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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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   901. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: February 16, 2013 at 03:05 PM (#4370735)
Meh who needs strikers? We have Marco Reus.
   902. Mattbert Posted: February 16, 2013 at 03:08 PM (#4370738)
Wenger seems intentionally obtuse about roster construction, but I think he still does pretty damn well given the salary/transfer constraints they have.

I think he's a superb coach, but the fact is Arsenal have the fourth highest wage bill in England. The money's there; they just need to stop giving it to average players.

Brian Phillips wrote a great piece on Wenger a little while back that argued it's almost impossible to evaluate him overall because he wears so many hats for the club, and it's still fairly opaque as to how much of the perceived frugality is a directive from the club's higher-ups and how much is just Wenger being Wenger.

My overall impression continues to shift towards the position that Arsene Wenger the miserly director of football is letting down Arsene Wenger the visionary coach.
   903. JuanGone..except1game Posted: February 16, 2013 at 03:56 PM (#4370757)
Unf'ing believable equalizer from Oldham. That was just old school kick everything in the box.
   904. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: February 16, 2013 at 03:58 PM (#4370759)
####* AND YES**, I LOVE THE FA CUP!!!

*We'll just ignore the way that match ended up tied ...

**All the same, I can't say Oldham didn't deserve a replay out of that ...

[EDIT] After further review ... IN SUPER SLOW-MO IT'S LEGIT, LEGIT, LEGIT!!!
   905. Langer Monk Posted: February 16, 2013 at 04:05 PM (#4370764)
Terrific - they definitely deserve a match at Goodison.

Was a reason given as to why Dickov resigned a couple weeks ago?
   906. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 16, 2013 at 04:14 PM (#4370765)
Was a reason given as to why Dickov resigned a couple weeks ago?

Their league form is terrible. I thought Oldham was worth the equalizer. They carved out a lot of good chances and were positive throughout. A replay is great for their finances.
   907. zack Posted: February 17, 2013 at 02:08 AM (#4370921)
On that Oldham goal...why was the pulled keeper jumping with his arms in the air anyway? Did he just forget?

I mean, he was in a box.
   908. puck Posted: February 17, 2013 at 03:51 AM (#4370933)
After further review ... IN SUPER SLOW-MO IT'S LEGIT, LEGIT, LEGIT!!!

Really? It sure looked like it hit the keeper's arm and not Smith. If Everton had done their jobs the game shouldn't have come down to that, but it definitely raised an eyebrow for me.

Video of the play (not in super slow-mo, unfortunately)
   909. Richard Posted: February 17, 2013 at 04:31 AM (#4370936)
Dickov did not resign - they fired him.
   910. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: February 17, 2013 at 09:22 AM (#4370942)

Really? It sure looked like it hit the keeper's arm and not Smith.


It certainly did, which is why I originally wrote what I did, but the last replay that FSP showed on the post-game show sure looked like the ball clearly transited past the keeper's upraised arms and didn't change directions until Smith's head connected with it. FWIW, the FSP studio crew seemed to think that replay settled the question (in addition to being super slo-mo, it may have also been a slightly different angle, unfortunately I don't have the game on dvr, so I can't go back and check that).


