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Tuesday, September 03, 2013

OT: The Soccer Thread, September 2013

Some key dates for this month, now that the transfer madness is over and we can focus on the actual competitions:

September 6th: Costa Rica vs USA CONCACAF WC Qualifying
September 10th: USA vs Mexico CONCACAF WC Qualifying
September 14th: Everton vs Chelsea, Inter vs Juventus, Dortmund to fry Hamburglar
September 16th: Swansea City vs Liverpool
September 17th: UEFA CL group play begins featuring Man U vs Bayer Leverkusen. Also, San Joe Earthquakes vs Montreal Impact in CONCACAF CL
September 18th: UEFA CL group play continues featuring Napoli vs Dortmund. The Galaxy take on Isidro Metapan in CONCACAF. Brazil faces Argentina in a friendly. Again.
September 19th: Europa group play begins featuring, of course, Spurs vs Tromso. Also, the pick of the games is probably Valencia v Swansea City or Fiorentina v Pacos de Ferreira or Real Betis v Lyon.
September 21st: The hollow shells of Valencia host the possibly hollower shells of Sevilla. Schalke vs Bayern Munich.
September 22nd: Man City vs Man United. Roma vs Lazio. Milan vs Napoli. PSV Eindhoven vs Ajax.
September 25th: Man U vs Liverpool in the League Cup. Freiburg host Stuttgart in another Cup derby.
September 26th: Inter vs Fiorentina
September 28th: Tottenham vs Chelsea, Real Madrid vs Atletico Madrid
September 29th: Torino vs Juventus
September 30th: Everton vs Newcastle

 

 

 

 

 

Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: September 03, 2013 at 08:49 AM | 1037 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: off topic, soccer

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   1. PepTech Posted: September 03, 2013 at 12:24 PM (#4533316)
September 13: Seattle vs RSL
September 21: Galaxy vs Seattle

/SSFCTF
   2. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: September 03, 2013 at 12:28 PM (#4533324)
I wasn't sure which games were really big for MSL. I was looking for Cascadia games and stuff like San Jose vs LA and such and so nothing stood out. Though I guess with Dempsey every Sounders game is an event!

(I refuse to mock Seattle because if I ever get to move to Port Angeles, they'll be my local club. Then again, the Red Bulls are right now and I mock them...)
   3. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: September 03, 2013 at 12:33 PM (#4533331)
USWNT have a friendly against Mexico today in Washington DC. Some other NWSL news: Erika Tymrak is going to play for Bayern Munich until December. She was one of the breakout stars in the NWSL and it's probably to further enhance her pre-USWNT resume to try and get a stable place on the team.

I mentioned I was interested to see how Portland played without Morgan, given that Morgan and Partlow-Cone's styles did not seem to match. Well, we have a decent answer: they play much better, much more physically, and much stronger in the midfield. We're almost certainly not going to see Morgan leave Portland, but they'll definitely have to alter their style next season.

Also Carli Lloyd shoots waaay too much. I know Mefisto's been banging that drum for a while and it was super evident in the final.
   4. Swedish Chef Posted: September 03, 2013 at 12:34 PM (#4533333)
A Saudi prince has bought half of Sheffield United, for any bandwagon jumpers out there who want to get in early.
   5. jmurph Posted: September 03, 2013 at 12:41 PM (#4533339)
Just want to get my regular complaint on record that I hate these damn international breaks. What am I supposed to do over waffles on Saturday morning, I ask you? Parent my infant child? Be an attentive husband?
   6. PepTech Posted: September 03, 2013 at 12:47 PM (#4533345)
Well, I'd say consecutive matches against the top two teams in the standings, when you're sitting third with games in hand, qualify as "big".

I'm not sure what the deal was with the Sounders' schedule - four games fewer than RSL at this stage in the season is kinda nutty. Only two in hand over the Galaxy, but they're congested with CCL ties... with the depth on SSFC they have a great shot at the Shield this year. Amazing, considering how crappy they started, but no team has stuck out this season.
   7. PepTech Posted: September 03, 2013 at 12:49 PM (#4533347)
Shooty, on an aside, I haven't been paying attention this summer - what would bring you to Port Angeles? Apart from the crab, and hiking Hurricane Ridge...
   8. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: September 03, 2013 at 01:00 PM (#4533355)
Shooty, on an aside, I haven't been paying attention this summer - what would bring you to Port Angeles? Apart from the crab, and hiking Hurricane Ridge...

At the foot of a great national park, a half hour from the ocean, a ferry ride away from Seattle, mild weather...why isn't everyone there?
   9. PepTech Posted: September 03, 2013 at 01:06 PM (#4533360)
Proximity to Forks has become more of a bug than a feature lately, unless you're on Team Edward. And I imagine for many the employment opportunities are a stumbling block. In these days of virtual meetings, though, this becomes less important.

So then why are you waiting? :) And you forgot the quick hop to Victoria...
   10. ursus arctos Posted: September 03, 2013 at 01:07 PM (#4533362)
I was going to plug the ferry hop as a possible basis for considering the Whitecaps one's local team.
   11. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: September 03, 2013 at 01:11 PM (#4533365)
   12. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: September 03, 2013 at 01:11 PM (#4533367)
So then why are you waiting? :)

I don't think I could get a job there...yet. Hopefully in a couple years!

I was going to plug the ferry hop as a possible basis for considering the Whitecaps one's local team.

The proximity to Vancouver is another plus. It's just a great area and after 14 years in NYC, the prospect of all the nature there is more and more alluring. I want to take my dog to the spit and go kayaking and all that kind of crap!
   13. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: September 03, 2013 at 01:17 PM (#4533371)
Couple of thoughts;

- this international break is well timed. We have little league tryouts this weekend so I'll be at the field from 9-4 both Saturday and Sunday. Unfortunately I'll miss two Sox-Yankee games but at least I won't miss any good soccer.

- I've been watching a lot more MLS this year than ever before. The atmosphere is really great, particularly in the soccer only stadiums (though that Sounders game with 70,000 people for Clint's return was insane) and the soccer is good enough. I'm enough of a novice soccer fan that it's not noticeably worse. The other thing is that hearing the various teams announcers just drives home again and again the folly of Fox' Gus Johnson hire. There are so many accomplished announcers out there.
   14. PepTech Posted: September 03, 2013 at 01:22 PM (#4533375)
It's a *lot* easier to get to Seattle from PA than it is to get to Vancouver. Victoria and Vancouver Island are awesome, but <> Vancouver proper (which is also awesome).

I'm pretty sure Target Walmart is hiring in Port Angeles...
   15. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: September 03, 2013 at 01:23 PM (#4533376)
I honestly wish I could watch MLS but it would just be a killer for my relationship, in all seriousness. Baseball and Eurosoccer take up enough time already and Eurosoccer wins out because those games are over early leaving the rest of the day to do stuff. The odd chances I get to watch MLS...I think it's fine. The quality isn't bad at all and I'd probably rate it as about the level of the lower half of the Championship now. There are just practical reasons I can't let myself get sucked in by it and why it's a blessing in disguise for me that the local MLS sides are owned by fairly reprehensible ownership groups.
   16. DA Baracus Posted: September 03, 2013 at 01:25 PM (#4533378)
At the foot of a great national park, a half hour from the ocean, a ferry ride away from Seattle, mild weather...why isn't everyone there?


Do they have nationally renown BBQ? Honest question.
   17. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: September 03, 2013 at 01:27 PM (#4533381)
Do they have nationally renown BBQ? Honest question.

I have no idea. I would imagine not, though the smoked salmon is probably good. Port Angeles isn't a very big city.
   18. PepTech Posted: September 03, 2013 at 01:33 PM (#4533383)
There are a few good BBQ places around Seattle, mostly imports from Louisiana or Carolina. Out on the peninsula I, too, would tend to agree that BBQ = fish (not that that's a bad thing). Which isn't to say some hole in the wall might not be amazing.
   19. Mattbert Posted: September 03, 2013 at 01:37 PM (#4533384)
They're making progress on the Elwha River restoration project too, so some awesome fly fishing would potentially be on the cards for Shooty in the not-too-distant future.

