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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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   901. Rob_Wood Posted: April 19, 2014 at 01:38 AM (#4689019)
bump
   902. Swedish Chef Posted: April 19, 2014 at 01:24 PM (#4689091)
Wickham is Liverpool's MVP this week.
   903. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: April 19, 2014 at 02:15 PM (#4689129)
This is huge at both ends of the table.
   904. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: April 19, 2014 at 02:25 PM (#4689134)
Wow. Who'da thunk Mourinho's first loss at the Bridge would be to the team bottom of the league. Jozy did something!
   905. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: April 19, 2014 at 02:31 PM (#4689139)
Pretty good day for Shooty FC. Tottenham won a Europa League challenge game, Freiburg beat Monchengladbach and are now 8 points clear of relegation with 3 to play, Partick won and are out of the relegation playoff spot and Torino drew with Lazio and are only 2 points back of being in Europe.

I thought it was a penalty on Altidore. The NBC guys think it wasn't but I thought it was clear. Justice was served since Ramires should have been sent off for that cheap shot on Larsson.
   906. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: April 19, 2014 at 02:41 PM (#4689143)
Jose crying about the referees is sweeter than the sweetest chocolate bunny. Nyum nyum nyum, Jose. Though turn it down a notch as I don't want the diabetes.
   907. JuanGone..except1game Posted: April 19, 2014 at 02:43 PM (#4689144)
Ugh.
   908. Darkness and the howling fantods Posted: April 19, 2014 at 02:44 PM (#4689147)
The penalty was a weird one. There was definitely contact and it was enough to bring Jozy down, but from behind Azpilicueta's tackle didn't look like it was going to touch Altidore until he stuck his left leg way out (possibly to change directions, I guess). Not entirely sure what the right call is there.


Sherwood is determined to make the end of the season entertaining. I'm not sure picking a public fight with Sandro is the best way to keep the job.
   909. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: April 19, 2014 at 02:51 PM (#4689152)
I'm not sure picking a public fight with Sandro is the best way to keep the job.

He's not coming back so it doesn't matter. These last games are all about Sherwood trying to bolster his cv.

Speaking of Spurs...that Eriksen isn't bad, huh? Nice to get a win with Sherwood trolling everyone with his team selection. If Fulham can't take advantage of Zeki Fryers in central defense, then they are doomed.
   910. Rob_Wood Posted: April 19, 2014 at 02:55 PM (#4689155)

Maybe it's the american in me, but I cannot stand the fact that many high-level soccer matches are determined by questionable penalty calls. There is no way that Altidore was deprived of a serious scoring opportunity. Plus he wasn't even fouled. Of course, soccer games are typically low-scoring so every goal is extremely valuable.

In an earlier game today, one player was at the very edge of the penalty box, kinda chasing the ball moving AWAY from the goal and a defender touched his foot. Of course, the offensive player went down like he was shot. Ref gave him a penalty kick and, of course, an automatic goal. This was just as time was ticking down at the end of the first half. There were about five defensive players between him and the net and he was the only offensive player in the box. The odds that a scoring opportunity was deprived is conservatively estimated at around one in a million.

Do soccer fans like it that games are decided like this? It makes no sense to me. Of course, this issue dove-tails with the prevalence of diving which drives me crazy too. But it is perfectly understandable, especially, of course, inside the penalty box area. How about shrinking the penalty box area to around one half of its current size? How about reserving penalty kicks for instances in which a serious scoring opportunity is deprived (like in the NHL)?

Tomorrow I solve the problems in the Middle East.
   911. Swedish Chef Posted: April 19, 2014 at 03:05 PM (#4689167)
The odds that a scoring opportunity was deprived is conservatively estimated at around one in a million.

The defender shouldn't do that then, problem solved.
   912. Darkness and the howling fantods Posted: April 19, 2014 at 03:10 PM (#4689174)
I personally don't mind the penalty box. We've already seen how malleable a category "clear goal scoring opportunity" is, and I don't know that introducing another subjective judgment into the equation is going to make penalties seem less arbitrary.

I do think the incentives are skewed in a way that encourages diving in the box. I'd be in favor of punishing a clear dive in the box with a straight red. It doesn't make sense to me that the punishment for a dive is the same regardless of where it occurs when the 'reward' varies so drastically.
   913. nick swisher hygiene Posted: April 19, 2014 at 03:32 PM (#4689203)
910--agree 100%. the fact that the game is more dominated by "big team/small team" than other sports adds to the problem.

....which is why I can't get too bent out of shape by today's events, cause, #### a bunch of Chelsea..
   914. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: April 19, 2014 at 08:03 PM (#4689359)
911 is my response to 910. If the player is running away from the goal with the ball there is no need to get close enough to allow the ref to make a dicey call.

