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Tuesday, December 31, 2019

OT - Soccer Thread - January, 2020

As we flip the calendar to 2020, there are many things we do not yet know about the year to come. One thing, though, is certain: there will be lots of complaining about VAR. And I for one am looking forward to it.*


*I am not actually looking forward to it.

The Marksist Posted: December 31, 2019 at 04:38 PM | 286 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: ot, soccer

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   1. Jose Is Absurdly Chatty Posted: December 31, 2019 at 04:56 PM (#5912034)
It’s the new soccer thread!
   2. It's regretful that PASTE was able to get out Posted: December 31, 2019 at 05:48 PM (#5912042)
I'm confused on why it still says October 2019?
   3. Jose Is Absurdly Chatty Posted: December 31, 2019 at 05:56 PM (#5912044)
I don't know what you are talking about.
   4. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: December 31, 2019 at 06:56 PM (#5912056)
I will say this, as I said it the other day, and as I have said it so many times in the last few years:

####### Arsenal.
   5. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: December 31, 2019 at 07:43 PM (#5912061)
Liverpool quintuple 40% completed!
   6. puck Posted: January 01, 2020 at 12:05 AM (#5912078)
I will say this, as I said it the other day, and as I have said it so many times in the last few years:

####### Arsenal.


They are doing a fine job of this themselves.

Somewhere Arsene Wenger is throwing a water bottle and laughing.
   7. vortex of dissipation Posted: January 01, 2020 at 01:51 AM (#5912080)
Somewhere Arsene Wenger is throwing a water bottle and laughing.


No, he's still trying to zip up his coat.
   8. the Centaur Nipple Paradox (CoB). Posted: January 01, 2020 at 10:11 AM (#5912100)
@The Marksist ... HAPPY NEW YEARS!!
   9. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: January 01, 2020 at 10:26 AM (#5912102)
Dele going down twice in the box already on the most minimal of contact. (And the whole team raising their arms each time for the VAR review that correctly never came.)
   10. Dale Sams Posted: January 01, 2020 at 11:04 AM (#5912105)
Who NEW that counting on goals from your defenders wasn't a sustainable plan??
   11. Jose Is Absurdly Chatty Posted: January 01, 2020 at 11:10 AM (#5912106)
How the #### is that not a handball on Spurs? I have no dog in this fight but Alderwiereld has his arm away from his body and the ball clearly hits it. If that’s not deemed a handball then one of VAR, the handball law, or both is very very wrong. Maybe I’m missing something but that looked incredibly clear.
   12. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: January 01, 2020 at 11:32 AM (#5912113)
Yeah that looked like it should be a pen. His hand was pretty high as well.

Watford was up 2-0, but gave back a goal on a deflected shot and now down to 10 on a DOGSO ruled by VAR.
   13. Jose Is Absurdly Chatty Posted: January 01, 2020 at 11:36 AM (#5912114)
How many reviews that have genuinely stopped the game at Southampton today? 3 or 4 right? I’m not talking about stuff where VAR gave a quick look and carried on but times when the game was stopped, we all stared at Mike Riley with his finger in his ear and waited to find out if what we saw happened had actually happened.

This sucks. I hate talking about replay (in all sports) but also can’t stop myself. If we are going to stop the game for 2-3 minutes to figure out if an armpit is off sides but also let Alderwiereld play keeper I mean...why bother with it? We are just making #### up.
   14. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: January 01, 2020 at 11:40 AM (#5912115)
Yeah I'm against replay in sports generally so not going to disagree.

To make it worse, that Kane no-goal was called offside on the field as well anyway, and it's surprising the check took so long.
   15. Jose Is Absurdly Chatty Posted: January 01, 2020 at 11:48 AM (#5912118)
And another one (albeit pretty brief but still, everything stopped). The problem is we’ve gone from “fix the blatant stuff” to “be perfect.” So exasperating.
   16. the Centaur Nipple Paradox (CoB). Posted: January 01, 2020 at 12:04 PM (#5912121)
LOL ... another lackluster performance from Spurs ... somewhere Poch chuckles.

Meanwhile, this quote from Daniel Levy from in interview just before the season started just keeps aging like a fine wine:

We could have easily spent more money on players. Who knows if that would have bought us more success or not. The right approach is to build from the bottom up.


