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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 Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: March 02, 2014 at 11:12 AM | 1404 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: soccer

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   701. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: April 10, 2014 at 12:08 AM (#4683574)
And Flop, for the current quandary set before us ...
   702. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: April 10, 2014 at 12:08 AM (#4683575)
[double post]
   703. ursus arctos Posted: April 10, 2014 at 12:31 AM (#4683579)
If it was me I would pay the fee for the semis. It would be hard to look the fans in the face if you didn't, and you should be able to cover it with sponsorships, gate receipts and prize money.
   704. Sean Forman Posted: April 10, 2014 at 08:54 AM (#4683658)
I assume that Courtois is a pro and would play hard regardless, but he's in a tough spot either way. His motivations would be a bit screwy I imagine.
   705. jmurph Posted: April 10, 2014 at 09:02 AM (#4683661)
I don't think loan players should ever be allowed to face their parent club, no matter how significant the game. In many cases the parent club is paying at least a portion of their wages, and even if they're not they're still financially invested in the player.
   706. I am going to be Frank Posted: April 10, 2014 at 09:42 AM (#4683678)
Courtois won't play against Chelsea(at least in the semis). Apparently the fee is 3M per match. I was ambivalent about loanees playing against their parent clubs, but now I agree with jmurph. There is bound to be some concern even if I agree with Sean that most players are pros and would play hard regardless of who they really "belong" too. The whole pre-contract signing thing causes a lto of problems - like Gotze last year with Bayern-Dortmnund (even if Gotze was "injured").
   707. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: April 10, 2014 at 10:14 AM (#4683702)

Finishing up watching the second half. Wynalda was harping Evra on the second goal for playing Robben to go to his left


Little late but I don't think Wynalda was criticizing Evra. It seemed more a response to the idea that you overplay Robben to go left because he's helpless with his right.

Vidic was the guy who I think deserves serious criticism. His positioning on the go ahead goal was awful.
   708. The Voice of America Posted: April 10, 2014 at 10:38 AM (#4683721)
I don't believe there is any player at that level who would not play to win, even against their parent club. If anything I would imagine them playing even harder. The only problem I see is the player having extra pressure not to screw up.

Courtois himself was part of Atleti's destruction of Chelsea during the European Super Cup two years ago. I think UEFA should ban this clauses on any loan contracts. It is completely unfair to the competitions.
   709. JuanGone..except1game Posted: April 10, 2014 at 11:36 AM (#4683782)
Courtois himself was part of Atleti's destruction of Chelsea during the European Super Cup two years ago. I think UEFA should ban this clauses on any loan contracts. It is completely unfair to the competitions.

Thanks for reminding me about that /sarcasm. That match was like watching Seals being culled and unfortunatley lead to me having to root for a team with Rafa as a manager.

If it was me I would pay the fee for the semis. It would be hard to look the fans in the face if you didn't, and you should be able to cover it with sponsorships, gate receipts and prize money.

Atleti is in an estimated 150mm Euro debt. They need every penny that they can get.

Has anyone talked about the Valencia plot. That's straight out of a bad telenovela.
   710. ursus arctos Posted: April 10, 2014 at 11:33 PM (#4684240)
Puportedly the clause was agreed after the Super Cup match. It wasn't in the original loan.

I've seen higher figures for Atleti's debt.

I still think you pay the fee, and get it from the sources mentioned. Most of the debt is to the State, who aren't going to be paid back anytime soon.
Jmuroh's concern is a real one, but I tend to think that Courtois would be even more motivated against Chelsea than any of the other clubs. That's how he approached the Super Cup, in any event.

All of this gives UEFA one of their strongest reasons ever to heat up the balls and fix the draw.

The Valencia story is bizarre, even by Spanish standards.
   711. JoeHova Posted: April 11, 2014 at 05:07 AM (#4684265)
How good is Atletico's backup keeper (Aranzubia)? Is he at least decent? If not, hopefully the teams avoid each other in the semis because it would obviously be a shame for a key player to have to miss the games despite not being injured or suspended.