I'll equate it a bit to offsides. One of the plays I find frustrating for offsides is when the guy taking the corner kick takes it short then doesn't hustle back to get onside. It's frustrating because he's not really gaining an advantage taking a return pass but at the same time he knows the rule, just get into position and you're fine.

I also think far fewer games are defined by the situation laid out than Rob thinks. They get extra attention because of that but it's fairly rare. I think soccer engenders a complaining about the referee culture that encourages blaming the official more than most sports also.

Take Mourhino today. Even if he is 100% right about the call (he's not) his team is at home, fighting for the title against relegation fodder. If one dicey call from the official screws him then it's his team's fault. Chelsea should have been able to get 3-4 goals comfortably against Sunderland.
   915. J. Sosa Posted: April 19, 2014 at 09:19 PM (#4689392)
Any ideas as to the club involved in the rumored drug bust?

edit to add: The leader in the clubhouse according to forum gossip is Aston Villa. That may well be just hearsay due to the suspension of the two club officials. The way the report was worded made it seem like the club may be from a lower division.
   916. J. Sosa Posted: April 19, 2014 at 09:36 PM (#4689400)
I would say Leeds is the most likely given the hidden camera strangeness.
   917. Spivey Posted: April 19, 2014 at 11:10 PM (#4689442)
Altidore really had a good game for how much he played. I thought his holdup play was good, he won a lot of headers including on punts from the goalie, and he won the penalty. I really would like to see him at a team in a major league that doesn't put absolute crap around him.

The refs didn't cost Chelsea that game, Chelsea cost Chelsea that game.
   918. Spivey Posted: April 19, 2014 at 11:14 PM (#4689445)
I'm also loving Liverpool's chances right now. I hope they pull it out.
   919. Swedish Chef Posted: April 20, 2014 at 03:15 AM (#4689499)
I also think far fewer games are defined by the situation laid out than Rob thinks. They get extra attention because of that but it's fairly rare.

I give him bonus points for proposing something that strengthens the defense, normal American reformers of the game want MOAR GOALS. To see one wanting to turn it into the Eton Wall Game is refreshing (not that I have any clue what would happen if the penalty area was shrunk or removed, only that it would be a huge boost to the defense).
   920. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: April 20, 2014 at 07:04 AM (#4689501)
Wow. Sterling. Brilliant. Again.

C'mon Reds!!!
   921. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: April 20, 2014 at 07:11 AM (#4689504)
I think it's safe to say this Liverpool team has the bit between their teeth ...
   922. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: April 20, 2014 at 07:33 AM (#4689507)
Norwich coming into the match and asking questions.
   923. Rob_Wood Posted: April 20, 2014 at 07:49 AM (#4689510)

Anyone see the game yesterday in which a throw-in was deemed a foul? I do not know enough to decipher what the guy did wrong. Looked okay to my untrained eyes. Anybody care to educate me? Thanks.
   924. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: April 20, 2014 at 07:57 AM (#4689513)
Anybody care to educate me? Thanks.

IIRC he was whistled because both feet weren't on the ground.

So if Chelsea don't win at Anfield next week the title is Liverpool's. FSG must be thinking this sports thing is easy. 25% of me is painfully envious it wasn't Tottenham that upset the apple cart, but the rest of me is pretty happy the established order was upset this year. Now if Atleti can just do the business that will be 2 trophyless years in a row for he who is bigger than the sport. I wonder when Wenger will send him a consolation card.
   925. Rob_Wood Posted: April 20, 2014 at 08:00 AM (#4689514)

thanks shooty -- you mean those cobi jones somersault throw-ins are not legal anymore?
   926. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: April 20, 2014 at 08:08 AM (#4689517)

thanks shooty -- you mean those cobi jones somersault throw-ins are not legal anymore?


That's a good question. I mean, technically, as long as both his feet are on the ground and he throws the ball over his head, it should be ok, right, no matter how he got to that point? It probably is illegal now but I admit to my ignorance on the point.
   927. Rob_Wood Posted: April 20, 2014 at 08:15 AM (#4689519)

thanks again and norwich scores!
   928. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: April 20, 2014 at 08:19 AM (#4689521)
Aw jeez. Please let me not have jinxed Liverpool. I'm sorry oh ye gods of soccer by which I mean Jose Mourninho, of course. Have pity on me oh omniscient one!
   929. Rob_Wood Posted: April 20, 2014 at 08:22 AM (#4689524)
omfg - this is the first time number 6 of norwich has ever played?
   930. I am going to be Frank Posted: April 20, 2014 at 08:38 AM (#4689529)
Just woke up - and I see Liverpool are still dodgy at the back.
   931. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: April 20, 2014 at 08:40 AM (#4689530)
Liverpool are really on their heels now. Wow.
   932. Rob_Wood Posted: April 20, 2014 at 08:44 AM (#4689531)

