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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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Page 8 of 8 pages ‹ First  < 3 4 5 6 7 8
   701. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: December 31, 2012 at 08:29 AM (#4335170)
Transfer news!

Demba Ba was set for Chelsea but he evidently wants more in wages than Chelsea want to pay. He must want some crazy-ass wages, then. I invite all Liverpool supporters to a ceremony in which I will congenially hand the "Favorite for Wesley Sneijder" title over to the red side of Liverpool. You're welcome! As for Spurs, my gut is that they won't do anything except ship a couple of players out (Bentley again and Huddlestone out on loan) but the Moutinho thing could be interesting, though I'm not sure how AVB would mix and match the midfield with the Dembele-Sandro partnership working out so well. I'd rather they forked that money out for Damiao or another young, talented striker to push Adebayor and Defoe. I think this window will be pretty quiet, actually. Chelsea will bring in a big named striker to replace Sturridge but I think that's about it. QPR and Villa might be wild cards.
   702. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: December 31, 2012 at 08:37 AM (#4335173)
Oh, and I forgot to mention Mick McCarthy got some revenge against Wolves over the weekend. He actually has Ipswich on the rise since taking over there.
   703. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: December 31, 2012 at 08:40 AM (#4335175)
   704. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: December 31, 2012 at 08:45 AM (#4335178)
Just one last link...Jonathan Wilson on Spurs.

I thought this part was interesting:

Lloris, though, brings an additional benefit. Friedel, as so many of the US school of goalkeeping are, is essentially a line keeper. He prefers to stay back and react to shots. There’s nothing wrong with that but if a team is to play with a high line, as Spurs do, it needs a keeper who is prepared to leave his box and sweep up in the space behind the back four. That is Lloris’s natural game, and he is technically adept with his feet. Since he has displaced Friedel, it’s been noticeable that Spurs have played with a higher line. That in turn has allowed the midfield to play higher and that has made it easier for the likes of Mousa Dembele, Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon -- and Clint Dempsey, if he can ever establish himself in the side -- to get forward and offer an attacking threat. Early in the season there had been a tendency for Jermain Defoe, particularly when he played as a lone forward, to become isolated; counter-intuitively the solution to that has been to change the goalkeeper.


Happy New Year Spurs fans! Oh, and the rest of you knuckleheads, too.
   705. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: December 31, 2012 at 08:55 AM (#4335181)
Demba Ba was set for Chelsea but he evidently wants more in wages than Chelsea want to pay.


There's a phrase you don't hear very often. I think that's being driven by Terry and Lampard and the need Chelsea will have over the summer to replace those guys. The money for Ba is probably better spent there if they believe in Torres' revival.

What's the latest on Falcao? Seems like the winds are blowing to no transfer until the summer which makes sense given Atletico's place int he standings.
   706. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: December 31, 2012 at 09:03 AM (#4335186)
What's the latest on Falcao? Seems like the winds are blowing to no transfer until the summer which makes sense given Atletico's place int he standings.

I haven't read anything about a Falcao transfer being imminent. Twitter is abuzz that Moutinho is close to joining Spurs, though. As usual, I'll believe it when I see it. It wouldn't surprise me since they actually struck a deal in August but couldn't file the paperwork in time. He seems to be the player AVB really wants and I guess Spurs may be about to break their transfer record to get him.
   707. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 31, 2012 at 09:39 AM (#4335207)
s for Spurs, my gut is that they won't do anything except ship a couple of players out (Bentley again and Huddlestone out on loan) but the Moutinho thing could be interesting, though I'm not sure how AVB would mix and match the midfield with the Dembele-Sandro partnership working out so well. I'd rather they forked that money out for Damiao or another young, talented striker to push Adebayor and Defoe.
I think a deep-lying creative midfielder is much more important than a striker. Think of it this way - if Dembele gets hurt, we don't have any creative force in midfield, whereas if one of Defoe or Ade gets hurt, we have the other one. Further, Dembele is very fragile (missing 5 and 15 games in his two EPL seasons). He's the one Spurs need cover for the most.