   911. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 17, 2013 at 09:38 AM (#4370944)
My memory is that the key was the angle of the shot more than the slow-mo. From a reverse angle, you can see the ball go past the keeper's arms before being deflected toward the goal. It looked definitive to me.
   912. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 17, 2013 at 10:50 AM (#4370958)
Torino looks good today. The goal has come from their right winger, Alessio Cerci. Every time I see Torino he looks to be their best player. Probably the guy he reminds me most of us Arjen Robben as he loves cutting inside and letting fly with his left foot. He puts in a wicked cross when he wants to, as well. Here's hoping he stays off the radar in England.
   913. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: February 17, 2013 at 11:23 AM (#4370972)
Was at Stamford Bridge this afternoon. The Brentford fans were really impressive - even after they went down 1-0, 2-0, they were still in full voice. Still, comfortable win, and a fun game on a Sunday, even if noon is slightly too early to function.
   914. Swedish Chef Posted: February 17, 2013 at 01:02 PM (#4371004)
Swansea was really, really bad today. I guess they are a small enough club that the League Cup is a big enough prize for them to throw away a league game for.
   915. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: February 17, 2013 at 01:24 PM (#4371012)
Conceding the 2nd goal 16 seconds into the 2nd half didn't help their cause any ...
   916. JuanGone..except1game Posted: February 17, 2013 at 03:15 PM (#4371051)
Was at Stamford Bridge this afternoon. The Brentford fans were really impressive - even after they went down 1-0, 2-0, they were still in full voice. Still, comfortable win, and a fun game on a Sunday, even if noon is slightly too early to function.


That's historically been a fantastic rivalry when both teams are in form. This Chelsea fan, would love to see Brentford get promoted and compete in the Prem.

Glad that Paul Ince is getting another go with Blackpool. Way too few black managers in English football at the moment. It should be interesting to see how he manages his son Tom, whose apparently a real prospect.
   917. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: February 17, 2013 at 03:36 PM (#4371058)
Glad that Paul Ince is getting another go with Blackpool. Way too few black managers in English football at the moment.

Not disagreeing with the general sentiment, as I think diversity is a good thing. But it's worth remembering that the demographics of the UK are very different from those of the US. The population is only about 2% black. Not sure how many black managers you'd expect, especially with so many Italian, Spanish and Irish guys taking up spots.
   918. ursus arctos Posted: February 17, 2013 at 04:05 PM (#4371068)
Though a much higher percentage of top flight English footballers are black or mixed race.

The ethnicity that has always been over-represented in this respect are Scots.
   919. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: February 17, 2013 at 04:47 PM (#4371083)
Though a much higher percentage of top flight English footballers are black or mixed race.

How long does that go back though? My wild-assed guess is that is that the percentage went up as the money did, and teams had more incentive to go search for talent across the globe. Also probably correlates with the rise of African football as a whole. Then again, I don't really have that much of a reference before 1990 or so. But if it's a more recent thing, you wouldn't necessarily expect many of them to have worked their way into coaching gigs. And if it's more transient in nature, then you wouldn't necessarily expect them to hang around in England after their playing days are over.

The ethnicity that has always been over-represented in this respect are Scots.

Well, yeah. We are awesome.
   920. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: February 17, 2013 at 04:56 PM (#4371086)
There wasn't formal segregation in UK sports - there were sometimes black players dating back to the 19th century. But English teams were nearly all-white until the famous West Brom team of circa 1978-1980 with three star black players. (one born in England, two born in the West Indies who moved to England as kids)

By 1980 we had already had plenty of teams in baseball with majority-black starting lineups. So if you figure that the "Jackie Robinson moment" happened 30 years later in Britain (in 1978 England also got its first black international player, Viv Anderson), it makes sense to not have many black people in the power structure today.
   921. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: February 17, 2013 at 05:01 PM (#4371088)
So after realizing I know shockingly little about the history of black players in football, I did some cursory googling. First black England international seems to have been 1978. Scotland edged them by a wee bit, debuting their first black player in 1881. Once again, we are awesome.

Also awesome, the first paragraph of Wikipedia's bio on the first black Football League player:

Wharton was born in Jamestown, Gold Coast (now Accra, Ghana), his father was half-Grenadian and half-Scottish, and his mother was a member of the Fante Akan royalty. He moved to England in 1882, to train as a Methodist missionary, but soon abandoned this in favour of becoming a full-time athlete.
   922. The Buddy Biancalana Hit Counter Posted: February 17, 2013 at 05:30 PM (#4371103)
The Square Ball account tweeted that GFH essentially pad $17 million for Leeds' fan base. As dire as the on-field performance at the Etihad today, the away support may have made progress on finding a minority investor to buy some players this summer.

