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Tuesday, January 01, 2013

OT: The Soccer Thread: January 2013

Because the first sporting event of 2013 that I watched was a soccer match.

fra paolo Posted: January 01, 2013 at 03:38 PM | 1784 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: soccer

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   1001. DA Baracus Posted: January 22, 2013 at 03:51 PM (#4352705)
Damn, what a goal by Tunisia.
   1002. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 22, 2013 at 03:53 PM (#4352706)
ACN continues producing drama! 91st minute long-range strike breaks 0-0 stalemate in what the announcers keep calling the "North Africa derby".

I wonder how this will play in revolutionary Tunisia.
   1003. DA Baracus Posted: January 22, 2013 at 03:55 PM (#4352708)
Mail's win was seen as a needed moment of relief, Tunisia's should give those caught in the middle something to be happy about too.

what the announcers keep calling the "North Africa derby".


Well they are neighbors.
   1004. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 22, 2013 at 03:56 PM (#4352710)
Yeah, I know. Still, is USA/Mexico a "derby"? Argentina-Uruguay? Russia-Poland? It seems like they're stretching the word out a bit.
   1005. DA Baracus Posted: January 22, 2013 at 03:59 PM (#4352716)
Point taken. Announcer should have said rivalry, not derby. And that was definitely a rivalry, a foul every 2 minutes.
   1006. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 22, 2013 at 04:09 PM (#4352721)
I think Bradford are in trouble. It's all Villa so far. The crowd seems really into it as well.
   1007. SuperGrover Posted: January 22, 2013 at 04:13 PM (#4352726)
I think Bradford are in trouble. It's all Villa so far. The crowd seems really into it as well.


Yeah not sure they can hang on to the one goal lead for an hour.
   1008. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 22, 2013 at 04:15 PM (#4352728)
I always forget this...but is the away goal rule in effect in the League Cup?

edit: The announcers just mentioned that away goal tie breaker is in effect. So Bradford is REALLY in trouble.
   1009. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 22, 2013 at 04:21 PM (#4352730)
Away goals, but only after extra time. Not that that's a lot better for Bradford.

Villa's looking good, but their season is looking a touch Birmingham-y, no?
   1010. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 22, 2013 at 04:22 PM (#4352732)
Villa's looking good, but their season is looking a touch Birmingham-y, no?

The irony is not lost on anyone...
   1011. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: January 22, 2013 at 04:27 PM (#4352738)
Still, is USA/Mexico a "derby"?


I remember Ian Darke referring to it just that way when the US was at Azteca last summer.
   1012. SuperGrover Posted: January 22, 2013 at 04:31 PM (#4352741)
Benteke is what I imagine Russel Westbrook would be as a footballer. Quick, strong with incredible leaping ability but not entirely precise with other parts of his game. He is young though and has amazing natural gifts.
   1013. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 22, 2013 at 04:32 PM (#4352743)
Bradford needs to take a deep breath and realize they're still winning. Villa are not messing around today, though.
   1014. Topher Posted: January 22, 2013 at 04:57 PM (#4352768)
MLS has to finalize the transfer. They've vetoed a few transfers before (Shalrie Joseph twice to Celtic, Olaf Mellburg to TFC immediately come to mind). Remember, the league owns all the contracts, so they have final say. They get a third of the transfer fee too.


1. Thanks

2. As it applies to Shea ... is this going through a normal process? Should Dallas and MLS been on similar pages before entering negotiations with Stoke? Is MLS the bad cop that extracts a bit more in transfer money after a deal has already been reached????

3. Less, but still a bit confused.
   1015. SuperGrover Posted: January 22, 2013 at 04:57 PM (#4352769)
Leveler! Game on now.

BTW, could this announcer be pulling any more for Bradford?
   1016. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: January 22, 2013 at 05:00 PM (#4352781)
So I hear all this doom-and-gloom stuff about Bradford, log onto the BBC page and see--literally the same instant--that Bradford has scored. So how about that?
   1017. DA Baracus Posted: January 22, 2013 at 05:06 PM (#4352786)
2. As it applies to Shea ... is this going through a normal process? Should Dallas and MLS been on similar pages before entering negotiations with Stoke? Is MLS the bad cop that extracts a bit more in transfer money after a deal has already been reached????


They should be, but they aren't as evidenced by the Mellberg debacle. TFC wanted him as a DP, the league vetoed it because they want goal scorers and playmakers as DPs. Hopefully once each team has a unique owner the teams will have a little more freedom.
   1018. CWS Keith plans to boo your show at the Apollo Posted: January 22, 2013 at 05:15 PM (#4352801)
2. As it applies to Shea ... is this going through a normal process? Should Dallas and MLS been on similar pages before entering negotiations with Stoke? Is MLS the bad cop that extracts a bit more in transfer money after a deal has already been reached????

