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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 | 399 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: off topic, soccer

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   101. jmurph Posted: April 14, 2021 at 03:55 PM (#6013397)
I will be very surprised if there aren't more goals in Dortmund-City based on the first half. City almost unlocked them several times, and obviously they're going to be vulnerable on the break the later it gets. Fun game so far, wish I didn't care about the outcome!

   102. spivey 2 Posted: April 14, 2021 at 04:10 PM (#6013403)
Man City and underperforming xG in the Champion's League knockouts. Name a more icon duo.
   103. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 14, 2021 at 04:31 PM (#6013405)
Liverpool really should be winning this game. Could even be up by 2 at this point, though that would have taken a bit of luck.
   104. jmurph Posted: April 14, 2021 at 04:33 PM (#6013406)
Wooo that's a nice ####### shot.
   105. spivey 2 Posted: April 14, 2021 at 04:37 PM (#6013407)
Foden's not better than Messi, but he could be the next generation's Kevin DeBruyne.
   106. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 14, 2021 at 04:38 PM (#6013408)
City should be fairly big favorites against PSG. 70% or even more is my guess. Real Madrid (assuming they win) will likely be slight favorites over Chelsea, but I doubt by more than 55% or so. City is probably now over 50% to win each of the cup competitions, maybe slightly less on the CL.
   107. KronicFatigue Posted: April 14, 2021 at 04:44 PM (#6013411)
I slightly agree with the handball call against Dortmund. However, that was the PERFECT opportunity for a makeup call from the premature whistle in the first leg. Combine both calls for Man City, and Dortmund has every reason to feel screwed.
   108. spivey 2 Posted: April 14, 2021 at 04:46 PM (#6013413)
City should absolutely be favorites against PSG, but I think it's going to play out pretty similarly as PSG/Bayern did.

City will dominate possession and probably be able to create a good amount of dangerous situations in the final 3rd. There were also be a dozen squeaky-bum situations for PSG on the break both matches. The last match against Bayern I actually thought PSG kind of dominated the second half, but didn't turn a lot of their scary counters into high xG chances. How many of those breaks turn into good chances will go a long way to deciding the tie (plus finishing, obv).
   109. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 14, 2021 at 04:47 PM (#6013414)
Liverpool played one very bad half, and it deservedly cost them this tie. These two teams seem pretty evenly matched at the moment, which I guess makes sense as the betting odds has it as a coinflip going in.

edit: to follow up, Liverpool probably outplayed Real over the last 3 halves, but not by that much, and not enough to overcome the first 45 minutes last week without a bit of luck, which they certainly didn't get.
   110. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 14, 2021 at 04:49 PM (#6013416)
I think it's going to play out pretty similarly as PSG/Bayern did.
If that's the case, and you believe xG, City's odds should be even higher than 70%.
   111. spivey 2 Posted: April 14, 2021 at 04:49 PM (#6013418)
Dortmund got screwed out of goal in the first match, yes, but I really don't think refs can be trying to do makeup calls like that. Especially on a huge calls. You just have to try to get as many right as possible, because it's already hard. And I think it was definitely a handball.
   112. KronicFatigue Posted: April 14, 2021 at 04:52 PM (#6013421)
but I really don't think refs can be trying to do makeup calls like that.


Usually agree, but I thought this could have been the one plausible chance to do it. A ref can't grant a penalty out of whole cloth, or give a dozen mini calls to make up for one big mistake, but here, that call could have gone either way. Even if the ref thought it was 55/45 a penalty, that's just the perfect opportunity to flip it.
   113. spivey 2 Posted: April 14, 2021 at 04:54 PM (#6013424)
If that's the case, and you believe xG, City's odds should be even higher than 70%.


I'm not sure what I think. I think 65/35 or 70/30 is about what I'd put it. Of course PSG's health going into the match is big.

PSG's style of play against a team like Bayern or City is going to be pretty high variance. A couple of those near-miss chances they had last match come off and xG is actually fairly even on the whole, though still to Bayern.
   114. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 14, 2021 at 04:57 PM (#6013426)
538 has City as 81% to advance, but they hate PSG. (They also love City, but everyone loves City, and betting odds do too, so that's nothing special.) 538 has Real Madrid at 53% over Chelsea, which will probably be similar to betting odds.
   115. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 14, 2021 at 04:58 PM (#6013427)
A couple of those near-miss chances they had last match come off and xG is actually fairly even on the whole, though still to Bayern.
This goes both ways, and you can't generally do that over 180 minutes, although in extreme cases you sometimes can. The xG totals were not close to even after 180 minutes, and overall the tie was not close. Bayern got jobbed.
   116. spivey 2 Posted: April 14, 2021 at 05:05 PM (#6013432)
This goes both ways, and you can't generally do that over 180 minutes, although in extreme cases you sometimes can. The xG totals were not close to even after 180 minutes, and overall the tie was not close. Bayern got jobbed.


It does go both ways, but PSG's xG/shot is going to be massively higher than Bayern or City's, just based on how those matches are constructed. So an additional single shot or two can go a big difference, even though it doesn't necessarily change how the tie was poised.

