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Sunday, March 02, 2014

OT: The Soccer Thread March, 2014

Lots of great games this month and a lot of good mid-week action. Make or break time for Arsenal, Barcelona and Napoli.

March 5th: Ukraine vs USA
March 8th: Seattle vs Sporting KC as MLS gets started, Chelsea vs Tottenham, Arsenal vs Everton in the Cup
March 9th: Man City vs Wigan in the Cup and in Italy Juventus begin have the first of their three battles in the span of two weeks and Napoli host Roma
March 10th: CONCACAF CL begins with Alajuense taking on Arabe Unido. Feel the excitement!
March 11th: Bayern v Arsenal and Atleti v Milan
March 12th: Barca v Man City and Rangers v Airdrie United
March 13th: Spurs v Benfica, Napoli v Porto and Juventus v Fiorentina in some good looking EL matchups.
March 15th: Seattle v Toronto in the battle of American stars, the battle of the Borussias in Germany, Bayern v Leverkusen
March 16th: Derby Day! Liverpool vs Man U and Spurs vs Arsenal
March 17th: Torino v Napoli
March 18th: Chelsea v Galatasaray and Crawley Town v Wolverhampton
March 19th: Borussia Dortmund vs Zenit and Man U vs Olympiacos
March 20th: Europa League return legs
March 21: Freiburng vs Werder Bremen
March 22: Chelsea v Arsenal, Monaco v Lille
March 23: Spurs v Southampton, Real Madrid v Barca, Napoli v Fiornetina
March 25: Manchester Derby, Roma v Torino
March 26: Liverpool v Sunderland, Sevilla v Real Madrid
March 27: Inter v Udinese
March 29: Arsenal v Man City
March 30: Liverpool v Spurs, Barcelona Derby, Athletic v Atletico, Napoli v Juventus

 

 

 

Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: March 02, 2014 at 11:12 AM | 1404 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: soccer

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   1001. jmurph Posted: April 22, 2014 at 10:30 AM (#4691004)
Prediction thread.

From a quick scan, the only person that had United out of the top 4 was Mattbert. Lots of 2s and 3s and a couple of winners.
   1002. jmurph Posted: April 22, 2014 at 10:41 AM (#4691019)
Some more, earlier ones here. Same as above.
   1003. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: April 22, 2014 at 11:14 AM (#4691054)
ESPN is reporting that United are going after LVG as their first choice. If that's true, I can't imagine they won't get him. I actually think he's the perfect guy for them--he likes to promote youth players, isn't obsessed with the transfer market and, like Fergie, is a strong enough personality that he can probably keep the Glazers in their place.
   1004. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: April 22, 2014 at 11:15 AM (#4691056)
Conversely, no one had Liverpool winning the league. Only a couple had them in the top 4 at all.
   1005. jmurph Posted: April 22, 2014 at 11:21 AM (#4691065)
Conversely, no one had Liverpool winning the league. Only a couple had them in the top 4 at all.


Count me among those that whiffed badly. I was high on Sturridge and (obviously) Suarez, but down on pretty much everyone else, including Rodgers. I especially did not see Henderson ever being this productive, and didn't expect Sterling to improve so quickly.
   1006. Textbook Editor Posted: April 22, 2014 at 11:44 AM (#4691089)
So if Man U get LVG, who becomes a realistic target for Spurs (since that seemed to be plan A for them)?
   1007. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: April 22, 2014 at 11:47 AM (#4691093)
So if Man U get LVG, who becomes a realistic target for Spurs (since that seemed to be plan A for them)?


Moyes!
   1008. Swedish Chef Posted: April 22, 2014 at 11:47 AM (#4691094)
If he is a nut job, why do most Spurs fans seems to want him as the next manager?

He's a nut job and control freak, but he knows football inside and out. You get trophies or an acrimonious fall-out, or possibly both.

I see rumors about Man U and Mourinho flirting. That would be something.
   1009. I am going to be Frank Posted: April 22, 2014 at 11:53 AM (#4691099)
Even a high percentage of delusional Liverpool fans would not have them winning the league before the season. I'd imagine the number of bets of $1,000 or more the bookies would have to pay out is very, very small, and I'm sure they were getting pretty good odds then.

Van Gaal is a good placeholder for the three of four seasons until either Klopp, Pep or Mourinho become more available. I think its a pretty good situation for him to be stepping in. A lot of the old guard is leaving - Rio, Vidic and Evra are the last three captains and those guys can't have made it easy for Moyes. Hopefully Januszaj, Jones, Rafael and Welbeck (providing he changes his mind) thrive and some of the young players prove worthy. Plus he'll probably try and play attractive football and he'll have money to spend. Of course he won't be Moyes.

Rooney is going to be a big issue, though. I hope United put him in the window and see if anyone wants him. Sure he just signed an extension, but so did Nani and he's probably going.
   1010. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: April 22, 2014 at 12:08 PM (#4691113)
So if Man U get LVG, who becomes a realistic target for Spurs (since that seemed to be plan A for them)?

Honestly don't know. There are so, so many rumors.

edit: It's amazing what a few months can change when you realize Michael Laudrup is probably the only manager in Europe not connected to the Spurs job. Reputations crash hard in this sport. I just hope Levy makes the right choice and not a choice based on hype.
   1011. Rob_Wood Posted: April 22, 2014 at 01:46 PM (#4691207)

I am a total noob. Who is LVG?
   1012. PepTech Posted: April 22, 2014 at 01:48 PM (#4691215)
Rob: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_van_Gaal

I'd never heard the acronym either, I assumed it from above :)
   1013. Rob_Wood Posted: April 22, 2014 at 01:55 PM (#4691226)

thanks pep -- i heard that they are going to go hard after the dortmund guy (but he is not available for a couple years) -- but i know nothing (less than nothing)
   1014. J. Sosa Posted: April 22, 2014 at 02:25 PM (#4691263)
Rob forgive me if you've already talked about it and I missed it, but you have recently decided to follow club soccer? What made you decide to follow it, the world cup? What team do you support or are you in the market for a team?

I played the sport at a low level growing up and have followed the World Cup since 1990 but didn't start following club soccer until a few years ago. The learning curve given the number of cultures and teams involved remains rather daunting, but it is something I have enjoyed studying as a hobby. Have you had the experience yet of choosing a team based on liking the kit and nickname only to discover that the supporters hold Nazi club meetings the second tuesday of every month? That's always fun.

