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Thursday, August 01, 2019

OT Soccer Thread - A New Season is Upon Baldrick

Everyone enjoy the break that was about 25 minutes long?  Anyway;

August 2 - Championship begins (Luton-Middlesbrough), Eridivise begins (Zwolle-Willem II)
August 3 - Scottish Premiership, League One, League Two begin
August 4 - Community Shield (Manchester City-Liverpool)
August 6 - Carabao Cup (Portsmouth-Birmingham City), Third round qualifying Champions League first legs
August 9 - EPL begins (Liverpool-Norwich City), Ligue Une begins (Monaco-Lyon)
August 16 - Bundesliga begins (Bayern-Hertha), La Liga begins (Athletic Bilbao-Barcelona)
August 29 - Champions League group stage draw
September 5 - All manner of World Cup and Euro qualifying international break begins

BTF FANTASY SOCCER COME ONE COME ALL (the link for the post now takes you to the signup page).

League name:  BTF Soccer

Code: my8hl1

Jose Goes to Absurd Lengths for 50K Posted: August 01, 2019 at 06:46 PM | 911 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: off topic, soccer

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   301. Jose Goes to Absurd Lengths for 50K Posted: August 08, 2019 at 09:43 PM (#5869721)
   302. Richard Posted: August 08, 2019 at 10:16 PM (#5869726)
Lower to Mid level PL starter is where I see CCV's ceiling.

So ... damn near a star for the USMNT?

I saw him play a lot in 2017-8 when he was on loan at Sheffield United. He did pretty well, but at that time he didn't look EPL quality. Made a few too many unforced errors and his positional awareness wasn't that good. Haven't heard anything to suggest he's greatly improved since then. Don't see him as an EPL player.
   303. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: August 09, 2019 at 08:48 AM (#5869767)
Here’s Mauricio Pochettino on Tottenham’s transfer business:

I am very happy, like I told you before I was happy with my squad and now to add some more players. You are always thinking that players can bring good energy and help us achieve all that we want. We will see what happens, but I am so happy with the way the squad. I was happy before, I am happy plus. I am a happy man.

Doesn't sound like a man looking for the exit door as many pundits in England have suggested.

I was surprised by how well the David Luiz transfer was received. Everything I read and heard yesterday was that was the best signing of deadline day and maybe the window. I find that kind of baffling but I might have to reassess what I think of Luiz. It's very possible I don't rate him highly enough.

   304. The Marksist Posted: August 09, 2019 at 09:20 AM (#5869775)
OK, I'll go first. As usual, I know nothing. 2019 Premier League Predictions:

1. City (obv.) - 92-95 points
2. 'Pool (second best team, positive varaiance probably dries up) - 84-90
3. Spurs (won the window, now have a midfield) - 80-85
4. Chelsea (squad is still good, no idea if they have a manager) - 72-78
5. Arsenal (reverse mullet! party up front!) - 65-72
6. Wolves (suspicious business practices pay off) - 60-65
7. United (behind the scenes drama!) - 56-62
8. Leicester (will win some shootouts) - 53-59
9. Everton (no Gana, will leak goals) - 49-55
10. Watford (maybe?) - 48-53
11. West Ham (I guess) - 47-53
12. Southampton (press high, hope for goals) - 45-50
13. Palace (???) - 43-59
14. Bournmouth (????) - 41-46
15. Burnley (#### Sean Dyche) - 38-42
16. Brighton (new manager, higher variance?) - 36-46
17. Sheffield (wacky tactics are fun!) - 34-44
18. Norwich (not quite) - 30-38
19. Newcastle (big downgrade at the helm = sunk) - 24-33
20. Villa (???) - 26-33
   305. the Centaur Nipple Paradox (CoB). Posted: August 09, 2019 at 10:27 AM (#5869796)
Will wait to see who Spurs lose in the next month before making a prediction.
   306. Jose Goes to Absurd Lengths for 50K Posted: August 09, 2019 at 10:48 AM (#5869804)
Ok I’ll get some wrong;

Liverpool #### it go big or go home
Man City I don’t know, just a hunch
Tottenham this feels right
Man United everyone is bearish on them so let’s see what happens

Arsenal I like them a lot this year. This feels too low but it feels right.
Leicester the loss of Maguire is a big one
Chelsea please don’t #### up Pulisic
Everton come on Toffees!
Bournemouth I like watching them play
Wolves Just feel like some regression is happening here
Southampton we are into the shrug emoji part of the predictions
Crystal Palace
Sheffield United I always feel like teams that are more aggressive do better on promotion
West Ham more shrug emoji
Aston Villa they are a premier league club even if they aren’t. I think they’ll find a way

Newcastle no Rafa mo problems
Norwich they scored but gave up a lot too. That scares me

   307. spivey Posted: August 09, 2019 at 10:49 AM (#5869805)
Part of me agrees with 305, but that's a good part of the season. My expectation is that we are keeping at least 2 of Rose/Toby/Eriksen, and a solid chance at all 3. If Eriksen leaves, it's likely to Atletico.

Here are my predictions.

1. City
2. Tottenham
3. Liverpool - due for an injury to front 3
4. Arsenal
5. Leicester
6. Chelsea
7. Man U
8. Everton
9. Wolves
10. West Ham
11. Bournemouth
12. Watford
13. Palace
14. Burnley
15. Southampton
16. Norwich
17. Newcastle
18. Aston Villa
19. Brighton
20. Sheffield
   308. I am going to be Frank Posted: August 09, 2019 at 11:19 AM (#5869816)
Luiz is better than what Arsenal have out there. Competent defenders (even if they are reckless) is a low bar for them.