yes, two near goals in the waning minutes
   933. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: April 20, 2014 at 08:47 AM (#4689532)
Does Suarez ever go down without grabbing his leg as if it just broke?
   934. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: April 20, 2014 at 08:49 AM (#4689533)
How was that not a foul on Sakho? He just freaking rugby tackled Snodgrass.
   935. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: April 20, 2014 at 08:51 AM (#4689534)
Once last chance for Norwich...
   936. Rob_Wood Posted: April 20, 2014 at 08:52 AM (#4689535)
blind ref?
   937. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: April 20, 2014 at 08:53 AM (#4689537)
So...big game next weekend, no? A draw should do it for the Reds.
   938. Rob_Wood Posted: April 20, 2014 at 08:55 AM (#4689538)
very entertaining game - go reds
   939. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: April 20, 2014 at 09:03 AM (#4689539)
Yeah, Liverpool is so very nearly there at this point. A collapse would be of monumental proportions.

Also, these past two weeks Sterling is looking like one of the best players in the world. He's come a long way from being the guy who was going to go on loan to Swansea.
   940. I am going to be Frank Posted: April 20, 2014 at 11:28 AM (#4689577)
Berbarotica.

United seem to have found a formation/personnel grouping able to maintain possession. Defense looks susceptible to Lukaku.
   941. President of the David Eckstein Fan Club Posted: April 20, 2014 at 11:54 AM (#4689591)
Terrible defending on that by Buttner to play Mirallas onside
   942. I am going to be Frank Posted: April 20, 2014 at 11:55 AM (#4689592)
Wow just awful defending.

United needs this winter:
1) Left back
2) backup left back
3) backup right back
4) central defender
5) Creative midfielder
6) athletic box-to-box/defensive midfielder
7) wide player

That is a long list.
   943. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: April 20, 2014 at 12:02 PM (#4689593)
Does it matter that Naismith was about 15 feet offside at the time of the shot/handball?
   944. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: April 20, 2014 at 12:30 PM (#4689612)
Does it matter that Naismith was about 15 feet offside at the time of the shot/handball?

Not if he wasn't involved in the play.
   945. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: April 20, 2014 at 12:32 PM (#4689615)
I know Rooney was going for the ball, but he launched himself at it with studs showing. How is that a "fair" challenge?
   946. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: April 20, 2014 at 12:36 PM (#4689617)
I'll always wonder what kind of player Chicharito would have been if he'd been at a club where he was the A-1 choice and not a sporadically used sub.
   947. I am going to be Frank Posted: April 20, 2014 at 12:52 PM (#4689629)
I meant summer obviously.

I think Chicharito would be shown to be more of a liability. He's a good poacher and he's willing to run but his holdup and buildup play aren't great. His technique and touch aren't his strong points either. A good player but teams fighting for Champions League titles don't use those type of strikers any more. On United he's perfect as a guy off the bench and someone you use against a team that you're clearly better against (which is rare for United this season). Of course he does sell a lot of jerseys.
   948. Spivey Posted: April 20, 2014 at 03:44 PM (#4689736)
I really want Liverpool to take the title, but they didn't look great today. They are a really soft team for a title contender. I think Chelsea is going to really bother them next weekend - Liverpool was being very dangerous trying to play out of the back against a pressing Norwich. What that looks like against guys like Oscar, Willian, Schurrle, etc is going to be bad. I think they need Sturridge back.

Liverpool is so amazingly entertaining to watch. And that's not just a compliment.

Sterling is ridiculous. He's very good, of course. But he also goes to show what a player with absolute confidence can do. That early goal was world class, and his pass to Suarez to make it 2-0 could have been even better. And then the third goal had a ton of good fortune, but he showed to me the next level of player he can be - Norwich played him expecting him to give the ball up to Suarez and he just went and created something for himself.
   949. Spivey Posted: April 20, 2014 at 03:46 PM (#4689737)
Attacking players are not Man U's problem, defense and midfield are.
   950. J.B.S. Posted: April 20, 2014 at 06:59 PM (#4689846)
Attacking players are not Man U's problem, defense and midfield are.


True, their attacking players aren't a problem, but I think it's clear they're lacking a sophisticated plan of attack. Sterile, rigid, slow possession today. Same story all season. They're on a similar goals-against pace to last season, they just can't cover their various weaknesses with goals like they have for the past few years. A smart manager shouldn't have trouble scoring goals with Mata, Kagawa, Van Persie, Rooney, Januzaj, Welbeck, Chicharito et al to call on.
   951. CWS Keith plans to boo your show at the Apollo Posted: April 20, 2014 at 09:23 PM (#4689947)
I don't disagree that pressing LFC has caused major issues at various points. But at Anfield, you do that at your own peril. The pressing needs to be concerted. If not, you get something looking like LFC's third against Spurs -- bypass the initial line of pressure, get the ball to one of Coutinho/Sterling who runs down the middle with the EPL's two top capocannonieres running on either side.

