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Friday, March 01, 2013

OT: The Soccer Thread, March 2013

Update your bookmarks, it’s the soccer thread.

Football hipster word of the month: Catenaccio
THTF news: Two months of fixture hell begin in which Spursin’ it up becomes all too possible
Shooty news: He’s decided to follow Real Zaragoza, because that’s totally not a hipster choice
Hamburglar / French Freiburg news: I still find both puns funny.  Monthly updates to follow
News news: I am now done with the bit.

Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 01, 2013 at 05:02 PM | 800 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: off-topic, soccer

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   301. Textbook Editor Posted: March 09, 2013 at 11:52 PM (#4385289)
and flip again
   302. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 10, 2013 at 11:50 AM (#4385481)
Some interesting changes for Liverpool-Tottenham. Apparently Aaron Lennon did his hamstring against Inter, and AVB has made a very defensive switch, bringing in Jake Livermore in his place. It will be interesting to see what kind of formation that produces. Liverpool are starting all of their best three attacking players (Coutinho/Suarez/Sturridge), so it looks like a game of Tottenham sitting back a bit and looking to counter.

Brad Jones in for Reina - which if I wanted to be optimistic for Spurs, is the change I'd point to. Jones has looked shaky, and Spurs put a lot of shots on target.
   303. frannyzoo Posted: March 10, 2013 at 11:59 AM (#4385486)
I hope Sir Alex watched Pogba's performance today.
   304. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: March 10, 2013 at 12:36 PM (#4385506)
Have I mentioned recently just how much I hate Javier Hernandez?

(really good pass, though)
   305. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: March 10, 2013 at 12:41 PM (#4385508)
Spurs are doing some pretty passing but haven't had much in the way of actual chances (other than the Sigurdsson shot).
   306. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: March 10, 2013 at 12:44 PM (#4385510)
Rooney with a free kick that misses everyone. Except the corner of the net.

This is going to be a long evening for Chelsea. 2-0 inside twelve.
   307. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: March 10, 2013 at 12:54 PM (#4385514)
United making a number of errors in the midfield zone and lose out possession a few times, but Moses smashes right into a defender, Lampard can't miss the keeper from an open shot in the middle of the box, and some good interceptions/fouls by Chelsea.

EDIT: and, of course, on the other end, United get some really good chances, a couple of decent saves from Cech, and general skilled play. Luiz nearly scores an own goal, too.
   308. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: March 10, 2013 at 01:13 PM (#4385527)
BRACE FOR JAN VERTONGHEN
   309. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: March 10, 2013 at 01:26 PM (#4385534)
What a terrible goal for Spurs to give up. Ridiculous backpass attempt and a bit of a Lloris blunder.
   310. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: March 10, 2013 at 01:28 PM (#4385536)
ITV seem to think that the only story in this game is that John Terry isn't playing and that, were he on the pitch, Chelsea would not have allowed any goals/would be ahead by fifteen/would be Club World Cup champions/whatever.
   311. frannyzoo Posted: March 10, 2013 at 01:30 PM (#4385538)
More than a bit of a Lloris blunder there; all-around horror-show.
   312. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: March 10, 2013 at 01:37 PM (#4385544)
More than a bit of a Lloris blunder there; all-around horror-show.

I was being generous because I don't think he was preparing for that.
   313. Tike Redman's Shattered Dreams Posted: March 10, 2013 at 01:41 PM (#4385550)
Ugh. Another horrible sequence of mistakes, another gift goal for Liverpool. Can't blame Suarez for making the most of that ugly challenge.
   314. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: March 10, 2013 at 01:45 PM (#4385552)
Big news in the Swiss first division as the FC Thun-FC Zurich game is interrupted by a weasel running onto the field. Eventually it is subdued by Zurich keeper David Da Costa after biting defender Loris Benito.

Zurich won 4-0.
   315. frannyzoo Posted: March 10, 2013 at 01:47 PM (#4385556)
Suarez must be one helluva break dancer. His spasmodic bounce off the ground sold it best. He is quite, quite unlikable (still a stupid arm by Assou-Ekotto, however).
   316. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: March 10, 2013 at 01:49 PM (#4385558)
That was a really pretty curled finish from Hazard. 2-1. Chelsea full pressure, now.

