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Wednesday, May 07, 2014

OT: The Soccer Thread May, 2014

Real and Atletico go two rounds. Can Liverpool come back? Will Arsenal finally win a trophy?

May 7: Man City v. Aston Villa, Valladolid v. Real Madrid, Copa Liberatadores Quarterfinals (1st legs)
May 8: Copa Liberatadores Quarterfinals (1st legs)
May 10: Inter v. Lazio
May 11: Liverpool v. Newcastle, Man City v. West Ham, Atletico v. Malaga, Celta de Vigo v. Real Madrid, Roma v. Juventus
May 13: Germany v. Poland
May 14: Sevilla v. Benfica, Copa Liberatadores Quarterfinals (2nd legs)
May 15: Copa Liberatadores Quarterfinals (2nd legs)
May 16: Barcelona v. Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid v. Espanyol
May 17: FA Cup Final (Arsenal v. Hull City), DFB Pokal (Dortmund v. Bayern)
May 24: Champions League Final (Real Madrid v. Atletico Madrid)
May 27: USA v. Azerbaijan, Scotland v. Nigeria
May 28: Denmark v. Sweden, Mexico v. Israel, Cameroon v. Paraguay, Honduras v. Turkey
May 29: Chile v. Egypt, Spain v. Bolivia
May 30: England v. Peru, Portugal v. Greece, Netherlands v. Ghana
May 31: Mexico v. Ecuador, France v. Paraguay

Howling John Shade Posted: May 07, 2014 at 03:40 AM | 1176 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: soccer

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   101. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: May 11, 2014 at 11:16 AM (#4704397)
flop ... like LFC in these last 3 games ...
   102. Swedish Chef Posted: May 11, 2014 at 11:16 AM (#4704398)
So why doesn't Liverpool turn on the ALL OUT ATTACK?
   103. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: May 11, 2014 at 11:18 AM (#4704400)
Villa fans are having a good time, at least. They've made this game some kind of costume party and are just singing and being goofy. Hey, why not?
   104. Spivey Posted: May 11, 2014 at 11:18 AM (#4704401)
That was really stupid from Dimichelis. Tackles like that are how you get red cards, and that's pretty much the only way City can lose this game.
   105. JuanGone..except1game Posted: May 11, 2014 at 11:18 AM (#4704402)
That is some splendid ass-covering and passive-aggressiveness from Mourinho, but allow me to suggest that there may be more to the story than his spin. I don't think Lukaku responded to this sniping, though.Also, if not clearly preferring Lukaku to Eto'o and Ba isn't "not rating him", I don't know what would be.

I'm not sure you actually read the article as Lukaku admits that he asked to leave. Also Ba, was almost sold to Arsenal and didn't play 3/4 of the year, so I don't get where that's coming from either. I'm far from the biggest Mourinho defender, but I also believe in facts and not Daily Mail style media narrative.

I'm with Shooty on Toure. Suarez was superb, but Toure is just the engine behind the best team in the league. He's the one player that teams cannot game plan against.

   106. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: May 11, 2014 at 11:20 AM (#4704404)
Agger!

100 goals for Liverpool.
   107. Swedish Chef Posted: May 11, 2014 at 11:21 AM (#4704405)
Also Ba, was almost sold to Arsenal and didn't play 3/4 of the year, so I don't get where that's coming from either.

Yeah, that's clear now. But apparently Mourinho didn't bother to make that clear to Lukaku beforehand.

But hey, as long as Mourinho ##### up I'm happy.
   108. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: May 11, 2014 at 11:21 AM (#4704406)
Agger-batic goal for LFC!
   109. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: May 11, 2014 at 11:22 AM (#4704407)
SCP come back from 1 down, to hold on to a 2:1 win over Aalen, to secure promotion to the Bundesliga.
   110. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: May 11, 2014 at 11:23 AM (#4704408)
Liverpool! Nice to see some fight at the end.
   111. Swedish Chef Posted: May 11, 2014 at 11:23 AM (#4704409)
See, it's easier to win once you turn on the attack!
   112. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: May 11, 2014 at 11:24 AM (#4704410)
Dang Newcastle, that's a collapse.

Now we just need to see Man City have a collapse of Liverpudlian proportions.
   113. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: May 11, 2014 at 11:24 AM (#4704411)
Ryan Bertrand might have just knocked Guzan out of the World Cup. Hopefully this isn't serious.
   114. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: May 11, 2014 at 11:25 AM (#4704412)
Guzan coming back on. Whew!
   115. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: May 11, 2014 at 11:48 AM (#4704424)
Congrats to City, they were the best team this year. Those megabastards.

