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Chelsea signed Chilwell for £50 million which doesn't do much for me. I am unconvinced. OTOH I did like them grabbing Sarr (and Silva) for free.

Maguire goes drinking in Greece and comes back to no England place and a silent ManU.

Where will Messi go? He earns £500,000 a week. That's an obscene amount of money so PSG and either team in Manchester are the most likely to.

 EPL starts in 2 weeks. Working on my predictions.

Last edited by steve8
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Chelsea continue to splash the cash around with the signing of Kai Havertz. Competition for attacking midfielders and forwards is going to be tough. They need to get rid of a few and hopefully get some money...hello Jorginho and Batshuayi.

Yet still no move for a goalkeeper. Does Lampard want to give Kepa another chance? Is he being told he has to?

Well, the season kicks off tomorrow, so it's prediction time:

Top 4:

  1. Liverpool
  2. Man City
  3. Chelsea
  4. Man Utd

 

Relegation:

18. Brighton

19. Fulham

20. West Brom

I've been going back and forth on the top two, since Liverpool cakewalked to the title after the restart, I'm not sure if they'll be able to keep up the pace of the previous three seasons (CL final, CL winners, league winners). That said, they had a little more time off than City and played fewer games after their early exit against Atletico Madrid. 

Pep will have City pushing to regain their crown, but I still think they're suspect at the back and that may dent their chances once again. Ake as their main defensive signing seems more like a backup for Laporte instead of someone to play with, as they are both left-footed.

Chelsea busted open the piggy bank after the transfer ban and brought in a lot of big players. Will be interesting to see how everyone settles. Thiago Silva on a free will help organize the defence, but he's 35 now and isn't a long term solution. The keeper situation is a mess, as Lampard obviously doesn't trust Kepa, and the attempts to sign Mendy from Marseille haven't been fruitful as of yet. They'll continue to leak goals from set pieces until it's sorted.

United also need to sort out their keeper situation, as De Gea had a really suspect season, and there's no way Henderson came back from Sheffield to sit on the bench. They also need a dominating centre back, defensive midfielder, and a true number 9. Martial is not that, and regardless of how well Greenwood played after the restart, he's still young.

I think West Brom and Fulham will really struggle and drop straight back down. Potter has Brighton playing more fluid football, but I don't see where the goals are coming from.

Leeds back in the big time for the first time in many, many years. Plenty of huge rivalries reignited and it will be interesting to see how Bielsa operates. The other Prem teams better put extra padlocks and tall barriers around their training facilities to protect against prying (binocular) eyes!

My predictions

1) Manchester City

2) Liverpool

3) Chelsea

4) Arsenal

I think ManUre are going to have defensive problems as well as in goal so I'm picking Arsenal ahead of them. I'm assuming of course they will sign Aubameyang and make him a happy player.

I do not think Liverpool will repeat their performances of the first half of last season and they lost some momentum in the latter stages. Agree that City hasn't done much to reinforce their back line but the window is still open and I will not be surprised if they end up paying the asking price for Koulibaly.

I'm now of the opinion that Chelsea should wait on the goalkeeper front. The options in this window do not look great. Give Kepa another chance as he is still young. Come January there may be more keepers available.

I'm finding the relegation picks to be more difficult but I'm going to go with West Brom, Brighton and Burnley. The latter is probably a surprise to some but they've let several players leave and only brought in a keeper who will not displace Pope. Furthermore they're very likely to lose Tarkowski who is the anchor to the defence and since they have little offence, the team. 

First manager to get sacked...Sean Dyche, but he won't be unemployed for long.

Gunners looked pretty decent. Unfortunately it was against a recently promoted side. But hopefully it’s a confidence builder. Willian looked spry and Aubameyang was solid as per usual. Crazy part is that Arteta’s starting squad left out a #10, their most expensive  transfer (Pepe), their breakout player from last year (Saka), and their best player from the end of last season who they just got back from Real (Ceballos). It’s early obviously, but things are pointing up for Arsenal.

@azwiese posted:

Gunners looked pretty decent. Unfortunately it was against a recently promoted side. But hopefully it’s a confidence builder. Willian looked spry and Aubameyang was solid as per usual. Crazy part is that Arteta’s starting squad left out a #10, their most expensive  transfer (Pepe), their breakout player from last year (Saka), and their best player from the end of last season who they just got back from Real (Ceballos). It’s early obviously, but things are pointing up for Arsenal.