1. City
2. Liverpool: Hangover effect is worrisome.
3. Tottenham
4. Man U: A little irrational, biased pick but there is some good high-end talent. However, if Matic plays 30+ league games they fall to seventh below Everton (I really hate him as a player now).
5. Chelsea: I think Lampard is such a respected figure that he'll get less behind the scenes BS initially so I they'll start off strong but fade at the end as issues bubble up.
6. Arsenal: Even with Luiz the defense is still terrible and I don't like their depth.
7. Everton: Kean is very hyped but can't get them into top 6.
8. Wolves
9. West Ham: the least West Ham offseason in quite some time.
10. Watford
11. Leicester: They've been able to replace their departed stars, but eventually it catches up to teams (like Southampton) and Vardy is getting old.
12. Bournemouth
13. Newcastle: The Bruce factor is strong but he takes at least two seasons for his stank to permeate the whole squad.
14. Aston Villa:
15. Burnley
16. Palace: Pissing off your best player who wants to leave is not good for team spirit.
17. Norwich
18. Southampton
19. Brighton
20. Sheffield
   309. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: August 09, 2019 at 11:55 AM (#5869826)
1. Tottenham (they are mighty!)
2. Man City (I look forward to another year of Pep complaining about complaints about spending and standing up for human rights everywhere except the countries that pay him) (also, they are awesome and will probably win the league)
3. Liverpool
4. Arsenal (this was a tough one but they were very close last season and should be better)
5. Leicester (Rodgers, for as much as I like to make fun of him, knows what he's doing and Leicester have a lot of talent and are well balanced)
6. Man U (they are a mess but still a lot of talent up front)
7. Chelsea (too much uncertainty for me to be more bullish on them. they seem like the highest variance team in the division this season)
8. Wolves (good last year, no reason for them not to be good again)
9. Everton (I think the loss of Gueye is going to hold them back)
10. Soton (don't sleep on Tottenham's next manager)
11. West Ham (great up top, thin at the back)
12. Watford (they're fine)
13. Brighton (a vote of confidence for Graham Potter)
14. Bournemouth
15. Aston Villa
16. Burnley (I hope they go down, though)
17. Norwich
18. Newcastle
19. Sheffield United
20. Palace
   310. jmurph Posted: August 09, 2019 at 12:19 PM (#5869836)
It's been 10 years since a team won three straight Premier Leagues, so I'm tempted to pick Liverpool or Spurs, but I'll go with City anyway.

1. City
2. Liverpool
3. Tottenham
4. Arsenal
5. Chelsea
6. Everton
7. Leicester
8. Man U
9. Wolves
10. West Ham
11. Watford
12. Bournemouth
13. Palace
14. Southampton
15. Aston Villa
16. Burnley
17. Brighton
18. Newcastle
19. Sheffield
20. Norwich
   311. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: August 09, 2019 at 12:24 PM (#5869840)
It just hit me VAR will be in use today. Blech.
   312. J. Sosa Posted: August 09, 2019 at 01:27 PM (#5869866)
Hey! Hating VAR and mocking Pep is my corner. You can be VP of the VAR haterz though.
   313. J. Sosa Posted: August 09, 2019 at 01:31 PM (#5869868)
Oh, and it occurred to me yesterday listening to Rebecca Lowe that I had forgotten about Angelino when poking fun at Pep’s fullback fetish. Bringing him back makes six. A new pairing a year on average. Poor Pep.
   314. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: August 09, 2019 at 01:50 PM (#5869880)
   315. J. Sosa Posted: August 09, 2019 at 01:58 PM (#5869887)
It has been a strange few months for Arsenal with security. The Baku situation was depressing.
   316. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: August 09, 2019 at 02:03 PM (#5869890)
I can see that the players may be traumatized by what happened, but the article makes it seem as if they're being targeted. What the hell?
   317. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: August 09, 2019 at 02:07 PM (#5869891)

Liverpool: Allison; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Fabinho, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Origi

Subs: Adrian, Milner, Matip, Keita, Mané, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Shaqiri

Norwich: Krul; Aarons, Hanley, Godfrey, Lewis; McLean, Trybull, Buendia, Stiepermann, Cantwell; Pukki

Subs: Fahrmann, Byram, Roberts, Vranjcic, Leitner, Hernandez, Drmic

Referee: M Oliver
   318. J. Sosa Posted: August 09, 2019 at 02:08 PM (#5869892)
Yes, I was going to speculate but thought better of it. It does make it sound like they were targeted and it remains ongoing.
   319. jmurph Posted: August 09, 2019 at 02:11 PM (#5869893)
If I'm reading Transfermarkt correctly, newly promoted Norwich spent 4.75 million American dollars on new players. Gotta love the ambition.
   320. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: August 09, 2019 at 02:11 PM (#5869894)
That article invites speculation. To be fair, Arsenal's release that the Guardian is reporting is doing the inviting. Very strange and ominous sounding.
   321. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: August 09, 2019 at 02:13 PM (#5869895)
Spurs have signed Lucas Moura to a new 5 year deal.
   322. Sean Forman Posted: August 09, 2019 at 02:19 PM (#5869898)
1. City
2. Spurs
3. Liverpool
4. Leicester
5. Chelsea
6. Wolves
7. Arsenal
8. Everton
9. United
10. West Ham
11. Watford
12 Bournemouth
13. Brighton
14. Southampton
15. Newcastle
16. Aston Villa
17. Burnley
18. Crystal palace
19. Norwich
20. Sheffield Utd
   323. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: August 09, 2019 at 02:42 PM (#5869907)
Premier League
1. Liverpool (YEAH, I SAID IT, FIGHT ME!)
2. Man City

