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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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   501. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 20, 2012 at 09:43 AM (#4329235)
BATE Borisov vs Fenerbahce
Inter vs Cluj
Levante vs Olympiacos
Liverpool vs. Zenit (ouch!)
Dynamo Kyiv vs Bordeaux
Leverkusen vs Benfica (good matchups so far)
Newcastle vs Metalist Kharkiv
Atletico Madrid vs Rubin Kazan
Ajax vs Steuau Bucharest
Basel vs Dnipro (they weren't all going to be glamor ties...)
Anzhi vs Hannover
Sparta Prague vs Chelsea (lucky Chelsea fans)
Borussia Monchengladbach vs Lazio (go Gladbach!)
Tottenham vs Lyon (I swear these things are fixed by UEFA. Lloris gets to go home)
Napoli vs Viktoria Plzen
Stuttgart vs Genk

And there is your Europa League draw. Liverpool and Spurs got great draws, I think, if what you want from the tournament is entertainment. Very much looking forward to those games against Lyon.
   502. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 20, 2012 at 10:03 AM (#4329245)
Also, if Spurs advance they will most likely face Inter, Chelsea would most likely face Ajax, Liverpool would probably get Basel and Newcastle will get the winner of Anzhi and Hannover.
   503. Mattbert Posted: December 20, 2012 at 11:56 AM (#4329321)
Great draw! I was hoping for Gladbach or one of the French clubs.
   504. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 20, 2012 at 12:03 PM (#4329328)
Looks like Spurs are becoming a feeder club for the LA Galaxy--Carlo Cudicini reportedly close to signing a deal with LA. David Bentley is also available and ready to reprise his role as the next Beckham. Just throwing that out there.
   505. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 20, 2012 at 12:26 PM (#4329348)
On football managers and language

A thoughtful article from The Guardian from a writer I'm unfamiliar with. I love some of AVB's phrasing, though. After a few years of 'Arry-isms, which had their own charm, it's just nice to have a new set of stock cliches to enjoy. It is immense, you could say.
   506. Mattbert Posted: December 20, 2012 at 01:33 PM (#4329403)
I was just about to link that here myself, Shooty. A very good lunchtime read.
   507. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 20, 2012 at 01:53 PM (#4329424)
   508. I am going to be Frank Posted: December 20, 2012 at 02:53 PM (#4329452)
I am loving how there is more talk about a second-tier competition that no club cares about more than a competition where there are a bunch of excellent matchups and tons of storylines.
   509. DA Baracus Posted: December 20, 2012 at 03:05 PM (#4329460)
Looks like Spurs are becoming a feeder club for the LA Galaxy--Carlo Cudicini reportedly close to signing a deal with LA.


I expect better material from you Shooty.

I am loving how there is more talk about a second-tier competition that no club cares about more than a competition where there are a bunch of excellent matchups and tons of storylines.


Welcome to Spurs Think Factory.
   510. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 20, 2012 at 03:12 PM (#4329464)
Welcome to Spurs Think Factory.

Right. It's not my fault if no one wants to talk CL! I found myself actually excited to find out who Spurs were going to draw. Also, the draw for the CL was at 5:30 in the morning which made it hard to do a live update.

I expect better material from you Shooty.

Are you not excited about Carlo Cudicini coming to our fair shores to preach the gospel of the beautiful game?
   511. PepTech Posted: December 20, 2012 at 03:18 PM (#4329469)
Welcome to Spurs Think Factory


I think the proper analogy would be a Spurs Therapy subforum... we kid because we care!
   512. DA Baracus Posted: December 20, 2012 at 03:20 PM (#4329473)
Right. It's not my fault if no one wants to talk CL! I found myself actually excited to find out who Spurs were going to draw. Also, the draw for the CL was at 5:30 in the morning which made it hard to do a live update.


It's not a criticism, just reality: Spurs is the most popular team in this thread. I'm not shocked at the direction the thread has taken.

Are you not excited about Carlo Cudicini coming to our fair shores to preach the gospel of the beautiful game?


