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Friday, October 20, 2017

OT: Winter Soccer Thread

November 4 Borussia Dortmund v. Bayern Munich
November 5 Chelsea v. ManU
November 9 & 12 - Northern Ireland v. Switzerland/Croatia v. Greece
November 10 &  13 - Sweden v. Italy
November 11 & 14 - Denmark v. Ireland
November 10 & 15 - Honduras v. Australia
November 11 & 15 - New Zealand v. Peru
November 14 - Portugal v. USA (friendly #&!^#&)
December 1 - Napoli v. Juventus
December 10 - ManU v. ManCity
December 11 - Champions League Round of 16 draw
December 20 - Real Madrid v. Barcelona (how contentious will this be given the political climate?)

Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: October 20, 2017 at 05:27 PM | 2146 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: off topic, soccer

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   1401. jmurph Posted: April 13, 2018 at 09:40 AM (#5652959)
Thankfully I chose the good league: Premier League clubs voted down VAR for next season.
   1402. SPICEY WITH A SIDE OF BEER ON A BABYYYYYYY Posted: April 13, 2018 at 09:44 AM (#5652963)
I feel like a well implemented VAR system I'd be in favor of. But yes, it seems way too immature for me to want it right now. And the way the other replay systems in sports have been implemented...

I am also coming around a bit to the idea not just of imperfect refereeing, but in league play it generally evens out (less so for CL), and I also am now look at slightly off bang-bang offsides calls as one of the risks a team takes for playing high lines and offside traps.
   1403. jmurph Posted: April 13, 2018 at 09:49 AM (#5652966)
TV/streaming question: so Serie A international rights have been bought by IMG/Rai TV. There are rumors they're trying to jointly package them in the US with the FA Cup rights. Has anyone seen any better gossip than that (which I'm just getting from googling)? I'm a playstation vue subscriber, which initially had BeIn but then dropped it, so I'm hoping someone like ESPN or Fox buys it so I can watch more Serie A next year.
   1404. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: April 13, 2018 at 10:08 AM (#5652977)
Not a clue. I hope NBC picks it up just so they can get their hands on the FA Cup. I was pretty fond of the scheduling on Fox when they had EPL and Serie A. PL in the morning, Serie A in the afternoon and wouldn't mind that again on NBC. It would be a sweetener to get people to pay for their Goal Rush package, too. I'm just not sure how much IMG think they can squeeze US broadcasters after BeIn spent the last few years killing all interest in Serie A in the States.
   1405. jmurph Posted: April 13, 2018 at 10:24 AM (#5652993)
The BeIn thing has been such a disaster, but I doubt anyone in the leagues understands that or even cares.

Agree that NBC would make a lot of sense- I paid for the Gold thing this year and probably used it like twice. People are also speculating about ESPN, which just launched their streaming service, and Turner, which has the Champions League next year and is launching a streaming service.
   1406. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: April 13, 2018 at 10:38 AM (#5653010)
Yeah, this seems like something Turner would do but I not sure I will bite. Between cable and HBO and Netflix and Gold Rush and Spotify and XM radio and NBA TV, I already feel like a stooge. I would love to cut the cord on cable but my wife doesn't want to lose her access to PBS and all those goddam period pieces because Americans won't be satisfied until every single ############# thing that has ever happened in England is dramatized and from multiple points of view.
   1407. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: April 13, 2018 at 10:41 AM (#5653018)
Oh, and I think the Leagues recognize and care what a disaster BeIn has been. Serie A has now bailed and I wonder if La Liga will be next. I just wonder how much the Qataris have lost on the deal and if THEY care? My lord has that country wasted some serious money on soccer.
   1408. SPICEY WITH A SIDE OF BEER ON A BABYYYYYYY Posted: April 13, 2018 at 10:50 AM (#5653039)
I'm really looking forward to La Liga getting a real contract. The quality of play is gonna be much higher, and they don't have the stupid stadium tracks everywhere (I think?).

Hoping the new Fox Sports Bundesliga contract gets their average talent level raised. I've watched a few games here and there, but Dortmund and RB Leipzig had disappointing years for them, I think.
   1409. J. Sosa Posted: April 13, 2018 at 11:04 AM (#5653059)
I tried cord cutting for awhile and to be frank it sucked. That makes me behind the times and all that, but I don’t spend much on entertainment other than sports packages.

BeIn is terrible. I don’t know why they bothered buying up that much inventory. I hate streaming and hope TNT doesn’t go with that model, but I wouldn’t mind if they picked up Serie A or something to go with CL. I am cautiously optomistic that they would go with something like they do for the NCAA tournament with their networks. I hate Fox and Bein. Surely they could do better.

As for La Liga... I dunno. I don’t like that syle of play. Of course it could just be the magisterial guy screaming in my ear. I always watch Bein on mute. I’ve never been able to decide if that is better or worse than Lalas commentating on CL matches watching a monitor in a broom closet.
   1410. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: April 13, 2018 at 11:12 AM (#5653072)
I miss the guy that used to do the Serie A games for Fox by himself (though I'm sure he didn't work for Fox but was just who the distributor hired for English language broadcasting). What a great, lonely gig that must have been.

