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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 | 715 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: ot, soccer

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   401. Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: February 02, 2020 at 06:51 PM (#5921158)
One of the (many) issues I have with VAR is I think a lot of the issues could be corrected if soccer followed hockey’s lead an added a second full ref. That way you’d have one ref out high and one ref down on the goal line in situations to get a good look at fouls in the box. I think that would correct a LOT of missed calls.
   402. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: February 02, 2020 at 06:59 PM (#5921163)
On the last page, I meant to say Chelsea, Wolves, Everton and Southampton had underperformed xPoints significantly this year. Leicester has, of course, been one of the biggest overperformer, in fact, currently the biggest overperformer after Liverpool and Newcastle. They are even now ahead of Palace.
   403. Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: February 02, 2020 at 09:29 PM (#5921213)
The Athletic has a pro and con piece from Michael Cox (Pro) and Rafael Honigstein (figure it out) regarding VAR. You can then vote on The Athletic UK twitter feed on scrap it or keep it.
   404. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: February 02, 2020 at 10:17 PM (#5921252)
Pretty sure you have that backward. Michael Cox despises VAR, and is not always completely rational about it.
   405. Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: February 02, 2020 at 11:04 PM (#5921255)
Oops, yeah I do. I meant he was pro eliminating it I guess? Yeah he’s very much opposed to it but I’m standing by that I’m right despite the fact that I was obviously completely wrong.

The article is really good, both sides make good points though I agree with Cox.
   406. jmurph Posted: February 03, 2020 at 09:41 AM (#5921284)
Yeah Honigstein, who I enjoy, loves to tweet every single time VAR gets something right. It's annoying! Mainly because I think even people like me who hate how VAR has gone so far admit that it obviously gets things right quite a bit.
   407. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: February 03, 2020 at 01:12 PM (#5921322)
MCoA has a tweet up about Liverpool dominating (by xG) over the last few months, whereas they were just good but not great before that.

It's kind of true, but it would be more accurate to say that Liverpool have had 4-5 dominant games out of the last 10 (Bournemouth, Leicester, Sheffield, Southampton, maybe West Ham), whereas they only had 2-4 in the first 15 games (Leicester, Newcastle, maybe Arsenal and Norwich). Are they really a much different team since early December? They had 0.8 xGD per game in their first 15 games, and have had 1.5 xGD per game since, so it's true by the numbers, but it's highly dependent on a few games against weaker opponents, so I'm skeptical. Teams often fluctuate like this over relatively small sample sizes. Over the same time period (so no selective endpoints even, like it was for Liverpool), City was 1.8 then 1.2. Chelsea was 1.0 then 0.5. Leicester was 0.5 then 0.1. Watford was -0.6 then 0.2. Villa was -0.3 then -1.0. Norwich was -0.8 then -0.2.

edit: xPoints is not as dependent on a few games with high xG margin, which matters a lot when sample sizes are small. In the same time periods, Liverpool had 2.0 xP per game then 2.3. City was 2.3 then 2.2. Chelsea was 1.9 then 1.8. Leicester was 1.6 then 1.6. Watford was 1.1 then 1.6. Villa was 1.1 then 0.5 (holy have Villa been bad recently). Norwich had 0.8 then 1.3.
   408. Baldrick Posted: February 03, 2020 at 02:15 PM (#5921335)
It's kind of true, but it would be more accurate to say that Liverpool have had 4-5 dominant games out of the last 10 (Bournemouth, Leicester, Sheffield, Southampton, maybe West Ham), whereas they only had 2-4 in the first 15 games (Leicester, Newcastle, maybe Arsenal and Norwich). Are they really a much different team since early December? They had 0.8 xGD per game in their first 15 games, and have had 1.5 xGD per game since, so it's true by the numbers, but it's highly dependent on a few games against weaker opponents, so I'm skeptical.

All the games count, and they played plenty of bad teams in the first third of the season but didn't record as many blowouts.

I guess I just feel like it doesn't have to be definitive proof of a fundamental change to be interesting and potentially informative.
   409. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: February 03, 2020 at 02:57 PM (#5921341)
I guess I just feel like it doesn't have to be definitive proof of a fundamental change to be interesting and potentially informative.
Right! I make the same general kind of posts here all the time actually. Even for my own posts, I'm suspicious that a lot of it is more past-descriptive than forward-predictive though. Also, the endpoints chosen by MCoA were a bit misleading and it made it seem like the statistical difference has been going on for a longer period (i.e., the last 15 games versus just the last 10, where the change has actually shown up).

I also think it's always worth pointing out that once you get into a small sample size of games, xGD can be heavily influenced by just a few games, sometimes even just a single game.
   410. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: February 03, 2020 at 03:20 PM (#5921348)
When you get into small sample sizes, stuff like this happens:

Liverpool games 1-15: 0.8 xGD per game
Liverpool games 16-20: 2.0 xGD per game
Liverpool games 21-25 (at halftime of game 25): 0.5 xGD per game.

It was looking like same old Liverpool we saw early in the season after the last 4 games had been fairly close by xG (under a harder than average schedule), and Southampton had just given them a solid game in the first half last weekend. Then of course Liverpool exploded for 4 goals and a ton of xG in the second half.
   411. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: February 03, 2020 at 05:21 PM (#5921387)
Napoli with another win today. Not the most convincing of performances, at least statistically, but it was a road win against a team that statistically has been much better than their spot in the table.

Napoli now has 5 games out of the next 6 against some of the weakest competition in Serie A, with the other game against midtable Verona. If they string together some more results they could potentially make Atalanta and Roma sweat a bit, especially since the next two teams they face after that are Atalanta and Roma. Those two also face each other in 2 weeks. Yeah it's probably already too late for Napoli, but this is then kind of scheduling you want if you want a miracle comeback.
   412. Mefisto Posted: February 03, 2020 at 10:13 PM (#5921437)
Vlatko does a good job of rotating his squad for the games. Much better than Ellis. Doesn't mean he'll be a better coach, since pool play in CONCACAF is hardly a challenge.
   413. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: February 04, 2020 at 02:37 AM (#5921444)
Top teams tend to outperform xPoints (and to a lesser extent xGD), and bottom teams tend to underperform. Whether this is game state effects, better quality shooters and GKs, better quality shots from the same locations, or more likely, some combination of the above, it's a consistent phenomenon.