Loving that Man United miss Europe.
   116. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: May 11, 2014 at 11:49 AM (#4704425)
They are literally deserting Pardew at St. James. Literally!
   117. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: May 11, 2014 at 11:50 AM (#4704426)
All Hail our ManCitian Overlords!
   118. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: May 11, 2014 at 11:51 AM (#4704427)
A lot of homoeroticism going on at the Etihad.
   119. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: May 11, 2014 at 11:52 AM (#4704430)
Isn't this what riot police and attack dogs are made paid for?
   120. JuanGone..except1game Posted: May 11, 2014 at 11:55 AM (#4704434)
Congrats City fans (if we have one here). Hart needs one of those Yankee Stadium police horses to get out of there.
   121. frannyzoo Posted: May 11, 2014 at 12:08 PM (#4704440)
Spurs in Europe, AVB in hell. There must be a certain satisfaction there.
   122. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: May 11, 2014 at 12:25 PM (#4704444)
Why? AVB may have been a mess at Spurs, but it ain't like he was "Timsanity" out there and besides, the far stronger reaction to what happened is, "Isn't this what riot police and attack dogs are made paid for?"
   123. Obo Posted: May 11, 2014 at 12:30 PM (#4704448)
Quite the season to be a Crystal Palace fan. From last place and six points from safety to mid-table anonymity. Thank you Mr. Pulis.
   124. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: May 11, 2014 at 12:41 PM (#4704452)
Yeah, I'm very very happy for Palace. And I'm glad that Cardiff went down, I feel bad for their fans but their owner is a twerp of the first order.
   125. ursus arctos Posted: May 11, 2014 at 01:18 PM (#4704467)
FPH, for a minute there I was wondering when you had developed a rooting interest in Sporting Club de Portugal . . .

Milan also fail to qualify for the Europa League. Perhaps they could on the road with Manchester United?
   126. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: May 11, 2014 at 02:13 PM (#4704488)
FPH, for a minute there I was wondering when you had developed a rooting interest in Sporting Club de Portugal . . .

I don't think they will be promoted to the Bundesliga any time soon. Call it a hunch.
   127. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: May 11, 2014 at 02:20 PM (#4704492)
Real Madrid are crapping their pants but Barca and Atleti have yet to break through. Ancelotti better win the CL.
   128. Howling John Shade Posted: May 11, 2014 at 02:21 PM (#4704493)
Holy balls. No one wants to win La Liga.
   129. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: May 11, 2014 at 02:23 PM (#4704494)
I think Atleti are on fumes the last few weeks. They went from killing everyone to grinding out 1-0 wins. Hold on, Sloopy, Sloopy hold on!
   130. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: May 11, 2014 at 02:24 PM (#4704496)
D'oh. Malaga strike first blood. It's wide open for Barca now.
   131. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: May 11, 2014 at 02:31 PM (#4704499)
Atleti strike back! Toby Alderweireld scores it which is fitting since his mistake led to the Malaga goal.
   132. Howling John Shade Posted: May 11, 2014 at 02:32 PM (#4704500)
Now a goal can win them the league (if Barca don't score).
   133. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: May 11, 2014 at 02:43 PM (#4704504)
Malaga down to 10 men but only a few minutes left for Atleti to take advantage.
   134. Swedish Chef Posted: May 11, 2014 at 02:44 PM (#4704505)
Now a goal can win them the league (if Barca don't score).

It would have to be a goal by Elche though, the contenders are toothless.
   135. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: May 11, 2014 at 02:50 PM (#4704509)
Nothing decided yet. Barca can still take the title with a win.
   136. frannyzoo Posted: May 11, 2014 at 04:47 PM (#4704566)
Jose would listen if Simeone called for some bus-parking advice. Yes, I'm disappointed the game means something, but considering Atleti's last two games are both for hardware...that's a great, great season for any team.
   137. Textbook Editor Posted: May 11, 2014 at 07:06 PM (#4704619)
Real would have to have the advantage in the CL final because they basically will field a B team next week.
   138. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: May 11, 2014 at 07:24 PM (#4704622)
Real would have to have the advantage in the CL final because they basically will field a B team next week.


Assuming no injuries to Athleti next weekend, I'd have to say that's a bit overstated, there's a week's worth of rest between games, that's more than enough to see that everyone's at full strength for the final (again, injuries aside).
   139. Swedish Chef Posted: May 12, 2014 at 06:11 AM (#4704740)
Luke Shaw for 25M is a far better buy than Villa for 260M. Actually, that seems like a pretty good deal for Shaw.