   1411. manchestermets Posted: April 13, 2018 at 11:19 AM (#5653081)
I'm really looking forward to La Liga getting a real contract. The quality of play is gonna be much higher, and they don't have the stupid stadium tracks everywhere (I think?).

Hoping the new Fox Sports Bundesliga contract gets their average talent level raised. I've watched a few games here and there, but Dortmund and RB Leipzig had disappointing years for them, I think.


I don't think that new US contracts are going to make any difference to the level of play in any European Leagues - for one thing, Spain and Germany are already among the top leagues, who do you think they are going to recruit talent from that they aren't doing at the moment? For another, for the European leagues the entirety of the international rights money is a small fraction of the domestic rights. Every little helps, of course, but I'm pretty sure the US rights money alone isn't going to have a significant impact on anything.
   1412. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: April 13, 2018 at 11:24 AM (#5653089)
Yeah, to put it in perspective, Serie A's TOTAL international rights are now a little less than what the EPL gets from NBC alone. This help Italy a little but it won't put Torino on a par with Bournemouth economically.
   1413. J. Sosa Posted: April 13, 2018 at 12:45 PM (#5653211)
10 of the top 20 in the last money league were PL clubs. 14 out of top 30. Teams like Palace and West Brom had roughly the same standing as a club like Roma.

I think there was a pretty lengthy discussion here about what that growing trend would mean going forward and if IIRC the consensus was that the PL would eventually catch or pass Spain in overall european competition despite the presence of the Spanish behemoths.
   1414. J. Sosa Posted: April 13, 2018 at 01:14 PM (#5653239)
Frankfurt angry about Bayern leaking to the press about Kovac. I am shocked, shocked that they would do such a thing! Surely not.
   1415. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: April 13, 2018 at 01:30 PM (#5653252)
I miss the guy that used to do the Serie A games for Fox by himself (though I'm sure he didn't work for Fox but was just who the distributor hired for English language broadcasting). What a great, lonely gig that must have been.


Back in the late naughties? If it's the guy I'm thinking of I could not ####### stand him. His way of suddenly pronouncing in perfect Italian the players' names drove me nuts.
   1416. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: April 13, 2018 at 01:33 PM (#5653257)
Cord Cutters - I can only speak for myself but I moved to PlayStation Vue at the turn of the year and it is FANTASTIC. Alas it does not have BeIN sports but I think SlingTV does which I also tried. I like Vue better than Sling but both worked pretty well and gave me access to local stations including my local RSN (no PBS though, sorry Mrs. Shooty).
   1417. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: April 13, 2018 at 01:41 PM (#5653270)
Bayern like to twist the knife, don't they? For no good reason, too.
   1418. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: April 13, 2018 at 01:42 PM (#5653273)
https://youtu.be/ez8iNKb_V7g

I would just quit right on the spot.
   1419. jmurph Posted: April 13, 2018 at 01:49 PM (#5653278)
Cosign Jose's post on Playstation Vue. I wish the navigation were slightly better but generally I'm very happy with it and it's fairly affordable. Loaded with all of the sports offerings, too, minus BeIn.

Also, on PBS, if you're a nerd and give to them monthly (I think my monthly donation is $5, so we're not exactly breaking the bank on it), you can basically get everything on demand through the app.
   1420. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: April 13, 2018 at 01:50 PM (#5653279)
   1421. J. Sosa Posted: April 13, 2018 at 01:53 PM (#5653283)
Yeah, it is a long list. They toyed with Schalke over Goretzska most recently and of course with Dortmund many times after they couldn’t beat them on the field often enough.

Looks like Frankfurt brass are doing some retaliatory leaking. Frankfurt paper claims Bayern was after Klopp and Tuchel first. Both said no.

I have always enjoyed Klopp’s comments on Bayern. It would crush me if he ever coached there.

Edit to add: Evidently it was the worst kept secret in Germany for a good while. I was aware of the stories a couple weeks ago but evidently they weren’t shy about their intentions in the German press. Ugh.

   1422. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: April 13, 2018 at 02:29 PM (#5653305)
Anyone know the reason for the weird Spurs-City start time tomorrow? I'm not used to these games being smack in the middle of the afternoon.
   1423. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: April 13, 2018 at 03:13 PM (#5653345)
I wanted to say that 7:45 (UK) Saturday starts aren't that unusual but it seems that they are. I have it rattling around my brain that it was fairly common in years past.
   1424. jmurph Posted: April 13, 2018 at 03:29 PM (#5653365)
I wanted to say that 7:45 (UK) Saturday starts aren't that unusual but it seems that they are. I have it rattling around my brain that it was fairly common in years past.

