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Friday, April 02, 2021

OT - Soccer Thread - Spring is in the Air

NWSL kicks of on April 9, we learn who the last UWCL semi-finalist is on April 18, we watch as Chelsea and Man City duke it out for the FA WSL title, and follow some minor stories like the Premier League run-in and the Fella’s Champions League last 8. Springtime COVID ball! Please don’t catch a fever!

The Marksist Posted: April 02, 2021 at 11:20 AM | 345 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: off topic, soccer

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   1. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: April 02, 2021 at 12:36 PM (#6011233)
This is the new soccer thread. You shall post here. If you don't post here you shall be, well you shall be posting in a different thread. So yeah. Oh well, this is more threatening than a World Cup Qualifier against North Macedo...wait, what?
   2. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: April 03, 2021 at 09:02 AM (#6011384)
It's primarily due to some absurd finishing but West Brom are eviscerating 10-man Chelsea.

And Chelsea get one back right after I make that post.
   3. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 03, 2021 at 10:34 AM (#6011391)
West Brom played well, but 10-man Chelsea still was the better team absent the great finishing. The result was a shock but not so much the performances, considering Chelsea's disadvantage.

Regardless, Chelsea's loss really opens the door for one of the chasing teams, making that Liverpool game this afternoon even bigger than it was before.

And West Brom. Well, their performance was absolutely awful for 3 months, but the betting odds had pegged them for a decent recovery long before the stats did. Maybe they were predicting regression to something more like an EPL team, or maybe they were betting on big sam. Either way, betting odds were way more correct on this particular team than (say) 538. In late December, betting odds had them as just a merely run of the mill relegation team, where 538 had them as once in a decade terrible team.
   4. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 03, 2021 at 11:35 AM (#6011400)
Dortmund falls 1-2 at home to Eintracht in a game they could not lose. Wolfsburg also won. Dortmund is a longshot now for CL next year, and you start to wonder a bit more about Haaland.
   5. spivey 2 Posted: April 03, 2021 at 01:55 PM (#6011417)
Leipzig is dominating the last 15 minutes, but just doesn’t have any big goal scorers. The tactics are right though, they’re winning midfield. Been a fun game.
   6. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 03, 2021 at 02:32 PM (#6011424)
Bayern hung on in a pretty defensive affair to beat Leipzig. (Leipzig did seem to dominate the midfield, but Bayern also seemed to concede it with the lead. xG for both teams was low.) Bundesliga is basically done, despite Bayern finally showing a few real cracks after years of dominance.

Lille beat PSG, so Ligue 1 is still very much up for grabs.
   7. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 03, 2021 at 04:07 PM (#6011438)
This article used a custom and somewhat idiosyncratic formula for determining the most exciting teams in Europe. Liverpool came out near the top and Arsenal near the bottom (and very near the bottom for a good team) were described as "a slightly better, slightly more watchable Wolves".

Today Arsenal is "winning" the style of play, since their boringness is overcoming Liverpool's watchability, resulting in a snoozer. They may be better than Wolves but today they've been even less watchable.

And like a lot of these late-season games, a draw does almost nothing for either team, so you'd think Arsenal would be a tiny bit more keen to play some offense this half.
   8. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 03, 2021 at 04:33 PM (#6011440)
Liverpool's last 8 games are easier than Chelsea's, probably alone that's enough to make up the 2 point difference. Assuming Liverpool wins today by 2 or more, they might also be more likely to finish ahead on GD. With Chelsea's loss and this win you'd have to think Liverpool is now back on for a CL spot. It';s still very, very tight though, not only with Chelsea but also Spurs and west Ham hanging around.
   9. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 04, 2021 at 12:19 AM (#6011501)
Chelsea and Liverpool are neck-and-neck by betting odds for top 4, each just under 50%. I find that a bit surprising (538 has Liverpool significantly ahead for example).

Remaining schedules:
Chelsea: Palace, Brighton, West Ham, Fulham, City, Arsenal, Leicester, Villa.
Liverpool: Villa, Leeds, Newcastle, ManUtd, Southampton, West Brom, Burnley, Palace.

Taking out the two teams in common, that's 5 above average teams plus a now-decent Fulham in the thick of the relegation battle for Chelsea, as opposed to 5 below average teams plus ManUtd (yes Newcastle is also in the thick of the relegation battle but they are a very bad team and right now if you need points you'd play them 11 times out of 10 over Fulham). If they go even on points it requires Liverpool to win one more game than Chelsea (or lose two fewer), so Liverpool is also likely to have won GD. I'd much rather be in Liverpool's shoes right now, schedule wise.

Or maybe you think Chelsea is the superior team going into the last 2 months of the season? That's a pretty hard sell, and not one that was backed up by the Champions League pre-draw odds, which viewed Liverpool as slightly superior. Liverpool has also been viewed as superior all year on expected points totals, though it has tightened a lot in the last several weeks.

Looks like people aren't fully weighting the coming schedule, which is a common refrain for bettors (bettors tend to weight it of course, just slightly less than they should).

   10. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 04, 2021 at 11:04 AM (#6011519)
Most xG given up by Spurs all year, and most by Newcastle all year. Newcastle's xG was actually one of the highest of any EPL team all year, and they probably should have won. Newcastle's game against Burnley is looking pretty interesting all of a sudden.

Spurs playing like a solid Europa Conference League contender, so there is that.
   11. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: April 04, 2021 at 11:41 AM (#6011525)
Cripes, 4 xG given up to frickin Newcastle.
   12. MY PAIN IS NOT A HOLIDAY (CoB). Posted: April 04, 2021 at 02:23 PM (#6011547)
Can "cancel culture" come for Jose?

A quietly furious José Mourinho said his players were to blame for allowing Arsenal loanee Joe Willock to score a late equaliser that salvaged a point for Newcastle and frustrated Tottenham’s hopes of moving into the top four.

