2007/08 Soccer Thread - Euro Fever!

It looks as if I have found a home among the hardcores, yet I have to admit it is only to lament that my Hammers are taking the last piece of my sanity and driving it into dust. I hate FIFA '07 for reminding me of their potential every time I see them. I hate watching Watford convert their PK, I hate that the last victory came last November. I need a new team. I can't turn away from the glorious explosion that this one is. I keep telling myself that sometimes being a Hammers fan, especially of late, is hard, but this has bordered on ridiculous.

Indeed. The Hammers have a rep for being a Yo-Yo team, but this truly is silly.

No Surprises in the voting for African Player of the Year. Le Drog has been the best, methinks.

Arsenal's season takes a turn for the worse. Now they only really have the Champions League to try to win, and on form of that PSV game, don't put any money on them. TH14 may be ruing his decision to stay in London. Question is, does Wenger try to sell him this summer? There's a rumor of a swap that sends Henry to Barca in return for Eto'o.

Things have gotten f*cking ridiculous in Spain. Not as bad as the Catania incident, but really. This is just stupid.

On the upside, Always look on the bright side of life.

Did you actually see the bottle being thrown? There's a link to it on Deadspin.com. Reports that the fans even threw rocks at the ambulance. Whoah...

As for the Hammers, I curse Mark McShea, a lad I used to play with in college that was on their developmental team before coming to play college over here. Got me to watching and keeping up with them and ultimately, rooting for them. Is that how all of us Yanks start out? It is the same old story we recycle, just that some of us are luckier than others (those that end up with Chelski, or Arse, or The Gummers)

Could be worse. You could be a Leeds fan.

Ouch. Zing.

Actually, Sheep, I started supporting Spurs from FIFA '05, when I started playing it in 2004. Before that, I'd only been to see Arsenal v Boro, and didn't really feel the need to support anybody in particular.
Started a career as a manager with Cambridge City and played through several seasons with a stint at Roma, finally working my way up to manage Spurs. I started watching their matches whenever they were on FSC and the rest is history. Fairly recent history, but history none the less.

What kinda freaked me out was when they started to make the same transfers that I had made in FIFA. Like Reid & Dawson, Mido from Roma, and sending Pamarot off to Portsmouth.

Of course, you could follow Bill Simmons' logic and reach the same conclusion. The article's in two posts about half-way down.

Looking for that article, here are two interesting posts that I found:
One with picking an MLS team for Simmons: Chivas?!
And one with an interesting slur.

I don't think I qualify, considering I've been to more DCU games than EPL games. I would never 'mates/cheers' someone. Though I do use pitch/kit/boots.

The balance of supporting MLS/US National Team/England/EPL is an interesting dilemma.

I've unfortunately never been a big fan of MLS. I go to Dallas Burn.. er FC Dallas games because they are cheap and, well, its a good bang for the buck fun. Do I really follow the Hoops? Yeah, only a little. We've had some pretty good players filter through here, only to break my heart every time Ching and DeRosario's stinking expansion team kick the crap out us. Bah, this is making me sound like a fan!

I've never actually been to a EPL game either, but I do happen to find myself seated at a pub or at my friend's house catching the games. Was much easier to do in Houston where there are a ton of English Chemical Engineers running amok.

The US National team kills me. Why was Twellman ever left off of the roster? Did he anally rape Arena's grandmother? I really think that at that level, its not the amount of talent you necessarily have, but the ability to channel all of that energy efficiently into what talent you do have. Twellman and Demps were the only two up front that really seemed primed for it. Fathead Reyna, a holding midfielder, aside from taking the one shot against Croatia, pissed me off every time he received the ball in space. He just killed our attack because America doesn't really seem to build out from the midfield, just look at that last game vs. Mexico. Crap, we're a punt and run group, maybe a retarded English Longball group at best.

Haakon7 wrote:

The balance of supporting MLS/US National Team/England/EPL is an interesting dilemma.

Well, the MLS made it easier for me by named my local team after a brand of energy drink, which is pretty much my limit for commercialization in sports. It's sad, because the year they did it, I was about ready to throw myself 125% into the MLS, and that just turned me off so badly.

BlackSheep wrote:

The US National team kills me. Why was Twellman ever left off of the roster? Did he anally rape Arena's grandmother? I really think that at that level, its not the amount of talent you necessarily have, but the ability to channel all of that energy efficiently into what talent you do have. Twellman and Demps were the only two up front that really seemed primed for it. Fathead Reyna, a holding midfielder, aside from taking the one shot against Croatia, pissed me off every time he received the ball in space. He just killed our attack because America doesn't really seem to build out from the midfield, just look at that last game vs. Mexico. Crap, we're a punt and run group, maybe a retarded English Longball group at best.