Except for the guy who threw the lighter at Kolarov, of course.
   923. DA Baracus Posted: February 17, 2013 at 05:36 PM (#4371106)
Landon Donovan will return to the Galaxy at the end of March. That means, if he's still planning on playing internationally, that he will miss the Costa Rica and Mexico USMNT games.
   924. user Posted: February 17, 2013 at 06:51 PM (#4371124)
First black England international seems to have been 1978


Viv Anderson?
   925. ursus arctos Posted: February 17, 2013 at 07:54 PM (#4371142)
Yes.
   926. JuanGone..except1game Posted: February 17, 2013 at 08:23 PM (#4371144)
But if it's a more recent thing, you wouldn't necessarily expect many of them to have worked their way into coaching gigs. And if it's more transient in nature, then you wouldn't necessarily expect them to hang around in England after their playing days are over.


Agreed that you wouldn't expect a high number of black managers at this point, but definitely a few more than exist today. Hughton has been solid for Norwich and I'm hoping that he opens some doors. Hesky seems perfect for a managers job in the future, but goals might be a problem for his side.

Well, yeah. We are awesome.


Agreed. I did a 3-month internship in Edinburgh during grad school and fell in love with place and people.
   927. puck Posted: February 18, 2013 at 12:21 AM (#4371202)
Swansea was really, really bad today. I guess they are a small enough club that the League Cup is a big enough prize for them to throw away a league game for.

That is strange, they did play a lot of subs. Isn't the final next Sunday?
   928. frannyzoo Posted: February 18, 2013 at 01:36 AM (#4371217)
Catching up from a ultra-busy work week with a bit of highlights and replays. This La Viola performance v. Inter is the best I've seen from any Serie A team this year. Real pity they couldn't keep something like this up on a regular basis, but with Pizarro on and w/o Luca Toni (among other components) Fiorentina has so much potential. I'm still holding out for a CL place for them...truly dazzling today.
   929. DA Baracus Posted: February 18, 2013 at 12:39 PM (#4371345)
   930. Swedish Chef Posted: February 18, 2013 at 02:23 PM (#4371390)
   931. jmurph Posted: February 18, 2013 at 02:39 PM (#4371407)
Manchester City's Roberto Mancini says he is 'best manager in England'


Is he somehow right on a technicality? Maybe SAF and Wenger and Moyes and... probably a few others were outside England at that precise moment?
   932. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: February 18, 2013 at 03:08 PM (#4371430)
Mancini is impervious to mundane trivialities like 'facts' and 'truth'.
   933. vortex of dissipation Posted: February 18, 2013 at 04:01 PM (#4371451)
Manchester City's Roberto Mancini says he is 'best manager in England'


Perhaps he meant to say he is the 'best dressed manager in England'. He always looks pretty sharp.
   934. DA Baracus Posted: February 18, 2013 at 04:05 PM (#4371455)
Is he somehow right on a technicality? Maybe SAF and Wenger and Moyes and... probably a few others were outside England at that precise moment?


Maybe he said it while in a ditch or buried up to his arms on a beach or something, so that technically he was in England while the other managers were on England.
   935. Topher Posted: February 18, 2013 at 04:27 PM (#4371467)
This is the second time in the past week or so that I've read Mancini trumpeting the fact that City won the Charity Shield as an actual accomplishment.

I do think that such an honor puts Mancini in the running for best manager in England. But at the same time, you have to give AVB credit for winning the New York Invitational Cup. If it were up to me, I would declare it a tie between those two.
   936. jmurph Posted: February 18, 2013 at 04:48 PM (#4371477)
This is the second time in the past week or so that I've read Mancini trumpeting the fact that City won the Charity Shield as an actual accomplishment.


