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Monday, October 01, 2012

OT: The Soccer Thread: October

Kinsale’s: October 27!

Arsenal v. QPR
Wigan v. West Ham

And other exciting action*

Be there!

*But not United-Chelsea or the Spurs game, both of which were moved. Boo!

RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: October 01, 2012 at 04:22 AM | 654 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: soccer

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   1. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: October 01, 2012 at 07:52 AM (#4249712)
Zonal Marking on Man U- Spurs

He brings up the fatigue factor for Spurs. Now that the euphoria has died down, the fitness of the team is the one thing this season that worries me. They've had trouble finishing strong all season and it's only the first of October.
   2. zack Posted: October 01, 2012 at 10:22 AM (#4249795)
I might join you guys at the bar this time. Kinsale's in on the UES, right?

I am moving to NYC in a week or two, but my place is basically in Inwood so I'm not sure if the space shuttle program will be reactivated in time to get me down there.
   3. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: October 01, 2012 at 10:59 AM (#4249833)
Kinsale's is on 94th and 3rd, more or less.
   4. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: October 01, 2012 at 11:11 AM (#4249843)
Kinsale's is on 94th and 3rd, more or less.

Look for the GIANT Irish flag on the west side of 3rd avenue.
   5. Mattbert Posted: October 01, 2012 at 11:53 AM (#4249891)
Zonal Marking on Man U- Spurs

God dammit. I'd come to believe that Cox wasn't going to analyze Saturday's game for some reason, so I shamelessly aped his style in writing up a tactics-y blog post last night for the same site that carried my NYRB-THFC match report. Then I wake up this morning to discover that, not only has he written something about it for the Guardian, but he's got a full analysis up on ZM.

On the one hand, it's nice to have a ZM breakdown on a game Spurs actually won (first time that's happened in at least two years). On the other hand, I'm going to look like a mug when my post gets published tomorrow.
   6. Mattbert Posted: October 01, 2012 at 12:06 PM (#4249918)
He brings up the fatigue factor for Spurs. Now that the euphoria has died down, the fitness of the team is the one thing this season that worries me. They've had trouble finishing strong all season and it's only the first of October.

I'd say they finished pretty strong against Reading and QPR. Yes, they were totally gassed with 15-20 minutes left to play on Saturday, but I think there were a couple reasonable explanations for that.

One, they pressed very aggressively in the opening half hour and broke forward quickly as a unit when they won possession. All that running will take its toll; there aren't too many teams around that can maintain that ultra-high tempo for even an hour, let alone the whole game.

Two, United were just flat out fantastic in the second half. Spurs never had the ball for more than about ten seconds. They just couldn't keep it long enough to give themselves even a short breather. I don't know whether that was a cause of the fatigue or a symptom, probably a bit of both. With United pummeling them, Spurs were so deep and just didn't have the legs to be dangerous on the break or get up and support Defoe. There were about three or four counter-attacking opportunities where a fresher Bale, Vertonghen, or Demebele would have caused major problems for United, but the key pass went astray or a touch was too heavy and United was able to recover and win the ball back.

The other charitable interpretation is that it probably takes more than a few months to build up the sort of fitness levels required to sustain AVB's high tempo style over longer periods.
   7. Mattbert Posted: October 01, 2012 at 03:20 PM (#4250161)
West Ham with an early goal from Matt Jarvis at Loftus Road. Told you he was worth every penny, RB!

QPR staggering down the road towards two points from eight games. And we all know what that means...
   8. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: October 01, 2012 at 03:21 PM (#4250162)
Winston Reid just got knocked the #### out by his own keeper.

QPR staggering down the road towards two points from eight games. And we all know what that means...

It's going to happen, isn't it?
   9. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: October 01, 2012 at 03:37 PM (#4250179)
It's not pretty, but West Ham's tactic of throwing the ball in the box and banging it around sure is working. Julio Cesar must be wondering what the hell he's gotten himself into. Meanwhile, 'Arry just told Sandra to pack him up some bacon sandwiches as he may be making a trip to London tomorrow...
   10. ursus arctos Posted: October 01, 2012 at 04:04 PM (#4250214)
Inwood to Kinsale's is really quite easy.

Depending on what is closer, take the 1 to 96th or the A to 125th and then the C to 96th and then take the 96th street bus cross town.
   11. ursus arctos Posted: October 01, 2012 at 04:59 PM (#4250280)
'arry for the R's?