Could've been worse, I mean, I don't think anyone understands why Sven brought Theo Walcott along.

The whole U.S. team seemed out-of-sorts, save for a pretty heroic bit of defending against Italy, which was nice. But for the most part, they blew their chances and didn't play well. There was no inventiveness in attack, no thought, to creativity. That's bad. Problem is, these days you need either a Makelele-like hod-carrier to protect the backline, along with someone like Reyna who can be a deep-lying playmaker. Like Italy, who had Gattuso and Pirlo.

Currently we're trying to replace Reyna (we don't have much) because we don't have the size and strength up front to play a good longball game. You need a big target man for that and while Brian's certainly good at that, teams can too easily key on him and take the rest of the team out of the game. We are stuck playing a longball-style game right now, and that's definetly hurting us overall, I think.

Pred's Predictions:

Liverpool 2-1 Manchester United

Arsenal 2-1 Reading

Fulham 1-1 Aston Villa

Man City 2-2 Wigan

Newcastle 1-0 Middlesbrough

Sheffield United 0-0 Everton

Watford 1-1 Charlton

Portsmouth 0-1 Chelsea

Bolton 2-1 Blackburn

West Ham 0-3 Tottenham

I think Liverpool can undo their ManU hoodoo (Tee-Hee). That said, the title's still going to Old Trafford, but I'm beginning to think that Chelsea may go home with the FA Cup and the Champions League.

You're right, and I sincerely hope we've kind of killed the Landycakes as replacement for Reyna talk. He doesn't seem to have the necessary vision to make himself available for distribution. God, he looked all kinds of lost at the WC. I hope we're not still talking O'Brien in the midfield either. I'm a firm believer that it is time to go bust and settle in with the young kids to see what we have and what we can really develop before the next WC rolls around. Hopefully, they'll be 22-26 year olds with decent (especially with that blah International schedule we play) experience that just surprises opponents a la 2002.

You're spotting Tottenham 3? I'd put that score more at 4 or 5. It'll be either a good, solid embarrassment (I expect nothing less at this point) or my Hammers will have the lead only to give the game away in the last few minutes of the match, which they've done an exceptional job of this year.

BlackSheep wrote:

It'll be either a good, solid embarrassment (I expect nothing less at this point) or my Hammers will have the lead only to give the game away in the last few minutes of the match, which they've done an exceptional job of this year.

The man is Dead-On.

2-0 up, and they lose 4-3. Even with Tevez finally scoring. You wonder if they'll even find the capability to show up to the next match after that.

Prederick wrote:
BlackSheep wrote:

It'll be either a good, solid embarrassment (I expect nothing less at this point) or my Hammers will have the lead only to give the game away in the last few minutes of the match, which they've done an exceptional job of this year.

The man is Dead-On.

2-0 up, and they lose 4-3. Even with Tevez finally scoring. You wonder if they'll even find the capability to show up to the next match after that.

...

I'm absolutely speechless after watching that match. One 90' and one 95' goal for the tie and the win.

It almost felt like I was playing Madden or FiFA on the hardest level and watching the computer, whom you're beating rather handily, begin giving itself advantages to make up goals and TDs and you're helpless to do all that much about it except watch. Once Defoe scored on the PK, I had a horrible feeling it was over.

IMAGE(http://soccernet-akamai.espn.go.com/design05/images/JonMC/March2007/ronaldinho-412.jpg)

That, is the (again, ugly) face of a Champion getting knocked out of the competition.

Liverpool loses 1-0, but wins 2-2 on aggregate thanks to the away goals rule. Barca go out. Chelsea win 2-1 to knock out Porto (3-2 on aggregate), Inter and Valencia get too distracted fighting one another to actually score a goal (Valencia advances 2-2 on aggregate thanks to away goals) and Roma knock two past Lyon to knock the best team in France out earlier than they'd like again.

Prederick wrote:

IMAGE(http://soccernet-akamai.espn.go.com/design05/images/JonMC/March2007/ronaldinho-412.jpg)

That, is the (again, ugly) face of a Champion getting knocked out of the competition.

