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Time to start the new thread, since the Community Shield kicks off imminently, and the Premiership starts Friday.

I don't see much change at the top this year with City and Liverpool to renew their battle for the title. Early points will be important, as there are many first-choice players in both squads not quite fit after summer exertions. City likely with the stronger squad to weather the storm until the first international break.

Spurs to finish third, and the usual hokey-cokey of Arsenal, Chelsea, and United challenging for the final CL spot. Maybe one will actually want it this year. Will be interesting to see how Chelsea cope with losing Hazard and having a two window transfer ban. Sure, they've got Pulisic, but Lamps is going to need to play some of the kids and hope for the best. Arsenal are a complete shambles at the back, especially with Koscielny downing tools (even though he has aged and had a number of serious injuries last year). They'll be heavily reliant on Auba and Laca, and will need to try to win every game 4-3 at this rate.

Relegation ... I'm expecting Brighton to go down after last season's escape. Sheffield United and Villa to go down with them. Although Newcastle may be in serious trouble and drop into the Championship after losing Benitez and their goals from Perez and Rondon. Also: Steve Bruce.

Predictions:

1. Man City

2. Liverpool

3. Spurs

4. Arsenal

5. Man United

6. Chelsea

----

Relegation:

18. Aston Villa

19. Brighton Hove & Albion

20. Sheffield United

Original Post

ManUre continue to be the biggest spenders in the EPL. The only positive aspect of that is most of their purchases turn out to be very poor value for the money and the Maguire deal should continue that tradition. In fact that deal makes the Wan-Bissaka look like a screaming deal, which it wasn't.

As for the new season, I don't see any reasons why the top 2 from last season won't be there again, but I think it will be reversed. City's defensive backs are more of a question mark for me. Of course they could spend their way out of that problem although they showed restraint in the bidding for Maguire.

It's very hard to predict what Chelsea will look like this season, other than younger, which is good afaic. The hole Hazard has left is a big one and I doubt Pulisic will fill it so soon, if ever. Their defense is also a big question mark. Christensen and Zouma are going to have to be solid. I do like what I'm reading about the attitude at the club and that counts.

Attitude is something Spurs don't have unless you're talking bad. Out of the top 4 this year. Unfortunately that opens the door for either United or Arsenal. As Fut said, the latter have unaddressed defensive holes, yet they keep signing forwards and big money ones at that. I'd much rather see a dark horse finish above both of them. Leicester City? Everton? They should both be pretty good this year.

1) Liverpool

2) Manchester City

3) Chelsea

4) Arsenal

Relegation is the future for Sheffield United, Brighton and Norwich City.

First manager to get sacked. So much hate for Steve Bruce. I'm going with Solskjaer.

Now that I've picked myself up off the floor from laughing so hard about Arsenal signing David Luiz I have to ask, is Harry Maguire worth £72 million more than Luiz? My feelings about Luiz's defending abilities are well known here, but there is no way Maguire is that much better.

Speaking of ManUre and their continuing financial misadventures, they are set to lose £20 million on Lukaku. Yes, I realize the above mentioned Luiz was not exactly Chelsea's finest financial dealing either, but they do that less frequently than United and are improving. United otoh seems to take a loss on just about every player they sell these days.

Season (EPL) starts tomorrow and transfer window closes tonight.

I'm actually waiting for Luiz to play before I say what a great pick up he is (or isn't).  Crazy.

Luckily Aubemayang saved Arsenal on Sunday.  I'm actually quite excited to see how this season turns out.  Losing Ramsey sucked, but Ceballos is a quality player and while not as gifted offensively as Ozil, he may provide the tracking and defensive work rate that Emery is looking for (and that Arsenal need).  I like the front three of Aubemayang, Lacazzete and Pepe. Hopefully the Gunners get enough out of Torreira/Xhaka/Guendozi to support their still crap back line, in which Luiz is the leader...

Any comments on the disallowed City goal against Spurs? I think it was ridiculous. VAR out of control. Not a fan.

It looks like this could be a long season for Chelsea, although there are some positive signs. I'm willing to wait for the future with a younger team.

Ha ha. Barcelona paid something in the order of €125 million for Coutinho 18 months ago and now they loan him to Bayern Munich for €8 million. Well done.

I'm thinking my pick of Norwich City to be relegated may have been a bad one.

I realize the IFAB changed the rule as of June 1 to read

‘It is an offence if a player gains possession/control of the ball after it has touched their hand/arm and then scores in the opponents’ goal or creates a goal-scoring opportunity.’