Mourinho – who also revealed he had left Toby Alderweireld and Serge Aurier in London for the 2-2 draw as the two defenders did not return from international duty in time to take the mandatory Covid tests – claimed Spurs “create instability to ourselves” after two goals from Harry Kane had seemed to put them on course to move above Chelsea in the table.

Asked who was responsible for letting the lead slip, the manager responded: “Same coach, different players. There are mistakes which I probably shouldn’t even call mistakes because they are related to qualities that players have.”
   13. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 04, 2021 at 04:27 PM (#6011571)
Crazy day in the EPL. In four games, five teams drop points after leading. All 3 of the victories were by the team that scored second, and in the draw both teams led.
   14. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 04, 2021 at 05:23 PM (#6011575)
After today's loss, 538 now has Atleti at under 20% to win La Liga. (Betting odds has it at still around 1/3). Either way, Barca is the clear favorite now. Sports analysts calling that race early was so premature.

Sevilla is close to wrapping up the 4th CL spot too. So looks like nothing new going on in La Liga this year after all.
   15. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 05, 2021 at 12:25 PM (#6011703)
Dortmund has to make up 7 points in 7 games to catch Eintracht, who are a very decent team in their own right. 11 points plus some GD in 7 games if they want to catch Wolfsburg, maybe an even better team. Those are both pretty unlikely.

Betting odds can't seem to face that Dortmund is probably not going to be in the CL next year. Betting odds has been wrongly high on Dortmund most of the latter part of the year, and it continues through right now, where they have Dortmund still at maybe 28% to be top 4. 538 has them at 16%.

Remaining schedules:
Dortmund: Stuttgart, Bremen, Union, Wolfsburg, Leipzig, Mainz, Leverkusen
Eintracht: Wolfsburg, Gladbach, Augsburg, Leverkusen, Mainz, Schalke, Freiburg
Wolfsburg: Eintracht, Bayern, Stuttgart, Dortmund, Union, Leipzig, Mainz.

Eintracht schedule is fairly easy, and slightly easier than Dortmund's schedule (and they don't play each other). Wolfsburg's schedule is very hard, and includes Dortmund, but 11 points is probably just too many at this stage.

You have to go back 6 years for the last time Dortmund missed out on the CL, which is probably why it seems hardly believable right now, especially since they are still almost certainly one of the top 3 teams in the Bundesliga. The table is what it is though, and Wolfsburg and Eintracht are very decent teams in their own right. We've seen far lesser teams in quality snagging spots from better teams in the past, and we'll see it this year too if Leicester takes a spot from Liverpool or Chelsea.
   16. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 05, 2021 at 02:12 PM (#6011722)
To be more clear, Leicester is probably about similar in quality to Wolfsburg and Eintracht, while Chelsea and Liverpool are significantly better than Dortmund. Leicester getting in this year would be the greater upset.
   17. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 05, 2021 at 02:54 PM (#6011740)
Despite dominating, Everton gave up the equalizer late to Palace (a very poor team). Guaita had a great game in goal.

That's probably it for Everton's CL chances, considering that their schedule is pretty hard and they aren't very good in the first place. They do have a game in hand but that won't be enough.

Also bad news for Spurs fans hoping to avoid the Europa Conference.
   18. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 05, 2021 at 04:06 PM (#6011753)
West Ham has looked great, and are up 0-3 on the road. Wolves have had tons of chances of their own though, and actually lead xG by a very significant margin.

1-3 now, after an absolutely superb run and cross from Traore. Some great goals today. Wolves leads xG 2.05-0.99 (infogol).

Announcers said at 15 minutes in that the 0-2 scoreline "didn't flatter West Ham". I know that's done for effect, but there has virtually never been a game in the history of professional soccer where 0-2 after 15 minutes didn't flatter the leading team. West Ham led xG at that point 0.20 - 0.65 or so, so to be fair they were doing quite well even if you ignore the actual goals. West Ham has been absolutely dominated since though, with Wolves having 10 or so shots from great locations in the center of the box over the course of the next 30 minutes.
   19. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 05, 2021 at 05:27 PM (#6011778)
West Ham held on, but overall were still very lucky to win. They have a real shot at CL now, and if not, a very strong chance to get 5th or 6th for Europa.

current relegation odds:
West Brom       96
Fulham          56
Newcastle       41
Burnley          4
Brighton         2.5
Field            0.5


current top 4 odds:
ManUtd          95.5
Leicester       66.5
Liverpool       48.5
Chelsea         46
West Ham        22.5
Tottenham       18
Everton          2.5
Field            0.5

   20. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 05, 2021 at 06:35 PM (#6011790)
"United were only marginally better in the second half". Wait what?

First half xG: 1.41-0.14
Second half xG: 0.00-1.59.

No shots for Brighton the second half, just a fairly weak penalty shout. 12 shots to 0. United's first half was probably not quite as bad as it looked, though it certainly wasn't good. The goal came off a huge xG chance, off of a decent xG chance that was saved right into the attacker, which overall was fairly lucky on Brighton's part. More relevantly, Brighton is a very decent team, and any victory against them is a good game for United. On an average year with HFA you probably expect United to win most of those matchups at home. This year it is very dicey proposition, and you have to say overall United played well enough.

United is miles away from City right now, but quite deservedly top 4. Hard to really complain about their season, except for the way they bowed out of the CL.

Speaking of which, current 538 team rating v 538 pre-season, and also by normalized ELO:
Brighton         +10.0       +15
Leeds             +7.5       +60
Villa             +7.3       +76
West Ham          +6.2       +83
Fulham            +5.9       +18
Arsenal           +4.2         0

Chelsea           +2.1       +22
ManUnited         +0.9       +32
ManCity           +0.4       +33
Tottenham         +0.1       -10
Leicester         -0.5       +25
Newcastle         -0.8       -42

Liverpool         -1.8      -100
Southampton       -2.2       -37
West Brom         -2.3       -14
Everton           -2.4       +17
Burnley           -2.6       -28

Wolves            -4.7       -54

Palace            -7.2        -1

SheffieldUtd     -11.1      -113


Normalized ELO doesn't do a very good job with teams that overperform or underperform their stats by a fair margin. Probably close to half the teams on the list.
   21. jmurph Posted: April 06, 2021 at 08:51 AM (#6011924)
Lille beat PSG, so Ligue 1 is still very much up for grabs.

