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Tuesday, November 03, 2020

OT - Soccer Thread - Winter Is Here

Not sure why the other thread no longer allows comments but…new thread!

Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: November 03, 2020 at 11:16 AM | 981 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: off topic, soccer

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   901. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: March 06, 2021 at 01:59 PM (#6007835)
Leicester has 50 points, thirst in the league, and is battling for a CL spot. Brighton has 26, tied for fourth worst, and is still battling to be safe from relegation.

Brighton could be the better team. 538 rates Brighton as better than Leicester. Betting odds give Brighton a slight edge today. less than normal home field advantage, but maybe something more or less equal to expected home field advantage for this unusual covid year.

   902. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: March 06, 2021 at 02:23 PM (#6007836)
Well so much for that. Bayern dominated the rest of the game, scoring two before half and two late. HAaland had to come off, so the glory went to Lewa, who got the hat trick.
   903. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: March 06, 2021 at 02:42 PM (#6007837)
Arsenal looked good but couldn't manage to win today. Villa did not look good without Graelish again. Both basically now have no shot for a CL spot. Even EL is looking a bit unlikely unless they turn it around soon.

west Hams is looking very likely for at least an EL spot now. That was not exactly expected coming into the year.
   904. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: March 07, 2021 at 10:57 AM (#6007861)
ok now Liverpool really is in trouble. The good news is a few more losses and they'll also avoid europa.
   905. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: March 07, 2021 at 11:36 AM (#6007863)
Martial is an incredibly frustrating player, but he must be one of the very best in the world at dribbling in tight spaces. He's created quite a few goals this year with that ability, and it bit City here.
   906. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: March 07, 2021 at 11:55 AM (#6007866)
Away teams keep winning. It will now be a challenge for home teams to catch up by the end of the year.

One other note on that. With Bruno's penalty, there have been an equal number of home and away goals in the EPL this season. Home teams are still superior on xGD and xPoints, but it's by a fairly small margin.
   907. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: March 07, 2021 at 12:58 PM (#6007871)
City has a ton of shots, but basically none from inside the box. All the best chances have fallen to United, and 0-2 barely flatters United to this point.

edit: and immediately after I wrote that City blows two big chances in the box. United have been the better team, but at this point it's also execution in the box that has made most of the difference.
   908. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: March 07, 2021 at 03:37 PM (#6007879)
I wasn't so sure about starting Bale for the third time in a week. Guess I was wrong.
   909. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: March 07, 2021 at 04:07 PM (#6007884)
With Spurs' fortune having improved in the league, we are down to just 3 teams that have a better shot to the CL through Europa than in their league. Arsenal of course, but also Villarreal and Granada. (and Molde).

I imagine Spurs would still want to hedge their bets by going for both. The only other team still in an outside position looking in, in their league, is Roma, who still have a much better shot domestically than they do through europe.

In the CL we now have Liverpool and Dortmund looking up at the top 4, though their odds through the league are still much better than their odds of winning the CL.
   910. spivey 2 Posted: March 07, 2021 at 04:57 PM (#6007889)
Tottenham are a good to very good team with Bale, Moura, and Reguilon playing. They are not that when Davies, Bergwijn, and Sissoko are playing those spots.
   911. spivey 2 Posted: March 07, 2021 at 04:59 PM (#6007890)
Real Sociedad won 1-0 today, winning xG 5.60-0.30.

United are a very good counterattacking team, which is a real problem for City. City now have a couple of recent results, this and the West Ham one, where they were outplayed on xG. You can't win or even deserve to win every game, but I would absolutely love to see them play Bayern.
   912. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: March 08, 2021 at 04:33 PM (#6007958)
The CL might actually be moving to a Swiss System. It's past time for a shake-up of the group stage, and it can't be any worse than what we have now.

If it's a true Swiss system, match-ups would mostly be determined on the fly. This makes scheduling harder but the matchups more interesting. How exactly that would be done here depends on the rules they put in place, but generally teams play other teams with a similar record after each round, and teams are not allowed to play each other twice. The first round would probably be seeded.