(Benitez's substitutions would be more impressive were it not clear that Hazard and Mikel should have been playing from the beginning)
   317. JuanGone..except1game Posted: March 10, 2013 at 01:55 PM (#4385562)
Benitez's substitutions would be more impressive were it not clear that Hazard and Mikel should have been playing from the beginning


And there in lies the problem. I know that the JT benching is the story, but that starting lineup was dreadful if your going to play to win this match. Cahill shouldn't have started and the Lamaprd/Ramires midfield is always a bit leaky. I can defend Oscar/Hazard.
   318. JuanGone..except1game Posted: March 10, 2013 at 01:57 PM (#4385563)
Great play on the equalizer. Ramires showed some real quality.
   319. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: March 10, 2013 at 01:58 PM (#4385564)
2-2! Really nice fast (Ba -> Mata -> Ramires and across the field) counter and it's Ramires.
   320. frannyzoo Posted: March 10, 2013 at 01:59 PM (#4385567)
This is perhaps setting up to be a historically bad week at Old Trafford.
   321. JuanGone..except1game Posted: March 10, 2013 at 02:04 PM (#4385571)
Who is the other announcer with Gus? He sure likes Rafa.
   322. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: March 10, 2013 at 02:11 PM (#4385574)
Mata down in the box, he went down almost immediately. Hopefully just a twisted ankle and not something more serious.

EDIT: He's jogging off the pitch, I think it was just a lot of temporary pain.
   323. JuanGone..except1game Posted: March 10, 2013 at 02:23 PM (#4385579)
What a fabolous link up between Luiz and Mata, then a better save by De Gea
   324. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: March 10, 2013 at 02:25 PM (#4385580)
That's time, 2-2. United just spared that historically bad week - excellent comeback, but the United back pair were also pretty impressive (the midfield, especially whoever were supposed to be marking Mata and Hazard, were not).
   325. CWS Keith plans to boo your show at the Apollo Posted: March 10, 2013 at 02:39 PM (#4385588)
Ugh. I'm begrudgingly going to express some admiration for Spurs, as my initial impression is that they put in a perfectly functional road performance. In the end they were undone by some pretty terrible individual errors -- how very Liverpool of them! I'm still trying to assess Liverpool's performance. I didn't like that they sat back so much, but at the same time I can understand the reluctance to press Spurs, given (a) Carragher playing at the back and (b) Bale's brilliance. Nice to finally win one when the performance was well-below their best.
   326. CWS Keith plans to boo your show at the Apollo Posted: March 10, 2013 at 02:41 PM (#4385591)
Ugh. I'm begrudgingly going to express some admiration for Spurs, as my initial impression is that they put in a perfectly functional road performance. In the end they were undone by some pretty terrible individual errors -- how very Liverpool of them! I'm still trying to assess Liverpool's performance. I didn't like that they sat back so much, but at the same time I can understand the reluctance to press Spurs, given (a) Carragher playing at the back and (b) Bale's brilliance. Nice to finally win one when the performance was well-below their best.
   327. DA Baracus Posted: March 10, 2013 at 02:56 PM (#4385602)
Suarez's homage to dying fish today is a pretty good argument for offsetting penalties.
   328. Mefisto Posted: March 10, 2013 at 03:53 PM (#4385629)
@324: I think Cleverly was supposed to be doing that. I thought he was awful today. Rooney was poor except for the goal. That save by De Gea might be the save of the year. Looked even better on replay than in real time.
   329. J. Sosa Posted: March 10, 2013 at 05:15 PM (#4385679)
It was a marginal penalty. Its only an issue because its Suarez. Raised elbow with contact and that gets called fairly often. A true tragedy compared to the eye poke of doom that brought the hero Bale down for a goal off a free kick, but such is life.
   330. Howling John Shade Posted: March 10, 2013 at 08:28 PM (#4385910)
On the second, though, the ESPN game logs do have SoT data, if I'm remembering correctly. If you could find differentiation in SoT conversion based on game situation, that would be a really useful finding. And the ESPN game logs would allow for a sort of +/- stat as well. It's almost enough to make me want to get my programming skills back and try it myself.

