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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 04:16 PM | 1016 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: soccer

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   301. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: January 16, 2014 at 10:31 AM (#4640222)
Flip.
   302. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 16, 2014 at 10:43 AM (#4640234)
Nicola Cortese's attention to detail

Then the 45-year-old focused on the environment. Now, when Southampton travel away from home, the hotel is often booked for two nights rather than one. On the first night, club staff arrive and clean the already pristine rooms. They vacuum up every particle of dust that might cause illness or carry a bug.

Then bespoke mattresses are placed on each bed, tailored to each player. The duvets, the pillow cases and the sheets are washed and ironed by the club, using the same washing powder and the same methods. Wherever the players are, their bed smells and feels the same.

The same applies to food, with the club chef travelling ahead of the squad to each and every hotel. Marginal gains were everything to Cortese.

On the field, the whole team, rather than just the defence and goalkeeper, were awarded clean sheet bonuses in order to promote a team ethic, rather than any division.
   303. I am going to be Frank Posted: January 16, 2014 at 11:48 AM (#4640311)
For some reason Dunkin Donuts signed an endorsement deal with Liverpool.

Liverpool have announced a multi-million-pound global partnership with the American company Dunkin' Donuts. The managing director, Ian Ayre, said the deal will help the club to compete financially with their major rivals.

"We're delighted to be joining forces with Dunkin' Brands, one of the world's most iconic names. Dunkin' Donuts will be our official coffee, tea and bakery provider and Baskin-Robbins will be our official ice cream provider, we welcome both to the LFC family," said Billy Hogan, Liverpool's chief commercial officer."


Its basically a (large) regional US brand. How much money could they be getting from the deal and what benefit could Dunkin Donuts gain from sponsoring a club in England? Seems a little suspicious unless this is in conjunction with some sort of expansion into Europe.
   304. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 16, 2014 at 11:50 AM (#4640316)
Seems a little suspicious unless this is in conjunction with some sort of expansion into Europe.

There ya go. Or Asia where LFC is very popular.
   305. I am going to be Frank Posted: January 16, 2014 at 11:57 AM (#4640323)
I read up on Dunkin Donuts and while they were in Japan, they left nearly 20 years ago. There are apparently a couple stores in Canada, but that's it. Expansion overseas seems risky (especially since they've failed at it already) especially when they don't have anything on the west coast.

If I was a cynical person this seems like something FSG is doing to move some money from the Red Sox (which I believe Dunkin is a big sponsor) to Liverpool. FSG has run a fairly tight ship so I don't really think they could be running afoul of FFP but maybe Henry sees the deck as stacked and is doing some sneaky things to counteract that. Wow - I'm going to be wearing a tinfoil hat soon.

Edit: and I'm an idiot. Apparently there are a lot more Dunkin's around the world than I read (stopped scrolling on the Wiki page), none in the UK though.
   306. I am going to be Frank Posted: January 16, 2014 at 12:10 PM (#4640334)
Does 7M quid seems a lot for Shane Long?
   307. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 16, 2014 at 12:35 PM (#4640348)
Does 7M quid seems a lot for Shane Long?

Seems kind of high to me, but not as high as the 6MM they paid for Jelavic.
   308. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 16, 2014 at 12:56 PM (#4640368)
Nacer Chadli is not leaving Spurs

Who knew Belgians said "bullshit"?
   309. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 16, 2014 at 01:02 PM (#4640375)
Fiorentina have swooped in for Anderson, much to the glee of Man U fans, I'm guessing.
   310. The Kentucky Gentleman, Mark Edward Posted: January 16, 2014 at 01:26 PM (#4640411)
What's up with Benteke this year? I haven't watched him play much this season but everyone is saying he's having a poor year. He just recently scored his first goal in like 400 minutes.
   311. I am going to be Frank Posted: January 16, 2014 at 01:37 PM (#4640426)
For Anderson, the talent is there, but he could never put it together between, injuries, fitness and lack of development. Look at the dreck United has thrown in midfield out there over the past three of four years and yet Anderson still could not establish himself.