3. Tottenham

4. Arsenal
5. Wolves
6. Chelsea
7. Everton
8. Man United
9. Leicester

10. Watford
11. West Ham
12. Crystal Palace
13. Brighton
14. Southampton

15. Aston Villa
16. Sheffield United
17. Burnley
18. Bournemouth

19. Norwich
20. Newcastle

FA Cup
Liverpool over Leicester

League Cup
Liverpool over Watford

Super Cup
Liverpool over Chelsea

Club World Cup
Liverpool over the Libertadores winner

Champions League
Liverpool over Bayern

Europa League
Wolves over Wolfsburg
   324. jmurph Posted: August 09, 2019 at 02:45 PM (#5869908)
Europa League
Wolves over Wolfsburg

Todos los lobos!
   325. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: August 09, 2019 at 02:47 PM (#5869910)
Going with the ol' sextuple, eh?
   326. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: August 09, 2019 at 02:49 PM (#5869911)
Europa League
Wolves over Wolfsburg

Todos los lobos!

My favourite sporting thing to ever happen, was when VFL Wolfsburg was managed by Wolfgang Wolf.
   327. jmurph Posted: August 09, 2019 at 02:51 PM (#5869912)
My favourite sporting thing to ever happen, was when VFL Wolfsburg was managed by Wolfgang Wolf.

That's outstanding.
   328. The Marksist Posted: August 09, 2019 at 02:55 PM (#5869913)
I'm thinking about getting super anxious about this Liverpool match but haven't committed yet.
   329. jmurph Posted: August 09, 2019 at 02:56 PM (#5869914)
I'm thinking about getting super anxious about this Liverpool match but haven't committed yet.

See post 319.
   330. The Marksist Posted: August 09, 2019 at 03:00 PM (#5869916)
Oh, I know, but it ain't exactly rational.
   331. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: August 09, 2019 at 03:00 PM (#5869917)
I created my fantasy team and got it in JUST under the wire.
   332. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: August 09, 2019 at 03:02 PM (#5869919)
Going with the ol' sextuple, eh?

I'd be going full septuple if they'd managed to win the PK shootout in the community shield.

Todos los lobos!

The Austria Wolfsburg is also in the Europa League group stage, I considered making the final Wolfsburg v Wolfsburg.
   333. Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: August 09, 2019 at 03:09 PM (#5869922)
Well, that wasn't exactly the start Norwich wanted.
   334. Sean Forman Posted: August 09, 2019 at 03:26 PM (#5869924)
I'm going to move Norwich up about 6 spots after this display.
   335. ckash Posted: August 09, 2019 at 03:30 PM (#5869926)
Champions League favorites

1. Manchester City - I would take a healthy DeBruyne in exchange for a broken Sané. But if anyone else gets long-term injures they could be in trouble.
2. Tottenham - If they catch all the breaks they could finish first.
3. Liverpool - Expecting a UCL hangover but should easily finish top 4.
4. Chelsea - He’s known as Super Frank for a reason.

Europa favorites/UCL contenders

5. Leicester - Is there such a thing as fire wagon soccer? Expecting them to be involved in a lot of 3-2 scores.
6. Manchester United - When in doubt go with the team with the best keeper. It’s de Gea or bust.
7. Everton - see Leicester.

Europa contenders

8. Arsenal - Luiz is not the answer for a bad defense.
9. Wolves - Would not be shocked to see them finish 4th with a few good breaks.
10. Watford - if they had a better keeper than Foster I’d move them ahead of Arsenal.

Solid mid-table

11. Bournemouth - Another team that could make noise if they could improve in net.
12. Burnley - Dyche wills them this high.
13. West Ham - Would not be shocked if they end up in a relegation battle or in Europe. Biggest wild card in the league.
14. Crystal Palace - They better hope an angry Zaha is a productive Zaha.

Should stay up

15. Southampton - I think they’ll give teams fits and will pull off some upsets.
16. Newcastle - They’ve actually spent money! They’ll make it close but ultimately safe.

Relegation Alley

17. Sheffield United - Rooting for the overlapping CBs to stay up just because it’s a different style.
18. Aston Villa - Will be on the wrong end of too many 1-0 scores.
19. Brighton & Hove Albion - Nice stadium. Keeping Dunk gives them a puncher’s chance.
20. Norwich - Cannot conceive of any way they can stay up. Relegated by St Patrick’s Day.

   336. Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: August 09, 2019 at 03:31 PM (#5869927)
Tough to know what to make of Norwich. They look good when they're in attack, but is the defense good enough that it can withstand the inevitable counters?

At least they aren't dull.
   337. It's regretful that PASTE was able to get out Posted: August 09, 2019 at 03:35 PM (#5869928)
1. Manchester City
2. Liverpool
3. Arsenal
4. Tottenham
5. Chelsea
6. Manchester United
7. Leicester
8. Bournemouth
9. Wolves
10. Southampton
11. Everton
12. West Ham
13. Watford
14. Burnley
15. Sheffield United
16. Brighton
17. Crystal Palace
18. Newcastle
19. Aston Villa
20. Norwich

One English team (Liverpool) makes the Champions League semifinals, none reach the Final (Barcelona-Bayern).