Looking at the Big 4 over the last 5 complete seasons, the top 3 in xPoints tend to outperform their xPoints by 4-5 points average, and the bottom 3 underperform by 2-3 points average. That means Liverpool's +20, as amazing as it is, is probably less of an outlier than Newcastle's incredible +14 from the bottom of the table. If either one continues at this rate they'll have been no one even close to them in the big 4 over the last 5 years.

For teams that have way overperformed at the top of the table, there's Juve and Atletico each of the last 2 years (Juve is doing it again. Starts to make you wonder if Serie A is on the up and up...) Mourinho's United, and Chelsea from their title year 3 years ago.

For teams at the bottom you have Cagliari from a few years ago and Swansea's 14/15 year. None matched over 38 games what Newcastle has done already (+14), and both those 2 weren't at the very bottom of the xPoints table either.

But Bruce said yesterday that we shouldn't call them "lucky", so I'm trying to avoid that word.


For those conspiracy theorists out there, Juve's numbers for the last 5 years are +12, +12, +8, +19, +21, and now +13 (22 games, prorated to +21 again). The first two were tops in Serie A, the third was second in Serie A, the last 2 were the tops across the big 4, and the one this year is second only to Liverpool. +74 in a little over 5 years! Could it be down to style of play? Perhaps. Simeone's Atleti were +62 over 5 years prior to this one, but they have slipped up majorly this year and are -7 currently. Atleti has also been known for their extreme style of play, so I'm not sure it is comparable. On the other hand, that whole period until this year was Allegri as coach of Juve, so maybe that had something to do with it. I mean, we know Juve would never get involved in something like match fixing.

At least for the last 5 (or 6 years, for Juve), those 2 teams, Atleti and Juve, are true outliers. I don't think any other team comes close. Barca is +38 over 5+ years. Real Madrid +31, Bayern +24 (a slightly shorter season), Roma +38 (like Atleti, this is their only down year of the past 6). In the EPL, Liverpool is +36 (flat until the last 2 years), Tottenham +38, United +31.

In case you are wondering, in 5+ years, Chelsea is +16, Arsenal +14, and City is only +4.


   414. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: February 04, 2020 at 12:53 PM (#5921524)
The Sterling non-red. Fans seem to want to simplify every soccer rule to one or two elements only, in this case mostly studs coming into contact with the opposing player. Should it have been a red? Refs disagree on that point, citing the fact that Sterling was standing rather than lunging or going to ground, that the challenge came from close and not at excessive speed, contact was right near the ground with studs pointed down (i.e., at least indicating studs not in an unnatural or obviously dangerous position). Even if a majority might have said red, which I not at all certain, that's not really clear/obvious.

I'm a bit torn myself, so kind of glad I wasn't the ref on the field in this case, but I probably would have given a red had I seen it clearly live. I think for the VAR ref it may have been a pretty easy non-call though, under the clear/obvious standard.

FIFA considerations for foul play.
   415. Mefisto Posted: February 04, 2020 at 01:14 PM (#5921533)
I thought it was borderline, but not red.
   416. jmurph Posted: February 04, 2020 at 02:03 PM (#5921557)
I thought at the time it was either not a foul or a red. This really made sense to me two days ago but I'm not sure now!
   417. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: February 04, 2020 at 02:27 PM (#5921567)
4 minutes remaining in extra time in DFB Pokal, Frankfurt beating Leipzig. Frankfurt player receives the ball coming back towards his own goal almost from an offside position. Despite a possible attack on, he dribbles back 15 yards and then passes the ball all the way back to his own keeper. Maybe justified considering they are trying to hold onto the 1-goal lead? Even if so, the keeper controls it and immediately boots it back upfield right to Leipzig, making the whole thing seem quite inane. No matter though, Frankfurt gets a goal a couple minutes later off of long ball downfield, and its game over.

Not a good week for Leipzig. They have one more chance to make it better with the Bayern game this weekend, but they will be pretty big underdogs.

edited to be clear that the keeper didn't handle the back pass--my previous wording was misleading.
   418. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: February 04, 2020 at 03:29 PM (#5921589)
Dortmund down 2-0 to Bremen at the half (DFB Pokal). Send in Haaland!

It won't have been worse by xG, but Bremen missed out on a couple other great chances as well, and are really taking it to Dortmund today.
   419. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: February 04, 2020 at 03:38 PM (#5921590)
In more important news, Hungerford Town trails Dorking Wanderers 0-1 at the half.
   420. vortex of dissipation Posted: February 04, 2020 at 04:03 PM (#5921602)
Dortmund down 2-0 to Bremen at the half (DFB Pokal). Send in Haaland!


They've put him in at the start of the second half.
   421. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: February 04, 2020 at 04:13 PM (#5921607)
Welp, he scored again, with the tappiest of tap-ins after some very pretty work by his teammates. Dortmund is piling on some pressure now.
   422. vortex of dissipation Posted: February 04, 2020 at 04:14 PM (#5921608)
And Haaland scores, and a minute later Reyna almost does...
   423. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: February 04, 2020 at 04:15 PM (#5921610)
oops. Have to play defense too. 3-1 now.
   424. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: February 04, 2020 at 04:24 PM (#5921614)
Liverpool trailing now. I have mixed feelings about them in the cups, since Klopp clearly hates the competitions. I'd like to see Liverpool actually try to win one, but if they are not going to try, I'd like to see them eliminated. Mostly I think it's very bad for the health of the cups that Klopp regards them so little. It's been a slow decline for years now, but Klopp is surely making it worse. At this point they really need to do something to encourage top teams to take it seriously, or many others will likely follow Liverpool's lead.
.
3-2 Bremen now after a perfectly placed curler.

edit: Haaland with some good work inside and a nice pass to set up what could have been a goal but for a very heavy touch by the attacker.

edit2: must have taken the Shrews' goal off the board. Still 0-0.

edit3: a Dortmund dive in the box, followed by an angry grab of the collar by the Bremen defender, followed by a second dive by the Dortmund attacker. And we go to VAR. Dortmund attacker gets a yellow for an accumulation of dives. I think Bremen defender also took a yellow.
   425. vortex of dissipation Posted: February 04, 2020 at 04:25 PM (#5921617)
3-2 Bremen now after a perfectly placed curler.