I guess Chadli prefers "bullshit" over "bollocks." Watching too much American TV.
   312. Swedish Chef Posted: January 16, 2014 at 01:40 PM (#4640429)
What's up with Benteke this year? I haven't watched him play much this season but everyone is saying he's having a poor year. He just recently scored his first goal in like 400 minutes.

He started great and scored four goals in five games. Then he got injured.
   313. Mattbert Posted: January 16, 2014 at 01:41 PM (#4640430)
Does 7M quid seems a lot for Shane Long?

I think that's pretty much bang on, actually. Could even be viewed as a slight bargain if you account for the generally higher price tag for strikers and the home-grown thing (although I'm not certain home-grown status inflates transfer fees once you get below the elite tier of players good enough to play or sit on the bench for Champions League aspirants).

Long isn't a world beater, but he's a proven commodity in the league who can get you upwards of 10 goals in a season if all goes well, and he'll work his ass off for the team by running the channels all day to drag central defenders around and providing a decent hold-up/long-ball outlet for a guy who's not particularly tall. That has considerable value, particularly for a team that was (a) getting almost nothing out of its current strikers and (b) features someone with the passing range of Tom Huddlestone.

Seems kind of high to me, but not as high as the 6MM they paid for Jelavic.

Jelavic on a free seems too high for any club in the Premiership.
   314. I am going to be Frank Posted: January 16, 2014 at 01:44 PM (#4640435)
How come the nanny blocked me and not Shooty?

Jelavic was awful last year and a non-entity this year, but he did score some goals his first season for Everton. He's fairly big and strong and will also run his ass off.
   315. zack Posted: January 16, 2014 at 01:57 PM (#4640451)
The nanny works in mysterious ways. It's ####### ####### bullshit.
   316. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 16, 2014 at 01:58 PM (#4640456)
Hey Frank, I have no fucking idea!
   317. DA Baracus Posted: January 16, 2014 at 02:16 PM (#4640478)
Does 7M quid seems a lot for Shane Long?

Seems kind of high to me, but not as high as the 6MM they paid for Jelavic.


I'm with Mattbert, it's not that bad. Hull are in 10th but only 4 points out of the drop zone and have a weak offense. How much would you spend to upgrade your forwards, who have combined for 6 goals? $13M for two starters seems pretty reasonable for January.

How much is a goal worth in the EPL? If Hull get ten goals out of those two, is it worth it? Discuss among yourselves.
   318. Mefisto Posted: January 16, 2014 at 02:24 PM (#4640492)
The WNSL college draft is tomorrow. There are 186 players eligible/declared for it. I suspect scouting of college players is still pretty rudimentary at this stage of the league, so I expect a number of undrafted players to try out later.
   319. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 16, 2014 at 02:34 PM (#4640500)
How much is a goal worth in the EPL? If Hull get ten goals out of those two, is it worth it? Discuss among yourselves.

If they get 10 goals from those guys the rest of the year, I think they'll stay up and it will have been worth it.
   320. I am going to be Frank Posted: January 16, 2014 at 02:38 PM (#4640503)
Shooty, now you're just showing off - is it be possible since you posted the thread, you're allowed to write whatever you want in it?

In the grand scheme of things I guess 7M isn't a big deal with all the money coming into the Premier League. However, instead of buying a retread from the British Isles, teams would look for someone in France or Spain.
   321. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 16, 2014 at 02:50 PM (#4640519)
Shooty, now you're just showing off - is it be possible since you posted the thread, you're allowed to write whatever you want in it?

Naw, nothing that fancy. Just input the italics code in the middle of a word and the nanny is rendered powerless. For instance: I am tired of this motherfucking Mourinho on this motherfucking plane!
   322. jmurph Posted: January 16, 2014 at 03:35 PM (#4640559)
I like Long, too, he's a perfectly good striker for a team in their position.
   323. JuanGone..except1game Posted: January 16, 2014 at 07:01 PM (#4640671)
However, instead of buying a retread from the British Isles, teams would look for someone in France or Spain.