Personally I'd like to see it happen because I very much enjoy working tournament permutations.
   913. Richard Posted: March 08, 2021 at 05:32 PM (#6007964)
More meaningless games in a competition with too many meaningless games already.
   914. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: March 09, 2021 at 08:36 AM (#6007995)
The proposal they floated does have too many games. Why does each team need to play 10 in the group stage? Sticking to the current 6 would be much more exciting, with more leverage for each game and more risk for top teams to go out.

There is a bigger structural problem that can't be resolved by any proposal though, and it seems this proposal may be making it worse. There are three goals that together are incompatible: 1) allow the best teams to be assured of at least X number of games, 2) be inclusive of teams from lesser leagues across Europe and 3) be not boring. The problem is that the lesser teams can't hang with the better teams over that number of games, so it's not really possible to do it in a way that isn't boring.
   915. KronicFatigue Posted: March 09, 2021 at 08:59 AM (#6007998)
I'm usually pretty bored by the group stage, but I'm okay with that. It's the proper balance of 914's 1 and 2. After the group stage, it's not boring at all, so it's a small price to pay. And if you support a powerhouse, it's still kinda fun to see some younger guys get rotated in in the group stage.

When I first started following soccer, the leagues didn't have a set number of slots and England was in danger of falling behind Italy and losing a slot. THAT was awesome, and needs to return. It game me a rooting interest in games that I would otherwise be agnostic on.
   916. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: March 09, 2021 at 09:01 AM (#6008000)
Sticking to the current 6 would be much more exciting, with more leverage for each game and more risk for top teams to go out.


I think you can see where your plan goes awry.

This is very clearly a way to stop the super league. It's not perfect but if the games are a bit more competitive I think that will be good. The reality is the CL doesn't get serious, generally, until the knockout stages anyway.
   917. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: March 09, 2021 at 11:54 AM (#6008020)
Fair responses. I was mostly lamenting the fact that they could still use the Swiss model with 6 group games instead of 10, and it would be much better. Understood that it's super-league compromise though.
   918. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: March 09, 2021 at 04:17 PM (#6008038)
3/4 of the way into the tie Porto was looking good for the quarterfinals. Juve got one back early in the second half and now Porto have a man sent off and with 35 minutes to go it feels like they are going to be hanging on for awhile.
   919. spivey 2 Posted: March 09, 2021 at 04:44 PM (#6008042)
Man, sending off a player for booting the ball away. That's a rough way to go down a man and very likely out of the competition now. Didn't see it live... I guess my thought is they have so many god damn balls around the field and it was early enough in the game that I don't know that a yellow is mandatory there. But, whatevs.
   920. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: March 09, 2021 at 05:42 PM (#6008045)
Crazy game in the end. Absolutely terrible play by the team up a man, starting with McKennie unnecessarily grabbing the Porto player after being nutmegged, creating a dangerous free kick, continuing with a completely ineffective wall, and ending with Szczesny not being able to cover a ball a yard from the corner.

Juve goes out, beaten by 10-man Porto.
   921. spivey 2 Posted: March 09, 2021 at 05:57 PM (#6008048)
Dortmund are so god damn fragile and are showing it in the league with very inconsistent performances, but when Haaland plays they can beat anyone in a knockout tournament. That man is a ####### machine. 20 goals in 14 CL matches. And those are all for Salzburg and Dortmund, who are nice attacking teams, but it's not like he's playing for City or Bayern or one of these teams that just prints high xG chances for their strikers.
   922. The Marksist Posted: March 09, 2021 at 06:32 PM (#6008049)
A bunch of extremely, hilariously weird and aggro and VAR #### happened in the Dortmund/Savilla game for folks who didn't already see. Haaland trucked somebody and scored an impossible angle shot, which got reviewed and chalked off but then VAR gave a penalty, which was saved and the keeper taunted Haaland but then VAR called it back for a re-take that was scored (barely) so Haaland taunted the keeper and then handbags occurred. It was ridiculous. Truly the dumbest sequence of events.
   923. KronicFatigue Posted: March 09, 2021 at 06:38 PM (#6008050)
I think the big clubs, UEFA, etc are overestimating the long term demand for big clubs facing each other. The reason it's exciting now is partially because it's so rare. If Bayern is playing PSG, it's probably in the knockout round. That feels different than match-day 7 of 10 where both clubs are already qualified and MAYBE the loser MIGHT not get a bye in the first knockout round.