I watched this, it was a decently exciting game despite the 1-0 result (and only 0.5-1ish xG). It seems almost impossible for PSG to be held scoreless, given their attacking talent.

And speaking of which, for soccer fans the Fanatiz app continues to be a really great deal. The streaming quality is not great and the interface is also bad, but for I think $5.99 a month you get Ligue 1, La Liga, some other smaller European leagues (including Portugal, I think), plus some South American leagues.
   22. I am going to be Frank Posted: April 06, 2021 at 03:58 PM (#6012057)
How have they not figured out to not have two quarterfinals at the same time?

$6/month for ESPN+, $5 for Peacock Premium, $6/month for Paramount Plus, then another $6/month for Fanatiz. Cutting the cord wasn't worth it. I know there are all sorts of promotional deals, but interfaces suck, production values are uneven and switching games is annoying. I guess I have reached 'get off my lawn' territory.
   23. spivey 2 Posted: April 06, 2021 at 04:00 PM (#6012058)
Ederson got seriously bailed out by the ref there doing more of his stupid ####. Should have been a goal for Dortmund.

Liverpool are getting embarrassed. I didn't love their lineup (playing Keita and their weak 2 CBs means they're not fielding anywhere near their 11 best healthy players), and it's not been a good first half for them. Absolutely don't look up for it. Still early, so maybe that changes. TAA playing like a man that got dropped from the Euros squad.
   24. I am going to be Frank Posted: April 06, 2021 at 04:10 PM (#6012061)
Liverpool gets an away goal!
   25. I am going to be Frank Posted: April 06, 2021 at 04:43 PM (#6012069)
This is getting typical of City in the latter stages in Champions League, isn't it? Outplay the opponent, but don't close the door. Dortmund gets the equalizer and the away goal.
   26. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 06, 2021 at 04:59 PM (#6012075)
Very poor game by Liverpool. Liverpool did settle down a bit after the second goal but basically only played them even after that point. It's not over, but their chances are low now. 538 has it as 20%.

City blowing it? Maybe, but a 2-1 home win is considered par by 538. Their odds of advancing went up very slightly after the result.
   27. Swedish Chef Posted: April 07, 2021 at 07:13 AM (#6012187)
Arsenal is overperforming their 538 projection by quite a lot? They must have had terribly low expectations. I can't wait to congratulate Arsenal fans I know about their season.
   28. jmurph Posted: April 07, 2021 at 07:54 AM (#6012189)
Ederson got seriously bailed out by the ref there doing more of his stupid ####.

Not sure if the stupid #### being referring to here is about the ref or Ederson, but both would be accurate. Ederson seems to be a very good GK overall but has a weird habit of forgetting that other players are allowed to compete for the ball when it is on the ground.
   29. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 07, 2021 at 08:12 AM (#6012190)
538 didn't much like Arsenal coming into the year, but now think they are comfortably the 5th best team in the league.

Arsenal is definitely not outperforming their 538 pre-season projected points, but 538 thinks they are better now than it did when the season started. I think it's fair to say that most people are higher on Arsenal now than they were at the start of the season.

Even with their lousy EPL record, Arsenal ELO has them flat on the year. So based on pure scorelines they've been treading water. And they arew definitely better than their record. Betting odds has had them as around the 6th best team most of the year.
   30. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: April 07, 2021 at 08:38 AM (#6012193)
City blowing it? Maybe, but a 2-1 home win is considered par by 538. Their odds of advancing went up very slightly after the result.


The Foden goal changes things quite a bit. At 1-1 going back to Dortmund I think it was pretty interesting. Now Dortmund need to win and it can't be 3-2 and let's face facts, 3-2 is more likely than 1-0 with these teams. I can see Dortmund getting some goals and stealing the victory, I can't for a minute imagine them keeping a clean sheet for 90 minutes.

And what a goal that was. The initial ball in was laser accurate then Gundogan's control and patience to lay it off for Foden who did well not to panic. Then on top of all of that Foden reacted like he was asked if he wanted a drink menu. The way he reacted I thought the play had been ruled offsides. He didn't react at all.
   31. jmurph Posted: April 07, 2021 at 08:47 AM (#6012194)
Foden looks really, really good. I assumed at first he was just being overhyped in the media since he's a local guy, but he just keeps getting better.
   32. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 07, 2021 at 10:23 AM (#6012200)
Have to slightly revise my post 29. In pre-season, 538 projected 56 points and +4 GD for Arsenal. Current projection is 56 points and +10 GD! The poor results to this point are being more or less exactly counterbalanced by the increased rating.

Betting odds is also now projecting 56 points for Arsenal, so they also think they are pretty good right now. However, the current betting odds projection for Arsenal as 5th best team in the league is much more in line with the betting odds projection pre-season, which was also 5th best. In pre-season 538 had Arsenal down in 7th/8th, after Tottenham, Leicester, and maybe Wolves, and with way fewer projected points (56) than projected by betting odds (63).
   33. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 07, 2021 at 10:33 AM (#6012202)
City's betting odds to advance were 80% right after the draw. I didn't check them right before the game, but they probably went up slightly, maybe 1 or 2 points. Their odds are now 86% or so, so the 2-1 win was viewed as a somewhat positive event for City.

86% seems quite high to me, but without much home field advantage and Dortmund needing a low-scoring win, maybe it's about right.