What I didn't realize was the word "their" doesn't only apply to the goal scorer (Jesus in this case). It inadvertently hits Laporte's arm on the way by so it's handball. However, it could have inadvertently hit a defenders arm and not be a penalty. Poor rule change imo and then add VAR of which I am not a fan on top of it and I think City got screwed. That said, I like the 2-2 draw better than 3 points for City.

steve8 posted:

I realize the IFAB changed the rule as of June 1 to read

‘It is an offence if a player gains possession/control of the ball after it has touched their hand/arm and then scores in the opponents’ goal or creates a goal-scoring opportunity.’

What I didn't realize was the word "their" doesn't only apply to the goal scorer (Jesus in this case). It inadvertently hits Laporte's arm on the way by so it's handball. However, it could have inadvertently hit a defenders arm and not be a penalty. Poor rule change imo and then add VAR of which I am not a fan on top of it and I think City got screwed. That said, I like the 2-2 draw better than 3 points for City.

Exactly - and if it worked the other way and Man C avoided a loss with a similar call, I would have been yelling bloody murder so . . . 

steve8 posted:

I realize the IFAB changed the rule as of June 1 to read

‘It is an offence if a player gains possession/control of the ball after it has touched their hand/arm and then scores in the opponents’ goal or creates a goal-scoring opportunity.’

What I didn't realize was the word "their" doesn't only apply to the goal scorer (Jesus in this case). It inadvertently hits Laporte's arm on the way by so it's handball. However, it could have inadvertently hit a defenders arm and not be a penalty. Poor rule change imo and then add VAR of which I am not a fan on top of it and I think City got screwed. That said, I like the 2-2 draw better than 3 points for City.

Far from intentional.  Should have allowed the goal.  New rule requires better definition.

Intentional handball isn't the rule anymore. Any handball is the rule. I agree that it's ridiculous. They tried to make the rule cut-and-dry, and swung the pendulum in the complete opposite direction. Watch Lloris talking to the ref during the VAR decision. Lloris just shakes his head in disbelief - and the decision went in their favour! He even said that the goal should have stood in an interview after the game.

They'll need to adjust the rule again next year.

futronic posted:

Intentional handball isn't the rule anymore. Any handball is the rule.

So am I misunderstanding what I read about the rule? There can still be unintentional for a defender. The new rule applies to the attacking team. So had the ball hit the defending players arm instead of Laporte's, the goal would have stood.

I was planning to post something this morning about your new central defender but you beat me to it Azwiese. So far it looks like £8 million for Luiz wasn't such a bad price after all...for us!

Definitely enjoyed watching ManUre lose to Palace and Rashford missing the penalty just added to the enjoyment. Knives are already out in the red side of Manchester.

As for Chelsea, I didn't see the game but glad to see Abraham and Mount played well. It may take some time, but the kids will be alright.

Speaking of kids, it's good to see most of the EPL teams giving their youth a chance so far this season. City seems to be the exception.

My pick of Chelsea to finish third is looking very optimistic. Lampard needs to find the right back four, but he doesn't have that many options. Need Rudiger back and Azpilicueta needs to find his form.

So I guess both Arsenal and ManUre have thrown in the towels on the Sanchez-Mkhitaryan swap. I like the fact the latter has to pay £215,000 of Sanchez' £390,000 weekly salary.

 

Hopefully the CL loss to Napoli yesterday will help bring Liverpool back down to earth so they don't run away with the EPL. Does Napoli have the team to win Serie A this year?

Ross Barkley took charge of that penalty kick for Chelsea yesterday brushing off Jorginho and Willian. Way to go Ross...tool. Lampard's sub of Giroud for Zouma just moments before the Valencia goal looked like a bad decision. And while quiet yesterday, Tammy Abraham leading scorer in the EPL so far. We need Kante and Rudiger back though.

Oh yeah, the sweepstakes for the first manager to get sacked is already over. Seemed harsh to me, but Watford did bounce back to draw the Gunners.

VAR IS RUINING FOOTBALL!

Every week in the EPL there are cases in which VAR is not making game better. At least two of them on the weekend, this time Spurs and Chelsea being the victims with the former being the most egregious. VAR cannot possibly determine with total certainty that Son was offside on that play, but there is no benefit to that kind of measure anyway. This isn't long-jump, shotput or javelin. Goal line technology provides the only real measure required in football. There were not even protests from either Leicester City or Liverpool players on either goal. I don't expect the EPL to drop VAR this season but let's hope the voices against get louder and it goes away next year.

