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Wednesday, August 26, 2020

OT - Soccer Thread - Brave New World

OK, 2019-2020 is over, 2020-2021 has begun, except for Celtic who have already ended the interesting portion of 2020-2021.

EPL - September 12
La Liga - September 12
Bundesliga - September 18
Ligue Une - Already underway
Serie A - Unknown, possibly September 12
UEFA Champions League - Playoffs September 22, Group Stage October 20

Euros next summer,  CONCACAF Qualifying starts October 7 (Alphonso Davies and Canada start October 8).  Olympics start July 21 (Women) and July 22 (Men).  Women’s Euros scheduled for next summer are moving to 2022 which might be a good thing for them (and us) with the World Cup in the winter.

Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: August 26, 2020 at 08:13 PM | 436 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: off topic, soccer

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   201. Fancy Pants Handle struck out swinging Posted: September 27, 2020 at 11:36 AM (#5979113)
After yesterday I was willing to declare the Bundesliga season over and done. But hey, maybe there is hope yet? (spoiler: there isn't)
   202. Fancy Pants Handle struck out swinging Posted: September 27, 2020 at 11:43 AM (#5979114)
It legit has me wondering, you know, why don't I just start watching more Bundesliga.

Ooooh, me me, let me answer that one!
   203. KronicFatigue Posted: September 27, 2020 at 11:43 AM (#5979115)
I understand the motivation for this new handball rule in EPL, but it's just wrong. That Tottenham result was just wrong. I'm okay with forcing defenders to keep their arms at their sides while their feet are on the ground, but in the air, that feels impossible. If offensive players can jump normally (b/c the penalty for an offensive handball is just a free kick), then defenders can't defend.
   204. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: September 27, 2020 at 12:26 PM (#5979122)
If offensive players can jump normally (b/c the penalty for an offensive handball is just a free kick), then defenders can't defend
If they keep the rule the way it is, it will result in a fair number of random penalties. Defenders have to jump to defend--they won't stop doing it merely because of penalty risk. They will just accept the risk as part of the cost of doing business. So, the game gets more random in a pretty unsatisfying way, which really shouldn't make anyone happy.

I would go farther than just jumping though, personally. I don't see a good reason for the Lindelof play to be a penalty.
   205. KronicFatigue Posted: September 27, 2020 at 12:31 PM (#5979124)
Agreed on the randomness, but also, I wouldn't be surprised to see teams attack more in the air, getting more rolls of the randomness dice.
   206. jmurph Posted: September 27, 2020 at 12:42 PM (#5979126)
Leicester, man. They’ve had like two kicks of the ball and are naturally up 2-1.
   207. jmurph Posted: September 27, 2020 at 12:45 PM (#5979127)
Good lord. City’s back line looking great today.
   208. jmurph Posted: September 27, 2020 at 12:51 PM (#5979128)
I completely disagree with all of the handball rule complaints presented here, by the way. Defenders are putting themselves in that position because they are looking to gain a defensive advantage on the ball in the air. They don’t have some god given right to a maximum unimpeded vertical leap.
   209. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: September 27, 2020 at 12:55 PM (#5979129)
I mean, it was literally Carroll's strategy after he came on to keep heading it into a Tottenham player and scream for handball.
   210. jmurph Posted: September 27, 2020 at 12:56 PM (#5979130)
I think you’re assuming a little too much skill from Carroll there.
   211. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: September 27, 2020 at 12:58 PM (#5979131)
Defenders are putting themselves in that position because they are looking to gain a defensive advantage on the ball in the air. They don’t have some god given right to a maximum unimpeded vertical leap.
Right, and they are putting themselves in a position to run at full speed by swinging their arms. They will continue to do this despite the penalty risk, because not running and not jumping makes them much worse at defending, and the risk of penalties is not enough to change that. So the defenders' behavior won't change and we have more random penalties. Why is this a good thing again?
   212. jmurph Posted: September 27, 2020 at 01:00 PM (#5979132)
I don’t think it’s good or bad it’s just a thing. It’s just clearly a handball to me, the arm is away from the body and impedes the ball.
   213. jmurph Posted: September 27, 2020 at 01:05 PM (#5979134)
There was an uncalled (I think?) controversial one last year when the ball hit the supporting arm of a sliding defender in the box. And I felt the same way about that one. A player is perfectly capable of sliding on the ground in the box without putting his arm out and risking a penalty. He chose not to do that because he wanted to gain an advantage. I don’t think he has the right to an advantage.
   214. jmurph Posted: September 27, 2020 at 01:10 PM (#5979135)
Every player in a wall on a free kick is able to jump in the air to defend the kick while keeping their arms down. They could presumably jump even higher if they instead flailed their arms out, providing an even better defense, but they don’t do that (usually!).
   215. KronicFatigue Posted: September 27, 2020 at 01:14 PM (#5979136)
On the wall you have to jump straight up. In this instance, he was pushed in the back. I don't know if that caused his arm to move, but it really goes against human nature to expect defenders to jump with their arms down when you factor in the angle adjustments and physicality of live action like that.
   216. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: September 27, 2020 at 01:16 PM (#5979137)
A lot of jumping occurs mid-stride as well. On that play where Ake just scored, pretty much all the defenders had their arms in the air, away from their sides.
   217. KronicFatigue Posted: September 27, 2020 at 01:22 PM (#5979138)
If you want to make the randomness fair, then any handball in the box, offensive or defensive, should result in a penalty kick. Why should the offensive player be able to jump like a human being while the defensive player has to hop like an escaping tied up kidnap victim? Losing possession for an offensive handball is a slap on the wrist compared to the game-altering defensive equivalent. If a ball touching the hand is so pearl clutching, let's call it evenly.
   218. Baldrick Posted: September 27, 2020 at 01:36 PM (#5979141)
In general, this is just the problem with having a penalty area at all in the age of VAR. It massively unbalances the incentives for pushing the margins in a variety of ways. In the past, that was tamped down by referees who called play unevenly in the area (the same action by an attacker would be whistled but ignored if it were a defender). That's not in the rules but gave people roughly what they wanted: a real incentive for defenders to avoid fouls in goal-scoring situations without generating a ton of annoying penalty kicks.