Not that there aren't plenty of great rivers in that area, but the Elwha is right in Port Angeles' back yard.
   20. Mattbert Posted: September 03, 2013 at 01:44 PM (#4533386)
What Gareth Bale earns: amusing and depressing in equal measure.
   21. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: September 03, 2013 at 01:48 PM (#4533388)
So it has come to this...

Prediction time:

Man City        86
Chelsea         85
Man Utd         80
Arsenal         75
Liverpool       75
Tottenham       71
Everton         64
Southampton     62
Swansea         55
Newcastle       46
Cardiff         43
West Ham        41
Fulham          40
Stoke           37
Aston Villa     35
Crystal Palace  31
Norwich         30
West Brom       27
Sunderland      21
Hull            19 
   22. I am going to be Frank Posted: September 03, 2013 at 02:01 PM (#4533396)
Chelsea
Arsenal
Man City
Man Utd
Tottenham
Liverpool
Everton
Swansea
Southampton
Cardiff
Aston Villa
Newcastle
West Ham
Norwich
Fulham
Stoke
Crystal Palace
West Brom
Sunderland
Hull

Champions:
Chelsea
Eto'o can still score goals and they have the most depth with a manager who knows how to take it to the promised land.

Rest of top 4:
Arsenal
Man City
Man U
Arsenal is still shallow in the CB department and midfield until people get healthy, but the starting 11 is top notch and I think the core players are young and they are all on the upswing. I think Ozil is going to give them a ton of confidence. Man City added too many people, and not convinced of their midfield. Pelligrini will keep his job because they'll advance out of Champions League group. Man U kept Rooney but only signed Fellaini. The team is old and no Ferguson magic to will them to those wins out of nowhere.

Missing out:
Spurs
Liverpool
I think Spurs are going to have trouble scoring goals. Liverpool are building and improving but I don't think the talent is quite there.

Relegated:
Hull City
Sunderland
WBA
Hull has Steve Bruce. Sunderland's team is terrible and Di Canio is a stick of dynamite. I hope Jozy has a good enough season that he can find a new Premier League team, but he's not going to get a lot of touches. WBA has been talked about and I agree with everything said.

Golden boot:
Giroud
Maybe a little out of the box but he's going to get a lot of service. I almost picked Negredo, but there are playing time issues.

Player of the year:
Oscar


   23. PepTech Posted: September 03, 2013 at 02:02 PM (#4533397)
That's Hull CITY to you, pal...
   24. jmurph Posted: September 03, 2013 at 02:20 PM (#4533409)
I'm going to hold to my (wrong) predictions from the previous thread, because if I'm being honest, most of the changes I want to make don't have much to do with the transfer moves over the past couple of weeks. So here they are again (boy is that Sunderland pick waaaaaay too high):

1. Manchester City
2. Chelsea
3. Manchester United
4. Arsenal
5. Tottenham
6. Liverpool
7. Everton
8. Newcastle
9. Swansea
10. Southampton
11. West Ham
12. Aston Villa
13. Norwich
14. Sunderland
15. West Brom
16. Stoke
17. Fulham
18. Crystal Palace
19. Cardiff
20. Hull City Tigers of Anaheim

   25. Grunthos Posted: September 03, 2013 at 03:57 PM (#4533481)
Bored @ work, what the hell...

1. The Middle Kingdom (Chelsea)
2. The Old Kingdom (MU)
3. Spurzz
4. The New Kingdom (Man Citeh)
5. Arsenal
6. Liverplop
7. Swansea
8. Everton (Yes Chef!)
9. Kitstealers (that's West Ham for you non-claret-and-blue types)
10. Aston Villa
11. Southampton
12. Norwich
13. Cardiff (Why red? I mean, really? We need another bleeping team with red as the primary color?)
14. Barcodes
15. Sundervaterland
16. Crystal Palace
17. Fulham
18. WBA
19. Stoke
20. HCTFCOMGWTFBBQ

Chelsea clearly look to be the team to beat to my eye. I don't think Man U is going to keel over in the first post-Ferguson season, people are exaggerating the problems in this squad IMO, if they fall below 3rd it will be because RvP missed a lot of time. Spurs and Citeh are both moving in the right direction, and can beat out Arsenal over the long haul because the Gunners are so painfully paper thin. 7-14 is full of good intentions, not enough firepower to escape the pack. Sunderland will do all right in the end, but it will take a while. Apart from punching bags Hull CITY, nobody is certain for the drop, but I think Stoke is a strong bet... Mark Hughes was never brilliant and is deteriorating, you have to be bonkers to pay good money to loan in Stephen Ireland at this point, regardless of how good he looked at Citeh years ago.
   26. Mattbert Posted: September 03, 2013 at 04:04 PM (#4533491)
In a minute there is time for decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.

1. Chelsea
2. Manchester City
3. Tottenham Manchester United
4. Liverpool Tottenham
5. Arsenal Liverpool
6. Manchester United Arsenal
7. Everton Newcastle I may have underestimated how bad a manager Alan Pardew is.
8. Southampton
9. Swansea
10. Aston Villa Everton
11. Norwich Sunderland I may have underestimated how bad a manager Paolo di Canio is.
12. Fulham
13. Newcastle Aston Villa
14. West Ham
15. Sunderland Norwich
16. Cardiff
17. West Brom
18. Stoke
19. Crystal Palace
20. Hull

Golden Boot: Luis Suarez Romelu Lukaku
Golden Glove: Petr Cech
Promoted Side likely to be most fun: Crystal Palace (how can an Olly team not be fun?)
Returning team most likely to make a big jump: Southampton
Returning team most likely to fade: Stoke City
Best Newcomer: Roberto Soldado Mesut Ozil
Will He Stay or Will He Go?: He will stay. There will be trouble. Well, half right.
   27. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 03, 2013 at 04:31 PM (#4533523)
My revisions...

I have absolutely no confidence in my picks for the top six. I am reasonably confident that City are the best club in the league, but just about any arrangement of the top six clubs seems possible at this point. I've decided to just stick with my preseason top six, but I consider 2nd through 6th to be basically one big scrum, so I'm going with financial determinism for 2nd/3rd and fanboyism for 4th. I could be talked into or outta anything.

1. Manchester City
2. Chelsea
3. Manchester United
4. Tottenham
5. Liverpool
6. Arsenal
7. Everton Everton have the best underlying stats so far in the EPL, but no finishing. Lukaku will help.
8. Southampton
9. Swansea
10. Aston Villa West Ham By the numbers, cumulatively, Villa have slightly outplayed Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal.
11. Norwich City
12. West Ham West Brom Did Lukaku make that much difference? WBA have been awful.
13. Newcastle
14. Cardiff Sunderland Cardiff look for real. Sunderland look real bad.
15. West Brom Aston Villa
16. Stoke Cardiff Stoke's numbers so far match their record, but I'm not entirely buying it yet.
17. Sunderland Fulham
18. Fulham Stoke Martin Jol's club has a sieve where the defense should be.
19. Crystal Palace Financial determinism sinks Palace, who don't look totally awful.
20. Hull

Golden Boot: Robin van Persie
Golden Glove: Petr Cech
Promoted Side likely to be most fun: Cardiff
Returning team most likely to make a big jump: Southampton
Returning team most likely to fade: Fulham Feeling good about this pick so far.
Best Newcomer: Paulinho Obviously Özil now.
Will He Stay or Will He Go?: He will stay. Just ignore me. I don't know anything.
   28. Wins Above Paul Westerberg Posted: September 03, 2013 at 04:32 PM (#4533525)
I'm a little surprised by all the Chelsea love with the team seemingly going backward up front. Is a 32-year-old Eto'o really an upgrade over Lukaku? I don't think they'll suffer from a lack of goal-scoring options, but the top clubs operate at the margins, and I have far less confidence in their strikers than ManU, City or Tottenham.
   29. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 03, 2013 at 04:41 PM (#4533534)
I am interested to hear the case for Chelsea over City. Is it just "Mourinho"? I mean, I can see the case if it's about the manager. But I would absolutely take City's roster over Chelsea's right now, and Pellegrini has the record of a perfectly good top level manager.
   30. Grunthos Posted: September 03, 2013 at 04:57 PM (#4533549)
The case for Chelski basically boils down to your opinion of Benitez, not Mourinho. If you look at Chelsea and see an excellent team that was mismanaged last season and has subsequently added a boatload of talent with no real losses, then it is natural to pick them for first. If you think Benitez was squeezing the best out of a badly constructed unit down the stretch last season, and you don't think Mourinho's additions address or compensate for their biggest weaknesses, then it is natural to pick them for 3rd or 4th.