It's normal in the sense that Shea is contracted with the league, not the specific team. As far as Dallas and MLS being on the same page, it's an issue I've wondered about, too. The league seems to be pushing Shea as one of its stars -- he's front-and-center in those Adidas commercials, he's had a cup-of-coffee with the USMNT, he's young -- so I could easily see a situation where MLS' valuation of Shea is a bit higher than Dallas'.

Didn't Dallas go through this exact same situation a year or so ago with George John? I seem to remember Blackburn (IIRC) sniffing around, with the end result being John not moving because MLS and Blackburn couldn't come to an agreement. The whole thing strikes me as a rather awkward arrangement.
   1019. Mattbert Posted: January 22, 2013 at 05:19 PM (#4352804)
So Villa need to score twice to send this to extra time and three times to win outright (without conceding again)? That doesn't sound good.

Memo to Paul Lambert: I hope you elected to rent and not buy.
   1020. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: January 22, 2013 at 05:31 PM (#4352827)
What a sloppy goal for Bradford to give up.
   1021. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 22, 2013 at 05:32 PM (#4352828)
Villa reduced to nothing but Route One on repeat. But with their striking talent, it's still possible. Got one...
   1022. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: January 22, 2013 at 05:38 PM (#4352835)
Good for Bradford, that's a fun story
   1023. Grunthos Posted: January 22, 2013 at 05:42 PM (#4352844)
Nine days now to find out whether Randy Lerner has the first inklings of a clue. Back Lambert, or sack Lambert and back somebody else, but if you don't open up 10 million pounds to get two or three quality players in before February, dude, this team is going the way of Leeds. Paring down the wage bill can wait a year.
   1024. Mattbert Posted: January 22, 2013 at 05:43 PM (#4352845)
Hard not to root for Bradford, but boy oh boy has it been a rough month and half or so for Villa. Just when they were starting to look like they'd found their feet under Lambert, too.
   1025. DA Baracus Posted: January 22, 2013 at 05:45 PM (#4352850)
Nine days now to find out whether Randy Lerner has the first inklings of a clue.


It's Randy Lerner, so the answer is of course "no."
   1026. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: January 22, 2013 at 05:46 PM (#4352851)
Also, unless I'm forgetting something, this now means that in the last five years, Bradford will have exactly as many Final appearences as Arsenal.
   1027. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 22, 2013 at 05:49 PM (#4352857)
Just when they were starting to look like they'd found their feet under Lambert, too.
After all the hilarity Brendan Rodgers provided us with early in the year, it looks like Lambert is the newly hired wonder manager whose reputation takes a huge hit this year.

What is it that makes Villa so bad? Is it just that their players are bad (though cheap)? Is there something they should do differently tactically? They're just really - bad.
   1028. DA Baracus Posted: January 22, 2013 at 05:49 PM (#4352858)
Bradford has more wins over EPL teams this season than QPR.
   1029. The Kentucky Gentleman, Mark Edward Posted: January 22, 2013 at 05:54 PM (#4352870)
Quick review of Tim Parks' A Season with Verona...

It was OK. He spends a lot of time trying to disprove the idea that Veronese are racist/xenophobic, and that gets kind of repetitive at times. He keeps bringing up this story of a Uruguayan immigrant who faked an assault in Verona as a way to show how Veronese are not as they are portrayed in the media. And while I get that point, it is clear that a lot of Verona fans are d-bags, as shown in other examples throughout his book.

Anyway, it's a decent read and I got through it pretty quickly. I like Fever Pitch better when it comes to books about fandom.

Has anyone read Hesse-Lichtenberger's Tor!? Thinking about picking that up next.
   1030. Grunthos Posted: January 22, 2013 at 06:09 PM (#4352892)
What is it that makes Villa so bad?


In one sentence: Lack of stability, control, and intelligence in center defense and center midfield.

The forwards are good players, there's some talent on the wings (if not intelligence), the fullbacks are inferior but not so bad you couldn't cover for them, and Guzan/Given is a highly competent pairing in goal. However, apart from Vlaar, the core of the team's shape is made up of kids (Bannan, Delph, Clark, Herd, Baker) who might be tolerable bench players but have no business starting in the top flight. Oh, and Westwood, who has talent but just arrived in the EPL from League Two. It's a continuous tactical disaster, where the team's strengths are entirely nullified by a complete inability to exert control over the game in their own end, and the best player (Bent) is rendered useless because he can't get any service. Add in the leadership void in the wake of Petrov's leukemia and Dunne's season-long injury, and here they are: a team that gets dominated by fourth-tier Bradford City.

