2022/23 Soccer Thread: Finals Week(s)

Leagues or football associations don't always have the final say, in many countries, it's just illegal to advertise gambling at all, not just in sport. It was (and still is) the same in many countries when alcohol sponsors were more common.

If the UK Gov't banned gambling advertising in the same way as tobacco, that would be that.

Honestly, what is with Dutch football fans this year?

AZ Alkmaar say their Europa Conference League semi-final against West Ham is "a night to reflect on with shame" after a section of the stadium where away fans were sitting was attacked.

Several West Ham players confronted the group of fans that had targeted an area containing their friends and family.

AZ said in a statement of apology: "Unfortunately, we cannot use the word 'supporters' for these people."

The club said they will "evaluate" the incident.

"While everyone hoped for a historic European match, it turned into a pitch black evening due to the events occurring at the referee's final whistle," AZ's statement added.

"It turned into a night to reflect on with shame. Not because of the football game played, but because of the behaviour of some visitors.

"What happened is beyond all bounds. The club again sincerely apologises to West Ham and the thousands of well minded AZ supporters who have also been inconvenienced by the misconduct.

"AZ is a civilised club where sportsmanship and norms and values are paramount. The club will do everything possible, together with the authorities involved, to identify these persons and to take appropriate measures."

Also, what is it with Scotland and dramatic title run-ins?

A day short of 18 years since "Helicopter Sunday", the Scottish Women's Premier League trophy could be poised for its own drama as a captivating season draws to a thrilling end.

In the most exciting climax to a campaign in SWPL history, three teams - Glasgow City, Rangers and Celtic - are in real contention for the title as well as the two Champions League spots.

Second-placed Rangers host leaders City and could win the game yet, because of goal difference, still not clinch the league title.

The key point is that Glasgow City remain in pole position to snatch back the title. Their task is the simplest; win, and it's theirs.

Easier written than done, though, especially in an arena in which they will no doubt again be outnumbered for support.

Leanne Ross will therefore expect her big-name players to perform. That is likely to include Scotland goalkeeper Lee Gibson, who is surely going to be busy given Rangers are the top scorers in the division. More on that, shortly.

Lauren Davidson, 21, has 27 goals this season - comfortably the most in the league. Adding to that tally would settle some early nerves.

Rangers' Kirsty Howat is second in the scoring charts. Her hat-trick against Hearts last weekend helped her side leapfrog Celtic into second place on goal difference.

Her potency since the turn of the year - netting 14 goals - has gone hand in hand with her side's consistency. Malky Thomson's team have dropped just two points in 15 games.

That form has propelled the reigning champions into this position. Rangers don't have things in their own hands, but it's a position of reasonable strength.

If they beat Glasgow City at Ibrox, they'll hop onto 81 points. If Celtic also beat Hearts, they'll remain level with Rangers on points. And this is where it gets a bit messy.

Rangers have a goal difference of 103, while their rivals have 102. So, if the pair both win by the same margin, Rangers will secure back-to-back titles.

But, if Celtic better Rangers' win by one goal, and the pair are level on points and goal difference, it then goes to goals scored, which will fall in favour of Celtic.

Thomson has a grasp of the maths, and is prepared to adapt.

"We may have to change if we need goals - we may have to do something tactically in the moment. Or we might be in a controlling situation where we are happy with what we have got," he said.

"It definitely adds a different flavour to it. It's exciting, exhilarating."

If both Rangers and Celtic win, City will finish third and again end the season trophyless and with no Champions League football to soften the blow.

If there is a third draw of the season between City and Rangers - and that has to be a decent possibility given how well-matched the teams are - if Celtic win, Alonso's side race up the outside into top spot and secure their first SWPL title.

What a prospect.

I don't think it's fair to say Arsenal have bottled it...

...but losing to Everton, drawing with Southampton, and now they've got 15 minutes left so stop Forest from beating them....

It's not not a bottle.

Arsenal didn't create a single meaningful chance that whole game. Awful.

Meanwhile, in Germany, who can throw away the title better? Bayern or Dortmund?

Prederick wrote:

Benardo Silva, eh?

Like, City are objectionable for a host of reasons.... but GOD I hate Madrid. Put 5 on them, Pep.

This is me. I emailed the one City fan I know after to congratulate him. I let him know about my misgivings, but I'm just so tired of seeing RM win it.

And on the lack of sponsors on jerseys: There was about a year and a half where the Houston Dynamo's jersey sponsor deal had run out and not been replaced. It just so happened to coincide with their best home jersey and away jersey ever. It was glorious.

And kick all gambling advertising out of all sports. The leagues should have at least that much shame.

