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Sunday, January 05, 2014

OT: The Soccer Thread January, 2014

With no Champions League or international matches of note, it’s all about the clubs an cup competitions this month:

January 6th: Lazio vs Inter
January 7th: Sunderland vs Man U in the League Cup, Valencia vs Atleti in Copa del Rey
January 8th: West Ham vs Man City in the League Cup
January 10th: Leicester City vs Derby in an important promotion game, Montpelier vs Monaco in Ligue Uhn.
January 11th: Cardiff vs West Ham in a relegation 6 pointer, will Man U lose to Swansea at home again?, but the day’s HUGE game is Barcelona hosting Atletico Madrid. This could decide La Liga.
January 12th: Newcastle vs Man City
January 13th: Aston Villa vs Arsenal
January 14th: FA Cup replays featuring Fulham vs Norwich, second leg of Valencia and Atleti in the Copa del Rey
January 15th: Man City host Blackburn in an FA Cup replay, Lyon vs Marseilles in the French Cup
January 17th: St. Etienne vs Lille
January 18th: Lots of games, no real standouts
January 19th: Swansea vs Spurs, Chelsea vs Man U
January 20th: West Brom vs Everton
January 21st: West Ham vs Man City in the League Cup
January 22nd: Man U vs Sunderland in the League Cup
January 24th: Monchengladbach vs Bayern Munich, not that it really matters
January 25th: FA Cup 4th round featuring Chelsea vs Stoke, Lazio vs Juventus, Monaco vs Marseilles
January 26th: Barca vs Malaga
January 28th: Liverpool vs Everton, Southampton vs Arsenal
January 29th: Tottenahm Hotspur FC vs Man City, Stuttgart vs Bayern
January 31st: Feyenoord vs Chelsea B in Holland, Braunschweig vs Borussia Dortmund

I’d say that Barcelona vs Atletico Madrid is the game of the month and declare it the BBTF Off Topic Game of the Month! Be there!

Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 05, 2014 at 05:16 PM | 1016 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: soccer

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   201. I am going to be Frank Posted: January 13, 2014 at 11:24 AM (#4637657)
I don't know what to make of Puncheon's accusations. The fact that some managers get a cut of transfer fees makes it seem like its not out of the realm of possibility. With so little transparency (especially compared to American sports) and with so many leagues out there I can see it happening.

Nasri is out for eight weeks. I'm guessing no one is crying for City.
   202. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 13, 2014 at 11:27 AM (#4637659)
I don't know what to make of Puncheon's accusations. The fact that some managers get a cut of transfer fees makes it seem like its not out of the realm of possibility. With so little transparency (especially compared to American sports) and with so many leagues out there I can see it happening.

He's accusing Warnock of, basically, extorting cash from players if they want to play. This is a step above your standard bung.
   203. I am going to be Frank Posted: January 13, 2014 at 11:38 AM (#4637668)
Yea its definitely a huge jump from the normal shadiness which makes it seem it unlikely that it happened, especially if no one else has ever accused him of it before.
   204. Mefisto Posted: January 13, 2014 at 11:39 AM (#4637670)
Nasri is out for eight weeks. I'm guessing no one is crying for City.


I won't cry for City, but that was a pretty bad tackle. I thought it deserved a red, but IMO he got yellow because the ref felt bad about the disallowed goal. That was one of several ways in which the disallowed goal really changed that game.
   205. ursus arctos Posted: January 13, 2014 at 11:40 AM (#4637673)
The front page of tomorrow's France Football has leaked.

Cristiano Ronaldo has won the Ballon d'Or.
   206. Spivey Posted: January 13, 2014 at 12:09 PM (#4637695)
I'm not crying for City, but that tackle was super dirty. City and Nasri didn't deserve that. I guess the silver lining for them is they have Silva and Navas who are more than capable of filling in.
   207. I am going to be Frank Posted: January 13, 2014 at 12:19 PM (#4637709)
The tackle was beyond dirty. Is Jovetic back from injury yet? Supposedly Aguero might be back for Wednesday's FA Cup match.
   208. jmurph Posted: January 13, 2014 at 12:25 PM (#4637714)
Is Jovetic back from injury yet?


Supposedly sometime this month, but who knows.

Bummer for Nasri, as he's had a great season so far. But, as others have pointed out, Navas can certainly fill in, even if he isn't quite the same type of player.
   209. I am going to be Frank Posted: January 13, 2014 at 12:31 PM (#4637721)
Plus we all forgot the immortal James Milner. City really do have a deep team.
   210. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: January 13, 2014 at 12:39 PM (#4637737)
Nasri is out for eight weeks. I'm guessing no one is crying for City.


Frankly this is good news. I would have expected 8 months rather than 8 weeks. He should be good to go for Brazil which is good news.


But, as others have pointed out, Navas can certainly fill in, even if he isn't quite the same type of player.


Every time I see Navas I am very impressed. I'm sure I am overrating him but I really have been impressed with him.
   211. jmurph Posted: January 13, 2014 at 12:40 PM (#4637738)
Milner seems to be the butt of a lot of jokes (thought the fake twitter account is excellent), but he's perfectly good- a worthy starter on most good teams. He was, of course, wildly overpriced.
   212. CWS Keith plans to boo your show at the Apollo Posted: January 13, 2014 at 12:40 PM (#4637740)
Going back to last page...