It looks like the ESPN logs break shots up into four categories: missed, blocked, saved and goals. They're definitely scrapeable other than some occasional inconsistencies with player names.
   331. I am going to be Frank Posted: March 10, 2013 at 10:59 PM (#4385989)
Whoever is making the hiring decisions at Fox needs to be fired. Ian Wright is absolutely awful to listen to. Gus Johnson asked Wright what he thinks of of Kagawa and Wright says that "he's a totally different player from Park." Really that's who you compare him to?
   332. Mefisto Posted: March 10, 2013 at 11:29 PM (#4386006)
I winced at that comment too, but I liked Wright otherwise. He was refreshingly frank.
   333. zack Posted: March 11, 2013 at 09:00 AM (#4386101)
Honest question: what exactly was Defoe trying to do? He should get the primary blame for the penalty in my view.
   334. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: March 11, 2013 at 09:12 AM (#4386111)
Gus Johnson asked Wright what he thinks of of Kagawa and Wright says that "he's a totally different player from Park." Really that's who you compare him to?
This brings to mind my all-time favorite story of comparing people entirely based on their race/country of origin was someone said that Fukudome was, as a player, something of a mix between Ichiro and Matsui. Of course, pretty much everyone in baseball is somewhere between Ichiro and Matsui.
   335. Topher Posted: March 11, 2013 at 12:40 PM (#4386294)
I find the discussion on using analytics to be quite interesting. I can't afford the Opta data so I thought I would see if I could create my own database by charting games as I watched them. I thought I would start with the ManU-Chelsea match.

I'm not exactly sure how successful the experiment was. I found that I was looking at my notepad so frequently I ended up missing a lot of the action. After about two minutes of play, I stopped watching the game because it was too difficult to do that and keep track of my notes. However, I continued to chart by keeping my ears open and listening to the commentary so I think I might have captured everything.

Based on what my eyes saw and what I heard from the Fox Soccer broadcast, yesterday's game ended up having 142 Big Chances. Juan Mata led the way with 22 all by himself.

Would one of you that subscribes to the data let me know if that matches with what Opta reported? I think I did a pretty good job for my first try. But I know I made at least a couple of mistakes. After charting one of the Big Chances I heard from the announcers, I looked up and saw that there was a throw in. So I must have goofed on at least that one.
   336. Swedish Chef Posted: March 11, 2013 at 05:01 PM (#4386534)
Palermo's coaches this season so far:
Sannino        - Sep
Gasperini  Sep - Feb 
Malesani   Feb - Mar
Gasperini  Mar
Sannino    Mar -

May I humbly suggest that changing coaches may not be a universal cure for what ails football teams.
   337. ursus arctos Posted: March 11, 2013 at 05:29 PM (#4386549)
Which gives rise to what may be my favorite stat of the season.

Palermo have more coaching changes (4) than wins (3).
   338. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: March 11, 2013 at 07:37 PM (#4386606)
May I humbly suggest that changing coaches may not be a universal cure for what ails football teams.
Are we absolutely sure that Palermo is not attempting to run the old Cubs' "College of Coaches" thing? Because that seems like that might be the plan.
   339. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: March 11, 2013 at 09:25 PM (#4386647)
Why'd they bring Sannino back? He's a scrub! Gasperini's the man for the job! He's a proven winner!

I like that of the 5 total head coaches, they've only actually had 3 people filling the role.
   340. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: March 11, 2013 at 10:23 PM (#4386669)
Yeah, but since Palermo returned to Serie A in 2004 they've had 119 wins and a mere 21 coaching changes. And only four of those involved firing Francesco Guidolin.

Also, they have FOUR wins this season, if you count the Coppa Italia. And they were undefeated in 9 preseason friendlies, in what may be a bad omen for the Kansas City Royals.
   341. puck Posted: March 12, 2013 at 02:15 AM (#4386730)
I don't know if anyone cares, but Tigres traveled to Seattle for the 2nd leg of their quarterfinal (Wednesday night) up 1-0. Their top 11 players in the Clausura in terms of minutes played (including Jose "Gringo" Torres) did not make the trip.