I like what Pellegrini is doing, but am not sold on the consistency and endurance of the squad he now has. Naturally, he will have plenty of opportunity, and even more money, available to close that sale.
   31. I am going to be Frank Posted: September 03, 2013 at 05:19 PM (#4533569)
I put a lot of faith in Mourinho. He's as practical as any manager. To win the league you need to win those games that you should and not drop points. While everyone hated that turtling act against United, Chelsea got a point at Old Trafford. Similarly to Arsenal, Chelsea has a bunch of players who are still young, improving and already very impressive. Hazard, Oscar (who both have a year under their belt), De Bruyne and Schurrle are all 22 and under. The vast majority of City's core has already hit their peak.

For whatever reason Lukaku wasn't playing. If Mourinho thinks a player is good enough he'll play him - for instance Varane over Pepe, Albiol and Carvalho. Its not like Jose didn't play with a big target man before so it couldn't have been style.
   32. ursus arctos Posted: September 03, 2013 at 06:33 PM (#4533614)
I'm not one for predictions, but another reason to favor Chelsea over Man City is that Joe Hart and Peter Cech are going in opposite directions in terms of their form over the last six months, with Hart already costing his team points.

I can also see an argument that Man City will be under greater pressure in the Champions League, given their poor performances to date, whereas Chelsea already have that box ticked.
   33. Mattbert Posted: September 03, 2013 at 06:42 PM (#4533618)
My case isn't so much for Chelsea as it is against Man City. That defense is ropy as all hell in the middle without Kompany holding things together, so they better hope he doesn't miss many games. Demichelis is not not the answer; I know he's only "cover", but City are going to have a busy schedule if they make a run in four competitions as they should. He and Lescott are going to play, and that's not good for City. Joe Hart looking like, well, like an England keeper isn't good for City either. I think they're going to win a lot of 3-2 games, and maybe lose a few too.

I think it will very close at the top. Pretty much a coin flip between Chelsea and City for me; maybe a point or two separating them at the end. I think Chelsea's superior quality and depth in defense will see them through. Mourinho also knows the league and the club inside out whereas Pellegrini is starting fresh and has never managed a title favorite in Europe except for one year in Madrid.
   34. frannyzoo Posted: September 03, 2013 at 08:14 PM (#4533662)
Huzzah! Wolves have made it through the Johnstone's Paint Trophy First Round, Northern Section! On penalties against local foe Walsall! Incredible.

Pathetically incredible that "we're" reduced to this. Oh well, you got to start somewhere, but it's worth pointing out that two years ago on August 27 we drew at Villa Park and had seven points in three games in the EPL. Then things hurriedly went to the Johnstone's Paint Trophy First Round, Northern Section.
   35. J. Sosa Posted: September 03, 2013 at 09:37 PM (#4533737)
Subjective grades for transfer window given resources available and team needs (only including significant arrivals and departures):

Arsenal A –

In: Ozil, Viviano, Flamini, Sanogo

Out: Chamakh, Gervinho, Santos, Squillaci, Djorou, Arshavin, Denilson

Projected finish guess: 3rd

They finally did it. I much prefer this approach to the one they pursued a couple of years ago when they obtained Arteta and others. Ozil makes their first XI really good. If they had any depth they would be a title threat but I have them down for third. No depth at the back and no depth at striker. A long term injury in those areas would be damaging. They left it short, but any window you obtain an elite player heading into his prime it is a good one.

Aston Villa C

In: Kozak, Okore, Tonev, Luna, Helenius, Bacuna

Out: Bannan, Ireland, Bent, Makoun

Projected finish guess: upper mid table with a chance for more

Keeping Benteke made this an ok window. For the second summer in a row I know very little of the players they brought in. Benteke has obviously been a smashing success, maybe one of the newbies will also be a hit. I like what Lambert is building. They are fun to watch, but given the size of the club and the risk they took with youth last season I thought they would do a little more to bring people in this summer.

Cardiff City A

In: Odemwingie, Theophile-Catherine, Medel, Caulker, Brayford, Cornelius

Out: No one of note

Projected finish guess: Safe from relegation, lower end of the table

Cardiff really pushed the boat out. The press likes to moan about the decline of the PL, but clubs like Sevilla are losing players like Medel to newly promoted Welsh clubs. In a world where that is true the PL is going to be better than La Liga if for no other reason than attrition. Medel is a legit player. Hard as nails. Caulker was also an astute signing and one that I think they can probably flip for good money if things go pear shaped. I don’t think it will though, Cardiff has been on the cusp for awhile and promotion was not a fluke. Odemwingie is Odemwingie and Cornelius has the credentials, all in all an impressive window for Cardiff.

Chelsea- D

In: Eto’o, Willian, Schwarzer, Schurrle

Out: Moses, Lukaku, Marin

Projected finish guess: first

I did not like this window at all for Chelsea. Sure it must have been fun to hijack the Willian deal from AVB, but they did not need Willian. He’s a wonderful player but they already have a cast of thousands that can do what he does. Eto’o might still have it, but I don’t get why instead of dropping tens of millions on Willian and Schurrle they didn’t just get Cavani or Falcao. Maybe they just got outmuscled in the market, but it is hard to believe they could not have gotten one of the two if they hadn’t spent frivolously in other areas. I also don’t get the Lukaku loan. I know he’s young, but Torres and Ba over Lukaku? I don’t think so. I do have them winning the league though because Mourinho will grind out the points, SAF is gone, and I think City will be focused on Europe.

Crystal Palace D

In: Mariappa, Bannan, Jerome, Puncheon, Chamakh, Campana, Gayle, Dobbie

Out: No one of note.

Projected finish guess: Making the drop.

I understand what Crystal Palace is doing, they are solidifying the long term future of the club, but given the rewards of staying up I think they could have done more. Cardiff loaded for bear for example. A recently promoted side liked Swansea is in Europe and won silverware. That should be enough incentive to compete given the financial muscle PL clubs have.
Not much to like with the players they brought in, mainly quadruple A type stuff. That may sound harsh, but it is just not going to be enough. The home crowd will steal them some points, but this is the type of roster (like Holloway’s Blackpool before them) that is going to get worn down by the season and nose dive the second half. I don’t think management really had any intention of trying to stay up, which is a shame.

Everton A+

In: McCarthy, Barry, Lukaku, Deulofeu, Alcaraz, Kone

Out: Fellaini, Anichebe, Neville

Projected finish guess: 7th with a chance for more

The original derisory offer for Fellaini and Baines as a package was half a million less than what Fellaini ended up going for on his own. Kept Baines. Barry is useful, McCarthy is a good prospect, Deulofeu is highly rated, and West Brom are showing exactly what kind of an impact Lukaku can have. In theory they also kept some powder dry for January if they decide to use it. The only reason I am not more bullish on the club is that I’m not certain how well the personnel fits with what Martinez likes to do.

