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Wednesday, February 08, 2012

OT: The Soccer Thread: February 2012

The Battle for Manchester continues as City and United reach for Europa League glory and battle to win the Prem!

Meanwhile, Real tries to break up Barca’s three-year stranglehold on La Liga, while I’m sure there’s some excitement going on in Italy, Germany and with all those other wacky European countries!

Meanwhile, I’m officially nominating February 26 as a morning to head to Kinsale’s for some viewing! It is the North London Derby, plus stay for exciting Stoke v. Swansea action!

RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: February 08, 2012 at 12:47 AM | 784 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: general

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   401. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 17, 2012 at 10:23 AM (#4063224)
Yeah, I'm not sure I'd be all that thrilled about the club being owned by an evolution-denying homophobe.

I'll cross that bridge if I come to it, I guess. They're just reports right now. It would explain where the stadium funding is coming from, though.
   402. DA Baracus Posted: February 17, 2012 at 10:25 AM (#4063225)
I worked for an AEG owned team once. Worst working environment I've ever encountered, and it came from the top down.. So there's that to look forward to.
   403. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 17, 2012 at 10:32 AM (#4063233)
   404. Mattbert Posted: February 17, 2012 at 10:43 AM (#4063246)
I'll cross that bridge if I come to it, I guess.

If the guy more or less copies Uncle Joe's management philosophy of staying the hell out of the way and just signing the checks for Levy, then I could probably learn to ignore Anschutz's repugnant backwards personal beliefs. I mean, there probably aren't many nice and cuddly multi-billionaires looking to get into football club ownership these days. That I like Joe Lewis is pretty much entirely down to the fact that I don't know anything about him, really.

As for Anschutz, this has got to be part of some larger play to further expand AEG's foothold in Europe I would think. It's notoriously difficult to turn much of a profit at the biggest clubs, and I have a hard time believing he's the sort of guy who would get involved with a vanity project. I'm having trouble understanding this from his point of view. Obviously there's potential for some extra-football revenue from concerts and such if the NDP gets done, but wouldn't that just be siphoning existing business away from the O2?

EDIT: Word choice was slightly over the top.
   405. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 17, 2012 at 10:48 AM (#4063249)
At the Spurs blog I frequent we've been forbidden from discussing Anschutz' politics, or, how we'd feel about a prick taking over an institution into which we've invested a lot of our emotion. Heh. For now, I'm just going to hope this is just talk or that they're just looking to become minority partners so they can run the stadium.
   406. Mattbert Posted: February 17, 2012 at 10:53 AM (#4063256)
What blog would that be, kind sir?
   407. Randy Jones Posted: February 17, 2012 at 10:54 AM (#4063257)
EDIT: Word choice was slightly over the top.


If the guy is really an evolution-denying homophobe, then repugnant was a perfectly fine word choice.
   408. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 17, 2012 at 10:59 AM (#4063264)
What blog would that be, kind sir?

Cartilage Free Captain, the SB Nation blog. Most of the commenters are American so I don't feel like so much of a know-nothing poseur.

If the guy is really an evolution-denying homophobe, then repugnant was a perfectly fine word choice.

Add high-powered lobbyist for the petroleum industry, too. He's nearly a parody of right wing politics.
   409. Mattbert Posted: February 17, 2012 at 11:00 AM (#4063265)
If the guy is really an evolution-denying homophobe, then repugnant was a perfectly fine word choice.

I don't know Philip Anschutz personally, but he's donated significant money to the Discovery Institute (intelligent design) and a number of anti-gay marriage legislative efforts. So there's that.

Add high-powered lobbyist for the petroleum industry, too.

Those companies are the bulk of my client base, so I'm cognitively dissonating that inconvenient little nugget away!
   410. DA Baracus Posted: February 17, 2012 at 11:03 AM (#4063268)
Add high-powered lobbyist for the petroleum industry, too


Not so much a lobbyist as an oil exec. They gave us AEG hard hats upon hiring.
   411. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 17, 2012 at 11:10 AM (#4063276)
Not so much a lobbyist as an oil exec. They gave us AEG hard hats upon hiring.

He's also behind the American Petroleum Institute which is a hard core pro-oil lobbyist. Want to know where a lot of the scientists who think global warming is a scam come from?
   412. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 17, 2012 at 11:10 AM (#4063279)
Also, DA, which team was it and why was it so awful? I'm assuming you're free from their clutches and can gossip?
   413. ursus arctos Posted: February 17, 2012 at 11:27 AM (#4063298)
If AEG is interested, it's to get their hands on the stadium. That's been their MO in all of their other European ventures (see, e.g. Berlin and the (former) Millenium Dome), as they generate significantly more profit from concerts and shows than from the resident sports teams (there not being any in the case of the Dome).
   414. Flynn Posted: February 17, 2012 at 11:40 AM (#4063308)
They're not very good at running the stadium. I worked at the former Millennium Dome when I was in university and it was a shitshow par excellence.
   415. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 17, 2012 at 12:25 PM (#4063356)
So, how is Anzhi going to get around FFP, or are they just not worried about playing in Europe? I gotta think there is no way in hell they come close to breaking even.
   416. Randy Jones Posted: February 17, 2012 at 12:32 PM (#4063364)
So, how is Anzhi going to get around FFP, or are they just not worried about playing in Europe? I gotta think there is no way in hell they come close to breaking even.