Anyways, I'm glad you've been posting in the thread and apologies if you've been around the soccer thread for awhile and I just now picked up on it.
   1015. Rob_Wood Posted: April 22, 2014 at 02:44 PM (#4691283)

I recently discovered the EPL on NBC or whatever they call it. So I have been watching all the EPL matches this season. I am old enough to remember when European soccer was on PBS in the 1970s (guys like Beckenbauer) but never really got into it for all the usual reasons.

I am trying to get into it now in fits and starts. Like many just watching it for the first time (I have NEVER played soccer), I struggle with the nuances and too often focus on the referees or diving.

By the way, I did see a 1984 Olympic soccer match (Brazil vs West Germany, IIRC) but was not overly excited.

And no I do not root for any particular team.
   1016. J. Sosa Posted: April 22, 2014 at 02:55 PM (#4691294)
The diving can get annoying. I try to remind myself how much I've always hated teams like Duke (apologies to any Duke fans) for flopping in other sports to keep it in perspective. Soccer has the rep, but some of the mainstream sports have always had their version of simulation too.

The refereeing has been terrible in general this season in the PL. To be fair, I think the sport has gotten so fast a lot of it is just that the referee can't see what happened. Goal line technology was a nice add but I'm not sure what can be done to reduce human error in other areas.
   1017. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: April 22, 2014 at 03:04 PM (#4691308)
Cech's out! :( That's not good to see.
   1018. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: April 22, 2014 at 03:06 PM (#4691313)
Goal line technology was a nice add but I'm not sure what can be done to reduce human error in other areas.


More than one ref would help. Even with the assistants it's not nearly enough.
   1019. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: April 22, 2014 at 03:09 PM (#4691317)
Ugly injury for Cech, he came down hard on that shoulder. If that's dislocated his season is over at this point I would assume.

As for the officiating I think adding a second ref like the NHL has would be the way to go. It just would improve angles and ensure that you'd have an official right inside the box for any penalty shouts.
   1020. J. Sosa Posted: April 22, 2014 at 03:19 PM (#4691330)
Was it his shoulder or his elbow? On first glance I thought it was his elbow.

I hope he's ok, that was a nasty fall.
   1021. Sean Forman Posted: April 22, 2014 at 03:45 PM (#4691366)
I assume it does qualify as irony that Chelsea's second best goalie is playing for the opposition.
   1022. TFTIO is familiar with the works of Pablo Neruda Posted: April 22, 2014 at 03:59 PM (#4691385)

Have you had the experience yet of choosing a team based on liking the kit and nickname only to discover that the supporters hold Nazi club meetings the second tuesday of every month? That's always fun.

Root for Ajax!
   1023. DA Baracus Posted: April 22, 2014 at 04:45 PM (#4691425)
Have you had the experience yet of choosing a team based on liking the kit and nickname only to discover that the supporters hold Nazi club meetings the second tuesday of every month? That's always fun.


That rules out like 90% of continental Europe.
   1024. Howling John Shade Posted: April 22, 2014 at 04:46 PM (#4691427)
Two more soccer focused 30-for-30s tonight. One on Maradona in the '86 world cup and the other on the WCQ 'match' between Chile and the USSR in 1973.
   1025. vortex of dissipation Posted: April 22, 2014 at 04:49 PM (#4691432)
I am a total noob. Who is LVG?


A German WW1 aircraft manufacturer.
   1026. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: April 22, 2014 at 05:04 PM (#4691441)
What a dreadful game that was.
   1027. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: April 22, 2014 at 05:26 PM (#4691455)
Two more soccer focused 30-for-30s tonight. One on Maradona in the '86 world cup and the other on the WCQ 'match' between Chile and the USSR in 1973.


Every Tuesday for the next three weeks then the week of the WC Final.
   1028. Mefisto Posted: April 22, 2014 at 05:52 PM (#4691463)
@1026: Mourinho truly has mastered the art of getting ugly results. That second half, in particular, was brutal.
   1029. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: April 22, 2014 at 06:18 PM (#4691479)
Cech out for the rest of the season. That could really hurt Chelsea.

http://espnfc.com/news/story/_/id/1794580/chelsea-goalkeeper-petr-cech-suffers-dislocated-shoulder-atletico-madrid?cc=5901
   1030. ursus arctos Posted: April 22, 2014 at 06:21 PM (#4691482)
Chelsea's scores in Champions League semi-finals under Mourinho: 0-0, 0-1, 1-0, 0-1, 0-0.

One goal in 480 minutes (including extra time).
   1031. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: April 22, 2014 at 06:23 PM (#4691484)
Have you had the experience yet of choosing a team based on liking the kit and nickname only to discover that the supporters hold Nazi club meetings the second tuesday of every month? That's always fun.


I've been pretty lucky dodging teams with fascist history. Picking Barca over Real Madrid, for example, or Ajax over Feyenoord, or anyone in Italy over Lazio.
   1032. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: April 22, 2014 at 07:20 PM (#4691521)
That game was some kind of terrible. I DVRed it and just turned it off after 70 minutes, something I never do. Way to have one of the most expensively assembled teams in the world play like Crystal Palace, Jose. Well done. I loved the time wasting on throw-ins with 35 minutes to play. Let's all remember this the next time he accuses West Ham of "19th Century football".
   1033. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: April 22, 2014 at 07:21 PM (#4691523)
I've been pretty lucky dodging teams with fascist history. Picking Barca over Real Madrid, for example, or Ajax over Feyenoord, or anyone in Italy over Lazio.

Me, too. All my clubs are pretty benign.
   1034. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: April 22, 2014 at 07:45 PM (#4691539)
Here's Jose's quote after the West Ham game, just for the irony:

"It's very difficult to play a football match where only one team wants to play. It's very difficult. This is not the best league in the world, this is football from the 19th century. I told Big Sam and I repeat my words: they need points and, because they need points, to come here and play the way they did, is it acceptable? Maybe, yes. I cannot be too critical, because if I was in his position I don't know if I would do the same. Maybe. At the same time I told him also this is not Premier League, this is not the best league in the world, this is football from the 19th century."
   1035. AuntBea Posted: April 22, 2014 at 08:22 PM (#4691559)
I've been pretty lucky dodging teams with fascist history. Picking Barca over Real Madrid, for example, or Ajax over Feyenoord, or anyone in Italy over Lazio.