VAR doesn't allow that kind of thumb-on-the-scale balancing, so here we are.
   219. jmurph Posted: September 27, 2020 at 01:38 PM (#5979142)
217: So, same for any foul in the box then?
   220. jmurph Posted: September 27, 2020 at 01:42 PM (#5979143)
Agree with the VAR part being a disaster. I thought the Spurs one would have been called in real time had the ref seen it, though.

Also even on replay Newcastle looked offsides to me, which VAR then reviewed and declared otherwise.
   221. jmurph Posted: September 27, 2020 at 01:46 PM (#5979144)
On the subject of City-Leicester, Pep’s unwillingness to adjust his defensive approach against teams that counter well when he doesn’t have his first choice defenders available remains maddening.

Also there was just an insane number of individual calamities, don’t get me wrong.
   222. Dale Sams Posted: September 27, 2020 at 01:49 PM (#5979145)
Lost in all this....how bout that Darlow??
   223. KronicFatigue Posted: September 27, 2020 at 02:11 PM (#5979147)
217: So, same for any foul in the box then?


No, I'm suggesting that if an attacking player accidentally touches the ball with a part of his arm while in his attacking box, the play stops, everyone walks across the pitch and the opposing team takes a penalty shot. That way, every single player will be scared shitless to unpin their arms from their sides while in the box. lose-lose.
   224. spivey Posted: September 27, 2020 at 02:39 PM (#5979152)
I completely disagree with all of the handball rule complaints presented here, by the way. Defenders are putting themselves in that position because they are looking to gain a defensive advantage on the ball in the air. They don’t have some god given right to a maximum unimpeded vertical leap.


I don't think putting the arms out is to maximize the leap, or just for that. If you look at vertical jump videos at the NBA or NFL combine, guys aren't doing that. I think it's a safety/balance thing. Because some level of contact is allowed, having your arms out helps you balance when you get knocked in the air. I think this is also why you don't see it in a wall. Because there is no risk of unexpected contact from the other team.
   225. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: September 27, 2020 at 03:26 PM (#5979157)
20 penalties (I think) in 25 games. To be fair, most were not handballs. VAR has even overruled at least a couple, I believe. Definitely the one yesterday in the Brighton/ManU game.

Overall, about there have been about 0.21 penalties per game in an EPL year, or about 81. However, there seems to have been a change in the mid-2000s. Before then the average was about 0.17%, and after about 0.24% (93 per year). Even if we have an average year (0.24%) from here on out, we will beat the record of 106.
   226. Dale Sams Posted: September 27, 2020 at 05:01 PM (#5979167)
This is how you fix the handball conundrum. Look at the first two penalties given in the Roma game. THOSE are stone-cold applications of the rule. You look at the replay and if your reaction is, "What the #### were you doing???"...then its a penalty.
   227. MY PAIN IS NOT A HOLIDAY (CoB). Posted: September 27, 2020 at 10:38 PM (#5979286)

Steve Bruce described the combination of VAR and football’s new handball rules as “nonsense” despite seeing it earn his Newcastle side an ill‑deserved draw at Tottenham, and said football’s lawmakers should be pushed to reconsider.

...

A draw was an excellent outcome for the visiting side after they had been outplayed but Bruce said: “If you’re going to tell me that is handball then we all may as well pack it in. It’s a nonsense, a nonsense of a rule. It’s gone for us today – however, it’s ludicrous.”

...

“We’ve got away with one,” Bruce said. “It fell for us today. Maybe we should query these new rules and who makes them. I thought VAR would come in for the clear and obvious. It’s ludicrous. I am not a big lover of it. We saw Roy Hodgson last night. It’s a nonsense. We saw a ridiculous one yesterday with Everton and their winning goal; we saw an equally ridiculous one today. I should be happy but I can’t say I agree with it.”

By contrast José Mourinho chose to say little about the decision, although his demeanour left little to the imagination. “If I want to give some money away I give to charity‚” he said. “I don’t want to give to the FA so I prefer not to comment.”

The Graun
   228. jmurph Posted: September 28, 2020 at 08:08 AM (#5979314)
No, I'm suggesting that if an attacking player accidentally touches the ball with a part of his arm while in his attacking box, the play stops, everyone walks across the pitch and the opposing team takes a penalty shot. That way, every single player will be scared shitless to unpin their arms from their sides while in the box. lose-lose.