I thought he was retired! I find it uninteresting and the "feeder team" comment unimaginative. I have high standards for you!
   513. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 20, 2012 at 03:21 PM (#4329474)
To get away from Spurs...I'm watching Rayo Vallecano and Levante right now and I have no idea which team is which. Does Rayo feature a white shirt with a black sash across the front? Also, I didn't realize Valencia were struggling so much domestically. I imagine missing out on the CL would be a financial disaster for them. All of their players will end up joining David Villa at Swansea, I guess.
   514. DA Baracus Posted: December 20, 2012 at 03:22 PM (#4329475)
I think the proper analogy would be a Spurs Therapy subforum... we kid because we care!


Hmm, not quite a factory... distribution center? Repair shop? Warehouse? Mill?
   515. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 20, 2012 at 03:25 PM (#4329479)
I thought he was retired! I find it uninteresting and the "feeder team" comment unimaginative. I have high standards for you!

Ah man. Not sure what I'm supposed to come up with for Carlo Cudicini! Evidently he agree to accept whatever the Galaxy could pay him while remaining under the cap, which is pretty nice of him. Swell bloke, that Carlo.
   516. DA Baracus Posted: December 20, 2012 at 03:46 PM (#4329502)
I like how he "asked to be paid the maximum possible within the salary cap." The wording indicates he could be mislead. "Well, all we have right now is $47,000, so here's your contract to sign!"
   517. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: December 20, 2012 at 03:47 PM (#4329503)
As interesting as the CL matchups are there isn't really a whole hell of a lot to discuss until February. The Group Stage draw is always a lot more interesting because you can kind of handicap the races a little bit. We've got two months almost before these games get played so while I agree the matchups are fascinating it's more an eagerness to see the matches than to analyze them.
   518. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 20, 2012 at 03:49 PM (#4329505)
I like how he "asked to be paid the maximum possible within the salary cap." The wording indicates he could be mislead. "Well, all we have right now is $47,000, so here's your contract to sign!"

Or...well Carlo we've done the math and we're going to need 73 thousand dollars and 27 cents from you to get under the cap.
   519. DA Baracus Posted: December 20, 2012 at 03:53 PM (#4329511)
Or...well Carlo we've done the math and we're going to need 73 thousand dollars and 27 cents from you to get under the cap.


This right here, this is what I'm talking about.
   520. puck Posted: December 20, 2012 at 04:16 PM (#4329524)
Maybe he thinks the salary cap figure is per salary. "I could live on $2.95 million."
   521. DA Baracus Posted: December 20, 2012 at 05:19 PM (#4329578)
"Great Carlo. David Beckham's salary cap amount was $350,000."

Which would be a bad signing. Kevin Hartman is available, an upgrade over Josh Saunders (which is all the Galaxy need), is cheaper, has actually played over the years and you don't have to worry about if he's just coming here to take a paycheck.
   522. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: December 20, 2012 at 05:28 PM (#4329587)
Carlo has barely played the last few years, hasn't he? It's going to be quite odd for him to see full-time action.
   523. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: December 20, 2012 at 05:56 PM (#4329612)
I am unfamiliar with loan rules so this may be a dumb question but why don't teams loan out backup keepers more often? The starter plays every game (on most teams) so send the backup out for seasoning. If the starters gets hurt can't you recall the loaned player? Is it just a matter of courtesy? For example, Tim Howard's backup is apparently someone named Jan Mucha who hasn't played a single game for Everton despite being there since 2010.

I guess an injury or a red card is a concern but keep a youth team keeper or a third stringer around for that then recall the "true backup" from his loan if a long term injury occurs. Presumably an EPL backup would be superior to a League One starter so there would be benefits all around.
   524. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: December 20, 2012 at 06:03 PM (#4329618)
I thought Cudicini had been playing in Turkey or Romania or somewhere for the last three years.

Let's look at the stats.

2012-13 - 1 game. The game against Carlisle that gave us the great photo of AVB in a rickety wooden dugout.

2011-12 - 11 games. 8 goals conceded. These were all Europa League or FA Cup games, and 5 of those goals were against Chelsea in the semifinal.

2010-11 - 13 games. Including 8 in the Premier League, and both of the epochal clashes with Inter.

2009-10 - 8 games. All between August 19 and October 3. This was right after he'd been acquired from Chelsea, presumably as the starter. That didn't last long.

