2007/08 Soccer Thread - Euro Fever!

Wow, it all goes into a tizzy for the home nations. Both Irelands are out of it, and I was rooting for Scotland, I really was. Too bad.

Oh, and in a move that should surprise absolutely noone, Sammy Lee's out of a job at Bolton.

So, the weekend huh!

Liverpool win 2-1 at Everton on two penalties (one dodgy) and Everton denied a clear penalty shout.

Manchester United blew away Aston Villa 4-1, and while I know the media were hyping it up as ManU at their attacking best, I haven't seen that many deflections for goals since the last time (Insert Frank Lampard joke).

Arsenal win 2-0 over Bolton, in a game the pundits were saying that they would've drawn or even lost before. Do Arsenal finally have the edge and the moxy to win the tough games this year? Well, they still haven't taken on any of the rest of the "Big Four" yet, so they're kind of like the Patriots to me. Doing wonderfully well, and yes, beating Sevilla handily is nothing to sneeze at, but i'm looking forward to their match against Liverpool on the 28th. Even though Liverpool without Torres has been dire.

Chelsea win 2-0 over Boro. The first game with Henk ten Cate on the bench behind Avram Grant. I can't even begin to imagine what the hell's going on at Stamford Bridge these days.

Newcastle 3-1 Tottenham. I think Mr. Jol's tenure just came to an end.

Bunch of champions league stuff over last two days but the most important of all the results Liverpool go to Besiktas in Istanbul and lose 2-1 which means they have to win the last 3 group stage games or they wont be advancing. Watched the game and crowd was easily the most organized loudest I've ever heard.

Oh yea Arsenal put 7 past Slavia Prague. http://arsenalist.com/2007/10/23/arsenal-vs-slavia-prague-highlights-champions-league/
thats why its called the beautiful game.

I must admit i'm sad to see Martin Jol go, but I blame the team rather than him.

Story Here

Christ, it took me 5 minutes to write "[url=". I'm so goddamn drunk.

Your drunkenness is always amusing, but why are you so black?

Yeah, I think the whole situation was unfair. If the board was going to man-up and get rid of him, they should have done it before now and had a clean break. Spurs have suffered for ten games now because of their indecision.

I don't necessarily think Ramos is the answer. Just because a man has beaten you twice and gone on to win the UEFA Cup doesn't necessarily say something about his team management; it says something more about yours. Particularly in those four games.

Whatever. The start to this season has just been painful. All the best to MJ, but let's start to pick up the pieces.

Christ, what a weekend.

First and foremost, America should apologize to Britain for sending the Dolphins and Giants to Wembley. That was just painful to watch.

It's a good weekend for Chelsea fans, as they thumped Manchester City 6-0 in a old-fashioned beating. City just had their "Possible Top Four" finish credentials revoked, I think. Also, I was wrong on two counts, 1.) my prediction for this game (2-1 to City) and my prediction for Chelsea, who seem to be rumbling on without Mourinho. Time will tell.

Arsenal are joint top with ManU after a 1-1 draw at Anfield. For those who don't know, Cesc Fabregas is really, really, really, really good. ManU did the expected, slapping Boro around 4-1. It's a good point for Arsenal, but United are looking incredibly deadly in attack Rooney and Tevez are starting to click, and god help the opposition if Nani and Ronaldo are on their game.

Tottenham 1-2 Blackburn. This means that when November begins, Tottenham will be in the relegation places. Gah.

Derby 0-2 Everton. Derby probably shouldn't even be in the Premiership, they've been awful.

Reading 2-1 Newcastle. Dear Big Sam: You're not a miracle worker. That place is cursed.

Birmingham 3-2 Wigan. What?

So, on comes the weekend, on comes the next "Big Game" (TM). It's days like this that i'm actually kind of glad Soccer isn't big here, because i'm sure ESPN would've near ruined this game with an interminable amount of hype, which i'm sure SkySports is doing enough on their side of the pond anyway.