I got that, and I was asking you if that would also be the case for all other fouls in the box. If an attacking player shoves a defender down in the box there's currently no harsh punishment either. So do you want to walk across the field for those, too?
   229. jmurph Posted: September 28, 2020 at 08:10 AM (#5979315)
I don't think putting the arms out is to maximize the leap, or just for that. If you look at vertical jump videos at the NBA or NFL combine, guys aren't doing that. I think it's a safety/balance thing. Because some level of contact is allowed, having your arms out helps you balance when you get knocked in the air. I think this is also why you don't see it in a wall. Because there is no risk of unexpected contact from the other team.

But I think the entire point of the rule is you don't want the ref saying "hmmm he's just balancing himself there so THAT handball is fine but that OTHER handball wasn't fine because he's putting his arm in the exact same position for nefarious reasons."
   230. Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: September 28, 2020 at 08:54 AM (#5979322)
But I think the entire point of the rule is you don't want the ref saying "hmmm he's just balancing himself there so THAT handball is fine but that OTHER handball wasn't fine because he's putting his arm in the exact same position for nefarious reasons."


Agreed. For me it's a matter of "are the arms in a position where his body is bigger than it would be." As others have said you can move or jump with your arms at your side, you just want the advantage the added leverage provides.

At this point I think the better question is is there a way to revisit the penalty rule? Part of the issue here is that the penalty for a, um...penalty in the box is harsh and game and season defining. I don't think there are good solutions (that I have anyway) but maybe fouls in the box should be indirect free kicks rather than a PK unless it's a true scoring opportunity denied? Kind of the way hockey deals with the rare penalty shots. So for example the handball in the 2019 Champions League final would have been an indirect free kick but the Suarez world cup handball would still have been a penalty?

I don't know. I hate talking about it particularly on a weekend where there was so much great soccer. I had a rare Saturday with no plans and was able to sit around and just watch and it was glorious. It was such a fun day. Even the fairly bland Burnley 0:1 Southampton game was pretty entertaining.
   231. Mefisto Posted: September 28, 2020 at 09:33 AM (#5979331)
I'm strongly in favor of more penalties and always have been. Yes, in the short run the results will be bad, but in the long run more offense is better for the game. And that's what penalties do -- make the defense be more careful and open the space for the creative players.
   232. jmurph Posted: September 28, 2020 at 10:02 AM (#5979335)
I'm not specifically in favor of more penalties, I guess I dislike them as much as the next person (maybe more so, in fact, the day after Manchester City gave up eleventy seven of them). But I think I'm broadly supportive of what Mefisto is saying. Referees already heavily favor defensive play in the box through their interpretation of the rules. Goalies are allowed to maul people, defenders are allowed to grab and hold on set pieces, you're allowed to commit homicide on a shooting player as long as he still gets a shot off, etc.
   233. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: September 28, 2020 at 10:16 AM (#5979338)
Referees already heavily favor defensive play in the box through their interpretation of the rules. Goalies are allowed to maul people, defenders are allowed to grab and hold on set pieces, you're allowed to commit homicide on a shooting player as long as he still gets a shot off, etc.

But they still aren't calling penalties for grabbing and holding on set pieces, are they? Instead it's all these things that are basically inadvertent.

This reminds me of "Baseball is too slow because the pitchers & hitters stand around for 20 extra seconds before every pitch. We will solve this by making it 7 innings instead of 9 innings."
   234. jmurph Posted: September 28, 2020 at 10:54 AM (#5979349)
But they still aren't calling penalties for grabbing and holding on set pieces, are they? Instead it's all these things that are basically inadvertent.

This reminds me of "Baseball is too slow because the pitchers & hitters stand around for 20 extra seconds before every pitch. We will solve this by making it 7 innings instead of 9 innings."

I see your point, but I think these are actually handballs. So, given that they're not calling all those other things, to (accurately, in my view) call more defensive handballs when they occur is good. I would also like them to call more of those other things, with the ideal goal of cutting most of these fouls/penalties and having more open play.
   235. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: September 28, 2020 at 11:55 AM (#5979368)
Good handball twitter thread here, for the most part doing a good job of explaining the "silhouette" and "arms away from the body" rules. Note, judgment calls still abound, as the Lascalles foul was not a penalty while the Ward/Lindelof ones were (not judging intent, but making a judgment call about whether the arm was away from the body, and you are mostly splitting hairs there.

In some ways the Ward one was worse than Lindelof, since Lindelof was running, his arm was out in front of him as part of the stride, and he didn't seem to know the ball was coming. Lascalle's arm was close to his body, but still out in front of him, and he was specifically jumping to get in the way of the shot.

I have no interest in penalties. They basically don't feel like part of the same game to me, but I accept them as a necessary evil. Luckily they still make up a fairly small percentage of goals. If the ratio gets a lot worse though (like 3 or 4 times higher) I'd probably stop watching soccer. In the last 15 years there have been about 0.24 penalty attempts per game, so only about 1/12 or less goals were scored via penalty. That's a ratio I can deal with. So far there have been 18 penalty goals (20 attempts) in 25 games, with 96 overall goals or so. that's almost 1 in 5, and is probably too high for me in the long run--certainly pushing the limits of what is bearable.

I'd be very open to a complete rehaul of the penalty rule.
   236. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: September 28, 2020 at 02:45 PM (#5979409)
Fulham: still very bad.

West Brom and Fulham have each given up 10 goals in their first 3 games.

edit: actually 11 for West Brom.

Fulham has been much better on xGA, but they also have had much easier opponents. I'd probably give better than even odds that they are two of the three teams relegated.