Atletico has 60,000 socios, couldn't they all kick in €100 if the teams are drawn together? Or the team could do a kickstarter where backers got t-shirts that said, "Thibaut Courtois played in the Champions League semifinal and all I got was this lousy t-shirt."
   712. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: April 11, 2014 at 07:09 AM (#4684276)
Atletico vs Chelsea! It couldn't be any other way.
   713. ursus arctos Posted: April 11, 2014 at 07:28 AM (#4684281)
Aranzubia isn't terrible (he got one cap for Spain ten years ago and started for Deportivo and Bilbao), but he has barely played for Atleti.

His one league game was ann embarrassing 2-0 loss to Almeria, in which he was sent off.
   714. Flynn Posted: April 11, 2014 at 07:46 AM (#4684285)
I'm glad this has happened - anything to embarrass UEFA. The Cinderella team of the competition (as it were) having one of their best players sit the semifinal because his registration is owned by Chelsea, even though it seems to be something of a question whether he'll ever play for them.
   715. Swedish Chef Posted: April 11, 2014 at 07:46 AM (#4684286)
The question probably is moot, UEFA has said that the clause would be illegal interference in Atletico's team selection.
   716. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: April 11, 2014 at 08:30 AM (#4684297)
Great, now I have to root for freakin Real. Why do the gods hate me?
   717. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: April 11, 2014 at 08:33 AM (#4684298)
Well in news that is sure to make Shooty hate me even more, apparently Ginter From Freiburg to Dortmund is a done deal, for €8m.
   718. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: April 11, 2014 at 08:47 AM (#4684300)
Well in news that is sure to make Shooty hate me even more, apparently Ginter From Freiburg to Dortmund is a done deal, for €8m.

Naw, he was always going to leave. Better Dortmund that Bayern or Arsenal.

The question probably is moot, UEFA has said that the clause would be illegal interference in Atletico's team selection.

I wonder if Chelsea will put any pressure on Atletico. I'm sure Atleti would love to have Courtois next year, too, but there's no agreement in place for that yet.
   719. nick swisher hygiene Posted: April 11, 2014 at 09:47 AM (#4684341)
so we are really in uncharted waters with this Courtois thing, eh? any links for 715?

711 has to be right. give the supporters a certificate.
not to mention the T-shirt. slogans? "We are the 99%....We are Atlético!"

or perhaps a play on "Los Colchoneros" [the "Mattress Makers", Wiki tells me--can that possibly be legit??]
"The money under my mattress is gone--but banners fly forever!"

   720. Mefisto Posted: April 11, 2014 at 09:55 AM (#4684350)
Great, now I have to root for freakin Real. Why do the gods hate me?


Probably because you're going to root for Real.
   721. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: April 11, 2014 at 09:58 AM (#4684352)
From the Grauniad:

Unlike in the Premier League, where loan players cannot face their parent clubs, there are no such restrictions in the Champions League. Courtois, who is in his third season on loan at Atlético, played well for the La Liga leaders against Chelsea last season in the Spanish club's European Super Cup victory and, if that was slightly embarrassing for Chelsea, it may have motivated them to insert the clause into Courtois's latest deal.

However, Uefa has now stepped in and warned Chelsea they will face disciplinary proceedings should they attempt to make Atlético pay the sum, despite the contractual position.

It remains to be seen whether Atlético would select Courtois and risk damaging relations with Chelsea, given they want to take the 21-year-old back on loan next season. Chelsea are also known to be prioritising the signing of Atlético's striker Diego Costa.

In a statement, Uefa explained: "Both the Champions League and the disciplinary regulations contain clear provisions which strictly forbid any club to exert, or attempt to exert, any influence whatsoever over the players that another club may (or may not) field in a match."

It added: "It follows that any provision in a private contract between clubs which might function in such a way as to influence who a club fields in a match is null, void and unenforceable so far as Uefa is concerned.

"Furthermore, any attempt to enforce such a provision would be a clear violation of both the Uefa Champions League and the Uefa disciplinary regulations and would therefore be sanctioned accordingly."
   722. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: April 11, 2014 at 10:00 AM (#4684355)
From that UEFA quote it sounds to me like Courtois better play. There is no justifiable reason why he shouldn't so if he sits it will only be because Chelsea pressured Atleti. Letting Courtois play is the sporting decision, too, though this is Chelsea and Mourinho we're talking about.
   723. Swedish Chef Posted: April 11, 2014 at 10:01 AM (#4684358)
any links for 715?