And 'yes' on the team missing Sturridge. His hold-up play might be best on the team (although I'll say Sterling is surprisingly strong on the ball for such a small guy), and LFC miss that forty-yard outlet when they're pressed deep in their own area.

The team obviously needs to play much better next Sunday. In particular, I'll point to Lucas and Johnson. Suarez also still isn't quite right, although I'll qualify that by saying even "isn't quite right" is still pretty damn good. The inside feint Suarez throws at Turner before running off his back shoulder for the goal was brilliant.
   952. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: April 20, 2014 at 11:01 PM (#4690000)
I'm rooting hard for Liverpool at this point but I don't think it's all a lock that they have this thing done. They could lose to Chelsea and if that happens it is wide open for City. I almost wonder if the fact that a draw is enough might work against them. They need to play that game at the swashbuckling style they've played the season. If they change their approach that would hurt.
   953. Swedish Chef Posted: April 21, 2014 at 06:26 AM (#4690048)
Wenger is complaining about injuries stopping Arsenal's title challenge. Always a handy excuse that one.
   954. J. Sosa Posted: April 21, 2014 at 07:25 AM (#4690055)
I've been whinging about Johnson for a couple of seasons. He is careless far too often. In fairness to him he's often asked to do things a full back normally isn't asked to do, but he is far too often the culprit when thngs break down. Lucas is a good man, and as a human being is my favorite person on the team, but the injuries have left him a shell of his former self. His lack of mobility really hurts in the style Liverpool play now. He was left to play a more physical style which doesn't suit him.

As for pressing, it is a dangerous game Rodgers likes to play. Gerrard has talked about it a little his season, as have the NBC analysts. Rodgers often deliberately leaves the team open in certain areas to invite the opposition on to them. They play chicken, but to do that effectively they need Sturridge back. He's the one that really benefits from that style.

I was happy with the Norwich win. It kind of went pear shaped a little toward the end, but it was another one of those rough and tumble games you have to pull out to win a title. It wasn't pretty but they did enough despite missing what I consider to be their second and third best players. That is no small achievement even though Norwich isn't very good.

Jose, I agree. I always keep an eye on the odds, but boy it would have been nice if Sunderland could have held on to that lead against City. The goal difference disparity concerns me. I think Liverpool's best route to the title is for Everton to take points from City. If that doesn't happen, it may get hairy.

Keith, something is wrong with Suarez. I've said in the past I thought maybe some type of calf issue, or it could just be general fatigue. He's been a relatively good boy this year, and the lack of suspension induced rest may have worn him down.

I'm just hoping Sturridge will be able to play. That would allow them to keep Lucas on the bench. Allen isn't as strong as Henderson or as creative, but he's a decent enough like for like replacement. He's probably the only sub I feel comfortable with the team starting at this point.
   955. Flynn Posted: April 21, 2014 at 08:08 AM (#4690062)
Wenger is complaining about injuries stopping Arsenal's title challenge. Always a handy excuse that one.


Is there really any doubt that's true? Ramsey alone being fit for the whole season likely means Arsenal is still challenging for the league.

That's not to let Wenger off the hook - Arsenal's trainers are horrible and he never buys enough depth to rotate the squad enough or deputize for injured players.
   956. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: April 21, 2014 at 08:40 AM (#4690078)
   957. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: April 21, 2014 at 08:42 AM (#4690079)
Is there really any doubt that's true? Ramsey alone being fit for the whole season likely means Arsenal is still challenging for the league.


Every team in the league has to deal with injuries. If you are going to give Arsenal a full season of Ramsey you have to give City a full season of Aguero. There is a case that a team has an unusual number of injuries to key players but it doesn't seem applicable to Arsenal. Part of that, as you note, is that the squad depth wasn't there to deal with injuries that were reasonable to expect.
   958. CWS Keith plans to boo your show at the Apollo Posted: April 21, 2014 at 09:34 AM (#4690114)
Sosa, I thought Allen was quite good yesterday. He'll be a very useful player to have around next year -- midweek sub appearances (in the freaking Champions League, wooh!) followed by Sunday starts. I just hope his injury issues are behind him, although maybe his small frame makes injury more likely.