Of course, it's not on TV here. Arse.

I'm putting my neck out and predicting a 2-1 Arsenal victory, which reminds me, did anyone else sign up for Pick The Score?. I set up a GWJ group, but due to its arcane method of grouping (make group, have everyone who wants in e-mail you, etc) I haven't been able to get the lot (3? Maybe?) of us in. How are those of you that signed up faring? I'm currently somewhere in 6000th place.

Prederick wrote:
So, on comes the weekend, on comes the next "Big Game" (TM). It's days like this that i'm actually kind of glad Soccer isn't big here, because i'm sure ESPN would've near ruined this game with an interminable amount of hype, which i'm sure SkySports is doing enough on their side of the pond anyway.

Of course, it's not on TV here. Arse.

Do you want to trade spots? Can you get over here in the next three hours? You do that, and I'll fly over tonight to your place to watch the Cots-Pats tomorrow, because there doesn't seem to be a way for me to get to watch it. I even looked into setting up Sky just so I could watch that game, but its a five day installation time and I had left it to Thursday.

EDIT: And how much sense does it make to black out just this game on NFL.com's Field Pass in the UK?

Game of the season so far. 2-2 is fair for Arsenal considering they were trailing twice. Its just nice to watch a game where the two teams are actually pushing for a win and playing attacking football unlike the Liverpool debacles of games, which seem to just get overly chippy with the ref forced to start making big calls.

Speaking of the new most boring team to watch in the EPL Liverpool... They are cooked and if Rafa doesn't start getting results he will be the new media favorite for sacking articles. 0-0 to Blackburn has sunk them even lower in the race and on their current form you really cant expect them to stay in it much longer. The other 3 teams look like they can win at will against the lower clubs right now so another 1-2 months of this and Liverpool will be out of the race come 2008. Which isn't really a bad thing. Were left with 3 teams that are playing attacking football (Chelsea recently adopted it) all chasing the title. Could lead to same very high scoring games and open exciting head to head games if were lucky.

Some fun stuff from the weekend that make football the best!

http://arseblog.com/1pics/fingerwomanbig.jpg

TAKE THAT GIGGS!

http://i2.tinypic.com/680cbpg.gif

Cesc isn't afraid to tell people what he thinks.

Oh man, ooooh man.

IMAGE(http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/44254000/jpg/_44254068_losers2_getty416.jpg)

That means exactly what you think it means ladies and gentlemen. After Israel did them a HUGE favor on the weekend, stunning Russia 2-1, meaning that all England had to do was win or draw, at home, against Croatia, the Three Lions blew it in rather spectacular fashion. This means none of the "Home Nations" (England, Wales, Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland) will be participating in Euro 2008. For Northern Ireland and Scotland, i'm dissapointed, England and Wales pretty much deserved what they got.

If England's FA has a brain, they'll sack McClaren and start a huge clearout of the England squad and get someone in who can actually select a squad. Watching the fallout from this will be quite entertaining indeed.

So here's who'll be in Austria/Switzerland this summer:

Poland, Portugal, Italy, France, Greece, Turkey, Czech Republic, Germany, Croatia, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Romania, Holland, Switzerland and Austria.

ear to ear grin! Maybe that will put a dent in their egos. Not only do they fail to tie they pretty much ask Croatia to beat them the way they played. Austria and Switzerland are going to miss the money the English fans were going to spend but then again they surely wont miss the kind of trouble they always stir up small or big.

It was a huge mistake to take Robbo out. Carson blew what should have been a fairly straight forward collect in that first goal, and his best save of the night simply hit him in the chest.

All in all, you're right. They got what they deserved for what has been some utterly abysmal play in the run up.

Seriously, England, what's with you and your goalies? I could have sworn you guys traditionally used to have some skilled people for that position. When I got into football, it was still Peter Shilton, who always seemed to be solid. It's amazing that such a grand football nation doesn't seem to be able to come up with better goalies. Hell, if Germany's first three keepers all of a sudden got injured, there'd still be two or three good ones left to fill that gap easily.

