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Sunday, November 28, 2021

OT Soccer Thread - Domestic Cups, Congested Fixture Lists and Winter Breaks

Champions League Group Stage End - December 7/8
MLS Cup - December 11
Champions League Knockout Stage Draw - December 13
Women’s Champions League Group Stage End - December 15
One Year to World Cup Final - December 18
Women’s Champions League Knockout Stage Draw - December 20
FA Cup Third Round - January 8
CONCACAF World Cup Qualifiers Window - January 27-February 2
EFL Cup Final - February 27

Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: November 28, 2021 at 10:39 AM | 517 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: off topic, soccer

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   101. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: December 11, 2021 at 02:29 PM (#6057014)
de Gea has had a very good year so far, and it's showing up in FBRef's shot stopping numbers.

United looked pretty weak today to Championship-bound Norwich. The game was in the rain on the road, but not much to get excited about except de Gea.

Arsenal looked good again. Probably they are back on top of the mini-league xGD table. 538 currently has them as ahead of West Ham and just behind United for best of the rest (i.e., 4th best) in the EPL. The gap from the top 7 to #8 in betting odds keeps increasing weekly as well.
   102. Mefisto Posted: December 11, 2021 at 03:36 PM (#6057017)
Yeah, DeGea made 3 top quality saves today, one of which was exceptional.
   103. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: December 12, 2021 at 01:41 PM (#6057088)
Mini-league (17 teams excluding the top 3) standings ordered by non-pen xGD. (Only teams with positive xGD are listed.)
           games   points  GD/90  xGD/90 (FBref) (understat) 

Arsenal      13      26    .77            .41      .56
Palace       13      19    .31            .37      .47
West Ham     13      22    .61            .36      .42
Leicester    14      22    .29            .29      .14
ManUnited    13      26    .84            .17      .23
Wolves       14      21      0            .16      .21
Tottenham    12      22    .08            .19      .12
Brighton     13      19    .08            .10      .17
Southampton  13      15   -.30            .24        0


Palace continues to impress, AND they have Southampton, Watford, and Norwich to round out the first half of the season.
Arsenal faces West Ham midweek.
   104. spivey 2 Posted: December 12, 2021 at 05:55 PM (#6057109)
Ajax lost today and aren't even top of the Eredivisie anymore. Their GF/GA is 49/4, and their record is 11-3-2. That is about as bad of a record as you can realistically have with those goals and goals allowed numbers.
   105. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: December 13, 2021 at 07:58 AM (#6057140)
Mock CL draw:

Benfica vs. Real Madrid
Villarreal vs. Manchester City
Atletico Madrid vs. Bayern Munich
FC Salzburg vs. Liverpool
Inter Milan vs. Ajax
Sporting CP vs. Juventus
Chelsea vs. Lille
Paris Saint-Germain vs. Manchester United
   106. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: December 13, 2021 at 08:12 AM (#6057141)
Europa League ACTUAL draw:

Barcelona vs Napoli
RB Leipzig vs Real Sociedad
Porto vs Lazio
FC Zenit vs Real Betis
Borussia Dortmund vs Rangers
Atalanta vs Olympiakos
Sevilla FC vs Dinamo Zagreb
FC Sheriff Tiraspol vs Sporting Braga

Rough order of intrigue, above (by talent). Sheriff/Braga are almost the two least fancied teams in the whole tournament, so Sheriff may even make the round of 16 (nah).

   107. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: December 13, 2021 at 08:18 AM (#6057142)
That's some impressive work by UEFA. So they are redoing the whole draw right?

At this point is Barca looking at winning the EL as their best path to the CL for next year?
   108. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: December 13, 2021 at 08:40 AM (#6057143)
Europa Conference ACTUAL dra:

Marseille v Qarabağ
PSV Eindhoven v Maccabi Tel Aviv
Fenerbahçe v Slavia Prague
Midtjylland v PAOK
Leicester City v Randers
Celtic Scotland v Bodø/Glimt
Sparta Prague v Partizan
Rapid Wien v Tottenham Hotspur or Vitesse
   109. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: December 13, 2021 at 08:42 AM (#6057145)
At this point is Barca looking at winning the EL as their best path to the CL for next year?
By betting odds, they have a much, much better chance to get CL through the league (about 50%) than winning Europa (about 11%). Winning KO tournaments is hard!

538 is lower on Barca than betting odds is, but their ratio is the same. 43% via the league, 9% via Europa.
   110. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: December 13, 2021 at 09:14 AM (#6057146)
I guess I'm a bit surprised that their odds in the league are that good. That all makes sense though.
   111. jmurph Posted: December 13, 2021 at 09:16 AM (#6057147)
Tough re-draw for Liverpool and Inter (against each other, though Liverpool is clearly the much better team). Villareal gets an easier matchup against Juventus (instead of Manchester City).
   112. jmurph Posted: December 13, 2021 at 09:18 AM (#6057148)
Yikes and Madrid gonna be pissed going from Benfica to PSG. Although I'm honestly not sure PSG are particularly good.
   113. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: December 13, 2021 at 09:23 AM (#6057149)
Redraw:

Salzburg v Bayern Munich
Sporting v Man City
Benfica v Ajax
Chelsea v Lille
Atlético v Man United
Villarreal v Juventus
Inter v Liverpool
PSG v Real Madrid

The first 4 matchups above will not be given close odds. The last 4 are more compelling.