I truly believe that the addition of a solid center back and a strong, stable defensive mid would instantly turn Villa into a mid-table-quality team. You can see flickers of quality every now and then, but they can't put it together when the core of the team is, in (gridiron) Football Outsiders terms, "hole in zone."
   1031. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 22, 2013 at 06:30 PM (#4352911)
Thanks Grunthos. That makes sense - a team with some skill players up top and no spine at all would just look like a mess on the field, which is the best I can describe the Villa games I've seen.
   1032. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 22, 2013 at 06:34 PM (#4352916)
Bradford City is going to Wembley! I should have stayed at work to see the second half. A League Cup final I'll be excited to watch.

In Spurs news, because you people can't get enough, I'm seeing some ITK rumors Defoe is injured. Ruh roh! AVB, evidently, was in Scotland tonight to scout Gary Hooper from Celtic. I'm not sure what to make of that. Anyway, time for Spurs to try out this false 9 thing...
   1033. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 22, 2013 at 06:38 PM (#4352922)
Villa have had their moments. They looked great in the first half against WBA and they had a strong game at Liverpool before the festive period. There are flashes here and there but, unfortunately, what good players they have are inconsistent at best and there's only so much a good keeper can save you from. Villa are second only to Everton for number of years in the top flight in England--it would be kind of surreal if they went down, no?
   1034. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 22, 2013 at 06:48 PM (#4352932)
Good new Michael Cox piece at ESPN: Why Serie A has fallen out of love with the #10.
The verticality from central midfield was reflected in, and caused by, the nature of each side's most attacking midfielder. Michael Bradley sped forward from the right of Roma's midfield, while Fredy Guarin was at the top of Inter's triangle, usually drifting towards the left.

Neither is remotely like a ‘trequartista,' the archetypal Italian number ten who roamed between the lines, orchestrating attacking moves and creating goal-scoring opportunities. Bradley is more about energy and hard running -- he's proved his technical quality since moving to Italy, but as ESPN FC's Roma blogger Julian De Martinis notes, Bradley has thrived because “his running provides a stable platform for [others] to do what they do best.” Guarin, too, is predominantly a runner -- charging back and forth between the central midfield zone and the attackers, driving his side forward rather than carving defences apart.

...

All this is particularly odd given that European football has, in the last five years or so, become increasingly hospitable to creative, waifish playmakers. The popularity of 4-2-3-1 in Spain and England means three attacking midfield positions -- and creators like David Silva, Santi Cazorla, Juan Mata, Oscar, Shinji Kagawa, Arda Turan and Mesut Ozil are reasonably content to be moved wide, and asked to drift inside. Even if they don't begin centrally, they can still take up those positions.

Italy, as always, seems to be operating in a different world tactically -- their obsession with 4-3-1-2 at the turn of the decade was also out of sync with the rest of Europe, but it meant the likes of Sneijder, Javier Pastore, Kaka, Diego and Totti were intended to be the fulcrum of the side. Now, since the shift towards a three-man defence in conjunction with an energetic five-man midfield, only Totti remains of that quintet, and even he's used in a modified role.
   1035. Mefisto Posted: January 22, 2013 at 07:28 PM (#4352962)
First camp for the new WNT coach, and it's an interesting roster. Lots of familiar names, but some welcome new ones too.
   1036. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: January 22, 2013 at 07:31 PM (#4352966)
Much like Rapinoe, Tobin Heath has signed a several month contract in France, though hers is with PSG.
   1037. Swedish Chef Posted: January 22, 2013 at 07:42 PM (#4352970)
What is it that makes Villa so bad? Is it just that their players are bad (though cheap)? Is there something they should do differently tactically? They're just really - bad.

They're good sometimes, there is talent there but not much experience, they lack an organizer or two on the pitch and some workrate. They could even use a Joey Barton....

And an attacking midfielder that could harm prem defenses.
   1038. Richard Posted: January 22, 2013 at 08:45 PM (#4352993)
Has anyone read Hesse-Lichtenberger's Tor!? Thinking about picking that up next.


Yes, I thought it was pretty good. There's a lot of interesting pre-WW2 German football history in there that's not otherwise available in English. Another When Saturday Comes book, Morbo by Phil Ball, about Spanish football, is even better.

Villa are second only to Everton for number of years in the top flight in England--it would be kind of surreal if they went down, no?


They have had spells where they have been out of the top flight since the War - most recently the 1987-8 season - but a club like them falling out of the top flight is a pretty big deal.

Good for Bradford. Nothing has gone right for them since 2000, and reaching your first major final in 102 years is a great achievement.
   1039. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: January 22, 2013 at 09:54 PM (#4353014)
They could even use a Joey Barton....
Whoa, whoa, losing to a League Two team over a two-legged semi-final is embarrassing, but there's no reason to totally throw away their credibility.
   1040. Mattbert Posted: January 23, 2013 at 10:12 AM (#4353164)
Good new Michael Cox piece at ESPN: Why Serie A has fallen out of love with the #10.