I assume the owner is just planning on bribing UEFA officials.
   417. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 17, 2012 at 12:33 PM (#4063367)
I assume the owner is just planning on bribing UEFA officials.

Bribe soccer officials? I've never heard of such a thing.
   418. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: February 17, 2012 at 12:41 PM (#4063372)
He's also behind the American Petroleum Institute which is a hard core pro-oil lobbyist. Want to know where a lot of the scientists who think global warming is a scam come from?


Reason.com?
   419. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 17, 2012 at 12:47 PM (#4063378)
Reason.com?

I'm sure there are many sources!

Mertesacker is out for the year for Arsenal but Koscielny should be back in time for Spurs. Evidently Wenger really yelled at the lads today. Really gave em the ol hairdryer.
   420. DA Baracus Posted: February 17, 2012 at 01:28 PM (#4063423)
Also, DA, which team was it and why was it so awful? I'm assuming you're free from their clutches and can gossip?


It was one of their hockey teams, I'll leave it at that. I'd like to protect some anonymity.

It was a terrible work environment because the higher ups were incredible micro managers and created a massively negative environment. We had a saying in our department about management: "I'll tell you how I want you to do it after you do it." The team president once said to one of my bosses "you belong in (a lower level league)." We were once told "you can do whatever you want as long as it's what I want" which makes sense on a certain level but we were paid to be creative arm of the franchise and come up with new things, and we can't do that if we're just doing what one person wants. They constantly used the 20/70/10 line. That 20% of your employees are great, they're leaders, they're visionary, things like that. 70% are fine employees who get the job done and follow the 20%'s lead. And then 10% of your employees need to go. That might be something you say in a board meeting but they were saying this in meetings to the entire company. they stuck to that thought, because the turnover was tremendous. Everyone I knew there was either fired or quit knowing that they were going to get fired. They hired a guy with tattoos (which weren't visible on gamedays, so only the day to day employees would notice, not the paying customer) and then they made a rule that if you have tattoos you can't work there. WTF is that? There were many little things like that they did that made no sense other than to be controlling for the sake of being controlling.

What does this have to do with AEG you might ask? AEG knew this crap was going on and did nothing about it. They knew that every 2 months there was a new full time employee being replaced. They knew that the VPs and up were despised by the rest of the company. We knew this because someone who worked with us got a promotion to a bigger part of AEG and he confirmed that yes, the people above our management were aware of our situation and that they just didn't care. It apparently has gotten worse with new management. I was told this season they fired a department head over the phone on opening night. That's classless.

In fairness, money was never a problem, unlike other places I've worked. If I needed something I usually got approval for it first and then they asked how much it costs. There were never corners cut, which was fantastic. And I never, ever had a problem getting access to coaches and players when needed and they were always awesome to work with, in other instances that hasn't always been the case (I've worked for multiple sports teams).

They might be fine owners from Spurs from a fan standpoint though. They invest heavily in the Galaxy, but on the other hand the other teams they have owned have been essentially afterthoughts. They're spending something like $13 million on Donovan, Keane and Beckham and meanwhile Houston's never had a DP. I think Anschutz would pour money into them when needed. But he's 72 and when he's gone things could change.
   421. ursus arctos Posted: February 17, 2012 at 01:28 PM (#4063424)
Flynn, I thought that they were making money from the Dome, is that wrong?

Shitshows can still be profitable (indeed, this fact may be key to the economic recovery in the US).
   422. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 17, 2012 at 01:53 PM (#4063443)
Thanks DA. It just sounds like an incredibly arrogant company.
   423. DA Baracus Posted: February 17, 2012 at 02:14 PM (#4063471)
Thanks DA. It just sounds like an incredibly arrogant company.


That is a pretty good word for it.

Eden Hazard is taking a page from Robbie Keane!

"There are several clubs that interest me in England and Arsenal is really a part"
   424. Swedish Chef Posted: February 17, 2012 at 02:24 PM (#4063481)
"There are several clubs that interest me in England and Arsenal is really a part"

If he wants to play beautiful football in a beautiful city with a real chance to win titles there's no better way than to join Aston Villa.

Slight exaggerations are allowed in advertising, right?
   425. Mattbert Posted: February 17, 2012 at 02:26 PM (#4063484)
The AP's Rob Harris is quoting Tim Leiweke as saying AEG are not now and have never been interested in purchasing Tottenham Hotspur.
   426. DA Baracus Posted: February 17, 2012 at 02:28 PM (#4063486)
If he wants to play beautiful football in a beautiful city with a real chance to win titles there's no better way than to join Aston Villa.


Or he could play by the beach where there's plenty to do and take a contending team to the top of the table. I'm speaking of course of Blackpool.

   427. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 17, 2012 at 02:31 PM (#4063492)
In fairness to Hazard, he's kind of the platonic ideal of an Arsenal player. I think it would be weird if he didn't go there.
   428. puck Posted: February 17, 2012 at 03:36 PM (#4063596)
How do they measure the possession stat? I know it doesn't cover all 90 minutes plus injury time, so they must not count dead ball time, etc. Is it just based on a judgment call by the stringer as to when a player actually has possession? For example, sometimes you get those wild high trajectory clearances that lead to a few volleys back and forth of headers and players otherwise trying to control the ball where neither team has control. Is that typically not counted as possession until one team is judged to have actually made an intentional, successful, pass?
   429. Swedish Chef Posted: February 17, 2012 at 04:27 PM (#4063648)
Is it just based on a judgment call by the stringer as to when a player actually has possession?

