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Wednesday, May 04, 2022

OT Soccer Thread - Crowning Champions and Pro-Rel

Bundesliga final day: May 14
Women’s UCL Final: May 21
Ligue Un final day: May 21
Serie A, Premier League, La Liga final day: May 22
Men’s UCL Final: May 28

Promotion! Relegation! European spots! Champions! It’s all to play for in May! Or, actually, just some of it is to play for but you know what I mean.

The Marksist Posted: May 04, 2022 at 09:23 AM | 255 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: off topic, soccer

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   101. Mefisto Posted: May 17, 2022 at 12:04 PM (#6077160)
I'm seeing reports that Messi is heading to MLS. Anyone else seeing that?
   102. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: May 17, 2022 at 12:38 PM (#6077164)
Everton is currently just over 50/50 to win Thursday (51%).

Make fun of Arsenal all you like, and surely they deserve it for that last effort, but they are still 63% to beat Everton. That will go down a little bit if Everton doesn't win Thursday, but will go up a little bit if they do.
   103. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: May 17, 2022 at 04:57 PM (#6077215)
All that GD talk has come to nothing, with Liverpool winning. Chance of it coming down to GD now is 2% or so, and if it happens City will take it.

Sheffield United has come back from down 2 early in the game today to send it to extras. Winner takes in Huddersfield.
   104. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: May 17, 2022 at 05:20 PM (#6077222)
Based on xG anyway, both road teams really dominated the Sheffield United v Forest playoff, but in each case could only win by 1. A bit fitting that it has gone to penalties.
   105. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: May 17, 2022 at 05:27 PM (#6077224)
Great save by Samba, but he looked like he was over the line. No VAR in the Championship.

edit: and another great save, on a shot like that down the middle it looks easy but is very much not.

edit2: third save for Samba. Forest to the finals.
   106. Mefisto Posted: May 17, 2022 at 05:27 PM (#6077225)
I see now that Messi's agents are denying the deal.
   107. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: May 17, 2022 at 10:20 PM (#6077295)
I'd like to see Forest win the last promotion spot. Huddersfield has not been that good this year (538 has them as basically midtable, despite their decent GD), and the last time they sneaked into the EPL as a fairly mediocre team didn't work out so well. Plus, it's been much longer since Forest had a shot at it.

Both betting odds and 538 has Forest as the strong favorite. 65% by betting odds (64% 538).
   108. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: May 18, 2022 at 12:49 AM (#6077310)
Supposedly standing firm without diving on the Hourihane attempt was [https://twitter.com/samba_brice/status/1526692574894989312]scouted[/url].
   109. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: May 18, 2022 at 03:53 PM (#6077361)
Rangers were in danger of getting played off the pitch the first 20+ minutes, but since then it's been very even. Scoreless at the half and I wouldn't be too sure Frankfurt is going to win this one.
   110. Fancy Pants Handle struck out swinging Posted: May 18, 2022 at 04:23 PM (#6077366)
Aribo macht Kinder froh, und Erwachsene ebenso.
   111. Rowland Office Supplies Posted: May 18, 2022 at 05:42 PM (#6077381)
If I may take y'all's temperature...would you drive five-and-a-half hours to Orlando in sweltering late July to see the Arsenal-Chelsea friendly? I've heard bad things about friendlies in the states in terms of who shows up and how much effort is expended. I was thinking/hoping that this one might be played with a skosh more urgency since it's contested so close to the EPL opening week. I don't know if I'll ever make it over to Emerates Stadium...so I'm seriously mulling it over. Tickets are (to me, anyway) surprisingly affordable.
   112. frannyzoo Posted: May 18, 2022 at 11:39 PM (#6077443)
Assuming 5.5 hours from Orlando is close to an airport about 7 hours from Heathrow, I'd just expand the drive time a bit and go to Stamford Bridge or Emirates (actually I'd go see Brentford, QPR, and/or West Ham instead) during the real season.

Oh, I forgot Craven Cottage. Or Selhurst Park.

And to make sure it's not sweltering, how about Selhurst Park on Boxing Day?

   113. Rowland Office Supplies Posted: May 19, 2022 at 07:25 AM (#6077455)
Assuming 5.5 hours from Orlando is close to an airport about 7 hours from Heathrow, I'd just expand the drive time a bit and go to Stamford Bridge or Emirates (actually I'd go see Brentford, QPR, and/or West Ham instead) during the real season.

Dear Lord how I'd love to...but that would also entail expanding my travel expenses a bit.
   114. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: May 19, 2022 at 04:12 PM (#6077511)
Everton trying to make it happen here. At first I thought a draw wouldn't matter but now I'm not so sure.