In each of the past two seasons, during the short-lived part of the year before City unceremoniously failed their way out of the Champions League, he routinely mentioned that they had "3 games per week" to prepare for. This might technically be true in an occasional week (Sunday-Wednesday-Saturday) but it's not really true in any meaningful sense (since, in that example, the following week would only see 1-2 games). This always annoyed me, especially because he used it as an excuse for underachieving in Europe.
   937. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: February 18, 2013 at 05:19 PM (#4371500)
In each of the past two seasons, during the short-lived part of the year before City unceremoniously failed their way out of the Champions League, he routinely mentioned that they had "3 games per week" to prepare for.

Unlike all the other teams in the Champions League.
   938. jmurph Posted: February 18, 2013 at 05:32 PM (#4371504)
Unlike all the other teams in the Champions League.


Well yes, and that. That's perhaps the stronger point. But I was mostly concerned that he actually thought he had 3 games per week to prepare for, because he really didn't.
   939. SuperGrover Posted: February 18, 2013 at 08:10 PM (#4371571)
Fans will be pissed (and they have a right to be) but the only way Kroenke would think about canning Wegner is if he doesn't qualify for Champions League. Even then I think Wegner would be safe.


We'll see this season because they ain't qualifying for UCL unless the Spurs lose a couple key players to injury.
   940. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: February 18, 2013 at 08:20 PM (#4371573)
We'll see this season because they ain't qualifying for UCL unless the Spurs lose a couple key players to injury.

That seems like a vast overbid. It's 4 points. There's a lot of football left to play.
   941. spike Posted: February 18, 2013 at 08:22 PM (#4371574)
   942. SuperGrover Posted: February 18, 2013 at 08:31 PM (#4371578)
That seems like a vast overbid. It's 4 points. There's a lot of football left to play.


I understand. I just believe they are a very overrated ball club. They do have an easy schedule the rest of the way, but I don't think it's enough.
   943. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: February 18, 2013 at 08:35 PM (#4371579)
Former MLS, US national team player Robbie Rogers comes out as gay.

Might be of interest here.

Been noted.
   944. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: February 19, 2013 at 09:06 AM (#4371712)
2014 World Cup will use goal line technology.

I predict England will lose in the quarter finals due to an overturned decision.
   945. Mattbert Posted: February 19, 2013 at 09:56 AM (#4371726)
FIORENTINA THINK FACTORY
Michael Cox on La Viola's on-again-off-again love affair with Stevan Jovetic.
Jovetic [isn't] a natural No. 9 -- in fact, the '8' on the back of his shirt looks strange displayed at market stalls across the city, as it's hardly the most iconic number -- but he's increasingly thriving in their position. Coach Vincenzo Montella, once a superb striker himself, has two formats for his side. Favouring a 3-5-2 system, he can either play Jovetic behind a central striker (often Toni, having returned to the club after six years away), or he can field Jovetic upfront with a more creative player behind.

There were already suspicions that the latter suited Fiorentina better, especially in games against strong opposition, and last night's superb 4-1 victory over Inter supported that theory. Jovetic was supported primarily by the tricky, wayward but occasionally exceptional fellow Slavic attacker Adam Ljajic, who drifted around between the lines, playing quick one-twos with teammate to get into goalscoring positions. Jovetic played as the primary striker, dropping deep away from goal to collect possession, but also doing traditional centre-forward things like battling with Andrea Rannochia to challenge for long balls downfield, and darting to the near post when the ball was played wide.

[...]

