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Monday, August 09, 2021

OT Soccer Thread - Transfer! Kits! Other Stuff!

Bundesliga, Premier League and La Liga start August 13.

Serie A August 20.

Ligue Une started this weekend.  I haven’t paid attention to much but I assume defending champions Lille are expected to repeat.

Champions League, Europa League and Europa Conference last qualifying rounds are the week of August 16 with draws for the group stages on the 27th.

Women’s Champions League qualifying rounds are the week of the 16th as well.

English Women’s Super League starts September 3rd.

Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: August 09, 2021 at 09:01 AM | 424 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: off topic, soccer

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   1. spivey 2 Posted: August 09, 2021 at 09:34 AM (#6033513)
With the way Tottenham is spending, and reading the tea leaves and Pep even acknowledging they're in for him, I think Harry Kane is sold to City. He probably misses the game this weekend for both teams. Hopefully Dier and Winks are sold too.
   2. jmurph Posted: August 09, 2021 at 10:03 AM (#6033516)
It's a little bit hilarious that ESPN/ABC/Disney bought the rights to La Liga in the US, has Barcelona's opening match on ABC this weekend, and now there's no Messi.
   3. MY PAIN IS NOT A HOLIDAY (CoB). Posted: August 09, 2021 at 10:08 AM (#6033517)
With the way Tottenham is spending, and reading the tea leaves and Pep even acknowledging they're in for him, I think Harry Kane is sold to City. He probably misses the game this weekend for both teams.


The Lautaro deal seems off after Inter sold Lukaku to Chelsea; this all seems a lead in to an interesting game of chicken between City and Levy.

Hopefully Dier and Winks are sold too.

And Sissoko, please, please Sissoko.
There are annoyingly far too many surplus to requirements parts left to be moved on still on the roster now.
   4. jmurph Posted: August 09, 2021 at 10:21 AM (#6033520)
Hopefully Dier and Winks are sold too.

Saw some twitter speculation over the weekend that with PSG, Barcelona, Madrid, maybe Inter, maybe Juve, needing to sell many players for financial reasons, the market is all screwed up for everyone else trying to make moves.
   5. spivey 2 Posted: August 09, 2021 at 12:21 PM (#6033528)
I'm unsure if that's the exact cause, but certainly I think teams are much more reluctant to pony up cash unless it's clear you think someone is a real upgrade. Levy has also had a tendency to overvalue his own assets which has led to squad bloat.

It's extremely interesting to see what happens to La Liga and Barcelona in particular over the next 3 weeks. With the wage limit the league is imposing, Barca have so many high wage guys that nobody wants, how that situation gets resolved will be very interesting.
   6. Mefisto Posted: August 09, 2021 at 06:42 PM (#6033587)
Another American in the EPL: Josh Sargent signed with Norwich City.
   7. Mefisto Posted: August 09, 2021 at 08:58 PM (#6033602)
   8. The Marksist Posted: August 10, 2021 at 09:30 AM (#6033645)
'Tis the season for unreasonable optimism, so I'm feeling pretty good about Liverpool right now! Lots of guys looked quite good in preseason and nearly everyone is healthy and most are rested at least a little. Even Ox and Naby looked strong and sharp! The Child (young Harvey!) didn't seem out of place! So many center backs! Kostas Tsimikas maybe isn't useless!

Yes, some of these will be mirages and false dawns, but still. A fella can dream, right?


[Man City will very likely win the league. I'm not an idiot, despite looking like one.]
   9. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: August 10, 2021 at 02:56 PM (#6033675)
No away goals rule! The scourge has already struck several times in Europe this year, and continues to strike today. Oh well.

Some big upsets already in the CL today. Moldova's Sheriff and Hungary's Ferencvaros both advanced. Malmo leads in their tie against Rangers too, though the second leg has not kicked off just yet.

Looks like Ferencavros kicked their way into the payoff round. 8 yellow cards, including two for a man sent off in the 84th minute. Outshot something like 20-2.

Sheriff would be by far the biggest surprise of any of these teams.

Lincoln Red Imps are playing in Europa, but unless they turn it around quick will end up dropped down again to play for a spot in the Conference League group stage.


   10. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: August 10, 2021 at 03:52 PM (#6033682)
Rangers drew level in their tie (due to no away goals rule), and just caught a break with the inaptly named Innocent picking up his second yellow with a foolish high tackle. Rangers looking likely now to advance to the playoff round. If they advance, the opponent is still uncertain, as Olumpiacos with 2 away goals will have to go to extras against Ludogorets, which has just one.

(I promise to lay off the lack of away goals rule soon, but count on one more round of snide comments once the CL goes to the KO stage!)
   11. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: August 10, 2021 at 04:19 PM (#6033692)
Holy ####. I turn to my actual job for 20 minutes and return to see that 10 man Malmo have scored twice against Rangers. WTF!
   12. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: August 10, 2021 at 04:49 PM (#6033700)
Whoa. Looks like Olympiacos was skunked in pens. 6 taken only for both teams?! (edit: oops no, looks like 4-1 actually. Almost as bad.)