   237. jmurph Posted: September 28, 2020 at 03:47 PM (#5979424)
Absolutely delighted to report that Liverpool are once again going to streamroll good teams even when they're not playing at their best.
   238. jmurph Posted: September 28, 2020 at 04:48 PM (#5979436)
Absolutely delighted to report that Liverpool are once again going to streamroll good teams even when they're not playing at their best.

They have looked terrifying since this point, and clearly deserve the win.
   239. The Marksist Posted: September 28, 2020 at 04:56 PM (#5979440)
I know it's easy to sit here and snipe on the internet, but can anyone explain why Arsenal continued to try to play out from their own box all game? It went... poorly in the first half and they just came out and did it some more. Like, if you know one thing about Liverpool it's that their front three are excellent. If you know two things, it's that they press very, very well. What's the logic here?
   240. KronicFatigue Posted: September 29, 2020 at 11:30 AM (#5979526)
I got that, and I was asking you if that would also be the case for all other fouls in the box. If an attacking player shoves a defender down in the box there's currently no harsh punishment either. So do you want to walk across the field for those, too?


Sorry I misunderstood. I guess I have to say yes, but I don't like it, and you've successfully made me dislike my original solution. Aside from this specific handball issue, I think penalty kicks should have different tiers from different distances. Denial of a true goal scoring opportunity should be at the current distance. Clear foul inside the box should be at a distance further away. Also, the person fouled should always have to be the one taking the kick.

   241. Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: September 29, 2020 at 11:47 AM (#5979531)
I know it's easy to sit here and snipe on the internet, but can anyone explain why Arsenal continued to try to play out from their own box all game? It went... poorly in the first half and they just came out and did it some more. Like, if you know one thing about Liverpool it's that their front three are excellent. If you know two things, it's that they press very, very well. What's the logic here?


It's a tough thing. On the one hand I completely agree with you but on the other hand I'm a firm believer that teams should stick to what they do well. If Arsenal are comfortable playing like that then they should trust that they are good enough to succeed. It's risky obviously but at least they are playing to win. I think too many teams (in all sports) play not to lose rather than playing to win.

What strikes me is why teams are limited to "3 yard passes" or "kick it 80 yards." There has to be a way to open up the mid range ball in a situation like that.
   242. Fancy Pants Handle struck out swinging Posted: September 29, 2020 at 11:53 AM (#5979534)
Also, the person fouled should always have to be the one taking the kick.

That's funny, because growing up in Germany, the CW was that the fouled person should never take the kick. I would put that down to mostly being superstitious nonsense, but then, the Germans have always been rather good at this whole penalty kick malarkey.
   243. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: September 29, 2020 at 12:15 PM (#5979538)
Also, the person fouled should always have to be the one taking the kick.
I like this rule, but I always heard that it would be unfair to the attacking team because such player could be shaken up from the tackle.

Pretty rare that this is really true, of course. I would allow anybody to take the kick if the fouled player was subbed off, whether injured or not. Or maybe just the subbed on player, I could be persuaded. If there are no subs left and a player is really injured, then the team has to take the fouled player off for the remainder of the game and anybody can take the kick.

The only time this would be really unfair to the attacking team is if a player is temporarily injured bad enough to significantly compromise their kick, but not bad enough to come out of the game. Has to be pretty rare.

(Really though, the whole penalty rule needs a major rework.)
   244. Fancy Pants Handle struck out swinging Posted: September 29, 2020 at 12:20 PM (#5979539)
(Really though, the whole penalty rule needs a major rework.)

Americans always say this, but every time they put forth a counter proposal, it is something that would make VAR look like a brilliant idea.
   245. Mefisto Posted: September 29, 2020 at 12:28 PM (#5979541)
Personally, I'd move the 18 yard line out to the top of the D and call far more penalties.

Just opening the negotiations.
   246. The Marksist Posted: September 29, 2020 at 12:32 PM (#5979543)
It's a tough thing. On the one hand I completely agree with you but on the other hand I'm a firm believer that teams should stick to what they do well. If Arsenal are comfortable playing like that then they should trust that they are good enough to succeed. It's risky obviously but at least they are playing to win. I think too many teams (in all sports) play not to lose rather than playing to win.

What strikes me is why teams are limited to "3 yard passes" or "kick it 80 yards." There has to be a way to open up the mid range ball in a situation like that.


This is probably right. I guess if you're Arsenal you believe you have to act like you can play your game against anyone. In this case, though, the results were either about the same or (IMO) likely worse than the playing-not-to-lose approach of going long more frequently. If I were an Arsenal fan, I'd definitely want them to cut that out against Liverpool, or at least go for a mixed strategies approach and do some of both.
   247. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: September 29, 2020 at 01:45 PM (#5979561)
Americans always say this, but every time they put forth a counter proposal, it is something that would make VAR look like a brilliant idea.
I'm open to almost any suggestion. I have to say though, that even the hockey-style penalty (famously used by the MLS when it originally started, to much derision) is better than what we have, and is not at all complicated.