IMPORTANT NOTE: I actually know absolutely nothing about soccer.
   338. J. Sosa Posted: August 09, 2019 at 03:40 PM (#5869929)
   339. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: August 09, 2019 at 03:41 PM (#5869930)
At least he is walking under his own power. At 3-0, you put the backup in, no matter what, just to be safe. So here's hoping it isn't too grim.
   340. Jose Goes to Absurd Lengths for 50K Posted: August 09, 2019 at 03:43 PM (#5869931)
It’s kind of amazing that a half in which they lead 4-0 actually might be a negative in their championship prospects. That injury to Allison didn’t look good. Not nasty just that it looked like a hamstring which would be awhile. As Martino said those non contact injuries are often the worst ones.
   341. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: August 09, 2019 at 03:53 PM (#5869933)
Yeah, non contact injuries usually mean a tear of some kind. It means something that was on the verge of giving out, took the final straw that pushed it over the top. It pretty much rules out bruises and sprains, which are the typical "friendly" type of injuries.
   342. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: August 09, 2019 at 04:00 PM (#5869936)
Uff, 4 shots on goal for Liverpool in the first half, and it's 4:0 (of course the first goal came of not a shot on goal). Liverpool have been better, but Norwich don't deserve this.
   343. It's regretful that PASTE was able to get out Posted: August 09, 2019 at 04:06 PM (#5869943)
We might all need to redo our predictions if it turns out Alisson tore his hammy and is out till Christmas.
   344. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: August 09, 2019 at 04:07 PM (#5869944)
I can't make better predictions than the betting odds, so I'll just give you those (aggregated estimate, might be off by a point in any direction).

(538 in parens--very low on Spurs/ManU/Arsenal, and fairly high on a number of bottom-half teams: Palace/Bournemouth/Newcastle/Burnley/Sheffield).

City 91.5 (89)

Liverpool 85 (84)

Tottenham 73.5 (67)

Arsenal 69 (60)
Man U 67.5 (60)
Chelsea 66.5 (69)

Everton 55 (56)
Leicester 53.5 (52)
Wolves 51 (50)

West Ham 48 (46)

Watford 45 (44)
Southampton 44 (44)
Palace 43.5 (48)
Bournemouth 43 (47)

Villa 41.5 (39)
Newcastle 41 (45)
Burnley 39.5 (43)

Brighton 37.5 (37)
Norwich 35.5 (37)
Sheffield 33 (36)
   345. Jose Goes to Absurd Lengths for 50K Posted: August 09, 2019 at 04:09 PM (#5869945)
It seems silly to say in a 4-0 game but I think Norwich have looked ok.

Better than the VAR system certainly. Jesus how long is the delay going to be?
   346. I am going to be Frank Posted: August 09, 2019 at 04:19 PM (#5869950)
Norwich really can't play out of the back against the press.
   347. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: August 09, 2019 at 04:29 PM (#5869959)
One minor note on the betting odds v 538. The number of draws has been going down in recent years, along with the table becoming more polarized (which makes sense). Last year had the lowest number of draws per game in EPL history (18.7% draws), and this year's betting points totals reflect a similar expectation, though not quite as extreme (19.2% draws). 538 expects a more moderate number (22.9% draws).
   348. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: August 09, 2019 at 04:37 PM (#5869963)
We might all need to redo our predictions if it turns out Alisson tore his hammy and is out till Christmas.

Liverpool will only be doing the Cup Triple :(
   349. spivey Posted: August 09, 2019 at 04:43 PM (#5869965)
One thing I was thinking about mostly with my predictions is what the teams look like today. Now that there isn't any cup-tying, I'm interesting to see what the January window looks like across all of Europe. I could see a lot more players moving.
   350. J. Sosa Posted: August 09, 2019 at 04:51 PM (#5869968)
Norwich reminds me of Blackpool. They will be entertaining but concede too many to stay up.
   351. the Centaur Nipple Paradox (CoB). Posted: August 09, 2019 at 05:35 PM (#5869980)
Not going to move until after the continental windows close ...
   352. Mefisto Posted: August 09, 2019 at 07:09 PM (#5870000)
I suck at predictions, and I'm reluctant to make any while the European transfer window is still open, so for now I'll just say that I think City will win it, Spurs will be even with Liverpool, and the 4th spot will be a crapshoot between perhaps as many as 6 teams (Chelsea, Arsenal, United, Wolves, Leicester, and Everton).
   353. Pirate Joe Posted: August 09, 2019 at 07:58 PM (#5870014)
1. Man City
2. Liverpool
3. Tottenham
4. Arsenal
5. Chelsea
6. Leicester
7. Man U
8. Everton
9. Wolves
10. West Ham
11. Watford
12. Palace
13. Burnley
14. Southampton
15. Bournemouth
16. Norwich
17. Newcastle
18. Brighton
19. Villa
20. Sheffield

   354. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: August 09, 2019 at 10:19 PM (#5870058)
I want to call Tottenham for a shock title win, but I just can't do it. I will put them into 2nd even though Liverpool remain the heavy favorite for 2nd. Let's chalk it up to bias, and the thought that Liverpool can't have injury luck as good as they did last year.

