2010/11 Soccer Thread - Hitting The Home Stretch

Young Boys - Spurs was an entertaining match. Young Boys dominated early, hitting the post before scoring 3 goals by the 28th minute, and then Spurs managed to claw it back to a respectable scoreline. Tottenham were dreadful in the first third or so of the match, giving Young Boys all the time in the world on the ball and playing a high defensive line which resulted in a lot of killer balls being played into behind the Spurs defense.

Pavlyuchenko's late-ish goal was nice, but Tottenham were lucky Young Boys missed 2 very good opportunities shortly before that.

UCRC wrote:

Great. Can we have Shay Given now? C'mon you know you don't want him... ;)

As long as you stay the hell away from Schwarzer. If I spend a season stuck with Zuberbuhler between the sticks, i'm mailing you something foul (like a DVD entitled "Every Minute Emmanuel Eboue Has Played For Arsenal").

Don't worry Pred, with Hughsie at the controls you'll always have plenty of players at the back. I take it he's brought his Welsh mafia with him ?

Apparently someone's bidding £300m for Blackburn Rovers. Wonder if anyone has told him that he's bidding for Blackburn Rovers, not the town itself. Transfer kitty of £100m as well, so looks like Sam will be getting a new set of home furnishings, kitchen etc.

They'd be better off spending £300m on a launch vehicle then nuking the place from orbit - what a hole.

Random Thursday thoughts.

1. "City spending now over £130m, much more than any other team". Welll, notwithstanding the fact that the Milner deal is in the list at £26m, when in reality it's £16m plus Steven Ireland, the 'journalists' seem to be ignoring MU's spending of over £100m in the same period.

"£100m, surely that's wrong", I hear you cry. Mais non, mon amis - £23m on deadbeats, and £80m on interest charges.

2. "City's owners have now invested more than 1 billion in the club" - this curiously next to a piece by an Express journo decrying the owners as using the club as an expensive toy. That'd be opposed to owners who have taken a club which had no debt to over a billion then, eh ?

Let us deconstruct this figure. The initial cost of the club was about £200m, representing an asset which has appreciated in value. The writer responsible for this piece of 'analysis' has also included a mysterious figure of £456m, which appears to be the wages cost of every single player up to the end of their contract, in some cases 4-6 years away. None of the contracts are in the public domain, so the provenance of this figure is somewhere between Dreamland Road and Bullsh*t Way.

Now if we extend this to other clubs....the Glazers must have spent far more than a billion, given that just the cost of buying their way into OT was £800m - yes, I know they haven't actually paid any of that off, but still.

Not really going to argue. Ive never had a problem with rich guys having toys and have always had problems with pretend rich guys like the Glazers, H&G leveraging the f*ck out of a club to turn a buck.

caveat being when said rich guy gets tired of his toy he doesn't submarine the club like happened to Portsmouth. Which I doubt will happen to City or Chelsea as their rich guys are extremely rich compared to pennies they are throwing into their toys.

not going to argue about SAF either as 90% of the sh*t out of his mouth is whining and/or hypocrisy.

Just lazy journalism really. City is ruining football seems to be selling more papers right now then the Americans are destroying Liverpool and United which is the actual reality.

Here's the amusing thing about unhappy players and competition for places.

Our 25 man squad is going to be the same size as everyone else's.

Huh, from great prospect for the future, to swapped for James Milner. I hope he does well at Villa, while Milner oughtta fit in just fine at city.

From 'Great Prospect for the future' (2008/09 season) to 'lightweight who only performs when allowed to' (2009/10). I expect him to be exactly the same at Villa.

He had his chance and didn't step up - some of his performances last year were shocking. Milner is a current England international and a box to box midfielder who can operate wide or in the centre - he'll do.

Good start from Balotelli last night as well.

Quotes from Steven Ireland's press conference at Villa

"At Manchester City sitting on the bench I didn't feel part of the team. I was neither happy or sad if we lost."

So - you were happy enough to take the money then ? You might have helped your cause had you shown a minute amount of effort during preseason, but the most telling moment was in Portland, when a Adam Johnston cross hit you on the arse, because you'd already turned away and given up. That was your career in 5 seconds.