Ludogorets will take on Malmo for a spot in the CL group stage. That team will be quite the minnow. Rangers out.

No other upsets, so no other true minnows are likely to advance. You never know though.

Salzburg v Brøndby
Young Boys v Ferencváros
Ludogorets v Malmö
Sheriff v Zagreb
Monaco v Shakhtar
Benfica v PSV
   13. Mefisto Posted: August 10, 2021 at 08:38 PM (#6033740)
   14. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: August 11, 2021 at 06:26 PM (#6033903)
538 predictions are up for the new season. They track the EPL betting odds fairly closely.
                   odds          538

Manchester City     87           81

Chelsea             78           73
Liverpool           77           74
Manchester United   74           68

Arsenal Points      62           60
Tottenham           60           60
Leicester City      59           57

Leeds United        54           50
Everton             53           50

West Ham United     50           52
Aston Villa         49           50
Brighton            46           51

Wolverhampton       43           46
Southampton         41           43
Crystal Palace      39           38
Burnley             39           41
Newcastle United    39           44
Brentford           38           38
 
Norwich City        35           37
Watford             34           36

Same story every year--betting odds slightly overrate teams in the top half of the table (mentally subtract about one point just because if you add up all points the total is unrealistically high, maybe 1.5 from the top 4 and half a point from the others). Also, betting odds has a wider range of outcomes than 538. All teams in the top 11 are lower per 538, and the bottom 9 are all higher. notable exceptions are Spurs and Brentford (538 dislikes Brentford and likes Spurs) and especially Palace.

In the past couple of years, 538 has done just about as well as betting odds for the EPL. If you mentally adjust for the wider range and the extra points given to top teams by betting odds, the biggest differences are probably Palace and Newcastle, Brighton, Leeds, and the two Manchesters. 538 dislikes all of them except Brighton and Newcastle.

Some clear tiers of teams this year. We'll see if it turns out that way.
   15. The_Ex Posted: August 12, 2021 at 09:07 AM (#6034004)
Some clear tiers of teams this year. We'll see if it turns out that way.


The BBC writers predictions (about 40 writers) have 39 of them with some combination of Chelsea, City, United and Liverpool in the top 4 with Chelsea and City as the only choices for top spot. One writer put Leicester in at fourth.

The bottom tier has the promoted teams, with Southampton, Newcastle and Palace. I am a little surprised to see Burnley and Wolves in the bottom tier although Burnley are older and Wolves have a new manager.
   16. The Marksist Posted: August 12, 2021 at 09:27 AM (#6034014)
I think this might be the year Newcastle goes down. They've been beating expectation for too long and I think variance might bite them back this year. I get a similar feeling about Palace without Roy the Boy, and just don't think Southampton have the players to survive for much longer. I'd guess that Norwich, Newcastle, and either Watford or Palace go down.

But, as usual, I know nothing so don't listen to me!
   17. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: August 12, 2021 at 09:33 AM (#6034017)
This doesn't make me feel better about VAR. Many changes but it just feels like rearranging deck chairs. It's just making things complicated.
   18. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: August 12, 2021 at 10:00 AM (#6034022)
Pretty much all the rule changes are trying to get the game back closer to where it was before VAR came along (but presumably with some added benefit of the accuracy of VAR). We'll see how well that actually works out.

I'm happy they are doing something. To me giving penalties for players feeling the slightest touch and going down, especially without being in any position or having any intention to score, was becoming a big problem. I'd change the penalty reward first, but that seems to be off the table for now at least, so changing how it is called is the next best thing.
   19. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: August 12, 2021 at 10:20 AM (#6034027)
Apparently Kepa came in just for pens in the SuperCup. Made two decent saves. Did guess right on another one, and probably should have saved that one too.

   20. jmurph Posted: August 12, 2021 at 11:56 AM (#6034045)
Weirdly good odds for Arsenal. I don't know why they should be expected to be much better than last year.
   21. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: August 12, 2021 at 01:17 PM (#6034080)
The main reason is that teams with resources generally bounce back from years of subpar performance. For example, 538's model regresses 1/3 to club player valuation. No doubt, bettors are doing something similar.

Before a season begins, a team’s SPI ratings are based on two factors: its ratings at the end of the previous season, and its market value as calculated by Transfermarkt (a site that assigns a monetary value to each player, based on what they would fetch in a transfer). We’ve found that a team’s market value — relative to their league’s average value — is strongly correlated with its end-of-season SPI rating. Thus, we use these market values to infer each team’s preseason SPI rating.


edit: oh, and also by 538's methodology Arsenal was easily the 5th best team in the EPL last year, so maybe that was the real reason for 538's ranking this year. Arsenal did quite well in Europa (boosting their 538 ranking and maybe the bettors' perception), and this year have no games in Europe to screw them up for the league. I'd be a little surprised if they finish outside the top 6.

edit2: also, what do you mean "so much better"? Arsenal finished with 61 points last year. And, 538's median projection for this year is actually 7th. I'd guess the median projection for betting odds is 6th.
   22. jmurph Posted: August 12, 2021 at 03:40 PM (#6034112)
edit2: also, what do you mean "so much better"?