I liken it to wrestling. In the 80's, there were garbage shows on the weekends where big names "squashed" no-names and you'd be excited to learn that Hogan and Andre were in the same building. You'd spend months slowly building to the match-up, and when they finally fought, it meant something. When WWF and WCW started competing head to head, they had to have decent matches all the time. Currently, from what I've read, there's "50/50 booking" where two guys fight each other several times and split the results, b/c neither wants the ding on their resume.

Will Barca vs Man City draw great ratings? Sure, but over time those numbers will slowly decline. And if a big club loses 3 times in those first 10 games, are we really going to be hyped when they play another big team in the knockout round?

   924. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: March 09, 2021 at 08:01 PM (#6008055)
Spivey - I was watching live and as soon as he did it I said to myself “shit he’s off.” He didn’t just nudge it a few years, he launched the thing.

Juve were a shitshow. Basically they had about 10 good minutes around the red and that was it. I happened to watch both legs of this tie and Juve looked like a mess. They are so brutally disorganized out there. They just don’t look like a team that is executing any kind of meaningful plan. A friend is a big Juve fan and he tells me this has been a consistent theme the last year and a half.
   925. Fancy Pants Handle struck out swinging Posted: March 10, 2021 at 03:30 AM (#6008067)
They are so brutally disorganized out there. They just don’t look like a team that is executing any kind of meaningful plan. A friend is a big Juve fan and he tells me this has been a consistent theme the last year and a half.

As a Dortmund fan, I feel like they should sue Juve for trademark infringement.
   926. spivey 2 Posted: March 10, 2021 at 12:42 PM (#6008097)
Juve pretty quickly went from one of the best teams at player acquisition, especially undervalued world class players, to one of the worst.

Starting with the Higuain deal, I think, or around that time.
   927. spivey 2 Posted: March 10, 2021 at 01:57 PM (#6008110)
There was a situation in the City/Southampton match today where there was a loose ball between Foden and the Southampton goalkeeper, and Foden gets there first and touches the ball away, the keeper slides, makes contact with Foden's foot, causing him to slightly trip, but he tries to play through it because the goal is open... anyways, it comes to nothing.

It's really annoying that VAR won't fix *these* things. If you aren't fixing these sorts of things, you are just telling the players to embellish all contact. Which many do anyways, but it would really be good to encourage what Foden is doing, and it's massively discouraged. It always has been, but VAR could conceivably fix a lot of that.
   928. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: March 10, 2021 at 02:13 PM (#6008113)

It's really annoying that VAR won't fix *these* things. If you aren't fixing these sorts of things, you are just telling the players to embellish all contact. Which many do anyways, but it would really be good to encourage what Foden is doing, and it's massively discouraged. It always has been, but VAR could conceivably fix a lot of that


Yup. Players dive because they know they have to. It drives me nuts when commentators (the ex-players are the worst about this) say things like "well he pulls him but not enough to be a foul." Oh bullshit, if a defender prevents a shot by pulling an attacker that's a foul.
   929. jmurph Posted: March 10, 2021 at 02:15 PM (#6008114)
Mahrez is so good this year.
   930. I am going to be Frank Posted: March 10, 2021 at 02:16 PM (#6008115)
Mahrez is unstoppable, unless you're Wan-Bissaka, apparently. Southampton get another goal back though!
   931. jmurph Posted: March 10, 2021 at 02:16 PM (#6008116)
Yeah you guys are right about the Foden play, and the commentator even talked about how he failed to stay down which made it seem like a non-penalty.
   932. jmurph Posted: March 10, 2021 at 02:19 PM (#6008119)
Ridiculous game.
   933. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: March 11, 2021 at 05:20 PM (#6008292)
Spurs now favorites in Europa, with United's unfortunate draw. Still, betting odds give Spurs a slightly better chance in the league than in Europa, but it's very close. They really should be focusing on both competitions at this point. Assuming no correlation (which isn't really correct, due to injuries, form, results in one competition making them sacrifice the other, etc.), their combined odds of CL next year are almost 40%.