Jose, I can't see anything but LFC attempting to rip Chelsea apart right from the off. Look at all of their games at Anfield against teams in spots 2-7. For better or for worse, they don't know any other way to play.
   959. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: April 21, 2014 at 10:04 AM (#4690144)
A lot of news sources are reporting that a Moyes sacking is imminent.
   960. jmurph Posted: April 21, 2014 at 10:09 AM (#4690153)
There's something very humiliating about Moyes's situation that makes me really feel for the guy. In that he seems like a decent, proud guy who is just obviously failing and has no idea what to do. I felt the same about Hodgson's disastrous Liverpool tenure. And these are probably my two least favorite teams I'm talking about.
   961. J. Sosa Posted: April 21, 2014 at 10:10 AM (#4690154)
I like Allen quite a bit. As you say, I think his robustness is something of a question. With the style they play I think he's ideal to play as a first midfielder off the bench to help close games out and start in cup games. Did you see Rodgers' interview after the game? He was as giddy as I have ever seen him, talking about how group stage qualification was secured.

Watching Rodgers grow the past couple of seasons has been amazing. He's been taking a page out of his mentor's playbook the last few weeks in his interviews. He is always getting little digs in, especially against City. My personal favorite was his concern trolling about Aguero's World Cup prospects ahead of the City match.

I admire Rodgers' courage, I said early in the season LFC should go with a damn the torpedoes strategy, but me saying that on the internet and a manager actually having the guts to do it is another thing entirely. He hasn't faltered with the guns blazing approach, but he has tempered it with subtle changes. I read an article that said the Southampton game last year changed his approach, and I think it was a fair point. He consistently arrives at a strategy where LFC has numbers in the midfield at the cost of ceding space in other areas but compensates by punishing teams in transition. It has been a joy to watch.
   962. J. Sosa Posted: April 21, 2014 at 11:01 AM (#4690173)
Btf ate a Moyes post. I won't reproduce it other than to say it looked like a coordinated leak from Man U. I feel sorry for Moyes.
   963. I am going to be Frank Posted: April 21, 2014 at 11:01 AM (#4690174)
Moyes severance checks will more than make up for any guilt I feel when he gets fired. He'll catch on with Newcastle, Villa or any other Premier League teams. I hope he takes a year off and relax a bit - maybe displace Michael Owen in the TV booth. Didn't think the Glazers had the balls to fire him (if indeed this is happening). They can't be happy with the on-field performance but I have to think that the real reason that they dropped the hammer is that they couldn't trust the man with 150M pounds or whatever warchest they're going to provide the manager.

Remaining fixtures:

Chelsea:
@Atletico
@Liverpool
Atletico
Norwich
@Cardiff

Liverpool:
Chelsea
@Palace
Newcastle

City:
West Brom
@Palace
@Everton
Villa
West Ham

Mourinho is going to try and win every game, but its a tough three-game stretch. He's going to emphasize the Champions League. I think he'd rather see Rodgers win the title than Pellegrini so its really Liverpool's to lose, even if they are in the driver's seat.
   964. ursus arctos Posted: April 21, 2014 at 11:12 AM (#4690183)
Strongly agree with 962 (and also had a post eaten).

Definitely a coordinated leak from Man Utd, perhaps linked to some contractual relief available now that they are mathematically out of Champions League contention? Or trying to force him to quit? In any event, it is quite clear that no deal is yet in place, as they haven't made any public statement to the NYSE.
   965. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: April 21, 2014 at 12:06 PM (#4690241)
Pulis and Palace with quite the opportunity in the next 3 weeks. I wonder if Everton will be their biggest scalp, or whether they'll play King maker as well ...
   966. Textbook Editor Posted: April 21, 2014 at 01:11 PM (#4690307)
TORQUAY THINK FACTORY

The dream of a great escape lives--Sitting on 42 points they need all 6 points from their last 2 fixtures and two of the three teams ahead of them on 47 points to lose their last 2 games (they are behind on GD to all 3 teams on 47 points).

Remaining fixtures:

Away at Mansfield
Home vs. Wycombe

If Wycombe loses to Bristol on Saturday, they will be one of the two teams assured relegation if they them lose to Torquay on May 3rd and Northampton gets at least 1 point from its last two fixtures (at Dag & Red, home to Oxford United).

So basically if Wycombe and Northampton lose their last 2 and Torquay win their last 2, they avoid relegation to the Conference.
   967. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: April 21, 2014 at 01:53 PM (#4690360)
If Moyes gets the sack, Man U will go for Van Gaal, right? That job seems more in line with his ego than the Tottenham job. Good news for Pochettino! Meanwhile, Sherwood is being linked to the Newcastle job. Bwahahahaha!
   968. DA Baracus Posted: April 21, 2014 at 02:52 PM (#4690428)
This picture is perfect.

If Moyes gets the sack, Man U will go for Van Gaal, right?