2008-09 - 8 games.

2007-08 - 19 games.

2006-07 - 11 games.

2005-06 - 12 games.

2004-05 - 11 games.

2003-04 - 40 games.

94 games in the last eight seasons including the current one. Tim Howard has played 104 games for Everton in the last three seasons.
   525. DA Baracus Posted: December 20, 2012 at 06:14 PM (#4329624)
So he's a fresh 39 year old.

If the starters gets hurt can't you recall the loaned player?


Granted starting keepers don't go down very often, but that screws the other team over if you recall their starter in the middle of the season.
   526. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: December 20, 2012 at 06:29 PM (#4329633)
I think it's actually easier to make an "emergency signing" or get an "emergency loan" of a new keeper than to de-loan someone you have loaned out. e.g. when Arsenal brought back Jens Lehmann out of retirement instead of recalling Vito Mannone from Hull City.
   527. Swedish Chef Posted: December 20, 2012 at 06:55 PM (#4329643)
If the starters gets hurt can't you recall the loaned player?

No, you can't between transfer windows. The only alternative is to sign an unemployed player, in theory there you can apply for the right to make a transfer because of emergency, but that is never granted (From the lack of success of desperate clubs in getting that right, I assume the condition for that to be granted is that you are unable to field eleven players for a game, position and substitutes be damned).

EDIT: This is for a prem club, those in divisions below can loan players from clubs above in Sep-Nov and Feb-Mar.
   528. SuperGrover Posted: December 20, 2012 at 06:58 PM (#4329644)
I am unfamiliar with loan rules so this may be a dumb question but why don't teams loan out backup keepers more often? The starter plays every game (on most teams) so send the backup out for seasoning. If the starters gets hurt can't you recall the loaned player? Is it just a matter of courtesy? For example, Tim Howard's backup is apparently someone named Jan Mucha who hasn't played a single game for Everton despite being there since 2010.

I guess an injury or a red card is a concern but keep a youth team keeper or a third stringer around for that then recall the "true backup" from his loan if a long term injury occurs. Presumably an EPL backup would be superior to a League One starter so there would be benefits all around.


I think that works better on paper or in FM than it would in real life. These are people after all. Not sure a backup would want to be recalled after settling in for a four-week cameo while the primary nurses a groin strain.
   529. Mattbert Posted: December 20, 2012 at 10:36 PM (#4329787)
I like how he "asked to be paid the maximum possible within the salary cap." The wording indicates he could be mislead. "Well, all we have right now is $47,000, so here's your contract to sign!"

"This is per week, yes?"

"Er..."
   530. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: December 21, 2012 at 08:27 AM (#4329912)
"This is per week, yes?"

"Er..."
It is per *mumble* fifty-two *mumble* weeks, yes.
   531. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 21, 2012 at 11:04 AM (#4330013)
THe 1924 US Open Cup

Check out the standing-room only crowd!
   532. DA Baracus Posted: December 21, 2012 at 11:14 AM (#4330035)
"This is per week, yes?"


"Yes, we can pay you each week. That won't be a problem."
   533. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 21, 2012 at 11:24 AM (#4330051)
Last minute gift ideas...

Offered without comment.
   534. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 21, 2012 at 11:54 AM (#4330102)
   535. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: December 21, 2012 at 11:59 AM (#4330107)
At the gym this morning, I was doing my work out when I noticed the guy next to me had calf-sized Maradona tattoo. It was the whole bit MARADONA in facny script, the AFA Badge, and--of course--young Diego's face on his leg. Quite charming.
   536. DA Baracus Posted: December 21, 2012 at 12:05 PM (#4330114)
Speaking of Maradona, yesterday he reportedly was about to be named Iraq manager but Iraq has denied this.
   537. Mattbert Posted: December 21, 2012 at 01:03 PM (#4330205)
UEFA has banned Champions League contender Malaga from European club competitions for one upcoming season for failing to pay players wages and tax bills on time.

[...]

UEFA says it also fined Malaga €300,000 ($396,000).

Oh, well that'll help!
   538. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: December 21, 2012 at 01:17 PM (#4330229)
Last minute gift ideas...

Offered without comment.