I think Moutinho would slot in very easily tactically. In a 4-3-3, one traditional way of arranging the midfield three in a flexible triangle is between a "runner", a "passer" and a "holder". Sandro (or Parker) makes a great holder, and he can switch off as a runner as well. Moutinho is a pure passer, but he has enough flexibility to move around as well. Dembele is a natural runner, and his passing and holding are good enough to play those roles too. It would be an incredibly dynamic, tough, and skillful midfield. Perhaps the best in the premier league. (I'd also be happy with a non-Moutinho passer, but I think it's really important for the race for 4th that Spurs get someone who can cover some of the creative burden.)

This would create a bit of a crunch up top, but that's kind of fine, especially if Spurs don't have lots of depth at striker. A rotation of Bale, Lennon, Defoe, Adebayor, and Dempsey on the front line would be pretty great. (Obviously you don't actually rotate Bale, though.) And you'd have depth to play 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3 if you wanted to sit a midfielder.
   708. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 31, 2012 at 09:51 AM (#4335213)
Agreed on Mirallas. I also think Jelavic has been pretty awful recently, the Merseyside version of pre-Benitez Torres. He gets so many chances but almost never puts anything home. I also think Everton has really been gypped by refs, both for penalties against (errr...City?) and penalties not called for.
Yeah, Mirallas has been a bit underrated because Fellaini has been so obviously excellent. Mirallas' underlying per-minute numbers are nearly as good as Fellaini's, and Everton look crazy dangerous when both are in the attack.

Everton look more than good enough to compete - they were just as good as Chelsea and a bit unlucky not to have come away with a point. It'll be interesting to see if anyone in the Everton/Arsenal/Spurs group makes a run. I am pretty much sure that West Brom will fall off this pace, and I'm reasonably confident that Chelsea are going to add talent and lock in a top-three finish, and I'm just about totally confident that Man City won't fall out of the top three.** But I don't really know how to evaluate the Arsenal, Everton, and Spurs, and they'll be fighting for just one spot. That should be exciting in the second half.

**And likewise while I think United are the class of the league, they are more than flawed enough that Chelsea or City making a run at the title wouldn't be at all surprising.
   709. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 31, 2012 at 09:58 AM (#4335217)
I have to respectfully disagree Shooty. There are times when the club doesn't appear to be that far from a 4th place contending team and then I look at their roster. If I'm being brutally honest there are only two players on the team I really feel comfortable leading a charge to CL qualification. Suarez and Agger. The rest of them have too many problems. I'm not saying they don't have other players with some talent, but I'm saying Agger and Suarez are the only two they have that could walk into most top sides in the world.
Lucas, too, right? And Johnson could walk on to a lot of them. Allen isn't at that level, but he's a solid, useful player.

I think the problem for Liverpool isn't just talent, it's also the arrangement of talent. Three of their four best players are defenders primarily or exclusively, and their next best, Allen, also plays very deep. Sterling is mostly just a fast runner at this point, as is Suso, and they make Shelvey look like a disciplined pro. Sahin has played like a bored 38-year-old. There's absolutely nothing that connects Suarez to the (quite strong) back half of the squad. Further, Suarez isn't a pure #9, but a wonderfully creative player, and he keeps setting up chances that his teammates aren't good enough to cash in. So he gets frustrated and starts taking too many shots in bad positions.

(That's my hypothesis for why Liverpool's attack has so massively underperformed its underlying numbers. The other guys aren't finishers, and Suarez is creating tons of chances for guys who aren't good enough to cash them in.)
   710. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: December 31, 2012 at 10:09 AM (#4335221)
Yeah yeah yeah...I want ursus to explain these pooping figurines that are all the rage in Barcelona. Can I get a Luis Figo on ebay?
   711. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 31, 2012 at 10:19 AM (#4335224)
In #709, that should have been, "Shelvey makes them look like disciplined pros." Oh well.
   712. Mattbert Posted: December 31, 2012 at 11:38 AM (#4335252)
Nice writeup by Wilson, although I do have a couple quibbles.