I'm always confused by this. With the success that Bony and Remy have had, you would think that going into the Eridiviese or Ligue 1 talent pools would be a better solution than the Long's or Holt's of the world.
   324. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 17, 2014 at 08:34 AM (#4640849)
All of today's most crucial news:

Barcelona

Swansea City

Real Madrid
   325. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: January 17, 2014 at 10:19 AM (#4640926)
NWSL draft in full swing atm (five picks in), and it seems to be going along similar lines to what the college websites predicted (no Zakiya Bywaters this year).
   326. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: January 17, 2014 at 10:30 AM (#4640931)
Okay, so the final accounting of the Keelin Winters trade was Winters for a 2014 first (which turned in Julie Johnston) and future considerations (which I imagine helped Chicago land Press in this years' allocations). That's a pretty clear win for Chicago, but I think Seattle have redeemed themselves this offseason, what with the acquisition of Leroux and all.
   327. Mefisto Posted: January 17, 2014 at 11:58 AM (#4641000)
Yeah, you have to say Chicago did very well in that trade. It's hard for me to see how Boston benefited from trading Leroux.
   328. Swedish Chef Posted: January 17, 2014 at 12:13 PM (#4641011)
   329. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 17, 2014 at 12:33 PM (#4641029)
I'm always confused by this. With the success that Bony and Remy have had, you would think that going into the Eridiviese or Ligue 1 talent pools would be a better solution than the Long's or Holt's of the world.
In Hull's situation I figure you prize certainty over upside. Which makes Eredivisie a good step less appealing.

And on this specific question, I think a club that signed Sanio Largo for £6m from Heerenveen would be making an astute buy, too. He's an impressive player, an above average finisher with a fantastic workrate and entertaining close control. I think West Brom will miss him.

Grant Holt, on the other hand, is one of those signings that makes me second guess every positive association I have with the signing team.
   330. I am going to be Frank Posted: January 17, 2014 at 01:52 PM (#4641119)
Rooney and RVP won't be available for the Chelsea match. I just hope Mourinho doesn't turtle in this match like he did at Old Trafford and the Emirates. I can see Chelsea easily putting three or four past United if Mourinho takes off the shackles.

   331. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: January 18, 2014 at 09:50 AM (#4641485)
A fun match between Sunderland and Southampton marred near the end of regulation by nearly simultaneous serious injuries to *two* Southampton players that led to them both being stretchered off the field within moments of each other.

The injury to Gaston Ramirez, from a reckless tackle from Wes Brown that scythed him down at the edge of the box, looked especially bad, torn ligaments or a broken ankle wouldn't surprise me in the least.

Pity, it was a quite entertaining match prior to that, Southampton bossing the 1st half, scoring early and then coming at Sunderland in relentless waves until they finally grabbed a second, followed by a Sunderland strike back within 90 seconds and a much more even affair afterwards.

Jozy was ... not good, in fact the announcers openly speculated whether he would be replaced by Fletcher at the half.
   332. frannyzoo Posted: January 18, 2014 at 10:43 AM (#4641503)
I've always liked Jonas Gutierrez' physicality and he's helping Norwich today. Still 0-0, but he points out just how lacking in physical play Norwich has been up to this game. I like Redmond, but he's just a kid, and speed just can't replace the punch-in-the-mouth in the EPL. Especially with Howard Webb as ref. Having Howard do "our" game today is a commoner's brush with celebrity, especially when "we're" playing Hull City (Tigers).
   333. I am going to be Frank Posted: January 18, 2014 at 10:48 AM (#4641505)
Fulham has somehow kept Arsenal scoreless in the first half.
   334. Spivey Posted: January 18, 2014 at 11:32 AM (#4641522)
I don't understand why Podolski doesn't get more playing time. Obviously, really good teams have good players on the bench. But I've been pretty impressed with him this year, and he can at least fake the striker role, which Arsenal is thin at.
   335. I am going to be Frank Posted: January 18, 2014 at 11:39 AM (#4641527)
Podolski just came back from injury. I don't think he's fit enough for a full match yet. I think this season he's played bits and pieces of games as a striker and hasn't looked good there, but IIRC he played primarily as a striker in Germany.
   336. Spivey Posted: January 18, 2014 at 11:56 AM (#4641533)
Of the top 3, I'm rooting for Arsenal. But with the form Chelsea and Man City are in, it's starting to feel like a really tall order for Arsenal to win the league. Ramsey and Ozil need to regain their early season form - they haven't been bad, but they haven't been playing like the world class players they can be.
   337. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: January 18, 2014 at 12:50 PM (#4641559)
Man, I love Paul Lambert tactical setups. Team could be sent out as a 4-3-3, instead he's pulling this narrow diamond-esque shape in the centre of midfield to overload the Liverpool middle and, with Benteke covering back, they are breaking decently well after dispossessing in the middle. Liverpool are struggling against El Ahmadi breaking into that right (from the AVL perspective) channel. Love it.
   338. I am going to be Frank Posted: January 18, 2014 at 01:00 PM (#4641565)
Yea this two man midfield with Gerrard being one of those midfielders has been a disaster so far.
   339. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: January 18, 2014 at 01:04 PM (#4641567)
Hate to say it (and I'm not the first) but Gerrard looks like a guy who doesn't have a regular place in this Liverpool team. That was abysmal defending on that goal.
   340. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: January 18, 2014 at 01:07 PM (#4641570)
This is horrendous defending by Liverpool.
   341. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: January 18, 2014 at 01:42 PM (#4641583)
I think a penalty is a fair call but Suarez made zero attempt to stay on his feet.