Oh, and the answer is apparently because the manager, Tuca, doesn't care about international competitions rather than because he's that sure they can win. Apparently he's sent weakened squads to Copa Libertadores.
   342. J. Sosa Posted: March 12, 2013 at 09:29 AM (#4386800)
Champions League!

I've never much cared for Milan but the club's reinvention has been interesting. Going forward I'm not sure there are very many attacking quartets that can match Niang, Balotelli, Sharaaway, and Boateng. 26 and under with the first three being 22 and under.

I suppose maybe Chelsea if you count Lukaku. I think I'd rather have Milan's 4 though even given the combustability. Other than that I can't think of one off the top of my head.
   343. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 12, 2013 at 11:13 AM (#4386853)
Milan would be particularly interesting this year if Balotelli weren't cup-tied. Even so, el Sharaawy is all kinds of fun on his own.
   344. vortex of dissipation Posted: March 12, 2013 at 12:09 PM (#4386882)

Caerphilly Castle Ladies FC's brave face on 43-0 defeat

Ten games, ten losses, one goal for, 219 goals against. They lost virtually their entire first team in the off-season when they left in a mass walkout to another club. They're having trouble recruiting any new players:

"A lot of the players we've approached have been put off by the results, but I'm urging anyone who's interested to think more about the opportunity we can give them. There'll never be a better chance for any aspiring player to compete in the [Women's Welsh] Premier League."
   345. Swedish Chef Posted: March 12, 2013 at 12:29 PM (#4386889)
There was a similar team in the Swedish fourth tier last year (IFK Klagshamn in Div 2 Södra Götaland), they had 10-127 in goal difference in 22 games. But they scored three in a game once and got a draw against a mid-table team, so they got a point.
   346. JuanGone..except1game Posted: March 12, 2013 at 01:58 PM (#4386955)
I suppose maybe Chelsea if you count Lukaku. I think I'd rather have Milan's 4 though even given the combustability. Other than that I can't think of one off the top of my head.


I think that's a good comp and I would probably agree that AC is probably slightly ahead at the moment because Balotelli, while somewhat crazy, has already shown himself to be world class and I think Sharaaway is just top class. I may change my mind on this as early as next year as Chelsea has quantity (Lukaku (19), Hazard (21), Mata (24), Oscar (20) and Victor Moses (22)) and age on its side. Chelsea's available young talent is why I'm crossing my fingers that the next manager is willing to at least expirement with a 4-3-3. I believe everyone, especially Oscar (who might eventually be the best of them all) and save maybe Mata, would benifit from that alignment.
   347. I am going to be Frank Posted: March 12, 2013 at 02:17 PM (#4386968)
Don't you think Mata, Hazard and Oscar would all be better in the middle, behind the striker?

I was never a fan of Milan and haven't watched much since Fox Soccer lost Serie A but I find Barca boring and hope they go out.
   348. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: March 12, 2013 at 03:51 PM (#4387057)
Well, that's a good start for Barcelona.
   349. I am going to be Frank Posted: March 12, 2013 at 04:02 PM (#4387072)
Milan look terrible.
   350. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: March 12, 2013 at 04:06 PM (#4387077)
Milan look terrible.

They look like Portsmouth in disguise!
   351. I am going to be Frank Posted: March 12, 2013 at 04:24 PM (#4387089)
Wow Niang hits the post! Mascherano in for Puyol seemed like a good idea to deal with the pace of Milan's counterattacks but his weakness in the air is problematic. As I type Messi scores again...
   352. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: March 12, 2013 at 04:30 PM (#4387096)
So Barca seem like all the "Barca are falling apart" stories have annoyed them. Reminds me of Spain during the Euros and the way they dismantled Italy in the final.
   353. President of the David Eckstein Fan Club Posted: March 12, 2013 at 04:33 PM (#4387101)
Galatasaray now up on Schalke, too
   354. ursus arctos Posted: March 12, 2013 at 05:22 PM (#4387143)
Another stat of the year candidate.

This is the third match that Barcelona will have played during a Papal Conclave.