EVE 36 -22
LEE 35 -38
BUR 34 -18

Versus Leeds a draw matters IF we draw again Sunday and Leeds win then we are level on 38 points. The same two draw scenario becomes important IF Burnley win one and lose one, we would finish ahead of them 38-37 which we'd need to do.
   115. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: May 19, 2022 at 04:27 PM (#6077514)
OK OK. Back level, let's get the winner now!
   116. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: May 19, 2022 at 04:31 PM (#6077515)
AAAAAHAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!
   117. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: May 19, 2022 at 04:31 PM (#6077516)
Yeah a draw is a lot better than a loss. Not as good as a win though!

Fans all over the field (with 5 minutes left still). Wild!
   118. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: May 19, 2022 at 04:33 PM (#6077517)
OK, 1 added minute right? That's all, 91 minutes and blow the whistle. Come on.
   119. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: May 19, 2022 at 04:36 PM (#6077518)
No VAR refs from the EPL were chosen for the World Cup. I doubt it's that the refs themselves are bad, but the way VAR is used in the EPL isn't ideal. Should have been a red on Ayew via VAR, for example. That was a dangerous tackle that was way late and aiming for the man. Could have injured him easily if any of Ayew's body weight had happened to come down on the Everton player's leg, which it only didn't through sheer luck.
   120. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: May 19, 2022 at 04:43 PM (#6077521)
PITCH INVASION!!!!
   121. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: May 19, 2022 at 04:47 PM (#6077523)
Well that would have been the perfect scenario for Arsenal had they managed to beat Newcastle. I'm not sure any kind of serious team will show up for Everton on Sunday after this one.

edit: Arsenal win odds already up to 69%.
   122. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: May 19, 2022 at 04:55 PM (#6077528)
Burnley could only manage a draw despite some good chances, but that's a decent result for them. they just need to match Leeds' result Sunday, since they have the GD edge.

Burnley hosts Newcastle while Leeds goes to Brentford. Neither are easy but Burnley's odds of matching the result will be pretty high.
   123. Fancy Pants Handle struck out swinging Posted: May 19, 2022 at 04:55 PM (#6077529)
edit: Arsenal win odds already up to 69%.

Nice.
   124. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: May 19, 2022 at 04:55 PM (#6077530)
Everton players might still be drunk.
   125. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: May 19, 2022 at 05:00 PM (#6077531)
Odds going into final weekend:

winner
city       85
liverpool  15

top 4
tottenham  94.5
arsenal     5.5

top 6
united     77.5
west ham   22.5

relegation
leeds      70 (early odds--maybe a bit higher once it settles in)
burnley    30

   126. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: May 19, 2022 at 09:44 PM (#6077571)
I see now that Messi's agents are denying the deal.


Yeah, now everybody's denying it. It's tied up with rumors that he might be buying into an MLS squad? Or something?

I don't doubt that Messi will come to these shores one day. I just don't think we're there yet.
   127. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: May 20, 2022 at 04:20 PM (#6077678)
Roma is about to qualify directly for Europa next year with a win today. Takes some of the fun out of the game next week, plus I was rooting against them.

Atlanta and Fiorentina are jockeying for the Europa Conference spot tomorrow.
   128. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: May 21, 2022 at 03:45 PM (#6077822)
In a moment of madness, the last Leipzig defender grabs the Freiburg offensive player who had the inside track on him but by no means was certain to score. DOGSO in the 65th minute (or so), and with Leipzig already down a goal it's game over.

But what's this? Apparently there's a thin line between madness and genius, because 10-man Leipzig gets the leveler late. IT could go to extra time.
   129. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: May 21, 2022 at 04:33 PM (#6077828)
Atalanta finishing off the season with aplomb. Now losing 0-1 at home to lowly Empoli. That takes them out of Europe entirely, giving the Europa Conference League spot to Fiorentina. Atalanta has fallen off so far in the second half of the season.
   130. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: May 21, 2022 at 04:56 PM (#6077834)
And Leipzig won on penalties in the end. Oh well.
   131. spivey Posted: May 22, 2022 at 12:16 PM (#6077905)
City and Liverpool both struggling, setting up a brilliant final half hour of football.
   132. spivey Posted: May 22, 2022 at 12:31 PM (#6077907)
Days like today are why I never put too much stock into "don't have anything to play for". These guys are all professionals with incredible competitiveness and many playing for their next contract.
   133. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: May 22, 2022 at 12:40 PM (#6077910)
These races are madness. (Except for top 4 where Spurs are taking care of business which is lucky since Everton really didn't show up today.)
   134. spivey Posted: May 22, 2022 at 12:43 PM (#6077911)
Agueroooo vibes today.
   135. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: May 22, 2022 at 12:48 PM (#6077913)
Villa played some decent defense for a while, but really haven't played very well today.
   136. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: May 22, 2022 at 12:51 PM (#6077914)
As is fitting, United are about to lose but get a Europa spot anyway because West Ham is also losing.

