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Friday, February 01, 2013

OT: The Soccer Thread: February 2013

Well, it was on time last month!

RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: February 01, 2013 at 11:59 AM | 1499 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: off-topic

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   1001. ursus arctos Posted: February 19, 2013 at 07:59 PM (#4372236)
I think that the "or" there is doing quite a bit of work.
   1002. SuperGrover Posted: February 19, 2013 at 08:08 PM (#4372241)
SG - And seeing Cisse, Aguero, and RVP all go from top of the league to bottom, while Suarez switches bottom to top, certainly shows the variability of these numbers.


Yep.
   1003. SuperGrover Posted: February 19, 2013 at 08:11 PM (#4372243)
According to the file that Man City gave with their Opta data when they released that year for free, a big chance is "A situation where a player should reasonably be expected to score usually in a one-on-one scenario or from very close range." which I assume is the same for this, since it's also Opta.


It is and represents one of the major issues in complex team sports with constant movement and dynamic flow. American football game charting has the same issue. Still though as long as there is some consistency across games and seasons, we can still derive a lot of value from these values. Given the paucity of Opta's numbers it remains to be seen if this consistency exists.
   1004. SuperGrover Posted: February 19, 2013 at 08:12 PM (#4372245)
I'm wondering MCOA, do you have Jelavic's numbers from last year? I mean, his horrible numbers for this year match up with what I've seen. Last year obviously he scored more, but I'd be interested in what his "conversion" rate was.


He was 3 for 7 last season.
   1005. SuperGrover Posted: February 19, 2013 at 08:19 PM (#4372250)
EDIT: RVP has so many of them, maybe he does such a good job on marginal chances that they are deemed big chances by the observers. Like an outfielder who makes hard balls seem catchable, dragging down his percentage of plays made.


Possibly. The ability to get into clear scoring opportunities is one of the things that makes great scorers great.

It should also be noted that RVP's goal conversion (goals per total shots) is fourth best among players with 10 or more Big Chances this season. So, even though he isn't converting his Big Chances all that well, he's converting his shots as a whole.

So with RVP you have a guy with great movement and understanding allowing him to generate a ton of Big Chances combined with the ability to score in situations that aren't so clear cut. That's enough to make him pretty damn good one would think.
   1006. Spivey Posted: February 19, 2013 at 08:22 PM (#4372253)
Bayern play in a cupcake league. Dortmund is the only team that can play up to their level, and their track-record against them is not good.


How true is this really? Well, they obviously struggle against Dortmund. But if you asked me to pick between a top 2 of Man City and Man Utd and Bayern and Dortmund I'd take the German teams. Germany is quite a bit better in terms of domestic football, which seems like it should help with lower/middle table teams. From brief experience it doesn't seem like they're any worse as far as having good international stars. People rag on Arsenal all the time here, but they always seem to be in 3rd or 4th in the EPL.

I think the EPL has become significantly overrated, and I think the Bundesliga is much more on the level of La Liga and EPL than Serie A or the French league.

SG - And seeing Cisse, Aguero, and RVP all go from top of the league to bottom, while Suarez switches bottom to top, certainly shows the variability of these numbers.


With rare exceptions I think finishing ability is overrated and very heavily based on chance. The value of RVP, Suarez, and a couple of these guys is that they can create "big chances" on their own with their class.
   1007. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: February 19, 2013 at 08:53 PM (#4372268)
How true is this really? Well, they obviously struggle against Dortmund. But if you asked me to pick between a top 2 of Man City and Man Utd and Bayern and Dortmund I'd take the German teams.

That was kind of the point, they have no depth. Bayer are a semi-decent, nothing special team. Maybe on par with Everton. Schalke is about the same, when they are functional (which they aren't right now). And after that, it gets really grim. Frankfurt who are currently slotted for a CL spot, got outplayed a man up by Dortmund last week. By a lot. Gladbach lost to Kiev in CL qualification. Meanwhile, Chelsea are the current CL winners, and Arsenal, before selling their best player, won a group last year, in which Dortmund finished last. There is no Chelsea, there is no Spurs, there is no Arsenal, there is no Liverpool in the German league, who can play up to the level of the big boys. It's all cupcakes.

Germany is quite a bit better in terms of domestic football, which seems like it should help with lower/middle table teams.


Challenge time: Without looking it up, name a current German national team player, who plays club football at a German club, other than Bayern or Dortmund.
   1008. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: February 19, 2013 at 09:21 PM (#4372276)
Challenge time: Without looking it up, name a current German national team player, who plays club football at a German club, other than Bayern or Dortmund.

I checked the two players who came to mind immediately (one at Schalke, one at Bayer Leverkusen). It turns out the former only has three caps so far. I'm surprised, thought he had more (the latter has a number of caps/goals, as would be expected).

(not naming names so as not to spoil the game for anyone else who wants to play. I imagine most people here can get a fair few more than me off the top of their heads).
   1009. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: February 19, 2013 at 09:29 PM (#4372279)
Howedes - Schalke

Before the January transfer, Holtby (sorta).

(Plus Draxler, who has a couple of caps, but is out injured)

I don't that it really counts though, I managed Schalke in one of my FM games, so I kinda pay attention to them ...

   1010. SuperGrover Posted: February 19, 2013 at 09:41 PM (#4372285)
That was kind of the point, they have no depth. Bayer are a semi-decent, nothing special team. Maybe on par with Everton.


I'm not going to argue too much because I don't follow the Bundesliga, but there is absolutely no way Everton is dominating Arsenal on the road the way Bayern did today. Absolutely none.
   1011. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: February 19, 2013 at 09:44 PM (#4372288)
I'm not going to argue too much because I don't follow the Bundesliga, but there is absolutely no way Everton is dominating Arsenal on the road the way Bayern did today. Absolutely none.

"Bayer" is Bayer Leverkusen, not Bayern Munich.
   1012. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: February 19, 2013 at 10:01 PM (#4372295)
Another way of putting this, here is Germany's team sheet from the Italy game from Euro 2012:

01 Neuer (Bayern)
05 Hummels (Dortmund)
14 Badstuber (Bayern)
16 Lahm (Bayern)
20 Boateng (Bayern) (Mueller (Bayern)- 71')
06 Khedira (Real)
07 Schweinsteiger (Bayern)
08 Ozil (Real)
18 Kroos (Bayern)
10 Podolski (Arsenal)(Reus (Dortmund) - 46')
23 Gomez (Bayern) (Klose (Lazio)- 46')
   1013. SuperGrover Posted: February 19, 2013 at 10:01 PM (#4372296)
Ahhhhhhhh, thanks. That makes much, much, much more sense! Sorry I saw Bayern (added the extra "N" I guess) and nearly #### a brick!