They won each of the first two 4-0.
   355. I am going to be Frank Posted: March 12, 2013 at 05:33 PM (#4387154)
Holy crap it happened it again!
   356. Mefisto Posted: March 12, 2013 at 05:38 PM (#4387162)
Unreal. Milan looked nervous, but all credit to Barca.
   357. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 12, 2013 at 05:42 PM (#4387169)
And the same thing happens in the closing minutes in Schalke-Galatasaray. What a super fun afternoon of football.
   358. Spivey Posted: March 12, 2013 at 07:40 PM (#4387260)
I admit I don't watch a ton of Serie A but I don't see comparing their attacking ability with Man U, Bayern, Borussia Dortmund, Real, Barcelona, or Man City.
   359. Swedish Chef Posted: March 13, 2013 at 07:02 AM (#4387458)
Only Dortmund of those have a young backbone in their attack. And they are resigned to losing Lewandowski this summer.
   360. Swedish Chef Posted: March 13, 2013 at 07:10 AM (#4387459)
Apparently the Quataris are planning a huge club tournament called Dream Football League. They want to make it a big deal by throwing money at the teams (of course). UEFA's reaction will be interesting to see.
   361. J. Sosa Posted: March 13, 2013 at 09:44 AM (#4387516)
So it appears the rumblings about a super league were true, if not quite in the form that was expected. Speculation time!

Would the 16 permanent members track closely to the money league? Here is my two minute guess before I have to get back to work in no particular order:

1. Barcalona
2. Madrid
3. Chelsea
4. Man U
5. Man City
6. Arsenal
7.Liverpool
8. PSG
9. Marseille
10. Lyon
11. Bayern
12. Dortmund
13. Ajax
14. Juventus
15. Milan
16. Inter

That's just a quick list. You could probably sub in a few clubs like Spurs over those I picked. As for the other eight in another two minute guess:

1. Spurs
2. Celtic
3. Schalke
4. Napoli
5. Athletico Madrid
6. Shaktar
7. Roma
8.Zenit/random oligarch club

Something like this has been coming for a long time, I'm not sure what could be done about the impact on the domestic leagues from a competitive balance standpoint. Yes the teams that participate might be knackered, but for that kind of blow they could purchase the entire squads of their domestic competitors only off the revenue. I could hand wring, but I'm not because for the all the complaining I could do, I would absolutely watch such a tournament.

Also, who am I kidding, if Liverpool were picked for such a league I'm sure the club could find a few uses for those sweet, sweet petro dollars.
   362. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: March 13, 2013 at 10:00 AM (#4387523)
While brushing off continued accusations of corruption surrounding its successful World Cup bid and concerns about human rights issues and extreme conditions for summer football, Qatar has apparently been concocting a plan to form a "Dream Football League" that would involve 24 teams, take place every other summer and begin in 2015.
Umm...
   363. jmurph Posted: March 13, 2013 at 10:09 AM (#4387531)
So it would essentially be a giant friendly tournament that people would actually care about? Sign me up.
   364. jmurph Posted: March 13, 2013 at 10:11 AM (#4387532)
The Guardian suggests it might be made up.
   365. J. Sosa Posted: March 13, 2013 at 10:31 AM (#4387545)
Doesn't look good for Kay.
   366. ursus arctos Posted: March 13, 2013 at 11:55 AM (#4387613)
A friend reports on Kay's webchat:

Oliver Kay's done a webchat about the story.

He claims the following:
- Cahiers du Football was not the source
- He's "not the kind of journalist to run a story on the basis of a single source"
- At least one of the sources had previously provided good information.
- He disputes Cahiers du Football's claims that they made up the story.
- He says the main source of the story had previously provided good info about PSG and Qatar.
   367. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: March 13, 2013 at 12:37 PM (#4387648)
8.Zenit/random oligarch club

Sheriff Tiraspol is the obvious choice! As they come from a city that basically isn't part of its country anyway they would be most at home in this ridiculous transnational scenario.
   368. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: March 13, 2013 at 12:50 PM (#4387656)

Outside of Spain, few places in the world can boast more fervent support of Barcelona and Real Madrid than Iraq.

