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Transfer deadline extravaganza!!! September 2, 2013

Posted by michaeltomlinson in Dutch soccer, English soccer, European soccer, French soccer, German soccer, Italian soccer, Spanish soccer, Transfer news.
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The unofficial FIFA Transfer deadline day thread, unofficially endorsed by Sepp Blatter’s jowls!

– Mesut Ozil just needs to pass a physical in Munich and he is set for a $42 million dollar move to Arsenal. It is said the he is set to make 6 million a year under the terms of his new contract with the North London club.                                                                                                         —          UPDATE 1: Check out Real Madrid fan’s chanting “Don’t sell Ozil as Perez announces Bale. What is his reaction you ask? To “Shhhhh” them of course. This is a must watch!


– Everton head man, Roberto Martinez isn’t ruling out keeping Belgian midfielder Marouane Fellaini amidst multiple reports Manchester United are keen on signing him. If this is true there reports this could free up $15 million necessary for the Toffees to bring Porto man, Fernando to the Merseyside.

Manchester City’s 20-year-old striker Harry Bunn joins Sheffield United on a month’s loan, according to the Premier League club’s Twitter feed. (external) In addition, 21-year-old midfielder Mohammed Abu joins Denmark’s Aarhus until the end of December.

– Liverpool has seemingly lost out to Atletico Madrid for the services of Ajax defender Toby Alderweireld. The talented 24 year old Belgian centerback spurned offers from many English sides to join Atletico for an undisclosed fee.

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Bleacher Report confusingly proclaims simultaneous decline and rise of Liverpool, City December 29, 2011

Posted by Alex Tomchak Scott in English soccer, Media.
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According to Bleacher Report, Liverpool and Manchester City will fade in 2012. Also according to Bleacher Report, both teams will surge ahead in 2012. I don’t know how that’s possible, but there it is.

The site has released a list of “7 Teams Who Will Fade in 2012” and a list of “10 Sleeper Soccer Teams That Will Explode in 2012,” and the two English teams are on both. Just to be clear, the distinction is not the “bang vs. whimper” dichotomy, but between teams that will improve and teams that will get worse in the new year.

To be fair to the site, though the headline for the second list reads “Will Explode,” the individual summaries of Liverpool and City only say that the teams have the potential for improvement (City could bounce back from being eliminated from the Champions League, while Liverpool can push on if a few more players return to form). The other list, meanwhile, only makes the case that both clubs will lose their most important player (Luis Suarez for Liverpool, Yaya Toure for City) for a month that also includes dangerous fixtures. It should also be stated that the lists were written by different columnists with different opinions.

Still, though, it’s kind of embarrassing.



I’ll root for the favorite October 24, 2011

Posted by michaeltomlinson in English soccer, European soccer.
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lulz cold!

Manchester City has more talent at more positions than any team in the English Premier League and did it by systematically buying the best players in the world over the past two seasons. As a Barcelona fan and a large proponent of a strong youth system, this conflicts a bit with what my ideal franchise looks like. But fuck it! I am under the impression that cute little quips like nearly setting your house on fire and acting like a 14 year old are adorable and lead to more goals in derby games.  Also David Silva and Kun Aguero are  some of the most visually stunning soccer players when the ball is at their feet. I’d like to think I’m not usually a bandwagon jumper but ever since City signed my beloved Yaya I have had a thing for the boys in baby blue. To have a team other than the Red Devils or the Blues win the title would be pretty exciting, void of who wins it, but hey Man City is up 5 points so might as well roll with them.

Yaya Toure was a worse defensive midfielder than de Jong against Aston Villa because he wasn’t playing as one. October 17, 2011

Posted by Alex Tomchak Scott in English soccer.
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To hear whoever is behind FourFourTwo’s Stats Zone analysis column tell it, the following chart shows that Yaya Toure struggled against Aston Villa because Nigel de Jong was playing:

“The 4-1 win indicates that City thrived, and De Jong made the most completed passes for the home side (86), but Toure didn’t. Substituted after 65 minutes, the Ivorian had only completed 22 passes, easily his lowest of the season so far,” the columnist writes.

But Nigel de Jong was playing as a defensive midfielder. His job is to stay in place and receive the ball, then send it along. Yaya Toure was playing as a number 10. His job is to find space to move into and play telling passes. De Jong played zero passes in the final third, while Toure did. Does that mean he played worse? No. It’s irrelevant, because that’s not what’s expected of players in his position. Toure spent a lot of time getting behind the defense and, for heaven’s sake, he got an assist.

The most upsetting thing about Manchester City’s new formation. September 5, 2011

Posted by Alex Tomchak Scott in Uncategorized.
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Less Balotelli. I was hoping for a Balotelli-heavy season. Are they really going to make me watch the Italian national team?

