2011/12 Soccer Thread - Because Vacations Are For Cowards

And as if to confirm my words, Zonal Marking put Piszczek on Europe's top eleven substitutes bench.
As for other choices... Xavi is still the best playmaker in the world, Ozil and Silva are probably better attacking midfielders than Cazorla. And Van Persie should be there because Premier League goals != La Liga goals.

Go Team USA! Beat Brazil!

UCRC wrote:

And as if to confirm my words, Zonal Marking put Piszczek on Europe's top eleven substitutes bench.
As for other choices... Xavi is still the best playmaker in the world, Ozil and Silva are probably better attacking midfielders than Cazorla. And Van Persie should be there because Premier League goals != La Liga goals.

Interesting selection. A year ago I would have agreed with you re. Xavi, but the last few times I've seen him I get the impression that the needle is getting into the red - I reckon he's probably got one top season left in him. Ozil is a great player on his day, but can't last 90 minutes and doesn't always start for RM.

And I'm sorry, but there's no planet where van Persie would start in that team

Rogers confirmed as manager of Liverpool, who have now agreed a compensation package. Did well at Swansea, but the expectation of the Scousers may be a little high for him. He also failed quite badly at 2 clubs (Watford and Reading) before Swansea, so it'll be interesting to see how he does with high-maintenance players...also what cash he'll have available.

Also been confirmed that Paul Lambert is trying to wheedle his way out of Norwich to go and manage Aston Villa...he's resigned but this hasn't been accepted by the club as it would reduce the amount of cash that Villa would have to pay. It's to do with his transfer budget, but I'd love to see how much he's going to get at Villa, and probably a poorer squad that Norwich.

WBA are apparently in discussions with ex-Schalke coach Ralf Rangnick - did well at Schalke and Hoffenheim when there, be an interesting choice.

Since Belgium didn't qualify, Belgian supporters are now offering themselves for rent on Ebay.

All earnings go to Unicef.

For rent as supporters ?

Any like this (but Belgian, obv) ?

IMAGE(http://cdn.worldcupblog.org/www.worldcupblog.org/files/2010/06/paraguay1.jpg)

I can guarantee a non-racist viewing environment, beer that isn't too overpriced and low travel expenses. Plus I don't give a toss about the English national team, so she wouldn't even have to watch football !

Talking of watching football, I sat through most of France v Serbia.

So, it's Henderson, Carroll, Downing, Gerrard et al vs Benzema, Ribery, Nasri, Ben Arfa et al.

(Goes off to bookies to lump on France by more than 3....)

Fedaykin98 wrote:

Go Team USA! Beat Brazil!

Well, a disappointing game, but much closer than the score. The Brazilian goalkeeper made some great saves to hold the US to one goal.

In general, I feel good about the upcoming WC qualifiers and the Olympics. It's going to be a great summer for international soccer - now if only more Dynamo games were on TV.

I actually like France's chances though that may just be Newcastle bias. The defensive side of midfield is inexperienced and they aren't the strongest at the back but that fire-power up front is something.

Fedaykin98 wrote:
Fedaykin98 wrote:

Go Team USA! Beat Brazil!

Well, a disappointing game, but much closer than the score. The Brazilian goalkeeper made some great saves to hold the US to one goal.

In general, I feel good about the upcoming WC qualifiers and the Olympics. It's going to be a great summer for international soccer - now if only more Dynamo games were on TV.

How often do you get out to watch Dynamo matches in person Fedaykin? Other than reading tweets about TFC's ineptitude I haven't been following MLS at all this season.

The only way the US doesn't qualify for the World Cup is if Donovan, Dempsey, and a couple other important players pick up long-term injuries.

I wish I could be optimistic about Canada's chances. We're only Jonathan De Guzman, Junior Hoilett, a goalkeeper, and a striker away from having a very good chance. Except for a drubbing of the smallest of the minnows in the last stage Canada had nothing going forward (especially creatively). With our best winger out with a broken leg the team will need many miracles.

I think the USA could qualify even without Donovan or Dempsey. I don't think we'd go to far in the cup without Dempsey though. While his form has sucked lately, Brek Shea could fill in for Donovan and there's a few other young ins who are starting to stand out.

Whatever happened to Freddy Adu? He was a force in last summer's gold cup and I haven't seen him hit a headline since.