In Iraqi Kurdistan, some 3,5000 miles from the action, locals are obsessed with La Liga's two biggest teams. When they face each other in El Clasico, bars and coffee houses are segregated between rivals fans and police presence is increased as people celebrate, commiserate and fight long into the night.

According to a report in Baghdad newspaper Al Zaman, carried by Spanish newspaper Sport, passion between rival fans spilled over into violence and murder this week.

On Monday, a Barcelona supporter in Madain — a city a few miles south of Baghdad — supposedly argued with a Real Madrid-supporting friend in a gaming arcade. The Barca fan then reportedly "slaughtered" his friend with a knife, in full view of several witnesses.

Arabs Today add the chilling detail that the Madrid fan was actually beheaded by his former friend. An Iraqi Interior Ministry source told them:


"A fight broke out on Monday night at the Games Hall in Aldjaarh, between two friends, one of whom supported Barcelona and the other who supported Real Madrid."

The source added that events took a dramatic turn when the Barcelona fan took out a knife and stabbed his friend several times, before "beheading him in public."

"Witnesses at the Hall captured the offender and called the police, who rushed to the scene and took him to a security centre for interrogation. The dead body was taken to the forensic medical department for a post-mortem."

   369. ursus arctos Posted: March 13, 2013 at 01:02 PM (#4387662)
Lethal finish, that.
   370. puck Posted: March 13, 2013 at 01:13 PM (#4387672)
ZM's take on the Barca-Milan game is interesting. It seemed that Milan was not pressuring as high as last game and was sitting too far back in their banks of four. (Sort of the classic dumb bunker strategy.) But according to Cox Barca's change of positioning had a lot to do with thwarting Milan's strategy and not allowing them to be in position to come out to mark more closely.
   371. frannyzoo Posted: March 13, 2013 at 03:22 PM (#4387791)
As a big fan of public access television, watching the Russian CL pre-game brings back lots of great memories. Lo-fi rules!

Predictions:

Bayern takes it easy, 1-1.
Porto 2-0 v. a deflated Malaga.
   372. frannyzoo Posted: March 13, 2013 at 03:51 PM (#4387815)
Hail Britannia! (early)

And Arsene eschews the infamous puffy parka amid the flurries.

Edit: Since nobody else is here, I will simply add that the new Pope's non-Papal name has "Goal" right in its pronunciation (Ber-GOAL-io) . I suspect Asian match-fixers.
   373. I am going to be Frank Posted: March 13, 2013 at 04:06 PM (#4387828)
Dropping Vermaelan and Szechnzy (wasn't even going to try) - I guess is a big deal. This game will definitely be a lot of back and forth.
   374. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 13, 2013 at 04:14 PM (#4387832)
Per Jonathan Wilson's article today, the Arsenal-Bayern match is definitely harmed by the existence of the away goals rule. Arsenal should be one goal away from a draw / extra time right now.
   375. frannyzoo Posted: March 13, 2013 at 04:21 PM (#4387836)
More importantly, Millwall on the road goes into HT up 1-0 on Blackburn Rovers in the FA Cup replay. To go from losing 0-2 at home to Wolves two games ago to moving on to the FA Cup Semis would be an amazing run. As a Wolves fan, I should know.
   376. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: March 13, 2013 at 04:27 PM (#4387839)
Serious dive by Danilo in the Malaga/Porto game. He did it in in his own half and it couldn't have been more obvious.

What pisses me off is not the (charitably) gamesmanship but the ref made a diving motion, barked at him to get up but did not book him. I just hate this crap so much because stuff like this happens just enough to give ammunition to those morons who complain about soccer being "all about diving" or some such stuff. The refs HAVE to crack down on this obvious stuff. They have the right to give a yellow and that absolutely should have been given.