Bayern won xG 5.7-3.9 according to 538. MCoA had it closer to ~1 goals different, I think he had Bayern's chances the first leg closer to 3.6 or so. They were definitely the better team on the balance of play, and needed to finish their chances better in the first match. I'm not arguing that. But I'm not comfortable calling that domination.
   117. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 14, 2021 at 05:13 PM (#6013434)
xG 5.7-3.9
This is actually a very big margin. I would expect the 5.7 to win probably 80% of the time with that margin. 1 GD difference maybe 65%.
   118. Fancy Pants Handle struck out swinging Posted: April 14, 2021 at 05:14 PM (#6013435)
This goes both ways, and you can't generally do that over 180 minutes, although in extreme cases you sometimes can. The xG totals were not close to even after 180 minutes, and overall the tie was not close. Bayern got jobbed.

I find shot xG to be pretty useless over a single game or a single tie. You need a larger sample for a lot of the kinks to even out. The binary nature of a shot can mean that some really high quality chances don't get counted at all, like Neymar hitting fresh air from 2 yards out, or Hernandez getting a toe to the ball to snuff out a really dangerous counter. Both of those were really high quality chances, but won't count for anything in xG.

Similarly, sometimes shots get way overvalued, because they were far from guaranteed to ever get to the point of being taken. A tap in on the far post on a cross, or a header from inside the six yard box are extremely high xG chances. But the actual cross might have had a really low chance of actually getting there to begin with.

These things just don't even out over small sample sizes.

Also, as a Dortmund fan I am biased, but that penalty was the worst bullshit ever. If the ball comes off the head, and the arm is not raised above the head, it isn't supposed to be a penalty. This wasn't even a hard one for VAR to overturn. No excuses for that.
   119. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 14, 2021 at 05:22 PM (#6013439)
I find shot xG to be pretty useless over a single game or a single tie. You need a larger sample for a lot of the kinks to even out. The binary nature of a shot can mean that some really high quality chances don't get counted at all, like Neymar hitting fresh air from 2 yards out, or Hernandez getting a toe to the ball to snuff out a really dangerous counter. Both of those were really high quality chances, but won't count for anything in xG.


All fine, but Bayern had countless chances where Sane made the wrong pass that didn't lead to a shot. This tie isn't one to me that calls out for a major injustice by xG, but I guess opinions can vary. Bayern to me is just a much better team than PSG, and City is better than Bayern.
   120. spivey 2 Posted: April 14, 2021 at 09:28 PM (#6013479)
I think PSG is a very tough team for me to determine exactly how good they are. They made the CL final last year. Relatively easy run in, but they played a healthy, better Bayern team straight up in the final and easy run-in or not, you're beating good teams in the QFs and SFs. Though finals tend to be very cagey.

They beat Barcelona this year, who 538 loves. xG wasn't super lopsided, but was 5.3-4.4 for PSG in 538's model and game state may have driven some of that xG for Barcelona in the second leg - think MCoA had it about even. PSG and quick counter attacking teams in general seem to not be graded well by 538's non-shot xG model. That does feed into their SPI ranking and I wonder if there's a gap there.

They're struggling in the league more than they should be. Their team is super unbalanced. They play a few guys who I feel like wouldn't start for Tottenham. I dunno.
   121. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 14, 2021 at 11:37 PM (#6013519)
Early betting odds has City as around 67% to advance.

Regarding xG edge, over the last 5 years in the CL, teams finishing 2-legged ties ahead on xG (by 538) have won 84% (52-10). That drops to 79% if you only include ties with xG differential of 2.0 or less. Still, 1.8 xG is a very big edge, and even 1.2 xG is a decently large edge over 2 legs. (The other time this year the team with lesser xG won was Porto over Juve. Out of the 12 ties, those two and Real Madrid beating Liverpool were the 3 out of 12 where the underdog one, so betting odds picked the xG winner 11 times out of 12. A few of those were almost coinflips though, including PSG over Barca, Chelsea over Atleti, and Liverpool over Real Madrid).

Only 1 tie with a significantly worse differential than 1.8 xG was won by the team on the short end over the past 5 years, although a few others were in the same ballpark. The only one that was way worse was Bayern losing out to Real Madrid on the semis when they completely demolished them except on the scoreboard, with an overall xGD of 4.1 (6.9 - 2.8) but lost 4-3 on aggregate.
   122. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 15, 2021 at 03:26 PM (#6013624)
Arsenal did nothing for 15 minutes, then scored 4 in the next several minutes (ok, one was barely offside, and another was a pen, but it still counts as 3 on the board). Game over.

   123. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 15, 2021 at 03:48 PM (#6013629)
None of the Europa ties are within even two goals now, except Ajax/Roma. So unless Ajax can score early in the second half we will likely have 0 excitement.
   124. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 17, 2021 at 08:19 AM (#6013946)
Huge game between West Ham and Newcastle. Newcastle had already been outplaying West Ham, and then the wheels came off for West Ham. Bad mistakes compounded and now they are down two goals and a man.