Burnley still has a shot at staying up after needing 3 goals to go their way.
   137. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: May 22, 2022 at 12:53 PM (#6077915)
Current combined xG in the Liverpool and City games. City/Liverpool are up 5.5-1.3.
   138. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: May 22, 2022 at 12:56 PM (#6077918)
Leeds get the insurance goal! They will stay up and Burnley is relegated. That's the only race that turned around on the last day in the end.
   139. spivey Posted: May 22, 2022 at 12:57 PM (#6077919)
Pool/Wolves was pretty evenly played in xG and high non-xG chances through about 75 minutes.

City needed 3 goals in 20 minutes. That's a hell of a response from a great, great team.
   140. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: May 22, 2022 at 12:58 PM (#6077920)
Spurs made sure there was no drama in the Champions League race, but there sure was drama for the title and relegation.
   141. Russlan thinks deGrom is da bomb Posted: May 22, 2022 at 01:00 PM (#6077921)
In the end, Manchester City wins the EPL. They needed to win despite being down 2 goals in the 75th minute but City scores 3 goals in 5 minutes. It was looking like Villa, with Liverpool great as manager and Liverpool castoff Cutinho having scored an insurance goal, were going to give Liverpool a chance at the title. It did not happen.
   142. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: May 22, 2022 at 01:14 PM (#6077925)
It was unlikely to affect the outcome given that Villa didn't have much left in them...but there were supposed to be 4 minutes extra time, Ederson was getting treated for 2 of them, and the final whistle blew at around 94:30.
   143. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: May 22, 2022 at 01:20 PM (#6077928)
actual standings v peredicted
                  actual       odds          538

Manchester City     93           87           81       
Liverpool           92           77           74      

Chelsea             74           78           73       
Tottenham           71           60           60     
Arsenal             69           62           60     

Manchester United   58           74           68      
West Ham United     56           50           52      

Leicester City      52           59           57      
Brighton            51           46           51        
Wolverhampton       51           43           46      

Newcastle United    49           39           44      
Crystal Palace      48           39           38       
Brentford           46           38           38      
Aston Villa         45           49           50      

Southampton         40           41           43       
Everton             39           53           50   
Leeds United        38           54           50    
Burnley             35           39           41     

Watford             23           34           36       
Norwich City        22           35           37


538 did a little better than betting odds this year, about .5 per team on average. Half of that though was Newcastle, where the ownership change made all the difference. 538 missed on City, but hit on United, Brighton, and Leeds. All 3 likely due to underlying stats that betting odds didn't fully account for.
   144. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: May 22, 2022 at 01:23 PM (#6077930)
And Milan will win the title after all. Up 3 goals now.
   145. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: May 22, 2022 at 01:27 PM (#6077932)
Pretty excited for next season. Can Spurs realistically compete with City, Liverpool, and Chelsea for the title? Probably not, but if they back Conte with some signings this summer, he's the man to do it.
   146. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: May 22, 2022 at 04:01 PM (#6077995)
Salernitana is getting crushed by Udinese. That means they need Venezia to hold on against Cagliari, or Salernitana goes down. That latter game is 0-0 at the half.
   147. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: May 22, 2022 at 04:11 PM (#6077998)
Cadiz escaped relegation with a late goal while Granada could only draw. Cadiz had 15 points through their first 21 games, and the worst xGD by far in the league. After than they got 24 points in their last 17 games, with an npxGD of +10, trailing only the usual suspects Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Atleti. That's an amazing turnaround that was just enough to stay up.

edit: Now I'm seeing what happened after exactly 21 games. Sergio Gonzales became the coach, replacing Alvaro Cervera. In retrospect turns out to have been a masterful move.
   148. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: May 22, 2022 at 05:02 PM (#6078019)
Cagliari could not score and are relegated. Players distraught on the field. Hard not to feel for them a bit, as they had it in their hands.
   149. Textbook Editor Posted: May 22, 2022 at 07:01 PM (#6078034)
Pretty excited for next season. Can Spurs realistically compete with City, Liverpool, and Chelsea for the title? Probably not, but if they back Conte with some signings this summer, he's the man to do it.


Next year is gonna be a weird, weird year schedule-wise because of the World Cup falling from late Nov-late Dec. It will affect all the top-6 clubs, of course, but we won't know by how much until the turn of the year when we find out who came back from the WC hurt. Unless Spurs brings in a pretty good handful of players, they're going to remain pretty thin (with Doherty and Romero out they effectively had no great CB options and not really any good wingback options, and the CM fallback was, um, Harry Winks... They got VERY lucky with injuries the last 2 months of the season).

It's kind of amazing they'll even be playing CL football; in my mind even getting to the knockouts would be gravy next year. Given the depth of the squads ahead of them in the table + the WC... I just don't see how they are anywhere near a title next year. I mean, goofier things have happened of course, but they don't have a team that can put up 85+ points right now, and I'm guessing that's the minimum that would be needed next year to win it.