I've been out in Newcastle, and seen girls wear less than that. I am not even joking.
   539. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 21, 2012 at 01:21 PM (#4330247)
I've been out in Newcastle, and seen girls wear less than that. I am not even joking.

The problem is I, fair or not, I imagine Newcastle as being the least sexy place on the planet.
   540. I am going to be Frank Posted: December 21, 2012 at 01:25 PM (#4330253)
Looking at the Europa draw, is Atletico the favorite, assuming Falcao stays? I would assume the English teams are going to tank and field understrength teams.
   541. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 21, 2012 at 01:42 PM (#4330288)
Looking at the Europa draw, is Atletico the favorite, assuming Falcao stays? I would assume the English teams are going to tank and field understrength teams.

I'd say so. They've got the experience and the Iberian teams seem to kick this tournament's ass.
   542. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 21, 2012 at 02:31 PM (#4330355)
Gents, I think I'm coming down with a cold so I'm going to push my Kinsale's visit back until next weekend, in case anyone was thinking about coming tomorrow. Not that you can't still go just because I won't be there. I mean, you won't have fun without me there but they'll still open the place up, I imagine. Or they may not. My absence could crush their spirit and all.
   543. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: December 21, 2012 at 02:32 PM (#4330358)
The problem is I, fair or not, I imagine Newcastle as being the least sexy place on the planet.

No, that would have be my high school. Newcastle seemed like paradise compared to that.
   544. puck Posted: December 21, 2012 at 04:12 PM (#4330455)
   545. The Kentucky Gentleman, Mark Edward Posted: December 21, 2012 at 07:43 PM (#4330619)
I've got a player loan question...

So I was looking through Hellas Verona's roster, and they currently have a player named Simon Laner on the team. He is a 28-year old midfielder on loan from a team called U.C. AlbinoLeffe. U.C. AlbinoLeffe is a team that plays in what looks like a regional division in Italy, lower than Serie C.

So, two questions:
1. Why wouldn't Verona just purchase this player in the first place?
2. Of course I know absolutely nothing about UC AlbinoLeffe, but why wouldn't they just keep this player if they couldn't sell him off? I'm assuming UC AlbinoLeffe's goal is to do well and eventually be promoted, and if Laner can help a Serie B team surely he could help a regional team.

What am I missing here?
   546. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 21, 2012 at 07:49 PM (#4330623)
I assume something about Italian business practices.
   547. puck Posted: December 21, 2012 at 08:19 PM (#4330638)
I assume something about Italian business practices.

They do seem different, don't they? There seem to be a lot of co-ownership deals there. Though I don't know how they decide which team gets the player for a given season.
   548. Swedish Chef Posted: December 21, 2012 at 08:47 PM (#4330651)
1. Why wouldn't Verona just purchase this player in the first place?

It's quite possible that they have no money to do that, and that AlbinoLeffe doesn't have the money to pay his salary, both clubs being in new divisions and all. Or it may just be a try-before-you-buy deal.

2. Of course I know absolutely nothing about UC AlbinoLeffe, but why wouldn't they just keep this player if they couldn't sell him off? I'm assuming UC AlbinoLeffe's goal is to do well and eventually be promoted, and if Laner can help a Serie B team surely he could help a regional team.

If you look closer you see that AlbinoLeffe has a Hellas Verona player on loan.
   549. CWS Keith plans to boo your show at the Apollo Posted: December 21, 2012 at 09:10 PM (#4330656)
They do seem different, don't they? There seem to be a lot of co-ownership deals there. Though I don't know how they decide which team gets the player for a given season.

Here's a decent primer on co-ownership. Pretty sure co-ownership is banned elsewhere (at least in England), which is why you don't see it.
   550. I am going to be Frank Posted: December 21, 2012 at 09:25 PM (#4330662)
Italy is pretty shady. Look at the Kevin-Prince Boateng transfer. Apparently Genoa bought him from Portsmouth, who then immediately loaned him to AC Milan. Now its some sort of co-ownership deal with both Genoa/Milan.
   551. puck Posted: December 21, 2012 at 09:38 PM (#4330667)

Here's a decent primer on co-ownership.

Thanks for the link!
   552. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 22, 2012 at 08:49 AM (#4330827)
I love that Wigan play 3 at the back.