I'm afraid that my Swedish links wouldn't do you much good. But it should be all over the net by now.

Thankfully gallant Sir Shooty gallops in to help!
   724. CWS Keith plans to boo your show at the Apollo Posted: April 11, 2014 at 10:05 AM (#4684362)
Forgive my ignorance, but if Chelsea held firm and insisted on a fee, who would be the arbiter in a dispute between UEFA and Chelsea?
   725. Swedish Chef Posted: April 11, 2014 at 10:08 AM (#4684365)
CAS
   726. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: April 11, 2014 at 10:31 AM (#4684393)
From what I'm reading, it's possible that CAS upholds the contract clause, but if Chelsea prevents Courtois from playing, UEFA would sanction Chelsea accordingly. Surely it wouldn't be worth it for Chelsea if preventing Courtois from playing resulted in, say, them being banned from next year's competition.
   727. jmurph Posted: April 11, 2014 at 10:34 AM (#4684396)
Letting Courtois play is the sporting decision, too, though this is Chelsea and Mourinho we're talking about.


As stated above, I totally disagree, and I'm no fan of Chelsea. He is their employee, they "bought" him, own any future financial stake in him while he remains under contract, and I would be surprised if they aren't paying at least part of his wages*. There are just piles of conflicts of interest in allowing him to suit up against Chelsea.

*If it turns out they're not paying any of his wages I'd be less vehement about this, but I still think it's pretty black and white.
   728. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: April 11, 2014 at 12:25 PM (#4684494)
Let's get catty!

The real question from this article isn't "What the hell is Ronaldo wearing?" but "How the fuck did they get Ken Loach to agree to participate?"
   729. Textbook Editor Posted: April 11, 2014 at 01:18 PM (#4684525)
I suppose one possible outcome is that Courtois develops a phantom injury over the course of the two legs that miraculously heals in time for the final should they get there.

But I hope he plays. If you tease out the possible scenarios, would UEFA really ban Chelsea from the 2014-2015 CL if they sued (and won) in CAS in the next week or so? If they did, would 5th place in the EPL get their CL spot? How would that work?
   730. jmurph Posted: April 11, 2014 at 04:01 PM (#4684642)
Alright, since I don't tend to check the thread much on the weekends, I'll get my Liverpool-City prediction on the record: 2-1 Liverpool. This match calls for Mancini's pragmatism/negativity! But alas, I'm envisioning some Kompany/Demichelis travesties.
   731. I am going to be Frank Posted: April 11, 2014 at 04:40 PM (#4684684)
Bursasport's new stadium is - unique.

I want to say City 3-1. Demichelis is a disaster but I think City can carve up Liverpool's defense better than anyone else in the Premier League, especially if Aguerro is back.
   732. Swedish Chef Posted: April 11, 2014 at 05:04 PM (#4684710)
If you tease out the possible scenarios, would UEFA really ban Chelsea from the 2014-2015 CL if they sued (and won) in CAS in the next week or so? If they did, would 5th place in the EPL get their CL spot? How would that work?

I don't think Chelsea are going to defy UEFA, they have just been warned, not punished. They would have to flout that and be punished, only then could they appeal. That sounds... risky, the downside is a matter of just how vengeful UEFA can get.

   733. JuanGone..except1game Posted: April 11, 2014 at 05:29 PM (#4684746)
Letting Courtois play is the sporting decision, too, though this is Chelsea and Mourinho we're talking about.

Seriously, Shooty. The sporting decision of Spurs would have been to sell Modric to Chelsea when he wanted to take our paycheck, but obviously that did happen that way.

C'mon Wigan!!
   734. Howling John Shade Posted: April 11, 2014 at 06:00 PM (#4684769)
Bursasport's new stadium is - unique.
WTF. Isn't everything inside going to be tinted green?
   735. Howling John Shade Posted: April 11, 2014 at 06:10 PM (#4684775)
   736. JoeHova Posted: April 11, 2014 at 08:26 PM (#4684843)
Bursasport's new stadium is - unique.


That is awesome, if a bit outlandish. I was wondering if it was supposed to look like an alligator or if that was a coincidence but now I see that the team's nickname is the Green Crocodiles. So, it was on purpose. It's even named Crocodile Arena.
   737. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: April 11, 2014 at 10:25 PM (#4684871)
I like the Bursapor stadium look. I can't stand the cookie cutter looks of so many stadia.

