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2017/18 Football Season Thread


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11 hours ago, Soda Jerk said:

Looking forward to seeing how Milan do against tough opposition. They were great to watch in the 1st leg in the Europa League last week, but Shkendija were totally awful, whoever they are. I watched the first half of the 2nd leg but it was boring. They weren't even getting out of first gear. They didn't need to. They were decent in the opening league game from the highlights I saw, though Crotone went down to 10 men in the first few minutes.

 

Aberdeen beat Shkendija in the 2015 Europa qualifiers. Just FYI. Don't know anything about how they've progressed since then, but from memory they basically thought the tie was won before a ball was kicked and played with a misplaced arrogance. Like most teams Aberdeen face in Europe.

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1 hour ago, Adam Easy Wishes said:

Aberdeen beat Shkendija in the 2015 Europa qualifiers. Just FYI. Don't know anything about how they've progressed since then, but from memory they basically thought the tie was won before a ball was kicked and played with a misplaced arrogance. Like most teams Aberdeen face in Europe.

Best description of Aberdeen's recent European opposition I've heard.

Limassol were among the worst for this, particularly their manager, who dicked around as if he were Paolo di Canio at Pittodrie.

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18 hours ago, Mr Owl PhD said:

This is the best one from Arsenal Fan TV this evening:

 

Underneath the unhinged blood-vessel bursting bellowing, he's got a point.

Lacazette on the bench, watching Danny Welbeck falling over his own feet. Everytime that lad kicks a ball, he's on the floor. He's got the balance of Lucille Austero. New left back, who has probably been one of their best players so far since the Community Shield, watching a right back play in his position as he totally refused to use his left foot, trying to cross it in by wrapping th outside of his right foot around the ball, as it bananas out for a goal kick.

I think his tirade on Arsenal's finances are a bit made-up, however.


He didn't say "blud" or "fam" even once though, so is it even a real ArsenalFanTV video?

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He absolutely has a point. How long have Arsenal been bemoaning the fact they don't have a central striker in the RVP mold? Then they bring in Lacazette, bench him for Danny fucking Wellbeck - who lacks confidence and talent, as well as never having been a main striker - then stick him out wide when he does come on. Then they have, as you say, a natural left-sided defender who has looked solid since coming in AND has shown capabilities at set pieces - this being an obvious mismatch against one of the worst set-piece defenses in the league. Normally I'm not one to jump on the Arsenlol bandwagon - most of the time I just think they're beaten fairly by better teams on the day and there's little Arsene could do to change that  - but that truly was a disaster that stems directly from the manager.

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1 hour ago, Mr Owl PhD said:

I read somewhere that Wilfred Bony has asked to take the number 2 shirt at Swansea.  If that's true then I hope he breaks his leg and never scores again.

Fair.
 

Great deadline day yesterday. Especially as Sky Sports News were geeing it up to be the biggest, bestest, deadlineiest deadline day of all deadline days. Banging on about the MERRY GO ROUND with dramatic music like some kind of Hollyoaks shit. The best part of it was that pretty much NONE of it happened, and Jim White is sat there at about 10pm with egg on his face, yet still trying to hopelessly ramp up the drama. They still had that woman standing outside Southamptons training ground in the dark, even though Van Dijk left at about 3 in the afternoon. Best part of the day was the kid flying past her on his scooter and yelling "WOOOOOOOOAH". That's what I'm paying for Sky Sports for.

It was good to see the supposed player-power get a good smacking. Van Dijk, Coutinho and the like all being put in their place. Quite rightly. Both of those signed 6 year deals less than a year ago. You don't sign a 6 year deal and ask to leave a year later. If you do and you don't get your way, then you don't really have the right to throw a strop. Spanish window closes today, but surely Liverpool will just unplug the phone, or continue to stick two fingers up at Barca. I'd usually have no issue seeing Liverpool be weakened by Barca, but in this case, I hope they stick it to Barca, and tell Coutinho to get on with it.