Sporting/City is most fancied v least fancied. Salzburg/Bayern isn't that much better.
   114. spivey Posted: December 13, 2021 at 09:27 AM (#6057151)
PSG/Madrid is juicy. I think there's a chance Poch is fired if they lose that. Life at the top.

   115. spivey Posted: December 13, 2021 at 09:30 AM (#6057152)
Any team with PSG's front line talent is dangerous, far more dangerous than Benfica. They beat Bayern last year (were outplayed, but still beat them), and played City very close in the SF last year. That tie really could have gone either way.
   116. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: December 13, 2021 at 09:33 AM (#6057153)
Did they redo the whole draw (I didn't watch)? Seems awfully lucky that Chelsea drew Lille twice. 1/4 chance each time I think.
   117. jmurph Posted: December 13, 2021 at 09:34 AM (#6057154)
Any team with PSG's front line talent is dangerous, far more dangerous than Benfica. They beat Bayern last year (were outplayed, but still beat them), and played City very close in the SF last year. That tie really could have gone either way.

Absolutely, but they look worse this year. There's a lot of standing around from those front 3 when the other team has the ball.
   118. The Marksist Posted: December 13, 2021 at 09:43 AM (#6057157)
Love that UEFA can't even do basic software right. It's not a particularly difficult coding problem. Truly a hilarious public failure.

The only team I wanted to avoid as a Liverpool fan was PSG. They can randomly put 4 past anyone because Mbappé and they're just super annoying, crowding the ref, complaining about every little thing, rolling around on the ground, etc. As it stands, I'm fine with Inter. Liverpool are better, the San Siro is awesome, should be interesting!
   119. Fancy Pants Handle struck out swinging Posted: December 13, 2021 at 11:25 AM (#6057170)
How am I not surprised that the beneficiaries of this entire fiasco are Bayern.
   120. Fancy Pants Handle struck out swinging Posted: December 13, 2021 at 11:29 AM (#6057171)
Did they redo the whole draw (I didn't watch)? Seems awfully lucky that Chelsea drew Lille twice. 1/4 chance each time I think.

The first time doesn't really matter. You have to draw somebody the first time around. Like rolling a pair of threes is 1/36 odds. But rolling a pair is only 1/6. At those kind of odds, chances are somebody in the draw was going to repeat.
   121. and Posted: December 13, 2021 at 01:21 PM (#6057186)
Is it even a coding problem? Couldn't a 10 year old just do this with slips of paper? Maybe I don't understand exactly how it was done.
   122. spivey Posted: December 13, 2021 at 01:26 PM (#6057188)
I don't think it was a coding problem, I think it was a person didn't input the appropriate group stage pairs. Which, if it occurred, could have happened with paper, too. I also think it's a bit complicated to do with paper given each team has lists of teams they can't play that is different per team. It can be done by paper, but ottomh you'd have to use a lot of paper slips.

I do find it amusing that Madrid seems annoyed they didn't get to keep Benfica.
   123. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: December 13, 2021 at 01:34 PM (#6057193)
CL betting odds to advance, ordered by competitiveness.

PSG       56%
United    58%
Juve      66%
Ajax      75%
Liverpool 78%
Chelsea   81%
Bayern    86%
City      89%

Liverpool is a bit more heavily favored than I thought they would be, and Ajax a bit less. 538's odds are pretty similar, though they would put Atleti at 60% over United, and RealMadrid at 55% over PSG (so, basically, would reverse the favorites on these). They also like Inter a lot more than betting odds, giving Liverpool an only 68% chance. 538 really likes Liverpool overall, so the difference must be the view on Inter.

Revised (post-draw) betting odds to lift the trophy.
City              23
Bayern            20

Liverpool         14
Chelsea           10.5
PSG                8

Ajax               6.5
United             5
Real Madrid        5

Juve               2.5
Atleti             2.3
Inter              1.5

Villarreal         0.5
Lille              0.4
Salzburg           0.4
Benfica            0.2
Sporting           0.2
   124. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: December 13, 2021 at 01:39 PM (#6057196)
The first time doesn't really matter. You have to draw somebody the first time around. Like rolling a pair of threes is 1/36 odds. But rolling a pair is only 1/6. At those kind of odds, chances are somebody in the draw was going to repeat.


I meant Chelsea/Lille specifically, because Lille was by far the least fancied of the pot 1 teams and Chelses/PSG were by far the most fancied of the pot 2 teams. Basically Lille was below average for a pot 2 team (had they been in pot 2). Chelsea also gave away winning the group in extra time of round 6, and it looks like it didn't cost them. PSG, the other overqualified pot 2 team, just weren't good enough to keep up with City, so it's the group draw way back when that basically cost them a pot 1 spot and put them into this tough matchup with RealMadrid, not their group play.
   125. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: December 13, 2021 at 01:57 PM (#6057202)
Europa betting odds to advance, ordered by competitiveness.