In my case it hasn't been luck. A primary motivation for my picking european soccer teams to root against (not so much for, as that has been more variable) has been their fascist history. Another primary motivation is their unsavory current political connections (for example, AC Milan).
   1036. J. Sosa Posted: April 22, 2014 at 08:25 PM (#4691561)
--- I loved that West Ham match so much.

--- When I was looking at Dutch clubs I was going to pick Feyenoord because of one of my sons friends. The first time I talked to the kid's dad was a few years ago and when the Dad found out I was a Liverpool fan we struck up a conversation about Dirk Kuyt. I believe I said something like "oh, you follow the sport". And as it turned out, the guy is from Rotterdam and a pretty amazing soccer coach. Score one for 'Merica!!! He's a Feyenoord fan but I didn't know at the time about, uh, some of the other stuff. I still don't have a Dutch team.

--- When I was looking for a Serie A team a few years ago Lazio made it to the final three. I still don't have a Serie A club.

--- Played like Crystal Palace? Sir, that is an insult to Crystal Palace. In fairness to Pulis even he in that Chelsea match was waving his defenders up the pitch at times as part of his strategy. Mourinho makes Pulis look like a piker. He did invent "parking the bus" after all...
   1037. TFTIO is familiar with the works of Pablo Neruda Posted: April 22, 2014 at 08:32 PM (#4691564)
I picked Aston Villa for reasons which were in retrospect reasonable but, much like my experience picking jobs in the last tech bubble, was exquisitely ill-timed. I like Fiorentina because a) pinkpurple (brain fart) and b) I love love love love love Gabriel Batistuta; but I don't have any other strong interest in other league clubs. I root for the Dutch internationally because I like neuroticism in sports.
   1038. greenback calls it soccer Posted: April 22, 2014 at 08:37 PM (#4691571)
He's a Feyenoord fan but I didn't know about, uh, some of the other stuff.

Isn't that pretty much a weird anti-Ajax thing more than an anti-Semitism thing? These lads would say nasty things about their own mothers, if somehow it scored points against opposition fans.

I find myself obsessed with Millwall's quest to avoid relegation from whatever they call the second division, and I haven't followed soccer in almost twenty years (and it was German soccer at that). The articles at a couple of British sites seemed to think getting a point against Doncaster was a good thing, but they were playing at the Den, the numbers make it sound like Millwall dominated play, and Doncaster played a man down for more than a half.
   1039. TFTIO is familiar with the works of Pablo Neruda Posted: April 22, 2014 at 08:40 PM (#4691573)
The only professional game I've attended in Europe was Mansfield Town at Wycombe. Pretty much everything about that night left a lot to be desired, which was all part of the charm.
   1040. J. Sosa Posted: April 22, 2014 at 08:58 PM (#4691583)
I would liken Feyenoord's insults towards Ajax to Suarez's towards Evra on a grand scale. Do I think all, or most, or even a lot of Feyenoord's fans are actual racists? No. Do I think that Suarez given his ethnic history and actions towards black teammates is an actual racist? No. But the Feyenoord fans and Suarez used racist language to rile opponents, which makes me uncomfortable.

Wow, I just had a look at the Championship table. I had mainly been paying attention to the promotion race, I didn't realize Blackpool and Birmingham City were that close to the drop. Wolverhampton is coming back to the Championship.
   1041. greenback calls it soccer Posted: April 22, 2014 at 09:21 PM (#4691598)
But the Feyenoord fans and Suarez used racist language to rile opponents, which makes me uncomfortable.

I'm not going to defend the behavior, but I see it as closer (not close, but closer) to students at my alma mater chanting "Bull ####!" at a bad call than to "Triumph of the Will." I remember when Arizona State fans chanted "PLO!" at Steve Kerr, which seemed to be the worst thing I could imagine being said at a sporting event. My vague impression is that kind of language would be par for the course in European soccer.
   1042. I am going to be Frank Posted: April 22, 2014 at 10:35 PM (#4691639)
Just watched that game. I think Mourinho had the right idea. No Ivanovic, no Hazard and a collection of crappy strikers (although I think Torres played decently in spite of the circumstances). Didn't make the game any more enjoyable. Atletico is extremely dangerous on the break. Even when Chelsea did get the ball they couldn't hold it.

Cech's injury is really bad news. Schwarzer is not a good keeper. He was bad two years ago.
   1043. Textbook Editor Posted: April 22, 2014 at 11:03 PM (#4691653)
What I don't get about the theory of grinding out a 0-0 is that you basically are betting you can score 2 goals at home if they score only 1 away goal. (Or 3 goals if they score 2, etc.) I'm not sure that's a bet I'd take.

I have 3 teams I follow: Spurs, Napoli (married into a family of avid fans), and Torquay United (due to an irrational love of Fawlty Towers, which was set there). I'm on the cusp of suffering my first relegation, but I'm guessing the first one is the hardest and they go down easier after that.

I don't get the supposed Carlo love at Old Trafford; is it really him or LVG (or bust)? That just seems like an odd final two. A club of Man U's stature... you'd think they'd just camp out in Germany and refuse to leave without Pep or Klopp.
   1044. Richard Posted: April 22, 2014 at 11:22 PM (#4691658)
I have 3 teams I follow: Spurs, Napoli (married into a family of avid fans), and Torquay United (due to an irrational love of Fawlty Towers, which was set there). I'm on the cusp of suffering my first relegation, but I'm guessing the first one is the hardest and they go down easier after that.

Not necessarily...in my (unfortunately extensive) experience, relegation on the last day of the season is much worse than going down before then, which Torquay may do this weekend.

The team that draws 0-0 away in the first leg of a CL game wins the tie 2 times of of 3, FWIW.
   1045. TFTIO is familiar with the works of Pablo Neruda Posted: April 22, 2014 at 11:31 PM (#4691662)
I don't get the supposed Carlo love at Old Trafford; is it really him or LVG (or bust)? That just seems like an odd final two. A club of Man U's stature... you'd think they'd just camp out in Germany and refuse to leave without Pep or Klopp.