And on replay it may not even have been a penalty.
   342. I am going to be Frank Posted: January 18, 2014 at 01:51 PM (#4641587)
Suarez's trailing leg was "touched" but not a penalty. Agbonlahor's injury is a big loss because Liverpool could not handle his speed.
   343. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: January 19, 2014 at 09:06 AM (#4641808)
Adebayor! Then Chadli should make it 2-0 right after but his shot is horrible!
   344. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 19, 2014 at 09:25 AM (#4641811)
Terrible first 25 minutes for Spurs, but they really started to dominate after that. Eriksen looks a decent player, huh? Bentaleb looks like he's struggling today. Put in Paulinho for Bentaleb and Vertonghen for Chirches and we may have a team that can challenge. The fullbacks need to stop wandering all over the place, though. They're going to need to be more disciplined against the better teams.

Re: Suarez yesterday. Heh. I enjoyed that arms out airplane wing style touch he added.
   345. I am going to be Frank Posted: January 19, 2014 at 09:35 AM (#4641813)
Is this the first match where Sherwood is using only one striker?
   346. Spivey Posted: January 19, 2014 at 11:16 AM (#4641838)
Eto'o just absolutely clowned Vidic there.

Edit: Apparently that was Phil Jones.
   347. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 19, 2014 at 11:18 AM (#4641840)
If Mourinho hasn't sold his soul to the devil then no one has.
   348. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 19, 2014 at 11:24 AM (#4641843)
Is this the first match where Sherwood is using only one striker?

Yes, but I think there are motivational reasons why he's played so much 4-4-2 and expect him to start playing more 4-2-3-1 as that's the formation he's overseen the implementation of at all level of the reserves. I think the team had lost their confidence in scoring goals and by playing 4-4-2 it forced the team to play more in the box and so they're converting more chances. The result has been the team is often clownshoes at the back but I hope that will tighten up when Sandro, Paulinho and Vertonghen, and possibly Kaboul, come back. Losing Vertonghen cannot be underestimated. I think he's one of the top 5 CB's in the world.

Anyway, it's been a surreal season--it's felt like a lost year but here Spurs are, in 4th place and ahead of Liverpool and (temporarily) Everton and are 3 points ahead of their pace from last year. I just don't know what to think of this year.
   349. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 19, 2014 at 11:27 AM (#4641845)
In other Shooty FC news, Torino did what Milan couldn't and shut out Domenico Berardi. The guy with maybe my favorite name in soccer--Ciro Immobile--with a goal. Torino now sit in 7th place, 3 points behind Inter for a spot in Europe.
   350. Spivey Posted: January 19, 2014 at 11:29 AM (#4641847)
As a Tottenham fan, it's got to be pretty disappointing to have Lamela instead of Willian.
   351. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 19, 2014 at 11:31 AM (#4641848)
As a Tottenham fan, it's got to be pretty disappointing to have Lamela instead of Willian.

For now, it is. We'll see how it works out long term. And, of course, we should have had both!