I read that yesterday as well--and enjoyed it--but never got around to posting a link here. I thought one of the more interesting observations in the piece was a sort of throwaway line in the last paragraph about how "tactical trends change increasingly quickly". I figure this is related to the similarly rapid expansion of high-quality television coverage and available statistical data. Wasn't that long ago that the only reliable ways for clubs to figure out what their peers in other leagues were doing were to send a scout or actually play said other teams.
   1041. Mattbert Posted: January 23, 2013 at 10:32 AM (#4353180)
This may not resonate much with the largely American poster demographic here, but I thought this was an overall excellent, if slightly overwrought, burn on the state of football punditry on English television. Prompted by the announcement that the BBC will be replacing Colin Murray as host of Match of the Day Deux.
And yet the BBC, which not only has some vague sense of responsibility to inform and educate, but is effectively free from the commercial pressure that drives the wider televisual obsession with dunder-headed celebrity for celebrity's sake, is content to let its enduring cartel of platitudinous Easter Island Heads - purveyors of a brand of punditry that isn't simply dead air but somehow strangely life-sapping, horribly entropic - have a back-channel say in who gets to present our only free to air top level football show.

This is the deeper sense of sadness that lies beneath the MOTD2 reshuffle: on its surface little more than a decision to replace a slightly waspish man with another slightly less waspish man, but beyond that indication of a malaise that creeps back up the arm and towards the vital organs. Clearly the axe is falling on the wrong side of the coffee table here. It is the leaden heavyweights of the punditry sofa who should be in the process of being swept aside in a long-awaited punditry annihilation, a mass-junking of all that old, gruelling heavy-furniture, weathered by cliché, slumped in an attitude of belligerent complacency, silencing rather than starting debate, hugely over-remunerated for a service that offers, essentially, no service.
   1042. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 23, 2013 at 10:41 AM (#4353189)
Sadly or happily, I have never had the pleasure of watching MOTD. Everything I know about soccer I've learned from Warren Barton and John Harkes! Complaining about pundits seems to be a British pastime, though. We're not so much different, it would seem, except we put apples in our pies and they put some kind of slurry and mud in theirs. Other than that...
   1043. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: January 23, 2013 at 10:48 AM (#4353195)
My exposure to English TV is a weekly clip of YouTube highlights of Soccer Saturday. I don't know what the perception of Jeff Stelling and those guys are but they are funny as hell.
   1044. Mattbert Posted: January 23, 2013 at 11:04 AM (#4353205)
Sadly or happily, I have never had the pleasure of watching MOTD. Everything I know about soccer I've learned from Warren Barton and John Harkes! Complaining about pundits seems to be a British pastime, though.

Oh man, you would probably think the MOTD stable of pundits are a godsend. The weekend crew on FSC is just awful. What does Warren Barton bring to the table besides looking like a scowling penis in a suit and saying precisely two things ever: (1) If a team is losing at halftime: "We'll need to see more from them in the second half." (2) If a team lost the game: "They just didn't do enough."

That's it. That is the entirety of Warren Barton's contribution, other than donning a pained and forced smile every time Rob Stone or Eric Wynalda shoehorns some reference to an American player into the conversation. Give me Brian McBride (and his anti-charisma) providing actual analysis any day.

The MOTD guys are more in the McCarver/Morgan mold for me. They seem decent enough when you're first learning the game, but the more you know the less they offer. Alan Hansen (a former Liverpool defender from the glory days) supposedly used to be pretty good but then declined as he reclined in the soft smugness of his security as an icon of football commentary. He's probably most famous for declaring, "You'll win nothing with kids!" when Ferguson first brought the Giggs/Scholes/Beckham generation of yutes into the Manchester United team. The rest of the regulars have, for the most part, fallen into the same trap as Hansen and McCarver and Morgan. They've failed to evolve with the game they're purported to be experts on and have retreated to the defensive posture that anyone who hasn't played the game at the highest level himself is in no position to offer an opinion on what happens on the field.
   1045. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 23, 2013 at 11:08 AM (#4353209)
Revie versus Clough in 1974

Just after Leeds had sacked Clough. I can't even think of a corollary in American sports television.
   1046. Mattbert Posted: January 23, 2013 at 11:12 AM (#4353212)
My exposure to English TV is a weekly clip of YouTube highlights of Soccer Saturday. I don't know what the perception of Jeff Stelling and those guys are but they are funny as hell.

I think Jeff Stelling is generally well-liked. He is clever, he keeps it light, and he doesn't purport to be anything other than a quick-witted host. The stable of pundits Sky employs for the running commentary on live matches are, by and large, morons. Le Tissier is half-decent but the other guys are utter half-wits, especially Merson (who I'm surprised is able to dress himself considering his frequent inability to put together a complete sentence without practically spitting up on his tie).