All favorites won by 2 goals this week, except United and Rangers. The other 6 ties are more or less over, sadly. The good news is that with all the weakest teams out there should be some really good matchups next round.
   934. spivey 2 Posted: March 12, 2021 at 05:15 PM (#6008472)
Luis Muriel isn't someone who gets talked about a lot here, but he's now had two seasons with Atalanta where he's putting up ~1 xG/90. Granted, both seasons are mostly in super-sub roles, so you have to discount those a bit. But nevertheless, he's one of the most prolific attackers in Europe.
   935. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: March 13, 2021 at 02:33 PM (#6008523)
Chelsea still hasn't lost under Tuchel. They've had the second most points in the league, to City, and beat Atleti. That's not bad. They've held their opponents to basically no offense over that stretch. 4.4 xGA total 10 games (a tad over 5 n 11 games if you include the Atleti game) and only 2 actual goals conceded. They also beat Barnsley 0-1. They've also played a decent schedule over that stretch, so it's no scheduling fluke.

That win by Burnley leaves them very close to safe. I'm not sad about that--they are too good to be going down, at least this year. Now if we can get a few points for Brighton that would be nice.

And Everton just isn't that good a team this year, so I'm not sad they are basically out of the CL race, and also looking unlikely for Europe now.
   936. I am going to be Frank Posted: March 14, 2021 at 01:05 PM (#6008563)
Well you can't get more one-footed than Lamela, but it works.
   937. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: March 14, 2021 at 01:27 PM (#6008564)
538, ELO, and betting odds all have these two teams as fairly close in expected performance coming into the game. The game had not been close though. Spurs are hanging in only due to some luck on defense and a truly inspired finish by Lamela on their sole shot.
   938. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: March 14, 2021 at 02:26 PM (#6008566)
Spurs looked much more dangerous when they were losing, even down to 10 men. Calls into question a bit Mourinho's coaching today.
   939. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: March 14, 2021 at 02:37 PM (#6008567)
Somehow Tottenham played better with ten men.
   940. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: March 14, 2021 at 03:50 PM (#6008569)
West Ham has been very good this year, and especially of late. It's quite surprising how little they have done to this point in the game. They haven't been great on defense, and they've done absolutely nothing on offense.
   941. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: March 14, 2021 at 04:13 PM (#6008571)
EPL season will be exactly 3/4 done after today. Every team has played 28 or 29 games, except City (30) and Villa (27).

Relegation odds:
SheffieldUnited         99
WestBrom                98

Newcastle               49
Fulham                  38

Brighton                 6.5
Burnley                  5.5
Southampton              3.5
Palace                   0.5
   942. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: March 14, 2021 at 04:31 PM (#6008572)
West Ham has no shots to this point. We'll see what they do now that they are down a goal.

Why would West Ham play for a draw today anyway, unless their goal is Europa? A draw would be a significantly negative result for their top 4 hopes. I'm not saying they should have gone nuts, but you can't win with 0 shots and no ambition.

And immediately after Antonio took West Ham's first shot, from distance though.
   943. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: March 14, 2021 at 05:16 PM (#6008577)
Big win for Manchester United, and they very close now to wrapping up top 4. West Ham looked much more their equal once they opened it up a little bit after going behind. I understand being cautious but their strategy clearly wasn't working through 60 minutes and it only seemed to be a matter of time before Manchester United would score. It's one thing for West Ham to play that way when they only needed a draw and were hoping to hold out (though still probably not optimal, at least its defensible), but doing it when a win is all that really mattered made no sense.

In this year when there aren't many great teams out there, Manchester United might be top 5 in the world. ELO and 538 think so. I don't think you can put them outside the top 10.
   944. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: March 14, 2021 at 05:36 PM (#6008579)
Top 4 odds:
ManchesterUnited        93

Chelsea                 73
Leicester               71

Liverpool               22
WestHam                 18
Tottenham               13

Everton                  4.5
Arsenal                  4
AstonVilla               1.5
   945. jmurph Posted: March 15, 2021 at 09:08 AM (#6008630)
Somehow Tottenham played better with ten men.