Resume previous convo regarding the Bundesliga. I will go back to watching college basketball.
   1014. SuperGrover Posted: February 19, 2013 at 10:03 PM (#4372298)
Hey FPH, can't one say the same thing about La Liga though? Pretty much the entire core is built from RM, Barca and the EPL, no?
   1015. Spivey Posted: February 19, 2013 at 10:11 PM (#4372301)
That was kind of the point, they have no depth. Bayer are a semi-decent, nothing special team. Maybe on par with Everton. Schalke is about the same, when they are functional (which they aren't right now). And after that, it gets really grim. Frankfurt who are currently slotted for a CL spot, got outplayed a man up by Dortmund last week. By a lot. Gladbach lost to Kiev in CL qualification. Meanwhile, Chelsea are the current CL winners, and Arsenal, before selling their best player, won a group last year, in which Dortmund finished last. There is no Chelsea, there is no Spurs, there is no Arsenal, there is no Liverpool in the German league, who can play up to the level of the big boys. It's all cupcakes.


I'm hesitant to give much credit to Chelsea because they were horribly outplayed by Barca and Bayern. Yeah they won the CL, but that doesn't mean they deserved to or were one of the 20 best teams in Europe last year.

Beyond that, I try not to get overly attached to CL results. If you're going to badmouth the Bundesliga about those results, then you should basically say that the EPL is worse than the Portuguese league by Man City not making it out of the group stage 2 years in a row, and Man United losing to FC Basel last year to not make it out of the group stage. The CL is a ton of fun but really is about as predictive as the NFL or MLB playoffs as far as crowning the best team. Barcelona is the only exception to that rule, but even they lost to an extremely unimpressive, depressing Chelsea team last year.
   1016. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: February 19, 2013 at 10:13 PM (#4372302)
Hey FPH, can't one say the same thing about La Liga though? Pretty much the entire core is built from RM, Barca and the EPL, no?

I practically insist that you do.

And the last time either of Real and Barca didn't finish 1/2 was in 2004. Hell, the last time another team was within 20 points of either of them was 2009.
   1017. SuperGrover Posted: February 19, 2013 at 10:15 PM (#4372303)
And the last time either of Real and Barca didn't finish 1/2 was in 2004. Hell, the last time another team was within 20 points of either of them was 2009.


Except this year, of course :)

Edit to say that your point is taken.
   1018. Spivey Posted: February 19, 2013 at 10:16 PM (#4372304)
Challenge time: Without looking it up, name a current German national team player, who plays club football at a German club, other than Bayern or Dortmund.


I wouldn't have gotten any. I don't see why this matters though. Unless your argument is that Germany has been much better at the domestic level the last 15 years than England purely because of the starting 11 (which has completely turned over during this time, in most spots multiple times) rather than a much more logical explanation - they're better, as a country, at every level. The EPL has had some advantages in terms of the strength of the pound and good American TV contracts. It will be interesting to see how and if that changes.
   1019. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: February 19, 2013 at 10:24 PM (#4372308)
Interesting.

Wandering over to FoxSoccerTv to watch what evidently wasn't a very impressive US u23 win over Haiti and they've got 2 different versions of the Arsenal v Bayern replay ... 1 with Gus Johnson and one without.

I wonder if that was done to cater to both their American and English subscribers, or if they got less than approving feedback from his initial effort ...

[edit]

Or ... today's game ... I only watched the 1st half and that was in a bar with the sound off, so I can't say, but this isn't very complimentary


oday, we heard Gus Johnson commentate his second soccer game for FOX Soccer, where he was the announcer for the UEFA Champions League match between Arsenal and Bayern Munich. His performance as a commentator at the Emirates Stadium tonight showed that he was a considerable amount of work ahead of him if he wants to improve.

The main issue with Johnson’s commentating today was his inability to correctly read the game in key moments. Examples include Johnson shouting “What a save!” when Manuel Neuer stopped an Olivier Giroud shot that was aimed point-blank at the German goalkeeper. Plus, in the first half, Bayern Munich won a free kick on the edge of the area, Johnson didn’t call it. Either he didn’t see the referee signaling for a free kick, or didn’t understand the call that the ref made. Instead his commentary was “A nice slide… dangerous for Arsenal.” His inability to distinguish between a foul and a “nice slide” is worrying. Plus, the TV viewer at home shouldn’t be the one figuring out it’s a free kick before the commentator does.

Other flubs included repeatedly mispronouncing Bacary Sagna’s name in the first half, as well as misreading a Bayern Munich corner as an Arsenal goal kick, and lulling us to sleep with his monotone commentating during quieter moments of the game.

Thankfully co-commentator Ray Clemence papered over many of the cracks, doing a far better job alongside Johnson than Warren Barton did last week. Clemence’s insights into the game were timely and astute, often enhancing our experience of watching this exciting match. His chemistry with Johnson was also decent. Clemence was able to defuse Johnson’s over-exuberance at times. When Johnson made the “What a save!” call, Clemence explained that “To be fair to Neuer, he doesn’t know a lot about it. If that’s half a yard either side of him, it’s in the back of the net.”

While Johnson’s performance was far from catastrophic, today revealed a little more regarding how much of a gulf there is between what he knows compared to the knowledge level of an average soccer commentator.


   1020. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: February 19, 2013 at 10:32 PM (#4372313)
I wouldn't have gotten any. I don't see why this matters though. Unless your argument is that Germany has been much better at the domestic level the last 15 years than England purely because of the starting 11 (which has completely turned over during this time, in most spots multiple times) rather than a much more logical explanation - they're better, as a country, at every level. The EPL has had some advantages in terms of the strength of the pound and good American TV contracts. It will be interesting to see how and if that changes.

And a domestic TV contract that is about 5 times higher than the Bundesliga's. And better gate.