If that was your attitude, that you'd rather give up than try to prove your worth, then City are better off without you. The days of loyalty to such people are over.

Best quote of the day from a mate of mine - "gifted footballer, but a weak man who shies away from challenges". Most City fans hope he gets himself together, as does Trappatoni, but if he'd stood up to be counted last season, I suspect both he and Milner would be still with their previous clubs.

Commentators before the game - "City have really made big mistakes letting Villa have Dunne and Ireland".

Yeah...Newcastle 6 Villa 0 would seem to evidence that. I was reminded of why City fans nicknamed him 'HMS Dunne', he's got the turning circle of a ship.

Had to turn it off though - all the 'Special shirt of a Newcastle no.9' stuff was making me ill.

Dave, we get it. Ireland is no longer at City ergo he's the bad guy.

Just got back from hiking trip and watching yesterday's MotD:

1. Bale has good left foot but Gomes has a touch of Fabiański to him. That Lennon cross + Bale's volley = contender for goal of season.
2. You gotta love watching Arsenal at home.
3. Wigan. Wigan, Wigan, Wigan. What the f*ck? New Derby?
4. I like Jussi Jaskeelainen. He's good 'keeper, Scandinavian, has a beard. What more could you possibly want from a man?
btw: Bolton-West Ham was glorious display of stupid defending. Steinsson conceding penalty by just barging into Cole as hard as he could for no apparent reason, then Upson scoring great headed own goal.
I feel sorry for Avram Grant. He seems nice and West Ham seems to be rubbish.
Anyway, so Elmander can score after all.
5. I love when Alladyce makes his sappy walrus impression. And Blackburn love corners.

That was fun to watch, and well worth getting up early to see it. Villa completely gave up after the first half though. No changes from the caretaker manager and the players just sat back and let Newcastle do what they wanted.

I am concerned that the result will raise the expectations of the average fan, to put it politely, to unrealistic levels both in terms of the club performance and Carroll. Nothing good can come from that.

I found Manchester United and Fullham to be an interesting match with a cracking ending. Nani with another one of those poor, short run-up, no power penalties that always look terrible when you don't score.

Saturday was kind of shameful on my part. Three matches televised at the same time and I couldn't decide on one to watch. Settled on Blackpool-Arsenal but that went to hell after the red card, and couldn't settle on one of the other two after that.

Part of me kind of wants to see these ludicrous scorelines keep up for even longer.

UCRC wrote:

Dave, we get it. Ireland is no longer at City ergo he's the bad guy.

I was, in fact, responding to Pred's point. Since then I've seen quotes where he slags off every manager of City from Keegan onwards, but I can't be arsed pasting them. It also helps take the edge from the tabs' ludicrous canonisation of him now that he's left City - and thus in their eyes is no longer the enemy.

Now all that makes me puke is the ridiculous canonisation of Paul Scholes...pile your money on him for PFA player of the year, just like Giggs and his 9 starts last season.

Wow, City lining up with seven defensive players: Richards, Toure, Kompany, Lescott, De Jong, Toure Yaya, Barry. No Balotelli, no Silva, no Robinho, no Adebayor, no SWP. If Mancini is going to play such midfield three I wonder how long he can keep all those forwards happy.
So... 6-0? 0-6? 6-6?
edit: Oh, and most importantly: WHERE'S THE SCARF?!

I see Liverpool are doing their best to show why the 4-4-2 is dying (except when it's being used to park the bus).

As a neutral, Macncini's picks for the centre of the midfield is frustrating. It would be nice to see say, Milner in the middle instead of De Jong, drop Toure back into the deeper role and put another attacking player out on the left wing (be it Tevez out there with Adebayor in the middle, or Silva, or SWP, or Balotelli).

Yeah, scrappy 3-0 win, ruining football obviously. Nah, piece of piss against a poor grievers outfit.

When that team gels, some teams are going to get a fearful panning.

Johnson and Milner superb, and even Richards looked adequate.