Hasn't Sakho played some fullback this year? Maybe you rotate him with Toure, but since they don't have an LB worth a damn, I'd just play their best defender at that extra spot.


Sakho did play a game or two there, but it was more out of necessity, as both Enrique and Cissokho were hurt. Playing him out wide basically negates his two best skills -- winning headers and dealing with physical number nines. Warts and all, I think Enrique is still the best option there, especially playing two up front -- he's surprisingly adept at playing some killer over-the-top balls to whoever's leading the line (see Suarez's goal versus Newcastle last year as but one example). I was hoping to see LFC linked with a better LB during this window, but so far nothing.
   213. jmurph Posted: January 13, 2014 at 12:42 PM (#4637743)
Every time I see Navas I am very impressed. I'm sure I am overrating him but I really have been impressed with him.


Oh me, too, he's been great at times. He seems to have trouble going the full 90, and he's more of a classic winger than a versatile Nasri/Silva type. But yeah, he's a ridiculous luxury to have as a backup.
   214. I am going to be Frank Posted: January 13, 2014 at 12:50 PM (#4637752)
Navas seems faster than Walcott (I don't know if he really is) and is probably the best pure winger in the Premier League.
   215. Swedish Chef Posted: January 13, 2014 at 01:46 PM (#4637810)
Cristiano Ronaldo has won the Ballon d'Or.

If for nothing else, he deserves it for the way he has dragged Portugal to the World Cup (partly over the corpse of Sweden).
   216. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 13, 2014 at 02:29 PM (#4637858)
Transfer news!

Jonas Gutierez to Norwich City
Bryan Ruiz to PSV
Kevin de Bruyne to Wolfsburg
Nikica Jelavic to Hull
   217. DA Baracus Posted: January 13, 2014 at 02:33 PM (#4637862)
The front page of tomorrow's France Football has leaked.

Cristiano Ronaldo has won the Ballon d'Or.


They made three different ones.
   218. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 13, 2014 at 02:41 PM (#4637876)
The FIFA World 11. I'm not sure why Ramos keeps getting picked for these teams. Not sure about Xavi, either. It is true that all of these guys are really famous.

Goalkeeper: Neuer. (Not Hart?)

Defenders: Lahm, Sergio Ramos, Thiago Silva, Dani Alves

Midfield: Iniesta, Xavi, Ribéry.

Forwards: Messi, Ibrahimovic, Ronaldo.
   219. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 13, 2014 at 03:06 PM (#4637894)
Ronaldo really did win. Nadine Angerer? won the women's award over Abby Wambach and Marta.
   220. Mattbert Posted: January 13, 2014 at 03:26 PM (#4637914)
Ronaldo really did win.

Thought for sure it would be Qatar.
   221. DA Baracus Posted: January 13, 2014 at 03:46 PM (#4637926)
Results

Unsurprisingly, Messi and Ronaldo did not vote for each other.

Klinsmann voted for Ribery, Bale and Falcao.

There are some interesting 1st place votes: Lahm, Robben, Pirlo, Xavi, Ozil, Van Persie. At the end of the day, so what, but it's interesting to look through.
   222. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 13, 2014 at 03:57 PM (#4637936)
Klinsmann voted for Ribery, Bale and Falcao.

A true Yiddo!
   223. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 13, 2014 at 03:59 PM (#4637939)
Lost in all the schadenfreude about Milan is that Udinese are dangerously close to relegation after getting spanked by Sampdoria today. That would not be cool.
   224. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: January 13, 2014 at 04:18 PM (#4637959)
It's bizarre, it's like this NBC announcing crew has never heard of the concept of a concussion before ...
   225. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 13, 2014 at 04:31 PM (#4637970)
Clarence Seedorf to Milan looks like it's happening. I love these things, player leaves team within season to become manager of other team. He'll be leaving Botafogo to take over the Rossoneri.
   226. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 13, 2014 at 04:40 PM (#4637977)
This has been separation weekend in the PL. 6, maybe 7 teams going after a CL place, Southampton are safe, and the other 11 can't feel at all comfortable.
   227. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: January 13, 2014 at 04:40 PM (#4637979)
Clarence Seedorf to Milan looks like it's happening. I love these things, player leaves team within season to become manager of other team. He'll be leaving Botafogo to take over the Rossoneri.


I always thought Milan seemed like the Italian equivalent of Barnet FC.
   228. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 13, 2014 at 04:41 PM (#4637982)
I always thought Milan seemed like the Italian equivalent of Barnet FC.

Heh! Any early word on if he'll be manager or player/manager?
   229. ursus arctos Posted: January 13, 2014 at 04:44 PM (#4637984)
France Football mocked up three different covers, but only one edition was actually printed, and that was the one that was tweeted out this morning.

I'm surprised that the final vote was as close as it was. Like Sneijder in 2010, Ribery would have won under the old "journalists only" voting rules.

Chelsea have to be over the moon at more than doubling the money they paid for De Bruyne, notwithstanding the fact that he only made three appearances for them.

And yes, there are all kinds of reports that Seedorf will be unveiled as the new manager at Milan later this week (though he may need an assistant (likely Tassotti) who has the necessary badges).
   230. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 13, 2014 at 04:47 PM (#4637986)
(though he may need an assistant (likely Tassotti) who has the necessary badges).