Liverpool loses 1-0, but wins 2-2 on aggregate thanks to the away goals rule. Barca go out. Chelsea win 2-1 to knock out Porto (3-2 on aggregate), Inter and Valencia get too distracted fighting one another to actually score a goal (Valencia advances 2-2 on aggregate thanks to away goals) and Roma knock two past Lyon to knock the best team in France out earlier than they'd like again.

Oh my. Best team in France is sort of like saying, "Best team in MLS or best team in 2nd division EPL." France might as well, for all their sound and fury, be a part of the MLS (hyperbole, but not by too too much.) And thank god and Liverpool for knocking Barca out. I'm tired of the overhyped ugly-face poster child of their team who, lets all forget, got all kinds of schooled last summer by Zizou on how to really play his position.

PSV, ManU, AC Milan and Bayern are all through to the round of 8, with Arsenal, Lille, Celtic and Real Madrid all going home sad. A few notes...

1.) Celtic can feel very proud about their performance over the two legs, having taken AC Milan to extra-time tonight. A win would've been best, of course, but tangling with a European powerhouse so admirably can't be overlooked.

2.) Arsenal have got to get themselves sorted out. The past three weeks have seen them losing the Carling Cup, and now knocked out of the FA Cup and Champions League. In the latter two cases, by other more hard-working, less-finesse sides. Wenger's going to have to get this sorted, as the problem is, Arsenal absolutely cannot win any of those kind of games right now.

3.) Capello will not be head coach at Madrid next season. I'll put money on it. Although, like I said, it's kind of funny to watch a team be 3rd or 4th in their league and have their season be an "abject disaster".

Oh, and if you haven't heard, there's a new deal for the Premiership that starts next season. It's a massive financial windfall for clubs, and largely serves to make the rich richer and increase the disparity between the Premiership and everyone else in English football. There's a fantastic article about it on Soccernet.

This kind of financial stratification makes even the Yankees spending look minor.

It's them thar Video Highlights again! Get em' while they haven't been taken down for copyright infringement!

Bayern 2 - 1 Madrid

Arsenal 1 - 1 PSV

ManU 1 - 0 Lille

Milan 1 - 0 Celtic

And here's a video of some Irish pundits slating Liverpool.

Jimmy Conrad = Teh Funnay

Jay DeMerit is going to kill himself. That is, if Jonathan Spector doesn't beat him to the punch (or perhaps Jonathan will just off Anton Ferdinand instead).

Prederick wrote:

Jimmy Conrad = Teh Funnay

Jay DeMerit is going to kill himself. That is, if Jonathan Spector doesn't beat him to the punch (or perhaps Jonathan will just off Anton Ferdinand instead).

Jay DeMerit is goofy. EVERYONE has West Ham's number this year. They are sitting at the bottom and not bothering to do anything but lay there in their own vomit and feces.

Secondly, about the PK issuance, I totally understand. I coached a HS team last year that had what amounted to what looked like two grown men up front (one was just bullish in the box, great header, could challenge defenders well with long legs and had a ridiculously powerful shot, was about 6'2" and 180 lbs) the other was insanely talented, would often dribble and play with the ball, draw a defense to him and dish to the other striker, but he could also accurately fire away from 30 yds on in and often made people look awfully foolish with the ball at his feet (he was 6'0 and 160 lbs). Not to mention we had four really good midfielders behind them that, together netted 44 goals in a 20 game season.

To get to the story and out of the backstory, our 6'2" striker scored 26 goals, our 6'0 striker scored 21, our midfield scored 44, and our defense/subs accounted for 11 goals total. We scored 102 goals that season for an amazing +5.0 goal/game average. PKs given -- 1. I don't know what it is about referees willing to throw out parts of that rulebook wholesale because they're afraid of affecting the game by awarding a PK, but it was simply ridiculous what happened to us in the opponents' boxes through the year. Our 6'0 striker even suffered a broken collarbone from being pulled down by his hair in the box. No foul. His shot careened off of the woodwork. Advantage or not, I'm pretty sure that something might be called. It was like that all year. Absolutely amazing to behold.

Prederick wrote:

It's them thar Video Highlights again! Get em' while they haven't been taken down for copyright infringement!

Bayern 2 - 1 Madrid

Man, I watched that one with a couple of friends in a pub yesterday, and it was awesome. Arrived in time, had our drinks ordered, watched the kick-off and 10 seconds later *boom*. That was a true W.T.F. moment. Great game, exciting from the first to the last minute, I was totally hoarse.