Reyna's goal was gorgeous.
   426. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: February 04, 2020 at 04:35 PM (#5921618)
I'm watching a stream with sound but no commentary, and since I don't know most of the players well (including Reyna), they get generic labeling. Turns out it was Reyna with the dives and the yellow, as well as the curler of course.

This second half has been almost all Dortmund, who have had now a ton of chances. But it may be too little, too late.

edit: 3 minutes into injury time, and a very good save off a close-range header by Haaland. The ensuing corner goes to the Dortmund keeper, astoundingly, the only Dortmund player right in front of goal in the middle, and he heads it over the bar. Not an easy header.

edit2: one last good chance for Dortmund is skied over the bar and that's it. Pretty sure Dortmund's xG in the second half was higher than the 2 goals they ended up with.
   427. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: February 04, 2020 at 04:59 PM (#5921619)
Newcastle gave up a 3-goal lead to be forced into the replay today. Gave up a 2-goal lead today, the second with the GK all the way upfield for a 94th minute free kick (GK did not get involved in the play, but was a close spectator). Practically the last kick of regular time, as after 30 more seconds they blow for the 90. We go to extra time.

edit: well that's karma. 2 set piece goals for Oxford United. Newcastle has the most in the prem this year, which partially explains their vast overperformance.

edit: oops, maybe that 3-goal lead that was lost was another team. Yep. Watford against Tranmere. Newcastle drew 0-0 in the first leg.
   428. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: February 04, 2020 at 05:52 PM (#5921631)
Liverpool and Newcastle ended up winning, despite it all. Have to think both will be favored to go out on the road next round. Liverpool is at Chelsea so would need to field a very strong side to be favored, and that seems unlikely to happen. Newcastle is at West Brom, who might at this point be a superior team.
   429. Baldrick Posted: February 04, 2020 at 06:17 PM (#5921639)
I'm here in Edinburg for the final day of Olympic qualifying. Canada and Mexico about to kick off. Canada just needs a draw to avoid playing the US until the final, effectively locking in what we all expected: the two big North American teams qualifying at the expense of everyone else.

I wrote a piece today about Canada's great start to the year, and their potential for making a decent run in 2020. And another piece yesterday about the head injury rules. With every new player struggling to play after a massive collision, it feels more unreasonable that IFAB hasn't authorized some kind of temporary substitution rule.
   430. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: February 04, 2020 at 09:01 PM (#5921665)
Whaddyaknow? I just learned Reyna is a US player, son of Claudio. With the gorgeous goal, maybe he can be the next big thing. Gotta work on perfecting those dives though, especially in the age of VAR.
   431. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: February 04, 2020 at 09:15 PM (#5921674)
Is it (partially) luck? Check out this tweet on Liverpool "defending" big chances. Opponents missed the target completely on 12 of 16 big chances (over the las 14 games, all victories).
   432. J. Sosa Posted: February 04, 2020 at 10:47 PM (#5921712)
Supposedly they are using some type of NBA influenced shot data to interfere with vision. Sounds dumb but I have heard it from some of the same people that were talking about Liverpool using GPS data years ago that were proven right, they openly talk about zone control now which means they have presumably moved on to more advanced things. I would say it is substantially due to good fortune, but there have been a few times this season I’ve noticed what seemed to be coordination between Alisson and defenders based on the player in possession. I think there is something there on the edges.

Spurs fans/analysts have picked up on some of the things Liverpool are doing. It is actually visible if you look for it at times.

Strictly speaking from an observational standpoint, I think they are assigning values to player actions and movements that are years beyond what is publicly available. I do not have the means to evaluate it, but I believe they have prioritized reducing what used to be called “packing” type plays. They literally move 10 players as a unit in incredibly dense points of overlap.

As far as offense goes, they also appear to have started programmed movements on plays other than just corners or dead balls (Meaning a higher level of sophistication other than the movements Klopp and Pep have always utilized in open play. Mourinho thinks it isn’t possible. Pep and Klopp both do. Throw ins are the most noticeable, but they appear to also use them on goal kicks at times. Next time Liverpool play pay particular attention to Firmino. He is usually the trigger, designed plays more or less won the Spurs and Wolves matches.

FWiW Liverpool is supposedly one of three clubs that really stand out in analytics in England. Interestingly Brentford is also one.
   433. J. Sosa Posted: February 04, 2020 at 11:04 PM (#5921717)
As for the domestic cups, the FA and EFL can do one. Not everyone has a second eleven like City and even they have been worn down. I have always said I don’t think it is much of an exaggeration to say Caribou cup may well have cost City a CL and/or an invincibles season. People tend to split between admiration and horror on Pep’s determination to “respect” the competitions. I am very much in the horror camp. Smaller clubs do get hurt, but I don’t see anybody from an organizing body holding up their hand to help.

Players have been going down left right and center across the league with muscle injuries. It would be an absolute dereliction of duty for Klopp to risk injury. I would argue that moving up a league spot or two has more value then winning the FA cup for many clubs. Winning FA cups didn’t do much for Wenger. Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of the FA cup, but it is literally several tens of times less important than the league or CL. If Klopp thinks the smallest hair on the head of VVD, Mane, etc would be harmed by playing in a FA cup, then so be it, they sit out.

Klopp is legitimately aggravated about the issue. Imagine trying to navigate all of those clown shoe organizations that don’t coordinate at all and want a full pie.
   434. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: February 04, 2020 at 11:25 PM (#5921721)
FA cup: if it's not valuable then it should be scrapped or made valuable. Playing under 23s doesn't work in the long run.

What I have always thought is that there could be massive gains made by having "plays" run from open play on offense in soccer. 95% of them could fail, but since goals are so valuable you only need to hit on one to win a game. When I played ultimate the offense commonly used was a coordinated timed series of runs to get someone open. The better the coordination and timing, the harder to defend, not only the initial pass but especially each subsequent passer's options as each successive pass was completed. Also, NFL plays are all heavily timed and coordinated, which is necessary or there'd be almost no way to get through positionally disciplined defense. It seems like some of these principals could be used to better effect in soccer, Open play often starts from relatively consistent positions, especially for teams trying to break down a packed in defense.

