2017/18 Soccer Thread

Fedaykin98 wrote:

Well, the USWNT has been a shadow of its former self since winning the last World Cup. Really disappointing results, compared to their tradition of excellence.

I confess I haven't been following them very much since the World Cup, but we watched two of the three most recent games and I'd have to agree with you.

I did think about the fact that the World Cup is two years away, and several of the players looked capable but very raw. It felt like they were in the beginning stages of building a team for 2019. Given that it's been two years since the last World Cup, I wondered if they should be further along in the process by now. Kind of like, "What have you done with the last two years?"

Well, we have brought along some really great players, particularly Pugh and Lavelle, so if Jill Ellis measures the team strictly by World Cup performances (somewhat reasonable, although the Olympics feels pretty meaningful for the women's game), perhaps she went into rebuild/reinforce mode immediately after 2015.

Okay, time for my awful premier league predictions:

1) Manchester City
2) Arsenal
3) Chelsea
4) Liverpool
================
5) Manchester United
6) Spurs
7) Southampton
8) Crystal Palace
9) West Brom
10) Everton
11) Leicester
12) Swansea
13) Newcastle
14) West Ham
15) Watford
16) Bournemouth
17) Brighton
================
18) Stoke
19) Burnley
20) Huddersfield

Thoughts:
* Bottom-3 I've had set in my mind since Huddersfield won promotion and I feel pretty comfortable the bottom-6 will probably be around the bottom-6.
* Pardew in at Stoke shortly after (Canadian) Thanksgiving.

* Manchester City's lack of depth in central midfield worries me but they were pretty good with corpses at fullback and a 'keeper who couldn't stop shots last year so I expect they'll leap forward nonetheless
* Rest of the top-6 was difficult. If you could swap Mourinho for any of the other top-6 managers I'd have Man United at least in second place but I don't trust him to not play for draws too often, again.
* Losing Coutinho hurts Liverpool but they've bought well so far and I think they'll make up for his loss and add to get into the top-4.
* Expecting Spurs to have a huge drop in home field advantage with the move to Wembley and it not being the last season at White Hart Lane.
* Think Wenger will put together a nice (farewell?) season for him, Sanchez, and Ozil.

* I'm assuming the Gylfi to Everton move goes through for both my Swansea and Evrton predictions.
* Rose-coloured glasses for Newcastle.
* Expecting Frank de Boer to do really well at Palace.

1. Chelsea
2. City
3. United
4. Arsenal
5. Liverpool
6. Spurs
7. Everton
8. Leicester
9. Soton
10. West Ham
11. Stoke
12. Newcastle
13. Watford
14. Bournemouth
15. Palace
16. Brighton
17. West Brom
18. Swansea
19. Burnley
20. Huddersfield.

Thoughts of DT

- I hummed and aahhed about the top, didn't want to jinx City. I think Chelsea may struggle unless Morata starts off hot, and their depth is questionable (as are some of their moves with the loanees - why loan out Zouma ?). I think Christensen will be good.

- I do like City's summer moves, they battered fairly full strength RM, Spurs and West Ham sides, and that was without Bernardo and Mendy. Danilo can cover on the left, and the keeper looks a LOT more comfortable than Bravo. Might be some game time for Adabiaryo and Diaz as well. Got rid of an awful lot of deadwood (and Kelechi as well, but we'll see). Mendy will be the Twitter star of the season.

- Unfortunately, United also had a good window with Lukaku and Matic, though it remains to be seen whether the latter is an every match player.

- Arsenal...same as last year. Much depends on how much Sanchez regards himself as being in the shop window. Ozil will flatter to deceive as usual. Lacazette has been an FM17 fave of mine, might be a good pickup.

- Liverpool. Salah doesn't really excite me, if they lose Coutinho expect a CL place to be a real struggle.

Of the rest, Everton have brought in a lot of players, be interesting to see how they go.
Spurs look like they are lacking depth, particularly if Trippier is out for a while. Roke already pointed out their travails last year at Wembley, and it may be that the easy ride Pochettino has had will come to an end.

Rest are a bit of a lottery. De Boer at Palace is the very epitome of a Dutchman, in that he can start a fight in an empty house. Expect ructions there. Brighton will be the media darlings of the year, if you aren't familiar with the intricacies of the 20 years since they saved themselves from going out of the league, then give it a week or two and you'll be right up to speed. No doubt the Southern-based press will be fawning over them when they play City on the opening day. After that you'll also be familiar with exactly how much every player in the City squad is on, including the Women's XI.