In your heart, you know it would be hilarious.
   12. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: October 01, 2012 at 05:03 PM (#4250285)
An away win! Thank you, Matt Jarvis. Worth every pence and more!

EDIT: Mark Hughes not looking long for the job, since they have to travel to West Brom and Arsenal for two of their next three. Five points through nine games is exactly the kind of thing that gets 'Arry 'ired. I hope Tony Fernandes is ready to open the checkbook. I wonder how long it will take him to get Crouch...
   13. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: October 01, 2012 at 05:23 PM (#4250305)
'arry for the R's?

In your heart, you know it would be hilarious.


Hilarious, of course, but I think he could do a job for them. He could even get Parker and Dawson from Spurs in January, probably. Those two love Harry and they'd be automatic first 11 again.

Harry would have to pull Crouch out of Tony Pulis' cold dead hands, I think. And yes, that's as close to onanistic imagery as I care to get in a public forum.
   14. Mattbert Posted: October 01, 2012 at 06:25 PM (#4250346)
Mark Hughes not looking long for the job, since they have to travel to West Brom and Arsenal for two of their next three. Five points through nine games is exactly the kind of thing that gets 'Arry 'ired.

QPR host Everton between those two away days, as well. I don't know if even five points from nine games is a real good bet at this rate.

It would, of course, be a 'triffic irony if Harry got hired at that point, because six points from nine games (from the 5-2 loss at the Emirates through the 0-1 loss to, who else, QPR at the Lane) is, as much as anything else, what got Harry the other kind of 'ired this summer.
   15. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: October 01, 2012 at 06:40 PM (#4250359)
Since being promoted QPR have already brought in new players from Tottenham, Fulham, West Ham, Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United, Manchester City, Newcastle, Sunderland, Aston Villa, Blackburn, Marseille, Nancy, Lazio, Inter, and Real Madrid. How much more checkbook opening will they have to do?
   16. Mattbert Posted: October 01, 2012 at 06:48 PM (#4250371)
The kind that doesn't involve Mark Hughes.
   17. Juan V Posted: October 02, 2012 at 05:11 AM (#4250694)
Euro 2020 to be split all over the continent

A pretty cool idea, if you ask me.
   18. Flynn Posted: October 02, 2012 at 06:10 AM (#4250697)
That's how Euros used to be before 1980. I quite like it, though realistically the reason it is happening is because nobody wants to spend the money on the Euros in a time of austerity.
   19. Mattbert Posted: October 02, 2012 at 08:58 AM (#4250759)
Just in case anyone hasn't had their fill of blather about the Man United v Spurs match, my first stab at shamelessly aping Michael Cox has been "published".
   20. DA Baracus Posted: October 02, 2012 at 09:26 AM (#4250790)
Since being promoted QPR have already brought in new players from Tottenham, Fulham, West Ham, Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United, Manchester City, Newcastle, Sunderland, Aston Villa, Blackburn, Marseille, Nancy, Lazio, Inter, and Real Madrid. How much more checkbook opening will they have to do?


They'll have to buy out Sven's contract in Thailand.
   21. Mattbert Posted: October 02, 2012 at 09:47 AM (#4250828)
It seems there's a distinct lack of sunshine and lollipops in Basque country.
In an incident filmed by Basque TV station EITB, Bielsa halted a practice game to criticise what he had seen. After an exchange of views, Llorente walked off the pitch alone, and the session finished without him. The Spanish international later left the training ground without speaking to reporters.

[...]

Amid this unsettling situation Bielsa has used the powerful centre-forward sparingly so far this campaign, with six substitute appearances across La Liga and the Europa League bringing one goal.
   22. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 02, 2012 at 01:27 PM (#4251121)
They'll have to buy out Sven's contract in Thailand.
Not to mention covering the relocation costs for his wives.

Also, the last 20 minutes of Celtic-Spartak should be fun. Spartak down to 10, should get both sides pretty open.
   23. Mattbert Posted: October 02, 2012 at 02:13 PM (#4251221)
Also, the last 20 minutes of Celtic-Spartak should be fun.