Lazio       53%
Betis       56%
Barcelona   58%
Leipzig     58%
Braga       71%
Atalanta    72%
Dortmund    77%
Sevilla     77%


In the end, only 5 of the ex-CL teams are favored. Porto is not even favorites to Lazio, which is surprising to me. Zenit and especially Sheriff being underdogs is not surprising. The odds here are pretty similar to 538, with the extremely notable exception of Porto, which 538 likes at 76%. 538 generally has loved Porto this year and hates Lazio, so it's a double whammy. It's not just 538 either... traditional ELO (no xG involvement) has also been very high on Porto and very low on Lazio. And it's not just a mistake or a quirk of the matchup. Each team is currently being given very similar odds to win the whole thing, so are being considered more or less equal.
   126. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: December 13, 2021 at 02:07 PM (#6057203)
Europa post-draw betting odds to lift the trophy (asterisked teams have a bye).
Dortmund         14
Sevilla          10.5
Atalanta         9
Barcelona        9
West Ham     *   7.5
Leipzig          5.75
Napoli           5.25
Lyon         *   5
Leverkusen   *   4.75
Lazio            3.5
Porto            3.5
Monaco       *   3.25
Betis            3.25
Sociedad         3
Frankfurt    *   2.75
Zenit            2.25
Olympiacos       1.5
Galatasaray  *   1.5
Rangers          1
Braga            1
Red Star     *   1
Spartak      *   1
Zagreb           0.5
Sheriff          0.5


These track 538 very well except for Porto and Lazio. Also 538 loves Leipzig but betting odds are lukewarm on them.
   127. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: December 15, 2021 at 08:20 AM (#6057416)
I almost never watch the top 3 against the bottom half of the EPL anymore. What's the point? I'll sometimes turn to the game late if it's still close.

For some real excitement, there's the best of the rest. Arsenal hosts West Ham today for mini-league xG bragging rights. Oh, and if that doesn't do it for you, both teams are currently projected by betting odds to get right around 60 points this year, so the winner will have a big leg up on the loser for top 4, by odds trailing only United and Tottenham for the last spot, and a much better shot at Europa rather than ECL (if caring about that is a real thing).

Arsenal is at home, so are favorites. They are also a couple points behind in the table with a slightly harder schedule, so are considered to be the slightly better team anyway. 538 also thinks they are very slightly better.
   128. spivey Posted: December 15, 2021 at 10:28 AM (#6057433)
As a fan of Tottenham, I'll just say there's a real difference between Europa and ECL. Europa isn't the CL or even close, but it's still a prestigious competition with good teams in it. ECL is a nuisance more than anything, though yes, there will be a handful of good teams in it each year too.

It's going to be interesting (read: shitty) to watch Omicron do it's things to winter sports this year. Especially if the projections I'd read earlier in the year are accurate about the number of unvaxxed soccer players in Europe/England.

NBA is dealing with this too. I think it's really going to affect the product. There's no more room for matches, even the non-Europe teams have shitloads of fixtures here around Christmas. I think they're going to just force teams to play with heavily weakened squads. I suspect there may be a team or two who gets lucky not having their best players get affected, but mostly it's going to benefit the very deep (and 100% vaccinated) teams.

   129. Mefisto Posted: December 15, 2021 at 10:44 AM (#6057436)
Your prediction is already true: Leicester are forced to play today despite having 9 players out with Covid and others injured. They have no fit CBs.

ETA: It's odd because they did postpone the United/Brentford game yesterday.
   130. spivey Posted: December 15, 2021 at 01:07 PM (#6057461)
Wrong thread - but since I'm here, I was led to believe Leicester's CB issue is as much an injury issue as it is a COVID one. Anyways, I think it's possible matches go on with even more missing players. Or teams have to start quarantining, which I don't think the players will go for.
   131. Mefisto Posted: December 15, 2021 at 04:00 PM (#6057503)
I understood that Leicester had a combination of both issues.

Personally, I'd forfeit teams which can't play like the NFL.
   132. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: December 15, 2021 at 04:29 PM (#6057509)
Palace continued their very good play today, but just couldn't get the win, yet again. Pretty exciting game though somehow they went up and down the field for the last 30 minutes with barely a shot either way.

Brighton up to their old tricks today.

Of course the big story is Arsenal has been all over West Ham, and are just now up a man. Missed the associated PK though, so West Ham still has a chance, even if it's pretty small.
   133. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: December 15, 2021 at 04:42 PM (#6057512)
Another data point. By understat's xPoints, Arsenal and West Ham will be basically even after this game, and Arsenal will probably be only a couple goals back on overall non-pen xGD (including the games where they got throttled against the top 3, one of which they played down a man for an hour).
   134. Miserable, Non-Binary Candy is all we deserve CoB Posted: December 16, 2021 at 08:53 AM (#6057549)
Spurs vs Leicester is off ... finally.
I have a feeling it won't be the last.
I wonder if the PL will have to declare a time out to let this wave pass.
   135. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: December 16, 2021 at 02:01 PM (#6057590)
Half the EPL games this weekend are postponed.