He and Tim Sherwood can get their badges together this summer!

edit: Seriously, I love the idea of the managers of THFC and AC freakin Milan taking a coaching course together. That would be like when I was teaching English and having Cormac McCarthy and John Grisham in my class.*

*Seedorf would be McCarthy in that scenario.
   231. ursus arctos Posted: January 13, 2014 at 04:59 PM (#4637997)
Much better than having McCarthy's ex-wife in your class, it would appear from recent events.

I haven't seen any suggestion that Seedorf would play.

   232. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: January 13, 2014 at 05:20 PM (#4638025)
Nadine Angerer? won the women's award over Abby Wambach and Marta.

I don't think she did anything particularly different this year (maybe it's based on her excellent Euro 2013?), but she has had a really good career. And she'll be playing in Portland next season!

Also Christen Press will (hopefully) be in Chicago, which is something I'm genuinely excited about.
   233. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: January 13, 2014 at 05:25 PM (#4638035)

And yes, there are all kinds of reports that Seedorf will be unveiled as the new manager at Milan later this week (though he may need an assistant (likely Tassotti) who has the necessary badges).


Can anyone explain the point behind the badges? (or point me somewhere to find the answer on my own). It seems incredibly strange to me that a multi-million dollar organization like AC Milan can be told "sorry, you can't employ that person you want to employ because he didn't go to school to coach. Yes, we know he was an elite player for many years but that won't cut it."

I mean, I had to go through a certification process to coach Ripken League baseball but I'm working with 10 year old kids not highly paid professionals.
   234. I am going to be Frank Posted: January 13, 2014 at 05:28 PM (#4638038)
Yea the badges are kind of a joke. IIRC correctly Avram Grant was one pk away from being European Champions and he didn't have all his badges.
   235. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 13, 2014 at 05:31 PM (#4638041)
This has been separation weekend in the PL. 6, maybe 7 teams going after a CL place, Southampton are safe, and the other 11 can't feel at all comfortable.
I assume you meant to include Newcastle along with Southampton in safety? I think that's about right. West Brom and Swansea should shake themselves free soon enough, but the other nine are all in danger. Well, if Hull City keep playing as they have all season, they should be ok.

The crazy thing about the other nine, though, is that none of them is a particularly big favorite to go down. Cardiff City are probably the worst of the bunch by the numbers, but they'll have a new manager and some new signings. Crystal Palace and Sunderland have been pretty ok under new management, Fulham have improved, West Ham may be due for some shot conversion regression. I've really got no idea. It's as wide open a relegation race as the Premier League has seen in quite a while.
   236. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: January 13, 2014 at 05:46 PM (#4638056)
One more NWSL bit: the knockdown effect of Angerer signing in Portland is Portland now having too many goalies; they solved that a couple of hours ago by sending Canadian international Karina LaBlanc to Chicago for a second-round pick in next year's draft. Chicago last week sent Erin McLeod, last year's goalie (and another Canadian international) to the expansion team in Houston (the Dash) straight-up for Melissa Tancredi, so this fills a hole for the Red Stars, while solving the backlog in Portland at the keeper spot.
   237. Swedish Chef Posted: January 13, 2014 at 05:48 PM (#4638062)
Can anyone explain the point behind the badges?

It's a continental thing that came to England ten years ago or so. It's a way to professionalize the coaching corps and is actually liked by established managers. But I have to wonder if the original intent wasn't just to block flamboyant Italian owners from appointing themselves manager.
   238. Mefisto Posted: January 13, 2014 at 07:42 PM (#4638172)
Also Christen Press will (hopefully) be in Chicago, which is something I'm genuinely excited about.


Definitely an exciting prospect. I'm still pretty annoyed that there's no team in LA.

Chicago last week sent Erin McLeod, last year's goalie (and another Canadian international) to the expansion team in Houston (the Dash) straight-up for Melissa Tancredi


The amusing asterisk to that trade is that McLeod and Tancredi are exes. I doubt anything similar has ever happened on the men's side.

   239. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 14, 2014 at 09:55 AM (#4638421)
What are a couple of hundred deaths and slavery when there's money to be made?

I'm addicted to them, but sports are kind of gross. I wish sometimes I could get all biblical and act as a man does and put away childish things. Or at least put away the world cup. Club football is evil, but it's at least a level of evil I'm comfortable with. International soccer is just off the charts.
   240. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 14, 2014 at 12:16 PM (#4638600)
Trasnfer news!

Alessandro Matri to Fiorentina (Fiorentina has been killed by injuries this year to Gomez and Rossi)
John Guidetti to Stoke on loan and Steven Ireland's loan from Villa to Stoke become a permanent transfer

I hope these Man U rumors about them chasing after Pogba and Vidal aren't true. Those just don't seem like realistic winter transfer targets.
   241. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 14, 2014 at 12:28 PM (#4638615)
   242. I am going to be Frank Posted: January 14, 2014 at 12:42 PM (#4638630)
I hope these Man U rumors about them chasing after Pogba and Vidal aren't true. Those just don't seem like realistic winter transfer targets.