The current rule is simply terrible.
   248. The Marksist Posted: September 29, 2020 at 01:52 PM (#5979562)
I think it's probably a good thing for football to have more goals (up to a point), so I'm skeptical of anything that makes defending in the box easier. Maybe the punishment is disproportionate in the case of penalties, but I definitely don't want a world were there's an incentive for more fouling in the box.
   249. Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: September 29, 2020 at 01:55 PM (#5979564)
My thoughts on the penalty rule;

1. The result has to be harsh enough to ensure that teams don't start tactically fouling in the box
2. The result needs to be not so harsh so that refs are willing to apply it
3. It needs to maintain some sense of soccer continuing to be played. No one wants to see 7 on 7 or defenders with their hands down their pants afraid to get within 10 feet of an attacker
4. There needs to be some continuity. None of us wants to see a drastically different game, just one that allows more soccer and less chicanery (this can also be said of tactical fouling)

So with that in mind some possible ideas that may or may not be good ones.

A. Unless a clear scoring chance is denied the punishment should be an indirect free kick rather than a spot kick. Spot kicks should be reserved for denial of scoring opportunity. That still has some element of referee judgment but I think you'd see more willingness to call fouls on the defenders.
B. Some kind of uber-Yellow needs to exist. Basically the ref can send a player off for the next game. So a particularly harsh foul you don't give a red (which is too draconian) but "uber-Yellow" which means the player is suspended for the next match.
C. The above can also be applied to tactical fouling.
D. Move the spot kick further back. Conversion rate is so high right now that the award of a penalty is too impactful.

None of this is meant to be the only options, just some general thoughts.
   250. Mefisto Posted: September 29, 2020 at 02:15 PM (#5979574)
The issue I have with the "clear chance" rule is that it focuses too much on the last touch. As I said above, the purpose of the penalty area is to give the offense the opportunity to *create* chances through skill in open play. Indirect free kicks are basically static, deadball plays with little opportunity to create chances.
   251. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: September 29, 2020 at 03:22 PM (#5979602)
Subjectivity is already back into the handball rule.

PL referees allowed to show greater leniency on handball from this coming weekend. Agreed at meeting of clubs today to apply more subjectivity within existing rules. Ward / Lindeloff unlikely to be pens, Dier / Maupay would.


edit: I guess Dier's is due to the arm being up so high, for no good reason. Lindelof just seemed to be running normally and not even anticipating the ball being played. I didn't see the Ward one.
   252. Baldrick Posted: September 29, 2020 at 03:38 PM (#5979606)
I basically agree with what everyone is saying here. Which involves lots of contradictions but such is the way. Fortunately, there's a clear and easy solution that fixes almost everyone's issues with the penalty rule. Which is to get rid of VAR.
   253. jmurph Posted: September 29, 2020 at 04:38 PM (#5979631)
My instinct is to say I'm fine with VAR for offsides, but even there it's just this totally imaginary sense of precision. The idea that they can stop the video the instant the ball leaves the player's foot, the idea that the line they randomly draw on the screen actually hits at the precise point, it's all ridiculous, why is anyone pretending otherwise?

In the interim, at least let's actually go with "clear and obvious" which almost by definition should mean "fast and without delay." And for the life of me I can't imagine why it's necessary for the official to leave the field and look at the monitor. What a waste of everyone's time.
   254. jmurph Posted: September 29, 2020 at 04:41 PM (#5979632)
PL referees allowed to show greater leniency on handball from this coming weekend. Agreed at meeting of clubs today to apply more subjectivity within existing rules. Ward / Lindeloff unlikely to be pens, Dier / Maupay would.

edit: I guess Dier's is due to the arm being up so high, for no good reason.

Yeah I think this was really getting lost in the understandable VAR complaints and totally justifiable Spurs fan outrage about points lost: that was an actual handball that the ref missed, it wasn't a crazy new interpretation of the rule.
   255. Fancy Pants Handle struck out swinging Posted: September 29, 2020 at 05:53 PM (#5979662)
B. Some kind of uber-Yellow needs to exist. Basically the ref can send a player off for the next game. So a particularly harsh foul you don't give a red (which is too draconian) but "uber-Yellow" which means the player is suspended for the next match.

Hard disagree on that one. The primary benefit -whenever possible- should accrue to the team that was hurt by the foul. Making a player sit out against your opponents next opponent does nothing to balance out that you were wronged.
   256. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: September 29, 2020 at 07:10 PM (#5979678)
I think it would be intended to act as a deterrent for the behavior in the first place. I'd be fine with all intentional fouls with no attempt to play the ball being an automatic 1-game suspension even without an ejection. Yes, that includes just grabbing a shirt to slow down your opponent. 99% of shirt grabs are intentional. They are quite effective but almost completely within the control of players to avoid. I played soccer for 20 years and can't remember grabbing an opponent's shirt even one time.

edit: if you want to make them an automatic ejection as well, I'm not against it. Also, all this talk about making it harder to defend via the penalty rule--why not get rid of intentional fouls from the game completely? That would go quite a ways.
   257. Mefisto Posted: September 29, 2020 at 07:52 PM (#5979688)
I don't know how you'd get rid of them. As it is, refs don't even hand out yellows most of the time. I can't see how the culture could change so much as to get players sent off or suspended, nor that refs would actually make those calls.
   258. frannyzoo Posted: September 29, 2020 at 08:46 PM (#5979694)
As mentioned maybe 75 times above, penalty kicks are stupid. So let's just give red cards w/o penalty for "penalty area" handballs, DOGSO, etc. Maybe I'm on my own here, but I ALWAYS like a game that goes 11-10, etc. anyway. And penalties are stupid, both in the 90 and beyond.
   259. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: September 29, 2020 at 09:13 PM (#5979701)
I don't know how you'd get rid of them. As it is, refs don't even hand out yellows most of the time.
Intentional fouls with no attempt to play the ball are actually pretty easy to call. Almost all of them are already called so long as the ref sees it, and all you need to do is make it an automatic ejection. If we are stuck with VAR, allow VAR to do it as well.