With [playmakers Adem Ljajic, Borja Valero, Alberto Aquilani and David Pizarro] in the side, Jovetic's best position is upfront. He's developed physically, to suit the demands of playing upfront in Serie A -- he was once a gangly, slender player with supple hips and a change of pace. Now, since his return from the cruciate ligament injury which forced him to miss the entire 2010-11 campaign, he seems more powerful and sturdy.
   946. puck Posted: February 19, 2013 at 11:54 AM (#4371809)
Did he actually write "supple hips"? Jovetic has also traded in his mop for a closely-cropped haircut. Though he still looks more like a matinee idol than a Totti. Maybe one from this decade.
   947. ursus arctos Posted: February 19, 2013 at 11:59 AM (#4371816)
He's right in that it was by far Jovetic's best performance since his return for injury. It should now be up to Toni to adapt.
   948. puck Posted: February 19, 2013 at 12:03 PM (#4371823)
How does centerback play change in a 3-5-2 / 3-4-1-2 system compared to the various 4 back systems used today? When you mention this to American soccer players, as opposed to people who watch a lot of pro soccer, they mention the sweeper, but this doesn't seem to be the way contemporary formations are using the back 3.

The outside guys are far more aggressive and comfortable with going towards the touchlines to take on wingers, and as a result I'd guess the organizational and communication issues between a back 3 are more complex than with a back 2. But they still seem to play in a line mostly, though the center guy seems to have more freedom to step out to take on attackers if the defense is set (wingbacks have started to return to support the outside CB's).
   949. puck Posted: February 19, 2013 at 12:04 PM (#4371824)
Also, why is it so popular in Italy?
   950. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: February 19, 2013 at 12:20 PM (#4371839)
3-5-2 and 3-4-3 were both popular in the early 90's outside of Italy. In the mid 90's 4-4-2 became immensely popular, because it was easy to teach, you could fit practically any type of player into it, and most importantly, it was successful. That killed of tactical creativity in a lot of places.

3 back systems tend to require a lot more versatility from players. The major advantage is that you can create situation where you have an extra man in the key area of the field, at any given time. The drawback is that you need players to slide out of their natural positions, and be able to play there, and also know when to do this. And failure to do so can get punished pretty harshly.

For CB's that basically means that the outside back on the side which is deemed the danger area, slides outside to deal with that danger, either in support of the winger, or as a substitute FB if the winger is caught upfield. Leaving the other 2 backs much like they are in a back 4, which is why in practice, you don't see the middle one playing much of a role as a sweeper.
   951. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 19, 2013 at 02:28 PM (#4371945)
   952. SuperGrover Posted: February 19, 2013 at 03:19 PM (#4371983)
Arsenal goes with Walcott up front with Ramsey and Podolski on the flanks. I think it's a good move as Walcott gives them their best shot against Bayern IMO. Giroud is simply too wasteful to be trusted in a game like this.
   953. I am going to be Frank Posted: February 19, 2013 at 03:53 PM (#4372006)
Arsenal looks shaky at the back and Kroos scores.

Walcott already looks dangerous, yet the new English(?) announcer keeps harping on the fact that Arsenal can't lump it up to him to hold. We get it already!
   954. SuperGrover Posted: February 19, 2013 at 03:54 PM (#4372007)
Now that was a goal. Great pass by Muller to pick out Kroos and the strike left no question. Pure quality.

Arsenal is going for it and the Wilshere/Cazorla/Walcott pairing looks frisky. Could be some goals in this one.
   955. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 19, 2013 at 04:06 PM (#4372020)
I think the tie is already over. Sheesh. Bayern are really freaking good.
   956. SuperGrover Posted: February 19, 2013 at 04:07 PM (#4372021)
And that's that. Fun while it lasted eh Arsene? Arsenal's midfield is simply overmatched here.
   957. SuperGrover Posted: February 19, 2013 at 04:09 PM (#4372024)
I think the tie is already over. Sheesh. Bayern are really freaking good.


Yeah they look like top class right now. They appear much stronger than Barca, Real, United, Juven or anyone else right now.
   958. I am going to be Frank Posted: February 19, 2013 at 04:12 PM (#4372029)
Hindsight and all but don't see why Wegner didn't field Diaby. Obviously he's an injury risk but wow Bayern's midfield is physically imposing.
   959. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 19, 2013 at 04:13 PM (#4372032)
Hindsight and all but don't see why Wegner didn't field Diaby. Obviously he's an injury risk but wow Bayern's midfield is physically imposing.