Heh, plenty of room to build up, Daniel, plenty of room ...
   17. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: January 01, 2020 at 12:04 PM (#5912122)
Southampton has been a decent team this year, despite not getting results. This game could have easily ended in a draw, but it should be no surprise that they were tough for Spurs at home.

Watford seemed to have to deal with an onslaught at the end of the game against Wolves, down a man, but held on nonetheless.

Newcastle looked terrible again. Yes they have banked the points so fat (edit: far, but fat also works) his season, but on days like today where everyone chasing them wins and they look terrible, you start to wonder again if they will be in the relegation scrap at the end of the season.
   18. the Centaur Nipple Paradox (CoB). Posted: January 01, 2020 at 12:18 PM (#5912123)
it should be no surprise that they were tough for Spurs at home


Sure, in isolation.

But it's not a match in isolation , Spurs are not playing like a Top 4 team and haven't since the beginning of 2019 (anyone know how to query a return of team by team PL results/points for year 2019?).

Oh, and it appears that Kane left the match clutching his hammy ... good times!

   19. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: January 01, 2020 at 12:28 PM (#5912125)
Since Jan 1, 2019, Spurs have played 39 games, have 56 points, +12 GD. NPxGD of just over +5, and xPoints of 57.

Those stats would put them outside of the top 6 pretty much any year.
   20. the Centaur Nipple Paradox (CoB). Posted: January 01, 2020 at 12:34 PM (#5912128)
Cool ... thanks, totally inline with what I was expecting.

If I might ask, where did you get those numbers from?
   21. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: January 01, 2020 at 12:49 PM (#5912132)
From understat. You can set a starting or ending date for any season, but then have to add last season to this one.

You can also download the excel table at 538 and aggregate via date ranges, if you don't mind doing some sorting/filtering in excel.

I haven't checked yet, but maybe there's a way to do it on FBRef as well.
   22. Jose Is Absurdly Chatty Posted: January 01, 2020 at 12:50 PM (#5912133)
19 minutes in at City. We’ve had a goal ruled out for offsides (correctly and quickly, good use of VAR) and now we have a ridiculous VAR where offsides was called, then a possible penalty if the offsides is overruled but then there is a handball that might overturn the penalty if that was given after the offsides was overruled.

Thank god replay eliminates controversy and lets us just enjoy the game.

I’ll stop now.
   23. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: January 01, 2020 at 12:59 PM (#5912134)
So. City's streak of winning the xG battle, dating back to the Liverpool game last year, ended when they had to play with 10 on the road for 80 minutes against a good Wolves team. So, time for them to start a new streak, right?

Not so fast. Last weekend Sheffield United had the better of xG per understat (equal by 538, slightly worse by FBRef), and they did it on the road against the full 11. Nicely done!
   24. Dale Sams Posted: January 01, 2020 at 01:11 PM (#5912135)
Nope. You're right Jose.

There are solutions. ....ha...let the crowds vote!! Each seat has a little voting apparatus!
   25. frannyzoo Posted: January 01, 2020 at 02:50 PM (#5912158)
Mourinho might make it until Summer. Might.

The extent of Kane’s hamstring injury is unknown, while Mourinho also bemoaned Tanguy Ndombele’s injury, with the £55m summer signing forced off after 25 minutes after being clipped by Stuart Armstrong. “He’s always injured,” Mourinho said. “He’s injured, he plays one match, [the] next week he is injured. We are full of hope since the beginning of the season. It is a concern. You think you have a player, you think you have a player in the evolution process, he plays very well against Norwich, you are full of hope that he is ready for it but he is not ready for it. It is a situation that we have had since the beginning of the season.”
   26. the Centaur Nipple Paradox (CoB). Posted: January 01, 2020 at 03:06 PM (#5912161)
Yeah, I saw that quote ... he also got into it with the Saint's staff and picked up a Yellow card for it:

The Tottenham manager admitted he was booked for being rude to the Saints’ goalkeeping coach, Andrew Sparkes, after venturing into the home dugout to air his frustration at what he felt was Sparkes’ time wasting. “I think the yellow card is fair because I was rude, but I was rude to an idiot,” said Mourinho. “For some reason I was rude. But I was, and because I was rude I deserve the yellow card. Basically, I had bad words with the guy.”