First, a stray pass resulted in a Newcastle player running at the West Hamm defense. It was 1 on 4, but Dawson dove in anyway to try to make up for the error (not his) and got a completely unnecessary yellow.
Second, a bad touch by Dawson in midfield and he comes in late again to make up for the error (this time his) and he gets a second yellow an dis sent off.
Third, on the same play (and before the second yellow can even be given) St Maximan gets off a weak shot that is easily stopped by the keeper and defender but deflected back in for an own goal.
Fourt, Fabianski drops an easy cross for a tap in.

Not that West Ham were playing well anyway--they weren't. They gave this game away though, and probably gave away any chance of top 4.
   125. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 17, 2021 at 09:12 AM (#6013955)
Shocking turnaround in this second half. Newcastle has done nothing, and now gave up a stupid penalty. 2-2 now.
   126. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: April 17, 2021 at 10:57 AM (#6013965)
Wow, I decided to watch Magnum PI instead of bothering with the second half of Newcastle-West Ham. Down 2-0 and a man down as well, why bother? Looks like I missed a hell of a half. That would have been a disaster if Newcastle had dropped points there.
   127. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: April 17, 2021 at 01:09 PM (#6013981)
It’s a small thing but it was a great example of why players dive and why refs need to stop it. Fernandino’s foul and James’ foul were fundamentally the same one. Mount kept his feet and the City player went down so James was booked and Fernandinho was not.

Interesting game so far. Chelsea have been giving it a go and frankly I think they’ve been the better team 36 minutes in.
   128. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 17, 2021 at 01:23 PM (#6013983)
Pretty cagey game.

Minor thing, but these players must know that there was a good chance Dean would blow for halftime there when City did the short corner. I thought he would, after that slow procession of getting the corner in place that took the game well beyond the extra time. I thought City would be smart enough not to play the short corner but no.
   129. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 17, 2021 at 01:48 PM (#6013985)
Steffen with some very bad goalkeeping there. Likely it would have been a decent chance anyway for Chelsea, but with Steffen's error they could almost walk it right in.
   130. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: April 17, 2021 at 02:15 PM (#6013988)
I had the same thought about the short corner. City took forever to take it then finally got their #### together just to do that? I thought blowing for the half was the right thing.

Twellman is right, Gundogan and Foden have changed the game. Chelsea definitely feel like they are hanging on. In fairness City haven’t had much in the way of big chances but they do seem to just keep getting closer and closer.
   131. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: April 17, 2021 at 02:28 PM (#6013993)
Well, I thought Chelsea deserved that. For me they were the better team for the first hour and while they got a bit defensive at the end they did a good job not giving up much in the way of big chances (if any at all really).
   132. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 17, 2021 at 04:37 PM (#6014028)
Yeah hard to say Chelsea wasn't deserving. They're so hard to break down under Tuchel, and City's approach in the first half was completely ineffective.

Norwich was promoted today, and if this result holds up Sheffield United will be relegated.
   133. jmurph Posted: April 17, 2021 at 04:42 PM (#6014031)
Officially no hope for Parma to stay up in Serie A. Up 2-0 and then 3-1 against another relegation favorite in Cagliari and somehow lost 4-3.

EDIT: Should also mention they had a wide open chance from about a yard out at 3-1 or 3-2 and kicked it into the stands.

They're not good, is what I'm trying to say.
   134. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 17, 2021 at 05:50 PM (#6014043)
I get wanting, even "needing" to play the backup keeper occasionally in real games. Right now City has the luxury of having won the league already, so they could have played Steffen in all the remaining league games and Ederson only in the cups. Few other teams are in that situation.

City didn't play well enough in the field to blame the loss on Steffen, but having Ederson out there likely would have increased their odds a little. Maybe you could extend that to some of the other players City started as well. I know they just had a hard game against Dortmund, but the game today was more important than the next two, and much more important than the essentially meaningless (for both teams) Villa game.
   135. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: April 17, 2021 at 06:18 PM (#6014052)
Yeah. As a practical matter City came into today with six games left in their season; today’s semi, a potential final, the Carabao final and the CL semis and final. The league games are meaningless.

But I suspect there is a man management element to this. Steffan has been playing the Cup games so wants to finish that job and Emerson probably is enjoying a day off. I had the same thought as you though. Why make all the changes when the league games are now the perfect time to let guys get a break.
   136. Pirate Joe Posted: April 17, 2021 at 08:08 PM (#6014075)
Guardiola said the other day that if he didn't have Steffen in the net for the game today that he would have lost the locker room. I don't know that I believe that, but I can believe that a lot of the players felt that he should have been allowed to finish out the tournament.

   137. KronicFatigue Posted: April 18, 2021 at 09:06 AM (#6014110)
Interesting points w/ 134 and 135, and sadly I think 136 effectively negates it. It's one of the many reasons why quadruple is so difficult. Even if you can figure out a competitive edge as 134/135 suggests, the players are human, and could be emotionally resistant to it.