That aside Chelsea's defense is a problem. I used to think Christensen had a bright future on the team, but he's not looking good this year or last for that matter. They might have to bring Ampadu back from loan in January, assuming they have that option. I did like the way the Blues played in the second half and they showed that Liverpool have weaknesses, as Napoli showed last week in the CL game.

West Ham are looking pretty good so far. Another ManU loss was satisfying. Good comeback from the Gunners with 10 men, but they have problems too.

Ha ha, ManUre lose again. Solskjaer is in big trouble. Had Watford not been so hasty in sacking Gracia I would be in excellent shape to get the first sacked manager prediction correct. Tomorrow morning?

Spurs...wtf??? Pochettino might not be far behind the exit. Shocking loss to Bayern in the CL and equally so against Brighton.

Even thought the season is young, it might be very difficult for anyone to catch Liverpool and honestly, nobody looks even close to being as good they are playing right now (in the EPL).

In Serie A today, Conte v Sarri. The former seems to be doing a good job at Inter.

steve8 posted:

Ha ha, ManUre lose again. Solskjaer is in big trouble. Had Watford not been so hasty in sacking Gracia I would be in excellent shape to get the first sacked manager prediction correct. Tomorrow morning?

Spurs...wtf??? Pochettino might not be far behind the exit. Shocking loss to Bayern in the CL and equally so against Brighton.

Even thought the season is young, it might be very difficult for anyone to catch Liverpool and honestly, nobody looks even close to being as good they are playing right now (in the EPL).

In Serie A today, Conte v Sarri. The former seems to be doing a good job at Inter.

Can't believe that ManU is a few points away from relegation Zone.   Need new coach and possible some good players.  Get Bale in from Madrid

steve8 posted:

Ha ha, ManUre lose again. Solskjaer is in big trouble. Had Watford not been so hasty in sacking Gracia I would be in excellent shape to get the first sacked manager prediction correct. Tomorrow morning?

Spurs...wtf??? Pochettino might not be far behind the exit. Shocking loss to Bayern in the CL and equally so against Brighton.

Even thought the season is young, it might be very difficult for anyone to catch Liverpool and honestly, nobody looks even close to being as good they are playing right now (in the EPL).

In Serie A today, Conte v Sarri. The former seems to be doing a good job at Inter.

Where to start, where to start ...

With Juve, obviously.

I was very disappointed that they threw away the game to Atletico by conceding a stoppage-time goal. An away win would have been a great start to the campaign. An easy win last week leaves them in good stead to qualify for the round of 16.

Their win against Inter in the Derby d'Italia was good and showed the guile of an experienced team. That said, I am a bit concerned about the lack of pace, especially at the back, to defend against teams like Inter. If there was a little more experience on that front, it may have caused more problems. This may pose a problem yet again in later stages of UCL.

Liverpool were lucky to pull out three points against Leicester. They aren't firing on all cylinders yet, but they've still got maximum points this season. What was more disconcerting is that the title race may already be finished and it's only October. Nuno had a great plan to handle City's deficiencies at the back, especially after only having a couple days off after their Europa League fixture. Wolves were full value for the points, and Pep must be ruing not bringing in central defenders in the close season. I know they balked at the Maguire fees, but they needed to do something, as Otamendi and Stones are failed experiments (and expensive ones at that).

flwino posted:
steve8 posted:

Ha ha, ManUre lose again. Solskjaer is in big trouble. Had Watford not been so hasty in sacking Gracia I would be in excellent shape to get the first sacked manager prediction correct. Tomorrow morning?

Spurs...wtf??? Pochettino might not be far behind the exit. Shocking loss to Bayern in the CL and equally so against Brighton.

Even thought the season is young, it might be very difficult for anyone to catch Liverpool and honestly, nobody looks even close to being as good they are playing right now (in the EPL).

In Serie A today, Conte v Sarri. The former seems to be doing a good job at Inter.

Can't believe that ManU is a few points away from relegation Zone.   Need new coach and possible some good players.  Get Bale in from Madrid

That's an absolutely terrible idea. If Woody brings in Bale, that will just continue the terrible track record of signings in recent years for exorbitant fees and even more ridiculous salaries. They sent Sanchez to Inter on loan, but are still on the hook for over half his salary (more than 400K/week, I believe). To then bring an injury-prone Bale to Old Trafford on a crazy fee of surely 100m+ and to also pay his 400K+ weekly pay packet makes no sense. Let Bale rot in Madrid. He's more than happy to spend his time at the golf course when not getting into matchday squads anyway. Real wanted to sell him in the summer after Zidane stated he wasn't in his plans, but how can they move him without Bale agreeing to a pay cut? Not a surprise that he's still at the Bernabeu. 