It's United, they'll have a pretty good crop to chose from. At some point Atletico's finances are going implode so Diego Simeone might be able to be had.
   969. I am going to be Frank Posted: April 21, 2014 at 02:55 PM (#4690430)
Unless Man U can get Klopp or Simeone (which seem very unlikely), Van Gaal seems like a good stop-gap for two or three seasons, until maybe Klopp becomes "more" available. It might have been nice to see Bielsa but he's going to Marseille.
   970. CWS Keith plans to boo your show at the Apollo Posted: April 21, 2014 at 04:47 PM (#4690510)
Watching Rodgers grow the past couple of seasons has been amazing. He's been taking a page out of his mentor's playbook the last few weeks in his interviews. He is always getting little digs in, especially against City. My personal favorite was his concern trolling about Aguero's World Cup prospects ahead of the City match.

The digs are great. I particularly liked the ones about Spurs ("spend 100mm pounds, you expect to compete") and United ("I'd never say we're underdogs at Anfield").

No help from West Brom today. Hopefully one of Palace or Everton can at least manage a draw. Like you, I'm still thinking LFC drop points. A loss either this weekend or next is definitely possible.
   971. ursus arctos Posted: April 21, 2014 at 05:53 PM (#4690572)
Reports tonight that Moyes will be gone on Tuesday and that Man Utd will only owe him one year's salary (around 4.5 million sterling).

Looks like he isn't much cop at negotiating contracts, either.
   972. Textbook Editor Posted: April 21, 2014 at 09:43 PM (#4690732)
Reports tonight that Moyes will be gone on Tuesday and that Man Utd will only owe him one year's salary (around 4.5 million sterling). Looks like he isn't much cop at negotiating contracts, either.


Wow. How could no one have asked what the termination clause was back when he was hired? (I don't recall it ever coming up in any article I read.) A "six-year contract" is only a "six-year contract" if they MUST pay you for each of the six years no matter what. WTF was Moyes thinking when he signed that deal? Or his agent when he allowed him to sign it?

I mean, brilliant for Man U to get a guy to agree to that deal, but I doubt Klopp or anyone else high-profile is going to walk through that door for what would effectively be a 2-year deal.
   973. Spivey Posted: April 21, 2014 at 09:50 PM (#4690752)
Yeah, but Moyes isn't Klopp, he wasn't Klopp, and he'll never be Klopp.
   974. Spivey Posted: April 21, 2014 at 09:55 PM (#4690754)
To be clearer about it, I think that he signs a deal like that because it was the opportunity of his life. He failed at it, and he'll likely never get another chance like that again but if he holds out for a deal they won't pay him, then he doesn't get to be the Man U coach.

All that said, I think he gets too much blame for this year. Perhaps I'm being cynical, but I think that Ferguson knew to get out while the getting was good. I think he let this club develop systemic problems that whomever is going to come in will have to deal with. The entire back 8 need to be overhauled.
   975. J. Sosa Posted: April 21, 2014 at 10:07 PM (#4690763)
Wow. Maybe there is some truth to the rumor that there was a CL clause in his contract.
   976. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: April 21, 2014 at 10:09 PM (#4690765)
The bookies have already made Moyes one of the favorites for Spurs. 12 months ago I would have been ok with that! Not so much now...
   977. Textbook Editor Posted: April 22, 2014 at 12:48 AM (#4690839)

The bookies have already made Moyes one of the favorites for Spurs. 12 months ago I would have been ok with that! Not so much now...


Gak! Nyet! Nyet! Anyone but Moyes, please.
   978. Textbook Editor Posted: April 22, 2014 at 12:53 AM (#4690843)
To be clearer about it, I think that he signs a deal like that because it was the opportunity of his life. He failed at it, and he'll likely never get another chance like that again but if he holds out for a deal they won't pay him, then he doesn't get to be the Man U coach.


This makes sense. But Moyes had to know the same things that, you know, the rest of the footballing world knew about Man U going into this year... And that he was likely set up to be a patsy/failure given what he had to work with. So why take it at all if you suspect (and he's a dope if he didn't suspect) that this all could go horribly wrong--and quickly? Fail this quickly and the stink of the failure won't go away any time soon, and that colors every job you're up for or take for the rest of your life... Is that really what you want?

I concede only a massive ego would probably turn DOWN the Man U job if offered, but man, anyone in May 2013 could see that while they were champions there were storm clouds brewing; I'm baffled that Moyes apparently didn't see them at all.
   979. Swedish Chef Posted: April 22, 2014 at 05:02 AM (#4690866)
I'm baffled that Moyes apparently didn't see them at all.