Opta uses computers now. Going by their description, they would lose time whenever a back or goalie gains the ball and don't play it on for a while.

Is that typically not counted as possession until one team is judged to have actually made an intentional, successful, pass?

A loose ball isn't possession, I imagine no system has been accurate enough for that to matter very much, though.
   430. Flynn Posted: February 17, 2012 at 04:39 PM (#4063657)
Flynn, I thought that they were making money from the Dome, is that wrong?

Shitshows can still be profitable (indeed, this fact may be key to the economic recovery in the US).


Oh they are making money, but my experience was like a Lite version of DA's (I was in college, so this was bartending in a VIP area of the Dome - but the company who run the bars is a subsidiary of AEG). It seemed like it was a requirement to be a jerk to be in any position of authority.

The thing is after I left, they got even worse, and I know customer satisfaction is plummeting.
   431. frannyzoo Posted: February 17, 2012 at 05:11 PM (#4063693)
Seeing Inter go all Juve 2010-2011 is marvelous.
   432. puck Posted: February 17, 2012 at 05:31 PM (#4063715)
#429, hmm, that's interesting.

So, they're saying there's a total amount of time that comes from the stringers logging events...then they use the total passes to generate an estimate of the team's share of those events?
   433. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 18, 2012 at 08:56 AM (#4063934)
This Chelsea-Brum great is fantastic so far.
   434. Swedish Chef Posted: February 18, 2012 at 09:05 AM (#4063937)
Neil Warnock takes over at Leeds. I'm no fan of Neil, but he certainly doesn't deserve that cruel fate, no one does. Hmmm, maybe Phil Brown would deserve it.
   435. Swedish Chef Posted: February 18, 2012 at 09:08 AM (#4063938)
If I were Roman, I would ostentatiously sharpen a big knife now.
   436. Textbook Editor Posted: February 18, 2012 at 02:56 PM (#4064073)
If Arsenal and Chelsea both go out... Spurs would be the favorite among the final 8 (should they make it), right?
   437. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: February 18, 2012 at 05:22 PM (#4064129)
Tottenham   11/
Liverpool   10
/
Chelsea     5 
Sunderland  7 
Everton     15
/
   438. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: February 18, 2012 at 07:37 PM (#4064174)
It's too bad Landon can't stay with Everton through the end of the FA cup run.
   439. Swedish Chef Posted: February 19, 2012 at 03:12 PM (#4064328)
Redknapp out!
   440. Mattbert Posted: February 19, 2012 at 04:38 PM (#4064362)
I don't mind the result that much--Stevenage are a solid defensive unit, and I feel pretty confident Spurs will win the replay at home on the better surface--but as entertainment that was dire. Neither team could keep the ball for more than about ten seconds if they were trying pass it through midfield.
   441. DA Baracus Posted: February 19, 2012 at 04:56 PM (#4064372)
The Dunk own goal wasn't the worst but it's at least a honorable mention.
   442. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 19, 2012 at 05:05 PM (#4064379)
Payday for Stevenage!

I feel the same as Mattbert about the game. I don't mind the result but it was such a crap game. Did Harry tell the team to play like Stoke today? My only complaint with this season is that, aside from that first Europa game against Hearts back in August, Spurs have looked like crap in every Cup game this season, League, FA and Europa.
   443. Padgett Posted: February 19, 2012 at 06:52 PM (#4064433)
Do Spurs often play with three at the back? Maybe it was just the absence of Modric, but they didn't look entirely comfortable in that formation, and Bale seemed to have perhaps too much freedom to roam. They looked more positionally organized and confident after Lennon came on and Bale dropped to fullback.
   444. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 19, 2012 at 07:23 PM (#4064442)
Do Spurs often play with three at the back?

Nope, hardly ever. They did briefly against Stoke when they were chasing the game, but that's it. It was a weird formation made all the weirder in that it featured Livermore and Parker in creative positions. I really really thought they should have brought on Lennon and Niko at halftime for Nelsen and Livermore and gone back to a 4-4-2. They couldn't handle Lennon at all when he finally did appear. It's hard not to get the feeling Harry was screwing around in this game which is fine, to an extent, but I wish he would have made a change in formation earlier when it was clear the 3-5-2 wasn't working. The wingback thing was fun, but it just wasn't working at all.
   445. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 19, 2012 at 07:59 PM (#4064452)
QUARTER-FINAL DRAW

Liverpool v Stoke City

Birmingham/Chelsea v Leicester City

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR/STEVENAGE v BOLTON

Everton v Sunderland

Not a bad draw for Spurs at all when/if they get by Stevenage. Evidently Adebyaor has hurt his knee, Modric had the flu and, weirdly, Assou-Ekotto had "minor" groin surgery this week. Adebayor, VDV and BAE are all doubts for the Arsenal game.
   446. Juan V Posted: February 20, 2012 at 12:35 AM (#4064548)
So, Little Leo just did some unspeakable things to Valencia.
   447. Mattbert Posted: February 20, 2012 at 02:29 PM (#4064804)
Double post.
   448. Mattbert Posted: February 20, 2012 at 02:31 PM (#4064807)
I thought the formation was fine, but the team selection was poor. It was more 3-4-1-2 than 3-5-2 I thought, and if Bale is your trequartista then ur doin it rong. Spurs desperately needed a more creative and steady passer in that role, i.e. Kranjcar. Instead, Bale was just running around largely aimlessly, Parker and Livermore were not showing for the ball enough in their own half, and the three defenders were therefore obliged to hoof the ball long towards the two small nippy forwards who do not exactly excel at aerial hold-up play.