Diaby has been in poor form. Not spending the cash for a midfield destroyer is biting them in the, ahem, arse.
   960. I am going to be Frank Posted: February 19, 2013 at 04:18 PM (#4372039)
I think Arteta has been worse since he came back from injury plus Ramsey isn't anything special either.
   961. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 19, 2013 at 04:18 PM (#4372041)
The feed today on Fox2go is terrible. Grrr.
   962. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 19, 2013 at 04:20 PM (#4372042)
I think Arteta has been worse since he came back from injury plus Ramsey isn't anything special either.

I think you've summed up Arsenal's recent struggles pretty well there. That said, they're only 4 points behind Spurs who are supposed to be in great form so I try not to talk too much crap.
   963. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: February 19, 2013 at 04:24 PM (#4372047)
Yeah they look like top class right now. They appear much stronger than Barca, Real, United, Juven or anyone else right now.

If I have to pick a team, I'll still pick Barca, no doubt. Bayern indeed look really impressive, but a good half against a mediocre Arsenal side isn't going to sway me. That was always a mismatch. 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.
   964. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 19, 2013 at 04:31 PM (#4372051)
Any suggestions for half time changes for Arsenal? Maybe Ox in for Ramsey and move Cazorla more central? Get some more pace on the wings? It's a real handicap for Arsenal that Monreal is cup-tied. I think they're stuck with Koscielny at left back.
   965. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: February 19, 2013 at 04:31 PM (#4372053)
Diaby has been in poor form. Not spending the cash for a midfield destroyer is biting them in the, ahem, arse.
Top-table obscurity reigns at The Emirates for another year!

Though I suppose if they end up having to settle for the Eurpora League, that would be a meaningful step backwards.
   966. SuperGrover Posted: February 19, 2013 at 04:32 PM (#4372054)
This whole pressing of Bayern ain't working out too well.
   967. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 19, 2013 at 04:32 PM (#4372055)
Though I suppose if they end up having to settle for the Eurpora League, that would be a meaningful step backwards.

5th place makes you the Bayern of mid-table!
   968. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 19, 2013 at 04:33 PM (#4372056)
No, John Strong, this tie IS dead and buried.
   969. jmurph Posted: February 19, 2013 at 04:33 PM (#4372058)
Any suggestions for half time changes for Arsenal? Maybe Ox in for Ramsey and move Cazorla more central? Get some more pace on the wings? It's a real handicap for Arsenal that Monreal is cup-tied. I think they're stuck with Koscielny at left back.


I think they have to put RVP and Clichy out there, Mancunian registrations be damned.
   970. jmurph Posted: February 19, 2013 at 04:35 PM (#4372062)
In the world of serious suggestions, they can absolutely have Nasri back.
   971. I am going to be Frank Posted: February 19, 2013 at 04:35 PM (#4372064)
At this point Arsenal has to go for it... Giroud on for Ramsey or Podolski and Diaby on for Arteta.
   972. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 19, 2013 at 04:38 PM (#4372068)
In the world of serious suggestions, they can absolutely have Nasri back.

I laugh when people say selling Nasri for 3 times as much as he's worth made Arsenal a selling club. That was genius by Arsenal!
   973. SuperGrover Posted: February 19, 2013 at 04:38 PM (#4372071)
If I have to pick a team, I'll still pick Barca, no doubt. Bayern indeed look really impressive, but a good half against a mediocre Arsenal side isn't going to sway me. That was always a mismatch. 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.


Good points although I was less than impressed with Barca in the group stages as well. Plus, they are beat up a bit. Still I do agree they would have to be the favorites, by Bayern has to be second.
   974. SuperGrover Posted: February 19, 2013 at 04:41 PM (#4372076)
Any suggestions for half time changes for Arsenal? Maybe Ox in for Ramsey and move Cazorla more central? Get some more pace on the wings? It's a real handicap for Arsenal that Monreal is cup-tied. I think they're stuck with Koscielny at left back.