I guess we see something like this now on defense, where there is coordinated pressing, which seems to be maximally effective when it is timed to the expected sequence of passes (so, not everyone on defense is running hard at the same moment).
   435. greenback used to say live and let live Posted: February 05, 2020 at 12:05 AM (#5921733)
Whaddyaknow? I just learned Reyna is a US player, son of Claudio. With the gorgeous goal, maybe he can be the next big thing. Gotta work on perfecting those dives though, especially in the age of VAR.

He's 17-yo, apparently the youngest American ever to score a goal in the Bundesliga. At that age his dad, the one-time next big thing, was playing college ball. Progress.
   436. Richard Posted: February 05, 2020 at 12:30 AM (#5921737)

Players have been going down left right and center across the league with muscle injuries. It would be an absolute dereliction of duty for Klopp to risk injury. I would argue that moving up a league spot or two has more value then winning the FA cup for many clubs. Winning FA cups didn’t do much for Wenger. Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of the FA cup, but it is literally several tens of times less important than the league or CL


I find this a view commonly held by foreign based watchers of English football, and a fair number of English based fans of clubs in the CL. It is not, in my experience, a view commonly held by fans of other English teams or many fans of CL clubs. And they are the ones who are actually attending the games.

If you gave me a choice between 8th in the PL or 10th and a Cup Final I would pick the latter, no question.

The problem isn't the FA Cup. It is the expansion of the CL, which is nothing but a money making exercise given that 90% of the same teams reach the knockout stages every year.

I am a big fan of Klopp but I am getting heartily sick of fabulously wealthy teams whining about having to play more games when the reason why they play those games is that they are successful. Supporters of 85 of the 92 PL and EFL clubs wish they had your problems.
   437. manchestermets Posted: February 05, 2020 at 04:21 AM (#5921753)
I am a big fan of Klopp but I am getting heartily sick of fabulously wealthy teams whining about having to play more games when the reason why they play those games is that they are successful. Supporters of 85 of the 92 PL and EFL clubs wish they had your problems.


As a fan of a fabulously wealthy team, 100% agreement. The only tweak required to the FA Cup is the abolition of penalty shootouts, and make it so you have to win the game properly to get through to the next round again. Arsenal played 70 games in the 79/80 season, with a much smaller squad than they'd have now, and no modern sports science. None of their players died.
   438. J. Sosa Posted: February 05, 2020 at 07:44 AM (#5921764)
re: Richard

It did mean more to me when Liverpool was out of Europe or not in top four contention. But now it is more like watching Henderson play in one of the endless international breaks. Crossing fingers hoping he doesn’t get hurt. Salah and Mane will both be gone for an extended period next year for Afcon. To reiterate, it isn’t just the FA. It is the Premier League, the FA, the EFL, and FIFA all of them not giving a damn and all wanting a piece.

As I say, I sympathize with smaller clubs, but they aren’t sending players generally for international play. First world problems I get it, but Klopp’s job is Klopp’s job. It didn’t start with him. If anybody wants to identify patient zero they need to start with Ferguson. As Klopp has warned that day is coming again. CL expansion is partly to blame sure, but the FA wants their replays, and the EFL wants their two legged semi, and FIFA wants full scale qualifying tournaments and on and on and on. None of those organizations give a damn. They want what they want. So the choices become obvious.

re; Arsenal in the 70s.

Back passing and a pack of cigs is no longer an option.
   439. J. Sosa Posted: February 05, 2020 at 08:01 AM (#5921769)
I think Liverpool has won something like 102 out of the last 104 points available. Back to back CL finals. A Europa final. And people are going to give Klopp stick for fielding a weakened eleven against Shrews? I know what I would say to such criticism, and it would be a lot less pleasant.

Klopp has been noticeably more irritable this year. I was surprised he signed the extension, I would be shocked if he actually makes it the length of the new contract.
   440. J. Sosa Posted: February 05, 2020 at 08:07 AM (#5921773)
Re: Bea

Klopp and Pep both use programmed movements like you are talking about. Mourinho doesn’t, if I had to point to one single reason the game has moved past Jose a little that would be it.

The most obvious and recurring one is an entry pass to Salah on the right side of the box for holdup play followed by a few quick movements. Much of the friction between Aguero and Pep at the start was Kun’s reluctance to go along with the movements. Aguero has now been telling the national team they should do the same. Pep said something to the effect of he was glad he was now a convert.

Apologies for the series of posts, noticed bits of posts I overlooked.
   441. manchestermets Posted: February 05, 2020 at 08:38 AM (#5921782)
I'm not criticising Klopp, I've no issue with Liverpool playing the team they played last night. I'm criticising people saying a tournament should be abolished if it isn't entirely to Klopp's taste.
   442. Dale Sams Posted: February 05, 2020 at 08:41 AM (#5921783)
Most of the stick I've seen given Klopp is more for not being on the sideline.


Personally Im just pissed that Brewster (first through injury and then loaned out) keeps missing these games.
   443. Richard Posted: February 05, 2020 at 08:56 AM (#5921787)
Yes, Liverpool can play whatever team they like. I just don’t think we need to redesign a competition that six hundred plus teams enter because it annoys a couple of managers.
   444. J. Sosa Posted: February 05, 2020 at 09:04 AM (#5921791)
I get it Mets, I know what you are saying. I personally love the idea of the domestic cups. It is wonderful. I just don’t know what the solution is. I have seen various proposals and frankly all of them suck in various ways. I have seen suggestions that teams in Europe don’t enter the domestic Cups, but that would suck two different ways. The best teams wouldn’t be eligible and remaining PL teams would still field weakened teams anyway.

I have seen suggestions of opening the cups to Scottish teams, which would be somewhat cool, but that basically means Celtic and Rangers. I don’t know know how much interest there would be in a Hearts v Reading fifth round matchup. They can’t really offer a CL place. Offering a EL place has more meaning than it did, but big clubs usually win anyway and if a smaller club wins they tank Europa for the same reasons big clubs tank domestic cups.

My main thing is Klopp is in an impossible situation. It is out of his control, and from a selfish standpoint, he is exibiting all the classic signs of burnout. Yeah he should have probably been at the Shrews match. But as a fan, if the man needs a little recharge in the sun away from the game, I am behind that one thousand percent. Klopp had promised family he would be off. I think it was wise to accommodate him.

