 PM (#4326827)
I was wondering if that was the right Juninho. There's like 10 of them, plus one that already plays for the Galaxy.

He's just a 37YO free kick specialist at this point, right? I assume he's a DP?
   359. DA Baracus Posted: December 17, 2012 at 02:02 PM (#4326838)
Also, is this trip to Reading that big a deal for Arsenal? I don't see any way Arsenal lose this game.


Well the last time they played each other, after 90 minutes it was tied after Arsenal came back from being down 4-0, with the tying goal scored in the 96th minute. So I can see a way.
   360. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 17, 2012 at 02:03 PM (#4326840)
How good a predictor of future success is goal differential? I keep meaning to plug the last few seasons into a spreadsheet and see what I get, but I don't have time to do it this afternoon.

Arsenal's +10 GD is 4th in the league. SuperGrover's SiB/SoT/chances based metric has Arsenal 6th in the league, though Liverpool seem to defy normal conversion numbers, so Arsenal would be 5th of the non-Liverpool clubs. They have been legitimately bad over the last six weeks by any measure, but they were a good bit better than their record in the first couple months of the season. I figure they're most likely just fine, especially once Wenger puts Gervinho on the third team where he belongs.
   361. DA Baracus Posted: December 17, 2012 at 02:06 PM (#4326847)
He's just a 37YO free kick specialist at this point, right? I assume he's a DP?


We'll see, but probably. Apparently he is very good friends with Kaka, and NY signed Kaka's brother too. He is not a DP though.
   362. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 17, 2012 at 02:12 PM (#4326858)
Well the last time they played each other, after 90 minutes it was tied after Arsenal came back from being down 4-0, with the tying goal scored in the 96th minute. So I can see a way.

I don't know, I just pretend League Cup results don't exist. That was an entirely nutty game, though.
   363. DA Baracus Posted: December 17, 2012 at 02:17 PM (#4326863)
Oh I think Arsenal wins. I'm just saying there's a chance.
   364. I am going to be Frank Posted: December 17, 2012 at 02:21 PM (#4326870)
We'll see, but probably. Apparently he is very good friends with Kaka, and NY signed Kaka's brother too. He is not a DP though.


Wow - I'm all for bringing in Kaka, but the Red Bulls already have a pretty imbalanced club. Kaka would just add to that.
   365. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 17, 2012 at 02:22 PM (#4326871)
Oh I think Arsenal wins. I'm just saying there's a chance.

Yeah, I'm being hyperbolic when I say there's no chance they lose to Reading, but I guess I don't see Arsenal as being all that frail. I think they're a shade above Tottenham in quality and so they will have to suffer dips and form like Tottenham does. Now, I completely understand if becoming Tottenham is a crisis for Gooners...
   366. DA Baracus Posted: December 17, 2012 at 02:31 PM (#4326883)
Wow - I'm all for bringing in Kaka, but the Red Bulls already have a pretty imbalanced club. Kaka would just add to that.


A well built non-dysfunctional team? Please, this is the Red Bulls we are talking about.
   367. CWS Keith plans to boo your show at the Apollo Posted: December 17, 2012 at 02:44 PM (#4326906)
Given that players in MLS are actually signing with the league, I'd be curious to know if there's any internal bickering between NYRB and the Galaxy over who gets first dibs on Kaka. I know the system of discovery claims is supposed to nip those issues in the bud, but I can't imagine either team would be too happy to know that they can't even negotiate with him simply because the other team already put in a claim.
   368. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 17, 2012 at 03:37 PM (#4326968)
BTW gents, in celebration of my new Torino jersey and the fact that the gf will be off to Illinois doing whatever it is those people do for Christmas, I will be heading to Kinsale's Saturday to enjoy the full slate of Premier League Action. I've already got my "Curse you Stoke City!" fist shaking going. All are welcome to join me! If Arsenal lose today you can come out and make fun of David Hirshey!
   369. JoeHova Posted: December 17, 2012 at 03:44 PM (#4326974)
Why do teams care so little about the league cup? It's bizarre for everybody to talk about how the games mean nothing. Why not just eliminate it then? It seems extremely stupid to hold a competition that, supposedly, is viewed with contempt by every participant and viewer.
   370. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 17, 2012 at 03:52 PM (#4326982)
I believe Theo Walcott is playing CF today. Last ditch effort to get him to sign that contract?
   371. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: December 17, 2012 at 03:53 PM (#4326984)
BTW gents, in celebration of my new Torino jersey and the fact that the gf will be off to Illinois doing whatever it is those people do for Christmas, I will be heading to Kinsale's Saturday to enjoy the full slate of Premier League Action. I've already got my "Curse you Stoke City!" fist shaking going. All are welcome to join me! If Arsenal lose today you can come out and make fun of David Hirshey!
Depending on how hungover I get watching the Beef O'Brady's Bowl on Friday night--long story, don't ask--I may join you. 'Tis the season for drinking!