Not to dismiss this entirely, but to me it was at least as much Arsenal doing a monumentally terrible job up a man. They were just passing balls to Spurs players late, as if they had no idea they were allowed to dribble into the corner, or pass back, nothing.
   946. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: March 17, 2021 at 03:06 AM (#6008902)
Very early pre-draw odds for the next CL round. It's possible to do it now since Bayern is basically through and Chelsea/Atleti are considered to be very equal in quality.
ManchesterCity       28.5
Bayern               22
PSG                  14.5
Liverpool            11
Chelsea/Atleti        9.5
Real Madrid           7.5
Dortmund              5
Porto                 2
   947. spivey 2 Posted: March 18, 2021 at 04:02 PM (#6009119)
I hate that Jose Mourinho manages my favorite soccer club.
   948. I am going to be Frank Posted: March 18, 2021 at 04:27 PM (#6009121)
I can't believe a Mourinho-managed team lost after having a 2-0 lead before the return leg.
   949. Mefisto Posted: March 18, 2021 at 05:07 PM (#6009126)
947: Welcome to the club.
   950. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: March 18, 2021 at 05:43 PM (#6009129)
Lots of excitement around Chelsea right now, and Liverpool is still in the shitter. But Liverpool still has the slight edge in betting odds.

Updated odds going into the draw:
ManchesterCity       28
Bayern               22
PSG                  14.5
Liverpool            11.5
Chelsea/Atleti       10.5
Real Madrid           7
Dortmund              4.5
Porto                 2
   951. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: March 18, 2021 at 06:24 PM (#6009132)
Europa betting odds, pre-draw:
ManchesterUnited    33
Arsenal             21
Ajax                15
Villarreal          11.5
Roma                11
Granada              4
Slavia               3
Zagreb               1.5

That loss by Spurs was hard to fathom, especially as Europa was their best chance for a CL spot next year.


   952. MY PAIN IS NOT A HOLIDAY (CoB). Posted: March 18, 2021 at 08:03 PM (#6009142)
I hate that Jose Mourinho manages my favorite soccer club.


I hate that the fact that Jose Mourinho manages my favorite soccer club has lead me to root for their failure to see him gone.

Ick.
   953. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: March 19, 2021 at 09:47 AM (#6009188)
CL betting odds. Percent to winy by most to least competitive

Liverpool  (Real Madrid)        52
Bayern     (PSG)                61
Chelsea    (Porto)              71
ManCity    (Dortmund)           80


Likely semis are City v Bayern/PSG, and Chelsea v Liverpool/RealMadrid. 3 of the most favored teams are on the same side of the bracket, which leaves one of Liverpool or Chelsea with an excellent shot at being in the final. If PSG wins it this year, they will likely have to have gone through all the best teams in the tournament to get there, including by getting out of the hardest group. (ManUnited/Barcelona/Bayern/City/final). I wouldn't bet on it, but you never know.

EL betting odds
Ajax       (Roma)               52
Villarreal (Zagreb)             73
Arsenal    (Slavia)             79
ManUnited  (Granada)            82


Likely semis are ManUnited v Ajax/Roma, and Arsenal v Villarreal.

No teams from the same countries facing each other in either competition! This was a somewhat unlikely result but makes me happy. Unless Chelsea and Liverpool both win, or Bayern and Dortmund both win (combined, around 40% chance), you also won't see any teams from the same country facing each other in the semis either.
   954. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: March 19, 2021 at 09:56 AM (#6009190)
City are rightly big favorites but Dortmund should scare them. Haaland is so good that I can see a situation where he steals a couple of goals and City get kept out despite big possession and chances.
   955. jmurph Posted: March 19, 2021 at 10:29 AM (#6009199)
City are rightly big favorites but Dortmund should scare them. Haaland is so good that I can see a situation where he steals a couple of goals and City get kept out despite big possession and chances.