Come on, Dortmund. Don't blow it. Please. (Same thing for Benfica.)

Never did I think I'd get to experience my own version of St. Totteringham's Day.

Thank you Todd Boehly for this wonderful gift.

And baring a mircale, Leeds are done. Something fitting about all 3 teams going down being the ones who paniced and sacked their managers (twice in Leeds and Southampton case). Oh well back to mid table championship we go. It was a fun ride, thank you Bielsa. That season where we finished 9th was unbelieveable, and I still think we would have stayed up if he had being in charge last season. I mean Marsch fluked his way to keeping us up, why wouldn't have Biesla when he got his players back?

Spain continues doing a bang-up job handling racism in stadiums.

What's really telling is the wholesale moral cowardice from those watching, however:

@emctear wrote:

Tension in Ancelotti's press conference.
Journalist: "Since you've previously had problems with the language, I'll clarify it for you. Mestalla wasn't chanting 'monkey' (mono), they were chanting 'silly' (tonto). It's a serious accusation to say a whole stadium was racist."

A very serious Ancelotti responds: "Whether it was 'mono' or 'tonto', the referee stopped the game to open the racism protocol. He wouldn't do that if they just chanted 'tonto'. Speak to the referee."

EDIT: If you were writing a book on "poor crisis management," Javier Tebas would deserve his own chapter. Good lord.

EDIT v2: Oh it really is baked in deep in Spain.

EDIT v3: Vini claps back at Tebas.


First half stats from #NEWLEI

Shots: 14 / 0
Accurate passes: 310 / 34
Key passes: 8 / 0
Possession: 82.9% / 17.1%

Somehow the game remains goalless at half-time

I'm watching this game and it's farcical. It's like Newcastle have been told their families are all being held hostage and will suffer if the game doesn't end 0-0.

They have all the possession but seem to be deliberately not scoring - Guimaraes just hit the post from less than a yard out and then two Newcastle players ran into each other eight yards from goal with the ball right there for a tap in.

This is brilliant.

If Leicester score from this 95th minute free kick it'll be the most Football-Manager-in-Real-Life thing ever.

And it took a really good save from Nick Pope to stop it!

Seeing Celtic Fans celebrate a Rangers goal, only for it to be disallowed was highlight of the weekend

Drama continues in Serie A. Juventus had points taken away from them again. This time, 10 points. They're out of the European places and Milan is back into the Champions League spot.

Meanwhile, the Vinicius situation has truly blown up globally, and Spain is scrambling to look like they're taking it seriously.

Todd Boehly about to be on the phone to Brighton again.

That Enciso goal.

Brighton really are just kind of ludicrously good.

Mr Bismarck wrote:

Todd Boehly about to be on the phone to Brighton again.

That Enciso goal.

Goal of the season contender there

Funny thing is it's only just Enciso's best goal of the season.

That one he launched against Chelsea looked unbeatable before tonight.

Prederick wrote:

EDIT: If you were writing a book on "poor crisis management," Javier Tebas would deserve his own chapter. Good lord.

LaLiga chief Tebas apologises, says Vinicius tweet 'not understood'

LaLiga president Javier Tebas on Wednesday apologised for a tweet about Vinícius Júnior he said was misinterpreted, and said that the Spanish federation (RFEF) ought to be doing more to combat racism because the league does not currently have that authority.

"I always tell this to my entire work team. When people or an important part of them understand a message in a certain way, then they are right so I have to be sorry because I think my message was not understood, especially in Brazil," Tebas told ESPN Brasil. "So, I have to be sorry because I think my message and the intent with which I wrote it, an important part of it was not understood, especially in Brazil.

"Because my intent was not to attack Vinícius, but rather to clarify that Vinícius just one month ago made a video supporting the actions of LaLiga [against racism]."

Read: "This entire thing has blown up in my face like a Claymore pointing the wrong way, and it is now time for the desperate attempts to CYA."

It is truly amazing how much Chelsea suck. I've never seen more proof that just throwing a sh*tload of money at your team doesn't immediately mean success.

Also, someone has to stop the Havertz-as-a-striker experiment. Anyone.

EDIT: CHRIST they suck. I'm half-embarrassed that we could only DRAW with them in February.

Also, f*ck you Daniel Levy

I love you also Jose.

Chelsea defensive 3rd just doesn't care about trying. They also have nothing to play for and it shows.

Chelsea fans in the away end of Old Trafford singing "you're nothing special, we lose every week" is probably not where Todd Boehly thought this season would go.

all of that money and they've scored as many goals as Forest and Bournemouth. Todd's going to be enraged when he finds out he's not going to get a good draft pick.