Milner, in typical Milner fashion, didn’t go on holiday, trained with the U 23s, gave a pre match pep talk, and sat on the bench.

As for Brewster, that leg injury really set him back. It is unfortunate, shows how thin the margins are at the top. He was every bit the prospect as Sancho before the injury. Still a promising prospect, but he has had a hard time meeting the training requirements.
   445. Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: February 05, 2020 at 09:40 AM (#5921808)
I’m with Richard, the system doesn’t need to be completely changed or anything. I think Klopp erred by making the statement he did and then not being on the sideline. If he had said something vague like “we’ll see where we are that week. It’s important that our players get some rest” that would have been fine. To come out and say effectively “no #### that” was a PR gaffe.

I will say in Klopp’s defense his point that the teams were told not to take the winter break as an opportunity to go on a money making tour of Qatar or something. To do that then schedule the replay for that week seems a bit unfair. Realistically there wasn’t any other time they could have played the game so I’m not sure when else they could have played it but I get Klopp’s point even if I don’t really agree with it.
   446. J. Sosa Posted: February 05, 2020 at 09:54 AM (#5921820)
Also keep in mind EFL scheduled a match within 24 hours of a match on a different continent. Ultimately by agreement, but that agreement was essentially Klopp throwing his hands up. This last incident wasn’t the first.

Somewhat humorously given the furor the tankapoolaza teams he has fielded keep winning. The Arsenal 5-5 was especially hilarious.

On a different topic, I forgot to mention on the xG discussion earlier that some Liverpool fan analysts think Liverpool is using the soccer equivalent of handed platoon leveraging. Some of the early data does suggest something like that might be going on.
   447. J. Sosa Posted: February 05, 2020 at 10:12 AM (#5921838)
edit function wonky: The Everton cup match was actually probably even better than the Arsenal match. Everton fans thought Klopp was taking the piss with the B squad he fielded in the league match to win only for Klopp to then field the U 23s and win. Everton might be the most self loathing fan base I have ever seen. I like them a lot, it reminds me of some of the American teams I support.
   448. The Marksist Posted: February 05, 2020 at 10:38 AM (#5921862)
When I played ultimate


You played Ulitmate, Bea? Where/when? I played through high school and college in New England in the late '90s/early '00s.
   449. manchestermets Posted: February 05, 2020 at 10:50 AM (#5921876)
I will say in Klopp’s defense his point that the teams were told not to take the winter break as an opportunity to go on a money making tour of Qatar or something. To do that then schedule the replay for that week seems a bit unfair. Realistically there wasn’t any other time they could have played the game so I’m not sure when else they could have played it but I get Klopp’s point even if I don’t really agree with it.


The trouble with this is that yes, it's a screw-up but by the Premier League, not the FA. I could have told you 10 years ago when the 4th round replays in this year's FA Cup would be, because the schedule is the same every year - third round is the first Saturday in January (assuming that isn't the 1st or 2nd I think) and then the fourth round is three weeks later. The whole winter break thing was broken by design.
   450. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: February 05, 2020 at 11:13 AM (#5921901)
I played very disorganized ultimate here and there for years in the 80s when I was in high school (California), then played for just one year on the college team in 1991 (considered a club sport at that time, where I went). Guys on that particular team were kind of intense jerks though, so I didn't continue with it.
   451. Dale Sams Posted: February 05, 2020 at 11:18 AM (#5921908)
love the idea of the domestic cups


I was just about to mention, I wish the league cup was an all GB Cup and maybe to include Ireland as well.*

I think it would be more than 'Rangers and Celtic'...a team like Hearts would have an incentive to beat Watford or Bournemouth just by perception alone.

*granted I don't know if teams like even TNS have room on their schedule for this.
   452. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: February 05, 2020 at 01:23 PM (#5921991)
Female ref in the Stuttgart Leverkusen game. Seems to be nothing special, because I can't find anything about it online anywhere. That's progress!

Also watching a German-language stream out of the corner of my eye while I work, so didn't notice until the 43rd minute during a VAR check (goal was overturned, but we can't blame the onfield ref for this one, as it was an offside by the narrowest of margins).

edit: looks like it might be Bibianna Steinhaus, who refs several Bundesliga top-flight games a year, over the last 3 or so years.
   453. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: February 05, 2020 at 01:40 PM (#5922004)
Not that height and weight should matter, but my guess is it's probably easier in the current environment not to be on the smaller side, if you're a female ref taking charge of the top-level men's games. Steinhaus is 5'11, 161 (according to worldfootballnet, so who knows how accurate), and looks as big or bigger than most of the players.

edit: looks like she does about 1 DFB Pokal a year, going all the way back to 2008. (Only been doing Bundesliga 1 games since 2017). Most of the DFB Pokal games reffed were in the earlier rounds though.
   454. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: February 05, 2020 at 02:02 PM (#5922016)
Game itself you ask? A few chances each way, mostly the best ones to Leverkusen. Then the Stuttgart keeper came out to punch away a corner, but overshot slightly, causing the ball to glance off the back of his fist perfectly into the corner of the net. 1-0 Leverkusen.
   455. Slutty Nutkins (CoB). Posted: February 06, 2020 at 03:21 AM (#5922179)
A requiem for Jan Vertonghen

That hurt to watch ...
   456. Mefisto Posted: February 06, 2020 at 09:11 AM (#5922200)
EPL has reverted back to the standard summer transfer deadlines. Too bad. I get why they did it, but it's the right rule and other leagues should have been forced to follow it instead of exploiting it.
   457. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: February 06, 2020 at 02:19 PM (#5922362)
Isak of Sociedad (a young Swede) hits 3 pretty goals in 8 minutes of the second half in Madrid. One was ruled out though. Still, was 0-3 and Real Madrid about to be eliminated from the Spanish Copa.

Marcelo just got one back though on a goalkeeping error at the near post. Nice shot by Marcelo, but no way should that have gone in. Maybe not over yet.

edit: and now an assist by Isak. It was a good pass that left the striker wide open in front of goal, but seriously, what the hell was Real Madrid's defense doing?

edit: just subbed off for a defender after the assist, now up 4-1. What a day.
   458. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: February 06, 2020 at 02:36 PM (#5922373)
After Real Madrid and Barcelona, Sociedad might be the next favorite remaining in the Spanish Copa, so with a win today they must be thinking they can win the whole thing. They've only one it twice, and only once in the last 100 years.