I also think it's easy to call relegation for the newly promoted teams (and I will as well), but there are a lot of teams in the PL that aren't really up to much, and I don't think the promoted teams should be overwhelming favorites for the drop.

1. Man City
2. Tottenham
3. Liverpool
4. Chelsea
5. Arsenal
6. Everton
7. Man U
8. Leicester
9. Wolves
10. West Ham
11. Watford
12. Southampton
13. Bournemouth
14. Palace
15. Burnley
16. Newcastle
17. Villa
18. Norwich
19. Brighton
20. Sheffield
   355. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: August 09, 2019 at 10:37 PM (#5870065)
Betting odds have Spurs as more likely to finish outside the CL than to finish in the top 2. And yet, no one here has picked them below 4th (and only one person that low, probably not a Spurs fan), and most here have picked them to finish 2nd. I thought Spurs fans were supposed to be pessimists...
   356. It's regretful that PASTE was able to get out Posted: August 09, 2019 at 10:50 PM (#5870069)
I actually really wanted to put Spurs 5th but I just can't get quite so far as to rate Chelsea or United over them.

What I actually think is that they look like the second or third best team but there is a significant chance things don't go well early on, then Pochettino having made up his mind this is his last season at Tottenham becomes the worst kept secret in soccer and with him not really that interested anymore it all goes to hell and they finish 7th.

I also think there's a decent chance United could turn out to actually be really good (good enough to finish 2nd or 3rd), particularly if Pogba is awesome, but there too there are several ways everything could go to pot for them.
   357. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: August 10, 2019 at 06:08 AM (#5870101)
I just don't understand how United didn't manage to bring in any midfield help.
   358. Mefisto Posted: August 10, 2019 at 08:47 AM (#5870120)
You and the rest of the world.
   359. I am going to be Frank Posted: August 10, 2019 at 08:54 AM (#5870122)
VAR has officially stopped a match! I though it was marginal but the overturned goal has give West Ham fans some life. Wilshire has already come off injured.

OGS seems to think that McTominay is going to be very good. Fred was good in Russia, so maybe he might settle better this season? Still no justification with Herrera leaving and Matic sucking.

   360. Mefisto Posted: August 10, 2019 at 11:42 AM (#5870151)
Even if you think both of those things -- and there's little to no evidence for either -- United still need backups. They don't have them.
   361. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: August 10, 2019 at 11:50 AM (#5870153)
Brighton and to a lesser extent Burnley were pegged for the last relegation spot. Both up 3-0, and Brighton on the road. That puts Villa and Newcastle on the clock.

Sheffield United get a late equalizer for a big draw at Bournemouth.
   362. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: August 10, 2019 at 11:53 AM (#5870154)
Burnley 3-0 Southampton and Brighton 3-0 Watford. Did not expect either of those.

Really good away point for Sheffield United.
   363. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: August 10, 2019 at 12:14 PM (#5870157)
538 had both Brighton and Burnley as outplayed (very slightly) except for the goals (cue mrs. lincoln...). They also had Sheffield United as just about even with Bournemouth. Considering the game was on the road that's a very good performance even if Bournemouth is supposed to be a little worse this year than last.
   364. Mr Dashwood Posted: August 10, 2019 at 12:32 PM (#5870160)
Really good away point for Sheffield United.

I can only talk about this from the Bournemouth angle, but I think it was a deserved point.

Bournemouth looked out of sorts the whole match. You could see repeatedly during the first half Aké getting annoyed with his team-mates that they weren't moving around enough for him to pass the ball forward. Now, you could argue it was Sheffield just being adept at shutting down the channels, but there were other signs that Aké had a point.

Bournemouth were playing three at the back, which never really worked well for them in the past. But whereas last season it caused troubles at the back, for the most part the three defenders acquitted themselves well. Instead, the problem seem to lay in the midfield. Eddie Howe had the Economist, Adam Smith running up and down on the left, while last year's disappointing new signing Diego Rico was doing the same down the right. That meant that the Wee Man and King were playing as kind of inside forwards, and I don't think either one of them adapted well to the role. King seemed uninterested in tracking back, which led to a couple of Sheffield openings, while Fraser rarely found any space (again, you could credit Sheffield for that one). The result was that Wilson basically disappeared for most of the match. (He had a marauding run in the 75th minute that should have led to more than it did.)

By contrast Sheffield looked well organised. I don't know the players, but McGoldrick twice was able to get behind the back three via a quick pass, once each near the start of the halves. But while the organisation helped them build from the back, I thought they looked a little clueless once they got into the area until McBurnie came on in the second half.

Both goals came from proper goal-mouth scrambles, and in both cases an attempt at a clearance ended up offering an opportunity to an attacking player. I think I'd fault the Sheffield goalkeeper, who didn't see Mepham standing back nearer the edge of the box. He pushed it in that general direction and Mepham did not need a second invitation. Aké, by contrast, couldn't do so much with what he was asked, and I think either Cook or Mepham was standing on the line and Ramsdale wasn't able to move laterally to block the shot. (Not that I think he would have succeeded.)

Bournemouth I think badly missed Brooks, who is out until the end of October, and is a natural inside forward. But then I think Eddie might have played a 4-4-2, which probably would have been bad news for Rico, whom I thought did rather well. The Billing-Lerma partnership in central midfield also looks good in this context. But then what do you do with King? He is a striker, not an inside forward or winger, just like Wilson. Putting him among the substitutes will probably not keep him in good humour.