Manchester United Brighton
Southampton Brentford
Watford Palace
West Ham Norwich
Everton Leicester
   136. Baldrick Posted: December 17, 2021 at 09:56 AM (#6057715)
Chelsea bounced from the group stage of the Women's Champions League last night, in thoroughly embarrassing fashion. They had 10 points through four games, but failed to score against Juve and left themselves in a bit of danger on the final matchday. Still, all they had to do was avoid a multi-goal defeat to Wolfsburg and they'd still advance. Result: 4-0 to Wolfsburg.

The only English team left in the competition is Arsenal, who conceded four goals in three separate group stage matches.
   137. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: December 18, 2021 at 09:05 AM (#6057842)
I see now that the Chelsea group was 11/11/11/0, with Chelsea losing out on head-to-head GD with Juve and Wolfsburg. Servette Chenois was no competition for anyone, never scored, and lost all their games by at least 3 goals, except one game against Chelsea.

So, the real questions are: is Chelsea much better than Wolfsburg and/or Juventus, and did they drop points in the head to head games where they really should have won? Very hard for me to know, without having watched the games.

Looking at the basic stats, they came from two goals behind in the 3-3 home draw to Wolfsburg, had a lot more possession and slightly more shots. Seems like they may have been better but it's not at all a slam dunk. On the other hand, the Juve draw seems to have been quite a disappointment, with Chelsea having all the possession and outshooting Juve 25-2. Wow.

I'm assuming they were outplayed in the 4-0 loss to Wolfsburg, but the statline seems to indicate it was at least a lot closer than the scoreline.

To make matters worse, it looks like Wolfsburg may have been the better team than Juve across the other two relevant group games, where they faced each other, but only managed a single point. Based on group performance, looking only at the stats, Juve seems to have been easily the weakest of the 3 teams.

All in all, yeah, seems like Chelsea really should have been one of the two teams to advance.
   138. frannyzoo Posted: December 18, 2021 at 12:38 PM (#6057862)
As an Atalanta fan this morning was irritating, particularly as Jose was involved, but more importantly I'm watching the crowd at Ellan Road and thinking: why are fans there? Again, as an Atalanta fan, this looks very La Dea v. Valencia, March 2020.
   139. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: December 18, 2021 at 01:00 PM (#6057866)
Game today is so far confirming what the betting odds already assumed: Arsenal is good and Leeds is not.

Betting odds actually really liked Leeds (relatively speaking) pre-season, but have gone way down on them, understandably, since they've been bad this year.
   140. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: December 18, 2021 at 01:09 PM (#6057870)
Leeds is bad defensively this year, but they were just about as bad last year as well. The only way they were ever going to make the leap to contend for Europe was to clean up their defense--mainly not let the other side pass the ball right through them all game. The problem this year is the attack has sputtered and the defense hasn't gotten any better.
   141. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: December 18, 2021 at 02:34 PM (#6057882)
Another point on Arsenal is that they've had 4 games this year in which they performed clearly worse than in all the others. 3 of those 4 were the first three games of the season (Brentford, Chelsea, and City), so there's some hope they have actually worked things out a bit since the very start of the season. Any ELO system and even moreso 538's rankings weight more recent events heavier than ones further back, so Arsenal looks really good in these systems.

By clubelo, Arsenal is now a top 10 team in the world. 538 has them 12th, also behind Barca, Atleti, and Dortmund, but ahead of United. Those rankings might be overstating things a bit, but the reality is overall Arsenal has played very well since the beginning of September, and it's showing up in their ratings.

(Yes, Leeds had injuries today, but they were blown off the field at home. Injuries or no that's a strong showing by Arsenal and a poor one by Leeds.)
   142. Baldrick Posted: December 19, 2021 at 11:12 AM (#6057979)
To make matters worse, it looks like Wolfsburg may have been the better team than Juve across the other two relevant group games, where they faced each other, but only managed a single point. Based on group performance, looking only at the stats, Juve seems to have been easily the weakest of the 3 teams.

This was certainly the group with the strongest third team, but Juve are still a major step behind the true top teams in the world. They're good enough to put themselves in a position to get lucky, which they did.

Chelsea's squad is much better than Wolfsburg's. Not that Wolfsburg is bad, but Chelsea's squad is ridiculous. But Chelsea routinely underperform in Europe, often by huge margins. They were thoroughly outplayed by Wolfsburg last year in the quarterfinals but somehow advanced 5-1 on aggregate. One of the craziest ties I've ever seen TBH.

I personally think a big part of their problem in Europe is (lack of) coaching. This is not a very popular opinion in English media--where Emma Hayes is treated like the women's game equivalent of SAF--but it seems pretty clear to me.
   143. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: December 19, 2021 at 12:36 PM (#6057988)
Spurs outplayed Liverpool in the first half and looked great on the break. That it's just 1-1 really short changes them based on play on then field.