Balotelli carrying a knock from last week, Silva is going to be required in midweek for the Europa League.

Robinho will be off as soon as, another of the spineless ones.

Couldn't give a toss about 'keeping people happy'. The only sides who can do that are those with thin squads who overuse their key players (Torres anyone ?). All teams are going to have a 25 man squad, but some of those will be better than others. And as Bert said in his post-match

"it's the first time the Sheikh has been hear and he witnessed a fantastic night for Manchester City. I was pleased to show him a good game, that was important. The mentality was the most important thing for us, not the formation or anything else, the mentality can win us games. Yes, it is very difficult to pick XI for every match, but this is a good situation because we will be playing every three days and every one of my players will play their part during the season, that is for sure."

Can't wait to see Phil Thompson explain this one away on Soccer Saturday, given that 4 of the 6 summer acquisitions weren't playing. Still, not as if City struggled at any point in this contest. Him and that ex-Arsenal junkie will point to the fact that the 4 of them weren't playing to suggest that City have bought the wrong ones

Had to laugh at that other ex-Arsenal chump, Charlie Nicholas, berating City for not loaning Bellamy to a major Premiership side. Of course, Charlie, Man U and Chelsea lend other top sides players all the time, don't they ?

Dont mind when Liverpool lose.

Also it seems to be the new cliche that whenever a player joins a team he has to state their title legitimacy and that to be the main quote of the article. Some recent City signing, Poulsen for Liverpool and the funny one.... Gallas for Spurs! WE CAN CONTEND! bollocks you can.

Speaking of which Braga bounce Sevilla out of the CL today! Come on you Young Boys of Switzerland! you can do it ;D

Spurs should maybe readjust their aim for the same dance Arsenal has been doing for the last 5 years, top 4 and stay in the CL for that juicy money. Which they haven't spent any of yet as they seem to be waiting to actually qualify for the CL and have just been blown out of the water by the other clubs strengthening in comparison. Distant 6th at best unless they find themselves in a nice situation of being tossed out of Europe early so they can concentrate solely on the league.

Forza Young Boys !

But how will Twitcher keep them four strikers happy ?

Was listening to Mourinho on the telly yesterday, piling into all and sundry. Was slagging off Benitez ('Liverpool have gone backwards', 'Inter job is now an easy job'), Arsenal ('Every year is their year, then no'), and reckons Prem is between Chelsea, Man U and City.

No slagging of Man U or City - reckon he's keeping the escape routes open in case it goes pear-shaped at Real Madrid.

I'd just love to see him start off at a skint Championship club, see what he makes of that. Mmm, sounds like a job for FM Editor....I need a new game anyway after being fired at City, and I was THIRD at the time and only lost the title in the first season by one point - and I'd qualified us out of the CL group containing Sevilla and Juventus.

I think Mourinho would do well pretty much anywhere. Once you have that fame of being the Special One it's pretty much Matthew effect. He's going to enjoy some success everywhere because players genuinely believe that he's great for them.

Hmm, not convinced about that - Mourinho likes to splash the cash and apart from Porto he has a poor-ish record in developing players through the clubs he's been at. Still. if I stick him at Leicester or similar he'll get snapped up by someone else.

Liverpool off to Trabzonspor with no Torres or Gerrard. Shame Torres is cup-tied for Europe

Mourinho will get his shot at managing with 0 resources when he goes to the National side which is his last milestone he wants to reach.

Hes pretty loud about what he still wants to do. Win in Spain to get his triple crown of what no other manager has done at the club level and then win with Portugal. Not sure if he can pull that one off but as Portugal is Portugal and the closest thing to 'signing' players he can do is to convince any available Brazilians he can to nationalize. One advantage he does have though is if he lines up trying to win a trophy with Portugal in the next 2-4-6 years is hes working with Ronaldo already who's supposed to be entering the prime of his career.

Going back to the WC this year I was actually really impressed with the defense.... just had absolutely nothing going forward especially with Nani out and Ronaldo never showing up. Not a bad tournament when you lose to the winners 1-0 on a broken play in the box and had a couple of chances yourself. Would of lost to the Germans though as Portugal can never beat them.