Well the odds and the 538 predictions you posted above have them in 5th and tied for 5th, respectively. They finished in 8th last year. That's basically all I was reacting to.
   23. I am going to be Frank Posted: August 12, 2021 at 03:46 PM (#6034114)
Lukaku to Chelsea. I'd imagine Kane goes to City soon.

I think Chelsea is close to City and I'd take them to win the league. Their seemingly only weakness is depth in midfield and maybe center back.

There were some rumblings about 1st team unhappiness in City's squad. De Bruyne is injured. Grealish is good but I'm not sure if he's all that better than what City already have. Also, not sure where City expects improvement. Foden and Torres are the only regulars who are considered 'young'. I think it's reasonable to expect improvements from Dias and Grealish, but not leaps and bounds. I'd also expect regression for Mahrez and Gundogan but that can more than offset if Sterling bounces back and with Kane in the fold. I still may Chelsea's attacking group over City.
   24. jmurph Posted: August 12, 2021 at 03:55 PM (#6034117)
I know it's rare to get a three team race, but I don't see a ton of separation in the City-Chelsea-Liverpool group. I guess I'd take Chelsea just because repeat league wins seem so difficult, but it looks close to me.
   25. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: August 12, 2021 at 04:01 PM (#6034122)
I think City has to be clear favorites, this year and every year right now, until something changes. I do like Chelsea for 2nd though (even more than the betting odds below).
              betting odds             538

City                53.5                40 
Chelsea             16.5                16
Liverpool           15                  21
United              10                  10
Arsenal              1                   3
Tottenham            1                   3
Leicester            1                   2
   26. I am going to be Frank Posted: August 12, 2021 at 04:47 PM (#6034141)
I don't think Liverpool has the offensive firepower to stay with City and Chelsea.

BTW how is it that TeamViewer is Man U's shirt sponsor?
   27. kubiwan Posted: August 12, 2021 at 05:37 PM (#6034157)
BTW how is it that TeamViewer is Man U's shirt sponsor


Serious question: do teams care about the “quality” of their most visible sponsor or is it like low-level college football bowl games, where any org is fine as a sponsor as long as the check clears?
   28. Mefisto Posted: August 12, 2021 at 07:57 PM (#6034178)
Those betting odds look right to me.
   29. Pirate Joe Posted: August 12, 2021 at 08:04 PM (#6034181)
FWIW, the USMNT is up to 10th in the current FIFA ratings. Seems a little too good to me.

   30. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: August 12, 2021 at 08:42 PM (#6034194)
In most pure ELO systems they are still significantly lower, despite their recent success.
   31. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: August 13, 2021 at 08:21 AM (#6034230)
It's probably a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy in that I only notice the rankings when the US gets highly rated but they seem to get overrated in those rankings regularly. I assume beating up on the various CONCACAF teams is good for the ratings. Even if the system is accounting for opponent quality they are still winning games even if their opponents are such high quality as Belize or Guadeloupe. I assume no one actually think the US is the 10th best team in the world right now.
   32. spivey 2 Posted: August 13, 2021 at 09:37 AM (#6034236)
Team USA in that ELO link is 17. That seems about right to me. To me, there are like 4 SA teams clearly better, then like 7-9 Euro teams clearly better. Then there are a lot of teams with similar talent beyond that. Form, team cohesion, and luck go a long way on which of those teams play well in big tournaments.

It is exciting that almost all our best current players should theoretically have 2-3 World Cups left in them.
   33. The Marksist Posted: August 13, 2021 at 10:01 AM (#6034238)
I'm not a betting man, but would consider a punt on any of Chelsea/Liverpool/ManU. I don't think any of them will beat City to the title, but stranger things have happened (and recently).

Even in my unreasonable optimist mode (see post #8 above), I'm definitely a mite worried that this is the year Liverpool's squad age starts to really catch up with them. Having Jota around mitigates that risk somewhat, since he might be better than Firmino (or Mane?) right now, but the midfield is creaky and the kids aren't quiiiiiiite ready. The median story (I think) is basically just slightly better defense, slightly worse attack but with better finishing. That's probably third place this year, if Chelsea hit their median as well. The upside story is the same but with hot finishing (or hot goal prevention). That's probably second. The fairy tale story is City don't click/injuries drag them down/their midfield can't stop fast attacks, Kante gets injured/slows a step, and Liverpool's attack goes nuts.
   34. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: August 13, 2021 at 10:04 AM (#6034239)
I think Marksist's prediction is right but I do think their defense will be MUCH better. Van Dijk is an amazing player and getting him back will make a huge difference. In the end the age of the front three and Klopp's unwillingness to rest them a bit will hurt. I can't see City being stopped. The only thing that could stop City is if the players tune out Pep which I don't think will happen but there is not a ton of turnover on that team so I think it could happen. But it's highly unlikely.
   35. The Marksist Posted: August 13, 2021 at 10:26 AM (#6034240)
Van Dijk is an amazing player and getting him back will make a huge difference.