And why it matters is that it's indicative not of the overall quality of German vs English talent, but that non-elite German teams can't afford to keep their good players. As soon as a player gets good for more than 6 months another team will swoop in. And they can rarely attract any elite talent from outside of Germany. Meanwhile, Newcastle is buying half the French national team. QPR are spending like drunken sailors...
   1021. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: February 19, 2013 at 10:37 PM (#4372314)
Except this year, of course :)

Year ain't over, don't jinx it man.
   1022. SuperGrover Posted: February 19, 2013 at 10:41 PM (#4372315)
The main issue with Johnson’s commentating today was his inability to correctly read the game in key moments. Examples include Johnson shouting “What a save!” when Manuel Neuer stopped an Olivier Giroud shot that was aimed point-blank at the German goalkeeper.


Yeah, that's his biggest problem. His schitck is to be excitable, but he doesn't know enough about the game to offer insight while doing so. Same thing happened in the RM-MUN when he he screamed at a fairly routine De Gea save.

He's a really poor choice, but it's not like Fox has a ton of better options among their ranks.
   1023. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 19, 2013 at 11:49 PM (#4372341)
Bayern play in a cupcake league. Dortmund is the only team that can play up to their level, and their track-record against them is not good. They had a cupcake group for the CL, and lost their second game 3-1 to BATE Borisov... They are hardly invincible.
I mean, "not invincible" is a very long distance from any kind of criticism. Everyone's vincible. Having a relatively weak record against Dortmund, one of the five or so best club teams in the entire world, is hardly some horrible black mark on your CV.
Bayer are a semi-decent, nothing special team. Maybe on par with Everton.
There are only two clubs in the Premier League that are clearly better than Everton. This suggests equivalence between the German and English leagues, not divergence.
   1024. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 20, 2013 at 12:06 AM (#4372349)
Looking for some sort of objective system to ground the league comparison. There are enough games in European competition that we should be able to start from data. I don't know exactly how well this system will work for club football, but it seems like a reasonable one: Club ELO rankings.

What I note here is that the Premier League has a big advantage in the high mid-range, but then a big disadvantage in the true middle range. After the top seven clubs in the Premier League, there are a whole lot of cupcakes. While the Bundesliga doesn't have a comparable share of Evertons and Tottenhams, they also don't have as many Norwiches. That seems roughly right to me on England, though I can't really speak to Germany.

By these ELO rankings, these are the top 20 clubs between the Premier League and the Bundesliga (listed with European ranking):

3) Bayern
4) Man U
5) Dortmund
7) Man City
11) Chelsea
14) Tottenham
15) Arsenal
17) Leverkusen
21) Everton
23) Schalke
25) Liverpool
26) Gladbach
32) Freiburg
36) Mainz
39) Hannover
41) Hamburglar
49) Stuttgart
54) Frankfurt
57) Werder
59) West Brom
   1025. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: February 20, 2013 at 12:20 AM (#4372359)
I mean, "not invincible" is a very long distance from any kind of criticism. Everyone's vincible. Having a relatively weak record against Dortmund, one of the five or so best club teams in the entire world, is hardly some horrible black mark on your CV.

Not saying it is a horrible black mark. I am saying outside of those games, they are rarely tested much in the league. They have lost their last 2 to Bayer as well, fwiw.

There are only two clubs in the Premier League that are clearly better than Everton. This suggests equivalence between the German and English leagues, not divergence.

Disagree with the premise.

What I note here is that the Premier League has a big advantage in the high mid-range, but then a big disadvantage in the true middle range. After the top seven clubs in the Premier League, there are a whole lot of cupcakes.

This is probably a function of the strong "high mid-range" in England making it all but impossible for most teams to get a shot in Europe. Parity is only a good thing, if it's at a high level.
English teams are also far more prone to phoning in the Europa league, since the relative rewards to the league money they are receiving are much smaller.
   1026. JuanGone..except1game Posted: February 20, 2013 at 01:13 AM (#4372374)
I'm hesitant to give much credit to Chelsea because they were horribly outplayed by Barca and Bayern. Yeah they won the CL, but that doesn't mean they deserved to or were one of the 20 best teams in Europe last year.


Seriously, we are still doing this. We know that most everyone dislikes Chelsea for various offenses, but "horribly outplayed" is a pretty ridiculous phrase for what happened in the CL. And not ranking them in the 20 best is equally silly. They won not one but two major trophies last season. Yes, their league record was relatively poor but there were multiple legitimate reasons for why that had nothing to do with how good their squad was.
   1027. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 20, 2013 at 09:02 AM (#4372428)
I see all the pundits are declaring Arsenal is dead and destined for the Europa next year--if that! They were in a much worse position last year at this time. Learn, people, learn! It's very possible Spurs will hold them off, but Spurs have a tougher schedule and they still have to play each other. It's also possible Everton turn out to be Arsenal's bugaboo instead of Spurs or even that Chelsea fall back and are the ones left out, but it seems most likely Arsenal will need to catch Spurs for 4th and it's only a 4 point gap.

May 19th could be a lot of fun:

Chelsea v Everton
Newcastle v Arsenal
Spurs v Sunderland
Wigan V Aston Villa
   1028. Swedish Chef Posted: February 20, 2013 at 09:24 AM (#4372440)
12/1 on Wenger leaving before the weekend. Not a good gamble, but an ominous sign. Losing points against Villa is something they can't afford now.
   1029. Spivey Posted: February 20, 2013 at 09:44 AM (#4372448)
Seriously, we are still doing this. We know that most everyone dislikes Chelsea for various offenses, but "horribly outplayed" is a pretty ridiculous phrase for what happened in the CL. And not ranking them in the 20 best is equally silly. They won not one but two major trophies last season. Yes, their league record was relatively poor but there were multiple legitimate reasons for why that had nothing to do with how good their squad was.

They're a top 20 teams in terms of talent but I don't think they played like it over the course of the year last year. I would say they were horribly outplayed by Bayern in the final. Bayern had 34 shots to 9. 21 shots on target to 6. 20 corners to 1. The game was almost exclusively played on Chelsea's half. I actually think it's ridiculous that anyone could have watched that game and thought differently.
   1030. JuanGone..except1game Posted: February 20, 2013 at 10:01 AM (#4372453)
They're a top 20 teams in terms of talent but I don't think they played like it over the course of the year last year.