I saw The Four Year Plan last night. My impressions:

Flavio Briatore was a terrible chairman, just horrible, while Amit Bhatia was about as good of one as you could hope for. I'm not sure what the 4 year plan was except to let Briatore almost drive them to relegation, get frustrated enough to go back to Italy or wherever his favorite mansion is, and let Bhatia run the club. Also, I have more respect for Neil Warnock now. He just exuded calm and confidence from the moment he showed up at Loftus road while the previous 6 managers looked scared out of their minds from the get go. I felt sorry for Paulo Sousa right from his opening remarks to the team. He never had a chance.
   553. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 22, 2012 at 09:10 AM (#4330828)
Wow, Kone really should have opened the scoring there. Nothing between Wigan and Arsenal so far. I'm actually surprised how aggressive Wigan are playing so far. I guess we'll see if they have the engine to keep this up another 70 minutes.
   554. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 22, 2012 at 09:16 AM (#4330829)
Wigan's terrible crossing is keeping Arsenal level so far. Wigan are doing a great job getting the ball wide with space but the crosses are going nowhere.
   555. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 22, 2012 at 09:43 AM (#4330831)
I love that Wigan play 3 at the back.
It's an incredibly flexible formation, not even exactly three at the back. James McCarthy, the nominal center back, moves into midfield at times on both defense and attack - either as a destroyer in front of the other two CBs, or in a playmaking role. The wing-backs can come fully forward in attack, press in midfield, or drop back to a flat back four with McCarthy advanced into midfield. I'm trying to follow it, but I don't even know how I'd describe it. 3-4-1-2? 2-5-3? 2-1-4-2-1? Kone's clearly a striker, Maloney's playing in the hole, there are two central midfielders, but I don't know how to characterize di Santo's position, and I have no idea what to call the formation at the back.
   556. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 22, 2012 at 10:03 AM (#4330833)
And Beausejour, who has been by far the worst player on the pitch all day, gives up an entirely needless penalty. What a dumb way for a fun game to be decided - hope we get a bit more.
   557. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 22, 2012 at 10:09 AM (#4330836)
That was a shame for Wigan. No need to foul Walcott there as there was plenty of defensive cover. Still, Wigan have created their own problems by having no quality in final third. I think they've outplayed Arsenal everywhere else but where it really counts. I have a feeling Arsenal might open this up now.
   558. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 22, 2012 at 10:25 AM (#4330843)
For want of a decent cross the kingdom was lost...
   559. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 22, 2012 at 10:36 AM (#4330851)
Those handballs get called often but that was probably a good non-call. Looks like Arsenal will be in top four in a couple of minutes. Some crisis!
   560. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 22, 2012 at 10:46 AM (#4330856)
G 25 Hugo Lloris
D 5 Jan Vertonghen
D 20 Michael Dawson
D 28 Kyle Walker
D 33 Steven Caulker
M 7 Aaron Lennon
M 11 Gareth Bale
M 19 Mousa Dembele
M 30 Sandro
F 10 Emmanuel Adebayor
F 18 Jermain Defoe

Spurs going with the big guys against Stoke.
   561. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: December 22, 2012 at 12:25 PM (#4330885)
Commentators are livid about this Carlton Cole red card. Colour guy is talking about how it no different from Anichebe's overhead kick earlier in the match.

Call 'em both reds, that's what I say.
   562. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: December 22, 2012 at 12:51 PM (#4330891)
Now Darron Gibson's been sent off for exactly the same infraction (high boot, misses the ball, slashes the player. Very dangerous play, maybe not a red, though it is for me) and the commentator is still livid, even though this is the exact consistency he was earlier criticising the referee for not having. I guess he can't be consistent in his criticism himself! :p
   563. E., Hinske Posted: December 22, 2012 at 03:34 PM (#4330951)
No, you can't between transfer windows. The only alternative is to sign an unemployed player, in theory there you can apply for the right to make a transfer because of emergency, but that is never granted (From the lack of success of desperate clubs in getting that right, I assume the condition for that to be granted is that you are unable to field eleven players for a game, position and substitutes be damned).