An exciting day! And what was even more bizarre was to think Spurs did not lose to either of the top 2 teams! And in fact gave City 2 of its 3 losses in the league.
   150. spivey Posted: May 22, 2022 at 07:23 PM (#6078035)
I could see Spurs overtaking Liverpool. Liverpool are also not really that deep which is what got them last year, and it's at least possible that Salah leaves esp now that Madrid have a huge wad of money burning in the whole in their pocket because of the Mbappe extension, and him and VVD are completely irreplaceable within the team.

Spurs played a fair bit of the last couple of months without 2 starters (Romero, Doherty) and injuries to key squad players who get regular starts (Skipp, Reguilon). That's 4 of their top, say, 15 or so guys. I'd be hard pressed to call that great luck. Especially since Doherty was on a very dirty play in a very dirty match from Villa.

But back to winning the league, I think it's really hard. Pep's just a league monster, and adding Haaland...
   151. spivey Posted: May 22, 2022 at 07:26 PM (#6078036)
I didn't see the Mbappe news discussed here, but the contract is absolutely bonkers. Seems like a lot of the reporting has it as ~600mil/3 years. Seems like some of those may even be reported as after tax, but let's just say it's around that. And essentially keys to the club.

If they can get a world class CB and a world class MF, then a bit more squad depth at MF, they could be devastating. Let's see what incoming DOF Kylian Mbappe can pull off.
   152. Textbook Editor Posted: May 22, 2022 at 08:48 PM (#6078043)
#150--Fair points. I still think it will be extremely, extremely hard to win the league. I can't imagine they open at anything better than maybe 10-1.

I actually think Haaland might backfire. I realize I'm likely in the very minority who thinks this, but my hunch is it throws some of the balance off. And, of course, it does nothing to address defense, which--one could argue--might have been a more pressing need.

Like I said, though, it's hard to know because the WC throws a real wild card into the season.
   153. Miserable, Non-Binary Candy is all we deserve CoB Posted: May 22, 2022 at 09:06 PM (#6078045)
Obviously, signings matter, but I'd be tickled if Spurs push City and Liverpool and finish a challenging, solid 3rd place next season.
And, of course, that thing that I shall not name looms over the whole damn season, so ... all bets are off.
   154. Mefisto Posted: May 22, 2022 at 09:27 PM (#6078047)
We can all hope that Haaland works out as well at City as Zlatan did at Barca.
   155. Textbook Editor Posted: May 22, 2022 at 10:12 PM (#6078054)
We can all hope that Haaland works out as well at City as Zlatan did at Barca.


Yeah, I confess this is what's in the back of my mind when I say I have some doubts this is the signing most seem to think it is.
   156. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: May 22, 2022 at 10:52 PM (#6078060)
Only two teams are being given any real chance of winning the EPL next year. Early odds:
city       57
liverpool  28
chelsea     5
united      4
tottenham   3
aresenal    2
newcastle   1

Spurs are 50/50 to finish top 4.
   157. Textbook Editor Posted: May 23, 2022 at 10:24 AM (#6078107)
That United number in #156 is comical.

I haven't read this in a few weeks, but a few weeks ago there were all sorts of rumblings that Barca would NOT be picking up the option to buy Traore and that he'd be coming back to Wolves. If that actually happened... I do wonder how interested Spurs would be.
   158. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: May 23, 2022 at 10:35 AM (#6078110)
What a remarkable final day. I was following on my phone while I coached baseball. Got home in time for the last few minutes. When I got in my car Liverpool needed one goal to wrap up the title with City down two. By the time I got home 25 minutes later City had the title. Plus some pretty dramatic stuff at the bottom of the table too. That turnaround by City might have been more remarkable than 2012 to be honest. The way it unfolded that year was amazing but QPR were down a man and frankly a pretty terrible team. Villa were up two goals, a pretty good team and let's face facts their manager desperately wanted to pull it off. That was more than just the routine "let's play spoiler lads" you get on the final day.

Put me on the list of Haaland signing skeptics. Like Zlatan it's not a matter of ability but a matter of fit.

Is there anything this summer? No continental tournaments of course, is MLS the only game in town? This might be an opportunity for them. If I were MLS I'd be changing rules and manipulating what I could to get guys like Pulisic, Adams, etc...over here on loans for the next few months. There are plenty of people who need game time in the presumptive USMNT squad and it's a chance to put some eyeballs on the league.
   159. spivey Posted: May 23, 2022 at 10:42 AM (#6078111)
Seems like a lot of people mentioning Haaland could bust. I guess it's possible, and it will prevent them from completely overwhelming midfield the way they've done with the false 9. But Aguero played all the big matches his last few years there, as I recall, and having a great poacher was a very successful strategy. Having someone really good at knowing where to be in the box will be hugely valuable for their wide overloads and DeBruyne's whipped in crosses.
   160. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: May 23, 2022 at 10:42 AM (#6078112)
Other EPL odds:
top 4
city           96
liverpool      90