And whether or not Arsenal lose, feel free to make fun of Shooty for expanding his collection of poseur shirts to the continent!
   372. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 17, 2012 at 03:58 PM (#4326990)
And whether or not Arsenal lose, feel free to make fun of Shooty for expanding his collection of poseur shirts to the continent!

Liar! I already had Freiburg gear...
   373. Tripon Posted: December 17, 2012 at 04:04 PM (#4327003)
MOSCOW -- Fans of two-time defending Russian champion Zenit St. Petersburg are calling for non-white and gay players to be excluded from the team.

Landscrona, the largest Zenit fan club, released a manifesto Monday demanding the club field an all-white, heterosexual team. It added that "dark-skinned players are all but forced down Zenit's throat now, which only brings out a negative reaction" and said gay players were "unworthy of our great city."
   374. Mattbert Posted: December 17, 2012 at 04:06 PM (#4327009)
If Arsenal lose today you can come out and make fun of David Hirshey!

Why would I need Arsenal to lose today to be able to do that?
   375. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 17, 2012 at 04:08 PM (#4327015)
Jeez, Reading. Gotta put the sitters away.
   376. Mattbert Posted: December 17, 2012 at 04:16 PM (#4327025)
Jeez, Reading. Gotta put the sitters away.

Especially if you're going to defend like that. Ye gods.
   377. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 17, 2012 at 04:17 PM (#4327026)
Reading is DOOOMED...DOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMED.
   378. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 17, 2012 at 04:21 PM (#4327034)
Walcott looks perfect for Liverpool!
   379. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 17, 2012 at 04:35 PM (#4327046)
Arsenal are going to score 10 goals in this game. Reading are so, so terrible.
   380. Mattbert Posted: December 17, 2012 at 04:54 PM (#4327081)
Reading really don't look like they give a s**t. Everyone's moping around the edge of their own penalty area just waiting for the ball to come in, and there's little to no effort to prevent the delivery from being made in the first place.
   381. Mattbert Posted: December 17, 2012 at 05:32 PM (#4327129)
Reading have pulled a couple back, and that's before Aaron Ramsey came on as a sub!
   382. Mattbert Posted: December 17, 2012 at 05:40 PM (#4327147)
Ah, nevermind - Reading show they're just as bad defending man-to-man as they are defending as a unit. Undone by the subtle trickery of Theo Walcott!
   383. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 18, 2012 at 09:03 AM (#4327510)
Chelsea's powerpoint tactics exposed!

I like how they use pictures of the players on their tactics sheets, in case they forget what they look like, I guess.
   384. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: December 18, 2012 at 10:48 AM (#4327558)
I like how they use pictures of the players on their tactics sheets, in case they forget what they look like, I guess.
That seems more like something Mancini would have to do with Balotelli. "Now, Mario, this one here is you, and you can remember that, because this is what you look like."
   385. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 18, 2012 at 10:56 AM (#4327566)
Kind of fat Ronaldo.