Regarding the "US school" of passive, reactive goalkeeping: I do think there is something wrong with that unless you have an absolutely elite defense playing in front of you and you're exceptionally good at organizing it. Otherwise it just invites pressure from the opposition and puts your defenders in the position of frequently having to make awkward clearances when it would have been easier for the keeper to come deal with the danger. Which invites further pressure, etc, etc.

Also, Kaboul did play this season. He started the season opener against Newcastle alongside Gallas and played the full 90. In looking up the box score for that game to confirm I wasn't mistaken about that, I of course noticed van der Vaart's name (came on as a sub for Sigurdsson). *sob*
   713. Mattbert Posted: December 31, 2012 at 11:58 AM (#4335271)
Regarding transfer scuttlebutt, I think Ba would a very good signing for Chelsea. His movement and finishing have been top class again this term after a lull in the second half of last season following Cisse's arrival and theft of the spotlight. I think he'd score in buckets with Chelsea's playmakers feeding him a steady diet of quality chances. At the same time, selling Ba could also be a very good move for Newcastle if they replace him with Loic Remy as has been rumored. Remy complements Cisse much, much better than Ba.

Sneijder is a puzzle. As talented as he is, he's been utterly woeful for almost two years now. And he's approaching 30 and hugely expensive in terms of wages. That doesn't seem like a combination that would attract a lot of interest from Daniel Levy or John Henry. We'll see. To me, he fits better at Schalke or the red side of Milan.

Moutinho would be a huge get for Spurs. I think AVB would be hopping around like Steffen Freund if he could select a Sandro-Dembele-Moutinho midfield. That's just crazy good. I even slightly disagree with MCOA's swooning over it in #707. Moutinho is, much like Modric, underrated as a defensive presence and ball-winner in his own right. I remain quite pessimistic that he will move in the January window, though. Porto are still in the Champions League after all, and that doesn't usually add up to being a motivated seller.
   714. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: December 31, 2012 at 12:18 PM (#4335283)
If you're bored...

This should keep you busy.
   715. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: December 31, 2012 at 12:58 PM (#4335323)
I'm not sure we've linked to it here yet so if you haven't seen "Karim Benzema" set to the tune of "Feliz Navidad" yet...I dare you to get it out of your head.
   716. JH (in DC) Posted: December 31, 2012 at 01:42 PM (#4335365)
Regarding the "US school" of passive, reactive goalkeeping: I do think there is something wrong with that unless you have an absolutely elite defense playing in front of you and you're exceptionally good at organizing it. Otherwise it just invites pressure from the opposition and puts your defenders in the position of frequently having to make awkward clearances when it would have been easier for the keeper to come deal with the danger. Which invites further pressure, etc, etc.


This may also explain why the USA defense under Klinsmann has looked so shaky besides just the need to settle a new central defense pairing after going with Onyewu-Boca for so long. Klinsmann loves the high line as part of his attacking style. I haven't necessarily paid attention to Howard's abilities to play the ball, but it wouldn't surprise me if he were the same standard as Friedel.
   717. Mattbert Posted: December 31, 2012 at 02:08 PM (#4335395)
Cudicini to LA Galaxy is official. Best of luck to Carlo.
   718. Mefisto Posted: December 31, 2012 at 04:43 PM (#4335529)
If Spurs plan to loan out Huddleston, perhaps y'all could use your vast influence with the club to send him to Everton or Fulham. He'd be much appreciated at either club.
   719. DA Baracus Posted: December 31, 2012 at 04:51 PM (#4335536)
Cudicini signing remains strange, but Bruce Arena has more than earned the benefit of the doubt.

If you're bored...

This should keep you busy.


There goes my free time.