I would say the same things about Gary Lineker, host of the flagship broadcast of MOTD on Saturday nights, as I did about Stelling.
   1047. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 23, 2013 at 11:13 AM (#4353213)
Oh man, you would probably think the MOTD stable of pundits are a godsend.

Probably not. I kind of hate punditry and I often watch sporting events with the sound off and my Ipod on shuffle. I do listen to soccer with the sound on as I enjoy the droning of the announcers with British accents and the ambient noise. But baseball, football and basketball...give me my tunes. The thing about Wynalda is that I bet he has a lot to offer as a pundit--look at the team he threw together of amateurs that made a nice run in the Cup--but he doesn't offer it on FSC. If Spurs hadn't signed Dempsey they'd still have their claws out for Villas-Boas, most likely. Thanks Clint!

Speaking of Clint, here he is making a few bucks selling a mini rubberized version of himself. Take it with you into the bath!
   1048. Richard Posted: January 23, 2013 at 11:23 AM (#4353220)
Stelling is very popular. He has a sense of fun, is a great anchorman, knows a lot about British football - he knows more about the lower divisions than everyone on Motd put together - and doesn't take himself too seriously.

Lineker's act is wearing thin, but not as thin as the rest of that panel. Many people record MOTD and skip the analysis, which is worthless now. Gary Neville's emergence as a decent pundit has really showed how out of touch Shearer et al are.

As for Clough and Revie:

1. The parallels between them are striking. Same home town, similar backgrounds, both forwards not quite good enough to be England regulars, both innovators as managers who took teams to unprecedented heights, both keen on money...and yet they hated each other. The difference? Revie wanted to win at all costs. Clough did not go that far.

2. What is doubly remarkable about the clip is that it is regional TV. What a coup. But sport was less important then.
   1049. Mattbert Posted: January 23, 2013 at 11:28 AM (#4353222)
This is a pretty interesting profile of Klinsmann unfettered. He has a few comments in there that I bet will get some attention.
   1050. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 23, 2013 at 11:29 AM (#4353224)
2. What is doubly remarkable about the clip is that it is regional TV. What a coup. But sport was less important then.

I just can't believe how frank they were or that they even agreed to do it, but, as you said, neither seemed shy when it came to receiving a few quid.

Jonathan Wilson made an interesting point in his book that the prohibition against the back pass--along with economics and Clough's alcoholism--is what did Forest in as Clough didn't believe in fitness training and without the back pass teams had to do a lot more running.
   1051. Mattbert Posted: January 23, 2013 at 11:31 AM (#4353229)
Stelling is very popular. He has a sense of fun, is a great anchorman, knows a lot about British football - he knows more about the lower divisions than everyone on Motd put together - and doesn't take himself too seriously.

He really is good. I think his facility with the lower divisions is down to his undying love of Hartlepool United. His reactions upon learning they've scored are always a treat.
   1052. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 23, 2013 at 11:35 AM (#4353233)
"[Dempsey] hasn't made s---. You play for Fulham? Yeah, so? Show me you can play for a Champions League team, and then you start on a Champions League team," Klinsmann says. "There is always another level. If you one day reach the highest level then you've got to confirm it, every year."

From Matt's link. Wow. I respect Klinsmann's comments in that article, but if we don't have the players, we don't have the players.
   1053. Richard Posted: January 23, 2013 at 11:36 AM (#4353234)
The big thing that did for Forest in the first PL year was selling Teddy Sheringham to Spurs. They could not put the ball in the net regularly as he was not replaced and they were very reliant on him, I recall. They were 3rd two seasons later, having come straight back up, with Collymore scoring many goals and Brian Roy having a great year next to him.

Clough was also well gone in that last year.

The back pass law was viewed with trepidation but was a really positive change, it turned out. It speeded up international football in particular.
   1054. Richard Posted: January 23, 2013 at 11:41 AM (#4353239)
Stelling not only has a Fan's interest in the lower leagues but he actually prepares. He reads the stats, knows who the players are and who is doing well or doing badly. He looks at history too. Contrast that with Alan Shearer at the World Cup saying that he doesn't know anything about a particular player or team. That's actually your job, Alan.
   1055. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 23, 2013 at 11:44 AM (#4353241)
The big thing that did for Forest in the first PL year was selling Teddy Sheringham to Spurs.


Wilson talks about this, too. Sheringham, evidently, forced the move to be closer to his family. That last year just sounds like it was brutal for everyone involved.
   1056. Mattbert Posted: January 23, 2013 at 11:45 AM (#4353243)
Stelling not only has a Fan's interest in the lower leagues but he actually prepares. He reads the stats, knows who the players are and who is doing well or doing badly. He looks at history too.