True! He's also a year older and coming of a major injury. I think baseline expectation is he's lost half a step and will be somewhat more tentative going into tackles. He's already very conservative with how he tackles (e.g., forcing Sissoko to his left foot that one time), and I think he'll play differently now. Maybe I'm wrong, but injuries change players.

I expect him to be very good, but not the impenetrable wall he was a couple years ago.
   36. jmurph Posted: August 13, 2021 at 10:45 AM (#6034242)
I can't see City being stopped. The only thing that could stop City is if the players tune out Pep which I don't think will happen but there is not a ton of turnover on that team so I think it could happen. But it's highly unlikely.

Feels like people are sleeping on the "no consistent striker" thing. I mean maybe this is the year Jesus stays healthy and consistent? Or I guess people are just counting on the Kane thing going through? I'm not sure. But if neither of those happens, "City dominates possessions and shots and draws or loses narrowly" feels like a reasonable outcome often enough to take them down a peg or two. Also KDB is starting the year already injured, Silva is likely leaving, etc. We'll see!
   37. I am going to be Frank Posted: August 13, 2021 at 11:18 AM (#6034243)
Serious question: do teams care about the “quality” of their most visible sponsor or is it like low-level college football bowl games, where any org is fine as a sponsor as long as the check clears?

I think most teams care, but at the end of the day money usually wins out. It's probably close to a decade ago when Barcelona was being charitable and put UNICEF on their shirt for free and might have given a percentage of shirt sales to UNICEF as well. Meanwhile Madrid had BWin on theirs which was a gambling company. I can't see any club doing what Barcelona did any more.

Most of the 'big name' clubs will only turn to gambling sites as a last resort. Brands that are consumer-facing seem to be ideal. That's why TeamViewer seems so odd to me. A lot of the Premier League clubs have gotten gambling sites, but because of the global reach some have gotten sponsors from Asia.

Liverpool's defense is going to be better just because of health. Not only VVD, but Joe Gomez was hurt last season as well. Like Markist said, the age/form of the front three is worrisome. Jota is pretty good, but City and Chelsea got better players this offseason, and depending on what you think of Sancho, United might have as well.
   38. kubiwan Posted: August 13, 2021 at 11:42 AM (#6034245)
I think most teams care, but at the end of the day money usually wins out.


One other dumb question: what is the longest current partnership between a shirt sponsor and a top- or middle-tier teams (lets say a team good enough that seeing them in the CL or Europa League playoffs wouldn't be a surprise)? It seems that teams have an interest in changing shirt sponsors on a semi-regular basis to drive jersey sales (among those who "need" to have the latest look).
   39. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: August 13, 2021 at 11:44 AM (#6034246)
Feels like people are sleeping on the "no consistent striker" thing. I mean maybe this is the year Jesus stays healthy and consistent? Or I guess people are just counting on the Kane thing going through? I'm not sure. But if neither of those happens, "City dominates possessions and shots and draws or loses narrowly" feels like a reasonable outcome often enough to take them down a peg or two. Also KDB is starting the year already injured, Silva is likely leaving, etc. We'll see!


Their leading scorer last year was a nominal midfielder (Gundogan with 13). The only other player with 10 goals was Sterling. Aguero had 7 starts, Jesus made 22, Torres 15. They weren't rolling a particularly regular striker out there and they led the EPL in goals with room to spare.

I don't think they are a lock or anything but I would take them as heavy favorites. I'd take them over the field if those were my two choices. But as you note there are things that can go wrong. One interesting thing that I hadn't caught last year is how dominant they were against lesser sides. Against the other CL qualifiers they managed just 8 points in 6 matches. That means they piled up 78 points in 32 matches against the also rans. By contrast Liverpool also managed 8 points against the other top 4 sides but 61 in 32 matches against the others.

Top 4 vs. Top 4 and Others

ManCity - 8 from 18, 78 from 96
ManU - 7 from 18, 67 from 96
Liverpool - 8 from 18, 61 from 96
Chelsea - 8 from 18, 59 from 96

They won the league by 12 points so they have some wiggle room but they can't afford much in the way of slip ups against lesser teams.
   40. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: August 13, 2021 at 11:47 AM (#6034248)
One other dumb question: what is the longest current partnership between a shirt sponsor and a top- or middle-tier teams (lets say a team good enough that seeing them in the CL or Europa League playoffs wouldn't be a surprise)? It seems that teams have an interest in changing shirt sponsors on a semi-regular basis to drive jersey sales (among those who "need" to have the latest look).


Seek and ye shall find. Wolfsburg with Volkswagen but worth noting that number 2 Inter Milan actually has ended their 26 year run with Pirelli. To your point the 10th longest only dates back to 2009.
   41. bunyon Posted: August 13, 2021 at 01:55 PM (#6034264)
39: THat's great information. I think that is true in any long regular season. And it's cliche: You have to beat the teams you're supposed to beat. No matter how good you are, you're not going to win a ton against strong teams. So you have to beat the bad ones. I suspect in a point system like EPL, it's even more paramount. A draw against a weak team is a killer to championship chances.