I'm saying Liverpool, 3-2 score. They've been in impeccable form, and they've been excellent at Anfield all season.
   738. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: April 12, 2014 at 10:15 AM (#4684996)
Oh Spurs, you are just so ... Spurs.
   739. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: April 12, 2014 at 10:27 AM (#4685001)
Chiriches just might be the worst center back in the long and storied history of English football.
   740. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: April 12, 2014 at 10:30 AM (#4685002)
Oh my ... That's even MORE Spurs!

Ade with the sad trombone penalty ...
   741. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: April 12, 2014 at 10:39 AM (#4685005)
OK, now it's confirmed.
   742. I am going to be Frank Posted: April 12, 2014 at 10:52 AM (#4685007)
Worse than Senderos, Squillacci or Titus Bramble?
   743. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: April 12, 2014 at 10:56 AM (#4685010)
There are kids in my son's U9 league with better pace than he showed on the Sessignon goal.
   744. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: April 12, 2014 at 11:01 AM (#4685012)
Pah, please, you think that was lack of pace from a Spud's CB? Chirices is Usain Bolt compared to Michael Dawson ...
   745. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: April 12, 2014 at 11:19 AM (#4685016)
I fancy Spurs here if they can get an early goal.
   746. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: April 12, 2014 at 12:10 PM (#4685030)
3-3.

What a perfect encapsulation of Sherwood-era Spurs, for good and bad.
   747. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: April 12, 2014 at 12:46 PM (#4685037)
In case any of you guys missed it, Tony Pulis and particularly Yannick Bolasie put on a veritable tactical clinic, particularly with regards to positioning, against Paul Lambert's Villa today. Lambert had Villa, who are a bit short-handed without Benteke and a lot of their backups in the defence and midfield, strangely lining up in a three-back, with the curious decision to drop Andreas Weimann (who is very out of form, yes, but is also probably Villa's best creator with Benteke out). I understand the logic of the three-back, given that Pulis' Crystal Palace often build themselves around long balls towards Cameron Jerome and, theoretically, when Dikgacoi went out with an injury, Marouane Chamakh too, but it seemed an odd choice for a manager who has demonstrated before that he understands the importance of width. But anyway, the soft spot in any three-back is the area behind the wingbacks when they venture forward (the space outside of the central defenders) - a good team who plays a three-back, like Juve, will have the whole side rotate to counter movement into an area, and also rely on speed from the base of midfield to cover. Crystal Palace realised this and about halfway through the first half, began to actually virtually only with long balls towards Bolasie on the left. Helpfully, Bolasie is both in excellent form over the last couple of weeks and is at his best when playing high up on the left, so this worked; Bolasie was dragged down in a controversial non-call penalty, Jerome had a couple of misses early in the second, in general there was a ton of space. This was aided by the fact that both Karim Al-Ahmadi and Fabian Delph were miserable at tracking back today (the former is just generally miserable at that), so Ashley Westwood, who actually had a fairly good game, was constant overrun by runs from Chamakh, playing deep, Joe Ledley, Jerome when he dropped back, Mile Jedinak, and others. Additionally, Nathan Baker, in the central role, is horrible positionally (his non-development has been a major problem for Villa this season), so both Ron Vlaar and Ciaran Clark had to periodically drop alongside him to cover, which further exacerbated the problem behind the wingbacks. Lambert's formation worked in a general sense on the other flank, where Ryan Bertrand was basically Villa's only outlet of quality going forward, but for all their possession in the first half, Villa had maybe one or two sights at goal.

Now if that's all that happened, this would have been a smart play by Pulis and Palace, and it would have probably ended 0-0 thanks to Villa's excellent organisation and a lot of luck. But what impressed me the most was Bolasie's counter to Villa's counter to this change. Given that Bolasie was getting so much space on that left, Villa dropped right back Matthew Lowton much deeper to cover him. This meant that Villa had no width on the right going forward (which was intensely noticeable in nearly every Villa counterattack), but Bolasie was largely neutralised for a period. However, Bolasie's response (I'm not sure if this was a natural response or a command from the bench) was fantastic. He's got a very strong right foot, so what Bolasie did is he began to float into the middle of the pitch, particularly trailing attacks. So when the ball was played in, he would move behind the play, directly outside of the box. Lowton barely tracked him to the middle, and since Westwood was getting overrun anyway, without support from the midfielders ahead of him, Bolasie basically had free space to shoot whenever he got the ball. There were a couple of clear instances of this happening (as well as a couple of clear instances where he didn't get the ball) - once it was blocked, and once it resulted in the only goal of the game. Bolasie deserved to score, because he had simply been the best player on the pitch.