Spun! You should stop by more often, especially given how blatantly insane the Bundesliga has turned out to be this season, given that noone wants to win it. Werder did, then blew it, now Schalke might blow it, and by god, Bayern's still in with a shot despite this being the worst Bayern team in years.

Prederick wrote:

Spun! You should stop by more often, especially given how blatantly insane the Bundesliga has turned out to be this season, given that noone wants to win it. Werder did, then blew it, now Schalke might blow it, and by god, Bayern's still in with a shot despite this being the worst Bayern team in years.

I'm wearing my Madrid Jersey as a tribute to their underachieved-ness.

f*ck me i'm drunk, but tomorrow is full of FA Cup action.

Middlesbrough v. ManU
Chelsea v. Tottenham
Blackburn v. Man City
Plymouth v. Watford

I'd give predictions, but feh. I'm going to go look for internet porn.

THIS WEEKEND DELIVERS:

Middlesbrough 2-2 ManU

Barcelona 3-3 Real Madrid

Inter Milan 2-1 AC Milan

Great goal from Ugo Ehiogu (Celtic 0-1 Rangers)

Once the highlights are up, i'll give you the highlights of Chelsea's 3-3 draw with Tottenham that saw Chelsea come back from 3-1 down to force a replay.

I'm rarely capable of delivering unto you a pack of highlights that includes a Scorpion-Kick goal and a goalie equalizing in extra-time.

But here you go.

Shakhtar 2 - 3 Sevilla

Weekend Notes:

The gap at the top is still six points, as United thrash Bolton and Chelsea stroll past Sheffield United.

Tottenham won, West Ham snuck one (I was surprised as well) and Arsenal lost.

Continentally, Barca won 4-0 but their title rivals managed to keep pace.

In Italy, Inter won again, to noone's surprise.

In France, Olympique Lyonnais is going for title number six in a row after Lens lost to make the gap 16 points.

And in the always entertaining Bundesliga, a boring weekend.

FA Cup Fun!

Tottenham 1-2 Chelsea

ManU 1-0 Middlesbrough (On a penalty won by... wait for it... Cristiano Ronaldo!)

See the goals here

Woo! I was in Hawaii last week and didn't get to keep up with games at all! My Hammers won!

This only means that they're going to make a run for de-relegation only to F**k it up and lose their last game and get relegated anyway. Tevez scored again! I think the caveman striker will be so much better next year, especially when he's on another team. He's finally gotten his Prem legs under him and even when he doesn't score, he looks pretty damn good. God, I wish Ashton would figure out that he's not hurt and get his ass out there now as well.

Prederick wrote:

FA Cup Fun!

Tottenham 1-2 Chelsea

ManU 1-0 Middlesbrough (On a penalty won by... wait for it... Cristiano Ronaldo!)

See the goals here

Spurs just didn't create the chances, but that was their fault. They had their chance to win it in the first match, and blew it. Chelsea was always going to win a replay. Particularly with Sheva hitting some form and a great goal from SWP.
Regardless who won, it was nice to watch the match in a pub again. We've still got the UEFA Cup and a Champions League place to chase.

As far as the Ronaldo penalty goes, I think the diving accusations are fair, particularly considering if you watch his collapse, its on the foot that he's just planted. No denying his talent, but there's no reason for that sort of thing. I can see Boro's point.

It's a bit murkier for me. I do think it's a penalty, that said, it's a soft one. Ronaldo did collapse, but it was a penalty.

England's weekend, in a nutshell....

IMAGE(http://www.whoateallthepies.tv/images/2007/03/25/panic.jpg)

On a day when Kazakhstan won (Jagshemash!), Scotland won to stay top of Group B, Northern Ireland scored four times, and other moments, England couldn't beat Israel. Worse, they didn't even score, making this five matches with only a single goal to show for their efforts. They're level on points with the mighty Israelis and the criticism of "Second-Choice Steve" is coming fast and thick.

Oh, and Landycakes scored a hat-trick. How about the next time we play in a competitve international, we tell him it's a friendly?

Woo! My Hammers got another result -- and one that they didn't blow in the last 45 either! Time to go get us some Sheffield or Charlton squad to shove in our relegation spot!

Carlos Tevez is a beast (and I think I mean that literally and figuratively). Jose Mascherano isn't good enough to carry Tevez' balls around.

I'm on spring break, so no updates from me until Monday. Either way, Man U came from 1-0 down in the 1st to win 4-1. I mean, holy hell. Just give them the trophy now.