You are right that it won't happen, but it won't be because the refs just refuse to call the fouls. I'm sure the refs would much prefer to send someone off for intentional fouls than they are to call these minimal inadvertent handballs. It won't happen anytime soon because fans don't really seem to mind the intentional fouls, just like they don't seem to mind the time wasting (another big drag on a fast, exciting game, when it shows up).
   260. Fancy Pants Handle struck out swinging Posted: September 30, 2020 at 03:46 AM (#5979727)
As mentioned maybe 75 times above, penalty kicks are stupid. So let's just give red cards w/o penalty for "penalty area" handballs, DOGSO, etc. Maybe I'm on my own here, but I ALWAYS like a game that goes 11-10, etc. anyway. And penalties are stupid, both in the 90 and beyond.

This is exactly the kind of stuff that I mean, when I said "Americans always say this, but every time they put forth a counter proposal, it is something that would make VAR look like a brilliant idea."

You want lots of blatant late fouling and intentional hand balls, when the cost of getting sent off is tiny compared to the cost of giving up a one goal lead? Yay. I don't.
   261. Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: September 30, 2020 at 08:25 AM (#5979730)
FP - Do you have any suggestions? Do you think the way the game is officiated right now is as good as it can be? Your criticisms of the suggestions by AuntBea and I are reasonable but I'm curious if you feel no changes are necessary.

One other thing I meant to mention above is that I'd love to see soccer implement the second referee like the NHL has. I think that would be a huge help particularly on calls in the box.
   262. Fancy Pants Handle struck out swinging Posted: September 30, 2020 at 08:45 AM (#5979731)
Go back to the old handball rule. Eliminate or at least vastly reduce VAR, and have it called by the fourth or fifth official. If he can't tell within 30 seconds, it's too close to overturn. Penalties are fine.
   263. Richard Posted: September 30, 2020 at 08:51 AM (#5979732)
Auntbea: actually, I think fans do mind time wasting, when they are present at the game rather than watching on TV. It’s something that makes the blood boil much more when you are actually there.

VAR and the handball rule are particularly irritating because football has a track record of making changes to the rules that benefit the game as a spectacle, and that hasn’t happened here. If the same rule makers ran baseball they would have done something about pace of play by now.
   264. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: September 30, 2020 at 09:07 AM (#5979734)
If he can't tell within 30 seconds, it's too close to overturn.
This strikes me as the soccer equivalent of "make the batter get in the damn box and make the pitcher throw the damn ball". If VAR starts to treat the replay like Oliver Stone treated the Zapruder film then the call on the field stands.
   265. spivey Posted: September 30, 2020 at 10:10 AM (#5979739)
Nobody talked about it here, but Tottenham, especially after early struggles, fought back and by many accounts played pretty well yesterday vs. Chelsea. It was not the kind of match they were capable of winning last year, and has me cautiously optimistic. It looked like Ndombele was a bit banged up at the end, but it's nice to actually have some depth.
   266. Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: September 30, 2020 at 10:26 AM (#5979741)
If he can't tell within 30 seconds, it's too close to overturn


If VAR starts to treat the replay like Oliver Stone treated the Zapruder film then the call on the field stands.


This can't be overstated. Abso-posi-lutively.
   267. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: October 01, 2020 at 12:31 PM (#5980203)
CL groups are set. Hardest group to advance from (most fancied 3rd place team) is almost certainly Group H, with PSG, ManU, and Leipzig (and Basaksehir). Best from top to bottom is almost certainly Group B, with Real Madrid, Inter, Gladbach,
and Shakhtar.

Other notable tough-ish groups are Group A (Bayern/Atletico/Salzburg) and Group D (Liverpool/Atalanta/Ajax).

None of the other groups should give even middling top teams any trouble. Messi v Ronaldo, but no drama about either team not advancing, which greatly reduces the intrigue.
   268. jmurph Posted: October 01, 2020 at 12:37 PM (#5980206)
I will never understand the seeding rules. How the hell is United a Pot 2 team? So confusing to me.
   269. jmurph Posted: October 01, 2020 at 12:39 PM (#5980207)
Group D (Liverpool/Atalanta/Ajax)

That's a lot of entertainment in one group. Bastards are going to force me to spring for CBS All Access after all!
   270. The Marksist Posted: October 01, 2020 at 01:07 PM (#5980218)
Anyone catch the story of Landon Donovan's USL team walking off over homophobic abuse on the field? Excellent work by the Loyal all around on this one. I found it via the Defector, but there are lots of other's running the story.
   271. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: October 01, 2020 at 01:17 PM (#5980222)
We have 5 true minnows this year that should have 0 chance of advancing, and probably wouldn't be favored to advance from a Europa group: Moscow, Kransodar, Midtjylland, Ferencváros, and Başakşehir. Then we have at least 4 more teams that really aren't very good: Olympiacos, Brugge, Kyiv, and Rennes.