Joy ...
   27. Jose Is Absurdly Chatty Posted: January 01, 2020 at 03:25 PM (#5912164)
The “rude to an idiot” thing is objectively funny. Reminds me of Oklahoma basketball coach Billy Olson when the crowd was throwing stuff on the court grabbing the PA microphone and saying “don’t throw stuff onto the court no matter how bad these refs are.”
   28. It's regretful that PASTE was able to get out Posted: January 01, 2020 at 04:09 PM (#5912171)
There are solutions. ....ha...let the crowds vote!! Each seat has a little voting apparatus!


Real talk though: this is the Information Age. In any sport, an extremely effective way to handle replays on close calls would be to:

Build a list of a couple thousand fans who watch games, minimally vetted to exclude crazy homers and other idiots (there would obviously need to be a basic test to prove you understand the rules).
Have them mark themselves in a phone app as watching any particular game.
Assign 50 per game as "live" for that game (with a large enough list to choose from, you can easily exclude fans of any team significantly impacted by this game's result).
When a replay review is requested, ding their phones, and make them tap a button to confirm they're there and watching.
They can watch the replays on TV wherever they are, and if they think the call was wrong, hit the big red button in their app. They get 60 seconds to do this.
If 75% of them agree within 60 seconds that the call was wrong, overturn it. Otherwise, it stands.
After each game someone from the league office can review the results, and remove from the pool anyone who marked themselves live and then didn't respond to the review request, and over time anyone who consistently gets it wrong can be removed from the pool (there will always be a few trolls).

You can pay the 50 people $20 each or something if you want, but probably plenty enough fans would volunteer to do this for free. You all would, so would I. Once you invested some time and money in the initial setup it would work flawlessly and near perfectly, overturning obvious errors and refusing to overturn any call close enough that almost everyone can't agree on it. And it would cost the league couch change.

The big problem, of course, is the outrage you'd get from the practice of overruling the decisions of world-class expert professional referees with the decisions of... of... fans.
   29. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: January 01, 2020 at 04:53 PM (#5912184)
With all the results, this is the day that pretty much clinched top 4 for Leicester, and relegation for Norwich.
   30. Jose Is Absurdly Chatty Posted: January 01, 2020 at 06:47 PM (#5912199)
Agreed on Leicester but not on Norwich. I think they (and the other teams down at the bottom) are good enough to win a few games. They’ve dropped a bunch of points from winning positions which on the one hand is obviously very bad but it’s a sign that they aren’t getting crunched. I’d say it’s much more likely they go down than not but I don’t think they are a hopeless case of any sort. A couple of wins against a few of the relegation “contenders” are not out of the question. They host all of Bournemouth, Brighton and West Ham In the next couple of months. Those are winnable.
   31. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: January 01, 2020 at 07:11 PM (#5912207)
Mourinho's "changed man" act certainly didn't last long.
   32. Dale Sams Posted: January 01, 2020 at 07:21 PM (#5912210)
1. I still think Newcastle will be looking at relegation right up to the end

2. Could tweak the offside rule to help with VAR. Just look at feet. And to balance it give the benefit of the doubt to the defender. So those 'leaning over the line' calls are going to the attacker and the 'off by a millimeter on the foot' go to the defender. OR give the VAR refs 30 seconds to decide.

On PKs, only call encroachment on a defender clearing a save if the defender was the one to encroach. They may actually be doing this now.
   33. Jose Is Absurdly Chatty Posted: January 01, 2020 at 07:35 PM (#5912213)
Dale - The problem with your point 2 (except for the 30 second part) is that it doesn’t really help the VAR problem. It still has a fine line and we are drawing little electronic grid markers to determine if someone is off which is going to take too long. I think the biggest frustration with VAR (and it is definitely mine) is how long it takes. One of the best things about soccer is the flow, the game starts and 45 minutes later you get halftime, then it restarts and 45 minutes later you are done. Having these breaks of play where everyone stands around and stares at each other is what I want to see eliminated.

The 30 second thing is the way to do it. Just take a look and make a decision.
   34. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: January 01, 2020 at 08:12 PM (#5912216)
Norwich relegation odds: 87%
Leicester top 4 odds: 90%.