I certainly wasn't excited when I saw the matchup!
   956. spivey 2 Posted: March 19, 2021 at 10:48 AM (#6009204)
Haaland is a machine, but Dortmund are the 2nd worst team left. Their midfield and defense is soft. City should be able to control the match.
   957. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: March 19, 2021 at 09:40 PM (#6009297)
Haaland is a machine, but Dortmund are the 2nd worst team left. Their midfield and defense is soft. City should be able to control the match.


100% agreed. But Haaland gives them the Orel Hershiser against the ‘88 A’s. Dortmund won’t get many chances (or shouldn’t at least) but Haaland finishes a couple, Dortmund get a strong performance from their keeper and there you go. I wouldn’t bet on it, City should win, and win easily, but I can see a path for them.
   958. Fancy Pants Handle struck out swinging Posted: March 20, 2021 at 07:39 AM (#6009320)
City are rightly big favorites but Dortmund should scare them. Haaland is so good that I can see a situation where he steals a couple of goals and City get kept out despite big possession and chances.

Dortmund can beat any team in the world on their day. On their off days though, they can lose to just about any team in the world too.
   959. I am going to be Frank Posted: March 20, 2021 at 11:16 AM (#6009326)
Bayern are down to 10 men. They are also up 4-0 with all four goals coming after the red card.
   960. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: March 20, 2021 at 12:30 PM (#6009331)
With today's results, Dortmund is now officially at serious risk of not making the CL next year. 6 of the remaining 8 CL teams are top 10 in the world. Dortmund isn't one of them.
   961. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: March 20, 2021 at 12:39 PM (#6009332)
In the Championship, Norwich is all but certain now to be back in the EPL, and Watford is very, very likely. That means Brentford will have to try to win the playoff yet again. Most likely with Barnsley and Swansea. Last spot is up for grbs, with Bournemouth still hanging around, along with Reading and some other teams.
   962. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: March 20, 2021 at 02:35 PM (#6009342)
I will very happily accept 0-0 at halftime without many frightening moments in that first half. Anything to shorten the game against City is good.
   963. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: March 20, 2021 at 03:25 PM (#6009344)
Well yeah, that was to be expected. Gave it a whirl but never really threatened.
   964. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: March 20, 2021 at 06:17 PM (#6009361)
Normally I'd be up for a relegation 6-pointer this late in the year. But going into this game it never felt like that. Newcastle is much worse than their record and Brighton much better, and even with a loss today, which was probably never in the cards, Brighton would still have been significant favorites over Newcastle to stay up. The only real intrigue today was to see if Newcastle would pull ahead of Fulham in the relegation race. They did not.

Current relegation odds: Newcastle 54%, Fulham 41% (and Burnley 3%, Brighton 2%, Southampton 2%).
   965. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: March 20, 2021 at 07:59 PM (#6009377)
I tuned in very briefly and saw the 3rd goal for Brighton. Good volley from Maupay. If he did that kind of thing with consistency Brighton wouldn't even be in trouble.
   966. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: March 21, 2021 at 01:53 AM (#6009413)
City is still only just over 10% to win the quadruple. That reflects the difficulty of winning 3 competitive cup competitions.
   967. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: March 21, 2021 at 12:25 PM (#6009444)
In the game against Arsenal, it's an hour in and West Ham have already knocked in five. Two for Arsenal though, so there is that.

Seriously, the game has been quite fun, with Arsenal generally looking not unlikely to get another one before the game's over.
   968. jmurph Posted: March 22, 2021 at 09:05 AM (#6009543)
I can't believe the 2nd West Ham goal was allowed to stand. For anyone who didn't see it, the ref gave a foul just outside the box (on a questionable call, too, but nevertheless), then takes out his spray can to go and mark the spot, a pretty effing clear signal to all involved that this is going to be an "on my whistle" kind of free kick. At which point the West Ham player does a quick pass to his teammate who knocks it in.
   969. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: March 27, 2021 at 04:42 PM (#6010431)
Malta is up 0-2 on the road at Slovakia. They haven't beaten a team any team except a fellow minnow in a competitive game since Hungary in 2006. I don't think they've beaten anyone of note on the road in their entire history.
   970. jmurph Posted: March 29, 2021 at 09:13 AM (#6010530)
Man it would sure be a bummer for the development of America's young, talented men's soccer players to allow them to play together in the Olympics and maybe actually win some competitive games. But I get that the big friendly against our historic rival Northern Ireland was more important than qualifying.