I didn't see the game but saw highlights and read the reports afterwards. Willian playing for Arsenal in blue... Was also surprised that Saka sat on the bench.

Could Everton be a sleeper this year? It's hard to gauge from a victory over the current Spurs team.

And could there actually be a race in the French Ligue 1 this year? PSG drop their first 2 games and their gloves against Marseille.

Last edited by steve8

Every year it seems I root in futility for newly promoted Fulham or Norwich, and every year they just stumble.  Regardless, I hope Fulham can turn it around.

Everton looked solid yesterday.  There new signings looked sharp esp James.  They'll compete for Europe if they continue to play like that.

The LFC/Leeds match was a cracker.  Leeds should inject some energy into the league.

Would've loved to see a full squad 2nd half in that Chelsea-Liverpool game. Chelsea has a lot of potential, but also a few question marks.  Liverpool looked good though.  I'm a bit nervous for Monday's matchup between them and the Gunners.  Arsenal didn't look as good this weekend, but good teams find ways to pull it out when they aren't playing well.  Ironic that the two guys involved in a shoving match before last week's game ended up connecting for the winner this week.  

I would have loved to see a full squad second half too. Not sure what to say anymore about Kepa. Goodbye? It will be interesting to see who Lampard starts on defence and goalkeeper today in the Carabao Cup.

Fire sale continues at Barcelona. Suarez to Atletico for nothing (looks like you dodged a bullet there Futronic) and Vidal and Rakitic for songs.

We're only 2 games into the season but I'm thinking my pick of Brighton for relegation might be a poor one. They looked decent in defeat against Chelsea and then beat Newcastle (and Portsmouth in the Carabao Cup). Tariq Lamptey looks like he could be a really good player. Which dumb ass club sold him to Brighton for a song? I'd take him over Reece James.

@steve8 posted:

Fire sale continues at Barcelona. Suarez to Atletico for nothing (looks like you dodged a bullet there Futronic) and Vidal and Rakitic for songs.

 

Bitey McBiterson in the same team as Chiellini? That would have been interesting in the changing room/on the training ground.

It's also ridiculous to hear about the attempted rigged language test in Perugia. Corruption in Italy? Never!

Anyway, glad the transfer didn't go through. More youth and pace is required in the squad to refresh it. There will be strong challenges from Inter, Atalanta, and maybe even Milan this year, so Pirlo needs to get the team ticking over. A much better performance in their first game compared to the side-to-side, lack of penetration play under Sarri (I know it was a favourite of Steve's at Chelsea - you can still keep Jorginho).

I saw a report that Arsenal might be in the mix for Jorginho...which I don't understand. Arsenal has strengthened their back line, Xhaka hasn't made a costly defensive lapse in quite some time (knock on wood before the Liverpool match), and if anything, Arsenal already has several guys like him (Elneny, Torreira, Guendozi).  

I really hope that Arteta figures out a way to get Ozil back in the squad.  I know Ozil is a defensive liability, but unless Ceballos is on his game, there are times now where Arsenal doesn't have much creativity in the middle of the field, and has no other plan than getting it out wide to Auba or Willian.  For all his flaws, there aren't too many players in the world that can see the field and place perfectly timed/paced balls the way Ozil can. 

@flwino posted:

MC sucks!  Three penalties

I thought Chelsea's defence was grim on Saturday until I watched the City-Leicester game. I picked City to win the league??

The new handball rule is a joke imho. What the hell was Dier supposed to do when Carroll headed the ball down at his arm? Similar situation for Joel Ward of Palace. This is an aspect of the game which should be left to the referees discretion.

Suarez made some impression in his first 20 minutes of play for Atletico Madrid.

Good CL draw yesterday for haters of ManUre.

I shouldn't be too smug though as Chelsea may not have it that easy. Sevilla are always tough and Rennes is off to a flying start in Ligue 1 this season.

On a different note, I have to say the Gunners have an excellent keeper in Bernd Leno. He played really well last year before getting injured and has picked up right where he left off.

