2013/14 Soccer Thread

Oh my Joe Heart.

Wow. City. Drop Hart already. Sure, Nastasić panicked there, but what the heck is he doing charging out of his penalty area for no good reason? This isn't even funny anymore. I don't care either way but felt embarrassed for him there.

No chance they are going to win the title with defence so switched off, no matter how brilliant the attackers are (and they were brilliant and Chelsea looked poor in comparison). All six defensive players (Hart, back four, Garcia) are well below par, maybe with exception of Zabaleta, who is prone to have an off game a bit too often as well.

All of the sudden you are two points above United and, unlike them, you've made that huge investment into the squad already.

Of course, Hart could very well have been not at fault there IF he was screaming to leave it and Nastasić just went into FULL CHICKEN MELTDOWN, but that doesn't strike me as most likely scenario.

edit: Speaking of possible meltdowns, Liverpool are yet to play Everton, Arsenal, Tottenham, Man City and Chelsea in this round of fixtures... and they play all of those games away. So, if they get through December in top four, it's time to treat them seriously, but possibility of wheels coming off is strong in that one.

40 team world cup? makes more sense than expanding the Euro...

jowner wrote:

40 team world cup? makes more sense than expanding the Euro...

Not sure, I think part of the problem is that the way they distribute bids to the world cup does not reflect how strong/weak teams are in the various regions. Basically with 40 teams in the WC all you do is add another "easy" win which makes seeding that much more important.

As much as I love the world cup and would love to see it as a true top competition, that is just not going to happen with the money that the clubs control. Too many teams don't play together enough to gel correctly and you end up with big washouts. Also, the lag time between when you start playing qualifiers and when you actually enter the competition is so long that the teams could have replaced all of their players during that time. So seeding off qualification becomes kinda dumb.

Anyway you are right that it makes more sense than the new expanded Euro, but that's partly because the expanded Euro makes NO sense.

Zaque wrote:
jowner wrote:

40 team world cup? makes more sense than expanding the Euro...

Not sure, I think part of the problem is that the way they distribute bids to the world cup does not reflect how strong/weak teams are in the various regions. Basically with 40 teams in the WC all you do is add another "easy" win which makes seeding that much more important.

As much as I love the world cup and would love to see it as a true top competition, that is just not going to happen with the money that the clubs control. Too many teams don't play together enough to gel correctly and you end up with big washouts. Also, the lag time between when you start playing qualifiers and when you actually enter the competition is so long that the teams could have replaced all of their players during that time. So seeding off qualification becomes kinda dumb.

Anyway you are right that it makes more sense than the new expanded Euro, but that's partly because the expanded Euro makes NO sense.

The only reason I think it makes sense is cause its fairly easy to implement. Groups of 5 and apparently the tournament is a whole 3 days longer.

One of my issues with the current WC format is we go through this entire qualifying process for pretty much a half European tournament. For a 'world' cup its pretty lopsided but at the same time the gap in quality is so large otherwise you cant lower the amount of Euro teams.

There are a number of rationales which that Gallic prick will be using to justify his calls - of course, none of them relate to football.

1. Not only did Platini specify how many more teams would be in, but also where they would be from. This coincides nicely with the regions that he will require votes from in order to succeed the corrupt Swiss dwarf. So, more African, weak South American and more CONCACAF joke teams. And yes, I know there are plenty of European teams there - probably too many...the tournament should be cut back to 24, not expanded. And apparently this 40 team and 96 match extravaganza will only take 3 days more than the last one, despite having 32 more matches. (By my reckoning, 8 groups of 5 gives 80 games, plus 16 games for the knockout if 2 teams go through from each group). Only 3 extra days when you have to have 2 more match days in the group stages...oh aye, right.

2. The timing was only a couple of days after Blatter seemed to identify his successor...and it wasn't Platini. Time for some damage limitation.

3. The proposal will pass because all the sh*te countries will vote for it, the middle tier ones will not want to seem elitist, and the larger ones won't want to queer the pitch for any hosting bids they attempt in the future. Although, as the 2018 and 2022 awards clearly demonstrate, it's the size of the brown envelopes that matter - particularly when a country with a population of less than 2m, no discernable football culture and a tournament which will not resemble the bid document goes through.