You have to think that the shadow of Sir Alex looms pretty large; I don't follow Man U save for the snark from Guardian Low-Earth Orbit, but all accounts I read about the Moyes transition made it abundantly clear that Ferguson was as ever thinking three or four moves ahead, politically, and would still be an enormous scowling dolmen in the center of the locker room, for at least another couple of seasons.
   1046. steagles Posted: April 23, 2014 at 12:12 AM (#4691671)
Two more soccer focused 30-for-30s tonight. One on Maradona in the '86 world cup and the other on the WCQ 'match' between Chile and the USSR in 1973.
maradona, F-
the opposition, B

that maradona thing was one of the absolute worst piece of shits i've ever seen. there was not a single good thing about it.

the chile one was very good, and i think it would have been even better if it was fully fleshed out over 60 or maybe even 90 minutes. of course, the least interesting part of it is the soccer, so maybe that would make it harder to sell as a 30 for 30, but there's a really good story there.


oh, and if i were to give hillsbrough a grade, it would have been C-. maybe even lower considering that it was 2 hours long and they still managed to leave out the stuff about prior hooliganism. actually, yeah, definitely lower. so i guess that's D+.
   1047. Howling John Shade Posted: April 23, 2014 at 01:30 AM (#4691689)
Yeah, I agree with you about the Maradona short. They should have used that half hour on the chile one.
   1048. Richard Posted: April 23, 2014 at 01:51 AM (#4691693)
You have to think that the shadow of Sir Alex looms pretty large; I don't follow Man U save for the snark from Guardian Low-Earth Orbit, but all accounts I read about the Moyes transition made it abundantly clear that Ferguson was as ever thinking three or four moves ahead, politically, and would still be an enormous scowling dolmen in the center of the locker room, for at least another couple of seasons.

Which is of course exactly what happened when Matt Busby retired in 1969, setting forward a chain of events that culminated in Man Utd's relegation in 1974. Good times.
   1049. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: April 23, 2014 at 08:11 AM (#4691734)
setting forward a chain of events that culminated in Man Utd's relegation in 1974

We can all dream...
   1050. J. Sosa Posted: April 23, 2014 at 09:06 AM (#4691748)
My favorite part of the Chelsea/Atletico match was the part towards the end where a few of Chelsea's players were doggedly pressing up the pitch trying to get a score and Mourinho pitched a fit and angrily waved them back past the half way line.

I don't fault Chelsea for what they did, they did what they had to do. Chelsea's siege stand in the semi a couple years ago was one of my all time favorite matches as a neutral. It's just the rich, rich, rich irony skeining through it as others have pointed out.

I'm actually a little more worried about the Chelsea match this weekend if Mourinho sits people. I suppose that is irrational, but there it is. It isn't like the backups are terrible.
   1051. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: April 23, 2014 at 09:08 AM (#4691749)
Luke Shaw to United?

The Empire Strikes Back.
   1052. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: April 23, 2014 at 09:10 AM (#4691751)
Barcelona transfer ban lifted.

The Empire Strike Back.
   1053. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: April 23, 2014 at 09:11 AM (#4691753)
I'm actually a little more worried about the Chelsea match this weekend if Mourinho sits people. I suppose that is irrational, but there it is. It isn't like the backups are terrible.

The wind rattling through the trees is going to make you nervous about the game. It's a big game!
   1054. jmurph Posted: April 23, 2014 at 09:13 AM (#4691755)
Huh, 30 million for Luke Shaw. So they're about to spend 150 million or so? Because that's just one of many holes to fill.
   1055. I am going to be Frank Posted: April 23, 2014 at 09:15 AM (#4691757)
I know for everyone here its really shocking news, but Barcelona's transfer ban has been suspended. They still won't buy a CB.

Ferguson must have kept in contact with some of his players, but there were no rumors of him ever going into the locker before or after any matches to talk to the team. The Glazers aren't stupid - there was no way they could not hire Moyes after Ferguson picked him. Apparently he's still going to be consulted on a new manager, but his opinion is no longer considered sacrosanct. This is probably a good sign provided that they have other good "football people" around.

Edit: cokes and such.
   1056. TFTIO is familiar with the works of Pablo Neruda Posted: April 23, 2014 at 10:25 AM (#4691831)
I did't mean to imply that SAF was actually physically around, as much as nothing about the coronation of Moyes was not also about SAF showing who was in charge. I could see a Name Manager wanting some other poor dumb bastard to take it in the neck next season before stepping in.
   1057. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: April 23, 2014 at 10:31 AM (#4691844)
   1058. JuanGone..except1game Posted: April 23, 2014 at 12:23 PM (#4692025)
That 30 million (+ 100k in weekly wages) for Luke Shaw is crazy money, and I see why Chelsea has conceded. I want Shaw because he's good, young and a Chelsea fan by birth, but I wouldn't be happy with Chelsea paying striker money for a LB.

Happy with the draw yesterday, despite the defensive approach and loss of so many players. The Terry injury is going to hurt for the second leg, especially if Mourinho refuses to use Ivanovic as a CB. A midfield with Lampard/Ramires is not one that I want to see in a CL semi-final. At this point, I'd rather see us deny Liverpool the title but its going to be tough with such a diminished team. However, my only real criticism of Mourinho has been his rotation this year, as like JSosa I think Liverpool should probably be more worried about a fresh, second squad of Ba, Salah, Schurrle, Matic, etc.
   1059. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: April 23, 2014 at 12:31 PM (#4692044)
I think Luke Shaw can take the Bale path to being a left winger if Man U want to go that direction. He reminds me a lot of Bale, actually, though it remains to be seen if he has Bale's desire to improve and grow his game.
   1060. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: April 23, 2014 at 02:10 PM (#4692176)
   1061. Howling John Shade Posted: April 23, 2014 at 02:35 PM (#4692191)
Januzaj declares for Belgium. I had no idea he was even eligible for Turkey.
   1062. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: April 23, 2014 at 02:44 PM (#4692207)
In sort of interesting Spurs news, Thomas Tuchel is started to gain some traction on the rumor mill. That would be a bold move by Levy after AVB and Ramos not working out. Tuchel has already turned down Schalke and I wonder if he'd be interested in the challenge of moving to the PL. Lewis Holtby would be ecstatic, that's for sure.
   1063. Howling John Shade Posted: April 23, 2014 at 03:12 PM (#4692250)
Man, Bayern looked completely dominant for the first 15 minutes, but now they're getting ripped apart on the counter.
   1064. Spivey Posted: April 24, 2014 at 09:38 AM (#4693015)
There should be some pretty exciting second legs. I get what Chelsea was doing against Atletico, but Atletico seems to be clearly the better team right now. And because of that, I think there is a lot of risk to Chelsea's strategy because of away goals - though I don't know that means they should have done something else.
   1065. Flynn Posted: April 24, 2014 at 09:45 AM (#4693021)
I had no idea he was even eligible for Turkey.