Ole isn't the only problem at the club. The root cause is the rot of everything that happened even before Fergie left. The focus has been on corporate revenue and turnover, not necessarily on the product on the field. Woody isn't a football person. He's an accountant. Until someone is brought in on the football side and has a budget as well as autonomy to make transfer decisions (with the input of the coach), the situation won't improve. Rumours were that Van der Sar was approached about a Director of Football position, but he's declined because he wouldn't have the power to make decisions.

Let's be perfectly honest here - what's a new manager going to do with the existing lot? Furthermore, what manager is going to want to take the job? There are rumours of Allegri coming in, should there be a vacancy, but he's not going to wave a magic wand and all of a sudden turn them into a top-four side, let alone title contenders.

And this talk of Poch going to United is ridiculous too. Regardless of the fact that Spurs are being as Spursy as they've been in years and are really up against it with Lloris' elbow injury keeping him out until at least the new year, Poch would be crazy to go to United.

First off, Levy probably won't fire him. Levy being Levy, he'll wait until the close season to have Real fire Zidane and then accept some stupid amount to release Poch from his contract. Secondly, why take a step down?

United need to get rid of Woody and completely revamp the decision-making process at the club. They need another 3-4 transfer windows to continue clearing out dead wood, and another 700m+ in transfer fees to *strategically* bring in players to build a new squad. Oh, and have fun doing that when turnover is going to decrease this year from things like their shirt sponsorship deal losing 25% of its value for being out of the top four for four consecutive years. I wouldn't be surprised to see other performance-related clauses in these sponsorship contracts.

Hell, at this rate, United will be lucky to not get relegated - that's about all I agree with in your post!

 

Ah come on Fut, don't take the fun out of it. I enjoy seeing ManU outspend every other club in the EPL and get very little for it. It would be great to see them spend that kind of money on Bale, even though part of me doesn't want to see him in a red shirt.

I wasn't aware of the sponsorship issues. That is awesome. Red devil!

I'm happy Chelsea is on a transfer ban and am enjoying the fact that Lampard is giving the young players so much opportunity. They aren't going to win the league that's for sure, but they're fun to watch, except for defensive set pieces, and the future is bright. They need to bring Ampadu back from RB Leipzig in January. He's not getting the playing time there and they need the defensive help.

azwiese posted:
steve8 posted:

Good game for Pulisic yesterday, although the gushing from the NBC commentators was a little much.

Gotta know your audience. He is Landon Donovan 2.0, the great American hope! 

With all due respect to Donovan, I'm hoping Pulisic is a much better upgrade than 2.0

Maybe you did it on purpose to show your dislike, but I think his name is Unai Emery. I can understand your frustration though. What is he doing with Ozil? Totally banished him? The fans at the Emirates yesterday were pretty harsh on Xhaka too.

Joe, it looks like you may be getting Arsene Wenger to replace him, although perhaps only on a temporary basis. They better sign him quickly though because I think there are a lot of Arsenal fans who want him back.

Chelsea-Ajax was a fun game to watch yesterday, but what a mess. If anyone needs more evidence that VAR is not making the game better, this is recommended watching. I've never seen anything like that play which ended with Ajax having 2 players sent off and a penalty awarded to Chelsea. Chelsea really need to work on defending set pieces. So many goals conceded from them this season. 

Sheffield are in 5th place! And I picked them for relegation.And Spurs are in 14th, but at least I didn't pick them in the top 4.

Enjoyed watching the Liverpool-City game on Sunday. Liverpool are very efficient converting the chances they get. Outplayed by City but look at the result. Hopefully City will still be feeling down the weekend after next for the match against Chelsea.

Also watched the Leicester-Arsenal game on Saturday. Easy to see why Emery hasn't played Ozil much this season. Really poor. I hear Ramsey is doing well at Juve.

I don't know if I'd agree with your assessment of Ozil on Saturday.  I'm a pretty decent fan of Ozil, so take that for what it's worth, but to me he showed plenty of positivity and creativity.  He'll never be a defender, but he can definitely unlock defenses.  I'd love to see them play the old 4-2-1-3, with Lacazette, Auba, and Pepe up top, with Ozil right behind them.  The problem is with the 6 guys behind them. 

And as much as it pains me to say it, Chelsea are the most exciting team for me to watch in the Premier League.  Willian and Pulisic are looking dangerous and Abraham is consistently putting it in the back of the net.  Jorginho looks way more confident, almost to the point that Kante seems surplus (in case Roman is listening and wants to give him to Arsenal for free).  