chelsea        54
united         45
tottenham      44
arsenal        33

newcastle       9
west ham        6

field          22

relegation   (forest/huddersfield still to be added)
bournemouth    57
fulham         40
brentford      26
leeds          25
southampton    20
wolves         15
everton        13
palace         13
brighton        9
villa           9
leicester       4
west ham        3
newcastle       2
   161. Fancy Pants Handle struck out swinging Posted: May 23, 2022 at 02:56 PM (#6078142)
#159 Haaland is a monster. And I would bet on Pep to get the most out of him. You would have to give me really long odds, before I would put any money down on him being a bust.
   162. The_Ex Posted: May 23, 2022 at 07:07 PM (#6078194)
#161 I would worry about his injury history, he hasn't been on the field a lot this season.
   163. The_Ex Posted: May 23, 2022 at 07:10 PM (#6078195)
For Everton I wonder about their financial situation. They are at least at the limit, if not above it, which leaves little room for maneuver unless they can dump some contracts. Also they had a Russian oligarch either fully funding the team behind Moshiri or partially funding it. I don't know the full details of their 2022/23 numbers but thats something I would watch carefully.
   164. spivey Posted: May 23, 2022 at 08:57 PM (#6078216)
Anyone have some good soccer podcast recommendations, ideally tactics/analytics focused? I listen to the Double Pivot some, but would like more options. Haven't been able to find much beyond it that actually has worthwhile commentary.
   165. Miserable, Non-Binary Candy is all we deserve CoB Posted: May 24, 2022 at 09:05 AM (#6078271)
chelsea 54
united 45
tottenham 44
arsenal 33


I guess book makers are counting on Conte not being at Spurs next year?
There's no way that Spurs are behind United to start next year if Conte stays (since the only way he'll stay is if he gets sufficient backing), I'd have them behind only the big two.
Very much looking to next season (with all the obvious caveats in place less than 1 week after the end of this last one).
   166. The_Ex Posted: May 24, 2022 at 09:07 AM (#6078272)
The Athletic has an football tactics podcast. It can be good but they tend to over-analyse IMO. I think analytics FC has a podcast but I dont listen to it.
   167. Textbook Editor Posted: May 24, 2022 at 10:54 AM (#6078279)
#165--I am not a bookie, but I wonder if proper odds were given to United (say 20 instead of 45, just for the sake of argument), that maybe because there are *so many* United fans, the issue would become that a *lot* of people would put money down given those odds and then--whether reasonable or not--the problem is it throws the risk of the overall pool of money bet out of whack, such that there becomes a systemic risk that--were United to win at those long odds--the house would be screwed?

That's the only reason I can see for not properly assessing United's chances. In fact, I'd guess in the EPL era there likely was never a time United's odd at finishing in the Top 4 were lower than 6th, regardless of how bad they were the previous season.

To be honest I think the wheels could completely come off at United, especially if they persist in playing Ronaldo. He just seems 180 degrees from how ten Hag would want to play--I don't see how that works out. And that's just the start of the problem to solve. To me, if I could get good odds for them finishing 11th or lower I'd consider putting $20 down on that. They're just a complete mess.
   168. spivey Posted: May 24, 2022 at 11:07 AM (#6078281)
ten Hag is a good manager, United had a lot of players underperform (Bruno, Sancho, Rashford, Varane), and they'll probably have a reasonable overhaul of squad and tactics this offseason. I think it's right to expect some regression there. If they could bring in 2 good midfielders and improve one of the fullback spots, they could look much better next year.
   169. Mefisto Posted: May 24, 2022 at 11:13 AM (#6078282)
Ten Hag's first real test will be dropping Ronaldo. The next will be if he can get the front office to get the players he wants/needs. If he can do those 2 things, I think United will be competitive next year (though I wouldn't give them a 50% chance of top 4).
   170. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: May 24, 2022 at 12:35 PM (#6078289)
In fact, I'd guess in the EPL era there likely was never a time United's odd at finishing in the Top 4 were lower than 6th, regardless of how bad they were the previous season.
I'm sure there wasn't. And the worst they ever finished was 7th. It's very unlikely they'll finish outside the top 6 next year as well. Even after Ferguson, their average finish has been 4th (a tad below), and they've made the CL 4 out of 9 times.

I wouldn't pick them to have a better shot at 4th next year than Spurs and Arsenal at the moment, but it's still fairly close. No way they are winning the league though. I'd sooner bet against them there then finishing top 4, at the odds above.

There is not that much money on these futures bets for United that it will move the line very much. A little bit sure, but the reason United is as high as they are is the same as ever. They generally have very talented players and can buy new ones more easily than Arsenal and Spurs, and there's a decent enough chance they'll put it together enough in any given season for top 4. It happened 3 times out of the last 5 years, which is in line with what you would have expected looking at the underlying stats.