For better or for worse, many teams have the the hard and fast rule that backup keepers get the cup games, and you just have to shrug off the inefficiency of the idea, much like the closer coming in to preserve a 3 run 9th.


Changing topics, can someone give me some historical color on the elimination of the backpass. The first soccer I ever watched was the 1990 world cup and I instantly hated how boring it was b/c of the back-pass. I read two books recently and one (can't remember which) said the back-pass rule was met with a ton of resistance from the old guard.

I'm confused on two levels. 1) Why did it take so long for teams to exploit the (non) rule. and 2) once it got exploited, how could ANYONE be against the rule?

   138. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 18, 2021 at 09:33 AM (#6014112)
Sevilla had 3 xG in the first half alone at Sociedad. Only led 1-2 (infogol xG 0.2-3.1). The xG map is ridiculous.

A Sevilla win closes out the top 4 race, with a lot of games left in the season. I think Sociedad could even still end up in the Europa Conference. (They did win the Copa del Rey in a game played this year, but it was last year's Copa, so I'm not sure what that means.)
   139. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 18, 2021 at 09:51 AM (#6014113)
I saw speculation that one reason 538 hates PSG is that due to non-shot xG they are biased against quick strike teams that don't maintain a lot of possession. I think this is right, but it's a small factor. 538 values non-shot xG at 1/3 (along with 1/3 shot xG and 1/3 actual goals). That's likely too high for non-shot xG, and too low for actual xG. PSG is an extreme team in that their xGD (and actual GD) are consistently higher than their non-shot xG this year.

This is a reason for PSG's low rating, but it's a minor factor. The main reason is that for the first year in recent memory they have not dominated Ligue 1. In fact, Lyon has a better xGD and xPoints this year, and Moncao is right there with them (and Lille is actually leading the league). It's not just xG either. Traditional ELO has them as only 10 in then world--below Chelsea and about on the level as Atleti, based solely on results.

To rank PSG much higher than that, you have to believe that they can turn it on in the CL after losing focus in Ligue 1. Considering the makeup of the team, maybe there's something to it. It hasn't been the case in recent years though, where there league performance was great and their performance in the CL wasn't notably better, so if it's actually happening this year it's a new phenomenon.
   140. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 18, 2021 at 10:15 AM (#6014116)
If Fulham do go on to win this one, it will be quite the steal. Their one goal, and really only chance, came off a questionable penalty. Arsenal has had lots of chance, a high xG for no goals scored, and additionally 2 goals called out for offside, one on the narrowest of margins.
   141. jmurph Posted: April 18, 2021 at 10:30 AM (#6014117)
Love to "not interfere with play" by standing offsides 5 feet in front of the goalie during a frantic goal line scramble. Totally makes sense.
   142. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 18, 2021 at 10:53 AM (#6014118)
Atalanta got a late goal to beat Juve. First time in 20 years!

It was a big game too, in terms of jockeying for top 4. If Napoli can put a few games together Juve could be on the outside of the CL looking in, and that would surely be something. (though not if they put in place a super league...)
   143. jmurph Posted: April 18, 2021 at 11:30 AM (#6014119)
UEFA and the domestic leagues threatening to ban the teams involved.

I mean I don't really buy it, but good for them for trying.
   144. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 18, 2021 at 11:31 AM (#6014120)
In 9 games so far against the other best 5 teams in La Liga, Real Sociedad has 4 draws and 5 losses. until the last two games though, against Barca and now Sevilla, the games had mostly been fairly close. xGD against teams outside the top 6: 27.5. xGD against the other 5 teams in the top 6: -9. Basically they've struggled against the best teams this year but dominated everyone else.
   145. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 18, 2021 at 12:12 PM (#6014124)
Atleti pitched a shut out against bottom dwellers Eibar. No shots given up in a 5-0 win.
   146. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 18, 2021 at 12:58 PM (#6014125)
Poor game by United. They will have finished up 3-1 and with a good xG advantage, but the insurance goal and almost all of the xG came with Burnley chasing the game very late. Another prime example of why game state (especially, e,g., playing with the lead) doesn't have a large effect on xG differential. It's easy to say that a team with a lead stops trying to score, but that's mostly balanced out by the trailing team pushing forward and giving up big chances on the break. Infogol had United trailing on xG going into extra time, but getting an astounding 1.93 in extra time with Burnley leaving big holes in the back.
   147. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 18, 2021 at 01:27 PM (#6014130)
EPL betting odds:
Winner
ManCity       99
ManUnited      1

Top4
Leicester     60
Chelsea       58
Liverpool     57
WestHam       19
Tottenham      5
Everton        1

Relegation
WestBrom      97
Fulham        87
Burnley        8
Newcastle      6
Brighton       2

FA Cup
Chelsea       64
Leicester     27
Southampton    9

EFL Cup
ManCity       76.5
Tottenham     23.5

   148. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 18, 2021 at 04:02 PM (#6014154)
The Europa League semis have 3 teams in the semis that are now effectively completely out of their league race for CL spots (1% or less), prior to the semis even being played. I don't know if that's ever happened before. Definitely increases the stakes. All of these teams should be putting all their hopes into the Europe league. United also effectively has nothing else to play for, though maybe they are still dreaming of a title.
   149. Mefisto Posted: April 18, 2021 at 06:46 PM (#6014175)
Dean Henderson didn't exactly cover himself in glory today. Burnley's xG was about the length of a big toe from being even higher.
   150. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 18, 2021 at 07:27 PM (#6014182)
Check this xG chart of the game out. Not sure I've seen one quite like that before. Mirror images until extra time. (And as you note, did not include Henderson's error on the offside goal.)