Chelsea just had an awful window, didn't they? Gazumped to Lukaku, Conte losing Matic against his wishes, getting gazumped again to Llorente, Ross Barkley supposedly rejected them at short notice, and where the hell is Diego Costa? Gazumped is a great word, and one that is only used during the transfer window.

And Arsenal. Ox-Cham taking a paycut to join Liverpool is quite indicative of the shitshow going on at Arsenal. Lemar preferred Liverpool to them as well. Sanchez might just be the unhappiest footballer on earth for the next year. Both him and Ozil can leave for nothing next summer. What a mess.


And now there's an international break. Boourns.

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  • 2 weeks later...

So, Mane's red card.

Gary Neville was up in arms that it was absolutely not a red. "Yellow at most" he said. He was not the only one. A number of ex pros on Twitter blew up as it happened. Robbie Fowler reckons "the game has gone" because you're no longer allowed to jump 6 feet in the air and boot a goalkeeper in the face, unlike in the good old days, or something.

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On what planet is studding a goalkeeper in the face with a kung-fu kick not a red card? What are the ex pros seeing here that the armchair folk aren't?

Remember at the World Cup, when Nigel De Jong studs-up karate kicked Xabi Alonso right in the lungs, and the world was utterly bemused that it wasn't a red card. Google image search "Worst football tackle" and De Jong studding Alonso appears 5 times before you even have to scroll down. This is the same challenge, but replace lungs with FACE, and the result was almost 10 minutes of stoppage with Ederson leaving the pitch strapped to a stretcher. If he's got broken face bones, then he's out for a while.

Players have been sent off for sliding on the ground but catching the opposing player on the knee. Players have been sent off for sliding in with two feet on the ground and not catching the player at all. Neville defends it by saying "his eyes are on the ball". The rules do not excuse that, and every letter of the law says it is a red card, no matter what he's looking at. The letter of the law even implies that it's a red card even if he misses Ederson, because it's still excessive force and reckless disregard for an opponent. However, he doesn't miss. He's smashed him right in the mouth.

It's an absolutely concrete reddest of red cards, right?

Edited by Soda Jerk
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Because it was seemingly accidental (at least in the sense that I don't think Mane realised how close Ederson was), it reminded me more of Nani's tackle on Arbeloa, which loads of people at the time thought was a total unjust red card.

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But, you know...

Here's Emre Can with some more reckless play.  Should stamp this sort of thing out.  Keep those feet down!

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Accidental doesn't come into the rules though. Reckless, excessive force and out of control all do, and it is all 3. 

And he has to know where Ederson is, otherwise he doesn't make a flying mid air attempt to control the ball. He would wait for it to drop infront of him if he doesn't think he is there. Ederson is the reason he's flying through the air in the first place.

 

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I'd forgotten about the Nani one actually, and there are similarities. I think the amount of force is important though. Was it excessive? Mane, probably the fastest player in the league, running full tilt towards the ball and Ederson. I don't think the force used by Nani was close to that. A lot of pundits at the time seemed to agree it was a red card though, and Graham Poll on Sky Sports News backed the referee and agreed it was a red. The sense of injustice seemed to come mostly from United fans, as you'd expect.

Reading other forums, and Reddit, a lot of Liverpool fans seem to agree that Mane's challenge was a red. Oddly, the ones disagreeing in mass are the ex pros. I don't know what they're seeing that others aren't. Would they be alright taking a boot to the face and it not resulting in a red card? I'd doubt it.

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1 hour ago, Soda Jerk said:

Accidental doesn't come into the rules though. Reckless, excessive force and out of control all do, and it is all 3. 

And he has to know where Ederson is, otherwise he doesn't make a flying mid air attempt to control the ball. He would wait for it to drop infront of him if he doesn't think he is there. Ederson is the reason he's flying through the air in the first place.