Is this coming year likely to be worse than ever? Maybe! Certainly this last season is the worst finish they've had by points totals. Then again, they were in line for a top 4 chase until it totally fell apart in the second half of the seasons. They also have a new manager that people seem to think is competent, which hasn't been the case going into the last few seasons.

edit: oh and the odds have moved slightly since yesterday. Tottenham are still around 44%, but you can now find United at longer odds, around 41%.
   171. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: May 24, 2022 at 02:06 PM (#6078300)
They also have a new manager that people seem to think is competent, which hasn't been the case going into the last few seasons.


The fundamental problem though is how much impact he has. I think the biggest post-SAF problem for United has been their recruitment has been crap. I'm not sure why it's been so bad but they've been completely unable to assemble a "team." I'm far from an expert but it seems to me that Fergie's United (like so many great teams) built from the spine out and regardless of what issues United had in place they had high-caliber stability down the middle;

Keeper: Schmeichel-VdS-DeGea
Center Back: Bruce-Pallister-Stam-Ferdinand-Vidic
Center Mid: Robson-Keane-Scholes-Carrick

And they've rounded it out with true finishers up top. Of course they also had some elite talents around it but I feel like that stability in the base was the starting point for what they did. You can look at Pep's City (or Barca) and I think see very much the same type of things Since Fergie left they've tried to bring in great players rather than building a great team. I realize that sounds a bit like Joe Morgan style claptrap (and maybe it is) but I think in a sport like soccer you have to have a degree of cohesiveness among the players. It's not so much about being buddy-buddy as it is about being able to work in unison on the pitch. Pogba is probably the finest example. He's a different player for France than he is for ManU. I don't believe he's giving more effort or anything like that but simply that he has a role to play and plays it. At United he doesn't seem to know what is expected of him.

Or y'know, they just ain't that good.
   172. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: May 24, 2022 at 03:39 PM (#6078310)
ok, but those Fergie United teams as often as not were challenging for being the best in the world. Now we're just talking about whether they are near 50/50 to finish 4th.
   173. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: May 24, 2022 at 07:31 PM (#6078340)
That gets to the point though. I don’t care who the manager is if they don’t do a substantially better job of player acquisition.
   174. Mefisto Posted: May 24, 2022 at 07:44 PM (#6078341)
I've been saying for years that United's real problem has been its front office. Not that the coaches are blameless, but there's no support from above.
   175. Miserable, Non-Binary Candy is all we deserve CoB Posted: May 25, 2022 at 07:28 AM (#6078385)
I mean ... Ronaldo.
That's clearly a front office decision detached from the precepts and demands of "on the field requirements".
Was he terrible? No. He won them several games (that match against Spurs ... grrrrrr).
But. Bringing him in locked them into a number of on field tactical decisions where you're either playing Ronaldo and screwing with what you want to do tactically or NOT playing Ronaldo and having to manage him AND all the questions you get because of that.
That one is certainly in the peak "post Ferguson stoopid United decisions" discussions.
   176. Textbook Editor Posted: May 25, 2022 at 11:18 AM (#6078403)
#175--Re: Ronaldo... Like, I appreciate he can still score a goal in the box, etc. but otherwise he's completely worthless as a player, and a complete anachronism for basically ANY top side in Europe. Juventus was THRILLED to be rid of him, and I'm having a hard time imagining where he could possibly go and play in the manner HE would prefer to play. In a weird way, he's not really a fit anymore for ANY top club with big ambitions, because (as you nailed it) to play him you basically have to screw up everything else you might want to do tactically.

Honestly, I think it's under-appreciated (because of his goals) how much of a dinosaur he is and completely not fit to play for any top side (and that's just tactically, not even going into his wages). He's vastly, vastly overrated at this point in his career, and if United keep him (and, worse, play him!) there's not a snowball's chance in hell ten Hag can succeed in that job. I can only hope--as a supposed smart manager who really could have had any number of jobs (or stayed at Ajax!)--that he told United he either (a) won't play Ronaldo or (b) has told the club they have to sell him (butof course who would have him?).

Honestly, unless you have a 10-years-ago, Stoke-type team, I'm not sure where Ronaldo can play. It's been baffling to me for at least 2 years now how he can still be playing for any club with any real ambition. Playing him is essentially--given today's game--starting every game down a man tactically.
   177. spivey Posted: May 25, 2022 at 01:43 PM (#6078420)
I mean, Messi did no off ball work throughout most his prime, Mbappe doesn't, Aguero didn't and also didn't have the playmaking ability of these other guys. I'm not a big Ronaldo fan, but his numbers are pretty good, and more than just goals, his progressive passes, carries, SCAs are all good. His xG On-Off was pretty positive last year.