Liverpool has gone from very slight favorites (52%) down to just 22%. Definitely not out of it, but pretty much everything has to go right for them.
   34. jmurph Posted: April 07, 2021 at 10:50 AM (#6012206)
Just from an "I watch this team every game" perspective, I feel like it's unlikely that City will be held scoreless by Dortmund (if my quick scan is correct, it's only happened 4 times this year across all competitions: United x2, Spurs, and Porto in a relatively meaningless group stage match), so the away goal isn't much of a concern to me. But sure, I could definitely see it being like 2-3 or 1-2 with 15 minutes remaining and it getting a little stressful.
   35. spivey 2 Posted: April 07, 2021 at 03:41 PM (#6012244)
This match is awesome. Two insane attacks vs two leaky ass defenses
   36. spivey 2 Posted: April 07, 2021 at 03:44 PM (#6012245)
Also really don’t understand how Flick didn’t start Davies in this match. Two first half subs from him, though, and Marquinhos is hurt. More goals in this. Think we could see 6+ goals here.
   37. spivey 2 Posted: April 07, 2021 at 04:12 PM (#6012256)
PSG always seems to start about 4-5 guys who try to get rid of the ball as soon as possible.
   38. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 07, 2021 at 04:17 PM (#6012257)
The home teams are currently winning xG by a combined 4.4 - 1.5 (infogol). Losing both games though.
   39. spivey 2 Posted: April 07, 2021 at 04:22 PM (#6012259)
PSG's midfield without Verratti is so weak.

Bayern's been really good aerially and on set pieces in this game. It's now 2-2 and would be surprised if it ended that way.
   40. I am going to be Frank Posted: April 07, 2021 at 04:23 PM (#6012260)
With all the money PSG and Bayern have spent - on central defenders... wow. Some of it is system, but just so much switching off.
   41. spivey 2 Posted: April 07, 2021 at 04:28 PM (#6012262)
Mbappe and Neymar are so ####### good. Having 2 top 10 players in the world covers a lot of cracks in midfield, I guess.
   42. bunyon Posted: April 07, 2021 at 04:29 PM (#6012263)
That as pretty.
   43. spivey 2 Posted: April 07, 2021 at 04:35 PM (#6012266)
They may not win, but Bayern bringing in Davies has been huge. His athleticism on the back line is critical for them - he's cut out a few through balls I'm not sure otherwise get cut out. I like Lucas Hernandez quite a bit, but he's not a better LB in this matchup. And you can play both. Hell, they're playing both of them and Alaba.

Davies is the best LB in the world, for me.
   44. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 07, 2021 at 04:50 PM (#6012270)
Announcers asking whether Bayern should keep pressing for more goals, or just leave it to the game in Paris. I think the answer has to be yes, push for more goals. For every change PSG gets, Bayern gets 3 or 4. That's a good trade, even with the away goals rule.
   45. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: April 07, 2021 at 04:53 PM (#6012271)
Davies is the best LB in the world, for me.


He's on a short list that's for damned sure. I kind of wonder how serious a contender for a WC spot from CONCACAF Canada is going to be. I suspect they don't have enough beyond Davies but I think he makes them a threat. Presumably they will play Nicaragua for a spot in the octagonal (the Hexagonal is dead, long live the Hexagonal). I would assume that the US, Mexico, Honduras and Costa Rica should be the teams expected to get the 3 1/2 spots but could Canada/Nicaragua be a fly in the ointment? 2018 showed the US has no guarantees and of course only four years prior the US bailed out Mexico.
   46. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 07, 2021 at 04:55 PM (#6012272)
Infogol final xG was 4.34-1.64. That's quite the way to lose. Chelsea game back with some big chances, so the xG was fairly even in that game in the end, though of course Chelsea has now effectively won the tie.
   47. spivey 2 Posted: April 07, 2021 at 04:57 PM (#6012273)
Moise Kean was so bad the last 15 minutes there I can't quite put it into words. Looked so gassed and confused about where he was supposed to be. Don't understand that sub at all, or really his career.
   48. spivey 2 Posted: April 07, 2021 at 05:02 PM (#6012275)
538 had xG at 4.1-1.9. I think that feels closer, on the PSG side. I think Infogol is underrating that Marquinhos chance which was really a massive chance.

Yeah, Bayern should have scored more. I guess if they had Gnabry and Lewandowski, they probably do? But PSG was playing without 2 of their best players in Marquinhos (much of the game) and Verratti. So, no excuses there, the guys playing just didn't finish their chances.
   49. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 07, 2021 at 05:03 PM (#6012277)
Presumably they will play Nicaragua for a spot in the octagonal (the Hexagonal is dead, long live the Hexagonal).
Haiti has been a much, much better team than Nicaragua, and aside from Canada might be the second best team in this entire round. Haiti is surely favored to advance over Nicaragua, and they will likely be a tough matchup for Canada in the playoff.

According to ELO, Nicaragua has never been better than Haiti, in their entire history. They are crap.
   50. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: April 07, 2021 at 05:03 PM (#6012278)
Will Lewandowski be back for the second leg? PSG have to be delighted. Bayern really have to come out flying next week. 3 away goals is a kick in the teeth.
   51. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: April 07, 2021 at 05:04 PM (#6012279)
Thanks Bea. I glanced at it really quickly and missed that.
   52. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 07, 2021 at 05:29 PM (#6012289)
Bayern/PSG is still the tie most in doubt, by a fairly big margin. We'll see what the betting odds come up with tomorrow, but 538 has Bayern at 30%. My guess is betting odds will be slightly higher.
   53. spivey 2 Posted: April 07, 2021 at 06:27 PM (#6012300)
Excepting some of the personnel decisions, Bayern got the tactics right and I’m presuming they’ll probably just run it back. The way they play 1 goal and away goals matter less. You can’t try to just sit on this lead for 90 minutes or you’ll give up even more than 28 shots. At least with PSG’s roster.
   54. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 08, 2021 at 08:08 AM (#6012347)
Bayern is at about 28% to advance. 538 still doesn't like PSG much, which is why they have them as slightly higher.