I'm not saying ELO is precise but we are currently 11th, while being only 3 pts ahead of last year's pace during basically a 2 month swoon during AVB's final days. There isn't a chance that Chelsea didn't play like a top 20 team throughout the course of last season.

I would say they were horribly outplayed by Bayern in the final.


You can stay on that but whether its WhoScored, Zonal Ranking, etc., no one else agrees with that assessment. Bayern were tactically superior and I won't argue that, but not by much when soaking up pressure was Chelsea's game plan.
   1031. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: February 20, 2013 at 10:10 AM (#4372458)
He's a really poor choice, but it's not like Fox has a ton of better options among their ranks.


Fox has the financial ability to get a decent announcer. This is the equivalent of SkySports getting an MLB contract and putting Martin Tyler on the broadcast. Spend a few bucks and get a professional soccer announcer.

I lean heavily in favor of the understated when it comes to my announcers so I'm definitely not the Gus demographic. Just in general though I don't see the need to have a "name" announcer. The play by play man shouldn't be overwhelming the broadcast, he should be a complimentary piece, nothing more.
   1032. Mattbert Posted: February 20, 2013 at 10:13 AM (#4372459)
41) Hamburglar

Oh don't you ####### start now...
   1033. Mattbert Posted: February 20, 2013 at 10:18 AM (#4372463)
I see all the pundits are declaring Arsenal is dead and destined for the Europa next year--if that! They were in a much worse position last year at this time. Learn, people, learn! It's very possible Spurs will hold them off, but Spurs have a tougher schedule and they still have to play each other. It's also possible Everton turn out to be Arsenal's bugaboo instead of Spurs or even that Chelsea fall back and are the ones left out, but it seems most likely Arsenal will need to catch Spurs for 4th and it's only a 4 point gap.

Jonathan Wilson half-buries the Gunners:
The most baffling aspect of this Arsenal side is that it so often gives the impression that it isn't far from being good. It keeps offering hope of better things to come. There are runs of five, six games in the Premier League that are good enough both to get Arsenal into the Champions League and to keep fans believing. Even against Bayern the opening minutes offered promise, Theo Walcott's pace looking as though it could unsettle Daniel van Buyten. But then, as so often, came a fatal sloppiness.

No Premier League side has made as many mistakes leading to goals this season as Arsenal: it averages a defensive error every 71 minutes. Last season it was every 117 minutes. Chelsea make a mistake only every 190 minutes. But it's not just errors; there's an institutional laxity about the side. After seven minutes that suggested a potential classic, a wounded Arsenal hurling itself at a sleek Bayern, the flaws came to the fore.

[...]

It was a shambles, and it's hard to know who to blame but the coaching staff. For all the talk of the lack of money Arsenal has spent, much of its underperformance has resulted from errors that would be unacceptable from professionals far lower down the pyramid. Former Arsenal defender Steve Bould was recruited in the summer to improve that aspect of Arsenal's play, but if anything it's even worse this season. Yet really it seems a matter of attitude rather than position of softness. That can be a matter of confidence and morale -- there can be a tendency when things are going wrong to become fatalistic, but then it is up to the manager to encourage his side to take responsibility.
   1034. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: February 20, 2013 at 10:34 AM (#4372476)
Jonathan Wilson half-buries the Gunners:
He may be only half-burying Arsenal, but he's pretty much throwing Wenger under the bus there, isn't he?
   1035. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 20, 2013 at 10:42 AM (#4372481)
   1036. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: February 20, 2013 at 10:44 AM (#4372483)
The "Arsenal is dead" stories remind me of the "Yankees are old" stories we get annually. Eventually they'll be right (and this may be the year for both) but in the meantime Arsenal are 5th in the EPL, 4 points behind Spurs. The remaining schedule breaks down as;

Arsenal:
4 home vs. Bottom 10
2 home vs. Top 10
4 road vs. Bottom 10
2 road vs. Top 10

Tottenham:
3 home vs. Bottom 10
3 home vs. Top 10
2 road vs. Bottom 10
4 road vs. Top 10

Not a huge difference but edge to Arsenal on the schedule though that's marginally offset by the fact that the teams play at White Hart Lane a week from Saturday. The game at WHL between the two clubs is potentially the most important single game remaining in the EPL (well, the games between relegation foes are probably more important).
   1037. Padgett Posted: February 20, 2013 at 10:46 AM (#4372485)
Another way of putting this, here is Germany's team sheet from the Italy game from Euro 2012
While this is true now, it's interesting just how quickly German and Spanish talent has been consolidated at Bayern/Dortmund and Barca/Real, respectively, over the past several years. In the semifinal in South Africa, for example, the Germany squad was considerably more diverse:

Neuer (Schalke)
Lahm (Bayern)
Mertesacker (Werder Bremen)
Friedrich (Hertha Berlin)
Boateng (Hamburg) (Jansen (Bayern) - 52')
Khedira (Stuttgart) (Gomez (Bayern) - 81')
Schweinsteiger (Bayern)
Trochowski (Hamburg) (Kroos (Leverkusen/Bayern) - 62')
Ozil (Werder Bremen)
Podolski (Cologne)
Klose (Bayern)

And, going back two more years, here's the full squad list for Spain–Germany at Euro 2008:

Lehmann (Arsenal)
Friedrich (Hertha Berlin)
Mertesacker (Werder Bremen)
Metzelder (Real Madrid)
Lahm (Bayern) (Jansen (Bayern) - 46')
Frings (Werder Bremen)
Hitzlsperger (Stuttgart) (Kuranyi (Schalke) - 58')
Schweinsteiger (Bayern)
Ballack (Chelsea)
Podolski (Bayern)
Klose (Bayern) (Gomez (Stuttgart) - 79')

Casillas (Real)
Ramos (Real)
Marchena (Valencia)
Puyol (Barca)
Capdevila (Villarreal)
Senna (Villarreal)
Iniesta (Barca)
Xavi (Barca)
Fabregas (Arsenal) (Alonso (Liverpool) - 63')
Silva (Valencia) (Cazorla (Villarreal) - 66')
Torres (Liverpool) (Gulza (Mallorca) - 78')
   1038. Mattbert Posted: February 20, 2013 at 10:48 AM (#4372488)
He may be only half-burying Arsenal, but he's pretty much throwing Wenger under the bus there, isn't he?