That's what has gotten Gary Neville a lot of plaudits as well. You get the sense that he really busts his ass researching stuff for his SkySports appearances, just like he busted his ass in training and preparing for his Manchester United appearances.
   1057. Mattbert Posted: January 23, 2013 at 11:48 AM (#4353246)
Ali Tweedale of whoscored.com:
The two GKs with the worst saves/shots faced ratios in the Premier League this season are Friedel - 56% and Lloris - 61% (10+ appearances).
   1058. Richard Posted: January 23, 2013 at 11:50 AM (#4353249)
There was a sort of media self-denial about Forest that year. No one in the press seemed to accept that Forest were going down until it actually happened.

That was a fun season. With the EPL coming in, So much was new - wall to wall TV coverage, referees in non-black kit, no back passes, squad numbers for the cup finals. I had my first trip to Wembley. Even Man Utd winning the league was novel.
   1059. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 23, 2013 at 11:59 AM (#4353256)
One of the South Africa fans is in a green-man suit like Charlie wears in It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Well played South African fan--your Sunny shout out is not lost on me!
   1060. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 23, 2013 at 11:59 AM (#4353257)
Even Man Utd winning the league was novel.

Alas...
   1061. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: January 23, 2013 at 12:00 PM (#4353258)
Since its somewhat on topic are there any thoughts on the movie "The Damned United?" It looks interesting and I like the actor who plays Clough. I'm going on vacation soon and I watch a lot of movies at night. Is that worth it?
   1062. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 23, 2013 at 12:05 PM (#4353267)
Since its somewhat on topic are there any thoughts on the movie "The Damned United?" It looks interesting and I like the actor who plays Clough. I'm going on vacation soon and I watch a lot of movies at night. Is that worth it?

I couldn't watch it. I tried but the book was such a visceral experience for me the movie seemed like a cardboard cutout and I just turned it off. Others have had really good things to say about it so I'd still check it out. Michael Sheen was born to play Clough, though, just as he was Tony Blair.
   1063. Richard Posted: January 23, 2013 at 12:06 PM (#4353270)
It's worth a look. Sheen is good as Clough and Timothy Spall nails Peter Taylor. Mind you, I think Stephen Graham is badly miscast as Billy Bremner. Preferred the book but enjoyed the film too.

Indeed , the book is probably the best novel ever written about football, not that there's much competition.
   1064. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: January 23, 2013 at 12:07 PM (#4353272)
I actually like Match of the Day, although a big part of that might be the theme song. In fact, I'm going to YouTube to listen to it right now. You guys wait a minute.

[...]

And we're back. In a lot of ways, MotD reminds me of Quick Pitch on the MLB Network, which I also like, in that the ratio of highlights to analysis is pretty high. Generally I'm more interested in seeing the game itself than hearing people talk about it.

I still think the worse analyst I've ever seen was poor Michael Ballack during Euro 2012. I grant that he was (a) new at it and (b) not speaking his native language, but he was just awful: wooden, clearly uncomfortable on-set, I can't imagine why they hired him.
   1065. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: January 23, 2013 at 12:08 PM (#4353275)
I've not read the book, but I thought the movie was excellent.
   1066. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 23, 2013 at 12:10 PM (#4353278)
I still think the worse analyst I've ever seen was poor Michael Ballack during Euro 2012.

I thought Rossi was even worse! I think they hired Rossi and Ballack to make Alexi Lalas crazy. It nearly worked, so well played ESPN.
   1067. Richard Posted: January 23, 2013 at 12:12 PM (#4353282)
It was sad to see Paul Gascoigne do analysis in the 1998 World Cup. He tried really hard (he was making notes during the games and referring to them at half and full time) but the job was beyond him.
   1068. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 23, 2013 at 12:17 PM (#4353287)
As a Spurs fan, I like when David Pleat does color. He seems kind of doddering but he's got an encyclopedic knowledge of the English game (and Spurs in particular) and, as a New Fan, I soak his history lessons up.
   1069. Mattbert Posted: January 23, 2013 at 12:17 PM (#4353288)
I thought Rossi was even worse!

Oh, definitely. If Ballack looked wooden and uncomfortable, Rossi looked downright terrified. Like there was someone crouched under the desk with a pistol pointed at his genitals.
   1070. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 23, 2013 at 12:22 PM (#4353295)
Looking good for South Africa. Angola have had good chances but haven't taken advantage and South Africa killed them on the counter for the second goal.
   1071. Mattbert Posted: January 23, 2013 at 12:22 PM (#4353296)
As a Spurs fan, I like when David Pleat does color. He seems kind of doddering but he's got an encyclopedic knowledge of the English game (and Spurs in particular) and, as a New Fan, I soak his history lessons up.