Januzaj is pretty good.
   352. Spivey Posted: January 19, 2014 at 11:35 AM (#4641851)
Chelsea's midfield is pretty amazing. Hazard, Oscar, Luiz, Ramires. All those guys are box to box players, and run like gazelles.
   353. Spivey Posted: January 19, 2014 at 11:41 AM (#4641854)
Januzaj is controlling the game on the top left side of the pitch.
   354. Howling John Shade Posted: January 19, 2014 at 11:45 AM (#4641856)
If Mourinho hasn't sold his soul to the devil then no one has.
Pretty sure Mourinho is the one buying souls at this point.

Bentaleb looks like he's struggling today. Put in Paulinho for Bentaleb and Vertonghen for Chirches and we may have a team that can challenge. Bentaleb looks like he's struggling today. Put in Paulinho for Bentaleb and Vertonghen for Chirches and we may have a team that can challenge.
I actually thought Bentaleb played fairly well. He's not a DM and that showed in the first 25 minutes (Sandro can't come back soon enough if Capoue is no longer an option), but he has a lovely first touch and his passing is accurate. The ball moves a lot quicker with him in there than it would with Paulinho, I think. He's not the goal-scoring threat that Paulinho is and I'm probably guilty of underrating Paulinho, but I think Bentaleb has at least earned a spot in the rotation.

   355. I am going to be Frank Posted: January 19, 2014 at 11:52 AM (#4641860)
Crappy defending leads to two Chelsea goals. Young has been anonymous, hopefully Kagawa comes on. Its too open and Chelsea's midfield has to the speed, skill and power to just run roughshod over United.
   356. Howling John Shade Posted: January 19, 2014 at 11:52 AM (#4641861)
For now, it is. We'll see how it works out long term. And, of course, we should have had both!
And there was that brief moment when it looked like Oscar was coming to Spurs as well. Screw you Chelsea.
   357. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 19, 2014 at 11:54 AM (#4641865)
I actually thought Bentaleb played fairly well.

He played much better in the second half, after I wrote that comment. I think Sherwood must have reminded him what his main purpose--shielding the back 4--was. It will be interesting to see if he gets the start against City. I would prefer Sandro, if he's fit, but who am I to question the genius that is Tim Sherwood? Norf London now, Norf London forever!

This 2-0 score is really hard on United. They haven't played poorly at all.
   358. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 19, 2014 at 11:57 AM (#4641870)
And there was that brief moment when it looked like Oscar was coming to Spurs as well. Screw you Chelsea.

Yeah, it's our lot in life. We were in for Mata and Hazard, too, but when Chelsea can effectively double whatever you bid, they are going to win out. I like our squad, though. Eriksen gets better with every game and I'm starting to think we lucked into something there.
   359. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 19, 2014 at 12:09 PM (#4641875)
Well, game over. Cue up the Man U in crisis articles but I don't see how this result makes a real difference when no one was expecting a result anyway. Remember to sell Man U stock short when the market opens Tuesday!
   360. I am going to be Frank Posted: January 19, 2014 at 12:09 PM (#4641876)
Christ more crappy defending.
   361. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 19, 2014 at 12:17 PM (#4641884)
Since this game is a dud, entertain yourselves with French soccer cards.

Lovely.
   362. Spivey Posted: January 19, 2014 at 12:28 PM (#4641888)
It is always shocking when goal keepers try crazy #### rather than just putting their boot through the ball.
   363. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 19, 2014 at 12:32 PM (#4641890)
I hate to tell Arlo White this, but Man U aren't even in a Europa League spot right now.
   364. Spivey Posted: January 19, 2014 at 12:34 PM (#4641891)
The title race in La Liga is shaping up to be really interesting. Are La Liga's rights bought up for the next umpteen years by BeIn?
   365. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 19, 2014 at 12:36 PM (#4641892)
The title race in La Liga is shaping up to be really interesting.

Shaping up? It's been awesome all year! I don't know what they're contract with BeIn but I assume BeIn will continue to outbid everyone for them until at least the 2022 World Cup. Too bad for those of us without BeIn.
   366. Spivey Posted: January 19, 2014 at 12:39 PM (#4641893)
Competition in the EPL is ridiculously competitive. With the money in the league now, I think it really has emerged as clearly the best league. The top 8-9 teams are all legitimately good teams.