I hope they're true, but all those rumors say that if Juve were to sell it would be in the summer.
   243. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 14, 2014 at 12:47 PM (#4638638)
I hope they're true, but all those rumors say that if Juve were to sell it would be in the summer.

Right. I should have been more clear in saying that chasing those guys this month will make it look like they haven't learned their lesson from the summer fiasco of chasing unattainable targets. Juve aren't going to risk punting a scudetto now when the cash will be waiting for them in 6 months.
   244. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 14, 2014 at 02:06 PM (#4638717)
   245. Swedish Chef Posted: January 14, 2014 at 02:26 PM (#4638749)
On the other hand Juve has the scudetto sewn up, is out of Champions League and teams are more desperate in January.
   246. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: January 14, 2014 at 02:32 PM (#4638761)
Sinead Farrelly to Portland, for a second-round draft pick. Strikes me as a smart move for the Thorns, especially since she's a Paul Riley favourite.
   247. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 14, 2014 at 02:44 PM (#4638780)
Philippe Auclair on the 2022 World Cup

Probably the best I've read on it. I'm taking these articles from my link above, BTW.

On the other hand Juve has the scudetto sewn up, is out of Champions League and teams are more desperate in January.

They're 8 points up, but if they sell off their two best players--Michael Cox argues Vidal is the best player in the world right now--that 8 points is a lot more precarious. I think they'd be incredibly stupid to do it. (Which, of course, means it's going to happen. Sports teams are always conspiring to make me look stupid. IT'S A MASSIVE GLOBAL CONSPIRACY!)
   248. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: January 14, 2014 at 02:53 PM (#4638791)
They don't have my Let's Play of Wrexham FC in FM14 on that list! Clearly not actually the best soccer writing of 2013.
   249. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 14, 2014 at 03:03 PM (#4638802)
Time to junk the 3 points for a win rule?

I actually think this is a good idea.
   250. Swedish Chef Posted: January 14, 2014 at 03:12 PM (#4638809)
I could stand it if draws earned 0.6666 points.
   251. Mefisto Posted: January 14, 2014 at 03:27 PM (#4638820)
Sinead Farrelly to Portland, for a second-round draft pick. Strikes me as a smart move for the Thorns, especially since she's a Paul Riley favourite.


Looks ok to me too, though Portland is running out of draft picks. The fact that she's a Paul Riley favorite .... well, he did put Allie Long on the protected list for the expansion draft.
   252. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: January 14, 2014 at 03:33 PM (#4638825)
Draws should earn 3 points, and wins should earn 1 point. That might spice things down a little.
   253. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: January 14, 2014 at 03:34 PM (#4638829)
Looks ok to me too, though Portland is running out of draft picks.

How valuable are draft picks in the NWSL? I think the league is still trying to figure out that question...any idea how many players drafted last year ended up on rosters for most of the year? I wonder if GMs are slightly over-valuing picks (or isn't this supposed to be a strong class?), because I'm not sure that players going for a second or third-rounder really are worth that, though I fully admit I don't understand a lot of how finances and such are being conducted in the league.
   254. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 14, 2014 at 03:42 PM (#4638836)
Draws should earn 3 points, and wins should earn 1 point. That might spice things down a little.

All the statistical evidence is that scoring hasn't gone up and leagues haven't been made more competitive so why exactly are we tied to the 3 points/1 point system? Why is what we have now more sacrosanct than what existed in 1979? I understand the logic of why 3 points for a win should result in more goals and fewer ties but it hasn't happened so why should we just keep pretending it has? I wish I had a longer memory about the game to have a more visceral grasp on this one, honestly.
   255. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 14, 2014 at 03:54 PM (#4638842)
Fulham!

Fulham at home is just a nice day out. There’s a place for families as well as individuals. You can eat gourmet sausages and organic ketchup. When they win it’s just nice. When they lose, nobody really cares. Even Martin Jol doesn’t care. The Fulham board have recently and publicly expressed their full support and backing for Jol, which was nice but ultimately didn’t matter. Before they did that nobody was worried, and honestly people probably still aren’t. Even the term ‘threat of relegation’ doesn’t seem to apply to Fulham. Not because they couldn’t be relegated but simply because it doesn’t appear to exist as a threat, more just an apathetic possibility. The club is inundated with players and staff from Nordic countries and Northern Europe generally – what bad things ever happen there? People from Sweden and Norway are stereotypically relaxed and quiet, just like Fulham. They live in the dark and they don’t even care.

The reality is that at Fulham, existence does precede essence. There is no real reason for anyone ever being there, but since they are – they might as well have a nice time. Fulham fans (or according to this article: People who have found themselves in Fulham) would never associate themselves instinctively or actively with a football club. The club is not inherently part of them and as such they would never attempt to define themselves via use of it.
   256. Swedish Chef Posted: January 14, 2014 at 03:55 PM (#4638845)
I understand the logic of why 3 points for a win should result in more goals and fewer ties but it hasn't happened so why should we just keep pretending it has? I wish I had a longer memory about the game to have a more visceral grasp on this one, honestly.