That's where "intangibles" really come in. Can you get your guys to focus when they're playing weak teams? Can you keep them on the same page and not thinking about personal goals?
   42. I am going to be Frank Posted: August 13, 2021 at 02:26 PM (#6034270)
Soccer returns! Bayern plays BMG and Valencia/Getafe on ESPN+, Arsenal/Brentford on NBC Sports

BMG has an 18 YO American defender starting against Bayern.
   43. Fancy Pants Handle struck out swinging Posted: August 13, 2021 at 02:54 PM (#6034276)
I think most teams care, but at the end of the day money usually wins out. It's probably close to a decade ago when Barcelona was being charitable and put UNICEF on their shirt for free and might have given a percentage of shirt sales to UNICEF as well.

That was 2006... and they weren't being charitable. They viewed it as the only way to actually get to paying sponsors. Barcelona before that had never had a shirt sponsor, and many of their fans were extremely proud of that fact. Even adding the little Nike swish had generated significant backlash and was considered by many an affront. Selling out would have been considered besmirching the shirt, and generated massive blowback. If you are President of a team where you actually have to face elections, that is not the kind of backlash you can survive.

So they put Unicef on there, because it's well difficult to say mean things about them and not look like a total jerk. And 'hey, it's for a good cause, how can you possibly complain' is a strong argument for many. Knowing full well that once the genie was out of the bottle, it was never going back. And it would be only a matter of time before they could move on to paying sponsors.
   44. Fancy Pants Handle struck out swinging Posted: August 13, 2021 at 03:26 PM (#6034280)
Arsenal already in peak midseason form.
   45. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: August 13, 2021 at 04:03 PM (#6034287)
That's a gloriously cynical story. I was wondering who was benefiting from the sponsorship decision. In my experience, virtually nothing like that is ever really done for free.
   46. I am going to be Frank Posted: August 13, 2021 at 04:32 PM (#6034291)
Has a manager ever been fired after the first match?
   47. jmurph Posted: August 13, 2021 at 04:55 PM (#6034297)
Has a manager ever been fired after the first match?

What do we give him, 5 weeks? 10? I'm not sure it's really his fault but what else do you do? I watch them pretty regularly and just have no idea what I'm seeing.
   48. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: August 14, 2021 at 07:48 AM (#6034359)
Pogba, with only the keeper to beat, does a big stepover and puts it wide. To be a bit fair, the keeper was making himself big and it was no gimme for Pogba. Still, the stepover seems unnecessarily complicated, and probably was.
   49. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: August 14, 2021 at 08:07 AM (#6034361)
Beautiful pass by Pogba, and Bruno showing good skill not for the first time in the game. 1-0. Leeds makes the opposition look sharp on offense, and it's again the case today.

Betting odds had Leeds as the 8th team this year, and they might finish there. Are they much better than last year though? If not, 8th seems like the top end of their projection unless they can learn how to slow down the opposition.
   50. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: August 14, 2021 at 08:16 AM (#6034362)
Pretty sure all 22 players that played in the first half were playing for these same teams all last year.
   51. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: August 14, 2021 at 08:34 AM (#6034364)
A new player at last! Junior Firpo comes on for Leeds at the half.
   52. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: August 14, 2021 at 08:39 AM (#6034365)
Ayling with a fantastic shot from outside the box: 1-1.
   53. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: August 14, 2021 at 08:44 AM (#6034366)
Three goals in five minutes. Game is wide open.
   54. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: August 14, 2021 at 08:54 AM (#6034367)
Good movement by United on the front line, and in particular from Bruno, who's been great and has finished superbly. Sumptuous passes too from Pogba and Lindelof.

All that said, Leeds is not going to go far letting these runners get behind the defense again and again, especially when they are notorious for giving the opposition time on the ball in the offensive midfield. When United (and probably all teams, but especially United) struggles on offense it's when they don't have both time and space in the offensive midfield. Leeds gives that up, in spades, to all teams. So unless they get much better protecting against the runs behind the defense, they will remain midtable at best.
   55. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: August 14, 2021 at 09:01 AM (#6034368)
Leeds' games are usually very watchable precisely because there is so much space in midfield. It's great for the neutral but doesn't seem like a recipe for reaching the top quarter of the table, which almost always requires being at least very good at both ends of the field.
   56. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: August 14, 2021 at 10:01 AM (#6034373)
Not a weekend of compelling matchups. Sure, there is Spurs/City, but after that the highest profile matchup was probably United/Leeds. The other 8 games all feature one of the consensus bottom 8 teams matched up against one of the consensus top 12 teams.
   57. I am going to be Frank Posted: August 14, 2021 at 10:25 AM (#6034374)
Leeds is definitely limited against the top teams. Simple one-touch or quick turns by United basically put Leeds on the back foot. Their players just aren't as good or athletic as United players. Against the bottom half of the table it works. At this point I think that's the best Leeds can hope for.

Chelsea dominating against Palace as expected but can't get on the score sheet. Lukaku is going to score a lot of goals once he gets acclimatedd.
   58. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: August 14, 2021 at 11:55 AM (#6034378)
Home field advantage is back, baby. (Pretty sure I wouldn't be venturing into a packed stadium full of screaming fans, right now but that's a different issue.)