Just for context, Turks in that part of the former Yugoslavia are in no way rare. I've got a friend from Kosovo and his mom's Turkish.
   1066. I am going to be Frank Posted: April 24, 2014 at 10:07 AM (#4693046)
Madrid should have put the tie away yesterday. They had a bunch of great chances in the first half and could/should be up 3-0. I haven't seen Bayern so toothless this season (granted I don't get the Bundesliga on TV). Even when they let United stick around for a bit they found another gear and ran over them. A lot of criticism has been thrown at Pep, but they have the talent to go through. Although a fully fit Bale and Ronaldo together would be a lot more frightening on the counter to add on to what was already very good yesterday.

I'm know we are all sick of people complaining about the announcers but Wynalda has to go. He is godawful. Its one thing to speculate what formation Bayern was going to use when they put Javi Martinez in (because only Pep really knows), but two minutes after he was put in, it was blatantly obvious that he was not playing as a CB yet Wynalda kept wondering. Then 10 minutes later he just realizes that Lahm was no longer in the middle and was playing right back. Then as the game was winding down, both of them were acting like Bayern was desperate and about to go out of the tournament. Sure Bayern wanted a goal, but they didn't need one. I guess we're stuck with Gus Johnson - I'd imagine its in his contract to call the big matches, but the Fox guys better find someone else to go along with him. Wynalda isn't some novice to the game and he should know better.
   1067. JuanGone..except1game Posted: April 24, 2014 at 10:41 AM (#4693074)
Belgium is almost at a point when they have too much talent for my hipster sensibilities. One more player and the Algerian scarves start coming out.

Also, while I love Ramires and his boundless energy, he has completely turned into a maniac on the pitch. Just a Red card waiting to happen at this point.
   1068. JoeHova Posted: April 24, 2014 at 05:30 PM (#4693538)
Tottenham is supposedly thinking of hiring Moyes. I doubt many of their fans would be too enthused but it would make Tottenham's CL quest next season even more interesting because there would be the added intrigue of Moyes trying to fend off his two previous clubs for a spot. Could be fascinating.
   1069. Adward Posted: April 24, 2014 at 05:44 PM (#4693561)
A lot of Juve's build up play from the back 3+Pirlo kept me wondering if that was plan A. Not as ugly as away vs OM. It looks like the back 3+1 are left on their own and expected to play a relatively long ball to a midfielder or wing back impersonating a target man.

First time I've noticed lasers. Pirlo's corners in the 1st and Buffon in the 2nd.

Carlos Tevez is fun to watch.

What is the difference between counter attacking football and what the announcer was calling Benfica's direct play? I remember this being mentioned as the kind of football Tottenham were to play under AVB. Is it just a matter of looking to turn more possession into counter like dashes? AVB's 433
Goals under Villas-Boas are often scored from a sudden killer pass or quick attacks orchestrated in two or three touches.
   1070. Textbook Editor Posted: April 25, 2014 at 12:12 AM (#4693760)
Tottenham is supposedly thinking of hiring Moyes. I doubt many of their fans would be too enthused but it would make Tottenham's CL quest next season even more interesting because there would be the added intrigue of Moyes trying to fend off his two previous clubs for a spot. Could be fascinating.


I just can't see this happening. Or, rather, I think this would be a disaster so I am hoping it does NOT happen.

   1071. Swedish Chef Posted: April 25, 2014 at 06:48 AM (#4693806)
All managers fail occasionally, I wouldn't be worried about getting Moyes.
   1072. J. Sosa Posted: April 25, 2014 at 09:14 AM (#4693843)
re: 1069

I only watched the highlights of the Benfica match so I cannot say for certain, but sometimes when the term "direct" is used it means looking to make an incisive ball for a player to run onto at speed rather than the classic use of "direct" or "route one" which is more what is thought of now as "hoofball". This often does tend to happen on the counter, but it is not required. Neville has criticized possession based teams as "possession without purpose". It is a debate that goes on at all levels of the sport. The proponents of possession based soccer tend to point toward win percentages in defense of that model, which I find to be suspect personally. It reminds me of the old "run the ball X number of times and you win X number of times" canard in football.

There are people in this thread that wildly differ in what they find to be aesthetic play. * Personally I do not care for possession based style of play, mainly because of the tika taka warriors one tends to find at the academy level. There was a recent e-mail one of the academy coaches sent out which rationalized an 8-0 loss at the U 10 level in 8 vs 8 because our team was "learning to play the right way" and the other team played "direct". I happened to watch the match in question. "Direct" does not mean "hoofball" which is what the coaches were trying to use as justification for the margin. The opposition coach was clearly a Klopp fan. His team pressed doggedly and looked for quick hitting, incisive passes. They were the less talented team, but they were better coached and had better skills. Wins and losses are not what is important at that age (indeed many people say you shouldn't even play matches at youth level), but the kids on the other team were being much better served in their overall development. It has gotten to the point that triangles are more important than scoring output in some arenas. Younger players should look for the pass yes, but there is also a time to run at defenders, etc.

The best managers understand this, and adjust accordingly. Early Brendan Rodgers would wax lyrical about possession based stats, but he's not an ideologue. He has said he studied Dortmund and Bayern's team (presumably from last season) and uses a more direct style that suits the players he has. Pep, I'm not sure what Pep is doing. He seems to have hardened in his views over time. I think some of the criticism Pep has received is valid. Sure we can marvel at full backs playing midfield, but given that the club he coaches was an all-conquering juggernaut, should some of the matches in this seasons CL have been as close as they have recently? I would suggest not, and I would also suggest that Pep's tactics have left him vulnerable to teams willing to play with discipline and at times to losses that could have been avoided if he was more flexible.