Pleat's areas of weakness mostly come off as somewhat endearing because of his age. He says a few facepalm-worthy things sometimes, but he's pretty harmless. His pronunciation "issue" with certain foreign players can be good for a laugh. As I posted earlier, he had a hell of a time with 'Kagawa' on Sunday. Another memorable struggle was Pascal Chimbonda.
   1072. Richard Posted: January 23, 2013 at 12:24 PM (#4353301)
My Father has despised Pleat for as long as I can remember. They are almost the same age, and I sometimes wonder if they had an unpleasant encounter at some point in their teens...

Pleat was quite the tactical innovator in his day. He took Spurs to the cup final in 1987 with a multi tasking 5 man midfield behind Clive Allen as a lone forward, which was unusual at the time but pretty successful.
   1073. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 23, 2013 at 12:27 PM (#4353306)
They are the same age, and I sometimes wonder if they had an unpleasant encounter at some point in their teens...

Too bad you don't know the story. It would be kind of hilarious to know why someone hates David Pleat.
   1074. Mattbert Posted: January 23, 2013 at 12:30 PM (#4353309)
There are definitely more than few people who can't stand David Pleat. I can see him giving people a certain McCarver vibe, but like Shooty I haven't been listening to him for all that long compared to the institutional dinosaurs of baseball commentating. So maybe it's a familiarity breeds contempt thing.

I would not be at all surprised if one of my friends from the UK came over, listened to Buck and McCarver call a game on Fox, and say, "Why do you hate these guys again? They're perfectly pleasant."
   1075. DA Baracus Posted: January 23, 2013 at 12:34 PM (#4353311)
This is a pretty interesting profile of Klinsmann unfettered. He has a few comments in there that I bet will get some attention.


The headline of that article is ironic.

Since its somewhat on topic are there any thoughts on the movie "The Damned United?" It looks interesting and I like the actor who plays Clough. I'm going on vacation soon and I watch a lot of movies at night. Is that worth it?


Some of it is obviously bullshit (because of the source material, the book is fiction) but it is really, really well done. Highly recommended.
   1076. Mattbert Posted: January 23, 2013 at 12:35 PM (#4353312)
Gab Marcotti wonders whether PED usage is widespread in football and comes to the conclusion that it's probably not.
If there were certain clubs who were systematically using PEDs, you'd think someone, somewhere would talk about it, even if it is just scuttlebutt. Think of the number of people in and around clubs: from players to coaches to executives to medical staff. Then consider that each of these players has an agent who has a personal stake in the well-being of an athlete. Now consider the fact that many of these guys will change clubs repeatedly during their career.

And not one of them lets anything slip? Not even the ones who fall out with a club and have an axe to grind? Not even those whose career is ended by injury and have nothing to lose?

Hey, anything is possible. But if that's the case, it's the sort of “omerta” of which Tony Soprano would be proud.
   1077. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: January 23, 2013 at 12:37 PM (#4353316)
I don't know if it's an English thing or if it's a knowledge of the game thing but the thing that strikes me about the EPL commentators (both in-game and the few non-game that I've seen) is that they don't seem to take themselves as seriously as baseball commentators here do. I sense a love for the game that comes through more often in soccer broadcasts that I don't get enough of in baseball broadcasts. And while they have strong opinions they seem willing to concede mistakes or uncertainty.
   1078. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: January 23, 2013 at 12:37 PM (#4353319)
Oh, definitely. If Ballack looked wooden and uncomfortable, Rossi looked downright terrified. Like there was someone crouched under the desk with a pistol pointed at his genitals.
I may just seen more of Ballack. I've told this story before, but he was part of one of the great moments in television history:

Bob Ley: [Introducing a highlight] Here we see the German goal, that's great ball movement, isn't it, Michael?
[Clip begins to roll, 10 seconds of dead air]
Ballack: Yes
[10 more seconds of dead air]
Ballack: [Almost inaudible] Great ball movement
Ley: Thanks, Michael. Alexi, what do the Germans have to do to keep up the momentum in the second half?
   1079. DA Baracus Posted: January 23, 2013 at 12:40 PM (#4353320)
Ballack got better as Euros went on. Not good, but better. He was thrown into the deep end at it showed. But yeah, early on it was it pretty amazing. Rossi was just sad. I actually felt bad for him.
   1080. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 23, 2013 at 12:46 PM (#4353330)
An Angola player with an embarrassing dive. Boo! One of those "ow he punched me in the face and now my face is broken" dives.
   1081. The Kentucky Gentleman, Mark Edward Posted: January 23, 2013 at 01:26 PM (#4353377)
Is The Damned United the greatest soccer movie ever? I see John Huston directed a film called Victory, starring Sly Stallone(???); that movie's received some praise and Huston's a pretty excellent director.