Well, well. Look at Nostradamus here.
   24. I am going to be Frank Posted: October 02, 2012 at 02:17 PM (#4251231)
Celtic top of their group! The Russian billionaire that owns Spartak must be pissed. Is Benfica any good? Could Celtic advance?
   25. ursus arctos Posted: October 02, 2012 at 02:50 PM (#4251303)
Benfica are decent, but flaky. Celtic have an outside chance, but have to play Barcelona when the result will still matter to FCB.

Spartak don't really have an oligarch.
   26. I am going to be Frank Posted: October 02, 2012 at 02:56 PM (#4251312)
United seem to be playing a 4-3-1-2 formation but its very fluid. Fletcher is playing deep closest to the defense while everyone else is pretty fluid. Looks like they're not quite used to it. Still vulnerable on set pieces.
   27. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: October 02, 2012 at 03:07 PM (#4251322)
Spartak don't really have an oligarch.

Yeah, let's not talk crap about Spartak, the greatest club in Russia.
   28. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: October 02, 2012 at 03:08 PM (#4251324)
Come on United! If you lose it makes Tottenham's win look much less impressive, damn it.
   29. ursus arctos Posted: October 02, 2012 at 03:21 PM (#4251341)
Speaking of oligarchs, BATE leading early against Bayern.
   30. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: October 02, 2012 at 03:24 PM (#4251350)
Pedro should have been sent off for a second yellow there.
   31. I am going to be Frank Posted: October 02, 2012 at 03:53 PM (#4251395)
RVP with a nice finish. Keeper should have gotten that.
   32. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: October 02, 2012 at 04:05 PM (#4251410)
RVP with a nice finish. Keeper should have gotten that.

Aren't these two statements contradictory?

I'm currently watching BATE-Bayern because of the shocking scoreline. Frankly, BATE have had the better chances in the second half so far.
   33. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 02, 2012 at 04:20 PM (#4251436)
BATE have been legitimately good. This is a deserved lead.
   34. ursus arctos Posted: October 02, 2012 at 04:21 PM (#4251438)
Looks like Puyol has broken his arm.
   35. President of the David Eckstein Fan Club Posted: October 02, 2012 at 04:22 PM (#4251439)
BATE Borisov up 2-0 now(!)
   36. I am going to be Frank Posted: October 02, 2012 at 04:46 PM (#4251470)
It was pass over the top that the keeper probably should have gotten. Instead, RVP got to it first and flicked it with his foot in.
   37. ursus arctos Posted: October 02, 2012 at 04:46 PM (#4251471)
BATE master Bayern.

3-1 the final.

Early reports are that the Puyol injury is "only" a dislocated elbow, which would be incredibly lucky.
   38. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: October 02, 2012 at 05:50 PM (#4251550)
BATE master Bayern.

3-1 the final.

Early reports are that the Puyol injury is "only" a dislocated elbow, which would be incredibly lucky.

Early reports are that FPH was dancing naked in the street.
   39. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: October 02, 2012 at 07:43 PM (#4251710)
It was pass over the top that the keeper probably should have gotten. Instead, RVP got to it first and flicked it with his foot in.

Thanks. I wasn't watching that game so those statements next to each other seemed weird to me.
   40. Mattbert Posted: October 02, 2012 at 09:01 PM (#4251775)
Early reports are that the Puyol injury is "only" a dislocated elbow, which would be incredibly lucky.

Indeed. That was right up there with Rooney's leg for most gruesome injury of the season so far. Hopefully there won't be any more contenders.
   41. Mattbert Posted: October 03, 2012 at 07:22 AM (#4252122)
BATE master Bayern.

And I just got this. Surprisingly juvenile from the bear, but funny.
   42. Mattbert Posted: October 03, 2012 at 11:52 AM (#4252402)
Peter Ridsdale gets a pee-pee slap:
Football club chairman Peter Ridsdale has been disqualified from acting as a company director for seven and a half years, the Insolvency Service has said.

His sports consultancy collapsed in 2009 owing £442,353 in tax.

An inquiry found that the 60-year-old channelled payments from football clubs into his personal bank account instead of a company account.

Mr Ridsdale, now chairman of Preston North End, said his lawyers were studying advice he was given.
   43. ursus arctos Posted: October 03, 2012 at 12:28 PM (#4252440)
That last line makes no sense.
   44. Mattbert Posted: October 03, 2012 at 01:01 PM (#4252481)
Yes, it's all a bit bizarre and, perhaps unsurprisingly, lawyerishly pedantic:
The ban prevents Mr Ridsdale from acting as a director, but also from taking part - directly or indirectly - in the promotion, formation or management of a company.