So, slight edge to Leicester there. It's not that Norwich is completely hopeless, it's just that there among the very worst teams in the league, and now have a big deficit to make up. Pretty similar to Leicester's situation actually, but in reverse.
   35. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: January 01, 2020 at 08:57 PM (#5912228)
As expected coming into the season, 538 had Leeds (and maybe Fulham, I forget) as the top team in the Championship. A pretty big surprise though is Brentford, now rated equal to them by 538. They have an excellent GD and xGD, and even better non-shot xGD. They get to host both Leeds (in February) and West Brom (in March).

They played West Brom fairly even in a 1-1 draw already, but Leeds stifled them in their fist meeting, winning 1-0 and holding them to little offense.
   36. Perry Posted: January 01, 2020 at 10:10 PM (#5912239)
Posnanski's idea for baseball works for all sports. Show the replay at regular speed, once. If the call looks clearly wrong, change it, otherwise it stands. You fix the egregious stuff (e.g. Galarraga's perfect game) and leave the rest.
   37. Mefisto Posted: January 02, 2020 at 10:42 AM (#5912306)
There's no such thing as "the replay". There are lots of replays from different camera angles.
   38. Mefisto Posted: January 02, 2020 at 01:06 PM (#5912345)
Here's some harsh but realistic analysis of Harry Kane. It won't make Spurs fans happy, but maybe it will make Spurs coaches change their approach.
   39. The Marksist Posted: January 02, 2020 at 01:46 PM (#5912369)
Speaking of VAR, does Jack Grealish have the stupidest hair in the PL? I'd say yes.
   40. Mefisto Posted: January 02, 2020 at 02:00 PM (#5912379)
Anyone who wins that competition is likely to be favored against the whole world.
   41. the Centaur Nipple Paradox (CoB). Posted: January 02, 2020 at 02:26 PM (#5912386)
but maybe it will make Spurs coaches change their approach.


It will?

I hold out no hope, sadly ... 'Arry would gladly go out like Bump Bailey if he could, though maybe that would be for the best ...
   42. spivey Posted: January 02, 2020 at 02:44 PM (#5912394)
The Spurs squad needs a pretty big overhaul. Hopefully the first steps were taken last summer, but need to see more to see if Ndombele and Lo Celso are going to even make it in England. Ndombele's lack of fitness is maddening as a fan, and I can understand why Mourinho feels the same. Watching mid-table and lower sides do very simple one-twos that basically bypass our attacking and midfield lines and lead to breakways against the back line is insane. Why can't we do that to anyone?

Who on this team is an above average passer for their position? Who on the team is an above average athlete for the position? I feel like the only player who may meet both criteria is Son. Who can win a 50/50 ball either in terms of a challenge or in terms of just being the first to a ball 8 yards away, or just get around their man in space? Almost ####### no one on the team. It's depressing and has me wondering why.

It's hard to believe that 3 years ago this team used to run other teams off the pitch.
   43. the Centaur Nipple Paradox (CoB). Posted: January 02, 2020 at 02:48 PM (#5912396)
It's depressing and has me wondering why.


We could have easily spent more money on players. Who knows if that would have bought us more success or not. The right approach is to build from the bottom up.
   44. jmurph Posted: January 02, 2020 at 03:00 PM (#5912401)
It's depressing and has me wondering why.

Does it not also have something to do with this?
It's hard to believe that 3 years ago this team used to run other teams off the pitch.

It's a lot of the same players, right, and Poch wasn't exactly famous for rotation.
   45. spivey Posted: January 02, 2020 at 03:21 PM (#5912410)
It's a lot of the same players, right, and Poch wasn't exactly famous for rotation.


I mean Liverpool isn't rotating for ####, and considering the quality on the bench, Pep doesn't rotate that much either. I mean, I think it's possible that Liverpool has a team-wide breakdown in a couple of years as these guys are run into the ground.

But, I'm torn. Poch's practices were supposedly pretty hard. But I would argue pretty strongly that fitness is critical to success. Liverpool and City seem to be to be clearly the most fit teams in the league, even beyond their skill. That's the only way you can play the styles they play. I'm a pretty firm believer that you can only get that kind of fitness by training.

I think some of the guys were bound to breakdown anyways, some don't have their heart into really playing nasty anymore, and some of them just have lost a step or two. Poch may deserve a bit of blame, but I don't think he deserves it alone.