Going down, I think the tank is empty at Swansea, Burnley have sold and not replaced, and Huddersfield lack quality and in particular a goalscorer - I also think that they will struggle to hold on to their manager if one of the middle tier clubs makes an early move (looks at Puel at Soton, apropos of nothing.).

davet010 wrote:

(looks at Puel at Soton, apropos of nothing.).

You know he's been gone most of the summer, right? It's Pellegrino now (not Pellegrini don't get excited Dave).

Ooops, my bad.

Ah, well. They probably won't be firing Pelligrino then, given that Soton have just spent 20m euros on Lemina from Juventus.

There's always Pulis' demise to hope for, or Hughes. Wonder if Tony has paid the £5m back to Palace yet ?

Anyone watch the Real Madrid vs. Man United match?

I saw the first half, thought Man U seemed uncertain and outplayed. I wasn't really sure what they were trying to do when the had the ball, other than maybe kind of get the ball to Lukaku. Whatever it was, it wasn't working.

I'm curious what people thought of Pogba's play. To me, he seemed largely ineffective at left mid. Is that where he's usually played?

Real Madrid looked sharper than they did in the USA matches.

Godzilla Blitz wrote:

Anyone watch the Real Madrid vs. Man United match?

I saw the first half, thought Man U seemed uncertain and outplayed. I wasn't really sure what they were trying to do when the had the ball, other than maybe kind of get the ball to Lukaku. Whatever it was, it wasn't working.

I'm curious what people thought of Pogba's play. To me, he seemed largely ineffective at left mid. Is that where he's usually played?

Real Madrid looked sharper than they did in the USA matches.

Nah, he played in the centre of midfield mostly, a lot deeper than he did for Juve, which is quite odd, although one theory was that signing Matic would maybe move him up the field a bit more. Saying that though, Mourinho used to play Samuel Eto'o at left wing back for Inter sometimes, so who knows, he'll do anything to win.

This Real Madrid side is pretty much a step above any other team in the world, Juve were the only ones close, and they capitulated in the second half of the CL final after looking the better in the first half, no Bonucci means even they might not be able to give them a challenge again. I am interested to see how Bayern do this season though, Ancelotti is the go to man for European glory (well, glory in general, really.)

I'm not going to predict the whole table, I do have some bold predictions for the season ahead though.

Premier League winner: Man City
Other top 3: Chelsea, Man Utd, Liverpool
Relegated: Brighton, Swansea, Huddersfield
Newcastle predictions: Hard to say, if Benitez walks then I'd probably replace Huddersfield with ourselves, but if not I think we can keep ourselves safe, there are a lot of really bad teams in the league (as witnessed from last season). Saying that though, we badly need a striker that isn't Gayle, we've got to presume he'll get injured.

Other predictions:
- First manager sacked: Mark Hughes.
- Birmingham to finish above Aston Villa.
- Sunderland in bottom half, but won't get relegated.
- Napoli will win Serie A - Naples will not sleep for a month.
- Bayern Munich get to the final of Champions League (not brave enough to say they'll win it.)
- Palace will struggle and De Boer out before the year ends, he was woeful at Inter, the man looked a broken figure on the sidelines, devoid of any clues on how to change a game.
- AC Milan will win Europa League - Will take time to gel, too early to say they'll be up there for the title, they might do what Man Utd did last season and see that as their best route into the Champions League.
- Barca will be drawn against PSG in the knockout stages - think of the box office.

1. City
2. United
3. Chelsea
4. Liverpool
5. Arsenal
6. Spurs
7. Everton
Then the rest:
8. West Ham
9. Southhampton
10. Newcastle
11. Crystal Palace
12. Leicester
13. West Brom
14. Bournmouth
Bottom 6 bun fight:
15. Burnley
16. Swansea
17. Stoke
18. Brighton
19. Watford
20. Huddersfield

Predictions:

The Manchester teams, having had the best transfer windows will duke it out at the top - however City have a stronger team and I think Pep has learned a lot from his 1st year in the Premiership. Chelsea haven't strengthened and will struggle with league and CL duties. Plus I'm still not sure Conte's head won't be turned even though he signed a new contract.
Liverpool will pip Arsenal and Spurs to 4th (Just - and this is dependent on keeping Coutinho, and how far they get in the CL) because Wenger is spent and doesn't realise it yet, and Spurs will be at Wembley while the new ground is being built, and boy do they suck at Wembley. Everton have the potential to be the dark horses this season, and will keep pace but there will be a clear break from them to the team in 8th (expect 15+ points gap)

The bottom six will be a bun fight - to be honest they could go in any order. Apart from Huddersfield. They might just do a Derby.