We're going to somehow squander all of this, right?
   971. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: March 29, 2021 at 09:37 AM (#6010532)
That was a ####### travesty yesterday. Ochoa absolutely ###### that play up but beyond that we weren't good enough. I know Kreis is well regarded but, and take this with a huge grain of salt, I didn't see a team either organized or determined yesterday. We had nine (I think) corners and never really seemed to be attacking any of them with determination. Nine corners and we had one free header that was badly missed but other than that breakdown by Honduras we couldn't win an important ball.

When is the last time a USMNT or variant beat a quality opponent when it mattered? Honduras early in 2018 qualifying? U-20s beating France at the Youth World Cup? Just far too many failures happening right now throughout and I think there is enough talent here. We could/should have beaten Honduras yesterday.
   972. KronicFatigue Posted: March 29, 2021 at 11:09 AM (#6010547)
   973. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: March 30, 2021 at 08:07 PM (#6010791)
All this talk about players being overused, but the coaches still can't resist putting in their best players against the likes of Andorra, one of the very weakest national soccer teams on the planet (and in Europe, probably second worst to San Marino who admittedly are on another level).

So Lewa's out for the absolutely critical matchup against England, and don't forget the tight(ish) Bundesliga title race, and the little thing called the CL.

I actually very much enjoy national team soccer, but I don't need the stars playing every game, especially if they are overworked, and even more especially against true minnows. Yeah getting injured is bad luck, but why not save Lewa for games that matter? even if he didn't get hurt he would still have gotten tired out. And it probably has almost no effect on team cohesion, as playing Andorra is approximately nothing like playing England.
   974. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: March 30, 2021 at 09:02 PM (#6010795)
Does a guy like Lewandowski get off on padding the goal stats againstAndorra? Would he be someone who wants the freebie? I’m just spitballing because I agree with you.

The other thought is if you are Poland do you play Lewandowski and try to pile up the goal differential total? Poland may be thinking that while it would be great to top England the winning play is to stay ahead of Albania and Hungary and go for it in the playoff.

But like I said I’m with you. It’s freaking Andorra. Give him a rest and let him go out full strength against England.
   975. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: March 31, 2021 at 01:12 AM (#6010812)
I wish FIFA would use head-to-head as the first tiebreaker in unbalanced groups like the UEFA qualifiers, but they still don't. This is particularly silly in the current Concacaf stage, where you have at most two teams of any "quality" whatsoever (stretching the term there) and a bunch of true minnows. With no home and away though, I guess it's a little unfair to base the results of the group on the head-to-head, which would favor the home team (or the road team, if you say that a draw gives the head-to-head to the road team), so maybe overall GD isn't so bad in this particular case. Still, Canada beating the Caymans 11-0 to try to get a leg up on GD so when they face Suriname in June all they need is a draw, is not particularly compelling.

(Fun fact, after the seeded teams in this Concacaf round, which are: Canada, Haiti, Panama, El Salvador, Curacao, and T&T; and the teams that got to skip this round, which are: Mexico, USA, Costa Rica, Honduras, and Jamaica; the next 3 best teams by ELO are Guatemala, Suriname, and Bermuda. Canada is in a group with Suriname and Bermuda, so that's close to the hardest draw they could have gotten, though admittedly Guatemala was the team to not draw in this round, by a big margin. That's still no reason for Canada to not beat Suriname by several goals of course. If Canada gets through this round, they will likely have to face Haiti, by ELO currently the second best team in this round. so Canada didn't exactly catch any breaks).