Big ":/ :/ :/" for England not making it to the Euro 2008 - going to miss out on the chance to see our team kicking your butts in the semi-finals again.

I'm pretty firmly in with Keano on this one, but the English FA deserves blame too. England's "stars" have been shown up as massively overhyped, disinterested and mostly full of themselves (and said hype). Their focus is certainly on club football, and while there's nothing technically wrong with that, they sure as hell shouldn't have their places at England's table be a given. Every other major nation in football that I can think of has had coaches who, at one point or another, had the balls to drop a major player (See: Luis Aragonés, Spain and Raul).

But, a big part of it is that England just aren't that good anymore. The leading lights of their own domestic league are foreign-born players, and a lot of the domestic product is full of vim and vigor, but is technically rather limited. They're not Andorra, but they shouldn't be mentioned in the same breath as Spain, Argentina, Italy and others.

Its turning into a two horse race in the prem.

Manu beat Liverpool 1-0 at Anfield.

Arsenal beat Chelsea 1-0 at the Emirates.

Terry out 6 weeks from Eboues studs.

Kaka wins the Fifa player of the year. Kinda confused on this one thought Ronaldo had a real shot but o well.

and now for some comedy.

Hitler is a spurs fan parody. NSFW text and maybe language if angry German yelling is NSFW where you work.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4FVeMcgJs-U

The Special one Setanta interview.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vLW-VfER9CE

The Special One Setanta show!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wYLDdEE7PBc

oh yea some guy named Capello is the England coach now...

Yeah, I apologize. This is my thread, so I shouldn't have gone lax on this.

In short:

-Arsenal and ManU have a shot at the title, Chelsea has an outside shot, Liverpool's playing for the FA Cup and Champions League again.

-Derby is going down, down, down, down, down.

-So is Wigan.

-Harry Redknapp is some sort of genius.

-The African Cup of Nations is going to seriously screw with the Prem this year.

-Inter are going to run away with Serie A again.

-Barcelona have been all sorts of wonky all year, yet they're still second behind Real Madrid, and Valencia are collapsing in hilarious fashion.

-Paolo Maldini is retiring at the end of the year.

That's about it, really. I promise to give you all more detail and weekly wrapups in the future.

-Also, Emmanuel Eboue is a petulant little nob.

I thought this was pretty humorous, and figured I would share it.

If you played for Brazil, what would your name be?

Oh, and in the spirit of full-disclosure, I got named "Da Crisco" and "Victildo." Now if you'll excuse me I need to go get drunk, and forget I ever came across that site.

VicD714 wrote:
I thought this was pretty humorous, and figured I would share it.

If you played for Brazil, what would your name be?

Oh, and in the spirit of full-disclosure, I got named "Da Crisco" and "Victildo." Now if you'll excuse me I need to go get drunk, and forget I ever came across that site.

Your Brazilname is "Alv�o".

didn't work for me :/ seems to work with every other name I think I broke it considering my last name is already Alves.

So, 2007 has been the worst sporting year of my life. The Patriots are 16-0 and Tom Brady's ACL remains frustratingly un-shredded, Curt Schilling has another World Series ring, and the Celtics are relevant again. Meanwhile, any team with the words "New York" involved in the name seems to be being run by or staffed entirely by idiots.

At least I have Fulham though. New year, new manager, a new chance at... what? Sanchez got fired? Already? And they're 19th in the league? Criminy christ, can we get 2007 over with yet?

Well, the weekend was pretty interesting. Where Arsenal faltered and ManU thrived last week, this week we have West Ham with the upset and Arsenal pounding a in-no-way easy Everton team (the latter match featuring two red cards for kicks).