A spokesman for the Insolvency Service said: "It is up to Mr Ridsdale or the club to decide what his work is and whether or not he is involved in the management or control of the club. We do not know what his terms and conditions are."

In a statement, Mr Ridsdale said: "I am currently undertaking a role of Chairman of Football at Preston North End but am not a director nor at any time have I sought to be one.

"The issues that have brought about this voluntary undertaking are currently in the hands of my lawyers who are dealing with all outstanding issues including the professional advice that was given to both myself and my personal company at the time."
Sounds like he needs to hire The Bobs from Office Space.

"So, Peter. What would you say...you do here?"
   45. Topher Posted: October 03, 2012 at 01:02 PM (#4252483)
Anybody watch the Chelsea game yesterday?

I thought Michael Parkhurst looked very good for most of the game. He shut down Victor Moses and while I'm not sure how much he had to do with keeping Ashley Cole in check, you didn't see Cole in the Chelsea attack much. When Cole did make runs, Parkhurst kept him in check. On the offensive end, Parkhurst wasn't afraid to go forward and did a very nice job of making runs and distributing the ball once it was fed to him. He had two very good crosses that could have converted into goals for Nordsjælland. I was impressed with the distribution, more so because I would think the natural tendency would be to stay at home against an opponent like Chelsea.

That said, he committed the foul on Torres in 80th after getting muscled off and that freekick ended up being a David Luiz goal that made it 2-0. I somewhat excuse Parkhurst for that, he was trying to defend Torres after the defender that was marking Torres failed, so Parkhurst was put in a difficult position. I blame the other defender much more for getting beat by Torres in the first place than I do Parkhurst for having to foul him.

And the other big negative was that he probably was at fault on the Ramires goal in minute 89 that made it 4-0. I'm probably sounding like a Parkhurst apologist but I also think it's hard to blame him too much for this. He was sort of in no man's land. He was responsible for tracking Hazzard on the wing and Oscar ended up making a very good run and Parkhurst ended up being a bit too far away to switch to Oscar. He was being asked to mark two players. The central mid should have been tracking Oscar's run. I think that goal was probably more a result of a Nordsjælland team that had sort of given up being down 3-0 after really pushing it to Chelsea for a good portion of the 2nd half and looking like it would tie the game.

It's kind of hard to walk away impressed with a fullback's performance when he is responsible for giving up two goals but I somehow pulled that off. He was really good for 89 minutes and I think the two he conceded were as much the fault of his teammates than Parkhurst. If Klinsmann were to have watched the game, I think he would have liked what he saw. Especially since Cherundolo probably won't be in the picture much longer.
   46. JuanGone..except1game Posted: October 03, 2012 at 01:15 PM (#4252495)
Anybody watch the Chelsea game yesterday?


Despite the final score (which doesn't reflect most of the game), I thought Nordsjaelland was quite good especially in defense. Parkhurst was extremely solid and did negate Moses for most of the match. However, the best player on the pitch might have been Okore. He's a really good young CD (20 year old) and I wouldn't be suprised to see a ManU or Arsenal go after him. Reminds me a bit of Agger in his aggressivness.
   47. I am going to be Frank Posted: October 03, 2012 at 01:39 PM (#4252525)
Hulk is amazing. Neither defense is any good. Abbiati the fascist is having a great game.
   48. Topher Posted: October 03, 2012 at 01:39 PM (#4252526)
Agreed on Okore. He's was very good. I also thought he might have had a concussion. He really didn't look like he was there mentally as they were applying stitches to him on the sideline. I was shocked when he returned to the pitch.

And of course, I'd add Chelsea as a team that might go after him.
   49. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: October 03, 2012 at 03:33 PM (#4252633)
Poor finishing and good goalkeeping. Game should be about 2:2.
   50. Mefisto Posted: October 03, 2012 at 04:12 PM (#4252684)
Man City certainly is giving us some entertaining games in the CL.
   51. Swedish Chef Posted: October 03, 2012 at 04:33 PM (#4252719)
I've forgotten to keep track, is Ronaldo still sad?
   52. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: October 03, 2012 at 04:38 PM (#4252737)
Lame.
   53. jmurph Posted: October 03, 2012 at 06:12 PM (#4252940)
Another really disappointing performance by City in the Champions League. Without a handful of brilliant saves by Hart, this one is 4 or 5 to 1.
   54. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: October 03, 2012 at 11:19 PM (#4253383)
Just watched the highlights of the City game. What a terrible penalty call.
   55. jmurph Posted: October 04, 2012 at 08:35 AM (#4253552)
Just watched the highlights of the City game. What a terrible penalty call.