The two lost points could hurt Bournemouth come April/May next year. Their bad run towards the end of last season was of deep concern, and they only really stayed up on account of their very hot start. I am worried that they will find themselves in a 1999/00 Wimbledon FC kind of situation, come the spring, needing a point (or three) to stay safe from the last match and not finding it (them).
   365. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: August 10, 2019 at 12:42 PM (#5870162)
Thanks for the detailed summary! Very much appreciated.
   366. Mr Dashwood Posted: August 10, 2019 at 12:48 PM (#5870163)
I also took in the Leeds vs Nottingham Forest match.

It was the kind of game I love to sit through. Forest came out intending simply to frustrate a clearly superior team. The entire first half they basically conceded possession to Leeds, who threw everything at them that they could manage and came to the end of the first 45 minutes with nothing to show for it. So, in that sense, Forest won the half.

In the second half, Leeds eventually got a score, but Forest made a couple of substitutions that gave them a bit more pace and managed to convert that into an equaliser and a point.

The only thing missing was an extensive amount of shithousery by Forest, although their goal came from a classic piece of Sunday league clutching and grabbing and elbowing.

Leeds are going to a look a lot better with Nketiah, I think. Bamford just isn't good enough for a promotion run.
   367. Richard Posted: August 10, 2019 at 01:02 PM (#5870164)
Good summary Mr Dashwood.

Very pleased with that well deserved point.

   368. Mr Dashwood Posted: August 10, 2019 at 01:14 PM (#5870165)
It must be very galling for the Liverpools, to start with a 4-1 win against a newly promoted side, only to be one-upped by Manchester City yet again, who thrash a side tipped by some (but not me) to be possible Top 6 material.
   369. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: August 10, 2019 at 02:24 PM (#5870174)
Not sure how Tottenham didn't have a penalty at 1-1 given the current handball rules, but fortunately it worked out in the end.

Harry Kane with two goals in August! Harry Kane after a summer off!

The second Kane goal in particular was great. It doesn't look spectacular on first sight, but that was actually an amazing finish. And trademark Kane.
   370. Jose Goes to Absurd Lengths for 50K Posted: August 10, 2019 at 02:28 PM (#5870176)
Yeah, the handball rule remains confounding. I think there may be some residual effect from the WWC this summer that the VAR officials are going to be a bit less willing to overrule the on field calls. Personally I think that’s a good thing even if I thought that was a stonewall penalty.
   371. Mefisto Posted: August 10, 2019 at 04:16 PM (#5870190)
If Spurs aren't going to use Vertonghen, United would happy to take him.
   372. Baldrick Posted: August 10, 2019 at 09:30 PM (#5870239)
NWSL update: two red cards in Orlando-Houston, which is pretty much the only thing I can say that's exciting about the game. Houston will get the three points despite being pretty dreadful.

In the slightly earlier game, Chicago won again and (temporarily at least) moved into first place, pending the result in the Portland/NC game tomorrow.

It's increasingly looking like the the same four playoff teams from last year will repeat this year. Which isn't surprising, but it would at least be nice if the gap closes a bit and we have some sort of genuine race.
   373. I am going to be Frank Posted: August 11, 2019 at 09:41 AM (#5870284)
Newcastle look not terrible but Arsenal does not look good.
   374. Jose Goes to Absurd Lengths for 50K Posted: August 11, 2019 at 10:15 AM (#5870285)
Wolves get a goal disallowed for a handball in the box by VAR. The color commentator is noting that under the new guidelines the call is correct so fine but...

1. I realize it’s a different game but a very similar call that should have been a PK yesterday was not given.

2. This plays into my pre-existing fears that the VAR refs are going to be just as hesitant to give penalties as on field refs are.

My biggest issue with officiating is that the defenders can get away with murder in the box while attackers are blown for any minor infringement. I understand why refs don’t want to give away PKs and I’m fine with that. But I think the very high threshold for fouls in the box should be given both ways.
   375. I am going to be Frank Posted: August 11, 2019 at 10:38 AM (#5870290)
Pulisic on the bench for Chelsea.

I am happy Matic isn't starting.
De Gea
Wan-Bissaka - Lindelof - Maguire - Shaw
Andreas - McTominay - Pogba
Lingard - Martial - Rashford
   376. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: August 11, 2019 at 11:50 AM (#5870299)
Newcastle look not terrible but Arsenal does not look good.

They looked really terrible on the Arsenal goal though. Gave the ball away cheap in a dangerous area, and then nobody within 10 yards of Aubameyang.
   377. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: August 11, 2019 at 11:55 AM (#5870300)
Didn't see the one called back in the Wolves game, but the one by the Villa player was quite unusual, since the right arm was all the way in front of the body with the right hand past the left side of the defender's frame when it contacted the ball. I don't think I've seen a play like that before, and I'd be very surprised if it was similar in the Wolves game. The one against Villa maybe could have been called a penalty---they didn't really show it clearly enough for me to be sure.

edit: watching the Villa one again on replay I think it probably would not have been overturned if originally called a penalty on the field. The arm was in front of the body, but until the very last second probably completely within the silhouette of the defender's frame. When it actually hit his hand, the hand was probably just outside the frame above and to the left of the shoulder/side of the defender as he was twisting in the air. It would have been a borderline call but we've seen more aggressive penalties given for sure.

edit: just saw the Wolves one now, and agree it was pretty harsh. But, the offensive player's arm is what effectively controlled the ball or Wolves, even if it was completely inadvertent. If the arm wasn't there probably there would not have been a goal, and the arm was high and away from the body, so it's understandable they called it back. In the end, very different type of play though.
   378. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: August 11, 2019 at 12:12 PM (#5870302)
Apparently there is a rule that says if the ball hits the offensive player's hand/arm and it leads to a goal, the goal is called back. Full stop. If true, that was a clear no goal.