Chelsea, meanwhile, slipped past Newcastle thanks to Salomon Kalou, but i'm most interested in what they're going to do when January comes. I still don't think Chelsea has any bite in attack without Drogba up front, and they really, really, really need someone to lead the line when the African Cup of Nations gets going.

The aforementioned competition is bad news for three teams, I think. Arsenal, Chelsea, and Portsmouth. Those three have the most to lose as far as African internationals go, and it'll be a huge test of the sides (especially Arsenal, I think) to see how they cope.

IMAGE(http://soccernet-akamai.espn.go.com/design05/images/JonMC/December2007/carra-275.jpg)

Liverpool draw 0-0 at Man City, cementing Liverpool's place as also-rans for another year. I only include the picture because, I don't know if you've seen Liverpool in a hwile, but the most hilarious thing about them is the fact that as he ages, and loses his best defensive abilities, Jamie Carragher seems to have opted instead for Kamikaze defending. Have you seen him play recently? The man seems to understand that the opposition cannot shoot the ball if they have no legs.

Spurs say they will only make "Essential buys". Take that as you will.

Darby planning to buy "Four or five" new players in January. Insert obvious joke about actually needing 11 or 12. Anyway, who in their right mind is going to leave anywhere for a team that's not only headed down, but down in historic fashion (20 games played, 7 goals).

Roy Keane and Sunderland may only be saved by the fact that it certainly is looking like all of their competition is headed down, down, down, down, down. Down. Down. All Sunderland need to do is be better than Wigan, essentially. And Wigan have Titus Bramble.

Germany, Spain and Italy have all hit the winter break so, nothing happening there. In the meantime, entertain yourselves with these highlights from the Australian A-League, from Sydney FC's 3-1 win over Adelaide, a really great freekick and if you've never heard the name Matt LeTissier, well, now you know.

I am happy to announce that I am no longer an EPL virgin. I attended my first EPL match -- Tottenham vs. Reading last week (6-4! Defense? Bah!) Berbatov and his four goals. Pretty amazing, just sitting there having a grand ol' time.

As a side note, I sure wish I could've gotten tickets to the West Ham ManU game, but Upton Park was all kinds of sold out (and more expensive), especially since my yo-yo Hammers won their 3rd straight against ManU. That makes me giggle everytime I think about it. The fact that Anton Ferdinand scored in his debut from injury over his brother only made it sweeter.

For all the knocks on Bramble we make in this thread alone he scored the equalizer against Liverpool which pretty much sunk their chances at the title for good. 12 points back but with a game in hand... Technically still in it but far from mentally still in it.

http://www.goalvideoz.com/watch/1892-liverpool-fc-wigan-athletic-titus-bramble-goal/

really not a bad strike for such a fat bastard

FA cup this weekend with a couple of key match ups. Man U at Aston Villa... Pretty rough game for both teams right off the bat. Man City at West Ham and Reading at Sp*rs. Its the FA cup anything can happen in one and out tournies so lets GOOOO ASTON VILLA

grats black on getting over there and seeing a game, something I'm still dying to do. I wouldn't be caught at a Sp*rs game though thats for sure

jowner wrote:
For all the knocks on Bramble we make in this thread alone he scored the equalizer against Liverpool which pretty much sunk their chances at the title for good. 12 points back but with a game in hand... Technically still in it but far from mentally still in it.

http://www.goalvideoz.com/watch/1892-liverpool-fc-wigan-athletic-titus-bramble-goal/

really not a bad strike for such a fat bastard

FA cup this weekend with a couple of key match ups. Man U at Aston Villa... Pretty rough game for both teams right off the bat. Man City at West Ham and Reading at Sp*rs. Its the FA cup anything can happen in one and out tournies so lets GOOOO ASTON VILLA

grats black on getting over there and seeing a game, something I'm still dying to do. I wouldn't be caught at a Sp*rs game though thats for sure

Bah, White Hart Lane wasn't bad, and while I'm neither a Spurs or Reading fan (Go Convey! Go Haneman!) it was something you just have to do if you love the sport when you're over there.