Ah, the results may not have changed but the teams that accumulate a lot of draws have dropped down the tables, and deservedly so.
   257. Mefisto Posted: January 14, 2014 at 03:56 PM (#4638847)
How valuable are draft picks in the NWSL? I think the league is still trying to figure out that question...any idea how many players drafted last year ended up on rosters for most of the year? I wonder if GMs are slightly over-valuing picks (or isn't this supposed to be a strong class?), because I'm not sure that players going for a second or third-rounder really are worth that, though I fully admit I don't understand a lot of how finances and such are being conducted in the league.


I don't think the league has a good handle on these questions, and I certainly don't. Farelly is almost certainly worth more than a 2d round pick, though the college sites believe this is a very good year for talent. The finances are so obscure, I have no idea. Portland's income, though, should be near the top of the league.
   258. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: January 14, 2014 at 03:57 PM (#4638848)
The article seems to start from a bad premise. Draws are not inherently bad, many of the best games end 1-1 or 2-2. If there is anything to try and get rid of it is the "park the bus" 0-0 draw (or attempts to get the 0-0 draw with that strategy). Creating a system where it is 0 points for a 0-0 draw and 1 point apiece for a score draw might be the answer to that. (not advocating for it, just noting a possible "solution").

I like that there is extra incentive to win even if it does not always manifest itself.
   259. Mattbert Posted: January 14, 2014 at 04:11 PM (#4638872)
The thing that's missing from that 3PW analysis is whether there's any good reason to believe that reverting back to 2PW would change anything. Broadly speaking, I think a lot of the negative things the Cafe Futbol author associates with 3PW--a stubbornly "too high" draw rate, cynical football, unchanged lack of competitiveness--if they were once related to the 3PW change, that effect is now swamped by the overwhelming influence of the financial repercussions in modern football.

So if the stakes are still the same, i.e. making the Champions League or avoiding relegation (and the associated financial windfalls) are the only things that really matter, are teams suddenly going to be more cavalier about possibly shipping points in pursuit of playing Blanchflowerball if they only risk doing it one point at a time instead two points at a time?
   260. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 14, 2014 at 04:34 PM (#4638897)
   261. jmurph Posted: January 14, 2014 at 04:49 PM (#4638915)
Anyone know what happened to the European Football Show podcast? Not showing any new episodes for months on my podcast app. I tried deleting and re-subscribing, to no avail.

Name change? jmurph is a dummy? What gives?
   262. Mattbert Posted: January 14, 2014 at 04:58 PM (#4638925)
Philippe Auclair on the 2022 World Cup. Probably the best I've read on it.

Yeah, that was really good. If in saying 'good', we can include an element of 'leaves one in a state of profound cynicism and quiet despair'.
   263. I am going to be Frank Posted: January 14, 2014 at 05:45 PM (#4638970)
Its a pretty good summary article. I'm shocked that it was in Newsweek. I knew as an entity it still existed but after reading it a little in the era of the Daily Beast my expectations were low.
   264. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 14, 2014 at 06:34 PM (#4639010)
Yeah, that was really good. If in saying 'good', we can include an element of 'leaves one in a state of profound cynicism and quiet despair'.

It's mildly hopeful that there seems to be a small segment of FIFA that seem shamed by it. Maybe.

Anyway, TRANSFER NEWS!

Looks like Fabio is headed to Cardiff, Grant Holt to Aston Villa and Juan Agudelo is going to sign with Stoke after all and then head out on loan somewhere or other until he can get his work permit sorted.
   265. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: January 14, 2014 at 09:26 PM (#4639120)
18.52 GMT: The Daily Mail says that Charlie Adam, who scored a peach of a goal for Stoke against Liverpool on Sunday, is a surprise target for Turkish club Galatasaray. Surely Roberto Mancini cannot be an admirer of the Scotland international?


Frankly, Spurs ought to offer to sweeten the deal for the Turks, and consider it money well saved on wages potentially "lost" to future Charlie Adam's horror show tackles ...



   266. madvillain Posted: January 14, 2014 at 09:38 PM (#4639125)
I saw this book recommended on a FM site and wondered if anyone had read it and if they would recommend it to a relative tactics neophyte like myself.


   267. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: January 14, 2014 at 09:48 PM (#4639132)
I saw this book recommended on a FM site and wondered if anyone had read it and if they would recommend it to a relative tactics neophyte like myself.

It's pretty much the best book on football tactics ever written and one of those I think most fans would benefit from reading (who haven't already). Must-read - my copy is pretty well-worn, even though it's not very old.*

*I have the old edition - haven't read the updated sections yet
   268. Spivey Posted: January 14, 2014 at 09:57 PM (#4639135)
I agree with the comments skeptical of the article about 3PW. I mean, it doesn't make any sort of intuitive sense why 2PW would lead to less parking the bus. I also think we could be seeing goals have dropped seriously otherwise. With the increased athleticism of goalkeepers, I do feel there are a lot less soft goals allowed now than 30 years ago. Now, I wasn't watching soccer then, but I hope that's not too controversial.
   269. madvillain Posted: January 14, 2014 at 10:05 PM (#4639142)
@267 -- thanks, will pick it up.
   270. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 15, 2014 at 11:30 AM (#4639387)
Southampton's chairman resigned so there is some talk now that Pochettino will follow him as they have a close relationship. I don't really follow them so from the outside looking in that looks a weird one.