That isn't to say that he is a bad coach, he's not, he's an excellent one. Just one that can be caught out at times because he tends towards over complicating matches.

* This often applies to Spain. Personally I find watching paint dry more entertaining than watching Spain play. I'm not sure how it came to be that journos rhapsodize the style, because in practice it generally has the same outcome as a Fat Sam match. Take a gander at the number of 1 nils and nil nils they have been a part of in big tournaments. It is very effective, but that isn't the point the tika taka philes start off with generally. You can see this at it applies to Pep as well. The conversation often starts with awe at all the various permutations of his team, but the simple fact is they drew on the road against a terrible Manchest United team despite outpassing them in the hundreds. They were down in the second half of the second match and things did not change until he changed the formation. Pep does deserve criticism for that.
   1073. J. Sosa Posted: April 25, 2014 at 09:34 AM (#4693861)
was going to edit to add:

In other words, tiki taka style often leads to playing matches with small margins against teams that are somewhat talented but less talented than the tiki taka club (as opposed to pinging the ball around against the Levantes of the world and running up big margins). Which means the team is vulnerable to goals against the run of play in matches that from a pure talent disparity standpoint shouldn't be that close.
   1074. Textbook Editor Posted: April 25, 2014 at 10:06 AM (#4693883)
I watch a lot of U9 Boys soccer because TE Jr. plays it. He's on a mid-flight B team (Flight 7 or 8, I think, out of 14 or 15 overall flights, 6-7 teams per flight). There's a LOT of Route 1 football in these games, mainly because, well, Route 1 football works when your guys are already 10 and fast and the other team is mostly still 8 or young 9 and slower.

I'm not really sure what the answer is unless you perhaps want to split up age groups into half-years to mitigate against some teams fielding "old" U9 players while others have "young" U9 players. As an example, I would bet my car that most Flight 1 teams are comprised of U9-eligible players that are now already 10, whereas on my son's team (Flight 7) half the team is still 8 and only just now turning 9 this spring. It's a huge difference at this age (and likely at other ages too).

Of course, another thing that could be tried is to play all 8 v 8 games without goalkeepers. As a practical matter, most teams would set up 1 guy in the box and tell him to be "last defender/sweeper" but without a goalie you'd see less Route 1 tactics via the goalie punting the ball into the other box on a shortened field, and you'd encourage teams to keep possession (because losing possession, especially in your own half, would lead to goal attempts on essentially an empty net).

Of course some teams would adjust and play 2-3 guys constantly in the box, but that would be fine, because then the rest of the field would be opened up more--teams even in Flight 7 routinely play a defensive line INSIDE the other team's half, because if you have fast kids, they have more than enough time to recover and chase someone down before a goal attempt on the other end.

I do know that many youth leagues play 5 v 5 at younger ages without keepers; I'm not saying you have to play without them up to U11 or U12, but in U8, U9, and maybe U10 I think it might make sense--if the goal here is to teach kids to press (to win the ball) and to keep possession via sharp, crisp passing and spacing on the pitch.
   1075. Mefisto Posted: April 25, 2014 at 10:47 AM (#4693919)
I would bet my car that most Flight 1 teams are comprised of U9-eligible players that are now already 10, whereas on my son's team (Flight 7) half the team is still 8 and only just now turning 9 this spring. It's a huge difference at this age (and likely at other ages too).


Yeah, this has been true for years. I noticed it when my daughters played: one was b. July 30 and was always the youngest player (she didn't succeed in soccer); the other was b. Sept 20 and was among the oldest (she was very successful).* Not only does this skew the teams at the younger levels, but it discourages younger players going forward even if they may have more talent in the long run.

*The age difference was NOT the only difference in their relative success, but I'm sure it was one of them. In any case, I see the age difference affect lots of other players as well.
   1076. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: April 25, 2014 at 10:50 AM (#4693923)
The very idea of youth soccer coaching seems like a new development here in the US, outside of certain hotbeds (New Jersey, California, immigrant communities).

In my day it seemed like every team played a 3-4-3 formation. Really it was 3-3-3, plus one other player (generally the fastest) who would either be an extra attacker or an extra defender. This was generally called the "sweeper". But some coaches called the extra defender a "stopper" and the extra attacker a "sweeper", and some coaches called the extra defender a "sweeper" and the extra attacker something else.

Sometimes the extra attacker would be a "striker", as distinguished from the normal 3 "forwards".

Left, center, right forward
Left, center, right midfielder (or often "halfback")
Sweeper
Left, center, right fullback


I think this system derives from people being more familiar with hockey.
   1077. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: April 25, 2014 at 11:00 AM (#4693931)
So I just realized that tickets for the Liverpool/Roma game at Fenway July 25th go on sale on May 2nd. I'm very interested in going to see that.
   1078. Sweet Posted: April 25, 2014 at 11:22 AM (#4693947)
Crispix, where did you grow up (if you don't mind saying)? Not that it's particularly remarkable, but you describe precisely my youth soccer team's formation (suburban Philadelphia; 1980s). FWIW, we called midfielders "halfbacks."

Your hockey point is an interesting one, but my sense is that the system was popular mostly because it's simple and helps to avoid the "beehive" effect by keeping players in well-defined areas of the field. For example, as a right fullback, I was never encouraged to make overlapping runs forward, because the channel in front of me was already occupied by two more offensively-minded players. Also because I couldn't be trusted with the ball.
   1079. zack Posted: April 25, 2014 at 11:34 AM (#4693963)
That's pretty much the exact formation I played in as kid (well, 11-13ish) as well, usually as centerback.
   1080. Textbook Editor Posted: April 25, 2014 at 11:36 AM (#4693968)
Not only does this skew the teams at the younger levels, but it discourages younger players going forward even if they may have more talent in the long run.


Yeah, this.

TE Jr. is young for U9 (early July birthday), and is not the fastest by a long shot (but neither is he a plodder). He's starting to get discouraged at being overrun by kids almost 1 year older and a head taller than him... What's frustrating to him is that when he gets even a small amount of time on the ball he can pick out a pass, cross into the box with each foot... His IQ is very good; he's just not able to find space to execute anything.