Also, where do Drogba and Anelka end up now that the China dream is coming to an end? I don't think I want either at Spurs. Check that--I KNOW I don't want either at Spurs.
   386. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: December 18, 2012 at 11:08 AM (#4327579)
Bin Hammam, you remember him and his envelopes of money surely, is FINALLY out of FIFA. He "quit" just as FIFA banned him. The cleansing begins!
The ESPN articles note this is his second lifetime ban from FIFA. I wonder if he can manage to get himself reinstated and banned again, thus breaking the tie between he and George Steinbrenner for most lifetime bans from a single sport.
   387. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: December 18, 2012 at 11:19 AM (#4327597)

Also, where do Drogba and Anelka end up now that the China dream is coming to an end? I don't think I want either at Spurs. Check that--I KNOW I don't want either at Spurs.


Seems like Drogba and Juve would be a match made in heaven. Put him up top and they would be an awfully difficult team to beat in the Champions League.
   388. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 18, 2012 at 11:35 AM (#4327615)
Seems like Drogba and Juve would be a match made in heaven. Put him up top and they would be an awfully difficult team to beat in the Champions League.

Conte has denied the links to Drogba, but that may just be the beginning of the dance. The ACN will complicate things for anyone signing Drogba, too. Also, he wants a 2 year deal which I think is going to be a tough one.
   389. ursus arctos Posted: December 18, 2012 at 11:54 AM (#4327631)
Barcelona have re-signed Puyol (through 2016), Xavi (through 2016) and Messi (through 2018).

Reportedly on 15 million euro a year net, Messi is now the highest-salaried player in the world. Xavi and Puyol are both rumoured to have taken pay cuts.
   390. zack Posted: December 18, 2012 at 12:34 PM (#4327664)
Is Puyol playing again finally?
   391. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 18, 2012 at 12:42 PM (#4327671)
   392. ursus arctos Posted: December 18, 2012 at 12:44 PM (#4327672)
Yes, but it looks like he will be rested episodically going forward (which only makes sense, really).
   393. Spivey Posted: December 18, 2012 at 01:19 PM (#4327690)
I thought Puyol was closer to retiring than being extended 4 more years.
   394. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: December 18, 2012 at 02:01 PM (#4327725)
One day, this will be one of the most glamorous leagues in the world!
Before I clicked, I would've bet my house that was going to be an MLS highlight
   395. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 18, 2012 at 02:31 PM (#4327766)
Possible trouble being caused by Spurs...I don't know if anyone remembers the Zeki Fryers mini-saga over the summer. He's a Man U youth academy product that refused to sign a contract with them, opting instead for Spurs, but Spurs didn't want to pay the inflated tribunal fee for him so instead he went to Standard Liege. The rumor then was that he went to Liege as a quasi-under the table loan deal and Spurs would sign him in the next window and, lo and behold, the rumors that Spurs are interested in signing him have started up again. It seems to me that if Spurs sign Fryers now for a fraction of what the tribunal fee was it is going to open up a large can of worms. Or am I mistaken? The arcana of English football law is not my area of expertise, admittedly.
   396. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 18, 2012 at 03:03 PM (#4327814)
The history of the Saarland football.

I had no idea this was ever a thing.
   397. Topher Posted: December 18, 2012 at 03:17 PM (#4327834)
The ESPN articles note this is his second lifetime ban from FIFA. I wonder if he can manage to get himself reinstated and banned again, thus breaking the tie between he and George Steinbrenner for most lifetime bans from a single sport.


Was Steinbrenner given two lifetime bans? I thought of Steve Howe as somebody who could maybe challenge for a notorious title like that but according to the wikipedia each was only given one permanent ban from baseball.

[EDIT] Advance apologies for OT'ing the OT thread.
   398. Mattbert Posted: December 18, 2012 at 04:08 PM (#4327898)
No comments on Napoli being docked two points and losing Cannavaro and Grava for six months over the match-fixing foofaraw?
   399. ursus arctos Posted: December 18, 2012 at 04:27 PM (#4327923)
I'm thinking that it may not stand on appeal, though the underlying offense (failing to report an attempt to fix) is the same as the one that got Conte suspended from the touchline for several months.

BTW, the Inter - Hellas Verona cup tie has been suspended for a few minutes to allow tear gas (used outside the ground by the lovely Italian police) to dissipate.

Shooty, I've seen 1.FC Saarbrucken play at home. They aren't very good anymore.
   400. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 18, 2012 at 04:29 PM (#4327924)
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