It is notable that Villa only grew into the game offensively with about twelve minutes remaining, when they brought on Weimann and, more importantly, Marc Albrighton. Albrighton immediately gave them width on the right: him and Lowton combined for four or five crosses in the last ten minutes or so. Grant Holt had been basically neutralised by the Palace backline (he didn't win anything in the air until about ten minutes until the end of the match) and considering that Gabby Agbonlahor was playing off of him (and had a very attentive and not-very-attacking-today Adrian Mariappa essentially man-marking him), this meant that Villa's entire strike force had done nothing for most of the match. Opening the pitch up allowed Holt to suddenly emerge as an aerial force, the way he had been under Lambert at Norwich City. Villa's best chance of the night was an Albrighton cross, which Holt flicked down to Weimann, and was fantastically saved by Julian Speroni.

I've complimented Lambert's tactical nous in this space on a number of occasions, but here I think he was just out-managed. Pulis has been fantastic at Palace but, honestly, I spent much of the second half screaming at Lambert to make a change and introduce some width, and Villa only became a real threat once he did (and it was too late). Story of the game is Yannick Bolasie, though, and wonderful positioning on his part.
   748. Textbook Editor Posted: April 12, 2014 at 01:31 PM (#4685051)
Heh, Arsenal.
   749. frannyzoo Posted: April 12, 2014 at 01:37 PM (#4685053)
Thanks to Comcast not carrying Fox Sports 2, I'm watching the French call of Wigan/Arsenal. Far superior to Gus Johnson. Twenty minutes to de facto retirement/sabbatical for Wenger.
   750. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: April 12, 2014 at 01:41 PM (#4685055)
Is Wigan really going to do this again? Not to jinx them, but they have a chance to play at Wembley 4 times this year. I think that would have to be some kind of record.
   751. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: April 12, 2014 at 01:42 PM (#4685056)
Thanks to Comcast not carrying Fox Sports 2, I'm watching the French call of Wigan/Arsenal. Far superior to Gus Johnson. Twenty minutes to de facto retirement/sabbatical for Wenger.

I'm watching it in Spanish. This would have been a good game for Fox to put on their flagship station.
   752. I am going to be Frank Posted: April 12, 2014 at 01:48 PM (#4685060)
Mertesacker ties it up - my guess is that Arsenal blows it in extra time.
   753. frannyzoo Posted: April 12, 2014 at 01:49 PM (#4685061)
Mertesacker scores on the same move he used to create the penalty.
   754. Textbook Editor Posted: April 12, 2014 at 01:50 PM (#4685062)
Oh, Wigan.
   755. frannyzoo Posted: April 12, 2014 at 01:52 PM (#4685064)
Neuer injured (calf)...hmmm... 0-3 good guys in Munich.
   756. I am going to be Frank Posted: April 12, 2014 at 02:11 PM (#4685070)
BTW I love how the Spanish announcers are really flamboyant when saying the Latin names and then sounds like someone form Peoria when they say "Gary Caldwell".
   757. frannyzoo Posted: April 12, 2014 at 02:17 PM (#4685074)
Barca backline of Montoya-Busquets-Mascherano-Adriano v. Granada, not to mention Pinto in goal. And now it's 1-0 Udinese B. That last game v. Atletico might not mean anything. The Copa Final could be ugly. It should be ugly, really.
   758. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: April 12, 2014 at 02:43 PM (#4685082)
Why the #### would they bring Piers Morgan into the studio? Why can't we just let him disappear?
   759. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: April 12, 2014 at 04:15 PM (#4685112)
Why the #### would they bring Piers Morgan into the studio? Why can't we just let him disappear?


So the authorities know where he is when they finally get around to arresting his felonious ass?
   760. CWS Keith plans to boo your show at the Apollo Posted: April 12, 2014 at 04:45 PM (#4685116)
Why the #### would they bring Piers Morgan into the studio?