That leaves two groups with two teams that really should advance (Barca/Juve and Chelsea/Sevilla) and only one group with all 4 teams that are even decent (already mentioned Group B above). The action is mostly going to between the 2nd and 3rd place teams in those 6 groups.
   272. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: October 01, 2020 at 01:27 PM (#5980228)
Anyone catch the story of Landon Donovan's USL team walking off over homophobic abuse on the field? Excellent work by the Loyal all around on this one. I found it via the Defector, but there are lots of other's running the story.
Saw video of it on twitter. Since the leagues won't take action on their own and the fans don't seem to care enough, unfortunately I think this is the only thing that will work. Very happy to see Donovan on the forefront of it.
   273. Mefisto Posted: October 01, 2020 at 01:46 PM (#5980238)
I saw that too. Kudos to Donovan. And the ref and the other coach really disgraced themselves.
   274. spivey Posted: October 01, 2020 at 03:11 PM (#5980265)
Fulham could be a real shitshow this year.

They're getting clowned about by Brentford, the team that probably should have come up instead of them.
   275. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: October 01, 2020 at 03:31 PM (#5980271)
There's a soccer player now named "Puig". I know how to pronounce Puig, right? No, turns out it's pronounced "Pooch". Watch out, folks!
   276. spivey Posted: October 01, 2020 at 04:10 PM (#5980292)
Tottenham and getting #### penalties called against them - name a more iconic duo.
   277. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: October 01, 2020 at 04:23 PM (#5980305)
Biggest upset in Europa looks like it will be Basel not even reaching the group stage, going out to Bulagria's Sofia.

Wolfsburg losing to AEK Athens would be a loss for the group stages, but AEK is not a bad team either. Sporting and LASK are about even in quality these days. Belgium's Charleroi went out unexpectedly but few will miss them.

Dundalk was favored today against Klaksvik (Faroes), but they will easily be the least fancied team in the group stages.
   278. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: October 01, 2020 at 05:03 PM (#5980314)
Definitely spoke to soon. Wolfsburg did manage to lose after all, giving up 2 goals in the second half to lose 2-1. And now Milan is down 1-2 in AET after being up late in the 2nd half against Rio Ave.
   279. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: October 01, 2020 at 05:57 PM (#5980332)
Milan survived, with 9-8 on penalties, each team taking 12. GKs both missed. Rio Ave missed 4 of their last 5 kicks after making the first 7. Milan got a penalty in the 120th minute to draw level. Pretty nuts all around.
   280. Fancy Pants Handle struck out swinging Posted: October 01, 2020 at 10:24 PM (#5980404)
I love it when penalties go all the way to the goalkeepers.
   281. spivey Posted: October 02, 2020 at 09:17 AM (#5980505)
The penalty that Milan got at the end of the game was due to the defender completely spazzing out, too.

EL draws just released. I didn't see anything too exciting. I don't have a great sense for how a number of these teams change year to year. If Az Alkmaar is as good as last year, that group with Napoli and Real Sociedad is probably the most interesting to me. Seems like relatively straightforward draws for Leicester, Tottenham, and Arsenal.
   282. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: October 02, 2020 at 10:10 AM (#5980524)
EL draws just released. I didn't see anything too exciting.
Of course, you mean other than Arsenal/Dundalk.
   283. I am going to be Frank Posted: October 02, 2020 at 10:17 PM (#5980756)
So should we expect a goalfest tomorrow in Leeds-city?
   284. Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: October 03, 2020 at 12:16 AM (#5980788)
I would think so. I think there is a chance it’s 7-0 or something but I suspect 6-3 or something like that is more likely.
   285. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: October 03, 2020 at 12:37 AM (#5980794)
                         odds to advance      538       ELO   
Group A                                        
Bayern                            92          89       2015      
Atlético                          72          67       1892
Salzburg                          28          40       1787
Lokomotiv Moskva                   8           4       1596

Group B
Real Madrid                       84          78       1923
Internazionale                    66          60       1845
Mönchengladbach                   33          32       1746
Shakhtar Donetsk                  17          30       1774

Group C
Manchester City                   93          95       1948
Porto                             54          46       1750
Marseille                         33          40       1689  
Olympiacos                        18          19       1725

Group D
Liverpool                         90          92       2000
Atalanta                          60          59       1838
Ajax                              45          41       1775
Midtjylland                        5           8       1586

Group E
Chelsea                           77          81       1810
Sevilla                           66          72       1870
Rennes                            42          29       1697
Krasnodar                         15          19       1601

Group F
Dortmund                          83          77       1825
Lazio                             62          37       1722
Zenit                             41          59       1717
Club Brugge                       14          27       1675

Group G
Barcelona                         90          94       1966
Juventus                          90          77       1836
Dynamo Kyiv                       14          23       1642
Ferencváros                        6           6       1546

Group H
PSG                               85          82       1903
Manchester United                 65          58       1845
Leipzig                           38          58       1847
Basaksehir                        12           2       1531


Mostly they agree, though betting odds tend to like the favorites a little more. Only disagreements really are on Barca/Juve, ManU/Leipzig, and Lazio/Zenit.

As usual, top 4 plus PSG fill all favored to advance, except the one group that only has one of those teams: Group C with Porto filling the gap. Two group have a third team, Leipzig and Gladbach, both in the 3rd slot. The two other French teams are also in the third slot. With groups like these, it is no wonder there are usually few surprises. Still, odds are supposedly that about 3 teams outside of the top 5 groups will advance. IF Porto doesn't count it would be 2 teams only.
   286. I am going to be Frank Posted: October 03, 2020 at 09:16 AM (#5980808)
It's been a hectic couple weeks for me, but finally am able to really sit down and watch some football. I know Chelsea spent a lot of money on Haivertz and Werner, but they also got a new keeper, Ziyech and Chilwell, who has got them a goal and an assist today. Always worried about Pulisic getting enough playing time, 10 minutes in a blowout isn't exactly reassuring.