I think basically (if not actually) never on weekends, though, at least for the several years that my failing mind are able to recall. But yes the mid-week or Monday games start at that time.
   1425. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: April 13, 2018 at 03:36 PM (#5653377)
I feel like a few years back I used to be able to watch a game that started at 2:45 EST (or EDT, whatever) during the winter but maybe that was a tape delay in those FoxSoccer days.
   1426. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: April 13, 2018 at 03:40 PM (#5653385)
Right. Mid-week games are always 7:45 or 8:00. Usually the late game on a Saturday is 5:30 so I wasn't sure if there was a special reason for this being on so late or not. I've seen some talk on Spurs boards that it's an experiment to get bigger American audiences but I doubt that. I'm sure NBC prefers to have the games on before the American sports start up. Anyway, my google-fu is weak on this one and I can't find a reason for the scheduling.
   1427. Jeffo has an El Camino full of Rampage Posted: April 13, 2018 at 03:59 PM (#5653406)
They had at least one other this season - the Saturday before Christmas, and I believe they plan to have more in coming seasons. What I had read was that they felt they could do better, at least throughout Europe, than just giving the late Spanish games that time slot to themselves.
   1428. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: April 13, 2018 at 04:02 PM (#5653409)
Would later starts be better for lower and non-league teams that tend to play in the earlier time slots? "Hey let's go out and watch Cambridge United vs. Hartlepool then head home and catch Spurs on the telly."
   1429. jmurph Posted: April 13, 2018 at 04:11 PM (#5653417)
Back to the International Champions Cup talk, the locations are now posted, but (I might be missing it) they're not showing which teams will be in which locations.
   1430. manchestermets Posted: April 13, 2018 at 04:59 PM (#5653454)
I believe they plan to have more in coming seasons.


Yes, the recent domestic TV deal (which is always the driver of kickoff times) has some Saturday prime time games, which nobody here really wants. Details.

I don't think there have been any league games on this season at that time other than the pre-Christmas one, but there have been a couple of FA Cup games.
   1431. Richard Posted: April 13, 2018 at 08:58 PM (#5653588)
Historically, no Saturday game in the UK kicked off after 3pm (except in Torquay, a seaside town, where they had Saturday night games to try to increase crowds). After Live TV started the usual starts became 515 or 530, so this is new.

It won't be popular, particularly for away fans, but on a day when the PL voted VAR down it's hard to criticise them.

One reason it's not common is the police, who don't want people drinking all day in the lead up to a game. That's why potentially volatile fixtures (e.g. Local derbies) are 12pm or 1pm starts. This weekend's Sheffield United-Millwall game is a 1pm start at police request.
   1432. manchestermets Posted: April 14, 2018 at 06:43 AM (#5653698)
Historically, no Saturday game in the UK kicked off after 3pm


There was one other exception to this apart from Torquay: Bury used to kick off at 3.15pm, for historical reasons - there was a factory near the ground, and kicking off at 3.15 would allow the workers on the Saturday shift time to get to the game after the shift finished. They eventually abandoned this in the 1980s, because the late start meant the games never appeared on the pools coupon and denied them vital publicity.

There were a couple of other teams that had non-standard kick-off times, for reasons similar to Jose's suggestion in 1428. Tranmere (just outside Liverpool) and Stockport (just outside Manchester) used to play on Friday nights in the hope that people going to Everton/Liverpool/United/City on the Saturday would go to those games too.
   1433. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: April 14, 2018 at 08:50 AM (#5653711)
Chelsea officially give no fucks.
   1434. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: April 14, 2018 at 09:04 AM (#5653713)
Sorry, Soton, I spoke too soon. I guess Saints are bottom 3 for a reason.
   1435. Richard Posted: April 14, 2018 at 10:35 AM (#5653728)
I remember Stockport and Tranmere playing on Fridays ("Friday night is County night!")

Port Vale's midweek matches were always mondays, for reasons unknown to me. I think that came to an end in the early 1990s, along with the 730pm kick off.
   1436. SPICEY WITH A SIDE OF BEER ON A BABYYYYYYY Posted: April 14, 2018 at 03:03 PM (#5653822)
If Tottenham doesn't think Rose will be fit I'd like to see them spend some more money on fullbacks. Aurrier can't be trusted, and frankly the other two can't either.

Dier has really sucked this year for me and if they get another stupid offer like 50 million pounds for him from Man U then I just assume replace him. Hell, I'd be giving Wanyama more spot starts too. Dier is way better on the ball, but he's been really lose with it this year so at least Wanyama knows what he is.
   1437. SPICEY WITH A SIDE OF BEER ON A BABYYYYYYY Posted: April 14, 2018 at 03:17 PM (#5653829)
Tottenham try too much ball control stuff, that #### doesn't work against City. They need to be more like Liverpool, which they've gone away from a bit this year.

Lamela sucks and can't pass against a team like City. Son is so much better than him.

Lloris has been off it this year for me. I don't want to replace him or anything, but he's off the standard he set the last 2-3 years I think.
   1438. manchestermets Posted: April 14, 2018 at 03:52 PM (#5653844)
You should want to replace him. Lloris isn't the keeper in a team that's going to win the league.
   1439. SPICEY WITH A SIDE OF BEER ON A BABYYYYYYY Posted: April 14, 2018 at 04:03 PM (#5653849)
Vertonghen is so ####### good.
   1440. I am going to be Frank Posted: April 14, 2018 at 04:07 PM (#5653853)
What keeper could spurs get that would be better than Lloris? I guess they could find a young, up and coming one, but that is risky.
   1441. I am going to be Frank Posted: April 14, 2018 at 04:17 PM (#5653856)
I was about to say sterling has the confidence of me at a victoria’s Secret party, but he finished that one.
   1442. SPICEY WITH A SIDE OF BEER ON A BABYYYYYYY Posted: April 14, 2018 at 04:24 PM (#5653860)
Lloris is not the problem. I mean, I no longer think of him as a top, top keeper like I did coming into the year, but he's still in that good range where they aren't going to cost you seasons.