"The Enduring Global Influence of the 1968 Atlanta Chiefs"

The Silverbacks put their team name up for a fan vote. Chiefs lost because they botched the process. Then they put the team logo up for fan submissions, winner would go up against the old logo and a new professionally designed one. An employee of mine won the fan voting on that, then they botched they botched the process on that. Great management!
   720. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 31, 2012 at 05:16 PM (#4335553)
How did I miss that Brian Phillips piece? ("Soccer's Heavy Boredom"). Good stuff, as usual from Phillips.
But I think there's more to the relationship of fans and boredom than just magic moments. I want you to like soccer if you don't already, so I probably shouldn't admit this. But the game gets in your head. Following soccer is like being in love with someone who's (a) gorgeous, (b) fascinating, (c) possibly quite evil, and (d) only occasionally aware of your existence. There's a continuous low-grade suffering that becomes a sort of addiction in its own right. You spend all your time hoping they'll notice you, and they never do, and that unfulfilled hope feels like your only connection to them. And then one day they look your way, and it's just, pow. And probably they just want help moving, and maybe they call you Josie instead of Julie, but still. It keeps you going. And as irrational as it sounds, you wouldn't trade this state of being for a life of quiet contentment with someone else. All you could gain would be peace of mind, and you'd lose that moment when the object of your fixation looked at you and you couldn't feel your face.
   721. vortex of dissipation Posted: December 31, 2012 at 08:21 PM (#4335643)
"The Enduring Global Influence of the 1968 Atlanta Chiefs"


Not only in soccer, but in British rock. No, really. This band was named after this team which was named after the Atlanta Chiefs.
   722. DA Baracus Posted: December 31, 2012 at 08:33 PM (#4335650)
Yeah they had a quasi-hit years back.

Orlando Pirates is a cooler name though.
   723. ursus arctos Posted: January 01, 2013 at 04:25 PM (#4336087)
Jomo Cosmos are another South African club who trace their name to the NASL.

Shooty, the Amics del Caganer may be able to tell you where to find a Figo figure (many would have been hurled against walls after he went to Madrid).

The Wiki collects a host of suppositions about their origin.
   724. Swedish Chef Posted: January 01, 2013 at 07:28 PM (#4336321)
I've decamped from the arctic regions to Alicante for a little while to avoid being eaten by polar bears. Alicante's local heroes Hercules are last in the second division and won't have a home game while I'm here anyway, but their rivals from just up the road, Elche, has one this weekend. They're dominating the second division in some style, 8 points up on the second place team. Seems like a good bandwagon to jump on.
   725. Mattbert Posted: January 01, 2013 at 08:43 PM (#4336407)
   726. SuperGrover Posted: January 02, 2013 at 02:03 AM (#4336646)
Yeah, Mirallas has been a bit underrated because Fellaini has been so obviously excellent. Mirallas' underlying per-minute numbers are nearly as good as Fellaini's, and Everton look crazy dangerous when both are in the attack.

Everton look more than good enough to compete - they were just as good as Chelsea and a bit unlucky not to have come away with a point. It'll be interesting to see if anyone in the Everton/Arsenal/Spurs group makes a run. I am pretty much sure that West Brom will fall off this pace, and I'm reasonably confident that Chelsea are going to add talent and lock in a top-three finish, and I'm just about totally confident that Man City won't fall out of the top three.** But I don't really know how to evaluate the Arsenal, Everton, and Spurs, and they'll be fighting for just one spot. That should be exciting in the second half.

**And likewise while I think United are the class of the league, they are more than flawed enough that Chelsea or City making a run at the title wouldn't be at all surprising.


Agreed across the board.
   727. SuperGrover Posted: January 02, 2013 at 02:06 AM (#4336649)
There's absolutely nothing that connects Suarez to the (quite strong) back half of the squad. Further, Suarez isn't a pure #9, but a wonderfully creative player, and he keeps setting up chances that his teammates aren't good enough to cash in. So he gets frustrated and starts taking too many shots in bad positions.


Yep. Suarez is more of a false 9. He would be a monster with someone a true poacher in tow. As it is, he is about 83% more valuable to his team than any other premier league player in the league.
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