Didn't watch the first half but Chelsea ripping through Palace in the second half. Strange one - Abraham is pissed that he didn't get to take a PK - even though he's not the designated taker.
   287. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: October 03, 2020 at 09:41 AM (#5980809)
The announcers said after the Jorginho penalty to make it 4-0 said something to the effect of: "that's why it's so important that they didn't let Abraham take it." Seems like up 3-0 late in the game is exactly the moment you try to make everyone happy and build confidence in the team. Probably not the time to worry about the designated penalty taker I don't want Pogba taking the penalty at 2-2 in the 121st minute, but if it makes him happy to take it to get 4-0 in the 80th minute, let him kick it.

Makes me think the Chelsea players aren't so fond of Abraham, or don't think he's an important enough player to deserve penalties. You don't usually make a deal about designated penalty taker in that situation otherwise.

(Don't care though, because of my general stance on penalties.)
   288. I am going to be Frank Posted: October 03, 2020 at 10:09 AM (#5980811)
It was strange to me because it wasn't like he drew the penalty. As a younger player, he couldn't exactly 'pull rank.' I've seen designated takers 'give' it to a player who hasn't scored in a while or lacking confidence. Its four matches in and he has a league goal.

On initial watch I wasn't impressed with Reyna. He seems to lack pace and athleticism. However, he is always moving and finding the open spots on the field. Pretty good with the ball at his feet and his passing looks impressive.
   289. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: October 03, 2020 at 10:44 AM (#5980815)
Everton gives up the goal on the trifecta: bad defending (man wide open on the back post for a clean short that was mostly scuffed), bad goalkeeping (easy grab dropped inexplicably at the feet of the attacker), and bad luck (attacker's fairly week shot goes straight through the legs of the defender on the goal line).
   290. I am going to be Frank Posted: October 03, 2020 at 11:00 AM (#5980816)
Well, Reyna has three assists. Haaland is going to go for at least 150M when revenues return to 'normal'.
   291. Mefisto Posted: October 03, 2020 at 11:09 AM (#5980818)
Always worried about Pulisic getting enough playing time, 10 minutes in a blowout isn't exactly reassuring.


He's coming off an injury. 10 minutes is fine. The real worry is that Lampard is crazy enough to play Mount instead.
   292. jmurph Posted: October 03, 2020 at 11:32 AM (#5980820)
It’s Brighton, but Everton are a lot of fun.
   293. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: October 03, 2020 at 12:00 PM (#5980826)
113 goals in 30 games is 3.77 per. That's more than a full goal ahead of the average over the last 10 years, which is about 2.74 per game. Goals are up slightly in the last decade (2.60 in the prior decade), but there's not usually a lot of variance, so the Z-score on a full year like this would be way off the charts. The EPL record is 2.82 per game, set 2 years ago, and there was only one year in the past decade under 2.68 per game.

Of course, this can't continue, but I wonder when the last stretch of 30 consecutive games with this many goals was.
   294. jmurph Posted: October 03, 2020 at 01:55 PM (#5980863)
I’m personally really looking forward to following Manchester City in the Championship next year, should be a fun new experience.
   295. I am going to be Frank Posted: October 03, 2020 at 01:58 PM (#5980864)
There is still some time in the window. City could spend a couple hundred million more on players.
   296. Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: October 03, 2020 at 02:02 PM (#5980866)
This has been a ton of fun. Leeds have come up and they are going to do their thing no matter who they play.
   297. jmurph Posted: October 03, 2020 at 02:08 PM (#5980870)
Would be cool to have a healthy striker, but I don’t know, maybe just one more centerback will fix everything instead!
   298. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: October 04, 2020 at 08:58 AM (#5980973)
Leicester's two best chances came in the last 5 minutes, down 0-3, though the second was wiped off on a VAR offside by inches.

Fairly one-sided game other than that. And then there were only 3 undefeated teams: Everton, Liverpool, and... Villa. Villa hosts Liverpool, so we are expecting just Everton and Liverpool to be the last two undefeated teams, just in time for the Merseyside Derby.

West Brom update: still very bad. They did allow just 2 goals today and only 1 xGA, so that's an improvement. Did nothing at all offensively though. Their only good chances of the year came off of Chelsea mistakes, so they seem to be bad defensively AND offensively.
   299. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: October 04, 2020 at 09:17 AM (#5980974)
West Ham started the season by losing to Newcastle, but have since played three very good games against Arsenal, Wolves, and Leicester, and really probably should have won all 3. They have the 3rd best non-penalty xG differential, after Everton and Liverpool.

Leicester's is not good--5th worst in the league now, after the poor showing today.
   300. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: October 04, 2020 at 09:58 AM (#5980977)
Luiz could have been sent off very early in the game. It was a slight, but clear, shirt pull, and very arguably a DOGSO. Sheffield United is particularly sensitive on this point due to the call last week.

I think it should have been called. Shirt pulls are not like plays where a player makes a play on the ball but nicks the player--they are just a drag on the offensive game and could be legislated out easily if they were just called when seen.
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