These ties aren't over yet. Chance of at least 1 of Dortmund, Liverpool, or Bayern advancing is over 50%.
   55. spivey 2 Posted: April 08, 2021 at 08:53 AM (#6012350)
Lewandowski will be missing the return leg based on comments he made. He's a fabulous player, probably the top striker in the world, but I'm firmly of the belief you could take an average Championship striker and put them in that roster and they'd bag 15-20 league goals and 25-30 goals in all competitions.

It will be interesting to see who does play.

Gnabry just tested positive for COVID a few days ago, so may not be back?

I am less familiar with PSG's team, but saw in discussions afterwards they were missing not just Verratti but also Paredes. Verratti is out for COVID and seems like on timing he could be back, but not a 100% guarantee. Marquinhos sounds like he'll be missing the return leg.
   56. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 08, 2021 at 09:11 AM (#6012351)
Arsenal takes on Slavia Prague so you would expect them to win easily? Maybe not so fast. Slavia is 33rd in ELO, which is one of the highest of any team outside the big 4. 538 thinks they are much worse than that, but 538 isn't very good at ranking teams from lesser leagues, so should be discounted a little bit more in this case.

By ELO, Zagreb also is also quite decent. Part of both of these high ELOs is that it takes a good bit of winning to get this far in a cup tournament (regardless of how well you actually play). That said, Slavia has been very good in this tournament. They were second best in their group to Leverkusen, but outplayed them in one of the two games they met (but definitely not the other). Outplayed Leicester over two legs, and played Rangers more or less even but got the goals. That's a very good showing.

Zagreb hasn't been as good. They were probably best in a very weak group, barely outplayed Krasnodar, and got dominated by Spurs except on the score line.

Both ELO and 538 think Granada is the worst team remaining in the CL. Betting odds thinks they are better than the other two, but only a little better than Slavia.

Teams with higher ELOs than Slavia outside the Big 4:

PSG (#10)
Ajax (#17)
Porto (#22)

Additional teams with higher ELOs than Zagreb outside the Big 4:

Slavia (#33)
Lyon (#34)
Lille (#35)
Salzburg (#37)
Shakhtar (#41)
Benfica (#42)

   57. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: April 08, 2021 at 09:21 AM (#6012354)
Lewandowski will be missing the return leg based on comments he made. He's a fabulous player, probably the top striker in the world, but I'm firmly of the belief you could take an average Championship striker and put them in that roster and they'd bag 15-20 league goals and 25-30 goals in all competitions.


That's my sense too. But it certainly poses some challenges trying to overturn a deficit in the quarterfinals of the Champions League. I'd like their chances a hell of a lot more if he were going to play.
   58. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 08, 2021 at 12:40 PM (#6012376)
From ESPN:

In all of the leagues for which Stats Perform logs matches and sends our way, here's a complete list of matches since Aug. 1 in which a team (a) generated at least 2.5 more expected goals (xG) than its opponent and (b) lost. Matches in bold also featured a shots advantage of at least +25 for the losing team.

- English Championship: Bristol City 3, Swansea City 1 (Swansea's xG advantage: +3.1)
- Ligue 1: Nice 2, Lens 1 (+2.9)
- Premier League: Crystal Palace 2, Brighton 1 (+2.6)
- Eerste Divisie: NEC 3, Volendam 1 (+2.6)
- Chilean Primera Division: Audax Italiano 2, Cobresal 1 (+2.6)
- Japanese J1 League: Vegalta Sendai 2, Vissel Kobe 1 (+2.6)
- UEFA Champions League: PSG 3, Bayern Munich 2 (+2.5)

At the moment there are 15,262 matches since Aug. 1 in our data tool.


I know of at least 5 publicly available xG systems, with the average being an xG differential of 2.2. That's high, but not quite as high as 2.5

Here's that Swansea game. Swansea's only goal came off of a penalty, so they had no goals off of about 3 xG of shots from open play. It could have been MUCH more insane, as Bristol got a tap in deep in extra time for an insurance goal. Without that chance, that had no impact on the result, it would have been a differential of close to 4.
   59. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 08, 2021 at 04:45 PM (#6012417)
Roma took the lead against Ajax. Down 2.3 xG (per infogol), so we might get another one of these...
   60. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 08, 2021 at 04:51 PM (#6012419)
United had a great goal by Rashford and did little else, and was cruising to a fair 0-1 win. Out of the blue in the 90th minute United get a mysterious penalty. 0-2 and the tie is over.

Arsenal absolutely dominated Slavia after a slow start, but could only get 1 goal. Slavia equalized with their only real chance in the waning moments of extra time. That's a disappointment for them, but they are still in very decent shape.

Villarreal took care of business 0-1 on the road.

Final xGD margin for Ajax was 2.46. They must be gutted.
   61. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 09, 2021 at 08:48 AM (#6012564)
If the current favorites in Europa hang on to win, it will be Arsenal, Villarreal, Roma, and United. 3 of those teams are basically out of the running for a CL spot next year, so stakes will be very high. At least one of the teams that doesn't win Europa this year is likely to end up in the Europa Conference league next year too, so that's even more incentive to win now. Winner of the Europa Conference League gets an automatic place in Europa! Something for a team like Arsenal to aspire to, I guess.
   62. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 10, 2021 at 09:28 AM (#6012662)
2 shots and 2 goals for Leeds in the win against City. Leeds played more than half the game with 10 men.

xG stats have Leeds with only 0.1 xG, but that is certainly too low. The last chance was probably worth at least 0.2 alone. xG differential was 2.3 by 538 and infogol, which would be yet another gutting loss liek the ones by Bayern and Ajax, if the game this morning actually meant anything.