Henderson looked even worse coming out for a cross on another play later in the game, which fortunately for him was headed away by a defender. On the goal itself you probably couldn't blame Henderson too much, as there were so many United players in the 6-yd box I'm not sure he could have fought his way through to get to the ball. On the other hand, why was United playing that kind of defense...? The cross came in close enough that had they been playing differently it really probably would have been the keeper's ball.
   151. Mefisto Posted: April 18, 2021 at 07:33 PM (#6014184)
United may defend corners that way because DeGea doesn't like to come get the ball. His reactions are (were?) so good that he could get away with that. Henderson today was all over the place -- came out too far a few times, failed to come out on the Burnley goal (though you may be right about the crowding).
   152. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 18, 2021 at 07:48 PM (#6014187)
Yeah that makes sense about United playing that way for de Gea. Great reaction times, not so great coming for crosses. I wonder if they'll play differently for Henderson after today.
   153. jmurph Posted: April 19, 2021 at 07:36 AM (#6014218)
Mourinho officially out at Tottenham.
   154. jmurph Posted: April 19, 2021 at 07:43 AM (#6014220)
slbsn @slbsn
Mourinho has managed almost half the founders of the SL and he’s still got time to fill in the gaps before it kicks off.
   155. spivey 2 Posted: April 19, 2021 at 12:16 PM (#6014250)
Gonna be interesting to see what happens with the Super League. There's a lot of posturing right now.
   156. I am going to be Frank Posted: April 19, 2021 at 01:34 PM (#6014262)
The SL lost a little bit of leverage when Dortmund, Bayern and PSG decided to stay, but I don't see how UEFA wins. Easy to blame the big teams for being greedy, but at least they're transparent about it. The Premier League was created out of greed, very few country's respective FA are well-thought of, and UEFA is, well, UEFA. Just can't get around the reality that more people would rather watch Arsenal or Spurs rather than Ajax or Porto, much less Young Boys or Cluj.

Sports law is well beyond my area of expertise, but I don't know how UEFA or FIFA can specifically ban a player in the World Cup or the Euros just because they're playing in a competition they don't like. I guess a country could choose not to select a player, but that seems counterproductive. Excluding a team from their domestic competition seems 'easier' but the Premier League would lose so much money without those six teams.
   157. bunyon Posted: April 19, 2021 at 02:55 PM (#6014271)
As a guy who loves watching games but doesn't know the history or follow any one team all that closely, help me out:

Will the SL just be one more competition those teams participate in? So, this year, Man City would be playing SL games as well as Champions League, FA Cup and EPL?

The SL teams aren't talking about leaving their domestic leagues are they?

But, if they aren't, how will they fit it all in?

If there is a good primer on the SL plan, feel free to link.
   158. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 19, 2021 at 03:02 PM (#6014273)
I definitely won't be watching the SL regular "group" games, but I also wasn't likely to be watching many of the CL group games either under the new format, so maybe that's not a major difference. If there are SL playoffs I might skip them too. Haven't decided yet. I find the whole thing very unpalatable.

Assuming PSG, Bayern, and Dortmund eventually join, how many CL QF teams in the past few years were not in this group of 15? About 2 per year.

2021: Porto
2020: Leipzig, Atalanta, Lyon
2019: Ajax, Porto
2018: Sevilla, Roma
2017: Monaco, Leicester
2016: Wolfsburg, Benfica
2015: Monaco, Porto
2014: none
2013: Malaga, Galatassaray,
2012: Marseille, APOEL, Benfica
2011: Schalke, Shakhtar
2010: Lyon, Bordeaux, CSKA
   159. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 19, 2021 at 04:56 PM (#6014290)
I only caught parts of the second half, but sheesh, Liverpool were very bad that half . The stats had them doing much better in the first half.
   160. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: April 19, 2021 at 06:56 PM (#6014314)
157 - The Super League is basically set to take the place of the Champions League (at least for those teams) and be played midweek.
   161. jmurph Posted: April 20, 2021 at 08:48 AM (#6014390)
Between the press conference from Madrid's president yesterday, the many players coming out against it, and reports that Chelsea and Man City are waffling (which I interpret as they don't want to get yelled at in the press), I'm starting to be a little skeptical that this thing is for real.
   162. spivey 2 Posted: April 20, 2021 at 09:30 AM (#6014397)
I would not at all be surprised if the reports of some teams waffling are fake. There are already so many outright lies told in soccer "journalism", and you know the various powers that be are going to use their political power and press contacts to try to get stories like that out there to make the teams divided.