Crazy weekend of results.  Liverpool result was definitely unexpected.  I've never seen so many deflected goals in one game.  Unlucky, to say the least.  The ManU score was to be expected after Martial got sent off, but they showed no spine after the red card. 

Stoked about Arsenal getting Partey from Atletico.  Definite upgrade over Elneny, and really like the central mid combo of Xhaka (who has turned his Arsenal career right around after that implosion last year), Partey, and Ceballos.  

The EPL table does look pretty funny. Four of the supposed big 6 are in the bottom half and Chelsea is only above that on goal difference.

ManUre's revenues may have dropped by 20% in the past year but they are still apparently lining the pockets of the referees. How else to explain that non-call of Maguire's all-arms tackle of Azpilcueta in the box? How could the VAR official not call that?  You can bet that if it occurred at the other end it would have been called for the team which always leads in number of penalties awarded in their favour.

@steve8 posted:

For those that follow the sport, what do you think of this European Super League idea that is being thrown around? A league of the richest teams in Europe with no relegation? ManUre and Barca have stated they are interested. What a surprise. Money grubbing owners.

I don't like it.  I get the idea of having the best play the best, but if you aren't a fan of those big squads, you might watch, but it'll also turn you off since you have no skin in the game.  I like the set up now, with Champs league.  The tourney still does a good job of getting the best teams spread out in different groups so that they meet in the knockout rounds, and even the group stage games against minnows are great to watch since you can see some of the younger boys get out there.  And what happens when the big boys suck (like Arsenal/ManU this year, or the Milan squads).  I'd hate to miss out on seeing Ajax make a run or Atalanta.

And this may just be my economics background talking, but maybe if you are spending so much money and taking a huge loss, think about becoming more efficient and improving, rather than trying to get more revenue to cover your mistakes (I'm looking at you ManU and Paul Pogba).  

A couple of years ago the EPL refs started calling and giving yellow cards for diving...sorry, simulation, but unfortunately it was short lived. They need to start again because it's getting bad imo. Liverpool have the gold medalists in Salah and Mané but there are quite a few others chasing them.

Ziyech is looking like a good pick up for Chelsea. Ditto for Silva although he's obviously not a long term prospect but seems to be working well with Zouma.

There are some funny looking standings in the European leagues right now with the exception of the Bundesliga and Ligue 1, which are par for the course. The EPL was even funnier before yesterdays games. Southampton?? ManUre in 14th is priceless.

Will the real Aston Villa please stand up? They don't seem to be able to win at home.

Definitely enjoyed the Chelsea-Newcastle game this morning. Dominated but should have scored a couple more. The win put them in first place for a couple of hours until Spurs did the same to Man City who do not look very good so far this season.

After being an Arsenal fan for 25 years, I can honestly say they have become boring to watch. No creativity, nobody who runs at the opposition. More long balls this season then Wenger allowed in 22 years. I'm not sure if it's the players or Arteta's philosophy, but the team seems to lack spirit and the ability to break down the other team. Hate to admit it, but Liverpool , Spurs, and even Chelsea are more fun to watch.

The Gunners have gone almost 8 hours without scoring a goal in open play in PL games. Look on the bright side, Arteta seems to have improved their defensive play. I don't know how Leeds didn't win that game yesterday.

Unfortunately Liverpool looked very good against Leicester despite multiple injuries to key players.

39 year old Ibrahimovic scores another two goals to help Milan beat Napoli. He leads Serie A in goal scoring...and he missed two games with Covid! Machine.

It was good to see fans back in the PL yesterday. Of course I'm referring to the ones at Stamford Bridge who were enjoying themselves at the expense of Leeds. Giroud scores another to cap off a pretty good week.

Leeds remind me a little of Blackpool when they were back in the PL several years ago. Fun to watch because they are always pushing forward but often to the detriment of their defence. I don't mean to suggest they will follow the path Blackpool took to relegation because they're not that loose and their goalkeeper is outstanding.

I still hate Raheem Sterling. More diving yesterday as he turns the heat up on Salah and Mane for the gold medal.

Some pretty good matches this weekend.  Love seeing Leicester in the top 4.  Can't say they are the plucky underdogs anymore, but they are a bit of a one trick pony and I fear any injury to Vardy would see them as a bottom half club.