On Wednesday they had some actor dressed in part-hipster, part-trashy costume in studio at half-time to discuss Barca-Athletico. Poor Brian McBride was dressed in a suit and tie and was standing at this guy's side trying to seriously analyze the game. Fox's coverage is just clown-shoes.
   761. JoeHova Posted: April 12, 2014 at 05:38 PM (#4685128)
On Wednesday they had some actor dressed in part-hipster, part-trashy costume in studio at half-time to discuss Barca-Athletico. Poor Brian McBride was dressed in a suit and tie and was standing at this guy's side trying to seriously analyze the game. Fox's coverage is just clown-shoes.


Yes, that was horrible. I was wondering what the point of that segment was and if people were supposed to have heard of whoever that guy was.
   762. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: April 12, 2014 at 06:52 PM (#4685151)
Was it one of the "Sklar Brothers"? The mysterious figures that everyone in the sports media world finds hilarious, but viewers find perplexing?
   763. Textbook Editor Posted: April 12, 2014 at 08:49 PM (#4685184)
So it's Atleti's to lose now, right?
   764. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: April 12, 2014 at 09:56 PM (#4685201)
Good for Arsenal ... and Arsene today. I think winning the FA Cup will be exactly the ego salve that he needs to ease his way into retirement after this season.

Watching Fulham v Norwich right now, only in the 1st half, but if Norwich go down (and now I think they will, what a remaining run out they have) they'll look at this game and wonder what a difference a couple of inches could have made.
   765. Sweet Posted: April 12, 2014 at 10:40 PM (#4685208)
On Wednesday they had some actor dressed in part-hipster, part-trashy costume in studio at half-time to discuss Barca-Athletico.

It was Judah Friedlander, from 30 Rock. I was flipping through the channels, saw him standing with Brian McBride, had a minor flash of cognitive dissonance, and kept flipping.
   766. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: April 13, 2014 at 12:00 AM (#4685244)
Good for Arsenal ... and Arsene today. I think winning the FA Cup will be exactly the ego salve that he needs to ease his way into retirement after this season.


Will that be good for Arsenal? I think they're still likely to finish in 4th this season over Everton, but while he's been beat about the head and neck against the best teams in London I don't see Arsenal doing any better without him. I think they could very easily spend several years in the wilderness, finishing outside of the CL spots repeatedly, especially if Liverpool's resurgence is for real.

eta: Also, alarm set for tomorrow morning. I appreciate the minutes taken for the Hillsborough disaster, especially given that Thatcherite ######## still blame the people who were killed for the disaster.
   767. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: April 13, 2014 at 12:18 AM (#4685261)
Well, I meant "good for Arsenal" in the immediate sense of ... they're REALLY likely to win the FA Cup at this point. I think Wenger stepping aside is a mixed bag, but I can't help thinking that a new manager at the Emirates would better leverage the financial potential that they have. It's nice that Wenger wants to play these things by "fair play", but the reality is that it seems that he's left talent on the board out of a misguided sense of "fair play" (or the "pragmatic" sense of true value) that just doesn't exist anymore. Case in point, this last transfer window ...
   768. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: April 13, 2014 at 08:29 AM (#4685296)
Ah, gotcha. That's a good point.

I hope everyone is excited as I am. Come on you Reds!

eta: Kun Aguero out, Kompany in.
   769. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: April 13, 2014 at 08:44 AM (#4685297)
How the #### is that a yellow card for Suarez. ####### refs ####### up in yet another Liverpool game.
   770. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: April 13, 2014 at 08:44 AM (#4685298)
HOLY #### STERLING! WHAT A GOAL! WHAT BRILLIANCE!
   771. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: April 13, 2014 at 08:54 AM (#4685300)
Sterling is looking ####### amazing right now, he just put the ball perfectly before Sturridge and Sturridge missed a wide open net.
   772. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: April 13, 2014 at 08:54 AM (#4685301)
Sterling is looking ####### amazing right now, he just put the ball perfectly before Sturridge and Sturridge missed a wide open net.
   773. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: April 13, 2014 at 08:57 AM (#4685302)
Toure's come up gimpy, he looks like he might not be able to continue.
   774. I am going to be Frank Posted: April 13, 2014 at 09:01 AM (#4685303)
Demichellis is terrible but Clichy has been worse today. Liverpool look like a much better team.
   775. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: April 13, 2014 at 09:02 AM (#4685304)
Just started the match, that goal from Sterling was, well ... sterling.
   776. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: April 13, 2014 at 09:04 AM (#4685305)
Just started the match, that goal from Sterling was, well ... sterling.
   777. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: April 13, 2014 at 09:05 AM (#4685306)
Liverpool's got so much speed on the counter, that was textbook. And once again Sterling looks so confident.