Fulham C-

In: Zverotic, Parker, Bent, Taarabt, Steklenburg, Amorebieta

Out: Schwarzer

Projected finish guess: Dark horse for the drop

Second summer in a row I haven’t liked what Fulham has done. I think there is a very real chance Fulham might get over run. Bent hasn’t played much lately and has never been known for an all-around game, on the same club with Berbatov? And Taraabt? Amorebieta is fairly well regarded but I think there is a real chance it ends in tears for Fulham. Most are talking about West Brom, but I think Fulham will be in worse shape.
   36. Swedish Chef Posted: September 03, 2013 at 09:38 PM (#4533738)
1. Man United - New manager, same old hysteria, still the team to beat
2. Chelsea - Probably pretty great
3. Man City - They will miss their mercurial strikers.
4. Arsenal - Because they always end up there, one way or another.
5. Tottenham - Lots of churn, better in many ways but No Bale.
6. Liverpool - Sturridge is good, Suarez will do something stupid. Worse than the other teams up there.
7. Aston Villa - Let's win a cup.
8. Swansea - For no particular reason, but they have Michu and a calm summer.
9. Everton - Will start to show cracks.
10. Soton - May be overly optimistic, I don't see that much quality but this was the spot that was left.
11. West Ham - Big Sam does his job
12. Stoke - Will struggle and then realize that hoofing it high still works
13. Fulham - Berbatov is a year older, should still be good.
14. Crystal Palace - Because I had to put a better team at 18.
15. Cardiff - They beat City so they must be good, right?
16. Norwich - Not convinced they're any good
17. Sunderland - Di Canio will not be strung up from a lamp post
18. Newcastle - They're better than this, I just fear their future includes Joe Kinnear, Manager.
19. WBA - Will rue Lukaku all the way
20. Hull - Because they're crap
   37. J. Sosa Posted: September 03, 2013 at 09:40 PM (#4533740)
Hull City C+


In: Huddlestone, Livermore, Sagbo, Graham, Harper, McGregor, Davies, Elmohamady, Figueroa
Out: No one of note

Projected finish guess: Making the drop

I think Hull City gave it an honest go this summer, but I don’t think it was enough. Huddlestone and Livermore were decent signings as was Graham, but I don’t think they are going to have enough firepower to stay up. They are rugged enough to stay in games, but I think scoring is going to be too much of an issue to overcome. It’s a shame, with Wolves out its nice to have orange kits back in the PL.

Liverpool B+

In: Sakho, Ilori, Moses, Cissokho, Mignolet, Aspas, Alberto, Toure

Out: Pacheco, Borini, Assaidi, Downing, Spearing, Reina, Shelvey, Carroll, Wilson, Gulacsi, Carragher

Projected finish guess: 6th with a chance for more

Despite my histrionic wailing throughout the window, Keith’s perspective proved to be correct. The club took a buzz saw to the wage bill again, but I liked what they did a lot better than last summer. Toure has been a revelation, I rate Sakho very highly, Mignolet is a big upgrade on Pepe, and Moses, Aspas, and Cissokho provide excellent depth on the cheap. Getting the fee they did for Carroll was a miracle. One thing I find interesting is that Man City, Spurs, and Arsenal all chose to be thin at centreback while Liverpool has Agger, Toure, Skrtel, and Sakho. I could see things go badly for one of those three clubs with a couple of injuries at the position. With SAF out the time is now for making a run. With the schedule LFC have they have to rack up the points now and try to be in the thick of things come January 1. If they are, I think the money is there to bring in the attacker they need. I really wish they had found one this window, they left it a little bit short. It is going to be wide open this year, I think they missed an opportunity.

Man City B

In: Demichelis, Jovetic, Negredo, Fernandinho, Navas

Out: Barry, Sinclair, Maicon, Tevez, Toure, Bridge

Projected finish guess: 2nd

The quality of most of the players they brought in is great, but I don’t understand letting Toure go and bringing in Demichelis. City are thin at the back and if Frazier Cambell is roasting you on set pieces and Hull City has one on ones with your goalkeeper you have problems. Totally unnecessary. I think the focus will be on the CL this year and I think the defense is an issue when Kompany isn’t fit, which leads me to give Chelsea the nod.

Man U F---

In: Fellaini, Varela

Out: Scholes

Projected finish guess: 4th with a chance for worse

Hoo boy. Where to start. Fellaini is a player they should have signed as soon as the window was open. He’s a player they can use and Moyes knows him. Instead they waited until deadline day and paid 4 million extra for the privilege. They spent most of the summer off on rabbit trails for players they didn’t get and the whole Herrera thing was bizarre. Athletic Bilbao are the Boccichhios of football in Europe. Man U thinking they were going to get Herrera for anything less than the buyout clause was certifiably insane. Was anybody in management paying attention to what Bayern had to do to get Martinez? Those crazy mothers at Bilbao benched Llorente after a 30 goal season and a Europa Final and let him go on a free instead of caving to Juventus. What idiot in the front office said “you know what we should do? Go lowball Bilbao for a Basque player on deadline day.” Heads should roll. Throw in things beyond their control like SAF retiring (whom I rate even more than most Man U fanboys) and things could get ugly.

Newcastle F-----

In: Remy

Out: Perch, Simpson, Harper

Projected finish guess: mid table

Joe Kinnear.

Norwich City A

In: Elmander, Hooper, Fer, Olsson, Redmond, Wolfswinkle, Garrido

Out: Barnett, Holt, Vaughan

Projected finish guess: Mid table

Another recently promoted side that brought in some impressive players. Fer, Redmond, and Wolfswinkel are pretty serious firepower to bring in for a club like Norwich. Elmander was a decent player his last go round in the PL and Hooper may or may not pan out. I think Norwich going forward are a tough out and will be a fun team to watch.

Southampton B-

In: Osvaldo, Wanyama, Lovren

Out: No one of note.

Projected finish guess: mid table

Another recently promoted club that swung for the fences. I just don’t like the value for money as much as I did for Norwich and Cardiff. Brought in some name players and went for it which I always appreciate, but Osvaldo has problems playing nice in the sandbox and Wanyama might not work with Schneiderlin. Lovren was a big name not too long ago who might have a resurgence. I like clubs that go for it but I think they could have spent their money wiser.

Stoke C-

In: Arnautovic, Ireland, Assadi, Pieters

Out: Jerome, Delap, Upson, Kightly, Shotton

Projected finish guess: lower mid table

A popular choice to make the drop but I don’t really see it with the dogs of war and Begovic still on the team. Arnautovic was pretty highly rated at one point. Scoring will be a problem but I think they remain nasty enough and will get enough of a boost for playing for a new manager (even Hughes) to stay up.

Sunderland C+

In: Dossena, Borini, Ki, Celustka, Giaccherini, Altidore, Mannone, Diakite, Cabral, Roberge

Out: Sessegnon, McClean, Mignolet, Elmohamady, Bramble

Projected finish guess: lower mid table

Another popular pick for the drop. I think they will struggle for awhile attempting to gel, but they did bring in some decent players. Everything went wrong for Borini at Liverpool, but I think he has a chance to be productive. Giaccherini is a nice player. Altidore struggled than got hurt, but he’s a good player. Sunderland was the club I was most wrong about last season and it may continue this season, but I think there will be at least 3 worse clubs this season. Mignolet was a huge loss for them though.

Swansea A-

In: Vasquez, Bony, Shelvey, Pozuelo, Amat, Canas

Out: Ki, Moore

Projected finish guess: mid table

Typical high grade for Swansea. Bony was a really nice get and there were the typical bargain buys from La Liga. I don’t really care for Shelvey, although that is an opinion not shared by a lot of LFC fans. I think he’s a bit of a tools goof but some people really rate him. The one fear I have for Swansea is they will get worn down as the season goes on. Swansea are a model club, I hope they do well.