Intriguing match Everton at Burnley.  With Garrett Southgate in the stands, it had a bit of a match within a match between Pope and Pickford.  I'd go out on a limb and say Pope had the better of it, but both made some top saves.

Son and Kane are clicking at Spurs.  That feed by Kane and Son's strike for the first was sublime.

So Slaven Bilic was the first EPL manager to get sacked by West Brom. Pretty harsh considering they've played most of the so-called top 6 and current top 10 and been competitive for the most part.

Weird season so far. Many teams are very inconsistent or is there relative parity in the EPL? The diving is still pissing me off. More of it yesterday and on the weekend. Refs reversing penalty calls but not giving a yellow for diving in cases it was obviously not an innocent slip?

Speaking of diving, I hope Spurs-Liverpool today will be a good game.

Ha! I blame the crickets on the fact Arsenal4ever and I are probably not going to be commenting on this thread until the Gunners can get their collective sh!t together (see you in 2022).  I like Arteta and I like what he is aiming to do...but there's a lot of questions (dropping Ozil and Socrates completely being the biggest for me, plus the complete breakdown of discipline of the squad, lack of an offensive plan).  The scouts have also missed big on some of their signings (Lacazette/Pepe/Xhaka) and their younger talent hasn't developed the way they'd hope.  The only players on that squad that could be a starter on a legit top 4 squad would be Auba (and not in his current form), Partey, and that's about it (maybe Leno).  

Arsenal in relegation form. The issue is with the players and the recruitment, not Arteta. It's been a shambles there for years. They were so poor at the weekend, and even worse today in the EFL Cup. I feel bad for my buddy when he texts me mid-game: "I can't watch any more of this s**t. I'm going to drown my sorrows with a couple beverages."

I don't understand why they West Brom sacked Bilic. I agree with you, Steve, that results have been improving - they were relatively solid defensively to get that point against City. I guess the owners just couldn't resist offering Big Sam a pint of his favourite wine to seal the deal. They got hammered at the weekend, and I still think they'll go down. I realize that Allardyce hasn't been relegated in his managerial career, but the odds are really against them. I think we can all agree that Sheffield United have already been cut loose and they are done.

In Serie A news, Juve lost 3-0 today after an understandable straight red for a terrible challenge by Cuadrado after losing the ball in Fiorentina's 18-yard box. It was a shocking tackle.

My frustration with Messrs. Havertz and Werner continues, especially the latter. There have been comments by the media about them not adapting (yet) to the speed and physicality of the EPL. It got me thinking about who the best German players in the EPL have been. #1 scorer is...Mezut Ozil. Really? And by a good margin too if you count goals (33) and assists (54). Klinsmann #2 in goals. I have to be positive that both of these guys can beat those records.

I also have a bad feeling about the EPL's ability to keep playing. Postponed games due to covid are becoming more frequent. Everton seems a little pissed about Man City getting permission to postpone and I must say I have a hard time believing City couldn't put together a 14 player team. Maybe not the 14 Pep wanted.

Apparently 5 Man City players will be unavailable for the game against Chelsea tomorrow. Walker and Jesus were already identified as infected but Pep tells us we'll have to wait until Sunday to see who the other 3 are. It would be a shame if it was DeBruyne, Aguero and Sterling. I know I shouldn't joke about it but these pro football players should be fit and healthy enough to kick the virus' ass.

Sheeeet, ManUre at the top of the table makes me ill.

@steve8 posted:

Apparently 5 Man City players will be unavailable for the game against Chelsea tomorrow. Walker and Jesus were already identified as infected but Pep tells us we'll have to wait until Sunday to see who the other 3 are. It would be a shame if it was DeBruyne, Aguero and Sterling. I know I shouldn't joke about it but these pro football players should be fit and healthy enough to kick the virus' ass.

Sheeeet, ManUre at the top of the table makes me ill.

Soft penalty given for the game winner.  Matic should have gotten 8 yellows

@steve8 posted:

Apparently 5 Man City players will be unavailable for the game against Chelsea tomorrow. Walker and Jesus were already identified as infected but Pep tells us we'll have to wait until Sunday to see who the other 3 are. It would be a shame if it was DeBruyne, Aguero and Sterling. I know I shouldn't joke about it but these pro football players should be fit and healthy enough to kick the virus' ass.