Seems like there's a lack of quality soccer films, especially compared with other sports like boxing & baseball.
   1082. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 23, 2013 at 01:27 PM (#4353381)
   1083. user Posted: January 23, 2013 at 01:34 PM (#4353388)
Lineker's act is wearing thin, but not as thin as the rest of that panel. Many people record MOTD and skip the analysis, which is worthless now.


It was a shame they didn't keep Dixon who was loads better than the rest of the regulars. Hansen still provides the odd excellent bit (always on specific defensive things - his first prepared piece is normally worthwhile) but is a spouting cliche machine (which would be an upgrade for shearer)
   1084. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 23, 2013 at 02:35 PM (#4353456)
Platini comes out of retirement to score a goal for Cabo Verde! 1-0 over Morocco so far.
   1085. I am going to be Frank Posted: January 23, 2013 at 03:28 PM (#4353492)
Ronaldinho along with Julio Cesar got called back up to the Brazil team. Not sure what big Phil is doing - is Ronaldinho really in consideration for the World Cup? Who knew going from an Italian giant to QPR was the way to get back into the national team.
   1086. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: January 23, 2013 at 03:30 PM (#4353494)
I see John Huston directed a film called Victory, starring Sly Stallone(???); that movie's received some praise and Huston's a pretty excellent director.
Victory is fun, but it's not really a soccer movie. Or rather, it's the kind of soccer movie where Michael Caine plays a former Hammer/current POW who teams up with Pele and Stallone--who is discovered to be a goalkeeping prodigy--in order to play a game aganist the Germans while simultaneously escaping via an underground sewer tunnel.

Wikipedia has a list of soccer-related films. I've seen almost none of them, though I do recommend Mike Bassett: England Manager if you can find a copy.
   1087. Swedish Chef Posted: January 23, 2013 at 03:48 PM (#4353514)
The stock market really liked Man U buying out Sky. An IPO investor would be solidly in the black now.
   1088. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 23, 2013 at 04:03 PM (#4353525)
That was a very Big Sam goal. Set piece leading to a corner leading to a corner leading to a goal.
   1089. DA Baracus Posted: January 23, 2013 at 04:04 PM (#4353527)
I'll say it again, Arsenal: the best mediocre team in the world.
   1090. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 23, 2013 at 04:07 PM (#4353530)
Wow. What a strike from Podolski! A rocket. 1-1 just like that.
   1091. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 23, 2013 at 04:16 PM (#4353539)
This game is such a cliche so far--West Ham struggling with Arsenal's pace in open play, Arsenal struggling with West Ham's size on set pieces.
   1092. SuperGrover Posted: January 23, 2013 at 04:50 PM (#4353572)
Looking good for South Africa. Angola have had good chances but haven't taken advantage and South Africa killed them on the counter for the second goal.


Where are you guys watching ACN btw? Online "legal" streams? I ahven't seen it on Comcast here in Chicago.
   1093. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 23, 2013 at 04:52 PM (#4353576)
Where are you guys watching ACN btw? Online "legal" streams? I ahven't seen it on Comcast here in Chicago.

ESPN3
   1094. DA Baracus Posted: January 23, 2013 at 04:53 PM (#4353577)
Where are you guys watching ACN btw? Online "legal" streams? I ahven't seen it on Comcast here in Chicago.


ESPN3 has all the games.

Giroud with the goal off the corner. Nifty play.
   1095. SuperGrover Posted: January 23, 2013 at 04:54 PM (#4353580)
ESPN3


How and why did I not notice this? Appreciate it.
   1096. Mattbert Posted: January 23, 2013 at 04:55 PM (#4353583)
This game is such a cliche so far--West Ham struggling with Arsenal's pace in open play, Arsenal struggling with West Ham's size on set pieces.

Arsenal score from a set piece! Mon dieu!
   1097. DA Baracus Posted: January 23, 2013 at 04:59 PM (#4353586)
And now a third goal after wonderful build up.

Whatever Wenger said at the half worked wonders.

And now Walcott makes it 4-1 on a counter. This is nuts.
   1098. SuperGrover Posted: January 23, 2013 at 05:01 PM (#4353587)
Nice heel touch by Cazorla. Game over.

Arsenal continues to score at will in specific games. They have 26 goals 5 games and 18 in the other 18. Pefrectly mediocre (kudos to above).

Make that 27 in 5 as Walcott makes it 4.
   1099. DA Baracus Posted: January 23, 2013 at 05:03 PM (#4353589)
Another for Giroud. 4 goals in 12 minutes.
   1100. SuperGrover Posted: January 23, 2013 at 05:04 PM (#4353590)
Make that 28. Jesus.

Sam is not happy.
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