Anyway, both thoughts in 974 are possible reasons. Looking at UEFA 2018 WCQs, Lewandowski led the tourney with 16 goals, so probably he likes to get his. Three of the groups that year had GD tiebreakers at the top, and in 2 of those 3 the difference was all due to how much they beat up on the weakest 2 or 3 teams in the group. Sweden made the tie breakers over the Netherlands, a likely much superior team, on GD despite losing the head-to-head. Of course Sweden went on to win the tiebreaker and play very well in the World Cup, so in the end we didn't miss out on the Netherlands, who are unlikely to have done any better that year. Switzerland and Portugal were level on points and level on head-to-head, so it would have made no difference, and both teams went to the World Cup anyway, both performing ok but not really with excellence. The last one was Scotland losing out to Slovakia for 2nd place, with most of the GD being lost head-to-head. Neither team had enough points to make the tie breaker, so it was moot anyway.

In 2014 only 1 of 9 groups had a crucial GD tie-breaker (Bosnia/Herzegovina over Greece), but the GD again was down to performance against the weakest teams. Bosnia also beat Greece head-to-head, so it would have made no difference which tiebreaker was used. Greece won in the playoffs anyway so both teams made the WC. Neither team really shined at the WC, but Greece had just enough to advance out of a weak group, while Bosnia/Herzegovina just missed in a stronger one.

Poland will likely be chasing England, but with a few breaks you never know, GD could be the difference. By ELO they are also being chased by one of the top 3rd-ranked teams in the qualifiers, in Hungary (others being Norway and the Czech Republic), a team not that far behind them in ELO, so GD could matter for clearing 2nd as well. This became even more true after they only drew Hungary, so maybe that was on the coach's mind going into the game against Andorra.
   976. Richard Posted: March 31, 2021 at 08:35 AM (#6010819)
Two other reasons the stars play against the minnows aside from goal difference:

1. No manager wants to get second guessed if they play a weaker side and something goes wrong.

2. The fan backlash for not doing it. For example,Ryan Giggs was disliked by Wales fans as he was always withdrawing from the squad due to injury and miraculously recovering for the next League game.
   977. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: March 31, 2021 at 02:40 PM (#6010872)
Huge upset by Armenia over Romania, in a game both teams came from behind in to take the lead (extremely rare in soccer, as it require at minimum a 3-2 score and teams scoring in the correct order).

Best part of this one was that Armenia took the surprise lead early but were predictably down in the 72nd minute. Then a late red by a Romanian player and Armenia got two very late goals to win.

Armenia might actually be favored to finish 2nd in the group now. ELO has them not so different from Romania, Iceland, and North Macedonia, and they have the edge in group results. Making it through the 2 rounds of UEFA playoffs is probably way too much to hope for though.
   978. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: March 31, 2021 at 04:49 PM (#6010886)
In the background of the ESPN2 broadcast you could hear another team broadcasting the game from nearby, through a wall maybe. That's what you get with no crowd. Also means that the announcers were at the actual game.

Germany upset at home by North Macedonia! Their group is pretty bad though, and especially with Romania losing to Armenia they are stull heavy favorites to finish first. Greece could only manage a draw against Georgia, at home, which likely leaves Sweden in very good shape. Northern Ireland and Bulgaira drew, which means there won't be any competition for second place in that group. Switzerland and Italy will fight it out for 1st/2nd. Ukraine could only manage another home draw, this time against lowly Kazakhstan. We could see Finland in the playoffs for a change if this continues. Or B&H. Ukraine can't afford any more slip-ups. Denmark had the massive win away to Austria, and have done a lot of the hard work already towards clinching a world cup spot. Along with Italy, England, and Armenia, they are the only teams to have won 3 games so far (Sweden and Switzerland have also won the only 2 games they have played). Also opens the door a bit for Scotland to nab 2nd place.
   979. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 01, 2021 at 04:43 PM (#6011091)
7th in the EPL is very likely to go to the so coveted Uefa Europa Conference competition next year. That probably means one of West Ham, Tottenham, or Liverpool.

Liverpool v San Marino's La Fiorita Montegiardino? Should be exciting.

(Tottenham would have been in the Europa Conference tourney this year had it started a year earlier.)
   980. The Marksist Posted: April 02, 2021 at 11:12 AM (#6011225)
Gonna submit a new thread since we're almost at the end of page 10 here. Meant to do it back when the calendar flipped to spring...
   981. The Marksist Posted: April 02, 2021 at 02:58 PM (#6011269)
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