I wouldn't pay anything near the asking price for Villa, but then I'm not a morally dubious international oligarch.
   140. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: May 12, 2014 at 07:18 AM (#4704743)
Are Villa getting a sugar daddy with a few human rights abuses he needs to white wash?
   141. Swedish Chef Posted: May 12, 2014 at 07:26 AM (#4704745)
I don't think anybody has put in a bid yet, Lerner has just officially said it's for sale.
   142. Swedish Chef Posted: May 12, 2014 at 07:35 AM (#4704746)
Well, I'd take human rights abuse over Ken Bates any day. Or Doug Ellis. Hey, Doug Ellis is still alive, never would have thought that, he looked like a cadaver twenty years ago.
   143. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: May 12, 2014 at 07:42 AM (#4704747)
In fairness, Ken Bates IS a human rights abuse.
   144. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: May 12, 2014 at 09:10 AM (#4704792)
It's a Cup final next week right? Winner take all? That should be truly sensational.
   145. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: May 12, 2014 at 09:26 AM (#4704811)
Here, they are! Ricky Lambert is going to Brazil! I have never heard of Fraser Forster.

•Joe Hart
•Fraser Forster
•Ben Foster
•Glen Johnson
•Phil Jones
•Gary Cahill
•Phil Jagielka
• Chris Smalling
• Leighton Baines
•Luke Shaw
•Steven Gerrard
•Jack Wilshere
•Jordan Henderson
•Frank Lampard
•James Milner
•Ross Barkley
•Adam Lallana
•Raheem Sterling
•Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
•Wayne Rooney
•Daniel Sturridge
•Danny Welbeck
•Rickie Lambert


edit: I'm pretty happy no Spurs are going as they'd only get hurt and/or tainted by the inevitable failure. Also, at the risk of ridicule, I think Hodgson should have selected Crouchaldinho. I think he's a great option off the bench if you need a goal or, as Redknapp used him, he's a great striker to play defense in the late minutes if you have a lead.
   146. Randy Jones Posted: May 12, 2014 at 09:29 AM (#4704815)
Luke Shaw for 25M is a far better buy than Villa for 260M. Actually, that seems like a pretty good deal for Shaw.

I wouldn't pay anything near the asking price for Villa, but then I'm not a morally dubious international oligarch.

Aren't Villa still among the top 30 or so teams in Europe by revenue? You could always buy them with loans and then transfer the loans to the team. McCourt, Glazers, everyone else who has purchased a profitable sports team for the past ~15 years style.
   147. I am going to be Frank Posted: May 12, 2014 at 09:41 AM (#4704835)
Also, at the risk of ridicule, I think Hodgson should have selected Crouchaldinho. I think he's a great option off the bench if you need a goal or, as Redknapp used him, he's a great striker to play defense in the late minutes if you have a lead.


At this point I would think Andy Carroll is a much better option than Crouch for the roles you speak of.

I guess a rich guy can LBO Villa, but the revenues aren't as big as Man U so all that money you are using to pay debt could mean the difference between relegation or staying up.
   148. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: May 12, 2014 at 09:44 AM (#4704839)
At this point I would think Andy Carroll is a much better option than Crouch for the roles you speak of.

Really? Crouchy had a pretty good year, I thought. He's been fitter than Carroll and is much, much more experienced at the international level. Also, Carroll is a donkey.
   149. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: May 12, 2014 at 09:45 AM (#4704841)
Lerner will have to find a real sucker to pay that much though Fayed managed to find just the right kind of sucker to buy Fulham.
   150. jmurph Posted: May 12, 2014 at 09:57 AM (#4704853)
Yikes, I'm not sure I have any alternative suggestions, but that is not a good group of players for England. I'm not sure a single member of that back line should be properly considered world class. Probably Cahill, perhaps Baines. Shaw looks good. Chris Smalling continues to be one of the luckier humans alive.

Also, he's absolutely going to start Gerrard and Lampard in the toughest games, isn't he?
   151. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: May 12, 2014 at 10:00 AM (#4704855)
Also, he's absolutely going to start Gerrard and Lampard in the toughest games, isn't he?

Why mess with success?
   152. jmurph Posted: May 12, 2014 at 10:01 AM (#4704857)
Congrats City fans (if we have one here).


There's me and then I think one other has popped in on occasion. I forget his/her name.

I had the misfortune of flying home yesterday during the game. So I saw much of the first half on my phone in the airport, but then I missed the entire 2nd half and had visions of Andy Carroll goals haunting me throughout the entire flight (also, Spirit air is the worst, please don't ever fly with them).
   153. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: May 12, 2014 at 10:02 AM (#4704858)
I feel for Kieran Gibbs. He had an excellent season (great up until his injuries), but he's entirely been passed in the consciousness with regards to the England setup. Nothing new for him, of course, but I fear that he'll never get a consistent run in the English national team. They're oddly stacked over at left back.
I'm not sure a single member of that back line should be properly considered world class.