Tottenham's fullbacks wouldn't look out of place on Hull City. They cost the tie to Juventus. Dier I think was very good the last two years but has been poor this one. That happens with young players, which is why smarter and more well paid football minds than me need to determine if this is a blip or not. Tottenham's gotten overrun in midfield, particularly in between the lines of midfield and the back 4, which I pretty much view as Dier's territory. And his passing has been hideous again.
   1443. SPICEY WITH A SIDE OF BEER ON A BABYYYYYYY Posted: April 14, 2018 at 04:27 PM (#5653861)
Sissoko is coming in? What in the actual ####. Poch is a great manager but I feel the EPL standards have increased this year with Man U, Liverpool, and City getting much stronger. The holes in the Tottenham rotation really do need to be plugged.
   1444. Mefisto Posted: April 14, 2018 at 04:57 PM (#5653869)
I think you're overrating United. They have substantial weaknesses. I honestly think both Spurs and Liverpool are better.
   1445. SPICEY WITH A SIDE OF BEER ON A BABYYYYYYY Posted: April 14, 2018 at 05:05 PM (#5653870)
Re: 1444

I think I do too (though when Pogba plays world class United look a different team). But, they have pretty massively overhauled their team and have shown a willingness to just keep churning through high cost players until stuff sticks. For instance, I'm sure they'll be bringing in a couple of expensive players this year.

We'll also see, when Tottenham and Man U play next week. It's hard for me to be objective when evaluating them because of their style of play.
   1446. Dale Sams Posted: April 14, 2018 at 05:21 PM (#5653878)
USA might be in Russia this summer after all...hahaha just kidding. We'll be swimming the English Channel in Dunkirk II.
   1447. Mefisto Posted: April 14, 2018 at 05:21 PM (#5653879)
Yeah, the trick to United this season has been whether they can free up Pogba on offense. He's not a good defender, but sometimes has to track back too much. If they had a defense/DM who could cover for him against good teams, they would look much better.

Spurs didn't look good today, but if they can pressure the United defense I like their chances.
   1448. Dale Sams Posted: April 14, 2018 at 05:27 PM (#5653882)
And regarding Buffon and narrative upthread...refs ALREADY play to the narrative some as far as expiring time goes. He shouldn't have to remember "This is Buffons last chance" If Buffon wanted to stay in the game, he shouldn't have gone mental.
   1449. Mefisto Posted: April 14, 2018 at 05:40 PM (#5653890)
I'm sure United will bring in additional players this summer. Valencia and Young are both old, and their central defenders other than Bailly aren't that good. Matic needs to be replaced or they need to find somebody who can play defense but transition between him and Pogba. Both Rashford and Martial are rumored to be unhappy (understandably, since Sanchez hasn't been any better than they were and has been arguably worse). United also need someone who can play on the right side of a front 3.
   1450. manchestermets Posted: April 14, 2018 at 05:46 PM (#5653900)
I think you're overrating United. They have substantial weaknesses.


They have a substantial weakness, which is a manager who won't let the fantastic attacking talent that they have attack.
   1451. Mefisto Posted: April 14, 2018 at 05:51 PM (#5653907)
No argument from me on that. I didn't want them to hire Mourinho to begin with.
   1452. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: April 15, 2018 at 10:59 AM (#5654066)
Amazing point blank save from Donnarumma in the last minute of the Milan/Napoli game probably ends any chance Napoli has of winning the title. Even a win at Juve now next week is unlikely to make enough difference.
   1453. Baldrick Posted: April 15, 2018 at 12:39 PM (#5654095)
Attendance of 19,000 for the inaugural Utah Royals match yesterday. Got to watch their toothless attack fall 1-0 to a wonderful volley from Dani Colaprico.

In more awkward news, the national anthem singer for the game (Rachel Platten, she of "Fight Song" fame) forgot the words three times! It was even more painful than it sounds.
   1454. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: April 15, 2018 at 12:54 PM (#5654097)
There’s someth8ng both sad and fitting about City winning the title this way. As good as they were the majority of he season they deserved to celebrate with a win of heir own. On the other hand the last few weeks have been underwhelming and while it is a bit unfair to say they’ve linked over the line the season really hasn’t transpired the way it looked like it would back at the turn of the year when trebles and quadruples were fairly being discussed.
   1455. Mefisto Posted: April 15, 2018 at 03:33 PM (#5654153)
This is pretty typical of Pep's teams. He demands a lot (good), but he doesn't rotate his squad enough. Even at Barca, where his players let the ball do all the work, they got leggy towards the end of the season.
   1456. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: April 15, 2018 at 05:12 PM (#5654207)
Yeah it was weird to me how much he played some people, particularly KDB after the turn of the year in the league. The race was already over at that point and with the CL heating up I’d have saved my bullets for there.