I never know with that kind of call. It was obviously unavoidable, then again there's a reason guys try to keep their arms down by their side when they're in that position.
   56. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: October 04, 2012 at 08:43 AM (#4253556)
It's kind of hard to walk away impressed with a fullback's performance when he is responsible for giving up two goals but I somehow pulled that off.


I didn't see it but this sounds like the opposite of a forward who plays a "bad game" but scores two goals. At some point you have to consider what the job is and for the fullback that is to keep the ball out of the net. If he was wholly or partially responsible for 2 goals in 90 minutes it's hard for me to get too excited by it.
   57. ursus arctos Posted: October 04, 2012 at 10:45 AM (#4253682)
The interesting question posed by 55 is whether UEFA referees are actually now taking the position that defenders in the box should always lock their hands behind their backs when faced with an attacking player in some space. That particular tactic didn't even exist a decade ago, but it seems to be spreading, and decisions like last night's will only make it more popular.
   58. zack Posted: October 04, 2012 at 11:05 AM (#4253726)
The interesting question posed by 55 is whether UEFA referees are actually now taking the position that defenders in the box should always lock their hands behind their backs when faced with an attacking player in some space. That particular tactic didn't even exist a decade ago, but it seems to be spreading, and decisions like last night's will only make it more popular.

Subotic was launching into a tackle, though, I don't think you can expect defenders to run and tackle effectively with their arms behind their backs. I can see it waiting for a move though.
   59. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 04, 2012 at 12:17 PM (#4253848)
Good but incomplete-feeling piece in the Guardian on Luka Modric. Apparently a Spanish documentary crew went back to his hometown and did a short film on his family and personal history.
Next to it is the village of Modrici (plural for Modric), where the Real player's family lived. Further up the narrow and winding road that goes up the Velebit mountain range – one of only two pathways which connected the north and south of Croatia before the modern motorway was built in the last decade – there is a lone house on the curve where Modric spent most of his early childhood. This is where his grandfather, after whom he was named, used to live.

Two decades ago, this was the scene of gruesome war crimes and there are still signs all around indicating the surroundings are not yet cleared of landmines. As Croatia declared its independence, local Serbs captured the area with the help of the Yugoslav army and nationalist volunteers from Serbia, trying to cut off communication and transport between the two parts of the country. On 18 December 1991, Luka Modric senior went up the hill with his cattle. He was murdered in cold blood.
...
"There was this boy who used to kick the ball around the hotel parking lot all day," says NK Zadar's chairman, Josip Bajlo. "He was skinny and really small for his age, but you could see right away that he had that something special in him. However, none of us could have dreamed that one day he would grow to become the player he is now."

"We were always afraid, that's what I remember the most," says Tomislav Basic, one of Modric's early coaches at NK Zadar. "Thousands of grenades, fired from the surrounding hills, fell on the training pitch in those years, and we were always racing to reach the shelter. Football was our escape from reality."
   60. Mattbert Posted: October 04, 2012 at 12:37 PM (#4253875)
Villas-Boas has selected another strong team for the Europa League today:

Lloris
Walker, Dawson, Caulker, Vertonghen
Huddlestone, Dembele
Lennon, Dempsey, Bale
Defoe