To clarify: Prem clubs can loan and recall players from lower level teams outside the transfer window. Liverpool loaned Shelvey to Blackpool last year and called him back in November when they suffered injuries. That's the real problem, I think - teams like Blackpool aren't interested in not having a keeper if a Prem team loans their backup and then recalls him. I also suspect some of the backup keepers in the Prem would have a tough time getting starts in the Championship, at least.
   564. I am going to be Frank Posted: December 22, 2012 at 04:04 PM (#4330959)
I think it all depends on the loan agreement. Some loans allow a recall at any notice, while others are for a half season, whole season, etc. For instance I believe Andy Carroll's loan does not permit Liverpool to recall at any point and is for the whole year.

So I get the Univision Deportes channel on my cable system. They show Ligue 1 in Spanish. Its quite a trip. It also apparently has the Spanish language rights the German Cup. I need to see how the commentators deal with all those Germanic and Slavic names.
   565. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 22, 2012 at 04:13 PM (#4330961)
Malaga is taking it to Real. 1-0 now but Malaga are pressing for more. The big news is Iker Casillas has been dropped to the bench. No one really knows why according to the announcers. Also, Isco...I wish Spurs had been more aggressive trying to sign him in the summer. They'll never get a chance to get him now.
   566. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 22, 2012 at 04:30 PM (#4330970)
After Malaga are charged with an own goal, Roque Santa Cruz of all people gives Malaga the lead again. I think Mourinho might be done with Real--they don't look good at all today. The score is flattering them as of now. 2-1 Malaga.
   567. Swedish Chef Posted: December 22, 2012 at 04:31 PM (#4330972)
The big news is Iker Casillas has been dropped to the bench. No one really knows why according to the announcers.

They snipped at each other in the press (without naming names) after the cup loss against Celta Vigo. It's eerily similar to Mourinho's last days at Chelsea.
   568. E., Hinske Posted: December 22, 2012 at 04:32 PM (#4330974)
I think it all depends on the loan agreement. Some loans allow a recall at any notice, while others are for a half season, whole season, etc. For instance I believe Andy Carroll's loan does not permit Liverpool to recall at any point and is for the whole year.

I believe that's correct. Obviously though, loaning a goalie who you can't recall wouldn't work for finding your backup some games.
   569. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 22, 2012 at 04:33 PM (#4330976)
Santa Cruz with a brace. This is as bad as I've ever seen Real.
   570. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 22, 2012 at 04:39 PM (#4330979)
Malaga gift Real another goal. They just don't want to drive the stake into Real's heart, I guess.
   571. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 22, 2012 at 04:52 PM (#4330985)
Malaga hold on. It was surreal seeing a team that isn't Barcelona slice them up like that. I have no doubt now that Real would like to sack Mourinho, but who could they replace him with? Comedy demands they replace him with Roberto Di Matteo but I don't see that happening. Must have been a satisfying win today for Pellegrini.
   572. ursus arctos Posted: December 22, 2012 at 06:36 PM (#4331035)
Mourinho is essentially daring Florentino to sack him now.

Will be interesting to see who blinks first.
   573. Swedish Chef Posted: December 23, 2012 at 09:53 AM (#4331370)
Let's see if United are as good at losing early leads as they are at overcoming deficits.
   574. Swedish Chef Posted: December 23, 2012 at 10:21 AM (#4331378)
Looks like they are.
   575. I am going to be Frank Posted: December 23, 2012 at 10:32 AM (#4331381)
I know Michu has been a scoring machine, but is he fast? Vidic hasn't always been the quickest but he looked bad when Michu easily beat him to that ball. Evra goals are nice but if he's going to keep playing defense like this its not worth it.
   576. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: December 23, 2012 at 01:51 PM (#4331479)
Was it bad form for Chelsea to have Piazon take the penalty kick with the 7 goal lead? It looked like Guzan was barking at them after making the save.
   577. DA Baracus Posted: December 23, 2012 at 01:57 PM (#4331484)
Rafa Benitez gets to keep his job this week.
   578. Spivey Posted: December 23, 2012 at 02:15 PM (#4331502)
The Aston Villa goalkeeper had probably the worst game I've ever seen for a keeper at this level. I realize their defense gave up but he had really, really poor efforts on a few of those goals.
   579. DA Baracus Posted: December 23, 2012 at 02:18 PM (#4331504)
The Aston Villa goalkeeper had probably the worst game I've ever seen for a keeper at this level. I realize their defense gave up but he had really, really poor efforts on a few of those goals.