Congrats to the City fans here (jumprh? Others?). Regardless of how they finally got over the line it has been an astounding performance. I’m not historical whiz but this has to be on the short list of best PL-era teams.
   1457. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: April 15, 2018 at 05:53 PM (#5654219)
I’m not historical whiz but this has to be on the short list of best PL-era teams.
Statistically, it's very likely to be the best EPL league season ever. Not likely to be strongly considered for the best year for any club in England though, due to failures in the FA cup and especially in Europe.
   1458. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: April 15, 2018 at 06:33 PM (#5654253)
Yeah it seems like even a reaching the semi-finals in both the FA Cup and CL would have changed this.

Oh very nice play in the Atlanta-NYCFC game. Atlanta had a free kick at the edge of the box (inside the “D”). Rather than just crank it over the bar they touched it and let the wall attack opening things up and took a shot that was deflected aside. I really like that. I don’t know why more teams don’t do that rather than just hoofing it into the wall or into the 30th row.
   1459. Dale Sams Posted: April 15, 2018 at 07:32 PM (#5654281)
Mighty mighty Newcastle....gonna be a long time before we play Sunderland, barring a cup tie.
   1460. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: April 15, 2018 at 09:28 PM (#5654320)
One odd thing about the 538 rankings. On a game-by-game basis they are more volatile than traditional ELO, probably because the factors they track besides final score can pile up in one or the other direction leading to a larger change in relative team ranking. On the other hand, their relative league rankings are relatively static. I'm not even sure they've updated them since the beginning of the year (you can see the pre-season relative rankings here). Currently La Liga's team average is 71.5, Bundesliga 69, EPL 65, Serie A 63. A more traditional ELO ranking like clubelo.com updates the relative league strength after every interleague matchup, and currently has La Liga and the EPL very close to each other, with Germany/Italy close to each other but a significant distance behind the top 2.

Obviously it's very hard to say which set of rankings is closer to correct in the absolute, but 538 seems internally inconsistent in having game-to-game matchups swing their team rankings so much, while at the same time leaving the league strengths unchanged until (presumably) the end of the year. The most obvious place this can be seen this year is in the relative ranking of Bayern v Barca/Real. 538 has had Bayern pretty much right at the very top of their rankings all year (currently clear #1), while more traditional ELO has had them a significant step behind Real/Barca all year. Betting odds also has them a step behind, for what it's worth.

All other things being equal, each interleague game should have a relatively large effect on relative league ratings since there are relatively few of them. Imagine, for example, that there was only 1 interleague game a year. For better or worse, that one game would have to swing the relative league strengths quite a bit, because there is no other results-based information to use.

edit: 538's current relative league strength is much more similar to traditional ELO as the beginning of the 2017/2018 year, with Spain a clear favorite and Italy clearly in 4th (and not that far ahead of France). The one notable difference is that preseason traditional ELO had England/Germany very close to each other in the middle, whereas 538 had Germany as well above England. I really think 538 should consider changing their methodology to update league strength and lower game-to-game volaility (the two changes would have to go hand-in-hand or the teams at the top of the league like Man City would get too much boost from beating up on the EPL while England does well in Europe).
   1461. SPICEY WITH A SIDE OF BEER ON A BABYYYYYYY Posted: April 15, 2018 at 11:21 PM (#5654385)
538's sports models have always seemed very simplistic to me. I don't even love traditional ELO for most sports, though it seems like there aren't many publicly available models in soccer that are better. I guess because it doesn't seem like a lot of stuff like xG is tracked in a meaningful, discrete way.

   1462. jmurph Posted: April 16, 2018 at 09:44 AM (#5654476)
On the other hand the last few weeks have been underwhelming and while it is a bit unfair to say they’ve linked over the line the season really hasn’t transpired the way it looked like it would back at the turn of the year when trebles and quadruples were fairly being discussed.

I get this to some extent but they're also likely to set all kinds of Premier League records. I think most great teams spread it out a little more evenly, perhaps? Whereas they've had their one bad stretch all in one two week period. But their remaining schedule is cake: Swansea, West Ham, Huddersfield, Brighton, Southampton, and even if they throw in some youth players (and as has been discussed, Pep might not actually do that!), they should rack up more goals/wins.

   1463. jmurph Posted: April 16, 2018 at 09:46 AM (#5654477)
Congrats to the City fans here (jumprh? Others?).

Sean is one, and there used to be another but I haven't seen them post in a long time.
   1464. J. Sosa Posted: April 16, 2018 at 10:29 AM (#5654505)
Re: 538

Thanks for that Bea, that makes sense.

Re: City

I was going to post the rotation thing but was beaten to it. At one time I think they may have had an Invincibles type season in mind which played into the lack of rotation. It did hurt them I think. They are very good.

Re: ICC

Looks like schedule may have leaked. With apologies to any Queen City residents, I would much rather they have kept Nashville for the LFC vs Dortmund matchup. Oh well. Looks like Benfica was switched in for Spurs in Pittsburgh. Charlotte it is.
   1465. I am going to be Frank Posted: April 16, 2018 at 01:58 PM (#5654655)
That United match was such a slog. Alexis was a pure, short term play. He's marginally better than Rashford and Martial now, but he's older and bringing in him mid-season makes it hard to develop on-the-field chemistry. I don't understand why Mourinho keeps playing Mata. Yes, he's fairly creative but he's just not good enough. If he can't carve open a team like West Brom, then why is he on the team?