City had the one of the highest non-shot xG of the year with 3.6, second only to United beating Southampton 9-0. Second highest non-shot xG differential as well, at 3.3. Reminiscent of Liverpool's 0-1 home loss to Burnley.
   63. jmurph Posted: April 10, 2021 at 09:33 AM (#6012664)
Well I gotta admit that was pretty entertaining. Good for Leeds. Obviously there is some luck involved when you're outshot infinity to 2 and still win, but they played a pretty perfect game and honestly most of City's shots weren't threatening at all.
   64. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 10, 2021 at 10:22 AM (#6012668)
This is the first of Liverpool's 7 games, out of their last 8, against teams that are in the bottom half of the table in current ability. Villa absolutely is a bottom half team right now without Graelish. Leeds as well. No shots yet for Villa.
   65. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 10, 2021 at 12:14 PM (#6012673)
Norwich will be in the EPL next year. Probably just need the games this week to make it official. Watford is very likely to join them as the other team to avoid the playoffs. Playoffs will likely have 3 very decent teams: Brentford, who seem to keep just missing despite being one of the very best teams in the Championship the last few years, Barnsley, who have poured it on late and look very solid, and Bournemouth, who have been on the bubble all year. The last team is Swansea, who probably aren't as good as the others. Reading is still hanging around too, if one of the others slips up.
   66. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 10, 2021 at 01:04 PM (#6012678)
helsea up 0-3, and Palace with no shots yet. Palace has been playing like the worst team in the league over the last couple months. They are bad.
   67. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 10, 2021 at 06:54 PM (#6012729)
Chelsea had a very dominant win and Liverpool only looked just good enough, and now Chelsea is being given slightly better odds than Liverpool to make the CL. This surprises me quite a bit, as Palace is a very bad team and Villa without Graelish is only a below average one. Liverpool's schedule is now much easier than Chelsea's is, especially if Grealish is back for the end of the season game against Villa and Palace has avoided relegation, both pretty liekly by the last week of the season.

Chelsea schedule: Brighton, West Ham, Fulham, City, Arsenal, Leicester, Villa.
Liverpool schedule: Leeds, Newcastle, ManUtd, Southampton, West Brom, Burnley, Palace.

That Chelsea schedule is hard. Five out of the seven games are likely to be against highly motivated opponents (all but Arsenal and Villa). The teams are also mostly quite good. The Liverpool schedule is much easier, with even the West Brom and Burnley games fairly likely to be meaningless for their opponents when the games finally roll around.

Both could still pass Leicester too, especially if Leicester don't win tomorrow (60% chance Leicester does not win). By the way, West Ham is a fairly decent underdog in that game, but if I had to guess I would have thought the game would be much more evenly matched. Maybe not having Rice is pushing the odds a bit.

Leicester schedule: West Ham, West Brom, Palace, Southampton, Newcastle, ManUtd, Chelsea, Tottenham.

With that schedule, a win tomorrow puts Leicester in very good shape, despite their clear inferiority to Chelsea and Liverpool. A loss puts Leicester even with or even behind Liverpool and Chelsea, but brings West Ham firmly into play. Yes, it's quite the high leverage game.

West Ham schedule: Leicester, Newcastle, Chelsea, Burnley, Everton, Brighton, West Brom, Southampton.

Finally, Spurs at this point need a near miracle. Anything but a win tomorrow and they can probably forget it. What's worse for them is that United wouldn't be too upset with a draw, considering their lead in then top 4 race, and that United don't need to save anything up for next week's Europa game at this point (or at least shouldn't be doing so). the good news for Spurs is after the next two weeks they face a string of teams with nothing to play for.

Tottenham schedule: ManUtd, Everton, Southampton, SheffieldUtd, Leeds, Wolves, Villa, Leicester.



   68. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 10, 2021 at 07:04 PM (#6012731)
For those that missed it, that was a great clasico today. I slept through the first half, but can attest that the second was fantastic, and even included a last second shot off the crossbar from close range that would have brought Barca level after going 2 down. xG was very even, but Barca dominated the second half playing a high-risk game as they were chasing from behind. Barca were a little lucky that Real Madrid couldn't get many big chances off their breakaways. The result was a whopping 4.2 non-shot xG for Barca.

Betting odds now has the La Liga winner race as now almost exactly level.

Barca 34.5%, Atletico 33%, Real Madrid 32.5%
   69. Mefisto Posted: April 10, 2021 at 08:15 PM (#6012743)
I'm pretty pissed that NBC is televising Spurs/United only on Peacock.
   70. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 11, 2021 at 12:11 PM (#6012794)
They disallowed the goal based on that? That's an absurdity. Ridiculous.
   71. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: April 11, 2021 at 12:13 PM (#6012795)
I hate replay so take this for what it’s worth but I think this call in the Spurs-United game is everything I hate about it;

Time - It took a bit over 3 minutes to make the decision. Any replay that requires that long is not a “clear and obvious error.”

Impact - Did McTominay put his hand into Son’s face? Yes without question. it was not the decisive part of the buildup to the goal nor was it remotely violent or intentional. Son grabbed McTominay’s arm, why is that foul not given also?

Outcome - So after all of that if McTominay hits Son in the face (he did) and the ref determines that’s a foul (he did) then that has to be a yellow card. In this case that would be a second yellow card that would have sent McTominay off.

I watch sports to watch sports, not to watch a frame by frame recap of some minor event. I have no dog in this fight. I’m a genuine neutral in this matchup. I hate this stuff.

Tl;dr - See #70.
   72. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 11, 2021 at 02:15 PM (#6012808)
United is closing in on the record for consecutive away games undefeated (27 by the Arsenal invincibles). United is at 23 now, and at this point it might be close to odds on that they finish the season undefeated on the road (Leeds, Villa, Wolves). The only other team to go undefeated for a full calendar season was the invincibles. Any away records (or poor home records *cough* Liverpool) this year should come with an asterisk. Without fans these records are much less impressive.

EPL teams are now 114-70-123 at home. xGD/xPoints at home is slightly positive at home, so there is some bad "luck" involved. Regardless, home field advantage in the EPL this year still appears to be very, very slight.