Speaking of books, I'm reading Why Everything You Know About Football Is Wrong and, despite the hacky title, it's a pretty good read. Some hope for Fulham that just replacing Senderos with a returning Hangeland will greatly improve their results as the book argues that replacing your worst player can have a much more dramatic effect on performance than signing a world class player. So Hangeland in place of Senderos could help Fulham more than signing Ibrahimovic. They have a lot of fancy statistics to back up their case but the underlying logic is that a game of soccer is most often decided by mistakes your worst player makes rather than by "feats of brilliance" from a star player (think of it as the Ricardo Clark theory). And, for god's sake, there is no worse player than Senderos right now.
   271. I am going to be Frank Posted: January 15, 2014 at 11:47 AM (#4639398)
I read Inverting the Pyramid but it gets a little dense in parts. Still a good book but just a warning.

West Ham is accusing Fulham, yes Fulham, of tapping up Ravel Morrison.

It sounds like Sherwood is not a fan of Capoue. Is that really true? Also, would Spurs sell to United? I think he would be a decent stop gap (big, athletic, mobile and willing to put in a tackle) until the summer where I hope they spend big on Juve midfielders - among others.
   272. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 15, 2014 at 11:49 AM (#4639400)
Some stuff about Nabil Bentaleb

He's only 19 but Spurs are his 4th club and he even failed at a trial at Birmingham City. It seems extraordinary he ended up at Spurs and is already in the senior squad. I guess by not having the infrastructure of high school and college sports it's probably much more common for slow developers to fall through the cracks?
   273. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 15, 2014 at 11:52 AM (#4639404)
It sounds like Sherwood is not a fan of Capoue. Is that really true?

There's a lot of scuttlebutt that Sherwood thinks he's lazy. With Bentaleb's rise and with Sherwood preferring a more attacking midfield, probably someone has to go. Too bad it has to be Capoue who I think has been pretty good for us. Napoli is the club linked most strongly to him.
   274. Dale Sams Posted: January 15, 2014 at 11:54 AM (#4639413)
NASL used to give 3 points for a win and one additional point for each goal scored. So a maximum of six points could be gained for a win. Of course, they didn't have ties. And I think 35 yard, 5 second shootouts were much better than penalty kicks.

   275. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 15, 2014 at 11:58 AM (#4639422)
And I think 35 yard, 5 second shootouts were much better than penalty kicks.

Cruyff, of all people, was a big fan of this! MLS flirted with this kind of thing in the early days but, IIRC, Eric Wynalda blew out his knee during one and it sort of went away. It's too bad MLS is so slavish to FIFA rules instead of tweaking things here and there to try things out. Since we have fewer sacred cows about the sport here we're kind of the perfect place for a little experimentation about the sport.
   276. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: January 15, 2014 at 12:04 PM (#4639439)
And I think 35 yard, 5 second shootouts were much better than penalty kicks.

This is correct. Penalty kicks are terrible. The NHL system is better and the NASL system was like the NHL's.

Except I don't know why there was a time limit. Whenever the Brits make fun of the concept of a penalty kick with less than a 99% chance of success, they point to some incident when the horn sounded right before the kick and it was all so awful. Well, get rid of the horn.
   277. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 15, 2014 at 01:00 PM (#4639514)
On Inverting the Pyramid, it's a fantastic book, but two things. (1) There is a new updated edition that isn't available in a physical copy in the US yet. I recommend either buying an electronic copy or waiting for the new edition. (2) It presumes quite a bit of baseline knowledge about football history. I found it paired really well with David Goldblatt's The Ball is Round, which is I think the best history of football ever written.

As to the 3PW/2PW thing, the big issue here is defensive pressing. The slow build to today's near-universal use of pressing in world football is the determining factor in the drop in scoring over the last few decades. (This is drawn again from Wilson, and from watching clips from the 70s and 80s, I think he's pretty clearly right.) Without adjusting for that, it's really hard to say whether 3PW/2PW had any effect.
   278. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 15, 2014 at 01:01 PM (#4639516)
West Ham is accusing Fulham, yes Fulham, of tapping up Ravel Morrison.
In fairness, Meulensteen basically admitted to it.
“We got knocked back,” said Meulensteen of the offer for Morrison after his side's 3-0 FA Cup replay victory over Norwich City. “We will review it and move on. I've left it with [Fulham chief executive officer] Alistair Mackintosh. I've explained how I think about the situation so I have to wait and see.” When asked whether he was confident of completing the move, Meulensteen said “that is what we are hoping for”.

Meulensteen worked with Morrison at Manchester United and said he was confident that the 20-year-old midfielder did want to leave Upton Park. “Yes, he does want to come here. I've known him obviously for a long, long time but the thing is this - we have to wait and see.”
   279. I am going to be Frank Posted: January 15, 2014 at 01:08 PM (#4639526)
Yea, I just found it funny because West Ham basically dwarfs (dwarves?) Fulham in size, history and prestige. Fulham's owner is richer than West Ham's owner which is really all that matters now.
   280. Mattbert Posted: January 15, 2014 at 01:11 PM (#4639531)
There's a lot of scuttlebutt that Sherwood thinks he's lazy. With Bentaleb's rise and with Sherwood preferring a more attacking midfield, probably someone has to go. Too bad it has to be Capoue who I think has been pretty good for us.