Adu played last night, but I don't think he's ever really been a big factor for the team.

Roke - I have two kids under 3 years old, so I've never seen this Dynamo. I did go see the old Dynamo when I was a kid, though!

My 2.75 year-old daughter *says* she wants to go to a game, so I'm thinking about using that as an excuse for a father-daughter excursion to the new stadium.

TheWalt and I went last year to see the US Men in the Gold Cup when they played here in Houston, and I have to admit, I think I enjoyed the games I watched on TV more. Possibly because I don't know as much about the players or the sport, and need the commentators. I don't feel that way about American football or basketball.

Heeeey, back to Euro talk!

Get acquainted with Polish offensive formation:

Right winger will be Jakub Błaszczykowski, our Walcott (and don't forget, in this Poland-Arsenal analogy Walcott is actualy good), a good hard-working winger who's my favourite player in that eleven - I remember when he made a debut as a nineteen-year-old right-back coming straight from Polish fourth division to Wisła Kraków, then Polish champions and already looking better than everyone around him. No great technique, not a guy to cut inside and score, but just great worker and intelligent player. He spent five seasons at Borussia now, improving every year. He's Poland captain and rightly so.
Then it's Ludovic Obraniak on the left, Bordeaux winger/attacking midfielder who won title with Lille last season. Technically good, has couple of tricks (that first goal was 89th minute of Coupe de France final with scores tied, that's some way to win it) but can also go missing in some games. Otherwise a solid point.
Young Maciej Rybus, diminutive attacking midfielder probably has a starting place (he's another average player - only interesting thing about him is that back in January he was bought by... Terek Grozny from Chechenya), but Rafał Wolski from Legia Warsaw might have a say in that - he's a nineteen-year-old who impresses everyone this season. Still, he's one of few who plays in Polish League, which should make you suspicious no matter how good he seems.
And then there is Robert Lewandowski, the enigma. 29 goals this season absolutely out of blue. At age of 20 he'd still play in lower leagues somewhere in Poland after being released as youngster from Legia. His first season in Dortmund was average - he got 13 goals, but his all-round play sucked. This season he got into fist eleven because Barrios was injured and just stayed there. It's obvious to me that his goalscoring record is down to great midfield and trust from Klopp who decided to make him important part of tactical set-up. But that's the main Lewandowski's strength - he might be tall, but he's no Mario Gomez, he prefers to play with his back to the goal and look for pass to start the move, only then wander forward. With his Borussia chums Blaszczykowski and Piszczek around, there is always chance at utilising him the right way, but the true secret to his Dortmund success was partnership with Kagawa, a true no. 10. That will be hard to pull off. Even so, he's a good penalty area striker with good movement, and a lot of stray balls seem to land on his feet, so no matter how woeful rest of the team is he may win us some games.
Look at his goals here: http://youtu.be/PzWoM2jsN_o - if you don't have time skip to 1:00 for goal number 6, pure Borussia. Also answers a question "is Kagawa any good?".

Hmm, that Lewandowski chap looks interesting, would fit the City system nicely. I wouldn't count on YouTube videos for evidence of anything though - I remember once watching a link once when City were looking at a new striker and deciding that he was better than Samuel Eto'o. This, however, didn't prove to be an accurate assessment of 'georgeous' Giorgios Samaras.

That compilation of his goals is pretty good explanation of how Borussia utilizes him. He's not Man City quality, though. Not sure if he's even Arsenal quality - if he has another season like this, then I'd say yes.

Anyway, if someone didn't have chance to watch Borussia this season, watch this video, some nice team moves in there. Also, pay attention how many good moves start with right back, no. 26. (Fun fack about Piszczek: only three years ago he used to play as a striker) It's crazy how much freedom Klopp gives him, sometimes he's the most offensive player next to Lewandowski.

Sorry UC, my youtube comment related to Kagawa, rather than Lewandoski. Not seen a huge amount of Dortmund over here (only ESPN regularly cover the Bundesliga), but anyone who beats Clown and Billy Big-Noise FC is fine by me - and that stadium looks proper vibey when full.

Being reported on SSN that Jan Vertonghen is going to join....Spurs.

Translation

(1) Spurs are in the Champions League...well, they told me they were.

(2) Man City, Man Utd, Chelsea and Arsenal did not put in a bid.