Liverpool, eh? It's hard to make argument about City spending stupid money when you've got those guys paying 20 million for Keane and Aquiliani next door.

The real lookalikes:



UCRC wrote:

Liverpool, eh? It's hard to make argument about City spending stupid money when you've got those guys paying 20 million for Keane and Aquiliani next door.

All clubs make high profile mistakes - think of Fergie and J-S Veron, or Berbaflop, think of Chelsea and Shevchenko or Pizarro, think of Arsenal and Richard Wright.

Yesterday's news was Sevilla going out of CL beaten by Braga in what probably was the worst defensive display of the season from both teams. Tonight another big spenders are gone: Zenit lost to Auxerre.

edit: Meh, link isn't working already. Shame, cause it was nice winning goal.

btw: Gourcuff to Lyon and Gignac to Marseille. French, Italian and Russian clubs can and do spend big, but most of these transfers take place within the same division and we don't hear much about them.
e.g. Zenit bought Lazovic from PSV, Alves from Porto and Bukharov from Rubin for over 40M Euros. Rubin spent 30M for Carlos Eduardo and Martins (Hoffenheim, Wolfsburg). Gignac and Loic Remy also cost Marseille over 30M. And whoever Jorge Martinez and Leonardo Bonucci might be, they're both now Juventus players, worth something like 25M.

Russian league is now shown live on British TV. It's OK-ish, but the stadia often look deserted (maybe because most of them are huge), and I think 9 of the league teams are sponsored by their local governments, which isn't really sustainable as they aren't going to be investing huge amounts. There was a good article in this month's When Saturday Comes, which talked about the quota system there and the feeling was that it did not really assist teams as it made home-grown players overpriced without necessarily increasing the quality.

Gourcuff was a surprise, but it may well be that the inept showing of France at the WC put a lot of potential buyers from elsewhere off - he did play fairly poorly.

Zenit seems to be Russian Man City with their financial backing 'n all that, but so far they've been disappointing. Sure they've won UEFA Cup, but since then they haven't really showed anything in the Europe. I think they just don't know how to spend their money well or maybe most of decent players they can afford don't want to go to Russia.
And yes, some of the stadia look ugly. That's why I watch usually skip Russian games summary and go straight to Bundesliga which definitely lies on another side of spectrum in that regard.

Gourcuff deal surprised me because Bordeaux have already lost Chamakh and they've looked like sh*t in their first two games. (Their biggest star right now is Jaroslav Plasil. Right.)

Chumps League draw

Group A
Team P W D L F A Pts
Inter Milan 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Werder Bremen 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Tottenham 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
FC Twente 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Group B
Team P W D L F A Pts
Lyon 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Benfica 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Schalke 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Hapoel Tel Aviv 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Group C
Team P W D L F A Pts
Manchester United 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Valencia 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Rangers 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Bursaspor 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Group D
Team P W D L F A Pts
Barcelona 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Panathinaikos 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Copenhagen 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Rubin Kazan 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Group E
Team P W D L F A Pts
Bayern Munich 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Roma 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Basel 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
CFR Cluj 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Group F
Team P W D L F A Pts
Chelsea 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Marseille 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Spartak Moscow 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
MSK Zilina 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Group G
Team P W D L F A Pts
AC Milan 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Real Madrid 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Ajax 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Auxerre 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Group H
Team P W D L F A Pts
Arsenal 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Shakhtar Donetsk 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Braga 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Partizan 0 0 0 0 0 0

Man U with another nice easy draw - except that the drunks from Blue Bigot FC will be on their way back to Manchester. I suspect GMP will be getting the batons ready after last time. They got Valencia as well, another skint team living on past glories...they should get on well.

Two lengthy trips for Arsenal, and Spurs get Werder and Inter Milan. Chelsea got Marseille but should get through.

An interesting article on the price of success at Inter:


City get Juventus, Salzburg and Lech Poznan in the Europa League, Liverpool get Steau Bucharest, Napoli and Utrecht.