Real Madrid hasn't lost at home in 21 straight games, so this is quite the upset.

edit: another GK error. Open header, so bad defense, but it went right through the keeper's hands chest-high. Just terrible. 2-4 now. oops. maybe offside. 1-4 now after all.

edit: 2-4 again after another attack.
   459. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: February 06, 2020 at 02:56 PM (#5922387)
Some excitement at the end, including an injury time goal and a second yellow sending Sociedad down to 10 men, and finally an open header by Ramos sent right at the GK in the 97th minute, but they hold on. 3-4, and Sociedad is into the semis.
   460. The Marksist Posted: February 06, 2020 at 03:52 PM (#5922449)
...played for just one year on the college team in 1991 (considered a club sport at that time, where I went). Guys on that particular team were kind of intense jerks though, so I didn't continue with it.


Still is a club sport almost everywhere, although this might be changing at some D1 schools? And the intense jerks thing is a real problem in Ultimate (and sports in general, I guess).
   461. Baldrick Posted: February 06, 2020 at 04:03 PM (#5922459)
My piece on the Jamaica women's national team, which may very well have all its funding cut and not get any scheduled games for the next two years. Because that's the way it goes in women's soccer.
   462. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: February 06, 2020 at 04:51 PM (#5922483)
Well, there it is! Athletic Bilbao scores in injury time after being second best most of the day. 1-0.

edit: Bilbao has the second most Copa titles ever, but only 3 since 1958, the last one in 1984.

The other two teams have never won. Granada lost the final in 1959, and Mirandes (from La Liga 2) has never been to a final.
   463. frannyzoo Posted: February 06, 2020 at 04:56 PM (#5922489)
Has there been a better day of Copa del Rey in recent memory? I think not.
   464. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: February 06, 2020 at 05:03 PM (#5922490)
Mirandes has never been in La Liga 1, and only was promoted to La Liga 2 for the first time in 2012.

They beat Sevilla, Celta Vigo, and Villarreal to get this far, so they've not had an easy go of it.
   465. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: February 06, 2020 at 07:52 PM (#5922525)
Has there been a better day of Copa del Rey in recent memory? I think not.
The last time both Barcelona and Real Madrid lost in the Copa on the same day was in 1955. So no, no there has not.
   466. Richard Posted: February 06, 2020 at 08:11 PM (#5922528)
This is the first time neither of the gruesome twosome have made the semis or the final of the Copa del Rey since 2010.
   467. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: February 06, 2020 at 08:40 PM (#5922531)
538's rankings for lower divisions outside England such as La Liga 2 is laughably terrible. I stated this before, but the EPL and the Championship overlap slightly in their 538 rankings, with Leeds and Brentford ranked as better than a few of the worse EPL teams, which may or may not be accurate but is entirely believable. On the other hand, the worst-ranked team in La Liga is currently Mallorca, which is ranked more or less on par with the worst-ranked teams in the EPL, while the best-ranked team in La Liga 2 is Almeria, 16 points less. That's roughly the difference between the worst team in the EPL and Everton or Wolves. It's also roughly the difference between the best and worst teams in La Liga 2.

How does that play out here? According to 538, Mirandes beating Sevilla, Celta Vigo, and Villarreal is roughly like League 1 sides Oxford United or Doncaster going through West Ham, Southampton and Arsenal.
   468. Richard Posted: February 07, 2020 at 01:09 AM (#5922563)
538's rankings for lower divisions outside England such as La Liga 2 is laughably terrible. I stated this before, but the EPL and the Championship overlap slightly in their 538 rankings, with Leeds and Brentford ranked as better than a few of the worse EPL teams, which may or may not be accurate but is entirely believable. On the other hand, the worst-ranked team in La Liga is currently Mallorca, which is ranked more or less on par with the worst-ranked teams in the EPL, while the best-ranked team in La Liga 2 is Almeria, 16 points less. That's roughly the difference between the worst team in the EPL and Everton or Wolves. It's also roughly the difference between the best and worst teams in La Liga 2.

How does that play out here? According to 538, Mirandes beating Sevilla, Celta Vigo, and Villarreal is roughly like League 1 sides Oxford United or Doncaster going through West Ham, Southampton and Arsenal.


In defence of 538, it is very difficult to compare teams who are in different leagues and who never play each other. Having been promoted twice in 3 seasons, it soon became apparent that whatever metrics they (and others) are using aren't very accurate in predicting the performance of promoted and relegated teams - not least because teams who move leagues tend to have larger turnovers of players than teams who stay put.
   469. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: February 07, 2020 at 01:53 AM (#5922568)

In defence of 538, it is very difficult to compare teams who are in different leagues and who never play each other. Having been promoted twice in 3 seasons, it soon became apparent that whatever metrics they (and others) are using aren't very accurate in predicting the performance of promoted and relegated teams - not least because teams who move leagues tend to have larger turnovers of players than teams who stay put.
That is a good defense in general, but it doesn't at all explain how a team gets massively worse or better in the Spanish system by switching from La Liga 2 to La Liga 1.

End of 2018/2019 to beginning of 2019/2020 (3 months later) for England and Spain relegated/promoted teams.

Villa 61.0 -> 64.6 (+3.6)
Norwich 61.9 -> 62.7 (+0.8)
Sheffield Utd 62.6 -> 61.8 (-0.8)

Cardiff 59.5 -> 53.7 (-5.8)
Fulham 57.1 -> 65.9 (+8.8)
Huddersfield 51.8 -> 58.7 (+6.9)

Osasuna 43.9 -> 64.1 (+20.2)
Granada 40.5 -> 63.8 (+23.3)
Mallorca 40.5 -> 59.6 (+19.3)

Girona 70.4 -> 53.9 (-16.5)
Huesca 70.2 -> 34.8 (-35.4 holy moly)
Rayo Vallecano 64.5 -> 47.7 (-16.8)


The average drop/gain in La Liga just from switching leagues is 20 or so points, which is the difference between Leicester and Norwich/Villa and Leicester. It's nonsense. The 35.4 drop experienced by Huesca is bigger than the difference between Liverpool and Norwich/Villa.