Yes, he is quite unsparing of Le Professeur in that piece. The portion I quoted isn't even the worst of it.
   1039. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 20, 2013 at 10:51 AM (#4372489)
Well some googling indicates to me that "rosbif" is a French word for the English, derived from "roast beef". Not sure if it's insulting or not. No worries, we'll just beat Lyon with out Welshman, our Togolese and our fine collection of Belgians. Oui oui Monsieur Aulas!
   1040. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: February 20, 2013 at 10:56 AM (#4372492)
Well some googling indicates to me that "rosbif" is a French word for the English, derived from "roast beef". Not sure if it's insulting or not. No worries, we'll just beat Lyon with out Welshman, our Togolese and our fine collection of Belgians. Oui oui Monsieur Aulas!
I can't believe you convinced someone to marry you.
   1041. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 20, 2013 at 10:57 AM (#4372493)
Why America might never be great at soccer, but also why England might not, either

Just an excerpt:

So what are you looking for, I ask Allen, who says he has 'the eye’ – the ability to spot potential. (His 24-year footballing career straddles the extremes of running the Crown and Manor, a boys’ club in the East End, and looking after visiting elite international teams.) Technical skill, he says. 'It’s about trying to beat someone and get the ball past them, not pass it past them, we can all do that. Good movers, very smooth in the way they run. Plus they have to be willowy and athletic-looking. You don’t get many stocky players.’ But what about Maradona? Gazza? Rooney? There are always exceptions, he says. 'Scouting is not an exact science.’ Particularly with the wild card of puberty.

We watch the match. Number 5 looks great, but Number 3 is even better – floaty, graceful, his legs stretching and powering with mesmerising athleticism. 'He’s a nicer shape,’ Allen enthuses. 'More slimline rather than heavy in his legs [like Number 5]. He is quick and agile and that is important in the modern game.’ This may be why Number 3 has been scouted not only by Tottenham, but also by Charlton, Chelsea and Arsenal. And he is still only seven. But then young talent is like nectar, enough to get seasoned football addicts wide awake and licking their lips.

I look at Number 5, cheated of his dream by heavy legs. Summer-borns are similarly outcast. Far more Premiership footballers are born in October and November than in June and July. 'They are bigger and make more of an impact on the pitch,’ White says, 'then, of course, they get selected, better coached and leave the other guys behind.’ What else do you need? Parents with cars and the kinds of jobs where they can drive to training twice a week for 5pm. 'When I went to Manchester United Academy what struck me was the car-park full of smart cars,’ White says. 'The academy is in the middle of nowhere. There is no way you can get there unless you’ve got a car. No way you can get there three or four times a week unless your parents take you. What that is doing is middle-classing the game. The whole system precludes kids from the rougher end of town, because how the hell do you get there?’ Take Theo Walcott, the England starlet, who came through the academy system at Southampton. His father served in the RAF, his mother is a midwife; his grand­father was an RAF Warrant Officer and one of the first black Conservative councillors in Britain.

Later, Allen gives me the results: 10 of the 67 boys were signed.
   1042. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 20, 2013 at 10:59 AM (#4372498)
I can't believe you convinced someone to marry you.

AND she buys me poseur soccer shirts for Christmas! Like when Emile Heskey scores a goal, I don't question the magic.
   1043. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: February 20, 2013 at 11:04 AM (#4372502)
Well some googling indicates to me that "rosbif" is a French word for the English, derived from "roast beef".

No worries. Would you rather be a rosbif, or a frog? Or a cheese-eating surrender monkey?
   1044. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 20, 2013 at 11:04 AM (#4372504)
I didn't realize that article I posted was so old. I started reading it without looking at the date line. It's still interesting, though.
   1045. Grunthos Posted: February 20, 2013 at 11:05 AM (#4372506)
I think Benteke fits Tottenham's needs even more clearly than he fits Arsenal's. And he'd be perfect for Everton, he'd be great at Swansea or West Ham or Norwich. He's just really good at football, and lots of clubs need a striker, or need a better striker.

For sure. My main point was that Benteke doesn't get disqualified for any of the reasons Wenger likes to trot out for why he won't buy players. If he won't buy Benteke, then Arsenal are well and truly cooked.
   1046. Mefisto Posted: February 20, 2013 at 11:06 AM (#4372509)
Wow, 1041 could be a perfect description of everything that's wrong with US player development.
   1047. I am going to be Frank Posted: February 20, 2013 at 11:07 AM (#4372513)
Looking at those German/Spanish squads - its pretty clear that money has become more and more concentrated. The financial crisis hit the Villareal, Valencia and Sevilla club hard and German clubs just aren't run with large deficits and overspending.

The English league has been the most successful in getting sugar-daddies willing to buy their way into league titles and Champions League spots. Even with all the revenue that Chelsea brings in, it still needs massive injections from Roman every year to fight for top four.
   1048. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 20, 2013 at 11:08 AM (#4372516)
No worries. Would you rather be a rosbif, or a frog? Or a cheese-eating surrender monkey?

But I'm a quarter rosbif and frog! Ach!
   1049. zack Posted: February 20, 2013 at 11:11 AM (#4372522)
Man between the cities' thread and now this I would kill for a friggin' been on weck or italian beef.
   1050. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 20, 2013 at 11:13 AM (#4372528)
So, I started out with a post responding to Jose in #1036 saying that the Premier League is really composed of "top 7" and "bottom 13", and I was putting together those numbers for the top-4 contenders, then I realized obviously there's a difference between United and Liverpool, and there's a difference between Swansea and Reading, and there's a big difference between a home game and a road game, and I have the big power rankings spreadsheet thing, so I did full strength of schedule ratings.

And indeed, Arsenal does have the easiest schedule remaining. These are strength of schedule remaining as a % of average team quality. So "-9%" means your schedule is 9% easier than an average schedule.

Arsenal: -9%
Chelsea: +14%
Everton: -2%
Tottenham: +5%

You might ask, how does that translate into expected points? I have no idea.