7 games so far. Home teams won 6 of them, with only Burnley losing to Brighton. Combined scoreline 18-6!! xG was a lot closer overall, but home teams also won the xG battle in 6 of the 7 games, with only Leicester coming out on the short end despite winning the game.
   59. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: August 14, 2021 at 12:08 PM (#6034380)
After just 7 games, we have a shakeup at the bottom of the table. 2 teams slated by betting odds as in the bottom 3 (ok, Brentford just barely), have both won. 4 teams being chased already started with losses: Palace, Burnley, Southampton, Wolves. I don't think you can count Villa yet.

After today, Watford might no longer be in the bottom 3 in projected points, but if they still are it's very close. Brentford might now be all the way up to something like 14th, just behind Wolves. Those bottom half teams are bunched up.
   60. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: August 15, 2021 at 10:55 AM (#6034476)
After 2 games, PSG must have close to 90% chance to win Ligue 1. Most of the remaining capable Ligue 1 teams expected to be "challenging" them still don't have a win. And Messi hasn't played yet.
   61. JJ1986 Posted: August 15, 2021 at 11:42 AM (#6034478)
Is Kane really going to stay this season or is that just posturing?
   62. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: August 15, 2021 at 12:19 PM (#6034481)
Spurs playing much better than I expected so far.
   63. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: August 15, 2021 at 12:26 PM (#6034483)
Spurs wasted a few good chances on the counter, so xG ended up pretty unfavorable for them. City looks a tad vulnerable there, to say the least.
   64. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: August 15, 2021 at 12:32 PM (#6034484)
Yeah Son has been off his game, he's killed a few of those counters.
   65. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: August 15, 2021 at 12:44 PM (#6034486)
So then naturally Son goes and does that!
   66. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: August 15, 2021 at 12:59 PM (#6034488)
I thought City came out looking scary the first few minutes but since then Spurs have done well. Obviously you aren't going to have much possession against City but they've handled it well and haven't looked panicked.
   67. jmurph Posted: August 15, 2021 at 01:01 PM (#6034489)
36. jmurph Posted: August 13, 2021 at 10:45 AM (#6034242)
Feels like people are sleeping on the "no consistent striker" thing. I mean maybe this is the year Jesus stays healthy and consistent? Or I guess people are just counting on the Kane thing going through? I'm not sure. But if neither of those happens, "City dominates possessions and shots and draws or loses narrowly" feels like a reasonable outcome often enough to take them down a peg or two.

*Cough cough*
   68. Fancy Pants Handle struck out swinging Posted: August 15, 2021 at 01:31 PM (#6034493)
That cough sounds nasty. You should get a COVID test done ASAP.
   69. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: August 15, 2021 at 10:34 PM (#6034536)
Pogba tied the EPL record for assists in a game, with 4. Of the other seven players who did it, none had more than Kane's 14 last year, a number that didn't even make the top 10 list of assists in an EPL season. Only Kane and Bergkamp led the league. Lot of Arsenal players in the list!

The complete list (plus Pogba this year):
Kane       14    20/21
Tadic       7    14/15
Cazorla    11    12/13
Adebayor   11    11/12
Fabregas   13    09/10
Reyes      10    05/05
Bergkamp   13    98/99
   70. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: August 16, 2021 at 08:10 AM (#6034561)
That season by Tadic is positively Patekian.
   71. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: August 16, 2021 at 08:36 AM (#6034564)
In most official lists, Tadic only had 3 assists in that game, so maybe one got taken away. Not unlikely, since Sunderland was in the end credited with 3 own goals, so potentially one of those would have been a Tadic assist had it been turned in by a Southampton player.

The EPL official stats also only credit Tadic with 7 assists on the year, whereas FBRef credits him with 8 (and only 3 in that game, so there is some other inconsistency as well).
   72. Textbook Editor Posted: August 16, 2021 at 04:10 PM (#6034618)
While I suppose it's to sell shirts and because "why not?" and "YOLO," can anyone explain how the hell Poch is supposed to set up a team that starts a front 3 of Neymar, Messi, and Ronaldo... 3 players who are (at this point) completely incapable of pressing or playing defense of any kind?

I get that maybe PSG rolls over France regardless of if it's Mbappe or Ronaldo up top, but to have any hope of a CL title, playing 3 forwards completely disinterested in tracking back/pressing/defending seems to be a complete setup for failure, given how teams play right now.