Is there a Premier fantasy League for GWJ?

Spurs win the title. They've been building into it for the last years. It's time they finally get it.
The Manchester's will disappoint yet again, though one of them will go to the CL final and lose, probably against RM.
Watford will be a revelation.

In Portugal, Porto will break Benfica's winning streak.
In Spain, RM wins la liga.
In France, PSG doesn't win the league and we'll laugh at 222 millions well spent.
In Germany, Dortmund finally gets the title.
In Italy, la vecchia signora as always.

Do not ask for reasons or logic about these predictions. I have none.

Can we all just take a moment and appreciate this AP photo from the Guardian's main story?

IMAGE(http://i.imgur.com/8DBpsV8.jpg)

Sorbicol wrote:

The bottom six will be a bun fight - to be honest they could go in any order. Apart from Huddersfield. They might just do a Derby.

Is there a Premier fantasy League for GWJ?

Man, that was a sad season that was for Derby. Although Looking at the Wikipedia page for their 07-08 season Billy Davies was the manager to start so I guess it wasn't so sad after all (I loathe Billy Davies).

And yes, there is a league!

davet010 wrote:

And in response to almost no requests...

GWJ Premiership 17 Fantasy Football is here !!

Usual website (fantasy.premierleague.com), select your team, then enter a league.

Submit the following code - 852100-205580

And you'll be in.

I can already tell the Friday matches are likely to gum up me getting my lineups in on time.

slazev wrote:

Spurs win the title. They've been building into it for the last years. It's time they finally get it.
The Manchester's will disappoint yet again, though one of them will go to the CL final and lose, probably against RM.
Watford will be a revelation.

In Portugal, Porto will break Benfica's winning streak.
In Spain, RM wins la liga.
In France, PSG doesn't win the league and we'll laugh at 222 millions well spent.
In Germany, Dortmund finally gets the title.
In Italy, la vecchia signora as always.

Do not ask for reasons or logic about these predictions. I have none.

I like most of these predictions. Of the big clubs in the EPL, Spurs are the one I seem to like the most. I'd love to see PSG come up short after this Neymar fiasco. It's time for someone to break Bayern's gaudy win streak, and I enjoy watching Dortmund because of Christian Pulisic.

Andre Gray to Watford for 18.5m

So that's Burnley f*cked then, right?

Blimey, for the money they've raked in this summer, you could probably buy the town.

Turn it into something useful - like a nuclear waste dump, or a landfill.

slazev wrote:

Spurs win the title. They've been building into it for the last years. It's time they finally get it.
The Manchester's will disappoint yet again, though one of them will go to the CL final and lose, probably against RM.
Watford will be a revelation.

In Portugal, Porto will break Benfica's winning streak.
In Spain, RM wins la liga.
In France, PSG doesn't win the league and we'll laugh at 222 millions well spent.
In Germany, Dortmund finally gets the title.
In Italy, la vecchia signora as always.

Do not ask for reasons or logic about these predictions. I have none.

Porto is an interesting one, I was suspecting they'd have a poor season considering their financial problems?

The GWJ Fantasy League is now up to 14 teams, nice! My son will join in again as well.

Godzilla Blitz wrote:

The GWJ Fantasy League is now up to 14 teams, nice! My son will join in again as well.

Signed up last night.

Clusks wrote:
slazev wrote:

Spurs win the title. They've been building into it for the last years. It's time they finally get it.
The Manchester's will disappoint yet again, though one of them will go to the CL final and lose, probably against RM.
Watford will be a revelation.

In Portugal, Porto will break Benfica's winning streak.
In Spain, RM wins la liga.
In France, PSG doesn't win the league and we'll laugh at 222 millions well spent.
In Germany, Dortmund finally gets the title.
In Italy, la vecchia signora as always.

Do not ask for reasons or logic about these predictions. I have none.

Porto is an interesting one, I was suspecting they'd have a poor season considering their financial problems?

They have and that's why they didn't spend much, either by getting cheap (doesn't mean bad) players or recalling some players on loan.
Their pre-season was great and their first game (the league started this week) also went great for them with a 4 nil.
Their coach did a surprising good season last year in France. It's Sérgio Conceição. If you don't know who he is, he scored an hat-trick against Germany in the Euro 2000. Ah, those were the days.