 

 

mimik posted:
steve8 posted:

I’ve been recently rethinking about my support for Chelsea. I have come around to thinking that even though Chelsea are doing well so far this season, I think Arsenal might just be the better team overall.

Couldn’t agree with you more.

Did you really fabricate that? Isn't there an unwritten rule on internet forums against doing shit like that?

steve8 posted:
mimik posted:
steve8 posted:

I’ve been recently rethinking about my support for Chelsea. I have come around to thinking that even though Chelsea are doing well so far this season, I think Arsenal might just be the better team overall.

Couldn’t agree with you more.

Did you really fabricate that? Isn't there an unwritten rule on internet forums against doing shit like that?

Yes and what's your point? It was more wishful thinking.

mimik posted:
steve8 posted:
mimik posted:
steve8 posted:

I’ve been recently rethinking about my support for Chelsea. I have come around to thinking that even though Chelsea are doing well so far this season, I think Arsenal might just be the better team overall.

Couldn’t agree with you more.

Did you really fabricate that? Isn't there an unwritten rule on internet forums against doing shit like that?

Yes and what's your point? It was more wishful thinking.

You’re referring to the ladies’ squads, eh?

steve8 posted:

Hey, I called that one right. How are Mourinho and Levy going to agree on anything? I foresee Harry Kane being sold and Lukaku bought from Inter.

The ManUre-Spurs game on Dec. 4 should be interesting.

Rumours are that one of the conditions of Mourinho taking the job was for Kane to *not* be sold this summer.

Interesting times, indeed. I have more comments on this whole saga, but I'll need to follow up later.

Glad to see some banter re Mourinho.  As I said when Klopp joined, he makes the PL a more interesting place.  I remember when I first started watching the premier league in 06, or so, watching the blues trail 0-1 in the 85 minute, you knew they weren’t out of it, grinding it out...lamps, Drogba, Cole makalele, Cech...they were a force, and how many times did they seal 0-1 wins in the death throes.  Seeing him with his arms around lamps and terry when they lost the league, you knew his lads believed in him.   As a neutral, i’ve never really rooted for the guy, but the last time he won the PL with aging players was a feat.  How he’s fallen...the ex-special one...it’s been train wreck material, and this move has drawn rightful attention.

Otherwise, looking for the Reds to keep nerves at bay and win the league and Foxes to keep a champions league place...they’ve made a few statements so far.  I’d have hoped for more out of Norwich, but can’t say their league position is unexpected.

The Bale saga is a sad story all around.  This is the nature of high dollar footballers, and check books without limits.

Man , this place is dead these days.  I guess that’s why I only visit once ever few weeks or so....

 Nice draw by Norwich... entertaining match.  I thought they’d nick all 3 points at the end.  

LCFC...grinding it out...well done.

Can’t say anything unexpected by Tottenham.  Fortitude is something I’d expect them to shore up.

Champions League and Europa League draws for the knock out phase are done.

Bring on Cheatski.  Might as well get it on right up front.


Liverpool vs Atletico Madrid
Real Madrid vs Manchester City
Borussia Dortmund vs Paris Saint-Germain
Chelsea vs Bayern Munich
Lyon vs Juventus
Barcelona vs Napoli
Tottenham vs RB Leipzig
Atalanta vs Valencia

ManU drew Club Brugge.  Should be a good series.  ManU will need to be in good form to beat them.  They are not easy.

Joe, if Chelsea continue to play the way they have the past few weeks you have nothing to worry about.  The kids seem to have lost their confidence, Jorginho has returned to normal and Kepa needs to spend some time on the bench.

Arsenal were indeed a mess. WTF were they doing during the Kolasinac injury? Voluntarily playing with 10 men against a team like City? Arsenal fans had every reason to boo and leave early.

Looks like Mikel Arteta is to take over at Arsenal. Seems like a good choice to me but we'll see.

And Ancelotti to become manager at Everton? Ferguson wasn't given much of a chance despite 3 decent performance in a row since stepping in. I know it was interim but...

Bayern. I haven't seen any of their games recently but I have noticed that just turned 19 year old Alphonso Davies has been part of the starting XI a lot. Good for him. His is a wonderful story.

I've stayed away from this forum since Arsenal has basically sucked butt this year.  Emery was a disaster.  And Xhaka represents everything horrible about Arsenal, all in one convenient place.  He is an above average offensive player, able to spray passes all across the field and he has a cannon for a left foot.  But he goes missing in big games, he sucks at defense, with his errors usually costing the team greatly, was given the captain's armband, only to get it taken away after he cussed at his own fans after yet another disastrous performance.  