Brad Guzan. This does not seem to be the consensus from the writers I follow on Twitter.
   580. JuanGone..except1game Posted: December 23, 2012 at 02:42 PM (#4331518)
The Aston Villa goalkeeper had probably the worst game I've ever seen for a keeper at this level. I realize their defense gave up but he had really, really poor efforts on a few of those goals.


Brad Guzan. This does not seem to be the consensus from the writers I follow on Twitter.


I agree with the Twitters. The last goal was completely on him, but I'd say that at least 5/6 of the goals had nothing to do with him. Chelsea was rampant and unmarked in Villa's penalty box all match. I'm not going to say he played great or good, but he was not the reason for that poor showing.

I have to say that Rafa does have Chelsea playing a more economical style of play. Much more direct lately and they don't lose their shape. Luiz was excellent in midfield and I do think that you are going to see him there much more often. He's still too aggressive sometimes but he definitely has some Busqeuts in him with some class passing even though he isn't as disciplined.
   581. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: December 23, 2012 at 03:24 PM (#4331536)
I agree with the Twitters. The last goal was completely on him, but I'd say that at least 5/6 of the goals had nothing to do with him. Chelsea was rampant and unmarked in Villa's penalty box all match. I'm not going to say he played great or good, but he was not the reason for that poor showing.

I think this is correct. Guzan didn't have a *great* game by any stretch of the imagination, but he did make several good saves (and the penalty save was a really good one). It is important to note, though, that he should have done better with a couple of the goals (Ramires' first, for example).
   582. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 24, 2012 at 09:56 AM (#4331855)
Guzan looked pretty average to me. Chelsea accumulated 26 shots, 16 inside the box and 15 on target. They were further given two penalties. Based on team/league averages, Guzan was a bit below average in preventing goals, but the opportunities that Chelsea created were also better than average. I'd put at least 90% of the blame on Villa's defense rather than Guzan.

-------

So, I'm hosting a big family Christmas thing today and have gobs of cleaning and shopping and cooking to do. So I figured this morning would be a good time to tool around the standings of the major European leagues that I only sporadically follow to see what might be fun to watch over the second half of the season. The league championships in the top leagues are probably all decided already, unless you want to bet on a collapse by Barca, Bayern, or Juve. But there are other fun things.

-The race for the Champions League spots in Serie A looks fun. Juventus is the only world-class side in Italy, and they're now eight points clear with a goal difference more than 10 better than the second best club in the country. But then Inter, Fiorentina, Napoli, Lazio, and Roma are all within four points of each other, and Milan isn't so far back that Berlusconi's presidential purchases couldn't get them back into the mix. Only two of them can make the Champions League. With underdog Fiorentina, always fun Napoli, and Zeman's Roma facing off against racist Lazio and Inter Inter, there are good rooting options too. (Yes, I know you can call most Italian clubs racist based on the worst aspects of their traveling support, but I don't care, #### Lazio.)

-The "can Atletico beat Real" race in The League should be fun. Atletico are 7 points up after Real lost to Malaga, but they're about even on goal difference and they're Atletico Madrid. Both get CL spots barring a collapse, though.

-And with Malaga banned from Europe, the race for fourth in The League is kind of crazy. (I couldn't find direct confirmation, but I assume that the 5th place team gets Malaga's qualifying spot if the ban holds.) Valencia, having a very disappointing .500 season are right back in it, with underdog Betis and super-underdog Levante now the front-runners.

-If you assume Dortmund are too good to let 2nd/3rd slip away in the Bundesliga, there's still a pretty good race for 3rd and 4th. Frankfurt are still in 4th after just being promoted this year, and the Freiburg Shooties are in striking distance. So is Schalke.

-The race at the top of the Ligue Un table is fun - a dead heat at 38 points between PSG, Lyon, and Marseille. Marseille is barely positive on goal difference, which suggests this might be more of a two-team race.
   583. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: December 24, 2012 at 08:07 PM (#4332038)
It is now December 25th in GMT, the onla time zone that matters in the footy thread. So merry Christmas.
   584. SuperGrover Posted: December 25, 2012 at 03:51 AM (#4332164)
Any Arsenal fans on here? Have a quick fantasy question.