As I type this the ref then lets Danilo get away with a cross check in the box sending the Malaga player headlong into the keeper. Malaga then scored but it was ruled out because of the Malaga player hit the keeper. This ref has had a dreadful five minutes.
   377. I am going to be Frank Posted: March 13, 2013 at 05:03 PM (#4387852)
Neither team is able to keep possession. The Allianz Arena is very quiet. Any time the Arsenal fans do a chant its pretty clear to hear.
   378. ursus arctos Posted: March 13, 2013 at 06:43 PM (#4387901)
Very happy for Malaga and Pellegrini. Would be something if he got Madrid in the quarters.
   379. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: March 13, 2013 at 09:48 PM (#4387994)
As I type this the ref then lets Danilo get away with a cross check in the box sending the Malaga player headlong into the keeper. Malaga then scored but it was ruled out because of the Malaga player hit the keeper. This ref has had a dreadful five minutes.

Not only that, but I'm not convinced Baptista (the Malaga player in that scenario) actually hit the keeper at all, even after being checked by Danilo. It looked to me like the keeper just flat-out spilled it.
   380. J. Sosa Posted: March 14, 2013 at 11:42 AM (#4388249)
Sahin slagging Rodgers it appears. I will allow two things:

1. Rodgers is a dope.

2. Sometimes things tend to get misquoted.

But with those two things in mind, Sahin really needs to shut up. He was a slow, lazy, fragile, fat prima donna pansy who got exposed. He may not be a number 10, but that's what position was available and he actually peformed decently there. It takes quite a lot of nerve to wash out at one club and then wash out at a second on loan and complain that you were only offered playing time at a position you didn't like. Let me just suggest to Mr. Sahin that if you couldn't beat out the likes of Jordan Henderson, Jonjo Shelvey, and Joe Allen while being on several multiples of their wage, it may not be your somewhat addled manager that's the problem.
   381. frannyzoo Posted: March 14, 2013 at 03:17 PM (#4388404)
Look on the bright side, Spurs. Bale's transfer fee just continues to go higher and higher...

Defoe and Adebayor, not making it happen, so far.
   382. ursus arctos Posted: March 14, 2013 at 03:49 PM (#4388424)
Gallas making it happen at the wrong end of the pitch.

Oh Tottenham.
   383. Textbook Editor Posted: March 14, 2013 at 03:56 PM (#4388430)
So do away goals still count now that we're in extra time?
   384. CWS Keith plans to boo your show at the Apollo Posted: March 14, 2013 at 04:03 PM (#4388435)
Yup, away goals still in play.

Well done nerazzurri. Even managed to get it to ET and drag Spurs through an extra half hour. Nice.
   385. ursus arctos Posted: March 14, 2013 at 04:26 PM (#4388456)
This is officially ridiculous.
   386. frannyzoo Posted: March 14, 2013 at 04:33 PM (#4388464)
Zanetti never fails to amaze. At 39, he's more spry at minute 117 than anyone on the pitch, by quite a margin.
   387. vortex of dissipation Posted: March 14, 2013 at 04:33 PM (#4388465)
This is officially ridiculous.


The Guardian blog, four minutes after you posted that:

116 min This has been a ridiculous evening
   388. ursus arctos Posted: March 14, 2013 at 04:38 PM (#4388468)
I had the pleasure of watching Zanetti live for four years. He's beyond superlatives.
   389. ursus arctos Posted: March 14, 2013 at 06:00 PM (#4388512)
Wonder if we will start hearing those "the real measure of a league's overall quality is how it does in the Europa League" arguments with an English accent now that they have three teams in the quarters.
   390. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: March 14, 2013 at 06:35 PM (#4388522)
Wonder if we will start hearing those "the real measure of a league's overall quality is how it does in the Europa League" arguments with an English accent now that they have three teams in the quarters.

Trying to read too much into single-round elimination matches is largely foolish. My perception of the PL or La Liga wouldn't have radically changed if Real had failed to scrape through against United courtesy of Nani's red card. Barca, Real, United, City, Chelsea, Bayern, Dortmund, Juve, and Milan are basically all close enough that you shouldn't be surprised about any one of those teams beating another. Now I would be fairly comfortable ranking them, but that's based on their much larger body of work (domestically, and past seasons). But a single result shouldn't radically change how you view them. Bayern needing away goals to scrape past Arsenal isn't going to change my mind that Bayern is the clearly better team.