 

I think at the last split second he knows Ederson is close but presumably he also thinks he can get the ball, hence why he's going for it.  He shouldn't go so high with the foot of course, and I'm not saying the red card is wrong.  Ederson also goes into the challenge knowing full well that he could get hurt.  That's why everyone is going on about how brave he was.  He knows it's a potentially dangerous 50-50 before it happens.  He could pull out or hold back, but then he knows that Mane might score.  Tricky dilemma.

The dangerousness of a high boot is hard to assess because it often depends on very small differences in timing and the proximity of the other players.  Here's one from Liverpool's game against Arsenal:

Screen-Shot-2017-08-29-at-02.28.18.png

Of course Salah wins the ball and goes on to score without getting Bellerin's boot in the face.  It's a split second difference between the two though.  Arguably Bellerin should have been red-carded, just to compound his misery.

Likewise with Emre Can's goal - his boot is 'dangerously' high but it's not a danger to anyone because the Watford defender marking him doesn't bother to try to challenge for the ball with his head.  If he had done then Can could have got a red card rather than scoring the goal of the season without him actually doing anything different.  Should players just never put their foot above a certain height?  Should 50-50 challenges (which almost always carry some sort of risk of injury) be outlawed?  Maybe that's what Fowler's worried about when he says 'the game has gone'.

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I've often thought the same about overhead volleys and wondered how they're allowed without repercussion. I remember Benteke's one against United. Herrera motioned to head the ball and immediately pulls out as Benteke lashes it in. If Herrera doesn't pull out, he's possibly nodding the ball past Benteke and getting a full pelt kick to the face. There was no contact and the result was a spectacular goal. As you say, it's split second differences.

High feet already seems to be a rule that is haphazardly applied in the game, and its often based on the outcome. Rightly or wrongly, referees act more when it results in contact or an injury. I'd argue Mane's flying kick is a red card even if he misses Ederson, but I doubt it would have been given. On the flip side, A lot of two footers are given as straight reds even when they're not particularly dangerous or any significant contact is made. It's incredibly patchy and there probably isn't a way for it to be consistent, even more so with high feet.

Every 50/50 carries a risk, as does every header etc. But flying in to a 50/50 with your studs up 6ft off the ground surely has to be prohibited. Ederson goes in to the same challenge attempting a standing header. He is not out of control or using excessive force. Ederson knows he could get clattered in to but he shouldn't ever be expecting to take a set of studs to the face. The ball is high, Mane has to try and win that ball with his head like Ederson is doing, or try to shield it from Ederson with his body.

I don't think Mane has been nasty or violent but he's definitely made the wrong decision and it's resulted in serious injury. I don't understand how it's seen as a controversial sending off. It's as nailed on as it gets IMO. 

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I agree that it's a red card. Completely.

I know it's all happening quickly, and the ex-pro argument I've heard is that if Mane doesn't go for that ball he'll get pelters from his boss for not competing, but:

1. The ball IS there to be won, but with his head.

2. There is more than adequate time for Mane to realise and assess the situation does not require him to go in like that with his foot and understand that Ederson will be putting his head on it (comparably the ball might be 'there to be won' on the floor but a player has fallen over and his head is in the way, it still doesn't mean you have to boot him in the face to get to it - there is still a responsibility for a player to assess any given situation and not endanger another opponent, 50/50 or not).

3. IIRC this differs from the Nani one because the player he ultimately kicked was in behind/came at him on his blindside and Nani was completely focused on the ball? Mane has a clear run where he can see ball + player yet still makes the decision to go in the way he does.

4. It doesn't matter whether he was genuinely 'trying to win the ball' or not, for a foul of this type, intent doesn't feature - it's action/outcome that does.

Edited by Adam Easy Wishes
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Garth Crooks agrees. And let's just take a moment to appreciate Garth Crooks as an elite pundit.