I've never played Fantasy before but I'm going to spend a day doing some research for beginner's. I'll have a team, or a poor excuse for one, locked in for Friday's kickoff.

Remember, bigred, not to make my usual mistake of picking a team who would do well in FM17 (or real life). You want people who will actually score points.

Make sure you know what the rules are for scoring points.
Keep an eye on who is injured - if it's more than a couple of weeks, get rid.
Be ruthless if players start slumping.

I've been advised that I want 11 Gylfi's on my team. Is that optimal?

bigred wrote:

I've been advised that I want 11 Gylfi's on my team. Is that optimal?

I believe the optimal strategy is still Players Whose Last Name Starts With 'F' and Jamie Vardy

I actually spent some time reading a few of the scoring rules and a bit of time thinking about who I wanted to pick. I did none of that last year and managed to finish about 2/3 of the way down the table.

Now that I've actually thought about what to do, I'm sure I'll drop down to last.

Do we have relegation?

Premier League predictions (edit to add a link to last season's, for comparison and mockery):

Manchester United
Chelsea
Manchester City
Tottenham
Arsenal
Liverpool
Everton
Southampton
Leicester City
West Ham
Stoke City
Burnley
Crystal Palace
Bournemouth
Newcastle
West Brom
Watford
Swansea City
Brighton
Huddersfield

It breaks my heart to not put Everton above Liverpool, but with Europe in the mix (and a huge number of new players to settle in) even seventh feels optimistic. Given that, and the strength of our opposition in the first six matches, I wouldn't be surprised to be in the relegation zone at that point - though I fully expect us to start moving through the gears by Thanksgiving or so.

Fair play to Swansea for sticking to their guns on Gylfi - we will definitely be overpaying for him (at 50m I'd kind of prefer someone else, but don't tell Psych).

Also sounds like Barkley is realizing nobody wants to buy him - a shame, as I'd happily trade him and McCarthy plus 20m or so for Virgil Van Dijk. I think he's good (though overrated), but I'd love for us to steal him if only to hear the anguished roars of Liverpool fans.

Roke wrote:
bigred wrote:

I've been advised that I want 11 Gylfi's on my team. Is that optimal?

I believe the optimal strategy is still Players Whose Last Name Starts With 'F' and Jamie Vardy

This is correct. I kind of can't wait to see what restrictions LouZiffer imposes on himself this year.

I believe in making predictions as a form of if you are going to have an opinion you better have a stance also.

1. City
2. Spurs
3. Chelsea
4. United
-------------
I like how City has spent. They needed to overhaul some spots so they didn't pussy foot around.
5. Arsenal
6. Liverpool
7. Leicester
------------------
The close but not close enough bracket. I've found it comical how Liverpool is in the market. Arsenal have an inflated squad again of B players. They need to move 2-3 players to justify signing anyone but they are the anti City in the market. Slow and plodding.

8. Everton
9. Southampton
10. West Ham
11. Newcastle
--------------------
The teams I'd probably have more fun following this year.

12. Swansea
13. Stoke
14. Palace
15. WBA
16. Bournemouth
17.Burnley
-----------------
18. Watford
19. Huddersfield
20. BHA

I have no clue. Numbering it and making sure I got all the teams was hard enough.

Signed up for the league. Immediately realized I have no idea what's going on and probably should have read rules before making a squad. Triple Captain? Bench Boost?

bigred wrote:

Signed up for the league. Immediately realized I have no idea what's going on and probably should have read rules before making a squad. Triple Captain? Bench Boost?

Theyre one off things, you can apply them for one game week. Triple captain will, as it says, triple your captain's points. Bench boost gives you points for everyone on your bench. All out attack means you only have to field play 2 defenders one game week (probably the least useful of the three, I find.)

Clusks wrote:
bigred wrote:

Signed up for the league. Immediately realized I have no idea what's going on and probably should have read rules before making a squad. Triple Captain? Bench Boost?

Theyre one off things, you can apply them for one game week. Triple captain will, as it says, triple your captain's points. Bench boost gives you points for everyone on your bench. All out attack means you only have to field play 2 defenders one game week (probably the least useful of the three, I find.)

Just to confirm, I can use each one once for the duration of the season? when I first saw them it gave me a paytoplay vibe.