4. More games equals more money for the sponsors, and more countries mean more money for FIFA from TV and internet licensing. There might even be a little tickle held over for the host nation, although FIFA's rules about alcohol sales and tax exemption will necessarily keep that as low as they can make it.

I do see a few problems though.

- So many games in such a short span will make an increasing demand for the number of stadia which can hold matches - thus putting the tournament further out of reach of all but the deep-pocketed. And more garbage matches does not neccessarily equate to vastly more ticket sales.

- Hmm, 5 team groups. I seem to remember that FIFA insisted on the last group matches being simultaneous after the infamous 'Anschluss' match in 1982. Bit difficult with 5 teams, that.

- if only 2 go through from the initial groups, you are no more likely to get smaller nations proceeding than you were last time.

IMAGE(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-TVt4sJswCN8/UnAZaXnHeSI/AAAAAAAAAxg/xgNlIz9vwMs/w506-h285/caznutmeg.gif)

IMAGE(http://i.minus.com/iCz1cHD5pzuRe.gif)

To think that Arsenal was this close to snapping up Mata. Ozil-Mata-Cazorla would be the most amazing(ly unbalanced) of 3s in 4-2-3-1s.

Ramsey's pained look of "oh god-DAMMIT" in the second one is wonderful.

As far as the WC goes, the primary reason I see to expand it is for the same reason Major League baseball and the NCAA are thinking about expanding their playoffs. Like Dave said, it's all about the TV moolah. They know they're basically leaving money on the table at the moment, and they could possibly be packing their pockets with even more in TV deals.

Also, RE: Fulham

UCRC wrote:

I didn't know that Fulham bought Amorebieta, he was a top defender at Bilbao in that season when they got to EL final. Pred, how is he this season? And what's Fulham's problem in general, apart from having too many lazy players further up the pitch?

Everything, sodding EVERYTHING is the problem right now. We can't attack, we can't defend, and our next two matches are United and Liverpool.

I'm not "JOL OUT!" yet. But I'm about 75% of the way there.

Arsenal game vs Chelsea left me somewhat agitated.

I expected to see Gnabry and Einsfeld. Instead I saw half our first team.

I can understand not wanting to field all the kids when Chelseas backups include guys like Mata, 30m Willian, Eto! etc and getting whacked 4-0.

But doesn't fielding half your first teamers then subbing on some more and losing 2-0 also put a dent into the confidence?

I haven't heard of anyone picking up a knock from that game but I would be all kinds of angry if say Santi was out cause he played a game he shouldn't of been in.

First real test of the season as Suarez and Sturridge are red hot and were throwing Jack out there vs Luiz and John Obi Mikel? Just seems like the exact situation where you tempt fate and are left with egg on your face.

Nice to see someone else obviously reads my splenetic ramblings

http://espnfc.com/blog/_/name/bootro...

So why is the World Cup in Brazil again?

Former Brazilian footballer's head left on his doorstep

João Rodrigo Silva Santos didn't come home Monday night.

When the former professional footballer's wife opened the door on her way to work the next morning, she found his severed head on their front step.

The head was inside a backpack, police said. Santos' eyes and tongue had been gouged out, according to Brazilian media reports.

:shocK:

To be fair, horrible things happen in every country

I would be more concerned with the following two World Cups, or the fact that Fifa are forcing them to sell booze in stadiums despite the fact they got rid of that to stop trouble!

Yeah, certainly Russia isn't much of an improvement security-wise. Particularly if you are a journalist critical of Putin, who resembles Mussolini more and more every day.

davet010 wrote:

Yeah, certainly Russia isn't much of an improvement security-wise. Particularly if you are a journalist critical of Putin, who resembles Mussolini more and more every day.

But if you like beating up the gays or racism, it's a non-stop party.

Can't have Suarez? Don't worry, there are other c*nty strikers around:

edit: Borussia just destroyed Stuttgart 6-1, hat-trick for Lewandowski. Playing Arsenal at home on Wednesday...
Well, fortunately I play football on Wednesdays too, so I'm not going to be able to see it;)

Prederick wrote:
davet010 wrote:

Yeah, certainly Russia isn't much of an improvement security-wise. Particularly if you are a journalist critical of Putin, who resembles Mussolini more and more every day.