This was obviously going to generate a ton of push back from players, ex-players, all of the teams not involved, and UEFA. If any of these teams were caught off guard by the reaction, that's absurd.


It is disappointing. I "get" why Tottenham is involved. They're not critical for this thing to be a success. They've really capitalized on their successes in the last couple of decades to turn into a very high revenue team, and want to solidify that. It feels bad as a fan to basically try to close the door behind them so that teams like Leicester, Everton, etc. can't do the same thing. It was just a matter of time before something like this happened. CL matches are already becoming harder to watch. And the last year or two I've been watching less Tottenham as they've not been fun to watch. Maybe it's just time to take a bit of a break from the highest level soccer.
   163. bunyon Posted: April 20, 2021 at 09:35 AM (#6014399)
Thanks, Jose.

Spivey, I think that "highest level" sports often lose a sense of play. Everyone is so serious and there is so much money involved. Every now and then I go watch a high school or low college baseball game and realize how much more fun everyone seems to be having. They're far less talented, of course, but that often translates to entertainment better than elite athletes in, essentially, a stalemate.

I think it's one reason I enjoy watching soccer so much the last couple of years. I came to it late and have no real idea what the backstories are. It's just guys chasing a ball around.
   164. jmurph Posted: April 20, 2021 at 09:37 AM (#6014400)
There are already so many outright lies told in soccer "journalism"

Yeah I know there are huge differences in the structures, multiple languages/countries, etc., but this kind of thing makes me appreciate how good American sports reporting can be. We generally get full details of contracts, trades, impending rules changes, etc., pretty early in the process here. Not that people don't get things wrong in the US, too, obviously, but I think there's a clear difference. We need a world football Woj or three.
   165. jmurph Posted: April 20, 2021 at 09:44 AM (#6014403)
Big picture I think the whole idea is pretty lame. If it was just this and nothing else I'd probably just roll my eyes and ignore it- it's not like the current UEFA club competitions are paragons of fairness when you've got the 4th place teams in the big leagues advancing to the group stages automatically while actual league champions have to go through rounds of qualifying to get there.

But I do actually worry about the implications for the domestic leagues long term. If this works, what's the motivation for Arsenal (I'll pick on them instead of Spurs since I'm not sure any Arsenal fans post here...?) to care at all about the Premier League? They're not competitive there anyway, and they're locked into the big money Super League regardless of where they finish. And then a few years down the line, why not just scrap all those trips to the likes of Stoke and Southampton altogether and add some more games in Europe, or China, or the US? Maybe that's just silly slippery slope thinking, I don't know.
   166. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 20, 2021 at 09:47 AM (#6014404)
After the events of the last several weeks, with CL expansion and now ESL, I'm absolutely not listening to managers of super teams who try to point fingers regarding the number of games, anywhere other than at their own ownership.
   167. spivey 2 Posted: April 20, 2021 at 09:56 AM (#6014406)
But I do actually worry about the implications for the domestic leagues long term. If this works, what's the motivation for Arsenal (I'll pick on them instead of Spurs since I'm not sure any Arsenal fans post here...?) to care at all about the Premier League? They're not competitive there anyway, and they're locked into the big money Super League regardless of where they finish. And then a few years down the line, why not just scrap all those trips to the likes of Stoke and Southampton altogether and add some more games in Europe, or China, or the US? Maybe that's just silly slippery slope thinking, I don't know.


Hell, forget the league, what's the motivation to even care about the ESL? If you're a permanent member, why wouldn't we expect most of this money to get pocketed? The biggest teams are still going to have the most money and better players, on average, than Tottenham. Maybe in their prime Poch years they can finish like 4th or something for a couple years in a row?
   168. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: April 20, 2021 at 10:22 AM (#6014410)
Hell, forget the league, what's the motivation to even care about the ESL? If you're a permanent member, why wouldn't we expect most of this money to get pocketed? The biggest teams are still going to have the most money and better players, on average, than Tottenham. Maybe in their prime Poch years they can finish like 4th or something for a couple years in a row?


I think it will be a MLB situation with most teams spending huge money but making huger money. Use the Red Sox as an example. For all the justified criticism of them trading Mookie to save money they still spent about $200 million in payroll last year (pro-rated obviously). I suspect what we will see is the various teams in the ESL spending because they can and they'll want the best players but they wouldn't be spending as much as they can. Instead they'll spend enough to try and compete while also raking it in. We see this with the Sox, Yankees, etc.... all of whom can probably swing a half billion dollar payroll if they want but choose not too.