That's worth a shot. I guess you could go with Diaby as well but that doesn't seem to offer much hope of scoring the two needed to have a realistic shot in the reverse leg. The other issue they have is that they have three on yellows and I could see Arteta or Sagna doing something ill advised out of frustration.
   975. I am going to be Frank Posted: February 19, 2013 at 04:49 PM (#4372084)
I also don't get the hate of the RvP selling. I get Man U is a "rival" but even with him, I didn't see Arsenal challenging for a title and Arsenal got a good amount of money for him when there was a good chance he would have left on a free a year later. Plus if RvP doesn't go to United, Man City are probably in the driver's seat to win the league and I think Arsenal fans are more annoyed with them.

Unless something drastically changes (like Arsene spending like a Madrid manager), Arsenal isn't going to challenge for a title in the next three years. It seems like the fans are using the "don't trade players within the division" axiom. Short term it hurts, but long-term, money is good if its reinvested in the club.

   976. SuperGrover Posted: February 19, 2013 at 04:50 PM (#4372085)
Or I guess you could do nothing. At least Arsene's probably warm on the sidelines.
   977. jmurph Posted: February 19, 2013 at 04:56 PM (#4372088)
I also don't get the hate of the RvP selling. I get Man U is a "rival" but even with him, I didn't see Arsenal challenging for a title and Arsenal got a good amount of money for him when there was a good chance he would have left on a free a year later.


This argument is only valid if they finish in 4th this season without him.

EDIT: Or if they pull a Chelsea in the Champions League, of course.
   978. SuperGrover Posted: February 19, 2013 at 04:57 PM (#4372092)
Holy moly was that awful goalkeeping. WTF was Neuer doing?
   979. I am going to be Frank Posted: February 19, 2013 at 04:59 PM (#4372093)
Wow - Neuer is so bored he decides to go for a ball he has no business going for. Wegner taking something from the SAF book of managing and giving the team the hair-dryer treatment?
   980. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: February 19, 2013 at 04:59 PM (#4372096)
This whole pressing of Bayern ain't working out too well.

It's just not how you beat Bayern. You sit back let them try and break you down. Strong defensive midfield, strong CB's, pace up front, and kill them on the break when they turn the ball over, and leave space behind them, whih they will.

Course Arsenal can't soak up pressure without leaking a half-dozen goals, so it's moot.

Edit: Well that might make things a little interesting at least.
   981. I am going to be Frank Posted: February 19, 2013 at 05:00 PM (#4372099)
This argument is only valid if they finish in 4th this season without him.


Yea - Of course.
   982. SuperGrover Posted: February 19, 2013 at 05:08 PM (#4372111)
Arjen Robben seems like a peach of a teammate.
   983. SuperGrover Posted: February 19, 2013 at 05:15 PM (#4372122)
Giroud REALLY misses a lot of clear cut scoring opportunities.
   984. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: February 19, 2013 at 05:22 PM (#4372132)
Oh boy.
   985. SuperGrover Posted: February 19, 2013 at 05:23 PM (#4372134)
Don't worry, I am sure Arsenal can score at least three at Bayern...
   986. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 19, 2013 at 05:29 PM (#4372146)
Bayern looks good, although the Arsenal back four has done a good job of making them look unstoppable.

Also on that Giroud missed chances thing, I figured, this is something for which there's some amount of data. These are PL players with at least 10 "big chances" who have converted less that one-third of those:

2/10 Kevin Nolan
3/13 David Silva
3/13 Papiss Demba Cisse
4/17 Olivier Giroud
4/14 Nikita Jelavic
5/16 Arouna Kone

That seems like a pretty good list of out-of-form finishers.