Actually, on the subject, I wonder who, at left back, even *is* "world class," internationally. Jordi Alba, maybe?* Azpilicueta? But he's a natural right back and possibly won't even start in either position for Spain (I can see Juanfran getting an extended run in the WC squad, though I'd start Azpilicueta at right back). Alaba? The Brazilians (Marcelo, Felipe Luis, Maxwell)? Coentrao? Schmelzer? Mathieu?

So, basically, I'm not sure Baines or even the backups (Shaw, Cole, even Gibbs) are much off that pace.

*My answer here is yes, but it really depends on the definition of "world class." Is that a static threshold or are there always a certain number of players who fit that label? Honestly, I dislike that label for this very reason.

Lahm's clearly "world class" (either definition) and he can play there, but he's a right-back by trade (or a defensive mid, if you're Pep).
   154. jmurph Posted: May 12, 2014 at 10:03 AM (#4704860)
Who plays DM/holding for them? Gerrard? Yikes. Is Barry hurt? Despite not being in possession of a right foot and being incredibly slow, he's still the better option. Also are Theo and Lennon hurt? The answer is usually yes with Theo, but I haven't been paying attention to Arsenal.
   155. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: May 12, 2014 at 10:09 AM (#4704867)
Walcott is hurt and Lennon didn't have a very good year. I have no idea who will be their holding midfielder as Carrick or Huddlestone are the obvious choices and neither made the team. I guess they'll use either Gerrard or Lampard for that role.
   156. I am going to be Frank Posted: May 12, 2014 at 10:13 AM (#4704874)
Carroll is a donkey but I think he's better in the air and stronger than Crouch. England would only be using them in the last 10-15 minutes of matches so fragility shouldn't play that much into it. Its all moot anyway. England's team isn't very good, but the egos are too big to change their style of play to one as a "smaller" country - sit back and play on the counter. Since its pretty much guaranteed that Rooney will be featured, he needs to play as a lone striker, but Roy is going to throw up some 4-4-2 or 4-4-1-1, where England will get exposed defensively.
   157. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: May 12, 2014 at 10:23 AM (#4704883)
Carroll is a donkey but I think he's better in the air and stronger than Crouch.

I agree, though last season, they were virtually the same in percentage of aerial duels won. This season, Crouch has been a bit better, albeit in nearly twice as many minutes, so I'm not sure if the comparison is good (no idea how long it takes for this kind of thing to stabilize). Per game this season, Carroll is well ahead, but they were much closer last season, Carroll ahead, suggesting that perhaps that injuries have more to do with it. In one game, I'd definitely take Carroll.
   158. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 12, 2014 at 10:31 AM (#4704891)
I've been a casual EPL fan this past year. I want to adopt a club for next year. I appreciate the underdog, but I don't want a total loser. Any good candidates?
   159. Spivey Posted: May 12, 2014 at 10:36 AM (#4704897)
I think that all things considered that's quite a good roster that England is bringing. I think they were smart to err on the side of young guys, as well.
   160. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: May 12, 2014 at 10:40 AM (#4704898)
I've been a casual EPL fan this past year. I want to adopt a club for next year. I appreciate the underdog, but I don't want a total loser. Any good candidates?

Everton and Tottenham sound like your best bet. Both are underdogs relative to the top teams but there's a hope they can crack the hegemony (and in fact, they both have in the last decade). Obviously, I would push for Tottenham but Everton are a fine choice, too. The tie breaker, I think, is that Spurs are in London which is a much more common place for Americans to travel than Liverpool, if you ever wanted to catch a game. Newcastle and Aston Villa are good shouts, too, but they are currently in bad situations.
   161. J. Sosa Posted: May 12, 2014 at 10:42 AM (#4704900)
Retro, sounds like Everton would be worth a look for you. They are not part of the Sky 4 but are generally good and play an entertaining style under Martinez.

Your other options would probably be Newcastle or Spurs. You don't want Newcastle because they are Newcastle. There are a lot of Spurs fans here but only one Everton fan that I can think of, so selfishly, I would nominate Everton.

edit to add: Shooty, dangit!!! I have no money in the budget for cokes. The one contrarian thing I would say is that the primary criteria I had for choosing a club was that they not be from London.
   162. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: May 12, 2014 at 10:43 AM (#4704902)
I've been a casual EPL fan this past year. I want to adopt a club for next year. I appreciate the underdog, but I don't want a total loser. Any good candidates?


A lot depends on what you are looking for. If you are looking for a title contender I think Liverpool is a good choice. They play a wide open style, Steven Gerrard has that John Elway thing of "great player trying to win first title" and there is the whole Hillsborough thing. On the flip side Luis Suarez is kind of a horrible human being and they are one of the winningest teams in European history. It would be kind of like latching onto the Yankees in 1995.