The other element is I'm sure that even if spending to a floor isn't a requirement it will be strongly "encouraged" by the league. The ESL isn't going to want Arsenal to stick around if they are acting like the Marlins. At least have the decency to be the Mets or the Phillies.
   169. jmurph Posted: April 20, 2021 at 01:50 PM (#6014432)
Dan Roan @danroan
BREAKING I understand Chelsea are now preparing documentation to request withdrawing from the ESL

Ahahahhahahahahaha. If this is true I expect City and maybe a few others will quickly follow, they do not want to get yelled at. This whole thing will crumble by the end of the week.
   170. jmurph Posted: April 20, 2021 at 01:56 PM (#6014433)
Martyn Ziegler @martynziegler
Just to add confirmation: Chelsea are withdrawing from the Super League. The beginning of the end

Original report was BBC, this is from the Times. So about as legit as we can hope for in sports reporting.

Absolutely amazing how little they seem to have thought this through.
   171. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: April 20, 2021 at 01:57 PM (#6014434)
I mean what made anyone involved think "yeah the fans are going to love this."
   172. jmurph Posted: April 20, 2021 at 02:06 PM (#6014436)
And City are out. This is hilarious.
   173. jmurph Posted: April 20, 2021 at 02:17 PM (#6014439)
And Barca, maybe? (I'm just reading twitter, obviously, so no links as I do not pretend to think all of these are 100% legit).
   174. spivey 2 Posted: April 20, 2021 at 02:28 PM (#6014442)
It does look like this is done. I'm sure no punishment will be handed out, and the teams will learn on what to do better next time they try this. Because they will try it.
   175. jmurph Posted: April 20, 2021 at 02:29 PM (#6014443)
I would like to amend my earlier post that it will be over by friday to it will be over by the end of today.

Quite a show.
   176. jmurph Posted: April 20, 2021 at 02:34 PM (#6014447)
It does look like this is done. I'm sure no punishment will be handed out, and the teams will learn on what to do better next time they try this. Because they will try it.

Or there's some unannounced deal coming with UEFA and the Champions League.
   177. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 20, 2021 at 02:56 PM (#6014456)
Watford played Norwich at the right time (right after Norwich got promoted), and with today's win are very close to promotion themselves.

Playoffs are close to set. Brentford is probably the best team, but Bournemouth is likely not too far behind them. Barnsley is intriguing, and Swansea rounds out the 4. Reading is still hanging around if Barnsley slips up.
   178. jmurph Posted: April 20, 2021 at 02:58 PM (#6014457)
IT'S ALL HAPPENING:
talkSPORT @talkSPORT
BREAKING: Ed Woodward has resigned as chairman of Manchester United.

Woodward’s decision comes after the backlash over the European Super League.
   179. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 20, 2021 at 03:05 PM (#6014460)
Woodward resigned. Supposedly he was going to step down this summer anyway, so I guess he doesn't want to deal with the heat.
   180. jmurph Posted: April 20, 2021 at 03:09 PM (#6014462)
Miguel Delaney @MiguelDelaney
Agnelli resigning from Juventus.

Told there is immense pressure on Florentino Perez too.

This is all amazing.
   181. Mefisto Posted: April 20, 2021 at 03:35 PM (#6014468)
Good riddance to Woodward.
   182. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 20, 2021 at 05:55 PM (#6014485)
538 has Brighton as the 6th best team in the EPL, after Arsenal and ahead of Leicester. Regardless of whether you think they should be quite that high or not, they are very solid and certainly a team that byb all rights should be in the top half this year. Still are being given a very small chance to be relegated though (1.5%).

Chelsea and Liverpool are back to 50/50 each again. It's back to looking like there will be a spot for one of them next year, but not both. (Chelsea still has the back door if they can win the CL this year).
   183. MY PAIN IS NOT A HOLIDAY (CoB). Posted: April 20, 2021 at 06:46 PM (#6014492)
   184. The_Ex Posted: April 20, 2021 at 07:23 PM (#6014496)
I got the sense that around 5-7 teams were in and Agnelli and Perez decided to go for it. They phoned everyone last week and said this thing is happening, everyone else is in, are you in or out? The rest said yes and as a result several teams were railroaded into this. When they saw that it was a half assed attempt they got cold feet and bailed.

I am surprised this thing was launched in such a half assed way. Three teams missing, no plan for how to fill the other five spots and most importantly, no broadcast partner. Once the governments and fans started protesting, the value of the potential TV deal started slipping and that counted for a lot.

But this isn't the end, its a lost battle for the big guys, but the war continues. Now that they are back in the fold of the domestic leagues and UEFA, they are like wolves (not the club, think tigers) in waiting. There will be another attempt, just like the one the PL clubs tried to pull last summer.