He had just spent a decade being overlooked for the big jobs. Turning down one because the conditions aren't just right is a luxury few managers have.
   980. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: April 22, 2014 at 06:58 AM (#4690873)
All that said, I think he gets too much blame for this year. Perhaps I'm being cynical, but I think that Ferguson knew to get out while the getting was good. I think he let this club develop systemic problems that whomever is going to come in will have to deal with. The entire back 8 need to be overhauled.

Sure, the squad Ferguson left him was flawed, and certainly had holes. But it also had more world class talent than maybe 3 teams in the league. And the thing is, the issues with the squad were apparent last June,. And Moyes did nothing to address them, while his 2 big signings were luxuries at positions of relative strength, with apparently no clear plan to fit them into the system. If Moyes had addressed the 2 biggest roster flaws last Summer, and done a better job of utilizing the talent already on hand, there is no reason this team shouldn't have been able to get to 75 points at the very, very least.

Now they are essentially one year further down the line, with the same gaping holes in the squad, along with some new ones popping up. Which is going to make the overhaul job this year that much tougher.
   981. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: April 22, 2014 at 07:06 AM (#4690875)
Ryan Giggs! Might as well makes the supporters happy the last 3 games.
   982. DA Baracus Posted: April 22, 2014 at 07:58 AM (#4690884)
Gak! Nyet! Nyet! Anyone but Moyes, please.


Anyone?

So why take it at all if you suspect (and he's a dope if he didn't suspect) that this all could go horribly wrong--and quickly?


Coaches don't think "I'm not the man for this job." Ego is a requirement. And, as evident by his roster decisions and what he's said, he didn't see those issues.
   983. ursus arctos Posted: April 22, 2014 at 08:31 AM (#4690895)
It now seems as if there was a clause in the contract that provided for the one year payout in the event he was sacked after failing to qualify for the Champions League. That is what evidently accounts for the somewhat strange timing, as it is now being said that the decision to fire him was made two months ago.

It is a it easier to see how Moyes would have thought that was an extremely long shot at the time that he signed..

The Giggs experiment will be interesting.
   984. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: April 22, 2014 at 08:41 AM (#4690903)
Anyone?

He forgot to include the asterisk indicating No Former England Managers excepted.
   985. jmurph Posted: April 22, 2014 at 08:43 AM (#4690906)
I think there is some overselling of the obviousness of United's problems entering the season. If someone wants to link to the prediction thread, for instance, I bet very few of us had them finishing outside of the top 4. I'm pretty well in line with Fancy Pants in 980- he should have done much, much better.
   986. jmurph Posted: April 22, 2014 at 08:45 AM (#4690908)
Letting Giggs be the interim is a terrible idea, right? He's a club legend- what happens if they win 3 straight and the fans start calling for him to be the permanent hire?
   987. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: April 22, 2014 at 08:47 AM (#4690910)
Letting Giggs be the interim is a terrible idea, right? He's a club legend- what happens if they win 3 straight and the fans start calling for him to be the permanent hire?

I don't think Man U fans think he's a realistic long term choice. They all seem to want Klopp--who has said he's not interested--or Van Gaal if they can't get Klopp. I'm kind of annoyed by how reasonable Man U fans have been this season, for the most part. (Crazy fringes excluded as they should always be.)
   988. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: April 22, 2014 at 08:51 AM (#4690913)
Letting Giggs be the interim is a terrible idea, right? He's a club legend- what happens if they win 3 straight and the fans start calling for him to be the permanent hire?


I don't think that's a problem. They aren't going to replace him with a no name. Assuming Van Gaal or Klopp (LVG seems likely) then I think it would be welcomed. This would not be hiring someone viewed as "too small" for the job. Also, the fixture list is snooze-o-rama; Norwich, Sunderland, Hull, Southampton. Wins in those games aren't going to have much cache. Lastly Giggs can mitigate a lot of it by saying "I don't want the job on a permanent basis" sometime in the next day or two.
   989. I am going to be Frank Posted: April 22, 2014 at 08:52 AM (#4690914)
If the performance clause is what was required to take the job, then your agent has to get you a bigger payout. If the decision was made two months ago, United better have a better plan than when Fergie retired. I would guess that no contact has been made with the big names because it would be too easy to leak.

Letting Giggs be the interim is a terrible idea, right? He's a club legend- what happens if they win 3 straight and the fans start calling for him to be the permanent hire?

There are going to be a handful that will do this, but the vast majority (>95%) will understand that you do not give a guy who still is playing the job. You have to get a guy who can attract the talent to get them back into Champions League. Giggs needs to do a Solskjaer - work his way up a bit.
   990. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: April 22, 2014 at 08:53 AM (#4690915)
There are now 3 PL managers without their coaching badges. Suck on that FIFA!
   991. I am going to be Frank Posted: April 22, 2014 at 09:05 AM (#4690924)
I have to accept the criticism,” Guardiola said. “I tell myself 'Pep, calm down'. You are here to work as well as possible, and my best talent is work, work, work. I am here to help the club, and if the club do not want me, a handshake and no problem for me.