I hope Arteta is able to inspire the squad.  Somehow Lacazette has been shunned, but I have enjoyed having Pepe/Ozil/Auba all on the field at the same time.  They haven't quite hit on all cylinders yet, but the makings are there.  It just happens that their defense is legitimately horse crap.  DeBruyne's first goal was classic Arsenal.  They looked impressive on attack, gave up possession, opposing team counters, and then scores with precision, as Arsenal's young hope (in this case Martinelli) fails to track back and pick up his man.  At some point, Arsenal needs to hire a lesser known coach who gets players who play defense.  How on earth does a team like Sheffield United give up 11 less goals in the same amount of games?  

That seems a bit harsh JC. I've watched games in which he certainly seems to lack motivation but there are several others on the team with the same problem. He didn't help his situation last week with his social media comments about China which isn't to say he doesn't have a right to his opinions, but stating them publicly like that is always going to have repercussions.

The game between the Gunners and Everton this morning was seriously poor. If I had to single out a useless Arsenal player I would point to Torreira. Too easy to knock off the ball and he inevitably ends up on the ground acting like he was shot. Martinelli isn't much better. Arteta has a huge job.

Interesting matches yesterday.  Man U really stunk it up

Chelsea outplayed Spurs big time and Lampard outfoxed Mourinho.  Willian's goal was beautiful (granted the defending was rubbish), and that Keeper challenge/foul was almost as bad as De Gea's howler on Saturday.

Not sure what to think of Son's red card - he kicked out and you can't do it but Rudiger basically tackled NFL style), it was uncalled, he then held him upside down and I can't really blame him for doing it - just give them both yellows and be done with it. - 

Obviously the racist chants/gestures - if they took place (which I assume they did) are totally unacceptable and don't make any sense - both teams feature many players of many races from all over the world - I simply do not understand but . . .

I didn't see the Chelsea-Southampton game and I'm glad for it. Would have been a waste of 2 hours from what I've heard and read. Their home record is poor, especially when playing teams in the bottom half of the table. Fortunately the game against the Gunners tomorrow is at the Emirates. ;-)

Wolves-City yesterday was a good game to watch for a neutral. Sterling got very lucky on that penalty kick(s).

Nigel Pearson really seems to have changed things for Watford. Three wins and a draw in their last 4 and they arguably could (should) have got something from the game against Liverpool before that. And they're winning games with 10 men for significant lengths of time. I think Ben Foster has been the best goalkeeper in the PL so far this season. Gareth Southgate should be paying attention because Pickford has not been his best.

ManUre need to get rid of Woodward, but thankfully they won't do that.

What's with Antonio Conte signing all these EPL players? Ashley Young, Victor Moses and now Christian Eriksen. Supposedly he is also interested in Olivier Giroud.

I thought yesterday was the day Liverpool could lose a game away to Wolves. Nope. They continue to find a way to win. As opposed to the teams immediately below them who find ways to drop points on a regular basis. Like drawing with a 10 men Arsenal.

What a surprise. ManUre jump into the lead of the EPL spending spree by signing Fernandes from Sporting Lisbon for a reported €80 million. Desperation.

Speaking of which, hopefully Chelsea do not succumb to that and sign Dries Mertens from Napoli. Nothing against him but we already have one 32 year old striker. Same thing goes for Cavani although he seems to want to go to Madrid (Atletico) over London.

I think Inter did well to get Eriksen for €20 million.

Ahhh ... that's where you're wrong, Steve. Desperation isn't splashing the cash for Fernandes (€55 million plus potential addons, not 80), rather bringing in Ighalo on loan is. Even the failed attempt to bring Josh King from Bournemouth was never a marquee signing.

The Chelsea attempt to bring in Mertens was an odd one for me also. You're right - you've already got Giroud on the bench. Although apparently these transfers were connected - if Mertens came in, Giroud would have been allowed to leave, as he wants to play his way into the France side this summer.

flwino posted:

 Pep Must be devastated as they were the champs recently.

Pep was a champ with Barca, but he hasn't won with ManCity.  It's a pretty devastating blow. Ask any Arsenal fan who has to watch crappy European football on Thursday as opposed to Tues/Wed.  And it really hurts your ability to convince players to come to your squad.  Though money can solve that issue...as ManCity found out and is now paying the price for.