I think you can carry a guy who doesn't do some of the other things. It's a fair question if Ronaldo is still good enough to be considered such a guy. I suspect Ten Hag will be empowered to tell Ronaldo to contribute defensively. I have to imagine that came up in negotiations, both generally, but specifically about him.
   178. Fancy Pants Handle struck out swinging Posted: May 25, 2022 at 10:38 PM (#6078477)
#176 I still kinda think young ManU Ronaldo was the best Ronaldo. Yeah, he scored a lot more goals once he transitioned away from that role at Real. But he was an absolute terror, that just tore the defence apart in ways that didn't only benefit his own production, but created so so much more. It's a bit like how Steph Curry has a gravity, with his 3 point shot just warps defences. They both have a gravity that distorts everything opponents want to do.
   179. Mefisto Posted: May 26, 2022 at 09:10 AM (#6078497)
I kind of agree with 178, but those United teams also had Rooney on them and I suspect it was the combination of the two which was so devastating.
   180. Textbook Editor Posted: May 26, 2022 at 09:29 AM (#6078498)
#177-179: I'm not in any way saying 1st iteration Ronaldo at ManU wasn't a great player. He was. But that's not who's playing for ManU right now. Given how top teams play now--the style of play--I just don't see where he plays (or is wanted) at a top club, and I'm not sure he could play for a mid-table team somewhere. If ManU doesn't get rid of him, I kind of suspect it's his last port of call before he goes to the MLS.
   181. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: May 26, 2022 at 09:42 AM (#6078502)
I don't think Ronaldo is the problem at United. TE's concerns are valid but having a poacher isn't the worst thing in the world. Obviously you can't really have anyone else out strolling through games but a guy who can finish has value.
   182. Mefisto Posted: May 26, 2022 at 10:15 AM (#6078506)
Ronaldo is just strolling through the games until he sees a chance. Yes he can finish, but he's worthless otherwise -- his passing isn't even that good -- and TE is right that he's poorly suited for today's style of play.

Having said all that, I also think Rangnick was a bad coach. He wanted United to play a modern style game with high pressing, and the players he had weren't suited to that (not just Ronaldo, all of them). Instead of adjusting his theory to the boots on the ground, he just kept demanding the same tactics.
   183. spivey Posted: May 26, 2022 at 10:45 AM (#6078509)
Ronaldo is just strolling through the games until he sees a chance. Yes he can finish, but he's worthless otherwise -- his passing isn't even that good -- and TE is right that he's poorly suited for today's style of play.


Look, I'm not a fan of him. But we have pretty good stats on fbref of how he does compared to other forwards over the last 365 days. His shot-creation actions, progressive carries, touches in the attacking penalty area, and passes attempted and completed are all in the 77th percentile or higher. His progressive passes and progressive passes received are both above average. We'd expect a striker for a top half team to get more opportunities here, but these numbers are still above average, and suggest more than someone who can only get on the end of chances. I don't think he should be a nailed on starter, but I think he still has a place on good teams if the manager can control him, and perhaps get him to work a bit more on defense. Not sure he's got the clout to say no to that now. Doesn't need to be a huge amount of work, just Salah/Kane level.

I think the far bigger issue is is the ball retention and passing range of their non-attackers. De Gea, their full backs, and McFred are pretty limited in this regard, and are well below where a team like United should be aiming.
   184. Mefisto Posted: May 26, 2022 at 10:45 AM (#6078510)
To add on, the point TE is making is that Ronaldo can't play a modern game, so the question is can a team succeed at a high level by playing a game suited to Ronaldo's talents? I'm pretty sure the answer is "no"; maybe he could play for like, say, Stoke 20 years ago but I don't know of anyone doing that.
   185. Mefisto Posted: May 26, 2022 at 10:52 AM (#6078513)
Spivey, I think Ronaldo is useful to come on in the last 15 minutes when you're trailing and have to force the game. But you're right that the problems elsewhere that you mention are probably even more significant.

When Solskjaer took over, they were successful by sitting deep and playing on the counter. The team could probably still do pretty well playing that way. By "pretty well" I mean challenging for 4th every year while a comfortable lock for 5th/6th. They have (and should have) ambitions beyond that and it's at this point that your criticisms and those of Ronaldo gain a lot more force.
   186. spivey Posted: May 26, 2022 at 11:01 AM (#6078514)
I just don't buy that modern football doesn't have room for someone who does no work on defense. Liverpool are one of the 3 best sides and they carry water for Salah. Pep's done it recently with Aguero and back in the Barca days with Messi, where he actively told Messi not to try on defense. Mbappe does nothing until his team gets the ball.

The difference, which I think is a fair one, is those guys are all one man offenses (besides Aguero, who Pep still had to make work a bit more than he wanted).
   187. Mefisto Posted: May 26, 2022 at 11:10 AM (#6078517)
Ok, let's take that as true. I'm not sure it is, but I'll accept it. Those other teams you mention work because the rest of the team fills in for the forward who's doing no defense. United's team can't do that, so Ronaldo won't work for them unless they sit deep.
   188. Mefisto Posted: May 26, 2022 at 12:01 PM (#6078521)
I did check Salah to see how he compares to Ronaldo. Just to pick the most salient point, Salah is in the 37th percentile in pressures while Ronaldo is in the 1st (you read that right).