But if you like beating up the gays or racism, it's a non-stop party.

Much like Mussolini's Italy, although none of the books I've read on the subject mention problems with attacks on homosexuals...still, it was a staunchly Catholic country and it was the 1920's and 30's, so I can't imagine toleration was high on the agenda.

Still, run by an idiot - check, rampant corruption and cronyism - check, gangsterism - check, dictatorship with veneer of democracy - check, no free press - check....sorry, I lost my train of thought. I forget whether I was describing Russia or FIFA/UEFA.

Joe Hart reportedly dropped ahead of tomorrow's match against Norwich.

Probably a smart move on City's part, but it'll be interesting to see whether having real competition for his spot will get Hart more focused to up his game, or will precipitate a meltdown.

Kudos to Newcastle.

For portions of that second half, Chelsea looked more like a Championship side than one playing in the Champions League.

How sh*t must you beee / How sh*t must you beeeeeeee / Cazorla header / How sh*t must you beeeeeeee

These away kits for Liverpool...just terrible.

Also, DaveT, have you relaxed finally after that tense match against Norwich?

Ramsey volley was beautiful. Today was a fun match to watch.

Psych wrote:

These away kits for Liverpool...just terrible.

Also, DaveT, have you relaxed finally after that tense match against Norwich?

Yeah - I think Pantilimon even managed to finish the crossword. Norwich really have taken some backward steps, and they did spend money in summer.

Liverpool flattered to deceive - they won't be involved in the title race.

Unless Chelsea and City really can't get their acts together... But I think they will, finally and overtake Liverpool comfortably this month.
After all, remember that Liverpool fixture list that I've linked? Things can get really nasty, apart from Coutinho-Suarez-Sturridge up front they are quite average.

And Sturridge is nothing special on a consistent basis. And no team fielding the Goodyear blimp in defence is going to go all the way.

Things that may amuse, on a Sunday.

"A report in the Sunday People claims that while attending Birmingham's 3-1 Capital One Cup win over Swansea in September, Kinnear was impressed with the performance of midfielder Shane Ferguson.

However, Ferguson, 22, is on loan at Birmingham from Newcastle, having joined the Championship club on a season-long deal in the summer.

A City source told Sunday People Sport: "Ferguson had a particularly good game that night and Joe Kinnear told one of our officials he was interested in signing him.

"At first our guy thought he was joking but then he realised Kinnear did not know Ferguson was already a Newcastle player."

Ferguson has made 23 league appearances for Newcastle and is a Northern Ireland international."

davet010 wrote:

Things that may amuse, on a Sunday.

"A report in the Sunday People claims that while attending Birmingham's 3-1 Capital One Cup win over Swansea in September, Kinnear was impressed with the performance of midfielder Shane Ferguson.

However, Ferguson, 22, is on loan at Birmingham from Newcastle, having joined the Championship club on a season-long deal in the summer.

A City source told Sunday People Sport: "Ferguson had a particularly good game that night and Joe Kinnear told one of our officials he was interested in signing him.

"At first our guy thought he was joking but then he realised Kinnear did not know Ferguson was already a Newcastle player."

Ferguson has made 23 league appearances for Newcastle and is a Northern Ireland international."

Jesus, I have more soccer knowledge than him at it comes almost entirely from Football Manager.

And the newest version of FM I've played is FM12.

Edit: Dave, I thought you were posting a parody thing a few seconds after I posted this. Google should have had a Picard facepalm as the #1 result. Holy crap.

In fairness, it is from the Sunday People, which is one of the bottom-feeders as far as being a 'newspaper' goes. So don't be surprised if you see a denial appearing sometime during the week.

This is, after all, a newspaper which considers the travails of contestants on 'Strictly Come Dancing' to be front-page news.

I am not enjoying this season. Although watching the title race will be a ton of fun, i'll bet. The title-winners might not even make it to 80 points at this rate.

In other news, Jack Wilshere, still made of papier-mâché.

While Wilshere's absence is important due to other injuries in that part of the pitch (we are going to start Dortmund game with players who don't even get to start for reserves on the bench), Kieran Gibbs, out with a calf problem, has been much better and more consistent part of Arsenal team. Next to Ramsey and Giroud (and maybe Szczęsny) he is the biggest success story this season.