Furthermore, if anything, the numbers above understate the problem, because almost all the promoted La Liga teams are now considered even better than they were when they got promoted, and all the relegated teams even worse.
   470. jmurph Posted: February 07, 2020 at 01:07 PM (#5922678)
Cool news about thread regular Sean Forman, who is apparently also involved in baseball stats in some capacity:
SABR @sabr
Congratulations to @sean_forman, founder of the indispensable @baseball_ref, who will be honored with the 2020 #SABRanalytics Conference Lifetime Achievement Award: https://sabr.org/latest/sean-forman-be-honored-2020-sabr-analytics-conference-lifetime-achievement-award
   471. Mefisto Posted: February 07, 2020 at 01:13 PM (#5922679)
Very cool.
   472. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: February 08, 2020 at 01:37 PM (#5922879)
Leverkusen Dortmund is 2-2 at the half. Dortmund has definitely been the superior team, but both teams are likely outperforming their xG.
That's a bit of a theme for Dortmund on both ends, going back 2 years now, the whole time under Favre. Despite his defensive xG genius overperformance rep before coming to Dortmund, the Dortmund defense has allowed slightly more goals than you would expect by xG both this year or last year. Dortmund's offense, on the other hand, under Favre has been the most overperforming compared to xG in the big 4 by far this year, and over the last two years as well (+30 over 54 games). (2nd best seems to be Barcelona, which is only +19 over 60 games, which is way less per game).

Dortmund does have the offensive firepower to justify it somewhat, but you have to think this torrid overperformance of offensive xG has to slow down at some point. Rarely has a team had a 2-year stretch like this of overperforming xG, in the big 4 going back 6 years. Can had a beautiful curler from way out in the first half that had to be very low xG, but Dortmun also missed some higher xG chances.

Sancho with another assist, so is 1 behind the league leader in goals + assists (despite playing fewer minutes than Werner and Levandowski, who are his only competitors in this combined stat).

Gio Reyna on at the half.

edit: Sancho scores, so it's 2-3 now.

edit2: off the ball Reyna pulls down the Leverkusen defender! Goal ruled off because it was near the ball. Holy ####.

edit3: it was a foul, and it was in the buildup, but did it have any effect on the play? It's arguable that the defender was in the vicinity and would have had a chance to do something, but man is that harsh.

edit4: I guess you could say that had the ref seen the foul live the play would have stopped, no matter where on the field it occurred, so should be no goal. Also you can say that if Reyna was not trying to gain an advantage there was no reason to foul, which is also justifiable. I've just never seen that called before on VAR.
   473. Fancy Pants Handle struck out swinging Posted: February 08, 2020 at 01:49 PM (#5922881)
To me that is the worst kind of VAR decision. Yes, it was a foul. But it was a minor tug, and it was probably also a foul on the Leverkusen player, who came in and shoulder-barged a player off the ball. And it was behind the play, and the defender would have never had a chance to get back into that play anyway.

But I admit I am biased.
   474. Fancy Pants Handle struck out swinging Posted: February 08, 2020 at 01:58 PM (#5922882)
A lot of defensive shortcommings, and misplays on both sides. But there have been some stunningly beautiful goals in this game. I will say that.

Bayer could have gone up, but Havertz only hit the post, after being put through clear on goal. And a minute later, after some wonderful combinations, Dortmund make it 3-2 again.
   475. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: February 08, 2020 at 02:04 PM (#5922884)
ok I like the idea of linesman leaving the flags down if we are going to be stuck with VAR, but when the offside is that blatant, might as well raise it.
   476. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: February 08, 2020 at 02:14 PM (#5922886)
Dortmund left another player wide open in the middle for the pass in for the easy equalizer. We've seen that before over the last few days.

Then right back down the field for a second goal for Leverkusen, this one from a very nice cross-in and finish.
   477. frannyzoo Posted: February 08, 2020 at 02:27 PM (#5922888)
Around Boxing Day the Championship's automatic promotion places seemed locked up. Here only a few weeks later, Leeds lose, again, to Forest, and you wonder if they'll even be in the Playoff in what is a wonderfully bunched field.
   478. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: February 08, 2020 at 02:30 PM (#5922889)
538 had the xG for that game as 1.3-1.0 (in favor of Leverkusen), which seems quite low, especially on he Dortmund side, considering all the chances we saw.
   479. Mefisto Posted: February 08, 2020 at 02:43 PM (#5922890)
Vlatko's squad rotation paid off again last night. The mids and forwards have lots of energy to press (US defenders rarely expend much effort). The midfielders looked especially good, which isn't always true 4 games into a tournament.
   480. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: February 09, 2020 at 01:03 AM (#5922938)
Yes, the Championship field has really tightened up. Not quite so much that you would expect leads to miss the playoffs entirely (less than 6% chance of that, according to the odds), but pretty sure they want to finish in the top 2.

current betting odds of promotion. Brentford and Fulham have really closed the gap. Brentford might be the best team in the Championship, and Fulham might have the most resources. Any of these 4 could be decent In the EPL, though of course you never know. Not so sure about the ones below.

Leeds 69
West Brom 69
Brentford 56
Fulham 40
Forest 20
Preston 10
Brstol 6
Milwall 6
Wednesday 5
Swansea 4
Cardiff 3
Blackburn 3
Derby 2
Birmingham 1
Hull 1
   481. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: February 09, 2020 at 01:29 AM (#5922940)
Brentford hosts Leeds Tuesday. By xG they are the top two teams in the Championship by far (and according to 538's methodology, is the 8th most important game of the next 2 weeks, which by the way includes some CL and EL games).
   482. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: February 09, 2020 at 10:01 AM (#5922968)
City/West Ham is postponed due to Storm Ciara, as is Gladbach's game. They are playing in Milwall, but the ball is blowing all over the place.
   483. Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: February 09, 2020 at 10:09 AM (#5922970)
Sheffield/Bournemouth has been an entertaining game.
   484. Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: February 09, 2020 at 10:25 AM (#5922971)
Great example of why soccer players are forced to dive in the Bournemouth/Sheffield game just now. Bournemouth player beat the Sheffield player and was headed toward the goal line on the outside of the box. He was going to be in a good position to make a potentially dangerous cross. The Sheffield player very clearly reached out and grabbed his shoulder, just briefly, but slowed him down. That allowed the Sheffield player to recover and dispossess him and clear the danger.