That said, we did have a discussion about the relative depths of the PL and the Bundesliga a while back. And I would take Newcastle, as a bottom half of the table club, being able to make it that far, while all the German teams wiped out, as a data point in support of the position I took in that debate.
   391. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: March 14, 2013 at 06:36 PM (#4388524)
Tottenham players were on Thursday subjected to racist chants by Inter Milan supporters, who were also captured on TV waving an inflatable banana.

Spurs lost 4-1 after 30 minutes of extra time but progressed to the Europa League quarterfinals on away goals after the tie finished 4-4 on aggregate.

However, much of the aftermath to the thrilling encounter will likely surround what action governing body UEFA will take against Inter after racism appeared to rear its ugly head.

Press Association Sport said several Tottenham players, notably goalscorer Emmanuel Adebayor, were the target of monkey chants from the Italian team's fans, with one supporter seen on TV with an inflatable banana.


Somehow, managing a Serie A squad in FM 2010 never quite manages to replicate the, um, quirks of Italian football ...
   392. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: March 14, 2013 at 08:45 PM (#4388596)
Spurs tried their hardest to #### that up. They were abject. Almost as bad as Inter were in the first leg (but not quite as bad, I think).
   393. frannyzoo Posted: March 14, 2013 at 09:23 PM (#4388618)
Not having Lennon to start (or Bale, of course) hurt v. Inter because, Zanetti aside, beating them is simply a matter of running them to an early death. As Spurs just needed the goal to kill the tie, having no counter with Lennon/Bale played into Inter's hands. I was impressed with Dembele, who would make a very nice Serie A player for his ability to handle challenges, etc. He just had noone to distribute to with speed enough to exploit Inter's highly suspect Chivu at CB look.
   394. I am going to be Frank Posted: March 15, 2013 at 12:16 AM (#4388749)
So was it the high line, Gallas' inability to keep proper position or Friedel's unwillingness to leave his line that allowed all those Inter players to get behind Spurs' defense?
   395. J. Sosa Posted: March 15, 2013 at 08:10 AM (#4388794)
fre: 394

All three. Friedel isn't suited to that style of play even though I think he's still a solid keeper. The sweeper style stuff Lloris does is not Friedel's strength. AVB was stubborn at Chelsea with the high line, I thought he'd learned his lesson. Maybe not. There are times that playing out of the bunker is the right strategy. This was one of those times. Also I thought Spurs' fullbacks were pretty abject and kept leaving them exposed. As Keith said, I enjoyed it. I wanted Spurs to win but only after playing as many minutes as possible. Its too bad the Chelsea game didn't go to extra time and Arsenal crashed out.

Champions League Draw!!!

PSG vs Barcalona

Bayern vs Juventus

Real Madrid vs Gala

Malaga vs Dortmund

I got Barcalona, Juventus, Real, and Dortmund. That would be a really interesting semi if it comes off. I think Juve is better than they are given credit for and might expose Bayern. We'll see. I'd like to see Dortmund win it, but anyone except Barca would be ok.

Europa draw!

Chelsea vs Kazan

Spurs vs Basel

Fenerbahce vs Lazio

Benfica vs Newcastle

I wanted the Toon to make a run but I don't think they can take out Benfica. I've got Chelsea, Spurs, Lazio, and Benfica.
   396. zack Posted: March 15, 2013 at 09:16 AM (#4388817)
Is the CL a bracket now? Does this winner of PSG v Barca play the winner of BM v Juve?
   397. The Kentucky Gentleman, Mark Edward Posted: March 15, 2013 at 10:22 AM (#4388847)
As a Dortmund fan, I like this draw unless someone gives me a good reason as to why I shouldn't. I've only seen one of Malaga's games, and it was this past Wednesday's game against Porto; I was not too impressed.
   398. Textbook Editor Posted: March 15, 2013 at 11:36 AM (#4388904)
#396--apparently not; I read somewhere this morning there will be a separate semifinal draw for both competitions.
   399. Swedish Chef Posted: March 15, 2013 at 11:44 AM (#4388908)
Malaga was discounted already in their qualifier. They are the cinderellas, nothing can stop them.
   400. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: March 15, 2013 at 03:15 PM (#4389015)
Malaga was discounted already in their qualifier. They are the cinderellas, nothing can stop them.

Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

Juventus - Dortmund final.
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