For the uninitiated, he puts together a weekly Team of the Week (always a Sunday, because fuck Monday Night Football, right Garth?). He picks 11 players and writes a little blurb about why he includes them. He's started using the blurb space to have a mental rant. They're just the best.

Here's why he included Kevin De Bruyne in his team of the week this week:

Quote

De Bruyne's first pass to set up Sergio Aguero for Manchester City's opening goal against Liverpool was delightful and the second for Gabriel Jesus was even better.

I've labelled De Bruyne the 'king of the assists' for some time now, certainly since the demise of Arsenal's Mesut Ozil in that department.

As for Liverpool, Jon Moss was absolutely right to send Sadio Mane off for what looked, in my opinion, a dangerous and reckless tackle on City keeper Ederson. The argument that a foul should not be determined by the severity of the injury it causes is something out of a 1982 World Cup semi-final nightmare, when Harald Schumacher escaped without even a booking after knocking Patrick Battiston unconscious.

What nonsense. How else do you assess the severity of a tackle, especially when that tackle is late?

The game has changed immeasurably from the days when players could simply take out an opponent and be praised by his team-mates for the skill with which it was executed or worse, see the incident totally ignored by the officials.

Why Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp should display such disapproval about the challenge on Ederson is incongruous to me. It was City manager Pep Guardiola who should have felt aggrieved. Thank goodness the game has moved on. Well done referee Jon Moss.

Two lines about Kevin De Bruyne, then a quick revisit to a World Cup that happened 35 years ago and a tirade on tackling. Superb.

And what better way to praise Choupo-Moting's brace for Stoke than sticking it to Paul Pogba's haircut?

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The first time I clapped eyes on this player I thought he looked interesting. He didn't strike me as a player who was going to be a prolific goalscorer for Stoke, but one more likely to get his share, lead the line and help the team win football matches. Against Manchester United he did all of those things.

I also caught a glimpse of him playing for Cameroon against Nigeria in two very gruelling World Cup qualifiers recently, and although the Indomitable Lions only collected one point from the two fixtures against the Super Eagles, it would appear Choupo-Moting has returned energised from his involvement.

Meanwhile, this 2-2 draw will feel like a defeat to United boss Jose Mourinho. Manchester City have closed the gap at the top of the table and, while it is early days in the season, this was a game United should have won based on chances.

I also want to discuss Paul Pogba's new hairstyle, which features a red streak. I only mention it because he clearly wants to bring it to our attention. There is so much for the midfielder to do at United and he still insists on behaving like an adolescent.

Granted, a hairstyle is not going to determine how well he can control a ball or make a pass, but it does say something about where his mind is at the moment. If you are going to attract attention to yourself on a football pitch do it with goals and performances, not cheap gimmicks and marketing tricks.

His inclusion of Christian Eriksen turned in to some waffle about Wembley stadium, and Benjamin Mendy's praise ended in sticking the boot into Liverpool's "rubbish" back four. And that's just this week's article. Lord Garth is some boy.

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Oh, and De Boer being sacked after 4 games. Is there a worse sacking in the Premier League to date? Palace have told the BBC they had no confidence in De Boer 2 weeks ago. By binning him after that, you're highlighting your own incompetency more than the managers.

Steve Parish is definitely one of the worst people involved in Football, bettered only by Gold and Sullivan at West Ham

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Love a good near-post smash. You don't see them too often. Drogba and Torres were particularly good at them.

That one is a good hit.

 

Good to see Balotelli being less of an idiot and more of a footballer in France. There seems to be a highlight of something good he's done most weeks. He even does something resembling a smile in that celebration.

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  • 1 month later...

Bilic sacked. Probably the right decision, but Moyes? How utterly uninspiring. It's like Premier League club owners hire the next manager by opening up some sort of real-time FM database, and filtering on employment status and reputation. First unemployed person on the list gets the job.

 

How awful is Mkhitaryan? Really awful. He'd lose a 50/50 challenge to a toddler, the soft shite.

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