Villa no-call:

Wolves non-goal:

edit: yes, it's in the new rule:

Deliberate handball remains an offense. The following ‘handball’ situations, even if accidental, will be a free kick:

The ball goes into the goal after touching an attacking player’s hand/arm
A player gains control/possession of the ball after it has touches their hand/arm and then scores, or creates a goal-scoring opportunity
The ball touches a player’s hand/arm which has made their body unnaturally bigger
The ball touches a player’s hand/arm when it is above their shoulder (unless the player has deliberately played the ball which then touches their hand/arm)

The following will not usually be a free kick, unless they are one of the above situations:

The ball touches a player’s hand/arm directly from their own head/body/foot or the head/body/foot of another player who is close/near
The ball touches a player’s hand/arm which is close to their body and has not made their body unnaturally bigger
If a player is falling and the ball touches their hand/arm when it is between their body and the ground to support the body (but not extended to make the body bigger)
If the goalkeeper attempts to ‘clear’ (release into play) a throw-in or deliberate kick from a team-mate but the ‘clearance’ fails, the goalkeeper can then handle the ball

   379. Mefisto Posted: August 11, 2019 at 12:20 PM (#5870303)
Chelsea look good; I'm even more inclined to take their upside this year based on the first half. United's back line is clearly improved, but they are fortunate to have the lead.
   380. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: August 11, 2019 at 01:12 PM (#5870307)
Chelsea has some work to do defending the quick strike. That's three goals now (and a couple other chances that didn't lead to shots), two standard counters and another turnover at midfield followed by an immediate pass to the striker splitting the central defenders.
   381. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: August 11, 2019 at 01:52 PM (#5870317)
Manchester United had the youngest starting 11 of any team in the EPL this week: 24 years 277 days.
   382. Mefisto Posted: August 11, 2019 at 03:07 PM (#5870350)
United will be quick on the break. Chelsea failed bigly in letting Pogba have space to pass the ball; that's mostly how the United breaks begin. Chelsea also need Kante in the starting XI (which probably would have addressed my first point as well). Still, the scoreline flatters United -- MCOA had the xG as 1.7-.9.
   383. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: August 11, 2019 at 03:53 PM (#5870373)
It's a very rare 4-0 game indeed where the scoreline does not flatter the winning team. Considering the opposition, it may have been the most impressive xG scoreline of the weekend, perhaps eclipsed by City at West Ham, since City was on the road.

If the scoreline had gone the other way there would have been much snickering about how pathetic Manchester United are, and how it was so obvious they would fail. It seems that Manchester United's past dominance and resent struggles may be making some really want to see them fail and thus exaggerate their shortcomings. As last year, they are likely a bubble contender for the CL slot. I always used to really dislike Manchester United, but the pendulum seems to have swung quite far in the opposite direction, making them more sympathetic these days.
   384. spivey Posted: August 11, 2019 at 05:47 PM (#5870399)
United won and won xG to boot. AWB looks great. But United looked really, really bad trying to play out of the back. They turned the ball over so many times and so cheaply, many in very dangerous positions. I still have a lot of concerns about them, both breaking down bunkered teams and in winning midfield. I don’t think OGS has any more of an offensive identity than Mourinho did.
   385. spivey Posted: August 11, 2019 at 05:49 PM (#5870400)
Also, Zouma was awful. Pulisic I thought was good and Kante needs to play.
   386. Mefisto Posted: August 11, 2019 at 06:03 PM (#5870403)
I agree with 384/385. Pogba turned the ball over 9 times in the first 60 minutes. That's … not good. The rest of the midfield is just kind of there. But if teams don't mark Pogba, he can create amazing chances. That's the secret to playing United (that, and accounting for their pace on the break, which is a real strength).

ETA: I'd modify my agreement with Spivey to say that Solskjaer puts less emphasis on bunkering than Mourinho did and encourages more quick counters. That latter suits United's talent and Mourinho failed to take advantage of it.
   387. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: August 11, 2019 at 07:50 PM (#5870409)
I actually don't have much of a problem with Pogba turning the ball over that often. He was pretty much United's only creative player, he needs to be taking risks in that lineup.
   388. Mefisto Posted: August 11, 2019 at 07:59 PM (#5870410)
Depends on the turnover. If he makes a speculative pass which doesn't come off, that's fine -- he makes them often enough that they're well worth the effort. If he gets caught in possession in his own half, that's not so fine.
   389. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: August 11, 2019 at 08:20 PM (#5870413)
Yeah Pogba is a fantastic player, but getting caught in possession is definitely a weakness of his. He probably would be a more valuable player if he were a little more disciplined and careful on the ball. Hard to know from afar of course, but it sure seems like a small compromise to his creativity could be traded in for a significant reduction in risk, especially when he has the ball in his own half.
   390. spivey Posted: August 11, 2019 at 08:40 PM (#5870416)
It's not just Pogba, either. I swear it seemed like Martial was like 0/8 in take-ons in the first hour - him and Pogba both seemed to try a bunch of extremely unnecessary flicks and backheels. I get that sometimes doing that in certain situations can open up a defense, but I feel like they really were doing a lot of that stuff just for the sake of doing it. McTom tried to spray a cross field pass that just went tragically way out of bounds. I think he's a solid enforcer, but he can't really pass for ####. Pereira doesn't do much for me. I don't think he'd start for Leicester or Wolves.