I don't care what Steve Bruce says. Titus Bramble is still awful. I remember seeing Milan Baros score a goal once, and he was supposed to be a striker.

FA Cup 3rd round today, with some fun upsets.

Aston Villa 0-2 Manchester United: United win thanks to late goals from Ronaldo and Rooney.

Everton 0-1 Oldham: I'm as stunned as anyone else on this one.

Blackburn 1-4 Coventry: Wait, what? Weren't Blackburn going to be one of those "next big thing" sides?

Bolton 0-1 Sheffield United: It would've been more fun if it was Sheffield v. West Ham.

Huddersfield 2-1 Birmingham: YAY!

And if Berbatov stays at Tottenham, i'll eat my freaking shoe.

Prederick wrote:
I don't care what Steve Bruce says. Titus Bramble is still awful. I remember seeing Milan Baros score a goal once, and he was supposed to be a striker.

FA Cup 3rd round today, with some fun upsets.

Aston Villa 0-2 Manchester United: United win thanks to late goals from Ronaldo and Rooney.

Everton 0-1 Oldham: I'm as stunned as anyone else on this one.

Blackburn 1-4 Coventry: Wait, what? Weren't Blackburn going to be one of those "next big thing" sides?

Bolton 0-1 Sheffield United: It would've been more fun if it was Sheffield v. West Ham.

My god, Sheffield and West Ham would have been great. Move over Milwall!

I think I'm more shocked that Coventry scored 4! goals against Blackburn than the 1-0 result by Oldham. Those are two shocking wins, to say the least. Certainly makes all of this fun to watch. I wish that this sort of thing would go on in the US, outside of soccer (where they do have the pro-am tournament every year)

The closest thing to the F.A cup American sports has is the NCAA Basketball tournament. I usually try and pay attention every year but the gap between top professionals and collegiate athletes is significant which makes for better quality in the F.A cup but that first week of March Madness is so intense and theres so many games it does create an exciting tournament. Just gotta get over the fact sometimes the only reason the games are close and exciting is the 3 point line is that much closer and some players cant seem to hit clinching free throws if their life depended on it.

I wish the NHL had any ingenuity in trying to hype up the league as I'm 100% confident if they could somehow slash the amount of meaningless regular season games that are pretty much unwatchable for the T.V audiences and replace the lost games with some kind of hyped up one and done tournament with a significant reward to keep the players interested it would sell. Or they could just move as many teams as they could back to Canada where we will watch anything hockey related to the point TSN air's celebrity poker featuring hockey players.... I rather punch myself in the face then see what cards Luongo goes all in with.

./tangent

Arsenal v Stoke City / Newcastle United
Coventry City v Walsall / Millwall
Oldham Athletic v Huddersfield Town
Swindon Town / Barnet v Fulham / Bristol Rovers
Wigan Athletic v Chelsea
Luton Town / Liverpool v Swansea / Havant & Waterlooville
Southend United v Barnsley
Southampton v Norwich City/ Bury
Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur / Reading
Portsmouth v Plymouth Argyle
Derby County / Sheffield Wednesday v Preston North End
Watford v Wolverhampton Wanderers
Peterborough United v Charlton Athletic / West Bromwich Albion
Sheffield United v West Ham United / Manchester City
Mansfield Town v Middlesbrough
Tranmere Rovers / Hereford United v Cardiff City

some notable potential match ups: Arsenal vs Newcastle, ManU vs Spurs or Reading and maybe the biggest potential grudge tie from last season Sheffield United vs West Ham or Man City.

Neither Tevez or Mascherano are still at West Ham but I'm pretty sure if these two teams met especially at Sheffield the crowd would be near riotous.

jowner wrote:

Neither Tevez or Mascherano are still at West Ham but I'm pretty sure if these two teams met especially at Sheffield the crowd would be near riotous.