The other thing working against them was the poor surface, but using that excuse makes me start to feel like Wenger at his whingiest. It was definitely a contributor to Spurs' route one approach though.

In the end I have to give Stevenage a lot of credit. They defended superbly but were not there to park the bus. They got men forward quite often themselves and made some half decent chances, albeit mostly long range. Spurs have a history of struggling to beat (but not losing to) lower division sides if they fail to brush them aside early. The longer the game stays close, it becomes pretty much nailed on for a draw. Watford is the only recent exception I can think of to the Pummel or Struggle pattern.
   449. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: February 20, 2012 at 02:42 PM (#4064817)
Soooo... How many of you have gotten addicted to Football Manager before? I have some newbie questions.
   450. jmurph Posted: February 20, 2012 at 03:04 PM (#4064837)
Soooo... How many of you have gotten addicted to Football Manager before? I have some newbie questions.


I'm in that camp, but I'm still playing the 2008 version so I'm probably not very helpful. I have a terrifically crappy computer and have been afraid to buy the newer versions.
   451. Mefisto Posted: February 20, 2012 at 04:07 PM (#4064885)
So, Little Leo just did some unspeakable things to Valencia.


Valencia should be honored. Sometimes he's merely great.
   452. DA Baracus Posted: February 20, 2012 at 04:37 PM (#4064898)
Soooo... How many of you have gotten addicted to Football Manager before? I have some newbie questions.


Love it. Still on the 2010 version. What's up?
   453. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: February 20, 2012 at 06:35 PM (#4065011)
Soooo... How many of you have gotten addicted to Football Manager before? I have some newbie questions.

I have had many a relapse, so ask away.
   454. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: February 20, 2012 at 06:52 PM (#4065025)
Soooo... How many of you have gotten addicted to Football Manager before? I have some newbie questions.

Go ahead. I'm an addict myself: 10, 11 and 08 are currently installed on this computer <.<
   455. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: February 20, 2012 at 07:27 PM (#4065058)
I'm in my 3rd season as the New England Rev's coach (I wanted to start off with something fairly simple and build up a rep to eventually go over to take a second division Euro team to the top of one of the big leagues & champions league) and the learning curve is pretty steady so far... but I'm still having trouble with a couple points.

I play a 4-4-2 squashed diamond (center midfielder instead of attacking center midfielder, or is that technically a 4-1-3-2?), with a standard strategy until either I'm up or down a couple goals, and my tactics are generally sent to possession style play (working into the box, playing out of the defense, retaining possession, passing to feet instead of space, and running at the defense) but I'm still taking a ton of long shots. And I'm sure as hell not scoring as much as I should be given the number of shots on target and clear/half chances I get. It especially hurts since both my defensive wings are set to automatic (which from what I've seen means they run a ton, thank god for high stamina stats) and I only have my DMC and 2 DC's set to pure defense. I still score a lot of goals, I lead the league by 10 last season, but given that I also give up a lot of goals on the counter attack it leads to a lot of irritating 2-2 draws where by every non-goal metric I seem to have dominated the opposition.

Secondly, what would be best for late game lead protection, tactics and strategy that focus on defense, or switching up my wing back's responsibilities to straight D. Or both?

Also, what's the best way to stash young talent given a team roster limit of 30 and a senior roster limit of 20? Also also, how the hell does everyone else in the MLS afford Designated Players who's yearly salary is double that of my whole team? I mean, I get how the DP works in MLS, I'm just wondering where they get the transfer allowance from to get guys who are worth millions in the first place. Even with selling every non-first team decent player I get my transfer budget rarely creeps above 400k.

And finally, what are the exact effects of the pre-game/half-time pep talks? I notice that ######## at my players in tie games/when I'm down almost always sets their body language to "fired up" or "motivated" while telling players I have faith in them makes them happy or motivates them... and who doesn't like it when the coach tells you you did awesome, but telling players specific things like "I want to see good finishing" or "I want you to control the midfield" doesn't appear to do jack all.

I'm not doing badly, finished with the best record last year and was bounced from the conference finals on penalties, but it's still stuff I don't get.

The game is awesome, though. Ridiculously addicting. I like pretending I'm Bill Belichick during the press conferences.

edit: And OK, how big a staff should I be angling for? At this point I have a small army of staffers, 6 physios, 10 coaches, and 14 scouts. Those all cost money, so should I fire some of the weaker ones? And if I fire them, what's the difference between straight termination and mutual termination?
   456. DA Baracus Posted: February 20, 2012 at 07:39 PM (#4065065)
Are you giving each player a specific role? I always have a box to box and a ball winner in central midfield, and a complete forward up top, and then set my DM, CAM and other CF to the player's abilities.