Second choice would be Everton. They are a regular 5th/6th place team and with Martinez they play a more interesting style than they did under Moyes. They are kind of like Tampa, consistently well run, always on the cusp but never quite getting there. Simply reaching the Champions League would be a huge accomplishment.

Third would be the semi-official team of BTF Tottenham. They were kind of the 2013 Blue Jays this year, it looked like they were set for contention but it all went to hell pretty quickly and the season was a massive disappointment. Tottenham fans seems to be similar to pre-2004 Red Sox fans in that they are perpetually fashioning a noose and looping it over the shower curtain in preparation for a disaster. Like Everton the goal would be 4th place rather than 1st.

Lastly would be to pick one of the promoted clubs. Simply staying up would be the accomplishment to root for with these teams. Usually one of the three teams turns out to be a lot of fun to root for like Crystal Palace this year.
   163. jmurph Posted: May 12, 2014 at 10:43 AM (#4704903)
I think they were smart to err on the side of young guys, as well.


Eh, we'll see who plays. I expect Rooney/Gerrard/Lampard/Baines/Johnson/Cahill/Jagielka to get a lot of starts. That's decidedly not a group of young players. Sterling/Sturridge and Barkley/Lallana/Henderson deserve to play, but we'll see if Roy has the guts. Ox and Wilshere are good enough, of course, but I assume they'll get hurt any second now, as per usual.
   164. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: May 12, 2014 at 10:44 AM (#4704904)
AG1F, that all depends on what you're looking for. From what you said you can probably discount relegation risks and the four biggest clubs (the Manchesters, Chelsea, and Arsenal, and maybe Liverpool now that they seem to be back from the wilderness) and the biggest relegation risks (the teams coming up from the Championship, Sunderland, maybe a couple others). But are you looking for a team that challenges for a champion's league spot on it's best years? A team that aims for the top half? A team that aims for the safety of the midtable?

I'd consider a club like Everton, who had a great season this past year and who has an American as a major player in Tim Howard. Swansea is also an option, and has the advantage of being Welsh. anCrystal Palace also really impressed me, the Crystal Palace supporters are great, but they might be at risk of relegation again.

I became a full on Liverpool this year after having been a casual fan since Henry bought the team, it was a good deal of fun despite the heartache at the end of the year.
   165. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: May 12, 2014 at 10:49 AM (#4704906)
Carroll is a donkey but I think he's better in the air and stronger than Crouch. England would only be using them in the last 10-15 minutes of matches so fragility shouldn't play that much into it.


I LOVE Andy Carroll as a late sub. I feel like when he is playing in short bursts he is a physical specimen that defenders really struggle with. He seems like a guy that can come on after 65-70 minutes and just demolish tired center backs who spent the first hour plus chasing Sturridge, Sterling and Rooney around the pitch.
   166. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 12, 2014 at 10:49 AM (#4704907)
Everton was tops on my short list already. I liked Roberto Martinez from his time as a studio guest in the US for World Cup coverage, and I do like Tim Howard. Liverpool may be interesting too, Suarez was so much fun to watch, although I wasn't aware of his personal failings. I read Real Madrid may be making a run at him though?

So Everton or Tottenham eh? Thanks for the input.
   167. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: May 12, 2014 at 10:50 AM (#4704908)
I like Crystal Palace but the threat of relegation with them is when, not if. You can say that for any club outside the top 7, really. Also, I wouldn't pick a club based on any current players or current style of play as things can change quickly.
   168. jmurph Posted: May 12, 2014 at 10:54 AM (#4704910)
I'd go with Southampton as a good option, too. They could be in the same place as Everton/Spurs in a few years if some breaks go their way.
   169. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: May 12, 2014 at 10:54 AM (#4704911)
Transfer speculation! What do you guys think of all this talk than NYCFC are going to bring in Xavi and Puyol? It still wouldn't be enough to get me to fork over my cash to the Mansours. Barcelona, evidently, are about to clean house. Alves, Fabregas and Sanchez might be leaving, too.
   170. zack Posted: May 12, 2014 at 10:58 AM (#4704914)
As BTF's resident sort-of Stoke fan, have you considered the dark side? Only two places behind the great Man U!
   171. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: May 12, 2014 at 10:58 AM (#4704916)
I'd go with Southampton as a good option, too. They could be in the same place as Everton/Spurs in a few years if some breaks go their way.