I've mentioned it before, but I think Fergie deserves some of the blame here. He let the squad rot in certain key areas, and they were able to skirt by that the last few years due to Rooney and RVP magic. The other top sides all are spending a lot more now, and Chelsea/Man City look to have made significant upgrades at manager. I truly think that Man U would be fighting for 4th this year, even with Ferguson.
   367. I am going to be Frank Posted: January 19, 2014 at 12:50 PM (#4641896)
Wow Vidic makes it so much worse... it was a straight red.
   368. I am going to be Frank Posted: January 19, 2014 at 12:53 PM (#4641898)
and it should have been another straight red for Rafael.
   369. Howling John Shade Posted: January 19, 2014 at 01:05 PM (#4641900)
That last little bit from United was reminiscent of Mourinho's Real Madrid when they would lose to Barca. Rafael got lucky.

Too bad for those of us without BeIn.
What I have learned from Bein is that there is such a thing as too much Ray Hudson. Although on one of the Messi goals this week, his call was "Like a beautiful werewolf!" and I nearly forgave him for everything.
   370. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: January 19, 2014 at 02:13 PM (#4641924)
Anyway, it's been a surreal season--it's felt like a lost year but here Spurs are, in 4th place and ahead of Liverpool and (temporarily) Everton and are 3 points ahead of their pace from last year. I just don't know what to think of this year.

Spurs aren't ahead of Liverpool (yet?). Even on points, Liverpool with the far better goal difference.
   371. Swedish Chef Posted: January 19, 2014 at 03:40 PM (#4641963)
Barcelona is just one point above Real now. And Atletico is ahead in their game.
   372. Sean Forman Posted: January 20, 2014 at 01:49 AM (#4642464)
Bein is that there is such a thing as too much Ray Hudson.


MAGISTERIAL!!!

Came off like a prom dress!

   373. ckash Posted: January 20, 2014 at 08:51 AM (#4642499)
No such thing as "too much Ray Hudson".

I want Ray Hudson 24/7. He's apparently a huge hockey fan so he needs to start calling some NHL games. Imagine him calling a slick Ovi/Crosby goal.
   374. PepTech Posted: January 20, 2014 at 11:22 AM (#4642593)
Fun with Anelke. Support Anarchy in the UK!
   375. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: January 20, 2014 at 02:38 PM (#4642739)
Megan Rapinoe's Lyonnais contract has been terminated, so she'll be playing the whole year with the Reign. The France-side stint hasn't been super successful (she's struggled for playing time and hasn't been at her best when she has played), but this is big news for Seattle, who are definite title contenders at this point.
   376. I am going to be Frank Posted: January 20, 2014 at 03:06 PM (#4642746)
I will forever find it weird when I see Anelka in a West Brom shirt.
   377. Mefisto Posted: January 20, 2014 at 04:07 PM (#4642784)
I've seen speculation that the USWNT is putting pressure on the players to return to the NWSL for the 2015 season. Rapinoe has not played well for Lyon, but it makes me wonder if she might have asked out anyway.
   378. frannyzoo Posted: January 20, 2014 at 05:42 PM (#4642839)
Miscellaneous...