United do need new fullbacks. Young does a yeoman's work, but it's not a natural position for him. It's obvious Shaw won't work out, but it never made sense for Mourinho to depress his worth by not playing him and dumping on him. I think it's very fair to criticize Mourinho's pragmatism, but he got them second (so far) behind a historical team. The defense isn't good and Matic isn't what he once was. He kind of had to play conservatively, but no one knows if he will let them play aggressively, even if the defense gets fixed.
   1466. Mefisto Posted: April 16, 2018 at 02:26 PM (#5654690)
I'd be surprised if the numbers support the idea that Sanchez has been better than Rashford/Martial.

I like Mata -- he offers something no other United player does. But he's really a #10 or perhaps should be used the way Chelsea now use Cesc. The problem is, Mourinho won't play him as a #10 and United don't have the personnel to let him play anywhere else. The weird thing is, they made no move to replace him in the position he actually plays, though I think plenty of candidates were/are available.
   1467. J. Sosa Posted: April 16, 2018 at 02:28 PM (#5654694)
I am going to make a bold prediction; are you ready?

Mourinho will not allow them to play aggressively.

I was ecstatic they signed Sanchez. He is is likely going to run Rashford and Martial out of the club like he did KDB and Salah not so long ago. And given that his Billy Martin act didn’t even result in a title his second year this time I would say this is going to end very badly. I think United would be crazy to give him a blank check this summer.
   1468. SPICEY WITH A SIDE OF BEER ON A BABYYYYYYY Posted: April 16, 2018 at 04:08 PM (#5654758)
Sanchez was a pretty bad move, I agree. Sanchez was one of my favorite players at Arsenal and at his peak was probably around a top 10 player in the world in my estimation. He's a good case of paying someone for what they were rather than what they'll be. Matic I guess is getting older, but he's not that old for a defensive mid. I try to avoid watching Man U games but I don't know why he turned south so quickly.

Martial/Pogba/Rashford seem to score not enough goals to be penciled in starters at a team that wants to compete for the league and play deep into the CL, though it is probably safe to give some of that blame to Mourinho given what we've seen from him in the past.
   1469. Mefisto Posted: April 16, 2018 at 04:33 PM (#5654781)
Actually, Martial/Pogba/Rashford were doing quite well. At the end of October, Rashford had played 16 games, with 7 goals and 5 assists. He was splitting the position with Martial, who had 9 goals and (off memory) 3 assists. Pogba, though out due to injury a lot, has 10 assists on the season, most of them before Sanchez arrived. If United had a weak spot on offense, it was on the right side. Signing Sanchez, who has contributed little, caused Mourhino to bench Rashford/Martial, so it's been a net loss.
   1470. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: April 16, 2018 at 04:47 PM (#5654791)
Mourinho will not allow them to play aggressively.


Graham and Lee did a neat little segment talking about the plodding way United play. It was short but (for me at least) pretty insightful. They highlighted that the way Mourinho has them set up just leaves them with minimal link up opportunities and everything too congested to make plays.

Beyond that I think he's SO defensive minded that the players don't feel the freedom to make an attacking move. Watch City or Spurs or hell about a dozen teams in the Bundesliga, when the opportunity to attack is there they take it. United seem so concerned about meeting their defensive responsibilities that they just aren't willing to sweep forward. There was a moment late in the game this weekend where DeGea grabbed the ball and raced to the edge of the box then hurled a long throw forward to midfield. The United player was too slow in reacting and it just came to a West Brom player. As I recall they were already down at that point but I think that highlights the issue. The first move isn't "go forward" it's "make sure everything is covered up then go forward but don't leave your flank exposed."

I'm with Mefisto on Mata. I think he is a classic example of a player who is not being put in a position to succeed. He's the kind of guy who could go to City this summer and we'd all be talking about his "rebirth" or some such thing because Pep is the kind of manager who would put him in a position to succeed (not that City need him but you see my point I hope).
   1471. jmurph Posted: April 17, 2018 at 04:12 PM (#5655413)
The internet tells me Kane scored again but I don't know who to trust anymore.
   1472. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: April 17, 2018 at 04:27 PM (#5655425)
He did, I witnessed it! The Brighton scored about 90 seconds later on a penalty.

Between the CL semis and the FA Cup final is there any soccer of importance happening? Even relegation battles look pretty tame compared to years past. Serie A has a bit of a battle for the last relgation spot and last CL spot and the Bundesliga has a good fight for the playoff spot but other than that there ain't crap on the line it seems.
   1473. strong silence Posted: April 17, 2018 at 04:38 PM (#5655434)
Point: The foul by Aurier for a penalty was a red card. DOGSO.

Counterpoint:
   1474. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: April 17, 2018 at 04:50 PM (#5655441)
Between the CL semis and the FA Cup final is there any soccer of importance happening? Even relegation battles look pretty tame compared to years past. Serie A has a bit of a battle for the last relgation spot and last CL spot and the Bundesliga has a good fight for the playoff spot but other than that there ain't crap on the line it seems
Other leagues have their league cups, Barca still undefeated, Ligue 1 has a battle for the last CL spot. Germany's last CL spot isn't total wrapped up... Leverkusen plays Dortmund and Leipzig plays Hoffenheim, both this weekend. If neither game ends in a draw the 4th spot becomes somewhat in question again.