Boy, I think it's going to be very tough for them to manage it. They've come up with a nice collection of young talent at the same time and now the big clubs are going to pick them off one by one. They also lost the chairman that built the team last year and I'm not sure the ownership has the stomach/passion to keep up the level of commitment he had. They traditionally develop great young talent so there is hope for them, but I think it's more likely they start to fade the way Swansea have.
   172. JuanGone..except1game Posted: May 12, 2014 at 10:59 AM (#4704918)
I'm surprised no one has brought up Southampton. Great youth system so they always reload, great playing style under Pochettino (although he may not last) and great song that fits their name. I'm clearly a blue so I'd have a tought time, but I've got a Cincinnatti friend who has had fun adopting them this year.

Coke to jmurph
   173. Spivey Posted: May 12, 2014 at 10:59 AM (#4704920)
I used to root for Fulham. The thing I'll warn you about rooting for a side like Southampton is their team is likely going to be completely different in 3 years than it is this year. But I'm really excited to watch them next year if they can keep most of their players.

Once you get to the Everton/Tottenham/Liverpool level though, they actually can keep a lot of their best players as well as bring in other good players. Anyone below that and you will watch an exciting team turn into Fulham 2014 over a 2-3 year stretch, occasionally.
   174. Randy Jones Posted: May 12, 2014 at 10:59 AM (#4704921)
So Everton or Tottenham eh? Thanks for the input.

If you really want an underdog with an actual shot at competing with the big teams, those are your options. Definitely none of Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, or the Manchesters.
   175. jmurph Posted: May 12, 2014 at 11:01 AM (#4704925)
That's fair, Shooty, but I don't think there is any structural reason for them to be behind Everton over the long term, for instance. Spurs obviously have more money to spend, so they're probably in a higher class, but if (big if) Southampton handles the money well that they'll be getting from Lallana et al, they could remain in good shape.
   176. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: May 12, 2014 at 11:03 AM (#4704927)
Suarez is a gigantic #######, but he's one of the 5-ish best players in the world. It's like rooting for A-rod if A-rod was a huge racist. But as Walter Sobchak said, that creep can roll. Real Madrid has talked about coming for him, but he just signed a new contract and his biggest demand was Champion's League soccer. Liverpool refused to sell him last year when he was much more disgruntled. And I'm sure they watched what happened to Tottenham this year after selling Bale.

Liverpool have a great style to watch. Between their mediocre defense and great offense they have some very exciting games.

I'd probably pick Everton if not Liverpool, but so much of their ability to challenge for a top four spot is going to depend on their success in the loan market.

Tottenham is ok, I guess. ;-)

Southampton is a good choice too, they are certainly interesting and fun right now.
   177. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: May 12, 2014 at 11:08 AM (#4704931)
That's fair, Shooty, but I don't think there is any structural reason for them to be behind Everton over the long term

I hope they push on but historically they haven't. They were in the third division not so long ago. I'm not really sure why Southampton have traditionally struggled while Everton have never been relegated from the PL. Like most right-thinking people I like Southampton so I hope past is not prologue.

   178. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: May 12, 2014 at 11:11 AM (#4704936)
Pepe Mel has been given the sack. Tim Sherwood to West Brom? Would they do it?
   179. Randy Jones Posted: May 12, 2014 at 11:12 AM (#4704937)
I don't understand all the people suggesting Liverpool as an "underdog". They aren't. At all. It would be like suggesting someone root for the Red Sox after 2003 because they were an underdog. Liverpool happened to have a couple bad years that coincided with Tottenham having good years and City spending ridiculous amounts of money to improve their squad. If Liverpool qualify as an underdog right now, then so do United. I mean, they missed out on European competitions for next year.
   180. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: May 12, 2014 at 11:21 AM (#4704947)
I don't understand all the people suggesting Liverpool as an "underdog". They aren't. At all. It would be like suggesting someone root for the Red Sox after 2003 because they were an underdog.

As the entire American sports media did in 2003 and the preceding multiple decades.
   181. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: May 12, 2014 at 11:26 AM (#4704952)
Southampton are good and fun but I think their path is more likely to be what Fulham or Blackburn have done than what Everton/Tottenham have done. They've got a pretty great player development system but they lose them so rapidly and I think Pochettino is more likely to be managing someone else within twelve months than still at So'ton.
   182. Randy Jones Posted: May 12, 2014 at 11:27 AM (#4704953)
As the entire American sports media did in 2003 and the preceding multiple decades.

C'mon. Not only an appeal to authority, but an appeal to the authority of the "sports media". Do we really need to list all the things that sportswriters have said that are just obviously wrong?
   183. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: May 12, 2014 at 11:31 AM (#4704955)
Southampton are good and fun but I think their path is more likely to be what Fulham or Blackburn have done than what Everton/Tottenham have done. They've got a pretty great player development system but they lose them so rapidly and I think Pochettino is more likely to be managing someone else within twelve months than still at So'ton.