Long story short, I am looking to add an Arsenal defender for the short term. Vermaelen is out of my price range, so the focus is on Sagna and Gibbs. I am presuming that both are locked in, but wanted to confirm with someone who watched the team more than I do.

Any reason why either Sagna or Gibbs wouldn't be an every week starter?
   585. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: December 25, 2012 at 11:03 AM (#4332203)
So Everton, eh? I'm interested!
   586. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 26, 2012 at 10:26 AM (#4332403)
Let the Boxing Day madness countdown begin...

Meanwhile, unexpected Brad Friedel news.
   587. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 26, 2012 at 10:32 AM (#4332406)
So Everton, eh? I'm interested!
I think they're entirely for real. Their underlying numbers (shots in box, shots on target, shots allowed, big chances allowed) are excellent. It looks like we probably have a clear top three (certainly a clear top two), and then it's a race between Arsenal, Everton, and Tottenham for fourth. Everton don't have the depth of the London clubs, but they're not paper thin like Newcastle last year, and Arsenal and Tottenham both still have European competitions to play as well.
   588. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 26, 2012 at 10:59 AM (#4332408)
Here we go...Sunderland v Man City and Norwich v Chelsea to start.
   589. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 26, 2012 at 11:22 AM (#4332413)
   590. DA Baracus Posted: December 26, 2012 at 11:55 AM (#4332429)
That's awesome.

Johnny Evans has a goal, an own goal and a yellow card. That's a hard day's work.
   591. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 26, 2012 at 12:03 PM (#4332434)
The own goal should have been disallowed, right? Cisse was offside, and Evans only played the ball because he was defending Cisse. (Cisse was part of "active play" in the words of the rule.)
   592. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: December 26, 2012 at 12:08 PM (#4332435)
Tweet from SoccerbyIves quoting Gab Marcotti;

"Position of offside not an offence. IFAB rule interference only when playing ball. Evans played it."

EDIT: It's actually SBI quoting Marcotti quoting Graham Poll. I'm guessing that Poll is right since no math is involved.
   593. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: December 26, 2012 at 12:10 PM (#4332436)
Question from over the weekend I had. Are yellow cards ever overturned? I know red cards are and since an accumulation of yellows can lead to a ban it would seem there would be some benefit in such a thing. (though I imagine it would be rare).
   594. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 26, 2012 at 12:17 PM (#4332438)
From the FIFA rules, these are the definitions of the things which a player who is in an offsides position cannot do, or he becomes guilty of offsides:

• “interfering with play” means playing or touching the ball passed or touched by a team-mate
• “interfering with an opponent” means preventing an opponent from playing or being able to play the ball by clearly obstructing the opponent’s line of vision or movements or making a gesture or movement which, in the opinion of the referee, deceives or distracts an opponent
• “gaining an advantage by being in that position” means playing a ball that rebounds to him off a goalpost or the crossbar having been in an offside position or playing a ball that rebounds to him off an opponent having been in an offside position

"Gaining an advantage" is the thing I thought was relevant, but it's defined specifically to refer to rebounds. So the question is whether Cisse obstructed or deceived Evans. It seems, at the least, that this is an ambiguous situation where you can't say the referee was wrong.
   595. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: December 26, 2012 at 12:37 PM (#4332448)
This ManU-Newcastle game is ludicrously open. Shooty is going to enjoy it when he gets around to it.
   596. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: December 26, 2012 at 12:38 PM (#4332449)
Wow...close. What a game.
   597. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 26, 2012 at 12:43 PM (#4332453)
City-Sunderland has been just a ton of fun, too. The lack of goals hasn't been for a lack of action or chances.
   598. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: December 26, 2012 at 12:45 PM (#4332455)
Omg! Post for Newcastle then that save ...
   599. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: December 26, 2012 at 12:49 PM (#4332457)
Inevitable.
   600. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: December 26, 2012 at 12:51 PM (#4332458)
Premier league moty?
Page 6 of 8 pages  < 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 > 

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