Of course, Pogba's run and pass for the 4th goal was impressive. When you see stuff like that, it really does make you wonder why he's not the best midfielder in the world.
   391. Mefisto Posted: August 11, 2019 at 09:10 PM (#5870419)
One of United's problems last year was that they didn't possess the ball very well. Pogba and Martial, in particular, have lots of turnovers. Maybe that's the price one pays for their moments of brilliance, but it's frustrating.

As for Pereira, he runs around a lot but doesn't appear to me to actually do anything. I haven't seen data on him, so I'm subject to being corrected here, but I agree that he's a lower table player at best.

I have seen the data on McTominay. MCOA (I think -- it could have been someone else) posted it last year. Basically, McTominay doesn't do anything out there either: he doesn't make lots of tackles; he doesn't intercept the ball a lot; he doesn't make lots of good passes. He's only 23 so it's possible he can do more, but he hasn't demonstrated that so far.
   392. Jose Goes to Absurd Lengths for 50K Posted: August 11, 2019 at 10:33 PM (#5870426)
So I didn’t get to see the game today and it doesn’t sound like Chelsea were great but how was Pulisic?
   393. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: August 12, 2019 at 04:18 AM (#5870447)
Came on with roughly 30 mins to go, down 1, was largely invisible.

Chelsea's midfield did seem to kind collapse right after he was introduced, which led directly to the final scoreline. How much you want to distribute the credit/blame for that between Lampard's tactics, Pulisic, the loss if Barkley, and dumb coincidence is up for debate.
   394. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: August 12, 2019 at 06:46 AM (#5870451)
It only took one week, but odds now have Newcastle as the third most likely team to be relegated. It's a wide open filed though, with Villa, Burnley and Brighton not far behind, and nobody really long odds until you get to the expected top half of the table (the expected top 6, plus the next 3 and West Ham. Sheffield United played very well, but have to show more to get out of their early expected hole--still the least fancied team in the league.

At the other end, Tottenham has pretty good odds for top 4 (69%), while Chelsea does not (30%), with Arsenal and United right on the bubble (47% each)
   395. spivey Posted: August 12, 2019 at 08:33 AM (#5870456)
I thought Pulisic looked pretty good in a couple of dribbling movements. He led the break well one time, and right after coming on he managed to go from having his back to goal to beating Wan-Bissaka, who is probably the hardest player on Man U to take on. Many of the counters did seem to increase while he was out there, but it's hard for me to blame the LW specifically for that. I think Chelsea was just pressing for a goal.

I think the 2nd goal Maguire clearly got away with fouling Abraham, which led to the break. Chelsea got bodies back, and had like 7 defenders for the 4 attackers. Azpilcueta let Martial get on the wrong side of him, which is pretty poor and totally uncharacteristic from Azpilcueta imo.

The 3rd goal Man U kind of broke the mini-press. That's near Pulisic's side, but there were a few guys there. The ball from Pogba was very good and you have to say the control and finish from Rashford was world class.
   396. Mefisto Posted: August 12, 2019 at 09:22 AM (#5870469)
I agree with 395, except to say that AWB is possibly the hardest player to beat in the entire EPL.

The problem for Chelsea was that Lampard wanted to open up the game, which of course left them open on the counter, something United are quite good at. Chelsea's best defense for that was Kante, but Lampard waited too long to bring him on. I don't think Pulisic had anything to do with the breakdowns (and yeah, Maguire probably got away with one). Taking account of his defender, Pulisic did well.
   397. ckash Posted: August 12, 2019 at 09:42 AM (#5870477)
Azpilcueta cannot run anymore. It was obvious last season. Attackers get by him way too easily and he cannot recover. Chelsea may have the slowest Fullbacks among the European hopefuls. I love Dave but I’m looking forward to Reece James getting an opportunity.

   398. jmurph Posted: August 12, 2019 at 09:59 AM (#5870484)
Likely everyone already realized this and I'm just slow to the party, but Chelsea are really, really lacking in top-end talent.

In other news, who is happy with what they saw from VAR this weekend? There were 3 outcomes in City-West Ham that I thought were dumb out of (I think) only 3 uses (and two benefited the team I root for, so this isn't a cry of bias or anything). First a City goal overturned when there wasn't a clear offsides, then a City goal allowed when I thought there was a clear offsides, then Aguero was allowed to retake a terribly taken penalty because it was judged the goalie came off his line early (he did, of course, like they always do, but I don't think we should start caring about this now all of a sudden).
   399. Mefisto Posted: August 12, 2019 at 10:51 AM (#5870509)
I'm not sure Chelsea are lacking in top end talent. You might be right, but I'd say that their attacking talent is young and unproved. They might be lacking, but we can't be sure of that *yet*. On defense, the ability to start Rudiger and Kante would be huge IMO. I wouldn't write off Chelsea at all, but they do have high variance as a team and they might not succeed.
   400. jmurph Posted: August 12, 2019 at 11:07 AM (#5870522)
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