Tottenham A+

In: Lamela, Eriksen, Chiriches, Capoue, Soldado, Chadli, Paulinho

Out: Assou-Ekotto, Carroll, badge kissing monkey, Parker, Huddlestone, Livermore, Dempsey, Caulker

Projected finish guess: 5th

They get an A+ because what Levy accomplished is the equivalent of a 10 ball juggle with his feet upside down blindfolded. They got a ridiculous price for Bale. This isn’t going to be a popular opinion on this board, but I’m not convinced Bale is a better player than Ozil and they got double for Bale compared to what Arsenal paid for Ozil. Because of the gelling period, Europa, and being thin at the back I have them out of the top 4. The defense does not look good and I don’t understand why they are cutting it so close across the back four. I did not understand letting Caulker go at all. I think that will prove to be a mistake and I think the overall thinness in defense will prove costly.

West Brom C+

In: Anichebe, Sessegnon, Amalfitano, Sinclair, Vydra, Lugano, Anelka

Out: Odemwingie

Projected finish guess: lower end of the table, drop candidates

Another popular pick for the drop, but I think there a few clubs worse. Losing Lukaku is a crushing blow, but Clarke is a good manager and the additions on deadline day may be enough. They are pretty toothless but were a strong team last year. Much of that was due to Lukaku, but not all of it I don’t think. They will struggle, but I don’t think they will go down.

West Ham: B

In: Downing, Carroll, Rat, Adrian

Out: No one of note

Projected finish guess: Mid table with a chance for more

I think they were insane for spending what they did on Carroll but the Hammers have a plan. People may not like the plan but they have a plan. The Hammers are going to do some old school ground and pound with wingers blasting crosses into a daft battering ram. I think it is crazy enough to work. Jarvis and Downing on the outside with some brutes in the middle is going to give some of the more delicate sides a rough go of it. I like variety of styles, so it is good to see that not every club goes with the current.
   38. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: September 03, 2013 at 09:43 PM (#4533743)
Joe Kinnear, Manager.

Don't you dare. I might actually kill somebody.
   39. Spivey Posted: September 03, 2013 at 10:28 PM (#4533781)
Prediction;

Man U
Man City
Chelsea
Arsenal
Tottenham
Liverpool
Everton
Villa
Newcastle
Swansea
West Ham
Southampton
Norwich
Sunderland
West Brom
Fulham
Cardiff
Stoke
Crystal Palace
Hull City
   40. Swedish Chef Posted: September 03, 2013 at 11:41 PM (#4533818)
The "impostors" that were at the Spanish federation were Basque lawyers who have represented Bilbao before.
   41. Mattbert Posted: September 04, 2013 at 12:13 AM (#4533837)
Nice writeups, Sosa. One quibble:

One thing I find interesting is that Man City, Spurs, and Arsenal all chose to be thin at centreback while Liverpool has Agger, Toure, Skrtel, and Sakho.

Those four make Liverpool deep, whereas Tottenham are thin with Vertonghen, Kaboul, Dawson, and Chiriches? To me those foursomes line up very similarly. You've got the classy ball-playing lefty in his prime (Agger & Vertonghen), the once quick and talented righty coming off lost season(s) and trying to allay fitness concerns (Toure & Kaboul), the club veteran who had an absolute horror show last time out and may not be a good fit for the team's defensive scheme (Skrtel & Dawson), and the young gun just arrived from the continent with something to prove (Sakho & Chiriches). Where does Liverpool's depth pull away? Ilori and Wisdom?

City's first choice pairing of Kompany and Nastasic is as good as anyone's, but I agree the drop-off from those two to Lescott and Demichelis is pretty steep.

Arsenal have Der Schlachtschiff, Koscielny, and Vermaelen. And a whole lotta nuthin' after that. Now *that* is legitimately thin.
   42. Darkness and the howling fantods Posted: September 04, 2013 at 01:08 AM (#4533867)
Yeah, I think Spurs are fine at center back (although, all I know about Chiriches I learned from youtube videos which have him playing more like a center forward than a defender). I think their defensive weakness is going to be the fullbacks, mainly Rose. Not landing Coentrao will hurt.

That and I think it will take them awhile to figure out how to score goals consistently.
   43. vortex of dissipation Posted: September 04, 2013 at 01:23 AM (#4533874)
I'm not sure what the deal was with the Sounders' schedule - four games fewer than RSL at this stage in the season is kinda nutty. Only two in hand over the Galaxy, but they're congested with CCL ties... with the depth on SSFC they have a great shot at the Shield this year. Amazing, considering how crappy they started, but no team has stuck out this season.


I'm going from memory, but I believe that several MLS games scheduled for early in the season were shifted to later dates because of the Sounders early season participation in the CCL.
   44. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: September 04, 2013 at 02:38 AM (#4533887)
Arsenal have Der Schlachtschiff

I had not heard that nickname before... should be das not der though.
   45. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 04, 2013 at 07:40 AM (#4533899)
A few stats from this and last weekend:

Big chances and goals per team-match:

Week 1: 1.7 BC/M, 1.3 G/M
Week 2: 1.0 BC/M, 0.85 G/M
Week 3: 0.6 BC/M, 0.6 G/M

In all of last season, there wasn't a single gameweek with fewer than 1.3 BC/M or 0.9 G/M. Hopefully this is just a fluke. The lack of goals is one thing, but the lack of chances was really unappealing.
   46. RMc's desperate, often sordid world Posted: September 04, 2013 at 07:52 AM (#4533901)
How much longer before they start scheduling midnight games in the EPL, just so they can be shown in prime time in the US? (Hey, it makes as much sense as a Super Bowl in London, and that's probably going to happen eventually...)
   47. ursus arctos Posted: September 04, 2013 at 07:58 AM (#4533905)
It will take a while, largely because fans still show up to Premier League matches and because that start time isn't great for other overseas markets from which the PL derives significant revenue. It is, however, worth noting that La Liga has games starting at both noon and 11 pm this season
   48. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 04, 2013 at 08:08 AM (#4533910)
I believe the EPL contracts in East Asia are notably bigger than the one for the US. NBC's $250M deal for 2013-2016 is significantly lower than the £200m paid by Singaporean television for the rights from 2010-2013, for instance. If the EPL wants to schedule games to suit other markets—which I rather doubt will happen soon—the US would not be at the head of the pack.
   49. I am going to be Frank Posted: September 04, 2013 at 09:41 AM (#4533955)
Yea its all about Asia. It would mean more early morning games in the US (or lunch time kickoffs in the UK). The Premier League late games are going to have a hard time competing with both college and pro football in the fall. They've been pretty accommodating to TV, but in reality they could be much more. The Premier League could run games from 8AM to 2PM ET on Sat and Sun (four each day) along with a 2PM game on Monday. I'm sure its been "suggested" to them.

Only a couple teams are really "deep" in CB, which is ok if they can stay healthy. Teams rotate least at CB and keeper. Chelsea really is the only one with four proven, healthy and good center backs. United has a combination of old and/or brittle. I agree with Mattbert regarding City, Arsenal, Liverpool and Spurs.

Its a down time for center backs worldwide.
   50. CWS Keith plans to boo your show at the Apollo Posted: September 04, 2013 at 01:00 PM (#4534144)
Going back to last thread's podcast discussion, good call to whoever noted the new Spanish Football Podcast. It's not as over the top as either Football Ramble or FW (both of which I like), but the banter is still pretty good. I don't watch a whole lot of La Liga, but I like Sid Lowe's stuff quite a bit. It's also a good way to track Suso's progress at Almeria (so far, so good), as they do hit on non-Barca/Real teams.