The reality is that his future likely lies as a defensive midfielder who helps build play from the back... but that position doesn't exist in U9 soccer (at least as its played in these parts). If a defender gets a free shot at a ball in his half, he lumps it forward or (if he's fast) he dribbles it himself 40 yards on a short field and takes a shot on goal. The idea of building from the back/through balls, etc. is just completely foreign to these kids.

And while there are coaching badges, etc. that are required to coach, most of these guys are somewhat ignorant of tactical approaches that could help... but of course getting 8 9-year-olds to follow tactics is like herding 10,000 sheep without assistance, so generally teams set up one of two ways: 3-3-1 or 3-2-2. Generally speaking, 3-2-2 always seems to work better than 3-3-1 simply because having only 1 guy up top can almost always be shut down if your defense is halfway competent. (Of course, sometimes teams will go 3-0-4 and just give up the midfield completely to lump it forward and run onto balls in numbers... but that's a totally different thing.)






   1081. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: April 25, 2014 at 11:41 AM (#4693976)
I was in Pennsylvania as well. Probably 5 or 6 years younger than you. The system was basically the same from U-8 to U-16. Of course by U-16 the better kids were on the high school team instead.

I also remember "halfback" used exclusively instead of "midfielder", but the farther away I get from youth soccer, the odder that seems.

There should be a documentary about the rise of youth soccer in the 70s and 80s with coaches who learned what soccer was from a library book… and how that's been transitioning into a system informed by knowledge that professional soccer exists. For example, we probably shouldn't have been playing 11-v-11 at age 6.
   1082. Mefisto Posted: April 25, 2014 at 11:49 AM (#4693982)
TE Jr. sounds like exactly the kind of player who will get overlooked. My younger daughter had a similar skill set, but because she was always an older player rather than a younger one, she had more relative success.

Part of his development will be patience and lots of encouragement from you. It takes a while, but there does come a point where skill overcomes the size and age differences. The trick is to keep the kid focused and enjoying the game until that happens.

At least you have single birth year age groupings. AYSO, where my daughter started, has always used 2 year groups. That's a terrible system.

I'm confused by your lineups. Here in CA we play 7/side, so the lineups would typically be 2-2-2 or 3-2-1. Do you have an extra player?
   1083. J. Sosa Posted: April 25, 2014 at 12:13 PM (#4694007)
I've really enjoyed the posts on various youth soccer teams; it is kind astounding how similar my own experiences are to what is being described.

re: Scott

I'm going to try to catch one of the LFC US tour matches. For a lot of people it isn't really their cup of tea, but personally I enjoy them.

re: Stopper sweeper

Yes, this was wide spread in the eighties. I had to laugh at you mentioning "halfback", at practice last night one of the dads was referring to his son wanting to play "halfback". The Dad grew up playing in the eighties.

re: Ages

I'm not sure what is to be done about this either. The age loading phenomena is real. For better or worse our academy does focus on skill development at the cost of artificially garnering wins based on age. But that has a cost as the kids tend to get their heads beat in. Most teams do play hoofball, my irritation stems from the fact that the one opposition team clearly wasn't playing hoofball. It was something else entirely and the coach plainly knew what he was doing and had studied people like Klopp. That does tend to be the exception though. I've seen two teams thus far that really stand out at the U 10 level this season, one did play a possession based tiki taka style and the other played Klopp ball. The rest, hoofball. The older groups are more sophisticated.

TE I wouldn't give up hope. If you stick with it, it does tend to get better. Skill gradually becomes more important. My oldest son has always been huge for his age and has a beneficial birth date. But as time goes by the more skilled kids have caught up with him. He's still a pretty vicious center back, but the flair players are becoming more and more prominent.

I've seen both sides of it, one of my sons has a "bad" birthdate and is small for his age, but is much more skilled than his older brothers were. It will show up more as time goes by if he can survive getting beat up at the present.

I also wouldn't get too upset about the passing and through ball stuff, my experiences at U 10 generally have been that U 10 kids can learn spacing and throughballs through rote training but the concept of space is not something they start to grasp in any real way until U 12 or even higher.
   1084. Mefisto Posted: April 25, 2014 at 12:20 PM (#4694015)
I also wouldn't get too upset about the passing and through ball stuff, my experiences at U 10 generally have been that U 10 kids can learn spacing and throughballs through rote training but the concept of space is not something they start to grasp in any real way until U 12 or even higher
.

Agreed. The very smartest kids (soccer smart, I mean) can pick it up earlier, but most of them won't get it till U12 or 13.
   1085. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: April 25, 2014 at 12:22 PM (#4694020)
TE Jr. is young for U9 (early July birthday), and is not the fastest by a long shot (but neither is he a plodder). He's starting to get discouraged at being overrun by kids almost 1 year older and a head taller than him... What's frustrating to him is that when he gets even a small amount of time on the ball he can pick out a pass, cross into the box with each foot... His IQ is very good; he's just not able to find space to execute anything.

The reality is that his future likely lies as a defensive midfielder who helps build play from the back... but that position doesn't exist in U9 soccer (at least as its played in these parts).

I was the same way (June birthday, I'm a small [read: 5'7" even now] player with a high IQ). For me, because I loved the sport so much, the salvation was captaincy: I was the head of a lot of my youth teams, ran practices, etc. (also, I lived in Australia for a while, and there was a lot more passing play there, as far as I remember), and once you reach late Middle School/HS, you can find your niche (for me, I was moved inside, then to the flanks in Middle School, and then pushed back to fullback in HS and college). It's just a question of getting interested and involved, I think.

Don't post in this thread as much, but am currently catching up on last week's NWSL action. Watched all the games from the first weekend, want to get last weekend down before the next round of games.
   1086. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: April 25, 2014 at 12:26 PM (#4694026)
   1087. Mefisto Posted: April 25, 2014 at 12:43 PM (#4694055)
Very sad to hear about Tito.
   1088. Swedish Chef Posted: April 25, 2014 at 12:44 PM (#4694059)
My team (Halmstad BK), are celebrating 100 years this year, and as part of that they released a bunch of statistics, including a breakdown of the birth of their players by month, quarter and half-year. Of their 315 top-flight players 182 was born in the first half of the year, and the effect has been especially pronounced after 1960. I guess the problem in exploiting this missing talent is that the players are probably discouraged very early.
   1089. Swedish Chef Posted: April 25, 2014 at 12:46 PM (#4694060)
Here are the numbers (Swedish, but it's just a couple of tables)
   1090. Mefisto Posted: April 25, 2014 at 01:07 PM (#4694099)
I guess the problem in exploiting this missing talent is that the players are probably discouraged very early.