I would love to be at that game. Please god, make it happen...

There is, without doubt, a lot to hate about Roy Keane. A lot. Still, my love of underdogs and my even greater love of Niall Quinn and his Disco Pants means that I thought this was wonderful. Plus, I said I thought Sunderland would stay up in August, and I still think they will, although by the skin of their teeth.

The downside, however, is that Fulham may be screwed, even with Hodgson in charge. The writing's not on the wall yet, but the kid with the pencil is standing by.

So Newcastle fired Big Sam earlier this week. The scale of the task that needs to be undertaken at St. James's cannot be understated. I wandered downstairs on Saturday to see that, to my surprise, it was 0-0 at the half between the Toon and Manchester United. So I opted to sit down and watch the second half, thinking that maybe a surprise was on, that Newcastle might pull together to show the world that they weren't that bad, that they didn't need Big Sam.

Not quite. Newcastle is awful. AWFUL. And Manchester United is very good. And top of the league again, after Arsenal couldn't outdo Birmingham. 1-1, and a valuable point for the Blues.

Oh, and Wigan beat Derby, who, i'd like to add, are going down, down, down.

Other notes from the weekend. Chelsea wins 2-0 over Spurs. Avram Grant brought "attractive football" to Stamford Bridge. Yeah. Suuuuure.

Liverpool 1-1 Boro. Some think this may have been Rafa's death knell. I think they're going to wait until the Champions League starts again, unless things get worse. If they can't overcome Inter (and they may not, Internazionale are spectacular this year), then I think he's dead meat.

Villa 3-1 Reading. This is seeming like it'll be another one of those Villa seasons where they finish between 6th and 10th, perhaps end up making the UEFA Cup, and you don't realize until next year when you're reading season previews and you go "Really?!?!"

Everton 1-0 Manchester City. Snore.

In other news, Paul Robinson seems to be out of favor entirely with Juande Ramos (and for good reason), and will probably lose his place in England's national team. In a roundabout way, this brings us to Manuel Almunia, who is reported to be considering taking English citizenship in order to get the #1 shirt. Er... sure. If Gerald Asamoah is German, why not?

Here's something we've missed. The return of continental video highlights!

Levante 0-2 Real Madrid. Madrid are still in control atop La Liga. As i've said before, I love the fact that Barcelona are in 2nd, seven points back (a bit, indeed) and are, supposedly, "in crisis".

Siena 2-3 Inter Milan. Inter are very, very good if you haven't noticed. Also, stunningly, AC Milan beat Napoli 5-2, to record their first home win of the year. WHAT?!?!?

Here's a Shunsuke Nakamura goal from the weekend.

Lastly, because I love you all, here's December's Goal of the Month, from Match of the Day.

Was at the pub for the Arsenal Birmingham game watching it with some other Arsenal supporters and it was down right excruciating painful to watch valuable points be shat away at home. To be blunt anymore outings like that and ManU will for sure slowly pull away with the title. I'm starting to have flashbacks of last season where Arsenal were still in 4 competitions (albeit still in the EPL hunt only by the math not in reality) and within 2 weeks they had crashed out of the F.A cup, Champs League lost the final of the Carling Cup and were realistically out of the EPL hunt. The end of February and the first week of March can be a horrible crunch time for fixtures.

Here some humor to lighten my mood.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=bRz2SC92ze4

http://youtube.com/watch?v=jVFN70uhALY

http://youtube.com/watch?v=_z_CEDfuQ88

pure comedy gold for any EPL fans.

IMAGE(http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/44374000/jpg/_44374274_spurswin_getty416.jpg)

Spurs 5-1 Arsenal. Tottenham are through to the League Cup final. A great result for Tottenham, even if they did beat Arsenal's reserves.

Follow-up question: Is Theo Walcott the new David Bentley.

In other news, Fulham can't get anything right, and Barnet beat Swindon.