City is appealing to the CAS. CAS is generally pretty spineless, so I'd imagine the two year ban will be reduced to one. Depending on when the appeal is heard, City may still be able to play CL next year, but then be banned for 2021-2022.

CL 2020/21 starts with preliminary rounds in June of this year, so I don't know if UEFA needs to decide on all teams in the tournament at that time or, since the Prem has their teams go straight to the group stage, if those teams can be swapped out later.

Personally, if City are going to be banned, it would be great if it were for the upcoming campaign - imagine if Sheffield United were in the group stages of CL!

This ban has potential to really damage City, however - especially if the two year ban is upheld. Players at their peak, like De Bruyne, will want to play CL and likely want to leave. Pep is unlikely to extend his contract again, and there are rumours that he may end up at Juventus.

The next couple months will be quite interesting.

Not sure how you didn't see this coming FLWino? The investigation has been ongoing for some time now and some punishment was inevitable. I agree with Fut about an appeal resulting in a 50% reduction in the punishment. There is precedence for that. From what I've read the ban will be effective for 20/21 CL as the appeal is unlikely to be heard that quickly. And to think at the beginning of the season I picked Sheffield United to be relegated.

Last week I read a quote from Pep saying he wouldn't be surprised if he gets fired if City do now win the CL this year. That would be crazy but the ambition of City's owners is only surpassed by their riches.

steve8 posted:

Not sure how you didn't see this coming FLWino? The investigation has been ongoing for some time now and some punishment was inevitable. I agree with Fut about an appeal resulting in a 50% reduction in the punishment. There is precedence for that. From what I've read the ban will be effective for 20/21 CL as the appeal is unlikely to be heard that quickly. And to think at the beginning of the season I picked Sheffield United to be relegated.

Last week I read a quote from Pep saying he wouldn't be surprised if he gets fired if City do now win the CL this year. That would be crazy but the ambition of City's owners is only surpassed by their riches.

Knew they were in trouble, but doubted that the penalty was so severe.

If anyone has any doubts about VAR being a total clusterfuck in the EPL they should check out the highlights from yesterday. How can anyone look at Lo Celso's stamp on Azp's leg and not call that a red card?? Michael Oliver is a lazy twat for not having walked a few yards to have a look at the replay himself. The English refs seem to have abdicated their jobs to the VAR official(s).

For the Arsenal supporters here...I think you have a winner with that Saka kid. He looks a really promising talent. Of course that means the club's management will sell him for a profit.

steve8 posted:

For the Arsenal supporters here...I think you have a winner with that Saka kid. He looks a really promising talent. Of course that means the club's management will sell him for a profit.

That's where you're wrong. They'll let him go on a free! 

Apparently the kid's only on three grand a week. Treble his wages, extend his contract, and put a silly release clause in the contract.

Think about it ... if Barcelona put a ridiculous 300m Euro release clause on emergency signing Martin Braithwaite, surely Saka is worth a billion.

Steve and I already talked offline about the farce that was the Lo Celso call. What a ridiculous non-call for what was a possible leg-breaker. I think Lo Celso's a dirty player, and he has priors to boot.

The best thing about the 2-2 draw between Bournemouth and Chelsea on Saturday was Jorginho getting a yellow card which means he misses the next 2 games. Add that to the return game at Bayern in the CL and it means I don't have to swear at the screen for at least 3 matches total.   He played well for a few games in the fall but he has pretty much returned to his pointless passing game and terrible defensive play. Get rid of him.

I've been forgiving of Lampard so far this season even when he made poor choices (imho) such as sticking with Kepa too long. But he made a couple of poor choices on Saturday. If you want to give Tomori a start you don't do it at the expense of Rudiger. Christensen would have been a better choice. And why the f$#@ take Giroud off for Batshuayi?? The former was doing alright.

Oh ya, and Liverpool finally loses. Again, including the CL game against Atletico. Maybe their confidence will be low for the FA Cup game today.

steve8 posted:

The best thing about the 2-2 draw between Bournemouth and Chelsea on Saturday was Jorginho getting a yellow card which means he misses the next 2 games. Add that to the return game at Bayern in the CL and it means I don't have to swear at the screen for at least 3 matches total.   He played well for a few games in the fall but he has pretty much returned to his pointless passing game and terrible defensive play. Get rid of him.

I've been forgiving of Lampard so far this season even when he made poor choices (imho) such as sticking with Kepa too long. But he made a couple of poor choices on Saturday. If you want to give Tomori a start you don't do it at the expense of Rudiger. Christensen would have been a better choice. And why the f$#@ take Giroud off for Batshuayi?? The former was doing alright.