I do think Levy and the board is to blame, though I don't even feel like a lot of big name signings were needed. Just shipping out the injured players and bringing in younger guys, even if they're just midtable guys, who are hungry would have gone a long way.
   46. jmurph Posted: January 02, 2020 at 03:31 PM (#5912417)
Pep doesn't rotate that much either

This is a thing that has always bothered me, for the record.
   47. Mefisto Posted: January 02, 2020 at 03:52 PM (#5912424)
Yeah, I'm not sure Pep's the best example here. His teams are famous for breaking down in late stages of the season. Of course by that time they usually have the title sewed up.

ETA: My personal view is that overtraining is a huge problem for soccer players and that breakdowns are inevitable in the long run. It's like pitcher usage -- I suspect teams are going about it the exact wrong way in trying to squeeze more minutes out of their top players instead of rotating with deeper squads.
   48. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: January 02, 2020 at 04:47 PM (#5912451)
Liverpool broke their team record for passes (but passing stats haven't been kept for ever). Coming up on 1000 for the game.

edit: total domination really, and except for that last chance by Sheffield, it would have been as dominating in xG as the Liverpool win over Leicester.

edit2: it's the type of game that skews xGD differential totals, and makes xPoints a useful statistic to reference as well.

edit3: for the first time this year, 538 now has Liverpool rated above City.

edit4: drops Sheffield United out of the top 10 in NPxGD (now around 0 or slightly negative). the only team in the top 10 other than the pre-season top 9 is Southampton, at less than +1 on the season.
   49. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: January 02, 2020 at 05:06 PM (#5912459)
Understat had the game a little closer than 538, so Sheffield United stays on the positive side of the NPxGD ledger, and just ahead of Arsenal. They are making a strong case for being a top half team, and not just by table position, by the end of the year, but the competition will likely be tight. They aren't on the same level as any of the top 9 yet, but that's no surprise--solidly midtable is a massive achievement versus what was expected of them coming into the year.
   50. Sean Forman Posted: January 02, 2020 at 05:11 PM (#5912461)
What are the odds Liverpool loses at home this decade?
   51. Mefisto Posted: January 02, 2020 at 05:21 PM (#5912463)
We have enough problems predicting results a few weeks in advance. Might as well try to predict the weather on a given day 10 years from now.
   52. the Centaur Nipple Paradox (CoB). Posted: January 02, 2020 at 05:57 PM (#5912473)
It's a lot of the same players, right, and Poch wasn't exactly famous for rotation.


There's a fine line between clever and stupid and it's an even finer line between "Harry Kane wants to play on a stump ... that's ####### great!" and "Harry Kane wants to play on a stump? The #### do I do with this madman?"
   53. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: January 02, 2020 at 06:03 PM (#5912478)
969 passes for Liverpool, breaking the 942 set by City last year.
   54. Mefisto Posted: January 02, 2020 at 06:17 PM (#5912480)
Didn't seem like great strategy by Sheffield United.
   55. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: January 02, 2020 at 06:25 PM (#5912483)
Through 75 minutes, understat had it as 3.25 - 0.07. 538 must have had it at 4.2-0.1. That would have put it on a par with Liverpool's performance against Leicester. Sheffield United did get that one great chance late of course. Sheffield United's only other 2 shots came in the first minutes of the game.
   56. JuanGone..except1game Posted: January 02, 2020 at 06:33 PM (#5912485)
PL needs for Real to come poach Mane, VVD or Salah at this point. Not that Sheffield is the bar, but L'Pool is setup for a lengthy run here.

Love how Mourinho has decided to just completely blow past his "Happy One" stage in record time. Serves him and Spurs right for this unholy marriage.
   57. Richard Posted: January 02, 2020 at 08:20 PM (#5912518)
Didn't seem like great strategy by Sheffield United.


We did not do ourselves justice for the first time this season. The midfield 3 were poor and the starting forwards anonymous. Liverpool were too quick for them. Sharp was decent after he came on and the back 3 and keeper did well. Basham was excellent.

McBurnie should have buried that late chance.

It would have been defensible to sit in so much if we hadn't conceded in the first 2 mins. Unfortunate slip by Baldock. Still, they are a great side and no disgrace.
   58. Jose Is Absurdly Chatty Posted: January 02, 2020 at 08:58 PM (#5912524)
Yeah, I don’t think there is much to complain about in that one. Liverpool are ridiculously good and coming off a fairly uninspired effort on the weekend you knew they’d come out hot. I think that’s one you just shrug and carry on. Henderson was really good, I assume he’s on Southgate’s radar.
   59. Richard Posted: January 02, 2020 at 09:36 PM (#5912528)
Henderson was really good, I assume he’s on Southgate’s radar.