Subs: Cudicini, Gallas, Sandro, Sigurdsson, Falque, Mason, Townsend
   61. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: October 04, 2012 at 12:45 PM (#4253893)
Villas-Boas does not screw around in Cup competitions.
   62. Mattbert Posted: October 04, 2012 at 12:50 PM (#4253898)
He backed it off a notch or three for the League Cup fixture at Carlisle, but yes he certainly has given every indication through both word and deed that he'd quite like to win the Europa League again. I have a hunch he will start "rotating" more aggressively if Tottenham are in a strong position in their group after the next couple rounds of the group stage.
   63. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 04, 2012 at 12:52 PM (#4253902)
I'm a little afraid that Dembele's legs are going to come flying off his body at some point. He and Defoe both seemed pretty cooked at the end of the United game. But I much prefer to see Spurs trying to win cups and build themselves into a Europe-competing side than the alternative.
   64. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: October 04, 2012 at 12:59 PM (#4253918)
I would have liked to have seen Townsend for Bale this game, I think. There's no cover for Defoe yet but hopefully Adebayor will be fit for Sunday to give the little man a rest. Until Livermore or Parker are fit, I guess Dembele will be seeing a lot of minutes, as will Vertonghen until Naughton or BAE can play. Cross your fingers no one gets hurt today--we have no cover anywhere!
   65. I am going to be Frank Posted: October 04, 2012 at 01:03 PM (#4253926)
Wasn't one of the big criticisms of 'Arry was his unwillingness to rotate? Definitely a strong team. Its nice that Dempsey is the obvious first choice in the hole.
   66. Mattbert Posted: October 04, 2012 at 01:05 PM (#4253929)
We're down to the bare bones!
   67. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: October 04, 2012 at 01:42 PM (#4254014)
Huddlestone so close to getting his haircut...
   68. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: October 04, 2012 at 02:38 PM (#4254173)
The interesting question posed by 55 is whether UEFA referees are actually now taking the position that defenders in the box should always lock their hands behind their backs when faced with an attacking player in some space. That particular tactic didn't even exist a decade ago, but it seems to be spreading, and decisions like last night's will only make it more popular.

I am obviously biased, but I will just point out that FIFA's rules are very clear, that intent is all that matters.
   69. ursus arctos Posted: October 04, 2012 at 02:49 PM (#4254205)
Indeed, but what I'm wondering is if at least some officials have decided that intent can be inferred when the defender's hands aren't clasped behind his back.

That certainly seemed to be the "standard" applied last night.
   70. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: October 04, 2012 at 02:55 PM (#4254215)
Well, that was kind of passionless and dull. Results this year haven't been any better than last year even with more first teamers playing. AVB might want to win this, but I'm not sure the fire for it is in the players yet.
   71. Mefisto Posted: October 04, 2012 at 02:56 PM (#4254218)
I really can't see "intent" with Subotic. He was standing about a yard away and the ball appeared to hit his chest first. Very harsh call; Dortmund deserved to win, though Hart was sensational.
   72. SuperGrover Posted: October 05, 2012 at 01:46 PM (#4255224)
He brings up the fatigue factor for Spurs. Now that the euphoria has died down, the fitness of the team is the one thing this season that worries me. They've had trouble finishing strong all season and it's only the first of October.


Interesting then that AVB is fielding full squads for Europa league matches.
   73. SuperGrover Posted: October 05, 2012 at 02:06 PM (#4255241)
Another really disappointing performance by City in the Champions League. Without a handful of brilliant saves by Hart, this one is 4 or 5 to 1.


I thought they were doing okay (not great, but at least on near even terms) until the 3-5-2 was rolled out. Holy Hell are they terrible in that formation.

Someone is going to have to explain to me why Mancini would choose a formation that highlights the team's primary weakness (solid backline) at the expense of it's strength (forwards and creative mids). Seems baffling to me.

Anyone have any good reason why he's trying it other than the fact he is Italian (it is quite common in Serie A, no)?

Just wondering.
   74. SuperGrover Posted: October 05, 2012 at 02:08 PM (#4255244)
Just in case anyone hasn't had their fill of blather about the Man United v Spurs match, my first stab at shamelessly aping Michael Cox has been "published".


Well written, but you've got to get rid of the dark background and light font. It is so painful and jarring.

   75. jmurph Posted: October 05, 2012 at 02:26 PM (#4255264)
Someone is going to have to explain to me why Mancini would choose a formation that highlights the team's primary weakness (solid backline) at the expense of it's strength (forwards and creative mids). Seems baffling to me.


I'm not going to defend it, but he seems to think that they're going to dominate the ball to an extent that it won't matter. Unfortunately, it's not working. I also don't get why Lescott has been buried this year.
   76. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: October 05, 2012 at 02:29 PM (#4255265)
Anyone have any good reason why he's trying it other than the fact he is Italian (it is quite common in Serie A, no)?