In the touch line tactics select "work ball into box" to get more balls played in the box. That should help if you're not already doing that.

The MLS is stupid in FM. You can't, or at least in up to 2010 you can't trade for picks, you have to hope someone offers you one. Plus the Open Cup is always played at high schools for some reason and you can't do anything with the youth academies. What you can do to get around the limit is loan them out.

In real life nearly all DPs are free transfers. The league cant afford high transfer fees yet. It's still a bit of a retirement league, but at least we're getting better retirees.

EDIT: Mutual termination saves you money. The staffs they give you are so costly. You can assemble a great staff for cheap, just focus on specializing them. No need for your defense coach to have abilities not relating to defense.

Also an assistant manager who has a good scouting eye is huge.
   457. Spivey Posted: February 20, 2012 at 07:52 PM (#4065075)
Granted, Brighton looked bad, but Liverpool looked quite good yesterday. If Gerrard, Carroll, and Suarez are all in form - and they looked it - then this is a team that suddenly looks a bunch better. They have some weaker links in the defense and midfield, but almost everyone does (even Man U). I think they are almost a favorite to take the 4th spot in the league.
   458. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: February 20, 2012 at 07:53 PM (#4065077)
You can trade for picks now. The Academies are there but you don't have much control over who gets sent there and who comes out of it. I already have about ten 17-22 year old players circulating through my affiliates, I rued not checking when their loans ended and having to cut a couple players last season.

I give every player a specific role that fits their abilities and the overall strategy. I've got an 18 year old Moroccan, Jawad Bah, who's got very good for MLS stats and a 5 star potential rating at left wing, he's the only expensive foreign transfer I've made and he wiped out most of my bank account.

Gotcha on the DPs. And some teams do have significant money in game, NY has 40m/yr in sponsorships whereas I've got a piddling 1.1m. That certainly makes it easier for them to go out and get people. I guess I just have to wait until I move to the big leagues to really start adding superstars. Or until I have to transfer Feilhaber for a couple million in 2 years because he's too good for the league and won't re-sign.

Edit: How good is good? My current is 13/16 current/potential, but he's a beast at man management (19) and motivating (20), and a 14 on tactical knowledge. He earns 3 times my salary.
   459. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: February 20, 2012 at 07:57 PM (#4065080)
Non-FM question: I'm confused by the number of Champion's League slots the Premiership has. Is it 5 and another 3 for the Europa League this year like Wikipedia says? The premierleague.com league table has me confused with their coloration scheme.
   460. DA Baracus Posted: February 20, 2012 at 08:04 PM (#4065088)
You can trade for picks now. The Academies are there but you don't have much control over who gets sent there and who comes out of it. I already have about ten 17-22 year old players circulating through my affiliates, I rued not checking when their loans ended and having to cut a couple players last season.


Excellent. In 2010 the academies just exist, no one comes out of them and you can't send anyone to them. Dumb.
   461. Mattbert Posted: February 20, 2012 at 10:00 PM (#4065173)
scott: The Premier League sends their top three teams straight through to a spot in the Champions League group stage. The fourth place team has to win a two-legged home and away tie against another European club in order to qualify for the group stage. The fifth place team goes to the Europa League, and there may be up to three more teams going to Europa depending on the outcome of the domestic cup competitions and the Fair Play League.

To summarize, Champions League = at least 3, up to 4 (usually 4); Europa League = at least 3, up to 4 (usually 3).
   462. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: February 20, 2012 at 10:20 PM (#4065178)
Thanks Mattbert. That clears things up a lot.
   463. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: February 20, 2012 at 10:57 PM (#4065202)
I play a 4-4-2 squashed diamond (center midfielder instead of attacking center midfielder, or is that technically a 4-1-3-2?), with a standard strategy until either I'm up or down a couple goals, and my tactics are generally sent to possession style play (working into the box, playing out of the defense, retaining possession, passing to feet instead of space, and running at the defense) but I'm still taking a ton of long shots. And I'm sure as hell not scoring as much as I should be given the number of shots on target and clear/half chances I get. It especially hurts since both my defensive wings are set to automatic (which from what I've seen means they run a ton, thank god for high stamina stats) and I only have my DMC and 2 DC's set to pure defense. I still score a lot of goals, I lead the league by 10 last season, but given that I also give up a lot of goals on the counter attack it leads to a lot of irritating 2-2 draws where by every non-goal metric I seem to have dominated the opposition.

I always play either in England or Germany, so I can't really help you with the MLS specific quirks. Generally you can make any formation work (In my current game I am playing 4-2-4), what's important is that you choose a formation which suits your players, rather than trying to force your players into a formation that doesn't work for them.
I usually start by putting my best players in the position where they are best, and build the formation around that skeleton, based on quality and depth at other positions. So, if you only have 1 quality striker, don't play a formation with 2 up front. If your best player likes to play AMR, don't play a straight 4-4-2... basic stuff really, but it's vital to get it right.

As for converting a higher percentage of chances, it will largely depend on your individual players. If a player is getting beat a lot by the goalkeeper, there is an option to finish with power. It will take up some training time for that player, and it might not stick though. Similarly, if your shots aren't going on target, you might want to ask players to stop shooting with power. Try figuring out what suits a player based on their individual attributes. There is also an option to play around the keeper, which is great for technically skilled players. Similarly, if a player has a takes long shots preferred move, you probably want to ask him to stop, unless he has a really high attribute.