He was on the bench for some of the Euro qualifiers. He's close but not quite there yet.
   60. The Marksist Posted: January 03, 2020 at 10:09 AM (#5912604)
I mean, I think it's possible that Liverpool has a team-wide breakdown in a couple of years as these guys are run into the ground.


PL needs for Real to come poach Mane, VVD or Salah at this point. Not that Sheffield is the bar, but L'Pool is setup for a lengthy run here.


As a Liverpool fan, I'm more worried about the first thing than I am confident in the second. I know nothing, but I feel like it's very possible that Firmino hits a wall in the next 18-24 months. Mane, too. Plus with Ox and Keita pretty much perma-injured, the midfield is o.l.d. Of course, Klopp and his team know much more about football in general and these players in particular than I will ever know about anything, and they deserve the benefit of the doubt. Still, I think the downsides are very real and reasonably likely.
   61. the Centaur Nipple Paradox (CoB). Posted: January 03, 2020 at 01:43 PM (#5912658)
So ... yeah:

Harry Kane is not expected to return to action until at least March, as scans on his injured hamstring have revealed a serious tear. The Tottenham striker limped off during his team’s 1-0 New Year’s Day defeat at Southampton and José Mourinho, the manager, made it clear on Friday lunchtime that he had started to plan for a number of weeks without him.

The club are wary of putting a public timeframe on Kane’s absence, partly because they know that he is a quick healer, who has usually returned ahead of schedule from previous injuries. There are also further checks that need to be made. But the bottom line is that the prognosis from the scans and tests so far is grim.


I'd love for this to result in an extended audition for Parrott, but instead I expect Son up top and a ####### mess behind ...
   62. It's regretful that PASTE was able to get out Posted: January 03, 2020 at 09:32 PM (#5912747)
Yeah, all the discussion about Kane not being right all year, and now he's done his hammy. You have to fear but kind of expect that's the end of him as a world class player.
   63. the Centaur Nipple Paradox (CoB). Posted: January 03, 2020 at 10:15 PM (#5912756)
You have to fear but kind of expect that's the end of him as a world class player.


I'd fear it, but I think his ankles already did for that ...
   64. Dale Sams Posted: January 04, 2020 at 11:02 AM (#5912802)
Lol Newcastle
   65. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: January 04, 2020 at 12:00 PM (#5912809)
Newcastle yeah not great. But check out what happened to Watford. Up 3-0 after 30+ minutes to League 1 Tranmere Rovers, they gave up 3 goals after the 65th minute and now have to go to the replay in Merseyside.

edit: Tranmere currently in relegation position in League 1. Could be in the 4th tier next year.
   66. jmurph Posted: January 04, 2020 at 12:42 PM (#5912819)
Love to play a ton of first teamers in this extremely important early round match at home against Port Vale. Pep is a psychopath.
   67. Mefisto Posted: January 04, 2020 at 01:21 PM (#5912824)
This is probably the only aspect of the job for which this is true, but OGS is far better at rotating his lineups than Pep.
   68. frannyzoo Posted: January 04, 2020 at 05:25 PM (#5912872)
I'm not watching them, because BeIn and lack of willingness to put up with dodgy streams at this point, but Atletico have percolated to their accustomed place. Sure, La Liga is designed for the bears tapping trees for strawberries (which don't grow on trees, by the way) to make CL, but gotta think (with some bias) that Simeone has done some of his best coaching this year. Which is saying something.
   69. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: January 04, 2020 at 10:58 PM (#5912934)
wrong thread.
   70. Jose Is Absurdly Chatty Posted: January 05, 2020 at 09:32 AM (#5912988)
Watching Palace-Derby and Wayne Rooney is entertaining as all hell. He’s on the pitch in a central role so in theory he’s playing a key role. Derby have had a lot of possession and he’s been invisible. He’s not getting into tackles, his teammates aren’t passing him the ball, he’s almost like the ref just kind of jogging around the middle of the pitch.
   71. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: January 05, 2020 at 11:24 AM (#5913013)
Klopp really doesn't care about the cups at all. They've essentially wrapped up the EPL, the next game is a week away, and he still won't use any starters against a very decent Everton team in a derby game.