He's definitely leaving this summer and is one of the favorites for the Spurs job. It seems to be between him and Frank de Boer at this point.
   184. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: May 12, 2014 at 11:32 AM (#4704958)
I recommend following Bolton. They could get promoted next year! Or they could have an exciting experience like Portsmouth have had over the past 5 years! All doors are open.

They play in the exciting color scheme known as "white", they have the inspiring nickname "the Trotters", they play in the historic Reebok Stadium, their one legendary player was basically the Chuck Klein of British soccer in that his one skill would become impossible a couple decades later, they have no historic rivals who aren't more intense rivals with someone else… surely this is the team to follow.
   185. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: May 12, 2014 at 11:36 AM (#4704963)
If you want to root for a team that could win the title Liverpool are probably the most underdoggy option. United, City and Chelsea are obviously no which practically leaves Arsenal and Liverpool. Arsenal have won more recently than Liverpool and have always been a top four side. Liverpool dropped out for a few years there so there is a redemption aspect.
   186. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: May 12, 2014 at 11:47 AM (#4704980)
From my mouth to god's ears...the favorites for the West Brom job are Mackay, Moyes, Hughton and Tim Sherwood!
   187. J. Sosa Posted: May 12, 2014 at 11:48 AM (#4704984)
Southampton would be really frustrating to support. They churn out elite players but never keep any of them. Also as mentioned by others the guy that built the team (Cortese?) left and Pochettino is also probably on his way out.

As for Liverpool, I've made the comparison before and I think it is a decent one, that a Liverpool fan talking about being the underdog (as we are wont to do) is similar to a Red Sox fan (as we are/were wont to do) talking about being an underdog. When compared to City, Chelsea, Man U, and Arsenal it is true (as it is for the Red Sox and Yankees) but it tends to be profoundly irrating for people who follow the Southamptons and Tampas of the world. Liverpool is a giant club. If you take the artificial juggernauts out of the mix there are not many clubs that have greater resources than Liverpool.
   188. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: May 12, 2014 at 11:52 AM (#4704986)
If the governments of Qatar, Abu Dhabi and Russia suddenly bought the Orioles, White Sox and Blue Jays and gave them $400 million payrolls, the Yankees would be an underdog too.
   189. J. Sosa Posted: May 12, 2014 at 12:00 PM (#4704993)
That's a rather motley crew for West Brom Shooty. I'm not sure who I would want if I were a Baggies supporter from that lot. Not Hughton. Not Sherwood. Moyes probably needs a vacation. I think Mackay might be alright. I think there is one poster here (McoA?) that doesn't think Mackay is any good, but I think it is too early to say. The guys from the Watford incubator have done pretty well for themselves. Rodgers got a club promoted and finished second with Liverpool. Dyche took Burnley up. Mackay got to a Cup final, a promotion playoff, and promotion. It wasn't like Cardiff set the world on fire after he got fired.

Mackay may or may not be good, but of that lot, I think he might be the choice. They never should have binned Clarke.
   190. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: May 12, 2014 at 12:02 PM (#4704995)
Those are just the bookies favorites. They're hiring of Clarke and then Mel is a good indication West Brom are willing to look past the usual suspects for a manager. Paul Lambert will probably be available soon, too.
   191. I am going to be Frank Posted: May 12, 2014 at 12:04 PM (#4704999)
Bolton also has two Americans playing for them (well one who plays and one who is on the roster). However, I don't have the heart to follow a yo-yo club.

I've always liked watching Arsenal play. They were probably the most popular team among hipsters before soccer registered in the US, now, they're kind of a joke (fourth place trophy). However, they're still very good, play attractive football and don't have players that register high on the deplorable level. Plus, they may even win a real trophy this year! Everton and Spurs aren't terrible choices. West Ham and Newcastle are probably too unstable to be worth following. They'll just break your heart.

I started following Man U because of Ronaldo. I know that makes me a horrible person, but he really was awesome for United. A narcissist and diver for sure, but he was amazing. I also justified it (in my mind) because Chelsea had won two titles in a row.
   192. J. Sosa Posted: May 12, 2014 at 12:04 PM (#4705000)
As for England, it is kind of annoying. I don't see any reason they can't play as Liverpool lite, but they won't do it. I think the play would be to go with the young guys and try to run people off the pitch. Lallana fits well with the Liverpool contingent and Baines fits that style.