The rumors of an imminent departure for Capoue are puzzling. Sandro is phenomenal but he seems to break himself at least once a year, so it seems prudent to have a capable backup in the squad. If Sherwood thinks deploying the likes of Dembele and Paulinho in the "holding" role isn't going to catch up to him before long, well, I think he's in for a rude education.

I'm also unclear as to why there seems to be a rush to punt on Holtby so quickly. I think he's stretched as a number ten, but he's a nice option if Sherwood ever wants to (or has to, through injury/suspension) flip his creative/traditional wingers and go with Townsend left/Holtby right as an alternative to Eriksen left/Lennon right. I think Holtby would really enjoy that role in Sherwood's system because he could combine with Adebayor to create opportunities for slipping through balls in for Soldado.
   281. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 15, 2014 at 01:13 PM (#4639534)
As to the 3PW/2PW thing, the big issue here is defensive pressing. The slow build to today's near-universal use of pressing in world football is the determining factor in the drop in scoring over the last few decades. (This is drawn again from Wilson, and from watching clips from the 70s and 80s, I think he's pretty clearly right.) Without adjusting for that, it's really hard to say whether 3PW/2PW had any effect.

One thing I've noticed from watching old games on youtube vs current games is how much grabbier defenders are. I especially noticed this when Spurs played Southampton as So'ton players in particular grab shirts and arms a lot. Maybe the answer is, like the NBA did with handchecking and the NFL with the 5 yard rule, is just to call more fouls on players who grab offensive players and then to use the yellow cards on defenders who can't keep their hands to themselves so that the game doesn't get bogged down by repetitive whistling for fouls. It would allow players like Mousa Dembele who can dribble past a hard pressing defender to flourish and maybe force defenses to play more positionally instead of just steam rolling players to recapture possession as they often do now.
   282. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 15, 2014 at 01:15 PM (#4639540)
Fulham's owner is richer than West Ham's owner which is really all that matters now.

West Ham's owners are richer than Liverpool's owners. The dildo brothers are really, really wealthy. I'm not sure they don't have more money than Khan, actually.
   283. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 15, 2014 at 01:18 PM (#4639548)
so it seems prudent to have a capable backup in the squad.

Not to mention he's, functionally, our 4th CB right now.
   284. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 15, 2014 at 01:38 PM (#4639582)
The rumors of an imminent departure for Capoue are puzzling. Sandro is phenomenal but he seems to break himself at least once a year, so it seems prudent to have a capable backup in the squad. If Sherwood thinks deploying the likes of Dembele and Paulinho in the "holding" role isn't going to catch up to him before long, well, I think he's in for a rude education.
Plus, Sherwood did use Capoue as a holder against Manchester United, and Spurs basically controlled the match so long as he was in there. He only completed 60 minutes for fitness reasons. The obvious and expected failure of the Dembele-Bentaleb pivot against Arsenal should have demonstrated that Sherwood's 4-4-2 requires a DM against top sides.

I can understand the Holtby thing a bit more, since Spurs really do have more attacking midfielders than they know what to do with. Holtby's nothing more than Eriksen's backup in this squad, and so long as Eriksen's healthy, he shouldn't miss important matches. The difference between Holtby/Eriksen and Capoue/Sandro, for me, is first that Sandro is hurt and will probably be hurt again. And second, I think Sherwood's system could be tweaked to play a guy like Lamela wide, or to go with either Dembele and Paulinho in that third midfield role, in a way that you can't really tweak around the loss of a DM. And if Spurs sell or loan Holtby but need another creative mid, they can just call up the English Xavi from QPR anyway.
   285. JuanGone..except1game Posted: January 15, 2014 at 01:43 PM (#4639588)
Chelsea re-sign Matic. I know that people will have their comments, becausee we let him go for a pittance previously, but this was still a great bit of business. I'm not sure that there is a better young CM that we could have gotten for under 30million euros outside of maybe Gundogan if he's available. I know people see striker as Chelsea's most obvious hole, but I've always thought that it was CM. Also, allow Mou to play a 4-3-3 when he desires.
   286. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 15, 2014 at 01:46 PM (#4639589)
Just seems like they swapped De Bruyne for Matic, or a player Mou didn't want/need for one he did. Chelsea can always bring back Marin to replace de Bruyne...
   287. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 15, 2014 at 01:49 PM (#4639592)
####### hell Chelsea. I haven't watched Matic much specifically, but his numbers are fantastic, and everyone thinks he's really good at precisely the job Chelsea lacks someone for. ####### hell.
I know people see striker as Chelsea's most obvious hole, but I've always thought that it was CM.
Oh definitely. Their current best CMs are Ramires (an attacking midfielder semi out of position), Mikel (an attacking midfielder entirely out of position) and Luiz (a central defender entirely out of position).
   288. Spivey Posted: January 15, 2014 at 02:02 PM (#4639601)
Is Luiz really not a good CM? That seems to me his best position. He's a little too undisciplined and attack minded for a title contender to play him at CB IMO, but he's really good and should be on the field.
   289. Textbook Editor Posted: January 15, 2014 at 02:23 PM (#4639626)
I found it paired really well with David Goldblatt's The Ball is Round, which is I think the best history of football ever written.