I'm not saying he is wrong to prioritize the CL and (I guess) what is left of the EPL race, but if this will be how little the FA Cup means to the top teams, it's time to make winning the cup worth something again ($$ or a CL spot).
   72. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: January 05, 2020 at 12:14 PM (#5913024)
For fans, what's the appeal of having the on-field ref (in any sport) perform video review from a sideline booth? Almost in every case the review will take longer and also be harder to perform accurately, due to the sideline conditions rather than being in a quiet room with large video monitors showing all angles simultaneously (ideally). In addition, there's no obvious reason why the ref should be more of an expert at penalty fouls or red cards than the guys in the booth, especially since being an on-field ref requires a lot of other skills that a booth ref doesn't need to have (or have anymore), like the ability to be in good position all game and the ability to manage the players, which should allow the booth refs to specialize and be even better than the on-field refs at the replay tasks.

I almost feel like fans just have realized that the process is more messy than it was in their imaginations pre-replay (which we all told them it would be), so it's a "grass is greener" type of thing.
   73. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: January 05, 2020 at 12:32 PM (#5913029)
Everton with a lot of great chances, but couldn't get one to go in. So the Liverpool youngster Curtis Jones hits a wonder curler off the cross-bar into the corner.
   74. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: January 05, 2020 at 12:38 PM (#5913032)
Mrs. Bea sees the scoreline and asks me why both teams have "girly" names: Liv and Eve.
   75. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: January 05, 2020 at 07:54 PM (#5913113)
Just gotta lol at Everton. They were thrashed in the second half by a bunch of kids.
   76. Jose Is Absurdly Chatty Posted: January 05, 2020 at 11:00 PM (#5913143)
Being an Everton fan is like signing up to get kicked in the nuts regularly.
   77. Jose Is Absurdly Chatty Posted: January 05, 2020 at 11:03 PM (#5913144)
72 - I think the thought process is that the on-field ref is still in charge. It doesn’t do it for me but I think that is the thought process behind in it.
   78. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: January 07, 2020 at 03:34 PM (#5913633)
Obviously Guardiola is a great manager, but in my view the only endearing quality he has is he wants to win every competition in front of him, no matter how irrelevant it might be to any other team as accomplished as City.
   79. Jose Is Absurdly Chatty Posted: January 07, 2020 at 09:13 PM (#5913725)
Phil Jones gets more stick than he deserves in my opinion. He’s not a star or anything but I think he’s a decent enough player who just looks awkward doing things sometimes.

With that said I don’t think I’ve ever seen a professional soccer player so completely undressed as he was today by KDB.
   80. Mefisto Posted: January 07, 2020 at 09:37 PM (#5913728)
I've seen worse incidents (Messi involved), but that was just hopelessly bad defending.
   81. Mefisto Posted: January 08, 2020 at 10:31 AM (#5913813)
Harry Maguire now out indefinitely with muscle tear. United's defense has been pretty solid so far, but his backups are Jones and maybe Rojo. The thin roster is taking its toll.
   82. the Centaur Nipple Paradox (CoB). Posted: January 09, 2020 at 02:18 PM (#5914250)
Repeated from the old thread, Kane is going to have surgery on his injured hamstring and will be out until April and knowing him, he'll probably try and rush back to get fit for the Euros.
   83. the Centaur Nipple Paradox (CoB). Posted: January 09, 2020 at 11:20 PM (#5914404)
Harry Kane and the death of a shot monster


When Kane was younger and healthier, he could do it all: run hard, get into channels, and still have the energy to make constant runs to the posts. He doesn’t have that anymore. He needs to accept it. When he returns from his latest injury, Tottenham need to create a system in which they win the ball back better without his help, and then maybe he can get back to doing what he does best: get ball, find space, kick ball hard.