Top 4 betting odds:
ManUtd       98
Chelsea      56
Leicester    54
Liverpool    53
West Ham     31
Tottenham     6
Everton       2


Relegation odds
West Brom    97
Fulham       77
Newcastle    17
Burnley       7
Brighton      2
   73. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 11, 2021 at 02:47 PM (#6012811)
On top of that, by xPoints, United has been about as good at home as they have been on the road, same as most other teams. For example, they've been less good than City, Chelsea, and Liverpool on the road. By xPoints they've also been worse than Leicester, who earned a lot of road penalties so are one of the few teams that have significantly more away xPoints.

City's only away loss so far came against Tottenham, in a game City mostly dominated. City also has the same number of points as United on the road this year, despite playing one fewer game. Long and short of it is that United isn;t doing anything special on the road at all this year. They are benefiting from a lack of home field advantage and a little luck
   74. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 11, 2021 at 03:42 PM (#6012818)
United and Tottenham are the most extreme teams in terms of 1st v 2nd half xGD. Pattern was repeated today. Another thing to notice is that the teams that tend to perform better in the second half this year are the same ones most competing for CL spots.

Top half of the EPL listed below.
EPL Team     1st half xGD     2nd half xGD    delta

ManUtd           3.6             15.3         +11.7
Leicester        1.4              9.4          +8.0
Chelsea         13.1             17.8          +4.7
ManCity         19.9             23.3          +3.4
Liverpool       10.1             10.8          +0.7

Arsenal          1.3              1.8          -0.5
Brighton         7.2              3.6          -3.6
Everton          3.0             -1.5          -4.5
West Ham         7.5              1.9          -5.6
Tottenham        6.5             -5.6         -12.1


In the bottom half, Villa and Wolves (no surprise there) have been good 2nd half teams. Southampton, Burnley and West Brom have been bad ones. None as extreme as Spurs or United.
   75. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 11, 2021 at 04:07 PM (#6012823)
Oops Arsenal was slightly positive prior to the game today, and will be even more slightly positive after the game--more or less even with Liverpool in the chart above.
   76. I am going to be Frank Posted: April 12, 2021 at 09:07 AM (#6012898)
So does Mourinho get fired at the end of the season? He's owed a lot of money.
   77. spivey 2 Posted: April 12, 2021 at 09:41 AM (#6012900)
I think it's more down to is Levy willing and competent enough to realize he made a mistake.

A lot of conjecture over the contract, though I did see it mentioned that if Tottenham doesn't make Europe the cost for sacking him would be lower. And that's unlikely at this point, with West Ham, Liverpool, and Leicester all being above them and probably you'd say better.

Either way. The team is worth over 1 billion. The cost of doing nothing is far more than the cost of sacking Mourinho.
   78. jmurph Posted: April 12, 2021 at 10:04 AM (#6012905)
I think they're probably better than West Ham, but I think the point stands.

   79. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 12, 2021 at 01:05 PM (#6012960)
It was pointed out on twitter that the McTominay foul was only the third goal disallowed for an offensive foul in the build-up by VAR. VAR hasn't given fouls, on numerous occasions, on much more egregious plays by the offense (to be fair, at least some of which probably should have been fouls to disallow the goals). In short, the McTominay foul call was not consistent with the implementation of the rule used by the EPL this year. My guess is they will be more explicit about how VAR is to be used in these situations, such that the McTominay goal likely would stand in the future, but you never know they could still go the other way and call a lot more of these, or just leave it in an arbitrary grey area like it is now.

The Newcastle non-penalty was ridiculous as well. If you are going to have the high dangerous kick rule at all for clearly inadvertent plays, it has to be called there, in the box or not.
   80. jmurph Posted: April 12, 2021 at 01:24 PM (#6012976)
Honestly I thought it was a foul on replay once they actually went to the video, and I basically dislike Spurs and United equally. So once I was watching it I was like well yeah that's getting called off.

But I prefer the world in which it's neither reviewed nor called off.
   81. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 12, 2021 at 01:25 PM (#6012978)
West Brom just got a goal chalked off (technically not overruled by VAR, where it was ruled offside on the field) because there was another player in the way of the VAR cameras! It seemed to be a clear onside play and thus should have been a goal.

edit: on the McTominay play you feel a bit for the onfield ref, who might have been boxed in. (There was still a very decent argument that the play would only be called a foul on the field some fraction of the time, far below 100%, due to the grab by Son, so the on-field ref did have an out if he wanted to use it.) The real issue though is that VAR has not been sending similar "foul-in-the-buildup" plays to the onfield ref this year, and to do so now is inconsistent.
   82. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 12, 2021 at 01:36 PM (#6012986)
West Brom really does look like a different team the last couple months. They are all over Southampton right now, and that doesn't even include the goal that was chalked off.
   83. jmurph Posted: April 12, 2021 at 01:45 PM (#6012987)
The real issue though is that VAR has not been sending similar "foul-in-the-buildup" plays to the onfield ref this year, and to do so now is inconsistent.

Yes exactly.
   84. Mefisto Posted: April 12, 2021 at 02:30 PM (#6013002)
So after all of that if McTominay hits Son in the face (he did) and the ref determines that’s a foul (he did) then that has to be a yellow card. In this case that would be a second yellow card that would have sent McTominay off.


I believe the answer to this is that VAR may not be used for yellow cards.
   85. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 12, 2021 at 02:40 PM (#6013014)
This link as well as the twitter link above say that a yellow card can be given on VAR.

Can a VAR review ever lead to a yellow card?
VAR cannot review a yellow card, but it can lead to one. For instance, if a player has deceived the referee to win a penalty the referee may book him for diving after the penalty review.