Also, playing into space will generally result in higher quality chances, but at the cost of more turnovers, since you are playing the ball in behind the defense more and creating more 1-on-1 and close range shots. If you have a midfielder with a suitably high passing skill, I would also ask him to play through balls frequently. And generally, if you are playing a possession style game, and are still giving up a lot of counter attack goals, it's probably a good sign that you should make some changes.

Secondly, what would be best for late game lead protection, tactics and strategy that focus on defense, or switching up my wing back's responsibilities to straight D. Or both?

Bring on an extra DM for 1 of your strikers if you can. Set yuor style to counter attacking.

Also, what's the best way to stash young talent given a team roster limit of 30 and a senior roster limit of 20? Also also, how the hell does everyone else in the MLS afford Designated Players who's yearly salary is double that of my whole team? I mean, I get how the DP works in MLS, I'm just wondering where they get the transfer allowance from to get guys who are worth millions in the first place. Even with selling every non-first team decent player I get my transfer budget rarely creeps above 400k.

Well, in the real world, the guys MLS usually gets are FA's, so there is no transfer fee. But in return,you are obviously drawing from a fairly limited pool. Your best bet is probably searching for expiring contacts at the start of January. You can offer contracts to guys who are 6 months from FA.

Regarding young talent, you probably want to assign a mentor to your top prospects. What that does is boost the development of the prospects mental attributes (iow everything in the second box) towards that of the mentor. So the guy who has high mental attributes himself, especially the ones that are vital to the prospects position (e.g.work rate for DM, flair for AM etc). There's also a chance that the prospect learns one of his mentors preferred moves, if he has any, which is something to keep in mind also.

And finally, what are the exact effects of the pre-game/half-time pep talks? I notice that ######## at my players in tie games/when I'm down almost always sets their body language to "fired up" or "motivated" while telling players I have faith in them makes them happy or motivates them... and who doesn't like it when the coach tells you you did awesome, but telling players specific things like "I want to see good finishing" or "I want you to control the midfield" doesn't appear to do jack all.

Players react differently based on their own personality and their current state of mind, which is affected by a whole bunch of stuff from past performances to how he is getting on with his team mates. So it's a bit of trial and error, to see who responds well to what. The 'I want you to control the midfield' or equivalent seems to work best when players are being complacent (happens on winning streaks, check your assistants pre game report). You might also want to warn against complacency at the end of a win, if you are on a streak. It will usually tick off the guys who played well that game, but you can typically fix that with 'well done'.

edit: And OK, how big a staff should I be angling for? At this point I have a small army of staffers, 6 physios, 10 coaches, and 14 scouts. Those all cost money, so should I fire some of the weaker ones? And if I fire them, what's the difference between straight termination and mutual termination?

Yeah, that's way too big. I think if you just terminate them though, you still pay their remaining salary, so if you can't get them to agree to a mutual one, you are probably best just letting them expire,and not renewing them. They aren't actively hurting you, it's just a waste of resources.
   464. JuanGone..except1game Posted: February 20, 2012 at 11:08 PM (#4065208)
I always play either in England or Germany, so I can't really help you with the MLS specific quirks. Generally you can make any formation work (In my current game I am playing 4-2-4), what's important is that you choose a formation which suits your players, rather than trying to force your players into a formation that doesn't work for them.


This might have already been recommended here and I know that it doesn't cover MLS, but Zonal Marking is just about my favorite sports site on the internet. They breakdown soccer in a way that now even I'm kind of starting to understand the formation strategy in soccer. If you want to see some prescient pre-game analysis , read their preview of AC v Arsenal last week.
   465. frannyzoo Posted: February 21, 2012 at 02:21 AM (#4065287)
Here's how I learned to stop worrying and love FM properly (for me). After some encouragement from FPH, I stuck with Nurnberg and am now in about 2025. Upon taking the team in 2013 or so I was able to get them back up to first division. Then I putzed around a bit performing cromulently, as they would say on BTF. Nothing special. I was losing interest during the next season, it was only about September 1 and I was thinking of just stopping when...I decided to Go On Holiday. I went on Holiday until May 20th or so the next year. And voila! My team did better than expected without me. So I stuck around for the Summer Transfer, stocked up a bit, and spun the wheel again. Holiday until May 20th of the next year. Shampoo, rinse, repeat for about a decade now. It's much more fun for me, as I like the transfer stuff better than half-ass guessing of strategy, player emotions, training and such, and the team does much better without me. Last year, in about 2025, "my" team won the league, the Pokal, and made it to the Semi-Finals of the Champions' League...defeated by some team called Totingham or Tottanhand or something like that.

Obviously not for everyone, but this method works best for me. This is in 2012, btw...I've also got '11 and '10.
   466. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: February 21, 2012 at 02:35 AM (#4065290)
Well, the Revs just fired me because I guess going 5-3-2 in your first 10 games isn't good enough even when every single one of those games were played away from home and despite 4 of my first team players being out for months.* I look forward to watching them crash and burn, seeing as they're the second poorest team in MLS and the only reason they could do crap is because of my genius. Time to move to some European league and make a real name for myself starting 2013!