On the other side of the coin, two big calls went Spurs' way which would have really changed the game. Horror tackle by Kane, and he was lucky to miss the Liverpool player. He should have been sent off. Then, Liverpool player got barged into through the back in the box. Not at all shoulder to shoulder since the Spurs defender had to go directly through the player.
   144. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: December 19, 2021 at 12:41 PM (#6057990)
Yeah, weird in that Spurs should have scored 2-3 based on the chances (not sure what the xG is yet), but Kane should have seen red and that was definitely a penalty.
   145. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: December 19, 2021 at 12:45 PM (#6057991)
And now Kane misses a header from 2 yards out. Sheesh.
   146. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: December 19, 2021 at 12:53 PM (#6057993)
Liverpool has double the shots of Spurs, but have had almost no big chances. Spurs have had a bunch of great chances, but have only scored the one. xG is not close right now.
   147. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: December 19, 2021 at 01:00 PM (#6057994)
That arm contact by Salah would have been enough to negate the goal, in past years. Now I don't think it is supposed to anymore.

edit: "in past years" might have been just for the first year of VAR.
   148. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: December 19, 2021 at 01:01 PM (#6057995)
And, of course.
   149. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: December 19, 2021 at 01:04 PM (#6057996)
And Alisson makes a huge blunder after having had a great game!
   150. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: December 19, 2021 at 01:07 PM (#6057997)
Now Robertson with a bad kick out. Arguably a red too, but in truth much less dangerous than the Kane play, since it was "only" a swing of the leg.

And it's given! Klopp will not be happy after this one!
   151. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: December 19, 2021 at 01:14 PM (#6057998)
Both teams playing for the win right now. Liverpool thinks they can beat anyone and know that a point is probably meaningless in chasing down City, so are willing to push for the win, even in a game against a very decent Spurs team where they've been outplayed most of the day.

For Spurs part, they are at home, up a man, and have been playing really well. No way they are going to be happy settling for a draw now.
   152. jmurph Posted: December 19, 2021 at 01:37 PM (#6058000)
I realize I'm famously a Spurs-hater but I was obviously cheering for them today against Liverpool: just bonkers refereeing. The Kane foul is an obvious red, and the (non) penalty was clear as day on every angle I saw (given that VAR didn't tell the ref to take a look I'm open to there being an angle that looked better).
   153. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: December 19, 2021 at 01:59 PM (#6058008)
Eyeballing the betting odds, Spurs are considered just a tad worse than Arsenal going forward. It's close. Arsenal is also a little more favored for top 4 due to Spurs probably not being expected to take quite 6 points from the three games they missed and will have to make up: Burnley, Brighton, and Leicester, all away from home. Both Spurs and Arsenal are considered a step worse than United and a half step better than West Ham.
   154. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: December 19, 2021 at 08:11 PM (#6058028)
One of my main takeaways from today is that I thought a midfield of Winks-Alli-Ndombele would be a complete disaster. And yet they all played pretty well, with Winks probably playing the best I've ever seen for him.
   155. The Marksist Posted: December 20, 2021 at 04:00 PM (#6058119)
That was a weird game for sure. I think at least one of Spurs' big chances later in the game would have come back for offside, which makes the xG a little less lopsided. I also thought the refereeing was...interesting. Not sure how you don't take a second look at Kane's tackle and then do take a second look at Robertson's. And the foul on Jota looked pretty clear to me!

Props to Spurs for clearly having a game plan and executing it very well. On the flip side, Liverpool probably squeaks it if Alisson doesn't whiff on that clearance.
   156. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: December 26, 2021 at 10:45 AM (#6058663)
The first yellow to Zaha was iffy but the second was clear as day, not sure what the commentators are on about.
   157. spivey Posted: December 26, 2021 at 10:46 AM (#6058664)
City is so good.

You know who else is good? Antonio Conte.
   158. spivey Posted: December 26, 2021 at 10:50 AM (#6058665)
In these uncertain times, City v Bayern 2 legged UCL SF tie is what this world needs.
   159. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: December 26, 2021 at 11:41 AM (#6058669)
I'm not sure what to make of the City/Leicester game. City were outrageously dominant to start then seemed to fall asleep a bit in the second half. I'm not sure if this is "City are great but can be exposed" or "City are great and can turn it on and off at will."

What I will say with confidence is James Maddison is very very very very good.
   160. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: December 26, 2021 at 12:22 PM (#6058671)
Very strong showings by Arsenal and Spurs. Any more of this without United stepping up, and it will be those two teams fighting it out for 4th.

538 and ELO have Arsenal as a top 10 team now. Spurs are moving up as well, and would be very close, or right there, under both those systems if they had taken the ECL a little more seriously.
   161. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: December 27, 2021 at 12:26 AM (#6058722)
EPL expected team quality for second half of the season, ​by betting odds
team      pts exp.  games left   played twice      yet to play
city           44       19       leicester         brentford
liverpool      43       20       --                leicester
chelsea        40       19       villa             brighton
united         42       22       --                brighton, brentford, burnley
arsenal        30       19       norwich           wolves
tottenham      34       22       palace            leicester, brighton, southampton, burnley
west ham       29       20       southampton       watford, norwich
leicester      29       21       city              liverpool, tottenham, everton
brighton       25       21       brentford         chelsea, united, tottenham
villa          28       20       chelsea           leeds, burnley
wolves         24       20       --                arsenal
everton        25       21       --                leicester, newcastle
southampton    23       20       west ham          tottenham, brentford
leeds          23       20       --                villa
palace         24       20       tottenham         watford, norwich
newcastle      22       20       --                everton
brentford      22       21       brighton          city, united, southampton
burnley        23       23       --                united, tottenham, villa, watford
watford        21       22       --                west ham, palace, burnley
norwich        16       20       arsenal           west ham, palace
   162. spivey Posted: December 27, 2021 at 10:40 AM (#6058731)
I'm not sure what to make of the City/Leicester game. City were outrageously dominant to start then seemed to fall asleep a bit in the second half. I'm not sure if this is "City are great but can be exposed" or "City are great and can turn it on and off at will."