(Chelsea really do have a tougher schedule going forward. They have five more games against top-7 clubs, and they've already played both the home and road games against bottom-dwellers Reading, Wigan and QPR.)
   1051. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 20, 2013 at 11:19 AM (#4372538)
Looking at those German/Spanish squads - its pretty clear that money has become more and more concentrated. The financial crisis hit the Villareal, Valencia and Sevilla club hard and German clubs just aren't run with large deficits and overspending.

Schalke and Hoffenheim have been exceptions to the rule and Dortmund was in the financial wilderness for a while, but yeah, Bundesliga teams are more financially prudent compared to England.
   1052. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: February 20, 2013 at 11:22 AM (#4372543)
While this is true now, it's interesting just how quickly German and Spanish talent has been consolidated at Bayern/Dortmund and Barca/Real, respectively, over the past several years.

Well that's kind of the point I was trying to make all along. When non-elite German clubs manage to find a player who is actually top quality player, he's gone in a year. Obviously there are buyer and seller clubs in the PL too, but it's not nearly of the same order of magnitude.
   1053. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 20, 2013 at 11:31 AM (#4372556)
SPURS THINK FACTORY!!!!

If anyone is interested, Spurs vs PSG in the Nextgen will be available on illegal streams at 11 am. Spurs will have a weakened team after sending a bunch of players out on loan including Ryan Mason and Alex Pritchard, but it could still be interesting. PSG are pretty stocked with young guns in their own right and are the favorites in the game.
   1054. Mattbert Posted: February 20, 2013 at 11:45 AM (#4372572)
Pritchard hurt his ankle after two appearances for Posh and is out until at least April anyway. Which is a bit sucky poo.
   1055. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 20, 2013 at 11:50 AM (#4372577)
Pritchard hurt his ankle after two appearances for Posh and is out until at least April anyway. Which is a bit sucky poo.

The loans haven't really gone well this year, with the exception of Adam Smith and Danny Rose, though I don't think Rose has a future with Spurs.
   1056. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 20, 2013 at 11:57 AM (#4372581)
SPURS THINK FACTORY cont.

Ryan Mason to Lorient looks like it could be a good one.

Rose is going to be interesting this offseason. He appears to have turned himself into a legitimately good player. I have to think that Levy could wrangle £10M out of someone for him, given his youth and Englitude. On the other hand, it would be pretty Levy to cut bait on BAE (29 next year, this is about the last chance to get a transfer fee) and replace him with a younger version. I love Benny, but Daniel Levy doesn't feel emotions, so that probably won't make a difference. I don't know what the right call is, objectively.

(Benny did this. You have to love that man.)
   1057. I am going to be Frank Posted: February 20, 2013 at 12:46 PM (#4372621)
Summer-borns are similarly outcast. Far more Premiership footballers are born in October and November than in June and July. 'They are bigger and make more of an impact on the pitch,’ White says, 'then, of course, they get selected, better coached and leave the other guys behind.’ What else do you need?

This is actually becoming a concern now in the US. Parents are purposely holding back their kids from school so they can get an advantage in athletics. I'm guessing its been going on awhile in Texas but has been spreading throughout the country. I seem to recall that 60 Minutes did a piece where some parents are purposely holding their kids back for social and academic reasons now.
   1058. Mefisto Posted: February 20, 2013 at 01:00 PM (#4372638)
It's not just now. Malcolm Gladwell noted this issue with respect to athletics in his book Outliers. Anybody who observes youth programs can see it.

It's weird, too. Bill James pointed out the advantages of age nearly 30 years ago, yet coaches and scouts fail to account for it.
   1059. Textbook Editor Posted: February 20, 2013 at 01:17 PM (#4372665)
Summer-borns are similarly outcast. Far more Premiership footballers are born in October and November than in June and July. 'They are bigger and make more of an impact on the pitch,’ White says, 'then, of course, they get selected, better coached and leave the other guys behind.’ What else do you need?


It would seem there's a market inefficiency here that could be exploited just by focusing solely on kids with May-June-July-August birthdays, since it seems they are largely getting dismissed out of hand in some circles.

Or it could be the bitterness talking, since TE Jr. is a July birthday...
   1060. Mefisto Posted: February 20, 2013 at 01:48 PM (#4372689)
It would seem there's a market inefficiency here that could be exploited just by focusing solely on kids with May-June-July-August birthdays, since it seems they are largely getting dismissed out of hand in some circles.


Not August, at least not here in SoCal. Here the soccer cutoff is July 31. But yes, there likely is such an inefficiency and a good coach could exploit it.
   1061. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 20, 2013 at 01:59 PM (#4372699)
NEXTGEN UPDATE!

PSG and Spurs tied at 1 and are into extra time. Chelsea are up on Barca 1-0 at the half. Liverpool vs Sporting Lisbon just getting started,
   1062. Swedish Chef Posted: February 20, 2013 at 02:04 PM (#4372702)
In Sweden the kids are grouped by year, so here the kids born early in the year are overrepresented.

I know coaches that have made noises about exploiting the effect, but maybe the damage is done and irreversible well before they get up there.
   1063. Topher Posted: February 20, 2013 at 02:16 PM (#4372718)
I think that there is a market inefficiency but I'm not sure how easy it would be to exploit even for a good coach. Even if you are aware in the abstract that their is a bias toward favoring slightly older players, if you are evaluating a small group of players (a few dozen?) I think it would be extremely difficult to convince oneself that your eyes are lying and that the kid in front of you that is 6 months older isn't just benefiting from age, but also because he's really talented.

I think it would be tough to make such a disconnect even in a sport like baseball which has measurable statistics that can help show the promise of a slightly younger player. Soccer doesn't really have those metrics to assist in making that argument. And that's before even considering the US model's problem with the helicopter parents raising a fuss that their child that is 15 months older than the youngest isn't getting the staring role he/she deserves ...
   1064. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: February 20, 2013 at 02:20 PM (#4372724)
In Sweden the kids are grouped by year, so here the kids born early in the year are overrepresented.