But here's the problem. These are the next two guys on the list:

6/18 Sergio Aguero (well, ok, he hasn't been at his best...)
11/31 Robin van Persie (oh)
   987. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 19, 2013 at 05:31 PM (#4372151)
And the best rate of "big chance" conversion, players over 50%:

7/11 Rickie Lambert
10/16 Edin Dzeko
11/19 Michu
6/11 Shane Long
13/24 Luis Suarez
8/15 Wayne Rooney
9/17 Christian Benteke

Overall, this seems like a good listing of players who've been finishing well and players who haven't. Except for the whole RVP thing.
   988. JuanGone..except1game Posted: February 19, 2013 at 05:39 PM (#4372153)
Overall, this seems like a good listing of players who've been finishing well and players who haven't. Except for the whole RVP thing.


Both list are about what you would expect to see, except for RVP. Benteke's agent must be salivating at this point.
   989. DA Baracus Posted: February 19, 2013 at 05:40 PM (#4372156)
Where did you get that info? Just curious.
   990. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 19, 2013 at 06:20 PM (#4372180)
I don't know anywhere that such tables are available for free. I'm paying for a subscription at Fantasy Football Scout. They have a nice "custom tables" app to play with the data. They have opta data from 2011-2012 and from the present season.
   991. SuperGrover Posted: February 19, 2013 at 06:40 PM (#4372191)
RVP was better last season, but still nowhere near the top. Top 10 in 2011/12:

Lampard 9/11
Fletcher 8/11
Ba 9/15
Rooney 18/32
Yakubu 15/27
Hernandez 8/15
Cisse 8/16
Dzeko 10/20
Aguero 15/29
RVP 23/44

Bottom 5:

Kuyt 2/10
Carroll 3/13
Gervinho 3/13
Suarez 7/28
Crouch 4/16
   992. Grunthos Posted: February 19, 2013 at 06:50 PM (#4372193)
Benteke's agent must be salivating at this point.

If Arsene Wenger doesn't buy Benteke this summer, then you can stick a fork in Wenger's future, it's done. Benteke would need a year or two to finish developing, but Arsenal would then have a power forward who complements their style perfectly. He's a screamingly obviously perfect fit for their needs (an aerial threat, flair, composure) and Arsene's predelictions (young, Francophone), he won't come close to breaking Arsenal's wage scale, and Villa are in no position to refuse a power (20M+ pounds) offer even if they somehow avoid relegation.
   993. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: February 19, 2013 at 06:52 PM (#4372195)
6/11 Shane Long

This is quick interjection to agree and note that Shane Long is really, really good.
   994. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 19, 2013 at 07:00 PM (#4372198)
He's a screamingly obviously perfect fit for their needs
I mean, I agree, but this is true of half the clubs in the league. I say this in part because 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.
   995. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 19, 2013 at 07:03 PM (#4372201)
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.
   996. Swedish Chef Posted: February 19, 2013 at 07:16 PM (#4372208)
What is the methodology for deciding what is a "big chance"?

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.
   997. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: February 19, 2013 at 07:20 PM (#4372213)
What is the methodology for deciding what is a "big chance"?

It's like, he totally should have scored there man. Total objectivity.
   998. Jeffo has an El Camino full of Rampage Posted: February 19, 2013 at 07:21 PM (#4372215)
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.

Looking at the numbers, and following up on #995, perhaps striker conversion rates of these chances have something in common with bullpen numbers from year to year? I would think the smaller number of chances/opportunities in the respective numbers passes the smell test, at least to my (no doubt limited) head.

Definintely an interesting stat to follow - I guess if it did normalize (obviously there can be many other factors involved) it would help to support the "form is temporary, class is permanent" line of thought that I hear so often on EPL broadcasts.
   999. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: February 19, 2013 at 07:26 PM (#4372218)
What is the methodology for deciding what is a "big chance"?

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.
   1000. Swedish Chef Posted: February 19, 2013 at 07:39 PM (#4372225)
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."

They must have a pretty liberal definition of "very close range", otherwise I can't see how there can be that number of big chances.
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