I'd say not so much "discouraged" as "not encouraged". For the older players it's a virtuous cycle: they succeed early, so they get praised a lot and get offered more training, which naturally improves their play. For younger players (other than the truly exceptional ones), it's a case of fighting against the stream.
   1091. I am going to be Frank Posted: April 25, 2014 at 01:30 PM (#4694150)
Parents in (American) football-mad states have been holding their kids back for some time now. Its caught on for other sports. I think if you want your child to go down that route then its worth considering. If a kid is really too good (or big) for his age group you can always move him up a level.
   1092. Fernigal McGunnigle has become a merry hat Posted: April 25, 2014 at 01:31 PM (#4694151)
It's worth noting that the age issue extends into all sorts of other areas. My mom spent 20 years working in a kindergarten program for kids that were behind their cohort in a few developmental measures. 80% of the time a kid's "developmental problems" were there just that his or her birthday came close to the age cutoff, and when you're 5 or 6 that means you might be ~15% younger than your supposed peers. (For comparison, that's the difference between a 21-year-old and someone a couple of months short of her 18th birthday.) The effect can linger for a lot of years after this, and is a real problem in elementary and even middle school education.

In soccer terms, young-for-their-age players might have a whole suite of difficulties to deal with, a lot of which won't be visible to a coach.
   1093. Adward Posted: April 25, 2014 at 01:34 PM (#4694163)
Thank you for your reply J. Sosa. Anglophone commentary in continental matches makes me wonder if their pre game notes weren't influenced by a recently loaded game of Football Manager. If nothing else the lexicon used is immediately familiar.

Benfica's early attacks looked precise, moving quickly to wherever Juventus afforded them space. (If anyone has a better understanding/recollection of the game, please correct me. I could only begin to grasp it when it was in front of me.) It wasn't always a pass, a midfielder often broke free with the ball at his feet. Very nice to watch, though Pirlo being caught out and unable to even shadow the runner made me feel sad.

Now I have the second leg of Barcelona/Atletico in my head. Courtois' kicks to Garcia(?) were, I assume, good old hoofball, but the choices made at different stages were interesting. While playing their counters on the ground, Atletico finished their moves with a high ball into the box. If one defends with 11(?) behind the ball a long clearance seems silly, but once you have a tall man in the box you'd be negligent not to target Barcelona's shorter defenders.


What size of pitch did you(and your kids) play on? As late as 13yo we played ~7v7 side to side on a ~1/4 section of a regular pitch. Rather narrow with 3 other games going at the same time. This did allow for one's younger brother to successfully close down a future international. ~3yr age range, but most of the bigger kids played basketball instead.
   1094. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: April 25, 2014 at 09:56 PM (#4694566)
Tim Howard says he's retiring at the end of his current deal in 2018. Looks like it's timed so that if he's still capable of starting for the US he could play in one last World Cup if he so desired.
   1095. Textbook Editor Posted: April 25, 2014 at 11:42 PM (#4694622)
Thank you for all the helpful advice about TE Jr.'s youth soccer pursuits. They do play 8v8 here in NJ for U8-U10 and at least for his particular league they will be expanding 8v8 to include U11 as well, which seems odd to me, since most clubs stop their teams at U13 owing to players leaking out to middle school and HS teams, and this give those players only 2 years of 11v11 on normal-sized fields which feels like a mistake. (I'm friendly with a U11 coach this year who is doing 11v11 and says it's working fine and didn't understand why they were switching back... Although it is easier for some towns to field 2 8v8 roster teams in an age group than 2 11v11 roster teams, so that might have something to do with it.)

The 8v8 pitch can be between 70-80 yards long and 40-55 yards wide, and boy you get some variance across different towns; you'd be amazed how much quicker kids will get wiped out on a larger field, especially in U8/U9. I think our town's fields tend to be smaller because of field space available, but it also wouldn't surprise me to find out they lay them out smaller to help our teams pursue a hoof-it style of play.

   1096. JoeHova Posted: April 26, 2014 at 12:26 AM (#4694626)
Parents in (American) football-mad states have been holding their kids back for some time now. Its caught on for other sports.


It's not just sports. People have started (maybe around 10-20 years ago) holding their kids back a year for academic reasons as well. It's called redshirting, as one might expect, and a lot of rich people have been doing it. It's bizarre to me but I guess teachers (like coaches) generally don't care too much about a kid's age, they just care about what the kid can do. They praise the most competent kids even if the only reason the kid is more able is because s/he's a year older than everybody else.
   1097. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: April 26, 2014 at 08:48 AM (#4694663)
Just want to add that as a child of the 80s "halfback" was the term we always used. "Fullback" was also a catch all term for the back line, I had never heard "center half" until relatively recently.

Depressingly it looks like Everton's CL dream is over. They've really laid an egg since beating Arsenal.

As someone who coaches little league I can tell you the age issue is there too. Those 6-7 months are important for development at a young age.
   1098. I am going to be Frank Posted: April 26, 2014 at 09:44 AM (#4694675)
Yea I know more parents are holding back their kids for non-athletic reasons, which is a bit crazy. I was a December baby (so old for my grade) and got moved up (and became young for my grade) in kindergarten. Academically I ended up fine. I was never going to be an athlete but I'd imagine I'd be a bit better at sports if stayed in the grade I was supposed to. I wonder now in this day and age that moving up would even be an option now.
   1099. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: April 26, 2014 at 10:13 AM (#4694683)
Well, I guess Arsenal is going to get their fourth-place trophy again.
   1100. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: April 26, 2014 at 12:03 PM (#4694712)
Man what a gut punch for Fulham. I really thought they had the win they needed there.

Nice win for Blackpool in the championship too. Things are getting their usual level of goofy at the end of the season there.
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