Sheeeet, ManUre at the top of the table makes me ill.

The rumours are Ederson and Cancelo. Not sure about the last player.

Two more City players tested positive yesterday including Scott Carson, their #3 goalkeeper. They better hope Steffen doesn't get injured today.

Rumour of Diego Costa going to Wolves? He could probably help them right now.

The conversations about Lampard being sacked have started. Abramovich has fired many managers for less and in fact the only time he let a manager continue on with a record as bad as Frank's current record was Mourinho redux.

It looks like 8th tier Marine will not manage an upset of Spurs in the FA Cup. Marine is ranked 165th in the country while Spurs are 4th which makes it the largest disparity in the history of the competition.

All was not lost though as League Two Crawley Town upset Leeds Utd. by 3-0. Sixth tier Chorley also upset Derby County who had to field their youth team because of a covid outbreak. None of the Derby youngsters (average age 18) had ever played a first team game and didn't even have their own shirts.

Fortunately Chelsea were spared any such blushes and my two favourite German players each scored!

Pompey got dumped out by Bristol City

In Spain it seems Barca are beginning to find their feet.

Crazy couple of weeks.  City destroyed Chelsea, despite their squad being severely hampered by COVID. I'm not getting Lampard's take on the squad.  Werner doesn't seem to be up for being a winger, but isn't looking great at striker either. It looks that Giroud is their best option up front.  If Pulisic/Ziyech could stay healthy, that'd be huge.  And what is Lampard going to do with the Kante, Jorginho, and Kovacic.  I've always thought Kante was the best defensive mid in the league, but they've got him pushed up.  Hudson-Odoi is starting to show flashes of his old self.

Arsenal is looking a bit better thanks to the young ones.  Smith-Rowe, Saka, and Martinelli have made all the difference at the expense of the more expensive veteran players.  I'll say that to me, the difference is the runs that these boys do. These guys consistently put in the runs...Smith-Rowe immediately after he passes almost always makes a run, and Saka has the courage to take guys one on one and go to goal (as opposed to Pepe, who prefers to go one on three and go side to side versus towards the goal).  Getting Partey back is a real boost.  

And Liverpool are struggling.  One point from nine in their last three games, only scoring one goal. The big three up front have suddenly dried up.  And Alexander-Arnold has struggled the past few games.  With their injury issues in the back, it's looking harder and harder for them to repeat as champs.  Tasty match up with ManU at the weekend.

As I watched the game against Leicester yesterday I was seriously thinking that Lampard is out of his league. He clearly has no idea who his best starting XI are and the season is half over. Plays Rudiger two games in a row at the expense of Zouma, who imo has done very little wrong this season on defence and his 4 goals scored makes him one of their top scorers. But why even do that? Rudiger is going to help with their total lack of offensive creativity?

And Chilwell was a mistake. Far too smug and casual. He should spend a few games on the bench even if it means playing Emerson or Alonso (gasp). I have nothing more to say about Werner and Havertz other than I hope they come around. Mount and Hudson-Odoi are the only two attacking players showing signs of life these days.

I just finished reading an article in the Guardian about the Chelsea board identifying possible replacements for Lamps. Tuchel's name was mentioned and a few others (Rangnick, Nagelsmann and Hasenhüttl) who wouldn't be able to join until the summer. Presumably Abramovich still has Guus' number on speed dial.

Anyone think that there will be a better goal than the one Liverpool scored yesterday after the West Ham corner?  Ridiculous.  TAA's pass was nice, but Shaqiri's first time pass was so perfect...it's stuff you do on Fifa (the video game) that you'd never expect someone to do in full speed in real life.  And then for Salah to take it down perfectly.  Honestly, probably the best goal I've ever seen.  Six touches (including Robertson's clearance with his head) to go the length of the field.  

My prediction of City winning the league is looking pretty solid right now.

What a shame West Brom didn't beat ManUre yesterday because they deserved to.