A bit of both, imo.

First goal probably doesn't happen without the slip from Laporte. Dias misplayed the situation and let Maddison skip by him. Their defenders are pretty aggressive and given how they play, individual mistakes can cost them goals. Second goal is a bit concerning, but had some inch perfect dribbling and passing. A press-heavy team is always vulnerable to a goal like that. Third goal was just a really good long range shot that set up the rebound.

Bayern have games like this occasionally, and Liverpool just gave up a ton of xG to Tottenham (though without Van Dijk).
   163. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: December 27, 2021 at 03:19 PM (#6058757)
538's predictions are very similar to betting odds, except 538 hates Manchester United, dislikes Newcastle, but likes Brighton, Burnley, and Watford.
   164. Mefisto Posted: December 27, 2021 at 05:18 PM (#6058762)
It turns out that no coaching change can overcome the fact that United are filled with players who simply can't pass the ball.
   165. spivey Posted: December 28, 2021 at 11:59 AM (#6058826)
Happy I didn't watch the Tottenham/Southampton match as it sounds like a frustrating one. It's tough to not win a match when you dominate it like that. I guess the silver lining is it's nice the team appears to actually be good now.
   166. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: December 28, 2021 at 01:43 PM (#6058838)
I do think Tottenham is good now, and I think they would likely have dominated anyway. Just to point out though that they weren't exactly doing such a great job prior to the penalty allowing them to go up a man in the 39th minute. Before that they had two shots for 0.07 xG and were trailing by a goal.
   167. spivey Posted: December 28, 2021 at 03:06 PM (#6058849)
On the one hand, yes, Tottenham's had 3 matches in a row against 10 men, and it should affect some of our review of their play. On the other, without the penalty there is a super high xG chance for Son. It wasn't a cheap pen or a pen on the edge of the box in a non-dangerous situation. Son was in on goal. Also, dominating 11v10 is something that doesn't always happen. It means something, even if it's not the same.
   168. jmurph Posted: December 29, 2021 at 03:00 PM (#6058929)
I can't believe the ref isn't even going to look at that Lukaku goal. I mean I can, he's the single worst ref in the league, but still.
   169. spivey Posted: December 29, 2021 at 04:39 PM (#6058944)
I see a good amount of hand-wringing on Cartilage Free Captain about how Tottenham played. But their xG and non-shot xG were both pretty good. And their shots and shots on goal were very high. With a somewhat rotated squad. Related, a lot of the talk after the Liverpool/Leicester match is about how Liverpool weren't good and Leicester were, but Liverpool appears to have won xG like 2.5-0.7, on the road. I agree xG isn't everything especially in a single game, but large gaps like that usually mean something, and it's a sign of a good team when you're winning xG even when you're not playing your best.

Anyways, Chelsea just drew Brighton at home and didn't look great doing it. Chelsea's looked very beatable the last several games. They're still clearly in a tier of their own as the 3rd best team, imo, but they've been playing more like the rest of the teams fighting for 4th than a title contender for a while now.
   170. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: December 29, 2021 at 08:54 PM (#6058972)
Happy I didn't watch the Tottenham/Southampton match as it sounds like a frustrating one. It's tough to not win a match when you dominate it like that. I guess the silver lining is it's nice the team appears to actually be good now.

I can see why the goal after the Forster mistake was called off, as Doherty did appear to bump him without playing the ball. I still can't fathom how that Kane goal was determined to be offside.

Oh, and since you brought up xG, yeah Spurs put up around 3 xG which I'm pretty sure doesn't count those disallowed goals at all.

One more note - watching Doherty play was so weird because everything he did seemed to be at half speed.
   171. jmurph Posted: December 30, 2021 at 10:18 AM (#6059003)
I still can't fathom how that Kane goal was determined to be offside.

As far as I could tell, Laporte had one called back because his arm was offside.
   172. I am going to be Frank Posted: December 30, 2021 at 03:54 PM (#6059046)
I thought Aaron Lennon retired five years ago.
   173. Mefisto Posted: December 30, 2021 at 05:14 PM (#6059050)
That was almost exactly my thought.
   174. Bret Sabermatrician Posted: December 30, 2021 at 05:34 PM (#6059052)
I just learned Emile Heskey only retired 5 years ago. I don't think I've thought about him since it was still called Championship Manager.