It is pretty bleak though, compared to a more typical year.
   1475. jmurph Posted: April 17, 2018 at 04:51 PM (#5655442)
Point: The foul by Aurier for a penalty was a red card. DOGSO.

Counterpoint:

The rule changed? No longer automatic.
   1476. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: April 17, 2018 at 06:34 PM (#5655504)
Point: The foul by Aurier for a penalty was a red card. DOGSO.

Counterpoint:


...have you seen a replay? It was a dive by Izquierdo. It wasn't a foul at all.
   1477. SPICEY WITH A SIDE OF BEER ON A BABYYYYYYY Posted: April 17, 2018 at 10:18 PM (#5655646)
Tottenham should not be drawing with Brighton, even with a heavily rotated squad. I know mathematically Chelsea is kind of ###### but I'd really like to see Tottenham both salt that away and to me, a fan, there is a difference between 2nd, and 3rd, and 4th.
   1478. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: April 17, 2018 at 10:32 PM (#5655652)
[nevermind-rules may have changed.]
   1479. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: April 17, 2018 at 10:36 PM (#5655656)
Tottenham should not be drawing with Brighton, even with a heavily rotated squad. I know mathematically Chelsea is kind of ###### but I'd really like to see Tottenham both salt that away and to me, a fan, there is a difference between 2nd, and 3rd, and 4th.


I'm cool with Liverpool now having the inside track to 3rd. Of course, they're winning Europe, so that'll make everything moot. But in the multiverse where they don't, not having to play a decent team to get into the group round is way better.
   1480. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: April 17, 2018 at 10:49 PM (#5655667)
I'm cool with Liverpool now having the inside track to 3rd. Of course, they're winning Europe, so that'll make everything moot. But in the multiverse where they don't, not having to play a decent team to get into the group round is way better.
I think, starting this year, the 4th placed team goes straight to the group stage.
   1481. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: April 17, 2018 at 10:52 PM (#5655672)
See also the UEFA site, which has a good summary of changes.

edit: for those Burnley fans out there, if they finish 7th this year they will enter the 2nd qualifying Europa League round, unless (I think) Southampton wins the FA cup.
   1482. SPICEY WITH A SIDE OF BEER ON A BABYYYYYYY Posted: April 18, 2018 at 12:03 AM (#5655759)
Yes, I think AuntBea is right - but it's a pride thing. The disappointing loss to Juve, finishing 4th, Man City (you can't win the title if you get 0 points from them) crushing Spurs, it'll feel like a bit of a stepback year. Unless they win the FA Cup. That'd be ok.

And god, if Chelsea sneak in, #### me.
   1483. J. Sosa Posted: April 18, 2018 at 08:17 AM (#5655802)
I am still super chill as to Liverpool league position as long as they finish top four. Top four and a CL semi is an amazing season. But I didn’t realize until Swiss Ramble wrote about it how big of a difference league position makes in CL distribution. I had always just been aware of PL distribution which is middling. I didn’t know it applied to CL money too. Chelsea has recieved about the same money as Liverpool despite losing in the first knockout round. And Man U got hurt by qualifying through EL win rather than making it via league position.
   1484. J. Sosa Posted: April 18, 2018 at 08:34 AM (#5655803)
Re: Mourinho

He generally plays with two holding mids, asks the wide mids to track hard defensively, and then has a true 9 with one player allowed some creative freedom. Basically he uses a Drogba, Milito, Lukaku with say a Sneijder type. That’s it. That’s the offense. He played dour stuff at Real he isn’t going to change his spots at United. The problem he has with Mata is that he can’t play him in the 10 role because that is the only hope Pogba has of fitting in the team. But he hasn’t been able to find a nails DM and solid center backs to play the way he wants to. De Gea has covered over a lot of holes.

Mourinho basically plays the way he always did. It isn’t much different than what Rafa did with Liverpool a decade or so ago. Xabi and Mascherano holding in front of two sound center backs with say a work rate god like Kuyt* on the outside, Torres up top, and Gerrard in a free role behind. Mourinho is still playing that game.

It will still work if he gets the players. But it will be dire.

* One of the many reasons Eto’o is a historically underated player is how well a man of his talents played that type of role for the Inter treble side.

Edit to add: Aside from screwing with City, that is why he brought in Sanchez. He has the Eto’o role in mind for him. Martial and Rashford will either leave or rot.
   1485. SPICEY WITH A SIDE OF BEER ON A BABYYYYYYY Posted: April 18, 2018 at 09:27 AM (#5655811)
I think 1484 is a nice summary of the Mourinho style. And it can work, though I feel like a big reason Mou burns out at teams is the workrate he expects from his wingers is both extremely high and in a boring fashion, and not all wingers are gonna want to do that, especially the highest caliber ones. The way they play defense is more organized too - I suspect for offensive players it's easier to get them to press upfield where they know if they turn it over they could be in. Mou wants them sprinting back to get in a bank.

I think the way soccer has evolved you really rely on high scoring seasons from at least one if not two wingers to compete for trophies, and I think that's been Mou's biggest failing to adjust to.
   1486. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: April 18, 2018 at 04:47 PM (#5656124)
Kovac/Eintracht to the German cup final against Bayern, after weathering a tough straight red given on VAR.