And this shows how bad the finances are at many of the big clubs. Can they control themselves this summer?
   185. I am going to be Frank Posted: April 20, 2021 at 08:13 PM (#6014508)
If you think the finances at the big clubs are bad, the other clubs are much, much worse.
   186. jmurph Posted: April 21, 2021 at 03:58 PM (#6014773)
I think that's red for Stones. What a ####### idiot.
   187. Mefisto Posted: April 21, 2021 at 04:11 PM (#6014776)
As soon as I saw the replay I knew he was off.
   188. Mefisto Posted: April 21, 2021 at 04:33 PM (#6014784)
Speaking of ####### idiots...
   189. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 21, 2021 at 04:36 PM (#6014785)
Didn't see the one by Stones, but that second yellow by Cash was so ####### stupid. In a game that's currently 11-11 maybe he would have gotten away with it, even though it would still have been pointless, stupid, and very risky. No way with his team up a man.
   190. jmurph Posted: April 21, 2021 at 05:19 PM (#6014797)
Yeah Cash obviously needs to know what the situation is there, that was very dumb.

   191. Baldrick Posted: April 21, 2021 at 06:24 PM (#6014810)
The WSL title was basically wrapped up today. Man City hosted Chelsea, trailing by two points. A pretty thrilling 2-2 draw preserved Chelsea's lead. It's still conceivable that Chelsea could drop points in their final two games, but it's really not very likely.
   192. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 24, 2021 at 09:26 AM (#6015189)
WTF Liverpool.

Huge game right now between Dortmund and Wolfsburg. A must win for Dortmund.

edit: not at all sure about this color combo on the field.
   193. Mefisto Posted: April 24, 2021 at 09:34 AM (#6015190)
MCOA quoted a tweet which says that LFC have taken 135 shots at Anfield in 2021 and scored .... 4.
   194. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 24, 2021 at 09:54 AM (#6015191)
In one of the tightest races of the year, EPL away teams are still outpacing home teams, so far pulling the upset despite trailing on xG.

It's currently 120-126 with 76 draws. With just 58 games left, and likely at least 10 of hose draws (and maybe quite a few more), home teams have to go 27-21 or better the rest of the way out just to tie.

Home teams have absolutely dominated the xG over the last week and a half but have had to settle for far too many draws (6 in 14 games). Today was another example.
   195. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 24, 2021 at 10:49 AM (#6015192)
Dortmund has looked bad but went up early on a mistaken backpass(ish) pass.

Noe Dortmund down to 10 after a bad tackle by Bellingham for a second yellow. Came immediately after a breakaway that really should have let to a short and maybe a goal for Wolfsburg.

edit: and now Haaland with a breakaway goal! 0-2.
   196. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 24, 2021 at 12:14 PM (#6015193)
If Leipzig fails to win tomorrow, they hand Bayern the Bundesliga (which let's face it, Bayern has already won). More relevantly, they would be surprisingly still vulnerable in the CL race. They have to face both Dortmund and Wolfsburg, and while not likely, they could lose both games. That would put them with 61 or 62 points going into the final game at Union Berlin. Wolfsburg would be at 60-63 points facing Mainz, and Dortmund would be at 58-61 points facing Leverkusen. Frankfurt would likely have low 60s facing Freiburg.
   197. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 24, 2021 at 12:19 PM (#6015194)
Watford's win puts them in the EPL next year. Congrats! Barnsley is now all but guaranteed for the playoffs, and Swansea is very likely now as well. Any of those B teams in the playoffs could be decent in the EPL next year. Maybe give Palace or Newcastle their comeuppance finally.
   198. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 24, 2021 at 01:37 PM (#6015195)
The announcers are talking about West Ham being very much in the game, and it's kind of true, down just one. Chelsea's defense under Tuchel has been superb though, and except for a few minutes in the first half West Ham didn't look like they would do much. I think Chelsea's odds of winning this game must be quite high right now.

edit: with West Ham's easy schedule coming up, and Liverpool's loss, a draw by West Ham is a good result as it keeps them in it and keeps Chelsea from pulling ahead. Still don't think they will get a draw though.

edit2: Liverpool's schedule is just as easy, but they would have 2 fewer points and would probably have worse GD.
   199. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 24, 2021 at 02:33 PM (#6015196)
That game seemed close but it wasn't. Chelsea missed a bunch of good chances and West Ham hardly had any.

Chelsea's defense under Tuchel continues to amaze. The've given up 8 goals (7 expected) in 14 EPL games, easily best of any team in the EPL over that period, with only City coming anywhere close. That includes the game against West Brom where they played over an hour with 10 men. Other than the West Brom debacle, and if you include the CL 9but not the FA cup, for which the data seems less reliable), only Porto has achieved more than 1 xG against Chelsea in any game under Tuchel.

Huge day for Chelsea, and huge loss for West Ham (again) likely puts them out of the running for Top 4.

Also with Frankfurt losing, it was a huge day for Dortmund. Still not much more than 50/50 or so to make the CL, but if they win out they almost certainly get it and they might get it with just two wins out of three and a little luck.
   200. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: April 24, 2021 at 04:57 PM (#6015202)
Top 4 betting odds. Still quite a bit of drama.
Leicester   75
Chelsea     62
Liverpool   34
West Ham    13
Tottenham   12
Everton      4


Real Madrid wasn't good enough to earn a win, so the ball is firmly back in Barca or Atleti's court.

I didn't see any of the game, but Brighton again way underperformed their xG at the offensive end, so still have work to do to avoid relegation.
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