Oh, and I just started playing CM 01/02 again and it's so much fun. Football Manager in it's current form is way too in depth for someone with a family to delve into.
   175. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: December 30, 2021 at 06:01 PM (#6059054)
EPL betting odds!
winner
city        87
liverpool    9
chelsea      3
field        1

top 4
liverpool   96
chelsea     92
united      43
arsenal     30
tottenham   25
westham     11
leicester    2
field        1

top 6
united      85
arsenal     73
tottenham   65
westham     40
leicester   12
villa        7
wolves       6
brighton     5
field        7

relegation
norwich     91
watford     55
burnley     52
newcastle   48
leeds       24
brentford   10
southampton  6
everton      5
palace       4
field        5

   176. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: December 31, 2021 at 02:05 AM (#6059083)
updated 17-team mini-league standings. Arsenal is now lapping the field, in actual results as well as in xGD.
                                           non-pen xGD/90
          games  points   GD/90        fbref    538   understat
arsenal     16    35      1.25          .68     .83     .89
tottenham   14    26       .29          .41     .56     .41 
west ham    16    25       .50          .31     .31     .36 
man united  15    30       .73          .25     .27     .29 
palace      16    20       .25          .16     .29     .34
leicester   14    22       .29          .33     .09     .14
wolves      15    24       .07          .16     .21     .19
brighton    15    22       .13          .08     .16     .16

Southampton, Everton, and Brentford were all slightly negative on non-pen xGD, so did not make the list.
   177. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: December 31, 2021 at 08:11 PM (#6059183)
Granted there a few massive caveats - 5 out of 7 games at home, weak opposition other than Liverpool, several opposition red cards - but Spurs are +10.18 xGD in the 7 games since Conte took over per Understat.

They've had at least 2 xG in 6 out of 7 Conte games (only the first game against Everton was a miss). They didn't have 2 xG in a single game before Conte took over.
   178. spivey Posted: December 31, 2021 at 08:17 PM (#6059185)
It's too depressing to go back and look at, but as I recall, Spurs' underlying stats during the Nuno era were such that their xGD, shots/90, distance run, etc. was all basically worst or near-worst with Norwich.
   179. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: January 01, 2022 at 08:23 AM (#6059215)
High quality first half of the Arsenal/City game. Arsenal matched City's performance and even have the lead by taking their best chance. They started cautiously for the first 15 minutes but really grew into the game, and outplayed City from then until the end of the half.
   180. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: January 01, 2022 at 08:50 AM (#6059217)
Oh well. It was fun while it lasted, but what a disaster. Arsenal was well up on non-pen xG before going down to 10. Now we'll see how bad it gets.
   181. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: January 01, 2022 at 09:15 AM (#6059219)
Overall Arsenal got the short end of the stick on the officiating, but I wouldn't say any of the individual calls were wrong. It doesn't always go your way.
   182. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: January 01, 2022 at 09:20 AM (#6059221)
City didn't have a single shot between minutes 19 and 66, a full half game. They did have the penalty right near the end of that. After the red, they've had all the shots and Arsenal none, though none have been high quality.

edit: and finally the goal. Arsenal played so well but not so smartly. Looked great with 10 men as well and City needed a bit of luck to get their good chance for the goal.
   183. spivey Posted: January 01, 2022 at 10:16 AM (#6059224)
Watching Spurs progress the the ball as a team unit so well really makes you appreciate how important managers are. I'm surprised we see them move teams for such little money, basically the cost of mediocre or unproven field player.

Didn't watch the match but looks like a really good performance by Arsenal. Arsenal and Tottenham both look very good. United have the best squad, which is why they've got the best betting odds, but they really are going to need to put it together soon I think to finish 4th.

One big upgrade for Tottenham I'd like to see is RB. Emerson really is not very capable of beating guys off the dribble or even just creating a half yard of space with pace. They better give Conte what he wants.
   184. I am going to be Frank Posted: January 01, 2022 at 10:38 AM (#6059226)
I know buying in January is often a fool's errand, but are there any midfielders out there that United can target? There are still a lot of clubs who are hurting financially from COVID.

Would Frenkie De Jong be a good target? There has to be guys in Germany, Spain or France that could improve the most glaring weakness.
   185. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: January 01, 2022 at 11:32 AM (#6059231)
Close up replays show that Ederson almost certainly never got the ball, so it probably should have been a penalty in the end. Very hard to see though during the game. One mitigating factor is the offensive player stepped between Ederson and the ball, basically trying to draw the foul and not play the ball. Still usually the offensive player is allowed to do that and a foul is usually given anyway.

I thought Xhaka's shirt pull was probably incidental enough, but it looked like his thigh came across and made contact, so giving a penalty was not unfair, even if it was a little softer than you'd normally want as a neutral.
   186. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: January 02, 2022 at 10:30 AM (#6059336)
Being an Everton fan is a bit like having your nuts gnawed off by a piranha.
   187. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: January 02, 2022 at 11:51 AM (#6059342)
For a game only halfway through the season between two of the best team's in the league, there's basically nothing on the line except bragging rights. These teams will almost certainly finish in the top 4, and have very little chance of winning the league now.

Due to all the covid cancellations, we're about two weeks behind on average. After this game exactly 190 games will have been played, with some teams having more exactly played half their games than others. City and Chelsea are the only two teams not to have a game cancelled yet, and only Burnley has had 4 cancelled. Everyone else is between 18 and 20. There's one more game tomorrow, but then no games for more than a week before they have finally scheduled a few make-ups.