* Not sure why, but the last two seasons I had 11 away games before my first home game. I wonder if that was the board trying to oust me for being too demanding.

BTW, this series is what got me to play FM. http://www.runofplay.com/category/vercelli/ It's pretty fantastic, and the Piedmontese beef in wine recipe featured in it is simple enough for a child to make and stupidly delicious. It's pretty long, though.

Back to actual soccer!
   467. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: February 21, 2012 at 04:10 AM (#4065308)
After some encouragement from FPH

"Go big or go home" - FPH, Locker Room Speech World Champion
   468. Juan V Posted: February 21, 2012 at 04:25 AM (#4065310)
For those who have FM11, how good is the match engine? I thought the one in the demo was rubbish, but the patches may have fixed that. I refuse to buy any game that requires Steam, so that rules out 12.
   469. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 21, 2012 at 02:06 PM (#4065541)
Michael Cox and Jonathan Wilson dogpile on Arsenal.

I feel like I'm completely missing the obvious as I don't see Arsenal as being all that abject right now. Clearly they're not one of the best teams in Europe, but they should still come away with a CL spot despite a crazy amount of injuries to their defenders and are a win this weekend from being content and on the upswing again. Maybe it's just a matter of perception on where you think Arsenal should be in relation to the mega bastard clubs of Europe. I'm not sure why a loss at Sunderland after a tough midweek fixture in Milan should be the catalyst for all of these whoa-is-Arsenal stories, though.

Speakin of a crisis...

I thought this was an interesting article on why Fernando Torres is crap this year. Anyone have an opinion on the analysis? It's the first article I've read that tried to get at the meat of what Torres is doing wrong instead of just throwing out generalizations about health and confidence and poor service.
   470. Mattbert Posted: February 21, 2012 at 02:17 PM (#4065552)
You think Arsenal will hang on for that fourth spot, Shooty? Bold.
   471. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 21, 2012 at 02:26 PM (#4065556)
You think Arsenal will hang on for that fourth spot, Shooty? Bold.

I think they're the favorites for it just as I think if anyone catches Spurs for 3rd, it will be the Gooners. Chelsea look more of a mess than Arsenal and Arsenal have Van Persie. I actually think Newcastle or Liverpool might be ahead of Chelsea in the table when the season's over. I reserve the right to change my mind if Djourou starts playing more for Arsenal as he's clearly the anti-Van Persie and cancels out that one huge advantage Arsenal have over Liverpool and Chelsea.

   472. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: February 21, 2012 at 02:35 PM (#4065567)
I feel like I'm completely missing the obvious as I don't see Arsenal as being all that abject right now. Clearly they're not one of the best teams in Europe, but they should still come away with a CL spot despite a crazy amount of injuries to their defenders and are a win this weekend from being content and on the upswing again. Maybe it's just a matter of perception on where you think Arsenal should be in relation to the mega bastard clubs of Europe. I'm not sure why a loss at Sunderland after a tough midweek fixture in Milan should be the catalyst for all of these whoa-is-Arsenal stories, though.


I dunno Shooty. They are in a four team race for that fourth spot (Arsenal-Chelsea tied, Newcastle one point back, Liverpool 4 points) and they've basically had one solid game since Boxing Day and that was against a team in a relegation fight. Their next three league games are home for Spurs, at Liverpool and home for Norwich. Of those 9 points if you made the over/under 3.5 I wouldn't feel good about the over. The fact is there isn't anything about Arsenal right now that separates them in any way from those other three teams they are battling with.

And if RVP goes down...pffft.

The other thing is there is an expectation issue. Arsenal isn't a team that shows up in August hoping for a CL spot. They are (or at least should be) expecting to contend for meaningful trophies. Right now we've got Wenger saying "the first trophy is to finish in the top four." I can't imagine Arsenal fans are OK with that.
   473. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: February 21, 2012 at 02:43 PM (#4065576)
Is Chelsea playing for AVB's job today?

And if so is that going to bring out the best or the worst of Chelsea?
   474. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 21, 2012 at 02:53 PM (#4065585)
Right now we've got Wenger saying "the first trophy is to finish in the top four." I can't imagine Arsenal fans are OK with that.

I did chuckle a bit at that, especially after Wenger's condescension about Spurs finally making 4th and a place in the CL. I still think you dismiss them at your own risk but we'll find out a lot about what Arsenal has left on Sunday. Form or not, they're at home for a derby with a full week's rest and the season, basically, at stake.

And if so is that going to bring out the best or the worst of Chelsea?

Depends on if they speak Portuguese or English...
   475. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 21, 2012 at 02:56 PM (#4065590)
CSKA equalize in extra time. Real are still in great shape, obviously, but some nice pride salvaging there for Moscow.
   476. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: February 21, 2012 at 02:58 PM (#4065592)
From Yahoo UK's text gamecast;

86' Real just counting down the minutes now on the plastic pitch. Looks like the job is done.


87' The Russian club have never lost a European match against Spanish opposition, winning three and drawing two. That looks like changing here


Oops.
   477. Spivey Posted: February 21, 2012 at 02:58 PM (#4065593)
High drama in Moscow!

That Musaab guy looked really good for CSKA.
   478. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: February 21, 2012 at 03:03 PM (#4065599)
Well, that was an amusing turn of events in Moscow.