I am slowly, slowly working my way through this book. It's a wee bit dense, though I suspect once I get out of the 19th century things will pick up steam as I recognize things here and there/connect to the material a bit better.
   290. Mattbert Posted: January 15, 2014 at 03:04 PM (#4639673)
I can understand the Holtby thing a bit more, since Spurs really do have more attacking midfielders than they know what to do with. Holtby's nothing more than Eriksen's backup in this squad, and so long as Eriksen's healthy, he shouldn't miss important matches.

See, I'd argue that Holtby should also be Lennon's backup (of sorts). Obviously they are quite different stylistically, but if you need someone who can play on the right and offer bags of energy, reasonably disciplined and solid defensive cover for Walker's forward marauding, and enough of an attacking threat that the opposing left back can't just put out a picnic blanket in Spurs' half - well, Holtby's a pretty good Plan B for that behind Lennon.

That said, I agree that the squad would miss Capoue a lot more than it would miss Holtby.
   291. I am going to be Frank Posted: January 15, 2014 at 03:06 PM (#4639674)
Lampard is still useful, especially against lesser teams. Its only money to Roman and, as Shooty said, offset by De Bruyne's sale.

Barcelona still seems to be very interested in Luiz as a CB. I think there is a good chance he still goes to World Cup as one.

   292. Mattbert Posted: January 15, 2014 at 03:23 PM (#4639684)
Southampton's chairman resigned so there is some talk now that Pochettino will follow him as they have a close relationship. I don't really follow them so from the outside looking in that looks a weird one.

Wouldn't be surprised if it's at least somewhat related to ownership wanting to sell off a high-value player or two whereas Cortese wants to see his "project" through to the next level. Or some such strategic disagreement. Who knows. Cortese pretty much had carte blanche to run the club as far as I know, so if the Liebherrs are getting more involved at the expense of his near total control of operations, I'm sure that felt like a slap in the face given the incredible success he's had.
   293. CWS Keith plans to boo your show at the Apollo Posted: January 15, 2014 at 04:14 PM (#4639712)
Ugh, Fiorentina. Matri? Really?
   294. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: January 15, 2014 at 05:14 PM (#4639795)
David Goldblatt's The Ball is Round, which is I think the best history of football ever written.

I haven't read enough large-scale football history books to judge this (in fact, I've read like two...I find more specified books seem to catch me much more, for whatever reason), but The Ball is Round is a fantastic, fantastic book.
Is Luiz really not a good CM? That seems to me his best position. He's a little too undisciplined and attack minded for a title contender to play him at CB IMO, but he's really good and should be on the field.

I love him in a DMC role (and so did Rafa), but I think Jose disagrees. Matic is a really good pickup, though (I feel the same way as Matt's 287, though, you know, the opposite), and I hope Kevin De Bruyne does well at Wolfburg; he always impressed me in the few matches in which I saw him.
   295. DA Baracus Posted: January 15, 2014 at 06:07 PM (#4639828)
Wouldn't be surprised if it's at least somewhat related to ownership wanting to sell off a high-value player or two whereas Cortese wants to see his "project" through to the next level.


Not sell a player, sell the team. Pochettino has said in the past that if Cortese leaves he would follow him.
   296. JuanGone..except1game Posted: January 16, 2014 at 12:55 AM (#4640077)
I love him in a DMC role (and so did Rafa), but I think Jose disagrees. Matic is a really good pickup, though (I feel the same way as Matt's 287, though, you know, the opposite), and I hope Kevin De Bruyne does well at Wolfburg; he always impressed me in the few matches in which I saw him.

I still believe that his best role is CB. Yes, he makes mistakes but as the Gold Cup showed, he's world class when in the right system. I expect big things from De Bruyne as well. His role was diminished when we signed Willian at the last moment. I wish Mou had been willing to try him as a CM, as he has enough talent that I think he could do well there or as an AM.

See, I'd argue that Holtby should also be Lennon's backup (of sorts).

I just don't rate Holtby. I just don't think that he's athletic or skilled enough to overcome his size disadvantage in the Prem.
   297. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 16, 2014 at 08:55 AM (#4640126)
Why athletes sometimes squeeze every penny they can out of a contract

Also, transfer news!

Shane Long is about to head to Hull. And, if you believe the rumors, all of Southampton's best players are about to be scattered to the winds...If that happens, I know Spurs would be third in line for Luke Shaw, but he'd probably have the clearest path to a starting gig with Spurs so maybe it wouldn't be hopeless. Most likely the rumors of all these sales is overblown. If the owners are looking to sell the club, having Shaw, Lallana and Rodriguez on the books will only make the club more valuable.
   298. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 16, 2014 at 08:56 AM (#4640127)
I just don't rate Holtby. I just don't think that he's athletic or skilled enough to overcome his size disadvantage in the Prem.

Neither does Sherwood, it seems. The story making the rounds that Schalke won't sell Draxler to Arsenal unless they get Holtby is beyond ridiculous. Why do people believe this stuff?
   299. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 16, 2014 at 09:31 AM (#4640135)
   300. Spivey Posted: January 16, 2014 at 11:12 AM (#4640201)
I don't know if Liverpool is in the Luke Shaw game, but he'd be the unquestioned starter for them. I assume they'd be a more desirable place for him as well, since they have legit Champions League aspirations.
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