Anxious to see the team Tuchel picks today for the game against Newcastle. He better play James and Alonso as wingbacks. Abraham deserves another start after the game he played against Barnsley in the FA Cup. I'm concerned about their central midfield. Jorginho is still sideways Jorginho but Kante is not playing well this season, even when he plays his defensive role. Gilmour has played well in some previous games but not so much against Barnsley.

Azwiese, you liked that Salah goal better than Ronaldo's overhead goal against Juve in the CL a couple of years ago?

It's like picking your favorite kid, but I would even put Rooney's overhead v City from a decade ago above the Ronaldo one v Juve.  At least that one looked like a cohesive play.  The Ronaldo goal was kind of a broken play. The Rooney goal was after a nice bit of passing. But I would just say that with the Liverpool goal, the amount of ground covered, combined with the lack of touches, combined with the skill/technique of those touches, it was incredible.  

Watching Barca today, it's weird.  They've been so good for so long.  With a decent chance that Messi is going to leave after the season, their Champs League  ambitions are going to take a precipitous fall.  They really did have an amazing cast of players like Iniesta, Xavi, Busquets, Pique, Puyol, and obviously Messi.  They didn't (maybe couldn't would be the better word) replace Xavi and Iniesta, and they aren't going to be able to replace Messi.  It could be a while before we start talking about Barcelona being a serious contender.  

@azwiese posted:

It's like picking your favorite kid, but I would even put Rooney's overhead v City from a decade ago above the Ronaldo one v Juve.  At least that one looked like a cohesive play.  The Ronaldo goal was kind of a broken play. The Rooney goal was after a nice bit of passing. But I would just say that with the Liverpool goal, the amount of ground covered, combined with the lack of touches, combined with the skill/technique of those touches, it was incredible.  

Well fwiw Rooney did shin his goal. The fact that Ronaldo's goal was from a broken play made it all the more spectacular for me. The speed of the cross which was behind him and his ability to time and strike it perfectly, picking the top corner (presumably intentional) and leaving Buffon rooted where he was. And I'm no fan of Ronaldo either. He's a DWE but an incredibly talented football player.

As for Barcelona, I don't see them coming back on PSG this time.

All smiles after Chelsea beat Liverpool yesterday to hand them their 5th consecutive loss at Anfield which is a club record. It looks like my prediction of them not defending their title is pretty safe as is the prediction of Man City winning it.

I'm not really enthused about the way Tuchel has the Blues playing but they are getting the results. And I have to hand it to him for reviving a few left for dead players. In addition to the previously mentioned Alonso it seems Christensen and Rudiger have both found their game. No such luck with Jorginho though and I remain unimpressed with Ziyech. Havertz has now been left for dead and Abraham may be following him.

CL draw yesterday and Chelsea got the draw I wanted although Porto did beat Juve so I should be careful of what I wished for. BM v PSG is a good draw too.I'll take Man City, Bayern, Chelsea and Real Madrid to go through to the semis. Not that I want the latter to win but I don't see Liverpuddle getting their act together.

And as I write this I see Man City's chances of 4 trophies this year are still alive after beating Everton in the FA Cup quarter finals.

Perfect time to revive this thread as Chelsea just ended the quadruple dream of City by beating them 1-0 in the FA Cup semi-finals. Bring on Real Madrid.

I also enjoyed watching Newcastle take 3 points from West Ham this morning setting up next Saturday's game between West Ham and Chelsea in the race for the top 4.

Norwich City is going back to the EPL and it looks Watford will be going with them.

I just read that Flick will not be returning as the manager for Bayern Munich next season.

Congrats to Chelsea on the win (can't believe I'm typing that). City passed Chelsea about 5 years ago in my dislike of teams that overspend and break rules to buy trophies. How City got the Court of Arbitration to overturn FFP still amazes me (cynical as I am). And the fact that the smirking Ruskie rarely appears on camera makes Chelsea more bearable.

The proposed Super League appears to be dying (I hope). Man City has pulled out; Chelsea is expected to do the same. Nothing like a money grab to unite the fans. American owners, among others and not surprisingly, are in favor of the SL. Kroenke (Arsenal), Glazer (ManU), and Liverpool (Fenway Group) should be kicked out of the EPL.

Ahem. Chelsea was first, Man City followed shortly after that. Not that it absolves Chelsea of any wrongdoing and I wasn't surprised City bailed as PSG wasn't even part of the league and they have the same ownership.