Actually, I think the play would have been to take Liverpools offense and Chelsea's defense. Despite Terry's rather substantial warts, an offense with Sturridge, Lallana, Henderson, Gerrard and Sterling and a defense of Cahill and Terry with Johnson and Baines would have had promise. But that's not what is going to happen.

edit to add: You aren't alone Frank. Recent conversation between the most talented of my sons and me:

Me: Madrid? You can't root for Madrid in the Champions league final. That's terrible!

Son: But they have Ronaldo! Ronaldo is awesome!

I've failed as a parent.
   193. jmurph Posted: May 12, 2014 at 12:06 PM (#4705004)
Right, Liverpool and even Spurs are not underdogs in any real sense, they've just underachieved (Liverpool of late, Spurs seemingly nearly always).

Depending on one's tolerance for persistent whining and interpreting all of the world's events in a way that flatters oneself, Arsenal are a perfectly worthy club to latch onto. Good style of play, mix of youth and established players, good business model if you're into that sort of thing.

EDIT: Sort of a Coke to Frank!
   194. jmurph Posted: May 12, 2014 at 12:09 PM (#4705008)
I wondered the same thing about Terry, Sosa. Is that a forced retirement? He's obviously better than Jones and Smalling and even Jagielka (though I get there is some positional versatility with those guys to consider).
   195. Randy Jones Posted: May 12, 2014 at 12:11 PM (#4705013)
Depending on one's tolerance for persistent whining and interpreting all of the world's events in a way that flatters oneself, Arsenal are a perfectly worthy club to latch onto. Good style of play, mix of youth and established players, good business model if you're into that sort of thing.

EDIT: Sort of a Coke to Frank!

Let me third this.

Arsenal also have a much, much less annoying fan base than Liverpool(no offense to our resident Liverpool fans, they aren't part of the problem).
   196. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: May 12, 2014 at 12:15 PM (#4705020)
Right, Liverpool and even Spurs are not underdogs in any real sense, they've just underachieved (Liverpool of late, Spurs seemingly nearly always).

How have Spurs underachieved? 5th, 5th, 4th, 5th, 4th and then 6th this year is right where they should be considering the money that has flooded into the coffers of Man City and Chelsea. This year was a disappointment place wise but 69 points is pretty close to where they've been the last 5 years. I don't see how anyone can equate Spurs with Liverpool as Liverpool has almost 50% more turnover than Spurs and, with CL now, will have almost double. Liverpool FC just like to pretend to slum like the trust fund wankers who have invaded Brooklyn.
   197. J. Sosa Posted: May 12, 2014 at 12:21 PM (#4705030)
Terry strikes me as one of the most vulnerable people in the universe to flattery, if he was truly wanted on the plane I would assume he would be going. But as others have stated, what is probably going to happen is a heavy dose of Gerrard and Lampard liquifying in the humidity while Sturridge plays out wide to accomodate Rooney and the back stumbles about in comedic fashion.

I'm a big believer in trying to maintain as much club continuity at international level as possible. For that reason alone Terry and Cahill are attractive.

No offense taken Randy. I've said for a long time Liverpool have the most annoying soccer fan base on the face of the planet. As in many things, it mirrors my Red Sox fandom. I would also say Red Sox fans are the most annoying in MLB.

edit to add: I think I would go with something like Hart, Baines, Cahill, Terry, Johnson, Gerrard, Wilshire, Lallana, Sterling, Sturridge, and Henderson. I think I would drop Rooney on reflection. That sounds crazy, but I think if they played that system they would be better off fielding someone else.
   198. I am going to be Frank Posted: May 12, 2014 at 12:23 PM (#4705034)
Terry has been very good this season and the fact that he plays with Cahill on the club level helps a lot, but alas he put himself into exile. He wanted out of the spotlight. Ever since he retired from international duty, his hated level has gone down a lot and he's played better.

I don't think Spurs have underachieved. Bale just upped the expectations first with his play and then from the windfall of his sale. They were better managed for a while but then City got their sugar daddy and Liverpool got their $hit together this season.
   199. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: May 12, 2014 at 12:33 PM (#4705044)
Know your enemy!

Goalkeepers: Adam Kwarasey, Fatau Dauda, Stephen Adams

Defenders: Samuel Inkoom, Daniel Opare, Harrison Afful, Jeffrey Schullp, John Boye, Jonathan Mensah, Jerry Akaminko, Rashid Sumaila

Midfielders: Michael Essien, Rabiu Mohammed, Agyemang Badu, Kwadwo Asamoah, Sulley Muntari, Albert Adomah, Wakasu Mubarak, Christian Atsu, David Accam, André Ayew, Afriyie Acquah

Strikers: Asamoah Gyan, Kevin Prince Boateng, Abdul Majeed Waris, Jordan Ayew
   200. jmurph Posted: May 12, 2014 at 12:33 PM (#4705045)
Flippity
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