Liverpool CBs... I'm content with the depth, but I think I've moved from really loving Daniel Agger to thinking he's a bit overrated. I'm just not sure his above-average skills on the ball make up for his defensive lapses. It will be interesting to see how Rodgers handles playing time for the four CBs without the extra competition in Europe. I want to see Sakho, but don't necessarily want to see a healthy Toure displaced. Maybe three-at-the-back is a possibility with Johnson on the shelf for the next two (?) months.
   51. Esmailyn Gonzalez Sr. Posted: September 04, 2013 at 05:19 PM (#4534360)
   52. Commissioner Bud Black Beltre Hillman Posted: September 04, 2013 at 05:46 PM (#4534375)
Fun little article/photos of transfer window day out and about the Emirates.
   53. The Kentucky Gentleman, Mark Edward Posted: September 05, 2013 at 12:10 PM (#4535021)
Costa Rica is trolling the US.

Deciding on watching the game tomorrow or seeing Neko Case. Decisions...
   54. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: September 05, 2013 at 12:20 PM (#4535025)
I think it's funny they're still complaining about the snow after all the years the Nats have had to go down to that shit stadium and play on that shit turf and have urine and batteries thrown at them.
   55. Baldrick Posted: September 05, 2013 at 12:29 PM (#4535030)
Deciding on watching the game tomorrow or seeing Neko Case.

Oh man, see Neko Case. I mean, soccer is one thing but Neko Case is on a whole separate level. New album is great, too.
   56. The Kentucky Gentleman, Mark Edward Posted: September 05, 2013 at 12:34 PM (#4535036)
Oh man, see Neko Case. I mean, soccer is one thing but Neko Case is on a whole separate level. New album is great, too.


Yeah I love her but she's part of a festival & I'm not big on any of the other acts appearing that night.
   57. jmurph Posted: September 05, 2013 at 12:43 PM (#4535042)
Yeah I love her but she's part of a festival & I'm not big on any of the other acts appearing that night.


There is a definite age cutoff for being able to enjoy festivals. I'm not sure what it is, I just know I've passed it. In my early 20s Bumbershoot (in Seattle) was the greatest thing on earth. Now, even if literally every band I like was playing the same festival, I'd probably skip it. So much standing and walking and smelly things/people.
   58. Baldrick Posted: September 05, 2013 at 12:47 PM (#4535045)
Yeah I love her but she's part of a festival & I'm not big on any of the other acts appearing that night.

Hmm, yeah, festival changes the equation a bit. Looks like Saturday is really the day to go. Superchunk! The Walkmen! I'm not a huge Hold Steady fan but I saw them a few years ago and it was a pretty darn good show. And the new Aimee Mann/Ted Leo band would definitely be worth seeing. They are both awesome and I've loved the couple songs I've heard from this new project.

Still, Mavis Staples would probably be pretty fun to see.
   59. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: September 05, 2013 at 01:06 PM (#4535053)
There is a definite age cutoff for being able to enjoy festivals. I'm not sure what it is, I just know I've passed it.

I know have. Rock concerts fill me with hatred anymore. I still love the music but rock show crowds are beyond irritating. Everybody just stands around filming the shows with their crappy little cameras and posting pictures on Facebook. I went to see Frightened Rabbit and most of the people around me were just screaming at each other about how their day was and what they would do after the show. The last concert I saw was New Order and Bernard Sumner had a line about people in New York used to like to dance because everyone was just standing around staring at him and taking pictures.

But we digress!
   60. jmurph Posted: September 05, 2013 at 01:11 PM (#4535056)
Always with the talking! There are bars that don't charge $25 dollar covers, talkers of the world, where you can talk to your friends in a very loud voice without a band playing.

Okay, old guy complaint hijack done.
   61. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: September 05, 2013 at 01:15 PM (#4535062)
Okay, old guy complaint hijack done.

I think it's funny that our old guy complaint is that the kids these days DON'T rock out. It seems like they are their for a mixture of public consumption and to have something to post on social media. It's kind of fascinating when it's not actually all up in my face.
   62. PepTech Posted: September 05, 2013 at 01:29 PM (#4535073)
In my early 20s Bumbershoot (in Seattle) was the greatest thing on earth.

1982, I think, I spent $3 on a Bumbershoot ticket to see George Thorogood (& TDD). After wandering around for a couple hours, getting our fill of food and buskers, we decided to catch the opening act, and were treated to 2.5 hours of Robert Cray about three years before Strong Persuader made it big. George was still great, but his guitar work was upstaged :)

The following year we were in the front row for Spinal Tap. Whoo!!!
   63. sardonic Posted: September 05, 2013 at 01:30 PM (#4535074)
Not that I have ever been super into concerts, but one reason I really like EDM (Electronic Dance Music) events is because for the most part people there are "present" and dancing and generally really into the music. There's always going to be some level of people taking pictures (I'm guilty as well), but it's more like a couple quick snapshots with your friends or of the DJ, with 98% of your time/attention being on the music. And there's almost no talking.
   64. The Kentucky Gentleman, Mark Edward Posted: September 05, 2013 at 01:51 PM (#4535089)
Saturday's definitely the better day, love Superchunk, The Walkmen, & Ted Leo. Hold Steady's alright.

I'm 28 & it's all about a festival's lineup for me. I went to all 3 days of Pitchfork for about five years straight but skipped out on Friday & Sunday this year. Saturday was fun though.

Soccer talk... Michael Parkhurst replaced the injured Brad Evans on the National Team. I haven't been keep up so this may have been mentioned, but anyone find it weird that Chandler still can't get a call up? I don't dislike Parkhurst but IMO Chandler's clearly better than him.
   65. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: September 05, 2013 at 01:52 PM (#4535090)
Excuse me, this is the BASEBALL THINK FACTORY, can we get back on topic...you know, soccer?
   66. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: September 05, 2013 at 01:57 PM (#4535096)
Soccer talk... Michael Parkhurst replaced the injured Brad Evans on the National Team. I haven't been keep up so this may have been mentioned, but anyone find it weird that Chandler still can't get a call up? I don't dislike Parkhurst but IMO Chandler's clearly better than him.


Chandler hasn't really played much since his injury at the end of last season. Klinsmann seems to value the guys getting regular action (hence his frustration at the whole Brek Shea situation) and Chandler's lack of PT might be hurting him.
   67. The Kentucky Gentleman, Mark Edward Posted: September 05, 2013 at 02:03 PM (#4535100)
Yeah I know that's Klinsmann's MO but Parkhurst hasn't seen a game (or the bench) for Augsburg this season while Chandler's played in 3 of Nurnburg's 4 matches this season.
   68. Randy Jones Posted: September 05, 2013 at 02:17 PM (#4535111)
Not that I have ever been super into concerts, but one reason I really like EDM (Electronic Dance Music) events is because for the most part people there are "present" and dancing and generally really into the music. There's always going to be some level of people taking pictures (I'm guilty as well), but it's more like a couple quick snapshots with your friends or of the DJ, with 98% of your time/attention being on the music. And there's almost no talking.


That's because everyone at those shows is too busy grinding their teeth from all the ecstasy to talk.
   69. Textbook Editor Posted: September 05, 2013 at 11:45 PM (#4535474)
So it appears no one has the Ireland v. Sweden WC qualifier on TV here in the USA, not even ESPN3... If anyone happens to come across it anywhere, I'd love to know where.

ESPN3 has something like 2 dozen qualifiers on tomorrow but not the biggest Ireland WC qualifying game since the 2nd leg of the France playoff in 2009. Baffling.
   70. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: September 06, 2013 at 07:38 AM (#4535550)
ESPN3 has something like 2 dozen qualifiers on tomorrow but not the biggest Ireland WC qualifying game since the 2nd leg of the France playoff in 2009. Baffling.

You can always try firstrow if you don't mind crappy quality and dealing with popup ads.
   71. frannyzoo Posted: September 06, 2013 at 08:12 AM (#4535562)
When picking crappy quality and popup ad options, a friend I know intimately tends to look straight for arenavision (sopcast) for its really nice HD (and a chance to practice Spanish) or Nutjob at 175, but only with Adblock firmly engaged.