Obviously there are other measures, but even Messi, who contributes far more to the offense than Ronaldo does, is in the 6th percentile. Lewandowski is in the 8th.

So you're right in the sense that lots of forwards aren't doing much on defense, but Ronaldo stands out in just how little he does.
   189. Mefisto Posted: May 28, 2022 at 08:57 AM (#6078788)
The Double Pivot podcast included a segment on United yesterday (starts around 17 minutes). Re Ronaldo, their view was that he gave the team real value in scoring goals, but gave back as much value as was possible in every other aspect of his game. Not too dissimilar to the points made here.

If anyone is interested: They view Fred as cromulent, McTominay as a "ball winner" who doesn't win the ball, and the outside backs in desperate need of replacement. The caveats on the outside backs are that Shaw is good but injured too often, and that Wan-Bissaka would be fine in a different system but not the "press and possess" that United are trying to implement. Sancho was disappointing and Rashford bad (perhaps not fully recovered from injury).
   190. spivey Posted: May 28, 2022 at 09:42 AM (#6078791)
I'm listening to the Double Pivot pod now. Fred is good. He's better than Hojberg, they're right there, and they're both in that same type of jack-of-all-trades 8. United is one of the 2 or 3 most valuable teams in the world. They should be trying to build a team as good as City, where Fred is either surplus to requirements or a bench guy (I like him as a bench guy because he's kind of a swiss army knife, and plays hard).

Fred wouldn't be getting into a midfield with Rodri, Gundo, Silva, KDB, and Foden.

In general I agree with that though. If you want to be a possession team, you need to be able to progress the ball through the midfield, or through your FB/WBs. Even with good passing CBs/GK, you can't rely on them to do most of the work imo. City have chosen through the middle, Liverpool the wide areas. I think AWB could potentially work as a Kyle Walker type free safety that lets you overload press resistant, more attacking focused players. But Walker is so strong, he has some tools that AWB doesn't to where if he gets matched up on say a Benzema or Lukaku 1v1 with no one else between him and goal, you trust he won't just get shepherded into the box.
   191. JJ1986 Posted: May 28, 2022 at 03:21 PM (#6078825)
Off to a real start.
   192. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: May 28, 2022 at 03:42 PM (#6078830)
Did the game actually start 35+ minutes late, or was it always the plan that "3:00" meant the time the pre-game display was starting?

One thing I have always enjoyed about european soccer is that, unlike virtually every US sport, the game almost invariably started right around the announced kickoff time. If that's starting to change I'll be pretty annoyed.
   193. spivey Posted: May 28, 2022 at 03:53 PM (#6078833)
Match was delayed 35 minutes because of issues letting fans in on the Liverpool end. A lot of gates closed causing bottlenecks to get in, tear gas used, some people gate jumping.
   194. spivey Posted: May 28, 2022 at 03:55 PM (#6078835)
Fabinho and Thiago both starting, which has been huge. Their midfield is not great without those two.
   195. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: May 28, 2022 at 03:58 PM (#6078837)
Liverpool has been completely in control so far. If they play the rest of the game like this their chance of winning is very high. Just takes one mistake though to shake things up.
   196. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: May 28, 2022 at 03:59 PM (#6078839)
20 minutes in and Courtois has already made several good saves.
   197. spivey Posted: May 28, 2022 at 04:01 PM (#6078840)
Liverpool can dominate the middle 3rd because their doubtful players are all playing and seem reasonably fit. Madrid on the counter are absolutely devastating though... and Courtois is incredible. I don't like that man, but he may be the best GK in the world.
   198. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: May 28, 2022 at 04:12 PM (#6078842)
They can dominate on the counter, yes, but they most certainly have not been doing it so far today. Most likely Liverpool will score today, so in all likelihood they'll have to hit on the counter twice or at best take it to penalties.

No shots for Real Madrid so far, and no real looks on the counter either.
   199. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: May 28, 2022 at 04:15 PM (#6078843)
Winning the corner there was one of the very few times Real Madrid have gotten into the box today against Liverpool. The game could certainly change at any time, but the game is going perfectly for Liverpool so far except they have not scored yet.
   200. spivey Posted: May 28, 2022 at 04:21 PM (#6078846)
Liverpool are controlling the game, which I expected. One thing I don't think is going perfectly for them is I expected Luis Diaz to be a pressure point on Carvajal. Salah has a tough matchup vs. Mendy who I think may be a the best defensive LB in the world. But Liverpool haven't been able to win those 1v1s consistently on the edge, so they've gotten a lot of half chances.

That's a weird goal there. Have no idea how VAR is going to rule that. I'd probably let it stand. Initial run by Benzema was brilliantly timed.
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