What a save by Hart! Man that could so easily be 2-0.

AND CITY GOT SKRTLED!
   778. I am going to be Frank Posted: April 13, 2014 at 09:06 AM (#4685307)
Wow this is amazing. For all the money City have spent - Javi Garcia and Demichellils on the field in the biggest match of the season. Sure Yaya got hurt but every team has injuries.
   779. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: April 13, 2014 at 09:08 AM (#4685308)
Liverpool is making this look like it could end up 4-0.
   780. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: April 13, 2014 at 09:15 AM (#4685310)
Dzeko looks quite good for City.
   781. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: April 13, 2014 at 09:23 AM (#4685312)
Scary moment there for Liverpool on that corner.
   782. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: April 13, 2014 at 09:24 AM (#4685313)
And Mingolet keeps City off the board, woah. City looking much better at the end of the half.
   783. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: April 13, 2014 at 09:55 AM (#4685316)
And City still looking much better in the second half. Down to 2-1 and City could easily have equalized already.
   784. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: April 13, 2014 at 09:55 AM (#4685317)
City have looked the better team since the closing minutes of the second half. Yikes.
   785. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: April 13, 2014 at 09:56 AM (#4685318)
City with the bit between their teeth right now.

30 minutes of truth coming up.
   786. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: April 13, 2014 at 09:57 AM (#4685320)
Zabaleta is a little lucky there, that could have easily been called a penalty.
   787. jmurph Posted: April 13, 2014 at 09:57 AM (#4685321)
Wow this is amazing. For all the money City have spent - Javi Garcia and Demichellils on the field in the biggest match of the season. Sure Yaya got hurt but every team has injuries.


Both have been dramatically better than Kompany. And if City's 200 or so million spent on strikers produced anyone better than the absolutely terrible Edin Dzeko, this game would have been over 10 minutes ago.
   788. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: April 13, 2014 at 09:57 AM (#4685322)
And now it's even.

Wow.
   789. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: April 13, 2014 at 09:57 AM (#4685323)
And a bizarre goal ties it up!
   790. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: April 13, 2014 at 09:58 AM (#4685324)
####, I have to hope now that my prediction of 3-2 Liverpool proves true.
   791. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: April 13, 2014 at 09:59 AM (#4685325)
Uh oh, Sturridge off.
   792. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: April 13, 2014 at 10:02 AM (#4685326)
My god, is David Silva a good player. I think Suarez should already have a couple of yellows for diving. He seems determined to get sent off.
   793. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: April 13, 2014 at 10:02 AM (#4685327)
It's a pity that the Anfield Cannibal already has a Yellow, because he's certainly deserved one for all his histrionic flopping in this half.

City really surging and now Aguero coming on.

[edit] Ha! Carbonated beverage to Shooty!
   794. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: April 13, 2014 at 10:03 AM (#4685328)
####, and now Aguero is on.
   795. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: April 13, 2014 at 10:07 AM (#4685329)
England might not be hopeless in Brazil if this game is any indicator. Sterling, Henderson and Milner have all been good. England has a nice crop of young players to sort through.
   796. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: April 13, 2014 at 10:09 AM (#4685330)
Lovely game for the neutral, such pretty play.

Oooh, penalty shout for City.
   797. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: April 13, 2014 at 10:10 AM (#4685331)
Oof, that really should have been City's third goal.
   798. I am going to be Frank Posted: April 13, 2014 at 10:10 AM (#4685332)
Wow that was close.
   799. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: April 13, 2014 at 10:11 AM (#4685333)
Wow. Should have been 3 for City.
   800. I am going to be Frank Posted: April 13, 2014 at 10:13 AM (#4685334)
Omg that was awful.
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