Shame, he always looked quite good. No doubt Twitch can coach that out of him, after all he managed it with Bassong and Corluka.

So, England 1 Belgium 0

Some thoughts

In skill level, quality etc, it was similar to...a game between two teams just about safe from Premiership relegation.

England looked bereft of any ideas, and you could see harking back to Graham Taylor-esque hoof and hope. Cahill went off after 15 minutes, and Terry is having a scan. Maybe they should scan Johnson and Henderson as well, to see what, if any, DNA they have in common with international footballers. Henderson does have international pedigree though..he's on the left.

IMAGE(http://blogs.airspacemag.com/daily-planet/files/2011/05/thunderbirds_Childhood-s400x300-110195-5801.jpg)

Belgium flattered to deceive. Team looked good on paper, but lightweight and with no focal point.

Hazard just evokes a big 'meh'. He's going to spend most of the season looking up at the ref with his hands in the air, or sat on the bench wondering why he joined Chelsea when they already have players who are better than him. Premiership going to be a big step up from the French league.

Fellaini is still a snide gutless sh*t - a graduate of the Alan Shearer 'oops, did my elbow just accidentally catch you in the face' school, but goes down like he's been tazered if you even look at him. I don't wish injury on anyone, but if he shattered his leg in 35 places I wouldn't cry.

Vertonghen - I know LB isn't his primary position, but he didn't look to be anything special. Apparently he's not concerned that Spurs aren't in the CL next year. He'll be getting used to that over the life of his contract if he joins them.

davet010, can I book you for parties? Your upbeat, positive nature would brighten any get-together!

I missed most of the game unfortunately, but you're right that Belgium misses a good focal point. We really need a striker who simply puts them in the net, Gerd Muller or Gary Lineker style. We don't have anyone like that. Lukaku could be him, in a couple of years and if he gets some decent playtime. Or Mirallas, if he finds his goalscoring form at the national team.

dejanzie wrote:

davet010, can I book you for parties? Your upbeat, positive nature would brighten any get-together!

What can I say ? I'm a Mancunian and a City fan...it's in my DNA

No mawkish Scouse sentimentality and assumed victimhood, or Cockney bluster, we just tell it like it is and live with it. If you want bullsh*t and fantasy, ask a Liverpool fan about how they plan to win the League next season.

davet010 wrote:
dejanzie wrote:

davet010, can I book you for parties? Your upbeat, positive nature would brighten any get-together!

What can I say ? I'm a Mancunian and a City fan...it's in my DNA

Lol, gotta say whenever there is something appalling in football, I have to look no further than a davet010 to satisfy the itch.

Most tragically, I'm NOT a Mancunian and a lonng-time UNITED fan.

ps. That said, if I was a Mancunian, it probably would have made it worse.
pps. At least I don't go to bed knowing Liam Gallagher supports my club.
ppps. 19. It's gonna happen for them, THIS IS THE YEAR!

With regard to your pps, while agreeing with your presumed view on Gallacher, you might want to look up the list of celebrity United fans before commenting further. Maybe ensure that there aren't any cut-throat razors in reach.

And for the record, your first sentence makes no sense.

"Most tragically, I'm NOT a Mancunian and a lonng-time UNITED fan.". This is a forum, Pikey, not a confessional Still, if it makes you feel better....

USA - Canada friendly tonight. Last US friendly before World Cup qualifying starts.

Cahill ruled out with fractured jaw - so Roy calls up....Martin Kelly.

Yes, I can't see the point of calling up a reserve RB from the 8th best team in the Premiership either.

Fedaykin98 wrote:

USA - Canada friendly tonight. Last US friendly before World Cup qualifying starts.

Should be an easy win for the US in front of a sparse crowd. Trying to call up Christine Sinclair wouldn't be a bad idea for Canada with the lack of options up front.

davet010 wrote:

Cahill ruled out with fractured jaw - so Roy calls up....Martin Kelly.

Yes, I can't see the point of calling up a reserve RB from the 8th best team in the Premiership either.

Micah Richards still isn't in the squad, right? I can understand calling up right-back with Jagielka previously called up to replace a non-rightback (I forget who it was). Kelly over Richards is a head-scratcher even if Richards is actually tactically naive.

Of course, if conforming to tactics was important Steven Gerrard wouldn't even be in the England first XI.