The twitter link above said that: "The VAR decided that it wasn't a natural move of McTominay's hand in catching Son, but at the same time the officials decided against a second yellow card because it was accidental." So, apparently you had a non-natural move with the arm causing the foul, but the hand to the face was accidental. I guess if the offensive player intends to swing his arm back non-naturally to distract or obscure a player or maybe off gently or something and accidentally hits the player's face, conceivably it could be a foul but no yellow. Realistically we all know that if he didn't have a yellow to start with and they called a foul, they probably would have given him a yellow there.
   86. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 12, 2021 at 03:11 PM (#6013031)
West Brom now has 16 points over their last 14 games. That's quite respectable. non-pen xGD of around -5 over that period. Not great, but better than Newastle and Southampton, and much better than Burnley, Sheffield United, and Palace. Basically they have been playing like a solidly below average, but not relegation level, team. Combine that with desperation to win a few games and I wouldn't be sure I'd want to face them right now. They have Leicester next week, but don't face another team with anything on the line until Liverpool and West Ham later in the year when staying up will most likely already be out of reach.
   87. Mefisto Posted: April 12, 2021 at 03:11 PM (#6013032)
Thanks. I thought the "no review" rule also meant no yellow.
   88. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 12, 2021 at 06:01 PM (#6013060)
Rewatching that Maguire incident against Brighton it should have been a penalty. That said, it's really hard to see the whole incident without good replays. What happened was Magure came across the side of Welbeck slightly from behind and put a hand on Welbek's shoulder but more importantly reached out with his leg for the ball and/or to be a distraction. Maguire's hip or upper leg contact with Welbeck's right him or upper leg, causing Welbeck's right leg to be pushed inward just enough to barely clip Welbeck's left leg during Welbeck's stride. That delay in the stride of the right leg caused Welbeck to miss the ball with his right leg (which he was planning to shoot with) at which point Welbeck seemed to let himself fall (rightly, in order to try to get the call he deserved).

I watched the replays over and over again to finally see what happened and it is pretty subtle how it all went down. Instinctively it looked like a penalty on initial view, but in order to see it unfold it took two separate views, one from the side and one from the front/back. Dean didn't catch it all on the field apparently so wasn't sure. I wasn't sure either after watching both side views but eventually pieced it together to my satisfaction. I think it's one of those where the ref on the field often calls it instinctively as a penalty even thought they aren't 100% sure. Sometimes those ones that look instinctively like a penalty really aren't, which is (I guess) a reason for VAR. Here though it was quite difficult to see without watching it repeatedly on replay from multiple angles, so it's not a great one even for VAR to catch.

It was a little bit like the one in the Chelsea game a couple months ago, that also was not called a penalty on the field and thus by VAR I think for the same reason. To me that one was much easier to see though and I didn't understand how the VAR ref couldn't pull the trigger and rule it a pen. Here I understand why they didn't even though I think they got it wrong.
   89. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 12, 2021 at 06:10 PM (#6013064)
One interesting thing about Brighton failing to beat Everton today is it keeps both Everton and Brighton in the race for Top 4 and relegation, respectively. You have to think both teams will be playing hard this coming week, in games that still matter a lot for their opponents. Everton has Spurs on Friday. Brighton has Chelsea next Tuesday.
   90. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 12, 2021 at 08:49 PM (#6013105)
Winner of that Tottenham/Everton game stays alive, barely, in the CL race. Also gets a big leg up for the Europa Conference League cup spot, so it's a bit of the ol' poisoned chalice.
   91. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 12, 2021 at 09:10 PM (#6013111)
Foul in the build-up? How about this one by Pogba in the very same game? Set it at 13:46 for the front view. Here it is on a short video with less of a view. Maybe got the defender in the upper shoulder rather than the face or neck, but very clearly Pogba's arm goes out in a non-natural motion to hold off the defender. You can probably find many, many plays like these if you look.
   92. The Marksist Posted: April 13, 2021 at 11:33 AM (#6013199)
Watching the Burnley/Newcastle highlights (don't ask; can't adequately explain why) and I don't think you should be allowed to kick guys in the head? (Incident is at around 38 minutes.) Maybe it's just me.
   93. bunyon Posted: April 13, 2021 at 11:51 AM (#6013202)
@92: I watched that live and couldn't believe it wasn't called. Hard to imagine it wasn't called live. Harder on VAR.
   94. Mefisto Posted: April 13, 2021 at 12:32 PM (#6013208)
I'd have to know which player got kicked. :)
   95. spivey 2 Posted: April 13, 2021 at 03:45 PM (#6013238)
Haven't been able to watch the first half but xG suggests that PSG/Bayern Round 2 looks like more cocaine football, this one with Bayern having the 1 goal lead despite being out-xG'ed by a bit. Second half is going to insane.
   96. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 13, 2021 at 03:49 PM (#6013239)
The breaks definitely went Bayern's way so far today, but still not enough to make up for what they endured last week, either by xG or on the scoreboard. If Bayern play that way in the second half they are going to need a lot of luck to advance. 0-1 in the second half seems quite unlikely, and even 1-2 seems pretty unlikely.
   97. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 13, 2021 at 03:52 PM (#6013240)
Bayern had most of the possession, but PSG had almost all the best chances. Bayern's goal came off a misplay from the keeper. PSG hit the post at least 3 times, mostly on big chances.
   98. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 13, 2021 at 04:57 PM (#6013246)
It was a well played game by PSG, who had enough on the day to even survive some bad luck and advance. By rights they should have lost the tie though, even without having to face Lewa, and I would expect City handle them. You never know though.
   99. jmurph Posted: April 14, 2021 at 03:00 PM (#6013387)
Broadcaster for City-Dortmund just said in Champions League knockout rounds, the team up 2-1 after the home first leg has gone on to lose the tie more often than win it.

Yes I realize this is a meaningless factoid but I don't like it anyway.
   100. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 14, 2021 at 03:20 PM (#6013392)
It's not really applicable to City/Dortmund, but it might not be totally meaningless either. More than half the knockout games in the CL are in the first round, and in these the weaker team starts at home first (runners up in the group). Additionally, a 2-1 home win is a pretty narrow edge even for evenly matched teams. Put those together, and throw in a dash of luck, and it may not be that surprising 2-1 in the first leg has not historically been much of an advantage.

This wouldn't apply to City of course, who are much better than Dortmund and who are on then road in the second leg.

edit: of course, as I type this City is already behind in the tie.
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