Oh ya, and Liverpool finally loses. Again, including the CL game against Atletico. Maybe their confidence will be low for the FA Cup game today.

Yup, confidence low.  They lost.

More than lost, a clean sheet for the Blues. To not score against Chelsea this season takes a seriously high level of ineptitude. In fairness to Kepa he played well and should now return to his regularly scheduled role.

That's 3 losses in the last 4 games for Liverpool and the lone victory required a late comeback from being down 2-1 to the mighty West Ham. Prior to those games they were less than convincing several times. Overconfidence?

Two clean sheets in a row for Chelsea and a much more impressive display.

Note to the gaffer (Lampard). Take a look at your starting XI for that game and notice who wasn't in the center of the midfield. I know you didn't have a choice because he is suspended but you should seriously think about leaving Gilmour there because he played well for a pfy. Sell Jorginho!

Time to rescue this thread from page 2 with the impending restart of the EPL on June 17. Not to mention the Bundesliga restarted almost 2 weeks ago and La Liga & Serie A are also starting back up in the same time frame as the PL.

Chelsea surprisingly re-signed Giroud and (to a lesser extent) Caballero for another year. Not the case so far with Willian although at least he has said he will stay to finish the season.

I'm ready to see football again!

I let my wife drive on our way from SD to NorCal, just so I could watch the Gunners play City. It took less than 50 minutes for me to almost chuck my phone into the vast central California wasteland thanks to David Luiz. I don’t know what deal Chelsea fans signed with the devil to get him at Arsenal, but so far it is well worth it.

David Luiz, the gift that keeps giving.

You've read enough of my posts to know that I was never a fan of him, even though I will admit he had a couple of strong seasons at Chelsea, perhaps most notably the season (2016-2017) they won the EPL under Conte. He became a serious liability after that. So glad that Lampard got rid of him and while I would have preferred to see ManUre take him, Arsenal was a good second choice.

While I too had plenty of “WTF Luiz” moments during his Blues career, he still gets a pass from me for getting Chelsea on the board during the 2012 Champions League Final penalty shootout.  Bayern was up 2-0 after Mata’s weak effort failed. Everyone knew that Luiz had to absolutely convert from the spot, and he lasered his shot into the top corner.  Even if Neuer had guessed correctly, there would’ve been zero chance for him to prevent that from hitting the back of the net.

Am definitely loving his form for ARSE, though!  KTBFFH!

Azweise, do you still have that phone or is it at the bottom of the Pacific? The Gunners are going to miss Leno if he's out for a long time. Really good keeper imo.

Overall a pretty decent weekend for Chelsea. Took 3 points while most of the teams around them in the standings dropped points.

Liverpool picked up right where they left off before the stoppage, which is to say unimpressive. Their play level has dropped in the past half dozen games or so.

@ProSys posted:

Luiz gets a 1 year extension.  ARSE fans get to enjoy his brilliance till the end of 2020-2021 season!

I laughed when I read that too. Arteta must have been told there will not be much money for transfers this summer.

Chelsea looked good against City on Thursday. Pissed me off a little that all the chatter was about Liverpool winning the title rather than the game being played. That said, congrats to Liverpool on an impressive season. Earliest title win in the history of English top flight football.

Leroy Sané leaving City to Bayern Munich for £41 million. He and Alphonso Davies might be getting in each other's way on the left wing.

As good as Chelsea looked against City last week they were awful in the first half against Leicester on Sunday. The 3 changes by Lampard at halftime worked to good effect.

Solskjær thinks ManUre can go undefeated for the rest of the season in all competitions. I guess he was buoyed by the commanding 2-1 victory over mighty Norwich City with the winning goal scored at the 118 minute mark. What a pantload. I really hope Brighton beats them this afternoon.

That sad performance by Chelsea against the mighty West Ham makes the EPL top 4 race really tight. The Blues continue their abysmal defending of set pieces. All season long. Christensen has been weak and I don't understand why Lamps is giving him the nod most of the time over Zouma. They need to find at least one other defender but I'm not sure Chilwell is the answer. I'd prefer Soyuncu from the same team. Bring Ampadu back. Or Nathan Ake, especially if Bournemouth go down.

I enjoyed watching City thrash Liverpool and playing like that they have a good chance of winning the CL.

ManUre looks dangerously good right now.  If they continue this run of form, then it may well be CHE and LC duking it out for the final CL spot.  

Have to say that Pulisic’s pace and work rate continue to impress.  Will be interesting to see how Lampard integrates the new attacking pieces next season......

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