This "sell Mbappe, buy Ronaldo" thing is, like, completely nuts, right? Am I missing something? Am I the crazy one here?
   73. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: August 16, 2021 at 05:07 PM (#6034631)
After one game, in which City outplayed Spurs on the road, just not by as much as was expected (while most of the chasing pack won), the current change in expected points and title odds is:
points             odds              538     
   
Manchester City     84 (-3)          79 (-2)

Chelsea             79 (+1)          74 (+1)
Liverpool           78 (+1)          76 (+2)
Manchester United   76 (+2)          70 (+2)

Tottenham           63 (+3)          62 (+2)
Leicester City      61 (+2)          57 (+0)
Arsenal Points      59 (-3)          57 (-3)

%title         betting odds          538

City                43 (-10.5)       33 (-7) 
Chelsea             21 (+4.5)        19 (+3)
Liverpool           17 (+2)          23 (+2)
United              13 (+3)          13 (+3)
Tottenham            2 (+1)           4 (+1)
Leicester            1 (+0)           2 (+0)
Arsenal             <1 (-a tad)       2 (-1)


Seems a bit of an overreaction.
   74. Mefisto Posted: August 16, 2021 at 06:04 PM (#6034642)
@72: PSG better have a good midfield; maybe they'll just outscore everybody.
   75. spivey 2 Posted: August 16, 2021 at 06:12 PM (#6034643)
I think a midfield with Verratti and Wijnaldum should be pretty good, problem is Verratti is just never healthy.
   76. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: August 16, 2021 at 09:09 PM (#6034669)
Some of those changes to expected point totals seem like overreactions to me. City was at best expected to get a little over 1.5 points on the road against Spurs. They didn't play that well, so maybe subtract another half point at most. Dropping 3 is too much. United had a dominant scoreline, but Leeds is seemingly designed to be exploited by United, and United benefitted from unreal finishing. Take that away and it wasn't very far at all from the generally predicted outcome for a home game against a predicted much weaker opponent. They really only deserve to go up a single point for that performance (the win being worth 3 versus the par of 2 coming in).

No way Leicester deserves +2 for their performance. They were probably outplayed by Wolves at home in Leicester, who they are supposed to be quite a bit better than this year. Very lucky to get the win. 538's unchanged estimate is more along the lines of what I would have given them. +1 at the very most.
   77. spivey 2 Posted: August 16, 2021 at 10:33 PM (#6034681)
Factor in KDB and Grealish coming in late, Kane probably like 75% to go there, I think it’d be silly to let a good but not best in world game from City move you too much. I do think Chelsea after the Lukaku buy was maybe a bit underpriced but they don’t have much top end depth outside the attack.
   78. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: August 17, 2021 at 04:43 PM (#6034773)
Moldova's Sheriff Tiraspol is up 3-0 on Dinamo Zagreb. It's a crazy scoreline, as Sheriff will be the least fancied team to make the CL in years. The truest of minnows. They would be one of the least fancied teams in a Europa group stage, for that matter.
   79. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: August 17, 2021 at 05:13 PM (#6034780)
HJK Helsinki made the CL group stage in 1998, beating France's Metz in the qualifying rounds that year. Didn't even do that badly in the group, winning a game and drawing two others. That might have been the last time a team this unfancied made it this far, assuming Sheriff can close the deal next week.

HJK's route was easier, as they only had to do the one upset of substance to get to the CL. Sheriff will have upset both Red Star Belgrade and now Dinamo Zagreb.
   80. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: August 17, 2021 at 05:26 PM (#6034782)
Sheriff only made the Europa group stage on a few occasions. Never got out of the group.
   81. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: August 18, 2021 at 08:32 AM (#6034852)
24 teams in the Championship, and not a single one started the year with 2 wins in their first two games. That must have been very unlikely.
   82. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: August 18, 2021 at 09:35 AM (#6034856)
If Sheriff were in the Europa Conference League group stage, they wouldn't be one of the worst teams there, because the Champions Path pretty much guarantees there will be some real low-ceiling teams that make the ECL group stage. They'd certainly still be one of the weaker teams of the 32 though, and unless they got a super weak group wouldn't be expected to advance.

Just putting some perspective on how weak they are expected to be at the CL group stage level.
   83. The Marksist Posted: August 18, 2021 at 03:52 PM (#6034931)
If you're the kind of person who has opinions on kits, you should really seek out the slate of Puma third kits that hit the internet today.
   84. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: August 18, 2021 at 04:02 PM (#6034934)
My only opinion is the simpler the better. Only thing good about Notre Dame are their unis.
   85. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: August 18, 2021 at 09:12 PM (#6035021)
Those Puma shirts really are bad.

Advertising is one of the worst side-effects of capitalism, and there aren't many places where it seems more unnecessary than in essentially frivolous endeavors that are already heavily subsidized, like professional sports.
   86. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: August 19, 2021 at 10:37 AM (#6035104)
The Russian league has fallen really hard. Their teams have done virtually nothing in Europe for the past 2+ years. If the current season ended now (yes I realize it just started) they'd have fallen all the way down to 9th, past Portugal, Netherlands, and Scotland. They could pretty easily also fall behind Austria and Ukraine. And it will get worse after next year, when their impressive total from 2017/2018 falls away. Russia might be looking at 15th place or something, basically into the land of obscurity,
   87. KronicFatigue Posted: August 19, 2021 at 12:17 PM (#6035126)

If you're the kind of person who has opinions on kits, you should really seek out the slate of Puma third kits that hit the internet today.


Which one?

Oh, all of them. I don't get huge companies lazily reuse the same design over multiple teams.
   88. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: August 19, 2021 at 01:08 PM (#6035138)
Highest profile games today are the ones involving Tottenham and Roma. Those kick off soon.