The game also appears to be on Gol TV in the U.S. for those seven people who still have that channel offered by the fascist entertainment purveyors.
   72. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: September 06, 2013 at 08:44 AM (#4535568)
The following year we were in the front row for Spinal Tap.


Which drummer?
   73. Jeffo has an El Camino full of Rampage Posted: September 06, 2013 at 09:27 AM (#4535595)
# 69 - TE, check out Gol TV, I thought I heard that they had the game. No idea if you can (legally) watch it online though.

EDIT - Whoops, I see #71 already answered it. That's what I get for answering without being fully awake yet....
   74. I am going to be Frank Posted: September 06, 2013 at 09:29 AM (#4535598)
Rickie Lambert is starting today against Moldova. I think TV rights are controlled by the country playing at home. I guess ESPN picked up all those other countries for cheap (or nothing) and is showing them online. Apparently Ireland has enough pull to get someone to pay a little extra.

Man U's PR team is on full spin mode. Apparently, the Herrera deal was never that close. United made an offer, Bilbao said no and they moved on. Ozil was offered but United determined that they didn't need him. I sort of agree with the "need" part but United signed van Persie under similar circumstances and proved that if a world-class player is offered to you, you seize that opportunity.

Then the article says that top executives spent a lot of time on Rooney and making sure he stays. I don't understand this. If you make that determination, then just don't sell him! Reject every Chelsea offer, make a blanket statement to the press (daily if you have to) and move on. Assign one executive to field all calls from Rooney and his reps and go about your business. No offer was made on Thiago because Moyes wasn't comfortable with the fact he hadn't seen him enough and the executives didn't want to force him on the new manager. That's very reasonable.

All these tidbits taken in isolation is no big deal. Moyes coming in with little notice or preparation was always going to be an issue the first summer. Its going to take time in familiarizing with the network of scouts, the first, reserve and youth teams. The problem I see is that Moyes seems a bit of a control freak in all aspects. I don't think Ferguson spent that much time training the first team and he trusted his scouts. There is no way Moyes can thoroughly scout each target personally. I hope he learns to delegate and trust the staff better.

That being said Moyes did publicly say he wanted two midfielders and a left back. He only got one midfielder. I really wonder what Moyes' other targets were besides Herrera, Fabergas and Fellaini. The fact that they allowed Madrid to drag Coentrao until the last minute and it to fail on "paperwork" is just ridiculous. Supposedly Madrid's replacement fell through - after Ronaldo, United should have known better to let Madrid dick around with them.
   75. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: September 06, 2013 at 09:49 AM (#4535618)
Moyes coming in with little notice or preparation was always going to be an issue the first summer. Its going to take time in familiarizing with the network of scouts, the first, reserve and youth teams. The problem I see is that Moyes seems a bit of a control freak in all aspects. I don't think Ferguson spent that much time training the first team and he trusted his scouts.

The actual first team coach was Rene Meulensteen, who left to coach Anzhi about two hours before the owner decided to fold the team and get rid of everybody. Maybe Moyes can bring him back.
   76. I am going to be Frank Posted: September 06, 2013 at 10:13 AM (#4535652)
Yea I know he handled most of the actual training (and he's a great coach in FM) when he was at United. Don't know if he would be interested plus Moyes would have to be willing to let him do his thing. Obviously different coaches have different strengths and different teams have differing levels of staff. Ferguson, especially at the end, was purely a hands off "chairman-type". He did the match day squad, handled the media and the players and signed off on any major decision, but he was definitely not a day-to-day type.

If Moyes is going to be getting his hands dirty like he did at Everton then I would hope United would bring in a Director of Football or equivalent. Woodward is good at bringing in money but between Moyes and him the learning curve is too steep to be running a club this size with all this crazy money floating around. "Wasting" one transfer window isn't ideal but United has enough resources to compensate. However with a team as old as United, messing up two or three windows is a recipe to spend a couple years in "Liverpool-land".
   77. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: September 06, 2013 at 10:17 AM (#4535655)
No doubt United screwed up this window. They should have had Fellaini and Baines wrapped up the first week of July and everything after that would have been gravy. For a team of United's stature to TURN DOWN Ozil is near malpractice, too. I still can't quite wrap my mind around that one. They could have had Mesut Ozil instead of Ryan ####### Giggs starting against Liverpool. DOES NOT COMPUTE.
   78. Ron J2 Posted: September 06, 2013 at 10:27 AM (#4535661)
#77 One of the keys to the SAF years is that he lived by the Rickey maxim of better a year to early than a year too late. I'm at a loss to find any instances of sentiment influencing team level decisions. Until Giggs got old that is.

And say what you will, SAF can point to the results of the last two years in justification (even if there were individual games where the decision to play Giggs did not look smart)

So Moyes just needs to get the results to go his way.

I can sort of see the logic of passing on Ozil. Team construction and price. (Though letting a player of his talent go to a competitor just feels bad) But if Ozil's not right for the team as built, there are obviously better choices than Giggs for what amounts to a holding midfielder.
   79. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 06, 2013 at 10:36 AM (#4535668)
Man U's PR team is on full spin mode. Apparently, the Herrera deal was never that close. United made an offer, Bilbao said no and they moved on. Ozil was offered but United determined that they didn't need him. I sort of agree with the "need" part but United signed van Persie under similar circumstances and proved that if a world-class player is offered to you, you seize that opportunity.
It's kind of amazing how totally incommensurate Man United's version of events (linked above) is with Sid Lowe's reporting based on Spanish league sources.

I have generally felt that the best explanation of Man United's bizarre transfer policy is behind-the-scenes power struggles and resulting dysfunction. So it would be quite possible that these lawyers could have been reasonably under the impression that they had been contracted by Manchester United without all the proper people in the Man United offices having authorized them to act. I guess it's possible it was all a scam on the Spanish side and United were innocent, straightforwardly honest naifs unprepared for continental corruption, but I mean, I think my word choice makes my opinion on that story clear enough.
   80. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 06, 2013 at 10:39 AM (#4535670)
And apparently just days after City signed him as defensive cover, Martin Demichelis has suffered a knee injury in training that will keep him out about six weeks. That back line is looking increasingly a problem.
   81. Textbook Editor Posted: September 06, 2013 at 10:43 AM (#4535672)
Thanks, guys, for all of the advice on viewing options. I don't think I get GolTV (even in low-def form) anymore, but I will check and, of course, the illegal streams options will also have to be explored.

Again, thanks!
   82. ursus arctos Posted: September 06, 2013 at 10:50 AM (#4535685)
Given Moyes' apparent lack of trust in Kagawa, I think that there is a strong argument that Man Utd "needed" Oezil more than Arsenal did. In fact, their pursuit of Thiago, Fabregas and Hererra would seem to indicate that they were of a similar mind.

I also share MCOA's suspicion of the Old Trafford version of events. Given Athletic's well established practice of not selling key players cheaply (a policy that makes perfect sense given the limited pool of eligible players they have to choose from and one most recently evidenced by their treatment of Llorente and Javi Martinez), it beggars belief that they actually thought that they could get the player for 60% of his release clause.
   83. I am going to be Frank Posted: September 06, 2013 at 11:16 AM (#4535706)
Looking through United's transfers I've noticed that the big-name signings are mostly England-based. Could they still be gun-shy about buying big from overseas because of Veron? They've only gotten De Gea and Pique out of Spain. Obviously United has had a lot of experience getting players out of Portugal but that was all Quieroz. Kagawa was from Germany but he wanted to go to United and he is Japanese. I see a bunch of players from the Dutch league but they were all relatively cheap. Other than some random finds (Vidic out of Russia and Chicharito out of Mexico) United seems very provincial and limited in finding and buying senior players.

How has United not raided Spain more? They've only shown interest in players at Barca and Madrid. Other than the big two, every one of those clubs needs money. Would Herrera even be on United's radar if he didn't boss that Europa League tie? Where is the worldwide scouting prowess? The French and Italian leagues aren't exactly on solid financial footing either, yet not a peep out of the wine and cheese countries.