I think the easy answer is the right one here. Even the best managers/coaches have systems they just feel a little more comfortable with. It's why speedy 2nd baseman with .307 OBPs get lead off jobs and why closers have jobs. You're completely right about it being a lousy formation for City. They look incredibly uncomfortable in it.
   77. Mattbert Posted: October 05, 2012 at 02:29 PM (#4255267)
Well written, but you've got to get rid of the dark background and light font. It is so painful and jarring.

Thank you. I agree re: the site design, but it ain't my site.
   78. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: October 05, 2012 at 06:10 PM (#4255570)
Someone is going to have to explain to me why Mancini would choose a formation that highlights the team's primary weakness (solid backline) at the expense of it's strength (forwards and creative mids). Seems baffling to me.


First of all, a back 3 can actually help a shaky back line. A back 4 is a very static construct, and is basically only as good as the weakest link of the chain, since that's the point the other team will usually use to attack. A back 3 with 2 wingbacks allows for much more flexibility if executed well. You basically can move protection and defenders around so that you always have the opponent outnumbered in he key areas. Of course to pull it off, you need to understand what those areas are at various points in the game, and you need players who understand their responsibilities in the scheme, and have the versatility to play out of position at least some of the time.

Secondly, when did City's defense turn into immobile, calamitous shell of its former self? They allowed the fewest goals in the PL last season. Clichy, in particular, has become a liability. I am surprised Dortmund didn't switch Reus to that side (he plays in that position frequently). i think he's the type of player that would have totally overwhelmed him.

And I know everybody wants to highlight the switch from a back 4, because that's when they conceded, but that ignores 2 key factors to me. One, the goal came from a terrible pass from Rodwell. That kind of "assist" would have been lethal with any defensive formation. And two, it's not like Dortmund wasn't creating chances practically at will before the change. As I said they should have scored at least 2 by half time. Yes they looked bad after the switch... but they looked bad all night.
And the main reason Dortmund was getting those chances imo was because City couldn't deal with their pressing and their tempo (which did cause Dortmund some issues of their own defensively). I think Mancini made the switch for 2 reasons. First to spread out his team more, in order to open up more passing lanes, to prevent turning the ball over in key areas, and allowing Dortmund to break, which had been an issue all night. And secondly to give the team the defensive flexibility and structure to deal with those breaks when they did invariably occur. It didn't work, but I can see why he felt he needed to do something, because City were getting steamrolled at the back.
   79. I am going to be Frank Posted: October 05, 2012 at 06:22 PM (#4255601)
Regarding Clichy - Wegner is all about selling a year too early rather than a year too late. Mancini seems to be unhappy with Lescott and the new guy is young, so switching from four to three in the back could have confused him.
   80. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 06, 2012 at 08:00 AM (#4256606)
I thought that the reason the City fullbacks were struggling with a back four was the lack of defensive width in midfield, leaving Clichy defending 2-on-1 far too often. So the idea of going 3-5-2 was to have an extra man defending on the wings. The problem was that Lewandowski, Reus, and Goetze were to screw with the shape of City's back three and the wing-backs didn't do a good defensive job - just as they hadn't against Madrid.
   81. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 06, 2012 at 09:47 AM (#4256649)
The Fox Soccer crew will not shut up about handshakes. I propose that we create a separate, Fox Handshakefulness premium channel and give Wynalda and Twellman their own show on that network, so they can talk about ####### soccer on the soccer channel.

Twellman just dropped the classic, "now people are going to be talking about the handshake instead of the game." You're on television yourself! You can choose to talk about the game!
   82. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: October 06, 2012 at 10:05 AM (#4256658)
I'm a bit confused. Isn't Terry supposed to be suspended? He didn't serve it already did he?
   83. Swedish Chef Posted: October 06, 2012 at 10:15 AM (#4256659)
I'm a bit confused. Isn't Terry supposed to be suspended? He didn't serve it already did he?

He hasn't decided if he is going to appeal yet.
   84. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: October 06, 2012 at 12:07 PM (#4256718)
Chelsea today: good attack, poor defending. Norwich barely had the ball, and everytime they put the ball in the box they looked dangerous. Although Chelsea should have had 3 penalties, the shirt pull on Terry was F!@#ing egregious
   85. Mattbert Posted: October 06, 2012 at 12:10 PM (#4256720)
QPR continue the seemingly inexorable march to two points from eight games.
   86. I am going to be Frank Posted: October 06, 2012 at 12:31 PM (#4256732)
I think Wegner has put Giroud in for defensive purposes. Nolan is going is going to present a problem. Arteta and Ramsey can't handle his physicalness. Last time Carroll played against Arsenal, Vermaelen put him in his pocket.
   87. DA Baracus Posted: October 06, 2012 at 12:43 PM (#4256741)
He hasn't decided if he is going to appeal yet.