   479. Mattbert Posted: February 21, 2012 at 03:04 PM (#4065600)
Is Chelsea playing for AVB's job today?

If they aren't already, the prolific Michael Cox suggests they will be soon if results do not improve.
   480. frannyzoo Posted: February 21, 2012 at 03:21 PM (#4065616)
no Cole, Essien or Lampard in the Starting XI, this just got a bit more interesting.
   481. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 21, 2012 at 03:24 PM (#4065618)
I'm going to assume Cole is still hurt as there is no other logical reason for Bosingwa's inclusion. Lampard's Chelsea career is about over, no? Lampard back to West Ham if they get promoted?
   482. Mattbert Posted: February 21, 2012 at 03:31 PM (#4065625)
Cole is on the bench, as is Essien. Malouda starts. Interesting, to say the least.

Terry is hurt, so it's Cahill and Luiz at CB with Ivanovic and Bosingwa as the fullbacks. I look at that defense and see Napoli tearing it to shreds, but I thought the same when Spurs hosted Chelsea in the league and Bosingwa had to deputize at center back due to an early injury. Didn't work out that way.
   483. frannyzoo Posted: February 21, 2012 at 03:45 PM (#4065638)
Good Championship slate "tonight." Birmingham is my team there, and, despite the fact the season is 800 games long, tonight is a chance to solidify some things.
   484. Mattbert Posted: February 21, 2012 at 03:47 PM (#4065641)
Good Championship slate "tonight." Birmingham is my team there

A supporter of Wolves and Brum? Is that even legal?
   485. frannyzoo Posted: February 21, 2012 at 03:49 PM (#4065643)
Being in the States allows for Bizarro World behavior...in fact, I think it's encouraged. Just like it might be possible to be both a Buckeye and Wolverine fan if one lives in Barnsley.
   486. Mattbert Posted: February 21, 2012 at 03:49 PM (#4065644)
Terry might be out for six weeks, according to AVB's pre-game comments. The "race to the bottom" for fourth place continues...
   487. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 21, 2012 at 03:55 PM (#4065655)
Gary Cahill is getting a rough introduction to the CL so far.
   488. Spivey Posted: February 21, 2012 at 03:57 PM (#4065657)
The sound on FSC is about 2-3 full seconds off from the picture for the Chelsea/Napoli game for me, which is a bummer. The CSKA game wasn't like that.
   489. frannyzoo Posted: February 21, 2012 at 04:00 PM (#4065660)
I vaguely remember a time in which Bosingwa was fast, dangerous and not always injured...it's a very vague recollection, however.
   490. I am going to be Frank Posted: February 21, 2012 at 04:20 PM (#4065674)
The sound is definitely off. I really hope they upgrade their technical abilities soon. ESPN is slagged a lot but you can rarely complain about technical issues. For instance, there is a noticeable difference in the picture quality of a ESPN-broadcast premier league match and a FSC-broadcast premier match.
   491. DA Baracus Posted: February 21, 2012 at 04:23 PM (#4065676)
And if so is that going to bring out the best or the worst of Chelsea?


I was going to say "both, depends on each individual player." And then Mata scored to kind of confirm that. I wouldn't be surprised if "AVB's guys" played their ass off and the rest didn't. But then again manager changes are so frequent at Chelsea that the veterans there are as immune to this stuff as anyone.
   492. I am going to be Frank Posted: February 21, 2012 at 04:24 PM (#4065678)
Wow poor defending - nice finish.
   493. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: February 21, 2012 at 04:34 PM (#4065688)
Moscow beating REal would be awesome
   494. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 21, 2012 at 04:35 PM (#4065690)
I'm not having any trouble with the sound, FWIW.

A weird half. Neither defense has looked good at all. Say what you want about him, but Chelsea could really use John Terry in this game. Ramires is getting killed in midfield. Both he and Meireles seem lost.
   495. Mattbert Posted: February 21, 2012 at 04:49 PM (#4065704)
Say what you want about him, but Chelsea could really use John Terry in this game.

He is not the defender he once was, but he is still far and away the only man in that Chelsea squad who seems capable of organizing them as a unit defensively. If he is truly sidelined until April, then you are going to look like a genius for being so cocksure about Arsenal's top four chances.
   496. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 21, 2012 at 04:59 PM (#4065713)
Wow. You don't expect Lavezzi to miss that.
   497. Tike Redman's Shattered Dreams Posted: February 21, 2012 at 05:05 PM (#4065718)
Napoli has been poor in the second half. Chelsea is throwing everyone forward, but Napoli's counterattack hasn't been effective overall. Napoli's lucky not to be down already.
   498. Tike Redman's Shattered Dreams Posted: February 21, 2012 at 05:09 PM (#4065720)
No sooner have I said it... AVB is in real trouble now. Man, what horrible, horrible defending by Luiz there.
   499. Randy Jones Posted: February 21, 2012 at 05:16 PM (#4065726)
So will all the English teams making early exits from the CL hurt the PL's UEFA coefficients or are they sufficiently ahead of the rest that their CL and Europa spots are secure?
   500. Mattbert Posted: February 21, 2012 at 05:18 PM (#4065729)
Lampard and Essien on, Malouda and Meireles off.

Time to test the DA Baracus hypothesis and see if they dog it.
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