It's going to be an interesting to see what develops with Kane after his return from his injury, the change in his defensive activity map from 17/18 to 19/20 are striking.
   84. frannyzoo Posted: January 10, 2020 at 03:18 PM (#5914629)
My mere mention here will probably change things, but right now, about an hour in, Benfica is trailing at home to Aves 0-1. This would be such a benefit to a more exciting Primeira Liga season.
   85. frannyzoo Posted: January 10, 2020 at 03:51 PM (#5914644)
Oh bloody Hell...2-1 Benfica. I really should stop mentioning such things, so great is my power in doing so.
   86. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: January 10, 2020 at 03:55 PM (#5914646)
Fabianski was out 3 months last year for a hip injury while making a goal kick? And today, seemingly a repeat of the same injury in the same circumstances. That kind of fragility is a true shame for a player that gets ranked consistently as among the very best keepers in the EPL.
   87. Jose Is Absurdly Chatty Posted: January 10, 2020 at 04:04 PM (#5914649)
Mark Clattenburg will be on NBCSN tomorrow as part of the studio crowd so it’s possible we may hear some interesting things about VAR.
   88. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: January 10, 2020 at 04:52 PM (#5914675)
Sheffield United was saved there by VAR on a play that West Ham United couldn't do anything about... so sometimes it comes back around.

edit: it was the right call under the rules as they are, but very harsh for West Ham United.
   89. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: January 10, 2020 at 07:26 PM (#5914711)
For the record, I didn't say, \"#### Arsenal." I said, \"####### Arsenal." They're very different things.
   90. Richard Posted: January 10, 2020 at 11:12 PM (#5914736)
After the number of VAR decisions against the Blades this season - that’s the first goal decision overturned in their favour - I’ll take it.

And I don’t see the big problem. Rice clearly handled. If he hadn’t handled, Egan’s header goes right across him and the move breaks down and West Ham don’t score. So VAR got it right. The ref missed an obvious handball and VAR corrected the decision. If there was no VAR it would have stood. If the handball law hadn’t been changed it might have stood. But it was 100% correct on the current law.

Poor game overalll but a welcome 3 points given its Arsenal away and City home next.
   91. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: January 11, 2020 at 08:37 AM (#5914745)
538 and understat had the Sheffield United performance as plenty good enough to earn a win, but of course not including the called back goal at the end, which would have evened it out a bit. West Ham has been bad this year and I wasn't expecting them to put up much of a fight away to this Sheffield United team, but they held their own in a very even first half. I thought Sheffield United was much better in the second half, and the stats generally supported that.

I don't think it will happen, but West Ham being relegated would be a fairly big story. The schedule is not going to do them any favors. They play almost all top half of the table teams in the next 11 games (Liverpool twice). They could easily find themselves in need of a few wins at the end of the season to stay up. They do have that game in hand still, but it's Liverpool.
   92. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: January 11, 2020 at 08:56 AM (#5914747)
Palace equalizes on a lucky bounce after Arsenal gets complacent with a lead. Auba off with a red on a nasty challenge! On VAR review no less!

Arsenal imploding again.

edit: Auba quite dejected. I don't think he meant to make such a nasty challenge and that play is not always given a red, but he can't really complain. It was late and studs up on the ankle.
   93. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: January 11, 2020 at 08:59 AM (#5914748)
So Palace did almost nothing for 70 minutes, had it level 1-1 regardless, and now has a good chance to win.
   94. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: January 11, 2020 at 09:12 AM (#5914749)
Sokratis clears it off the line for Arsenal, and then the Palace keeper makes a great double save at the other end. Game still level but it really could go either way. 11 v 10 is pretty even for these two teams.
   95. Jose Is Absurdly Chatty Posted: January 11, 2020 at 09:17 AM (#5914751)
Yeah Arsenal have been the better team for about 10 minutes here. I can’t believe they didn’t score on that goalmouth scramble.
   96. Jose Is Absurdly Chatty Posted: January 11, 2020 at 09:25 AM (#5914753)
Stuff like that from Luiz is not really awful but it’s right up there with tactical fouling for me as stuff I’d like to see eliminated.
   97. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: January 11, 2020 at 10:41 AM (#5914760)
Maguire's indefinite injury seems to have healed quickly. He's playing today.
   98. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: January 11, 2020 at 10:45 AM (#5914761)
Southampton on the road is giving Leicester all they can handle. Missed a sitter and have hit the bar on a nice play. (edit: and again!) Gave up a nice counter over the top against the run of play, so it's 1-1.
   99. Jose Is Absurdly Chatty Posted: January 11, 2020 at 11:15 AM (#5914763)
Very exciting to have a Madrid derby taking place in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
   100. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: January 11, 2020 at 11:23 AM (#5914765)
Leicester saved from a penalty by VAR. They're getting all the breaks today.
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