Richards is better than any RB in the England squad, and can cover at CB. Tactically naive maybe - but streets ahead of Johnson in that regard, who is best described as 'tactically retarded', or 'the opposition's best LW'.

Hodgson has not mentioned Richards in any of his press conferences, nor have any of the journos brought it up. I'm hoping that Micah told Hodgson that having been scandalously left out of the original squad, he won't play for England til Hodgson goes...which given the current squad, should see him back in the fold after a couple of WC 2014 qualifiers.

Roke wrote:
Fedaykin98 wrote:

USA - Canada friendly tonight. Last US friendly before World Cup qualifying starts.

Should be an easy win for the US in front of a sparse crowd. Trying to call up Christine Sinclair wouldn't be a bad idea for Canada with the lack of options up front.

I love Christine Sinclair, but the US / Canada friendly tonight is for the men's teams.

Spoiler:

Unless the joke is that Canada's men have such a dearth of offensive options that they'd be better off calling up Christine, in which case I apologize for being a humorless twit. :P

Dimmerswitch wrote:
Roke wrote:
Fedaykin98 wrote:

USA - Canada friendly tonight. Last US friendly before World Cup qualifying starts.

Should be an easy win for the US in front of a sparse crowd. Trying to call up Christine Sinclair wouldn't be a bad idea for Canada with the lack of options up front.

I love Christine Sinclair, but the US / Canada friendly tonight is for the men's teams.

Spoiler:

Unless the joke is that Canada's men have such a dearth of offensive options that they'd be better off calling up Christine, in which case I apologize for being a humorless twit. :P

That's the joke but I do wonder how she would do playing against men. The men's game seems faster to me so maybe she would struggle but her ball striking is about as good as De Rosario's.

Of course she played better in the Olympic qualifying in a #10 role rather than as an out-and-out striker.

Mind you I would also like to see the Canadian Men's team focus more on being solid at the back and scoring from set pieces rather than vaguely pass-and-move/panic-and-hoof. There's not enough creativity in the side to break down decently organized defences. Junior Hoilett and Jonathan De Guzman could change that but them playing for Canada is still a pipe dream.

So what exactly was that call on the reversed canada goal? Think we dodged a bullet there.

davet010 wrote:

With regard to your pps, while agreeing with your presumed view on Gallacher, you might want to look up the list of celebrity United fans before commenting further. Maybe ensure that there aren't any cut-throat razors in reach.

And for the record, your first sentence makes no sense.

"Most tragically, I'm NOT a Mancunian and a lonng-time UNITED fan.". This is a forum, Pikey, not a confessional Still, if it makes you feel better....

Mleh I know, lazy wordplay attempt mirroring what you said.

As for looking up that list. I don't want to. I just don't. I already have enough lazy stereotypes of United supporters that start wondering in my head whenever I talk to my 'chelski' friend who starts just lazily listing all the lazy labels at me probably because he doesn't have much to say with when we get to talking about anything Chelski related (and let's face it, there isn't all that much good to say there).

davet010 wrote:

Richards is better than any RB in the England squad, and can cover at CB. Tactically naive maybe - but streets ahead of Johnson in that regard, who is best described as 'tactically retarded', or 'the opposition's best LW'.

Hodgson has not mentioned Richards in any of his press conferences, nor have any of the journos brought it up. I'm hoping that Micah told Hodgson that having been scandalously left out of the original squad, he won't play for England til Hodgson goes...which given the current squad, should see him back in the fold after a couple of WC 2014 qualifiers.

Also, that's 6 liverpool players now? I'd get it, if Liverpool was anywhere near where the top or had any resemblance of quality in the squad, but they're not even qualified for Europas atm are they? Is he really gonna drain this hardcore from that pool just because he used to be there? It's one thing to 'build the youth', but some seemingly random kid from a team that finished 8th in the league with 24 starts for the said team just seems... well crazy.

My gripe about Rio's snub is just as lost on me as Richards' snub seems to be to you. Then again, at the end of the day, I am just gonna take comfort in the fact that Rio wil be that much fresher come Fall.

England's almost always been the team I focus on and 'support' the most during the Euros, probably since the English league is the one league I've been watching more or less exclusivley for over 10 years, but it's times like these when I am glad I am not bound to supporting England as a country-man.