Lots of hay was made about City's 36 wins in the 2021 calendar year, an EPL record. Ok, but they also played 44 games, way more than a normal season.
   188. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: January 03, 2022 at 09:35 AM (#6059410)
Lukaku and Chelsea are not happy with each other now it seems. I haven't watched Chelsea enough to know whether they really are a better team not starting Lukaku, but at least his non-pen xgoal (and actual non-pen goal) and xassist numbers per 90 are not down at all from prior years (slightly worse than last year, but slightly better than the year before, for example). I just read that Chelsea has scored many more goals per minute when he's not on the field, and maybe that's true, but at least this year the vast majority of his minutes are against top half competition, so I'm not sure that's at all meaningful. (639 against top half, including 369 against the other members of the top 5, and only 191 v bottom half).

It's very possible Tuchel thinks Lukaku's offensive contributions aren't worth compromising his desired team shape, and/or are coming at the expense of other Chelsea players. Just citing goal numbers though, by Lukaku or by Chelsea in the games he's played in, does not persuasively make the case that he is playing badly or that Chelsea is better off not starting him.

   189. Mefisto Posted: January 03, 2022 at 10:58 AM (#6059415)
I think it's hard to argue that Tuchel has used Lukaku optimally. At least 2 games in a row recently, because of injury to Havertz, he started Pulisic as his central striker with Mount and H-O as the rest of the three. Chelsea would have done much better with Lukaku up front and the others rotating beside him.
   190. jmurph Posted: January 03, 2022 at 11:11 AM (#6059417)
I think it's especially fascinating that it's unfolding at Chelsea, specifically, because if you're management, how can you side with Tuchel and make big financial decisions like this when you can basically guarantee he won't be there in 18 months? The last time a manager got more than 2 seasons at Chelsea, if I'm reading correctly, was Mourinho's first go around.
   191. jmurph Posted: January 03, 2022 at 11:40 AM (#6059423)
Being an Everton fan is a bit like having your nuts gnawed off by a piranha.

Oooh the Guardian podcast making the case that it's all building up to Rooney at Everton. Love it.
   192. jmurph Posted: January 03, 2022 at 12:31 PM (#6059432)
Phil Jones is still on a Premier League team?
   193. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: January 03, 2022 at 12:38 PM (#6059435)
Oooh the Guardian podcast making the case that it's all building up to Rooney at Everton. Love it.


I saw that. Given the job he's done at Derby it's hard not to be excited about that but the problems for Everton are just so fundamentally ingrained right now. It's a team that doesn't know what the #### it wants to do.

I've said it before, I'm content to let the big boys play champions league but I want to see us make some runs in the League and FA Cups, give the Europa League/Conference a fair shake if we make it and beyond all that play wide open, exciting soccer. Attack should always be the name of the game for Everton. We are never winning the league and should never under any circumstances get relegated either so go have some fun.
   194. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: January 03, 2022 at 12:50 PM (#6059437)
You may jest, but Phil Jones has probably played even less than you might have guessed over the last 3 seasons.
   195. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: January 03, 2022 at 01:03 PM (#6059439)
Only 1.5 goals have been scored in Wolves games this year, by far the lowest in the league. They are also tied for lowest in combined xG and xGA per game with Brighton, but not by any notable margin (2.4 xG per game combined being barely enough for tied lowest in the league). They've underperformed xG, second only To Norwich in underperformance, but way overperformed xGA with no one else close.
   196. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: January 03, 2022 at 01:18 PM (#6059442)
Manchester United has had some ok results since Rangnick became manager, but they actually haven't been any better than before. 538 has them at about par since then. Both 538 and elo have them as down very slightly, but that also includes the drag from the meaningless home draw against Young Boys.

They haven't looked good today against Wolves at all.
   197. Mefisto Posted: January 03, 2022 at 01:35 PM (#6059446)
Oh c'mon -- United have looked just as good today as they did against Newcastle.

I haven't looked up his stats, but my subjective impression is that Jadon Sancho is disappointing. I'm honestly not sure why he starts.
   198. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: January 03, 2022 at 02:33 PM (#6059452)
After that performance, 538 has United ranked behind Brighton, as 7th best in the league. Not great! Betting odds still has them as 4th best going forward, but they are slowly coming back to Arsenal/Tottenham territory in terms of expectation.

Betting odds for top 4 are close to completely even now among United/Arsenal/Tottenham.
   199. jmurph Posted: January 03, 2022 at 03:24 PM (#6059459)
United need like... 5 new starting caliber players? 6?
   200. Mefisto Posted: January 03, 2022 at 03:36 PM (#6059462)
To contend for the top spot in the EPL? That seems right. To make top 4 this year, a holding mid who can pass the ball is essential (been essential since SAF retired) plus some depth would probably do it. Other than that they have solutions: sit Ronaldo except for late game substitutions; the front 3 rotate between Cavani, Greenwood, Rashford, and (I guess) Sancho; either Bruno or Pogba as an AM.

This is how the team was built: to play a 4-3-3. I can't see changing that now and still finishing top 4. But a new coach might well want 5 new starters depending on what he wants to do.
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