Without the pull back it would have been a very different situation. Had the Bournemouth player gone down he would have rightly been accused of going down too easily. But it drives me NUTS that a defender is allowed to get away with such a thing (and I have no rooting interest, if anything I want Sheffield to win this particular game). It was a clearly impactful play and clearly something that should have been a foul but because the player didn’t fall down there is no call. Drives me nuts.
   485. Richard Posted: February 09, 2020 at 10:59 AM (#5922974)
Well, that was a close game, but we hung on. Very important to equalise just before the break.

Credit to Bournemouth who pressed us very well, but we just shaded it. Once again I’m very impressed with Ake.

Billy Sharp our MOTM.
   486. Mefisto Posted: February 09, 2020 at 11:33 AM (#5922984)
Given the general state of English weather, the fact that they would cancel games means it must be a hell of a storm.
   487. Mefisto Posted: February 09, 2020 at 05:19 PM (#5923033)
Vlatko continuing with his rotation policy even in the finals game. Easier to do, of course, when they've already clinched an Olympic berth. Still, kudos to him.
   488. Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: February 09, 2020 at 06:14 PM (#5923041)
They were saying in NBCSN that wind gusts up to 90mph we’re reported at the Etihad.
   489. Baldrick Posted: February 09, 2020 at 07:59 PM (#5923065)
Canada played a really good game and still lost 3-0. Bringing in Vlatko just feels unfair
   490. Mefisto Posted: February 09, 2020 at 10:01 PM (#5923091)
I was impressed by Canada's game plan and their play.
   491. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: February 10, 2020 at 11:56 AM (#5923174)
Dele Alli getting major headlines on non-sports news sites.
   492. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: February 11, 2020 at 03:04 AM (#5923376)
Are the worst teams in the EPL really better than the worst teams of recent years? That's not an easy question to answer, but we can easily compare xGD and xP after 25 games for the EPL the last 6 years. By xGD the bottom 3 this year are worse than ever compared to the rest of the league. Palace, Norwich and Bournemouth (4th - 6th worst) would also be near the bottom in any of these years. However, statistically there is a pretty big gap to the next tier right now, which includes Watford, Brighton, and Burnley. In other words, the xG statistics really say the opposite--the worst teams are worse than ever compared to league average (note this is not solely the result of goal scoring machines like City coming into their own, since it is true of xPoints and not just xGD).

After 25 games, 3 worst teams by npxGD/xPoints (understat) * = ended up relegated.

2014-2015: *Hull (-12/24), Leicester (-12.5/24.5), Villa (-12.5/24.5)
2015-2016: Sunderland (-15/21.5), *Villa (-13.5/23.5), *Newcastle (-14/24.5)
2016-2017: *Hull (-21/18.5), *Sunderland (-22/20), Swansea (-18.5/24)
2017-2018: *Swansea (-18/22), Brighton (-15/25), *Stoke (-15.5/26) - honorable mentions to Burnley (-13.5/23) and Huddersfield (-13.5/23.5)
2018-2019: *Huddersfield (-19.5/20), Newcastle (-17.5/22), *Fulham (-17.5/23.5)
2019-2020: Newcastle (-25.5/17), Villa (-20.5/22), West Ham (-18.5/21)

(9 of those 15 worst performing teams ended up relegated. The only one at the very bottom that survived was Sunderland 2015/16, but hello Newcastle this year. Not only did Leicester not get relegated in 2014/15, they won the league in 2015/16. Burnley went on to get an EL spot that very year 2017/18.)

Newcastle has been historically bad this year, and not just for the EPL (see my earlier post). Villa has been worse than any of the second worst teams, except pretty much even with 2016/17 Sunderland. West Ham has been worse than any of the third worst teams. Palace has been worse than any 4th worst teams. Norwich has been as bad about as the worst 5th worst team (2017/18 Brighton/Stoke/Burnley/Huddersfield were all pretty similar2nd-5th worst). Bournemouth has been pretty much average for a team 6th worst in the EPL, maybe slightly better.

The perception is skewed this year, because while Norwich have not been good, they haven't played like a pure bottom team, and can give sides trouble. Likewise, Watford has been at or near the bottom of the table all year, but they are really not a bad side at all. Most of all of course, Newcastle have been atrocious but have hidden it behind some miraculous results. To a lesser degree this has also been true of Palace.
   493. Slutty Nutkins (CoB). Posted: February 11, 2020 at 05:16 AM (#5923380)
Dele Alli getting major headlines on non-sports news sites.


Sigh ...
   494. Slutty Nutkins (CoB). Posted: February 11, 2020 at 09:28 AM (#5923399)
KLINSMANN OUT!

I just like making that joke ...
   495. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: February 11, 2020 at 10:14 AM (#5923426)
Wild. Always thought he was a fraud anyway.
   496. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: February 11, 2020 at 01:29 PM (#5923582)
Klinsmann: "I took over a suicide mission".

Odds of relegation when Klinsmann took over: 19%. Current odds: 9%. He hasn't done well, but not that badly either. 538 has Hertha's ranking dropping slightly over that time. Also, he took over a team battling relegation but very likely to survive.

The main reason is that three teams favored for relegation haven't made up any ground on Hertha, with Dusseldorf and Bremen being particularly bad during this stretch, and Paderborn starting from too deep a hole.
   497. Mefisto Posted: February 11, 2020 at 03:15 PM (#5923626)
Here's an interesting point about the USWNT in CONCACAF: the midfielders scored 12 goals in 900 minutes. The forwards scored 12 goals in 1367 minutes. IMO the US has the best midfield in the world now; in fact, it's so good that they probably have 4 midfielders who are better than anyone else in the world right now.
   498. Mefisto Posted: February 11, 2020 at 04:27 PM (#5923670)
   499. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: February 11, 2020 at 04:32 PM (#5923671)
The sideline camera angle at Griffin Park is very low, it's quite disconcerting. I thought Brentford was supposed to be in a new stadium this year?
   500. Mefisto Posted: February 11, 2020 at 04:44 PM (#5923675)
Flip.
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