If Balotelli’s backheel against the LA Galaxy is what did this, Roberto Mancini simply hates fun and should be replaced by someone who doesn’t.

I nominate Claudio Ranieri.

Premiership weekend review and top five goals August 31, 2009

Posted by Alex Tomchak Scott in Uncategorized.
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This season the top four could be really vulnerable. That’s what pundits say more in hope than expectation every year and it always proves false. Truth is, while clubs like Aston Villa and Everton can assemble impressive lineups, they can’t fund squads deep enough to sustain a challenge to the oligarchy.

So I’m sure you can see where this is going. Manchester City. I didn’t really believe it myself until this week, but it wasn’t the blues’ win over Portsmouth that convinced me, at least not entirely, that they might have bought their way into the elite. Rather it happened across town from the City of Manchester Stadium as Robin van Persie changed direction to cut onto his left foot and shoot at the Old Trafford goal.

It got me thinking of the anatomy of a title-winning team, to which I believe a brilliant playmaker and a deadly, exuberant, two-footed finisher are essential. Van Persie is Arsenal’s principal striker, but as his change of direction proved, he’s not two-footed, and as the distance between the shot’s destination and the goal proved, he’s not much of a finisher either. But Arsenal at least has the playmaker in Cesc Fabregas, and maybe Eduardo, Nicklas Bendtner or Carlos Vela can prove to be the finisher.

Who knows whether Manchester United has either. Wayne Rooney seems capable of being both, but undecided about which he prefers and a little bit wooed besides by the idea of pretending to be Roy Keane or Dennis Irwin every now and then. Dimitar Berbatov has done nothing to suggest he’s reliable. Michael Owen? It’s not impossible, but not probable either.

The point being, Emmanuel Adebayor and Steven Ireland definitely seem closer to that ideal than anything at either of those teams. And, for that matter, so do Jermain Defoe and Luka Modric. Tottenham Hotspur has always had billions, but has also always been too free with them. This summer, Harry Redknapp was admirably conservative (and I loathe the man), and it gave the Lilywhites something they’ve lacked: team chemistry, consistency and confidence. It’s unlikely, but it’s not impossible, especially not with the possibility that men like Giovani Dos Santos and David Bentley might suddenly prove themselves at any time.

For the record, I’m not saying Arsenal and Manchester United will drop out of the top four. Liverpool’s more likely to, because although Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard do fit the ideal, they are surrounded largely with knockoffs (Kyrgiakos, Lucas, Dossena). But I begin to think someone will fall. And it’s more expectation than hope all of a sudden.

Top five goals of the weekend:

5: Gabriel Agbonlahor vs. Fulham: It wasn’t a tremendously important goal to much of anyone. Much of anyone not named Gabriel Agbonlahor of course. The man’s long slump after Villa fans began booing him shows he’s a confidence player. And the thing about confidence players is, the slightest hint of confidence can suddenly spark brilliance in them. Agbonlahor didn’t score the first goal, but the P.A. announcer thought he did. And maybe remembering what those words sounded like and hearing the cheer that attended them drove him to hit that left-footed beauty past Mark Schwarzer.

4: Aaron Lennon vs. Birmingham City: I might have moved this one a little high because it felt good to me. Warning: this paragraph will be more criticism of Lee Bowyer than praise for Lennon. That tackle on Luka Modric was gruesome and violent. It hurt to see the league’s most horrid little man injure one of its most wonderful. When Bowyer scored, it made it even worse. The only thing that could have made Lennon’s winner better, then, would have been if he ran over to the former Leeds and West Ham man to rub it in.

3: Glen Johnson vs. Bolton: Glen Johnson’s proving to be a hell of a player. He’s not one of the knockoffs I mentioned above. Attacking fullbacks are the difference-makers in the modern game, and not many of them are as good at beating men or as skilled with their supposed weaker feet. Here Johnson demonstrated the talents that made him worth so much of the Reds’ cash by cutting inside a Bolton defender to fire off a perfectly placed left-footed laser.

2: Andre Arshavin at Manchester United: He gets extra points for having the balls to shrug off a shuddering tackle from Darren Fletcher moments before. Some players would have rolled around in agony. Arshavin’s eyes danced with flames. He chased the ball down. He used his next touch to set up a swerving wallop into the top corner, to take out his anger on the ball, and to ram it down Manchester United’s throats.

1: Ashley Cole vs. Burnley: I’m a sucker for one-two passes. Even more so when they end with sumptuous, first time half volleys into the far corner from oblique angles. Before he married a celebrity and said some stupid things, he was just a very good footballer, remember?