1. Ray Hudson: I find I like him much better on XM 94 talk shows. He still grabs the mic too much, but is much less eventually irritating. He very much reminds me of cocaine-era Robin Williams. Incredibly funny for five minutes...then a drain. (Although Williams' work in Bobcat's "World's Greatest Dad" should get an Oscar every year until his passing, or mine, either one works).
2. Everton...shoulda scored two in the first half today. I watched intently that first half before hitting the bike back home, missing the second half. Baines' dive was awful, Lukaku makes space at a world-class level, but the finishing, as FM always says, "was poor throughout." Oviedo should have scored at least once there. I'm thinking the wearing of almost Norwich yellow jinxed them, but more seriously I think they were one broken Ross Barkley toe from the three points today.
3. My fandom for Atletico is such that I was able to actively root against Barca scoring a second in Valencia yesterday. Unthinkable, for me, only two/three years ago. Then things went downhill a bit. Interestingly, RM's first CL game is at Schalke only about 93 hours before the Atleti game at the Calderon. I wish it were more like 12 hours before, but I wonder if Schalke worries CR7 and Co. much.
   379. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 21, 2014 at 12:00 AM (#4642968)
2. Everton...shoulda scored two in the first half today. I watched intently that first half before hitting the bike back home, missing the second half. Baines' dive was awful, Lukaku makes space at a world-class level, but the finishing, as FM always says, "was poor throughout." Oviedo should have scored at least once there. I'm thinking the wearing of almost Norwich yellow jinxed them, but more seriously I think they were one broken Ross Barkley toe from the three points today.
It was, as they say, a game of two halves. Everton didn't manage a single shot on target in the second half, while West Brom tested Tim Howard five times. West Brom took six shots from the central area of the 18-yard box, Everton took two. On the whole, a draw looks like a fair result.

My fandom for Atletico is such that I was able to actively root against Barca scoring a second in Valencia yesterday.
Maybe you already saw this, but I was kind of proud of it--my statistical analysis of Atlético Madrid. I kind of think they can keep this up.
   380. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 21, 2014 at 07:23 AM (#4643002)
   381. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 21, 2014 at 08:34 AM (#4643025)
Does anyone understand the Guarin for Vucinic swap from Inter's perspective?
   382. I am going to be Frank Posted: January 21, 2014 at 08:46 AM (#4643033)
I never understand Italy's transfers. I just assume its agents making money with kickbacks going to some Swiss bank account.
   383. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: January 21, 2014 at 09:20 AM (#4643063)
Does anyone understand the Guarin for Vucinic swap from Inter's perspective?


A friend is a big Juve fan and his reaction was gleeful so...no.
   384. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 21, 2014 at 09:26 AM (#4643074)
A friend is a big Juve fan and his reaction was gleeful so...no.

Yeah, I don't get it. Seems like Vucinic should be on a path to Genoa or Parma or something at this point and Guarin is in demand all over Europe.
   385. I am going to be Frank Posted: January 21, 2014 at 09:43 AM (#4643094)
I don't understand why Moyes is sniffing around Mata now. I can see in the summer, but if he pays the fee, he'd have the same problem United have with Kagawa, even if Mata is a much better player (at least in the Premier League). Why spend the 40M now on Mata when there are much other bigger needs? If it doesn't preclude signing any other targets, great, but it seems like a a luxury signing for January.
   386. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 21, 2014 at 09:57 AM (#4643106)
Yeah, I don't get Mata to United, either. He's a great player, but he doesn't seem like he's what they need. Guarin, on the other hand, would have slotted in very nicely there. There are rumors they may trigger Koke's release clause in their desperation. He seems like more of the kind of player they need but I wonder if Moyes can get the production from him Simeone has. I'd worry about snatching a player from a guy who plays in a system like Simeone's. It's like when a player leaves Borussia Dortmund and suddenly they don't seem as good because they aren't playing for a manager and in a system to which they were perfectly suited.
   387. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 21, 2014 at 10:02 AM (#4643112)
Juan Agudelo is officially on Stoke's books and will be loaned to Utrecht. That sounds like a perfect deal all around for him.

edit: Does anyone have any idea what's going on with the Barca/Neymar transfer legal problems? I can't really make sense of it. Rosell is saying now he can't revela details because of a "confidentiality agreement" but I would imagine that kind of BS won't get far with the authorities investigating. I'm sure someone got a huge kickback in this deal but I can't figure out who got it and if anything that happened was illegal and, even if it was illegal, if it's "speeding ticket" illegal or "fired from job and a few days in court" illegal.
   388. zack Posted: January 21, 2014 at 10:05 AM (#4643117)
What I have learned from Bein is that there is such a thing as too much Ray Hudson. Although on one of the Messi goals this week, his call was "Like a beautiful werewolf!" and I nearly forgave him for everything.