Same in Germany. Of course my birthday is in the last week of the year...
   1065. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 20, 2013 at 02:26 PM (#4372731)
By the way, some good news for Aston Villa fans...they beat the mighty Ajax in the NextGen series. That speaks well of their talent at the youth level.
   1066. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 20, 2013 at 02:36 PM (#4372745)
PSG and Spurs are going to penalties. Chelsea are a man down against Barca but still ahead, I think. The updates are very, very slow...
   1067. SuperGrover Posted: February 20, 2013 at 02:38 PM (#4372747)
And indeed, Arsenal does have the easiest schedule remaining. These are strength of schedule remaining as a % of average team quality. So "-9%" means your schedule is 9% easier than an average schedule.

Arsenal: -9%
Chelsea: +14%
Everton: -2%
Tottenham: +5%


My numbers also agree with this (which I referenced in the original post). My SOS(negative is better):

Arsenal: -8.6%
Everton: +1.3%
Tottenham: +6.9%
Chelsea: +12.5%

With that said, my ratings have Arsenal a fair distance behind Everton and the Spurs (and Liverpool too, btw) and those numbers are inflated due to the various blow outs the Gunners have been involved in. My personal opinion is that Arsenal is even worse than my ratings suggest, probably behind Liverpool (with Sturridge and Coutinho) and Chelsea (with Mikel). I just don't see them closing the gap.
   1068. SuperGrover Posted: February 20, 2013 at 02:43 PM (#4372754)
(Chelsea really do have a tougher schedule going forward. They have five more games against top-7 clubs, and they've already played both the home and road games against bottom-dwellers Reading, Wigan and QPR.)


Yeah, one of the reasons I wasn't on the Chelsea bandwagon early was their SOS. They started with @WIG, RDG, NEW, @QPR, STO and won @ARS while being arguably outplayed and then got to face the Spurs while Bale was busy having a baby. No shocker they started out at the top of the table.

By the same token, Southampton started with @MCI, WIG, MUN, @ARS, AVL, @EVE. Not too shocking they only pulled 3 points in that span (although losing at home to Wigan was a disappointment for certain).
   1069. SuperGrover Posted: February 20, 2013 at 02:49 PM (#4372760)
This is actually becoming a concern now in the US. Parents are purposely holding back their kids from school so they can get an advantage in athletics. I'm guessing its been going on awhile in Texas but has been spreading throughout the country. I seem to recall that 60 Minutes did a piece where some parents are purposely holding their kids back for social and academic reasons now.


Is this new? I played with two guys growing up that were held back in 7th grade in order to improve their chances at athletic glory in high school. One was only 3 weeks older than I so not really a big deal. The other was 11 months though and really did have an advantage. He also started roiding (at his parent's request) at the age of 14. Guy had pecs the size of softballs before he had chest hair. I guess it worked though because it was a 5th-7th (can't remember) round draft choice of the Phillies and signed for about $100K.

I graduated 19 years ago btw.
   1070. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 20, 2013 at 02:50 PM (#4372764)
Spurs beat PSG in penalties. What is is with English teams winning penalty shootouts anymore? It's weird and I won't stand for it. A good win for Spurs since PSG were the highest seeded team in the tourney and since they just got their asses kicked by Bolton. Bolton: Better than PSG!

Also, Chelsea up in Barca 2-0 late in that game. Premier League teams are 3 for 3 today and it's not like they were taking down minnows--PSG, Barca and Ajax academies are no joke.
   1071. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: February 20, 2013 at 03:13 PM (#4372789)
I guess it worked though because it was a 5th-7th (can't remember) round draft choice of the Phillies and signed for about $100K.

I graduated 19 years ago btw.


Because we relentlessly fact-check professional writers here, I have no choice but to apply the same standards to you and say that either you're talking about this guy, or you are SENILE AND ARE A LAZY BASTARD WHO CAN'T BE BOTHERED TO GET HIS FACTS STRAIGHT!

edit: link removed
   1072. Mattbert Posted: February 20, 2013 at 03:15 PM (#4372791)
PSG and Spurs tied at 1 and are into extra time.

Super Shaq scored the goal for Tottenham, by the way. I want to believe!
   1073. SuperGrover Posted: February 20, 2013 at 03:16 PM (#4372793)
Because we relentlessly fact-check professional writers here, I have no choice but to apply the same standards to you and say that either you're talking about this guy, or you are SENILE AND ARE A LAZY BASTARD WHO CAN'T BE BOTHERED TO GET HIS FACTS STRAIGHT!


Wow, that is scary impressive. Now if you could delete the link I would be much obliged.

EDIT: Thanks kindly. I have no idea how you did that, but that was most certainly him. He was a helluva defensive player, but had a slow bat and couldn't hit anything with real velocity. When he did get a hold of it though it went a long way.
   1074. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: February 20, 2013 at 03:20 PM (#4372797)
I feel like I missed something...
   1075. SuperGrover Posted: February 20, 2013 at 03:23 PM (#4372798)
I feel like I missed something...


Just don't cross Crispix Attacks. His ominous handle doesn't do his top secret NSA clearance justice.
   1076. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: February 20, 2013 at 03:34 PM (#4372807)
Two of SuperGrover's high school teammates were taken in the June MLB draft, his senior year! And only two other players from his school were drafted, ever.

Now, back to soccer. Is Metalist / Newcastle the big hipster match today?
   1077. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 20, 2013 at 03:35 PM (#4372810)
Now, back to soccer. Is Metalist / Newcastle the big hipster match today?

Naw, today is the day of the False Nine.
   1078. Mattbert Posted: February 20, 2013 at 03:48 PM (#4372822)
Is Metalist / Newcastle the big hipster match today?

In a matter of minutes, you can track down an obscure draft pick from almost two decades ago based on limited information, but you can't figure out that Ropey League games are on Thursdays?
   1079. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: February 20, 2013 at 03:54 PM (#4372830)
"Phillies draft pick between 5th and 7th round, 19 years ago" - that's three people. Two were college players and one was from high school. Simple!

you can't figure out that Ropey League games are on Thursdays?

I honestly never realized there was a regular pattern to when the games are. The Champions League and Europa League seem to be nearly always on weekdays. League games seem to be nearly always on weekends. National cup games could be either. That's all I've figured out over the past 5 years.
   1080. I am going to be Frank Posted: February 20, 2013 at 04:03 PM (#4372838)
This is the first time seeing Barca's new kits in action. They are horrifying ugly.
   1081. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 20, 2013 at 04:03 PM (#4372839)
Hilarious miss by Huntelaar. He was literally on the goal line. All he had to do was make any sort of legal contact with the ball ...