Now that I've written this all out maybe it was good time for a drastic change. Its ok to build a team based primarily on English players if the talent pool is deep enough, but we all know it isn't. United has gotten good at extracting money from overseas but they don't seem very good at extracting players from overseas. However, I don't know if this regime is the one to implement that change. I'm also less inclined to believe the PR team from United.
   84. Mattbert Posted: September 06, 2013 at 11:19 AM (#4535711)
The day Harry Redknapp brought a fan out of the stands to play for West Ham
"'We ain't got that Lee Chapman up front do we – I ain't coming every week if he's playing,'" says Harry, doing his impression of Steve. "Half-time I made five substitutions, and we only had the bare 11 out – I was running out of players. Then we got another injury, so I said to this guy in the crowd, 'Oi, can you play as good as you talk?'"

The rest of the tale is hallowed football folklore. "I slung a leg over the barrier and Harry walked me down the tunnel," says Steve. "What's your name, son?" Harry asked, sizing up this apparent hooligan. "I couldn't believe it. Inside the dressing room, the players were sat down resting at half-time." West Ham were two-nil up, but the team was carrying injuries. "Then Harry and says, 'Lee you're off; Steve you're on.'"

Chapman, shirtless, just nodded. "I asked him, what size boots are you, son?" Redknapp recalls. The kit manager brought Steve a uniform.

"Alvin Martin was sat next to me, and as we stood up, he smacked me on the back of the head, like a little livener. We come on up the tunnel and I still thought Harry was having a laugh with me. I didn't think I was actually gonna get on, or I thought I might get a minute or two as a joke." The crowd broke into applause as the teams appeared once again.
   85. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: September 06, 2013 at 11:38 AM (#4535725)
I'm tempted to become a QPR fan just for 'arry.
   86. I am going to be Frank Posted: September 06, 2013 at 11:40 AM (#4535727)
Would you switch to Crystal Palace when Holloway gets fired and 'arry becomes the new manager?
   87. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: September 06, 2013 at 11:56 AM (#4535744)
Crystal Palace aren't paying Harry more than QPR is. Besides, QPR look good for a return to the PL next year and Crystal Palace look near certain for the drop.

That's a great story, though. And the guy nearly scored a goal!
   88. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: September 06, 2013 at 12:03 PM (#4535747)
Russia scored in the first minute against Luxembourg. Haven't scored in the next 30 minutes.

Edit: There we go.
   89. I am going to be Frank Posted: September 06, 2013 at 12:08 PM (#4535753)
Has Russia ever played a qualifying match east of the Urals?
   90. ursus arctos Posted: September 06, 2013 at 12:23 PM (#4535771)
I don't know for sure, but I doubt it. They almost always play qualifiers in Moscow, and I would expect that the centrally-negotiated UEFA deals for qualifier television rights mitigate in favor of games played in more European time zones.

The USSR may have played somewhere like Vladivostok for propaganda purposes back in the day, but even then, Soviet football was centered in the European part of the country. No team from east Tblissi ever won the Soviet championship.
   91. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: September 06, 2013 at 12:34 PM (#4535780)
Soccerway lists all of Russia's competitive matches back to 1992. It looks like they are all either at the Luzhniki, the Lokomotiv stadium, the Dinamo stadium, or in Saint Petersburg, except for two crucial clashes in Krasnodar and Volgograd.

In the Soviet era, it doesn't list where most of the qualifiers were. One of the few with a location was in Simferopol, of all places.
   92. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: September 06, 2013 at 12:40 PM (#4535783)
Mkrtchyan scored a really nice goal to put Armenia up 1-0 over the Czechs. He can now afford to buy another vowel.
   93. ursus arctos Posted: September 06, 2013 at 12:46 PM (#4535789)
Here's a list from RSSSF that purports to go back to 1925 (though looks much more complete after 1952).

No Vladivostok and no other Far East locations that I could pick out quickly. Simferopol turns out to have hosted a number of matches. likely because of its relatively benign winter climate.
   94. Commissioner Bud Black Beltre Hillman Posted: September 06, 2013 at 12:54 PM (#4535794)
ManU's spin is pretty interesting, especially the part about Alcantera:
The issue of Thiago Alcântara also needs clearing up. In his case, it has been portrayed as him snubbing United for Bayern Munich when the truth is actually that Moyes decided he was not entirely comfortable going for the Barcelona player. United had been monitoring him for three years and effectively lined up the transfer but Moyes, as everyone at Everton can testify, likes to have a huge amount of background information on new signings and, having initially gone along with it, decided in the end he did not want to take someone else's word about a player he had seen infrequently.

This is most of the way down the article, and its the spot where, if this was my six year old explaining why it wasn't his fault that the neighbor's window is broken, I'd stop listening and assume it's his fault.

Seems like a front office leak in that the message is focused on not being incompetent as an organisation (the Herrera mess) and the club's prestige (Alcantera didn't snub us, we snubbed him!) while putting most of the responsibility on Moyes. If Moyes seriously turned down Alcantera and Ozil and wouldn't go the extra few million for Herrera... wow.
   95. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: September 06, 2013 at 12:57 PM (#4535799)
The only cities I see in that list at all are Moscow, Kiev, Volgograd for some reason, and the warm-weather locales of Tbilisi, Yerevan, and Simferopol. No St Petersburg! Russia has played there a lot since independence.
   96. nick swisher hygiene Posted: September 06, 2013 at 01:01 PM (#4535801)
87--no spoilers!

classic story, though I still suspect the writer of--extracting the Michael, is that right?
this is the highest lvl of organized footballl in England, and it's 1994 not 1934.
really? it really happened?

--oh I see, exhibition tie against some minnow......I was thinking Oxford United!


   97. Commissioner Bud Black Beltre Hillman Posted: September 06, 2013 at 01:01 PM (#4535803)
Given Moyes' apparent lack of trust in Kagawa
This was also addressed in that spin article (I think it was there); apparently Kagawa's just being eased back in after a big international summer, and remains in Moyes' plans. Apparently.
   98. ursus arctos Posted: September 06, 2013 at 01:17 PM (#4535810)
Yeah, I find that as dubious as the rest of the piece.

It's worth keeping in mind that Moyes had a reputation at Everton for over-thinking transfers to the point where he missed opportunities. We obviously don't know if that is what happened here, but whoever is leaking the spin is surely aware of that reputation.

Interesting tidbit about Oxford City. Redknapp was assistant manager there to Bobby Moore during one of their attempts to escape non-league obscurity.
   99. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: September 06, 2013 at 01:22 PM (#4535816)
Now that I've written this all out maybe it was good time for a drastic change. Its ok to build a team based primarily on English players if the talent pool is deep enough, but we all know it isn't.

But with all that, they only have 3 English players who predict to be regular starters, and a few more that are squad players. I do think United is conservative when it comes to signing though, just that it isn't about being English. They want guys who have proven themselves either in the PL, or the CL. It's not necessarily a terrible strategy given United's ability to attract players, and their deep pockets. They can certainly afford to pay a premium to mitigate the risk of a mega-flop. But the downside is that it reduces their available player pool significantly, and doesn't leave them with that many teams outside of England they can really bully out of players. They just aren't going to go dumpster-diving in the bottom half of Spain or Italy.

On Özil:
1. He's really, really, really good. Obviously.
2. >£40m is crazy-ville-nuts-town, and I am shocked Wenger of all people paid it. Especially with Real apparently desperate to make a deal to balance their books a little after the Bale deal.
   100. ursus arctos Posted: September 06, 2013 at 01:52 PM (#4535831)
It all depends on how one spins the fee.

If you look at it as "half Gareth Bale" or "seven million more than Andy Carroll" it looks like quite good value.

In other news, Armenia have just scored what looks to be an injury time winner in the Czech Republic, which will no doubt improve the moods of the Italians and Bulgarians.
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