I've never heard of Ray Hudson before, but now he's my favorite announcer.
   389. frannyzoo Posted: January 21, 2014 at 10:12 AM (#4643126)
Regarding Ray "beautiful werewolf" Hudson (that is A very good line), I find myself coming across a game with Bodo Illgner doing color and being excited. His analysis/insight is the stuff I need to learn (perhaps too basic for those who have played the game) and there's that German thing appealing to my strange love of the country/Bundesliga. And I personally kinda like folks using their second language at a professional level...it's inspiring, if a tad awkward at times.
   390. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 21, 2014 at 10:13 AM (#4643127)
And I personally kinda like folks using their second language at a professional level...it's inspiring, if a tad awkward at times.

I feel this way about Tim Sherwood...
   391. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 21, 2014 at 10:26 AM (#4643144)
Does anyone know who Ralph Krueger is?

I used to follow hockey and the name means nothing to me. Also, just throwing this out there, I think motivational speaking is a crock of shit. I wish I didn't because, my god, those people make a lot of money.
   392. ckash Posted: January 21, 2014 at 10:53 AM (#4643176)
Krueger used to coach Edmonton. He was fired but in hindsight it's probably not a reflection of his coaching skill, given that they suck worse under Eakins.
   393. zack Posted: January 21, 2014 at 11:07 AM (#4643195)
Heh, when I saw the name I immediately thought "you mean other than the hockey coach?", but no, that's the one.

As a big hockey fan I can't say much about him. He's only coached one year in the NHL, for a terrible team that was terrible before he got there and terrible after he left. He coached the Swiss team for over a decade, but they're a minnow.

I was going to say that it's impressive for a European coach to even get a shot in the NHL, so he must be doing something right, but he was born and raised in Canada. (He played professionally and started coaching in Europe, though, so it's still somewhat impressive.)

How did Liebherr even come across Krueger?
   394. puck Posted: January 21, 2014 at 02:47 PM (#4643490)
From last page:

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.


This seems to make a lot of US soccer fandom even more orthodox. It's like a new religious convert being a stickler for rules, the letter of a law, etc.
   395. jmurph Posted: January 21, 2014 at 04:41 PM (#4643610)
Wow, so there is actually something to these Mata to United rumors? Interesting. The Guardian is saying he can go if they get 40 million and he requests the transfer (an eternally hilarious caveat to these things). 40 million seems way high, and would be a great return for Chelsea, but if I were them I'd still be wary of selling a star player to another of the league's top teams.

I would also wait out the year, given that money is no concern for Chelsea. Fair enough that he's 4th choice right now, but in such a tight race, getting rid of such a talented player could really bite them if one of Hazard/Oscar/Willian gets injured.
   396. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 21, 2014 at 04:58 PM (#4643628)
How did Liebherr even come across Krueger?

The Liebherr's are Swiss so I guess they know of him through the Swiss hockey team.

40 million for Mata is a spicy meatball! My inclination is that it's not a good fit for Mata or Man U and that they'd be better off upgrading on Evra or buying an athletic midfield destroyer to pair with Carrick. Maybe their plan is that AND Mata, though.

Other transfer news: Fabio to SC FREIBURG! on loan. Looks like Everton have snaked West Ham for a Lacina Traore loan. Vucinic for Guarin has broken down, for now, and there were rumors of Dante to Man U but Dante's agent scuttled that one. Alvaro Pereira is going on loan to Sao Paulo which kind of surprises me since he still seems useful and a lot of big clubs could use FB depth.
   397. ursus arctos Posted: January 21, 2014 at 05:24 PM (#4643650)
Krueger is quite well known as a sports/management figure in Switzerland, perhaps roughly equivalent to Clive Woodward's profile in England after he managed their national team to the Rugby World Cup. Getting the Swiss to the point where they became a more or less permanent fixture in the last eight of international competitions was a significant accomplishment.

Interestingly enough, Woodward actually served as "Performance Director" and "Director of Football" at Southampton under the Ruppert Lowe administration without leaving much of a legacy beyond 'arry Redknapp's enmity.
   398. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: January 21, 2014 at 05:32 PM (#4643655)
He's the Swiss Peter Ueberroth!
   399. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: January 21, 2014 at 05:55 PM (#4643675)
   400. JuanGone..except1game Posted: January 21, 2014 at 08:14 PM (#4643763)
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