Juve with only a draw against Crotone, so Napoli may still have a glimmer of hope. Lazio came back down 2 at Fiorentina, so the race for 4th against Inter is still wide open, and Lazio has taken the inside track.


   1487. manchestermets Posted: April 19, 2018 at 07:30 AM (#5656342)
unless (I think) Southampton wins the FA cup.


Southampton would only need to get to the final; if the FA Cup winners also qualify for the Champions' League, the runners-up qualify for the Europa League.
   1488. jmurph Posted: April 19, 2018 at 10:21 AM (#5656398)
if the FA Cup winners also qualify for the Champions' League, the runners-up qualify for the Europa League.

AKA the easiest path to that sweet sweet European competition money in Football Manager.
   1489. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: April 19, 2018 at 11:02 AM (#5656425)
Interesting. So Arsenal actually has about a 4-5% chance of missing out on Europe entirely! Southampton advancing this weekend coupled with Burnley passing Arsenal in the league.
   1490. Baldrick Posted: April 19, 2018 at 11:11 AM (#5656434)
Interesting. So Arsenal actually has about a 4-5% chance of missing out on Europe entirely! Southampton advancing this weekend coupled with Burnley passing Arsenal in the league.

Of course, they could go straight into the Champions League if they just get through three more games.

Soccer is weird.
   1491. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: April 19, 2018 at 11:22 AM (#5656440)
Southampton will most likely be relegated, but a win this weekend puts them in the Europa League. That can't have happened too often, though it seems to have happened for Wigan in 2013.

edit: apparently it's not uncommon in the Europa League: Wiki says for 2013-2014: "Notably six teams that did not play in their national top-division took part in the competition. They are: Hapoel Ramat Gan (2nd tier), Hødd (2nd), Pasching (3rd), Teteks (2nd), Vaduz (2nd) and Wigan Athletic (2nd)." In the next 4 years there have been 2 or 3 teams each year like this. No others from a big league though.
   1492. Rennie's Tenet Posted: April 19, 2018 at 03:55 PM (#5656664)
I think the rule where the FA runner-up goes to the Europa League has been changed, hasn't it? If the Cup winner is already in Europe, I think the berth goes to the next available EPL club.
   1493. Count Vorror Rairol Mencoon (CoB) Posted: April 19, 2018 at 04:08 PM (#5656680)
Rennie's Tenet gets the gold star!

From Wiki:


The FA Cup winners qualify for the following season's UEFA Europa League (formerly named the UEFA Cup; from its launch in 1960 until 1998, they entered the now-defunct UEFA Cup Winners' Cup instead). This European place applies even if the team is relegated or is not in the English top flight. In the past, if the FA Cup winning team also qualified for the following season's Champions League or Europa League through their league position, then the losing FA Cup finalist were given this European berth instead. FA Cup winners enter the Europa League at the group stage. Losing finalists, if they haven't qualified for Europe via the league, began earlier, at the play-off or third qualifying round stage.[16] From the 2015–16 UEFA Europa League season, however, UEFA does not allow the runners-up to qualify for the Europa League through the competition.[17] If the winner – and until 2015, the runner-up – has already qualified for Europe through their league position (with the exception of the UEFA Cup until 1998), the FA Cup berth is then given to the highest-place team in the league who has not yet qualified.


Me?

I'm still playing FM 2014, so I was still thinking the same as 1487 & 1488 ...
   1494. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: April 19, 2018 at 04:43 PM (#5656708)
In that case, and with the Burnley loss today, Arsenal's chance of missing out on Europe altogether is less than 1%.
   1495. SPICEY WITH A SIDE OF BEER ON A BABYYYYYYY Posted: April 19, 2018 at 10:47 PM (#5656889)
I don't like that the gap between Tottenham and Chelsea is only 5 points. I guess the Liverpool/Chelsea gap is close enough that Liverpool is gonna have to care about that too. Leicester is good, and I really hope that Spurs don't have to get a result from that on the last day of the season.
   1496. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: April 20, 2018 at 07:29 AM (#5656951)
Wenger to step down when season ends.
   1497. J. Sosa Posted: April 20, 2018 at 09:08 AM (#5656967)
Be really interesting to see who they get. Until Klopp arrived I had the wrong idea of what a big club’s coach needs to be. Recruiting plays a big role if you aren’t sponsored by a petrol state or an Oligarch. It will need to be someone that has a reputation in europe. If it isn’t someone like that it will probably be a mistake.

Poch did well without a rep but Moyes and Rodgers, not so much.
   1498. Mefisto Posted: April 20, 2018 at 09:38 AM (#5656981)
I wouldn't be surprised to see them go for Heynckes.
   1499. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: April 20, 2018 at 10:22 AM (#5656997)
Wow, no more Wenger to kick around. We'll always have that jacket zipper, at least.

No way will they go for Heynckes. He's a million years old and doesn't even want to coach Bayern anymore. I wonder if this is why those "Tuchel to PSG isn't really a thing yet" rumors have come from?

   1500. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: April 20, 2018 at 10:28 AM (#5657005)
The longest continuously employed manager by one club in the PL now? Looks like a tie between Sean Dyche and Eddie Howe.
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