No doubt stalling to get it to happen some point in November and December when the schedule is Liverpool, West Brom, Man City, Fulham, West Ham, Sunderland, Southampton, Aston Villa, Norwich, Everton, QPR and Stoke. The rest of October is Spurs then Man U back to back. Delay the appeal as long as possible to try to play those games then take it the suspension when the schedule gets easier.

It works in baseball.
   88. I am going to be Frank Posted: October 06, 2012 at 12:50 PM (#4256751)
My semi-bold prediction has gone out the window as Carroll looking very good on knocking balls down even against Vermaelen.
   89. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: October 06, 2012 at 12:51 PM (#4256752)
Not that I'll complain, but that goal West Ham just scored should be in the dictionary next to "Against the Run of Play"
   90. JuanGone..except1game Posted: October 06, 2012 at 01:52 PM (#4256799)
Chelsea today: good attack, poor defending. Norwich barely had the ball, and everytime they put the ball in the box they looked dangerous. Although Chelsea should have had 3 penalties, the shirt pull on Terry was F!@#ing egregious


That was completely excessive, but I felt for the ref in that spot with the game headed to an even more humiliating finish.

Grant Holt was complete class today, though you can't say that for the rest of his squad. That's a man that I wouldn't mind having a pint with, though I'm guessing bare knuckle brawls follows him from pub to pub.
   91. Mattbert Posted: October 07, 2012 at 09:41 AM (#4257611)
Lloris gets the nod for the Villa game today. Friedel on the bench.

Praise Jebus. Now keep it tight please, Hugo.
   92. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: October 07, 2012 at 09:56 AM (#4257614)
Lloris. Wow!
   93. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: October 07, 2012 at 10:25 AM (#4257623)
Southampton-Fulham put on a bit of a show the last twenty minutes. Good stuff.
   94. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: October 07, 2012 at 11:45 AM (#4257673)
The more I watch Tom Cleverley the more I like him. He seems incredibly composed on the ball and I rarely see him make a mistake.

Conversely, is there any other EPL keeper who looks more incompetent on crosses than De Gea, he is a mess.
   95. Mefisto Posted: October 07, 2012 at 11:50 AM (#4257677)
That breaks Friedel's consecutive game streak. Had to happen some time, I guess.
   96. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: October 07, 2012 at 12:00 PM (#4257688)
Not bad for Lloris, but not flawless. He looks the part to play the sweeper keeper role but he didn't show the safest pair of hands and he can't afford to give up the ball on throws. A little over aggressive, there. Dempsey had a poor game, sadly. As good as Defoe has been this year, Spurs are so much more creative when Adebayor comes in. Defoe is a good counterattacking striker but Adebayor can really pick apart a defense by involving other players in quick one-touch passing. Selection headaches for AVB!

Looking at the stats I assume it was a really frustrating draw for Liverpool. I guess Spurs just made Man U angry...
   97. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: October 07, 2012 at 12:04 PM (#4257694)
Looking at the stats I assume it was a really frustrating draw for Liverpool.

Is there any other kind against Stoke?

Good to see Newcastle is well under way to their biannual slaughtering by Man U.
   98. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: October 07, 2012 at 12:08 PM (#4257697)
Liverpool have only won twice at Anfield in 2012 in the League. That's really remarkable. I know they're down but watching them play a lot, they just feel a lot better than their results. It's weird.
   99. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: October 07, 2012 at 12:17 PM (#4257706)
Grant Holt was complete class today, though you can't say that for the rest of his squad. That's a man that I wouldn't mind having a pint with, though I'm guessing bare knuckle brawls follows him from pub to pub.


he was much better than Torres for sure. It's weird, torres obviously has confidence problems and a body totally lacking any pace, but he's doing a lot of dirty work, which is nice to see. This is like Shevchenko 06-07, the skill is obviously there, the confidence and pace is not, but still trying
   100. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: October 07, 2012 at 12:30 PM (#4257721)
Did I mention I like Tom Cleverley? What a ####### goal!
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