Lowest profile game is Riga hosting the Lincoln Red Imps, the least fancied team remaining in the tournament. The dream of a European group stage for the Gibraltar team is still alive for now! The first leg just kicked off.

Second lowest profile game might be Estonia's Flora hosting Shamrock Rovers. Shamrock lost the first leg and will have to make up a goal back at home. (edit: oops no, the game is still going on. 2-1 in Estonia in the second half of the first leg. By ELO, Shamrock was the more favored team, but I didn't actually look at the betting odds).

   89. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: August 21, 2021 at 01:27 PM (#6035473)
So far this year things have been going Brighton's way on the offensive end. 2 goals on 3 first half shots today.

Home teams continue to do very well, though today all the favorites also won, so it's a bit of both things. The two draws were among teams anticipated to be at approximately the same level. Tomorrow and Monday away teams are favored.
   90. Mefisto Posted: August 23, 2021 at 08:41 AM (#6035718)
Lots of rumors that Spurs will bid for Adama Traore.
   91. spivey 2 Posted: August 23, 2021 at 09:45 AM (#6035729)
I like Traore. But he's not a 40 million pound player.
   92. The Marksist Posted: August 23, 2021 at 02:05 PM (#6035792)
Traore is the truth and the light, and he should always play for a harmless mid-table team so I can enjoy his exploits guilt-free.
   93. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: August 23, 2021 at 03:34 PM (#6035812)
Since I'm a fan of fun soccer primarily, to me Traore is worth much, much more than $40 million. I'm all for an entertainment premium. Not my money of course.
   94. Mefisto Posted: August 23, 2021 at 03:47 PM (#6035816)
Yeah, Traore might be the most fun player to watch in the EPL.
   95. The Gary DiSarcina Fan Club (JAHV) Posted: August 23, 2021 at 04:01 PM (#6035819)
My son is a huge Wolves fan so I've been watching games with him as someone who's been at best indifferent to soccer for my 39 years and I've gotten into it. Traore is what I want soccer to be*. This short, muscular dude who can run like the wind, but also doesn't fall over any time someone breathes on him (I'm sure he's gone down easily at some point, but "easily" for him means you have to shove him as hard as you can). If the Wolves sold Traore, my son would be devastated. He was bummed when they got rid of Jota, and he misses Nuno Espirito Santo.

*It would be nice if he had any ability to finish. You could make the argument that the Wolves have lost two games because twice he's been alone in front of the goalie and either chipped it wide or put it right into him. But it's always a joy when everyone knows what he's going to do - delay for a few seconds, make a run down the sideline, and put a good cross into the box - and he still does it every time because no one can catch him.
   96. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: August 24, 2021 at 03:35 PM (#6036034)
Benfica trying to hold on to the 1-goal lead, in a pretty entertaining game. Verissimo fouled everyone several times, and was finally sent off with a fully deserved second yellow in the 34th minute. PSV going to press the action now even more.

Ferencvaros has drawn the tie level in their game, after going down 2 (aggregate). Normally in this case with a level tie in the second leg both teams tend to shut it down and play for extras and penalties, which is why dumping the away goals rule is shitty. Here though you'd hope Young Boys would keep the pressure up as the significantly favored team. Also, it's still the first half, so players hopefully aren't tiring yet.

(If the way goals were still in effect, Ferencvaros would be leading the tie still.)
   97. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: August 24, 2021 at 05:00 PM (#6036067)
Some excitement but ultimately no surprises today. Young Boys kept the pressure on and won. Benfica weathered quite the storm, and PSV could never get the equalizer despite a number of chances up a man for most of the game. Malmo lost the game but not the 2-goal advantage they brought into it. All the favorites advanced. Malmo for now is the weakest team in the CL group stage, though Sheriff wants to laugh at that tomorrow. Brondby of course too, if they can pull the unlikely upset of Salzburg.

   98. Textbook Editor Posted: August 24, 2021 at 05:39 PM (#6036077)
Textbook Editor, Jr. has a serious man-crush on Traore. I think his head would explode if Spurs got him (and I'd be forced to get a Traore jersey for him for Xmas). If he improved his finishing by even 25% he'd be almost unplayable; hell, he's almost unplayable now.

All that said, it's hysterical to me he's Spanish and went to the Euros... Like I almost cannot imagine a set of circumstances where Spain ever says "yup, throw on Traore"... and yet I see he's made 6 senior appearances (though only 1 in 2021 and I do not recall him playing at all in the Euros).

I'm in, though. Spurs need a chaos-maker and the thought of Alli, Son, Lucas, and Traore all on the same pitch... That's a lot of energy right there.
   99. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: August 24, 2021 at 08:11 PM (#6036115)
Yeah, I'm in favor of Adama to Spurs. Obviously his end product is lacking and at this point it's probably unlikely to improve much. But he sure does carry the ball down the pitch, and Spurs really struggle with that right now.
   100. Mefisto Posted: August 25, 2021 at 09:05 AM (#6036192)
Looks like Kane isn't leaving, which makes a Traore move unlikely. Sad.
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