This was from a article a couple days ago where Pep saying he would leave if he's not wanted. Didn't put much thought to it because the only place I could think of him going to is Barca and I don't think he wants to go back, but if Bayern were to not win Champions League - who knows? They did dump Heynckes. I believe he did express interest in United at one point.

Its all a pipe dream - Van Gaal has to be the guy.
   992. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: April 22, 2014 at 09:31 AM (#4690944)
The talk on the Man U forums is that the Glazers think Van Gaal is bonkers and are uncomfortable with him. To their credit, he is bonkers and I imagine everyone is uncomfortable with him.
   993. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: April 22, 2014 at 09:42 AM (#4690953)
By the way, congrats to Burnley on their promotion. I look forward no longer confusing them with Barnsley. What's the deal with the blue and claret uniforms? Villa, West Ham and Burnley need to draw straws or something.
   994. J. Sosa Posted: April 22, 2014 at 09:48 AM (#4690959)
I don't think I would want LVG if I were a Man U fan. Isn't he pretty divisive? Klopp would be the ideal choice but he's not going to come. Pep I don't think is totally out of the question. He hasn't seemed all that happy at Bayern. If Bayern crashes out of the CL and loses to Dortmund in the cup final I could see him getting canned.

As for pre season predictions, I was wrong on a lot of stuff but I had Man U in 4th with a chance to do worse in the pre season prediction thread. A number of people thought they would fall off quite a bit IIRC. I'm a charter member of the "SAF is a wizard" faction, so I believed they might be in trouble and that other clubs had a golden opportunity to capitalize.

Of the many things I've enjoyed this season, the notion of LFC regaining their perch the instant SAF retires is pretty darn near the top.
   995. DA Baracus Posted: April 22, 2014 at 09:55 AM (#4690966)
I think there is some overselling of the obviousness of United's problems entering the season.


They were a very good but flawed team. Moyes had issues he needed to address, as does every manager every year. He completely failed to do so, and that is on him.
   996. JuanGone..except1game Posted: April 22, 2014 at 10:04 AM (#4690969)
By the way, congrats to Burnley on their promotion. I look forward no longer confusing them with Barnsley.

I thought I was the only one. One of them needs to get on with it and add a "United" or "City" to help us out.

I'm kind of annoyed by how reasonable Man U fans have been this season, for the most part.

I would caveat about the "Chosen One" business, but I think that your right overall. They never truly panicked, but you saw the anxiety creep in for legitimate reasons over the course of the season.

I do hope that its Van Gaal and not Kloop for partisan reasons. I love the way Van Gaal's teams play, but his way invites internal divisions and strain. Still love the story of him dropping trou in front of the Bayern locker room because of the Luca Toni row. He will make the Prem more interesting.

   997. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: April 22, 2014 at 10:15 AM (#4690987)
I think there is some overselling of the obviousness of United's problems entering the season. If someone wants to link to the prediction thread, for instance, I bet very few of us had them finishing outside of the top 4.

Well, to be fair, I am pretty sure I picked them highest of anyone here, in third. IIRC pretty much everyone else had them 4-6.

Now in my defense:
1. That was before the transfer deadline, and I assumed they would get at least Baines and one more. And potentially fill another hole as needed in January. None of that happened.

2. I thought RVP would be better - not as good as last season, but better than he was.

3. ManU pixy dust. A lot of people have proclaimed United dead over the years, and turned out to look rather stupid. I wasn't going to proclaim that beast dead, until the head was chopped off, the body burned, and the ashes scattered into the four winds.
   998. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: April 22, 2014 at 10:18 AM (#4690989)
BTW, there are some whispers about Van Gaal going to Arsenal. Just whispers but it's not completely impossible, especially if PSG make Wenger an offer he can't refuse.
   999. Textbook Editor Posted: April 22, 2014 at 10:18 AM (#4690990)
The talk on the Man U forums is that the Glazers think Van Gaal is bonkers and are uncomfortable with him. To their credit, he is bonkers and I imagine everyone is uncomfortable with him.


I don't know enough about LVG to answer this but... If he is a nut job, why do most Spurs fans seems to want him as the next manager?

Pep for Man U seems a really interesting option (should he want the job, or be available to take it). He has said in the past he's wanted to manage in England, right? Would he perhaps like to manage in a small stadium in North London with the initials WHL?

It's gonna be a nutty, nutty summer transfer window, I think.
   1000. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: April 22, 2014 at 10:27 AM (#4691002)
I don't know enough about LVG to answer this but... If he is a nut job, why do most Spurs fans seems to want him as the next manager?

Desperation.
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