And Altintop misses a relatively easy chance off a rebound. Drogba created it, looking like he's still Drogba.

Recommend the Galatasaray-Schalke game (well, to everyone but ultra-hipster Arjun). Looks like lots of goals to come.
   1082. I am going to be Frank Posted: February 20, 2013 at 04:17 PM (#4372850)
Galatasaray is like the island of misfit toys. Altintop, Sneijder, Riera and Felipe Melo with Eboue on the bench. Not going to include Drogba because there has to be some crazy reason (besides money) as to why he went to China.
   1083. Mefisto Posted: February 20, 2013 at 04:22 PM (#4372856)
I think that there is a market inefficiency but I'm not sure how easy it would be to exploit even for a good coach. Even if you are aware in the abstract that their is a bias toward favoring slightly older players, if you are evaluating a small group of players (a few dozen?) I think it would be extremely difficult to convince oneself that your eyes are lying and that the kid in front of you that is 6 months older isn't just benefiting from age, but also because he's really talented.


I think this is very true. It'd be nice to have some way to estimate the size of the effect at younger ages, the way James did with MLB. Can't say I have any real idea how to do that, though. Maybe group the kids by birth month and compare that way, but sample size....
   1084. I am going to be Frank Posted: February 20, 2013 at 04:22 PM (#4372857)
And Jermaine Jones gets a card - for what looks like asking for someone else to be carded. I think that's the first time I've seen that.
   1085. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 20, 2013 at 04:52 PM (#4372896)
Liverpool ruining the PL's perfect run in NextGen by getting blown out by Sporting. 4-0.
   1086. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 20, 2013 at 04:59 PM (#4372901)
Milan get away with a handball there but it counts. Barca haven't looked all that sharp today and I think Milan are playing this just right--absorb the pressure and then try to overpower the might mites when you get the chance.
   1087. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 20, 2013 at 05:01 PM (#4372904)
Whoa, Milan. Switching over...

Barca deserves to lose for those Hot Wheels themed kits.
   1088. Mattbert Posted: February 20, 2013 at 05:10 PM (#4372907)
I honestly never realized there was a regular pattern to when the games are. The Champions League and Europa League seem to be nearly always on weekdays.

Champions League games are Tuesdays or Wednesdays. Europa League games are Thursdays. Now you know. And knowing is half the battle.
   1089. I am going to be Frank Posted: February 20, 2013 at 05:22 PM (#4372918)
Wow Milan score again... and I had totally forgotten Muntari was still on Milan.
   1090. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: February 20, 2013 at 05:22 PM (#4372919)
Well, okay then Milan. Great little dink by El Shaarawy.
Recommend the Galatasaray-Schalke game (well, to everyone but ultra-hipster Arjun).

Now I want "football ultra-hipster" on a shirt <.<
   1091. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: February 20, 2013 at 05:40 PM (#4372932)
That was an unexpected result, although Barca really didn't look that good. Whoscored says Barca only recorded one shot on target; the only one I can remember is Xavi's in the first half, I assume that's the shot they're talking about. Milan really put in a shift. I thought KPB, in particular, was running for pretty much the whole time he was out there and I was impressed at how El Shaarawy tracked back (I would not have expected him to do so).
   1092. SuperGrover Posted: February 20, 2013 at 05:44 PM (#4372935)
Milan played exceptionally. Never let up. By the end, Barca was simply resigned to their fate.

Can Barca win 3-0 at home? Not convinced they can.
   1093. I am going to be Frank Posted: February 20, 2013 at 06:17 PM (#4372962)
If Milan plays the "Italian way" I can't see them winning 3-0, although if Barcelona does get it to extra time, its going to be close to impossible for Milan to keep up their all-effort defense for a full 120 minutes.
   1094. JuanGone..except1game Posted: February 20, 2013 at 06:33 PM (#4372973)
Milan played exceptionally. Never let up. By the end, Barca was simply resigned to their fate.


I'm in this camp more than Barca playing badly. El Shaaraway's pace was the perfect release valve for Barca's pressure. I normally don't think of Milan as a great defending team but Messi had absolutely no space to move.

Also, Chelsea up in Barca 2-0 late in that game. Premier League teams are 3 for 3 today and it's not like they were taking down minnows--PSG, Barca and Ajax academies are no joke.


I give Roman crap, but he's done an excellent job in recent years improving the academy. There are some really good Chelsea products coming down the pike starting with Chalobah at Wattford who might be the best player in the Championship.
   1095. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: February 20, 2013 at 06:34 PM (#4372976)
Galatasaray is like the island of misfit toys. Altintop, Sneijder, Riera and Felipe Melo with Eboue on the bench.


Turkish teams always seem like that, because players go there in the prime of their careers and are never mentioned again by the English-language press.

Whatever happened to...

Dirk Kuyt?
Raul Meireles?
Joseph Yobo?
Moussa Sow?
Ibrahima Sonko?
Maurice Edu?
Anton Ferdinand?
Hugo Almeida?
Scott Carson?
Allan McGregor?
Johan Elmander?
Gretar Steinsson?
Trésor Lomana LuaLua?
Didier Zokora?
Ruud Boffin? (West Ham #2 keeper for a couple years)
Fernando Muslera? (Uruguay keeper at the last World Cup)
Eduardo? (Portuguese keeper at the last World Cup)
   1096. zack Posted: February 20, 2013 at 06:45 PM (#4372984)
Not-really related to the talk about the strength of the Bundesliga, with a win and two draws, all away, the Bundesliga has a good chance of sending two teams to the champion's league quarters for the first time since 2001-02, an outside shot at the 3 teams for the first time since 1997-98. Both were before there was a round of 16.
   1097. I am going to be Frank Posted: February 20, 2013 at 06:51 PM (#4372987)
I'm wondering if I was an overpaid player still in my prime - would I prefer Turkey or Russia?
   1098. ursus arctos Posted: February 20, 2013 at 07:50 PM (#4373030)
I'd take Istanbul in a heartbeat.
   1099. Swedish Chef Posted: February 20, 2013 at 08:19 PM (#4373048)
would I prefer Turkey or Russia?

I'll have to check with my agent.
   1100. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 21, 2013 at 08:24 AM (#4373204)
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