As much as I'd like to blame those American owners that's not the whole story. Agnelli is Italian, Laporta and Perez Rodriguez are Spanish and as you like to point out frequently there are Russians and Middle Eastern (readil) ownerships also. Greed is the common factor among them all but they seriously underestimated the backlash.

The best part of this so far is Ed Woodward resigning from ManUre but he won't be the last. Chelsea fans are calling for Bruce Buck to resign, which I'd like to support but I have a nasty feeling that would mean the wicked witch of west London would get his job.

The best quote I've seen on this subject

"Arsenal and Tottenham being picked was like Bananaman and Dangermouse being summoned to The Avengers."

I get the feeling I am watching Chelsea's season come crashing down. Losing to Arsenal in the PL game a few days ago was poor and leaves them in the weakest position between them, Leicester and Liverpool for the last two CL spots. A spot they don't need of course if they can beat Man City in the final but beating them 3 times in a row?? After two games in a row without a single goal?

Great goal by Tielemans to give Leicester the FA Cup and hand the Blues their second consecutive FA Cup final loss. Also a couple of great saves by Schmeichel late in the game.

I'm really mixed on Tuchel. No question he's got the defence in order but his insistence on always playing that useless mofo in the middle of the field continues to piss me off. Nor does he seem to have any idea who should play up top other than Mount. He gives Giroud scraps of playing time and refuses to even give Abraham a chance who will no doubt want to leave this summer.

On another subject, it will be interesting to see how UEFA is going to penalize Barca, Real Madrid and Juve for their continued insistence on a super league. A ban on CL football next season? I think that would be warranted.

Despite their best efforts Chelsea manage to qualify for the CL next year. Thanks to Tottenham, no less. The fore-mentioned mofo in midfield once again poor but hardly alone.

Great that Aguero scored two goals in his last PL game...assuming the reports about him signing with Barcelona are accurate. So it looks like Kane will will be the high dollar replacement for him at City.

Good on West Ham for qualifying for the Europa League.

Next up are the finales for Serie A and Ligue 1. Here's hoping Lille can take the title in France.

Pretty dreary set of games today.  Southgate is fluffing his lines.  Grealish, Walker and/or Trippier should be starting , and after two weak performances, Kane should be dropped for Calvert-Lewin...James and Sterling dropped as well.  A 'spirited' Scottish performance masked poor team selection today. 

France looking solid of course, and I'm not surprised by Italy's strong showing, although it seems some people are....  Looking forward to Portugal/Germany tomorrow...i see Portugal taking this one and a dispirited exit for the worst thing to happen to German style, Joachim Lowe...somebody give this guy a make over.  Gotta love North Macedonia's huffing and puffing, I wish they got a result.  And I am rooting for the Belgians, something about this team for a neutral that inspires.   Lukaku is out of his head right now, and with a fit Debruyne....

And I getting it, parking the bus and waiting for a counter is pragmatic, but fuck that, somebody dump Sweden out now.

Finally, Christian Erikson....love you bro, I'm happy your alive.

And Belgium bows out once again. Time is running out on their golden era.

Not to discount the Danes but I like England's chances of being in the final. Jabe, any second thoughts on your comments about Southgate's team selection or the dropping of Sterling and Kane? Don't feel bad, I was saying the same a couple of weeks ago as well as dissing Shaw.

@steve8 posted:


Not to discount the Danes but I like England's chances of being in the final. Jabe, any second thoughts on your comments about Southgate's team selection or the dropping of Sterling and Kane? Don't feel bad, I was saying the same a couple of weeks ago as well as dissing Shaw.

Ha!  I am sure Southgate feels a huge sense of vindication (as well he should...5 clean sheets and all), but was it really too much to ask more of Kane?  He was WAY off the pace for the first three and was deservedly pulled from that one game.  As a world class poacher/striker, you kinda felt his time was coming, tho and I'm glad it has.

Sterling is a different matter.  I think he has come in for unfair criticism over the years, and the horrible racial abuse he has dealt with is despicable.   He is a very, very good player, but he could be a great player, and I think that is where a lot of fans frustrations lie.  It seems that through all of his clever moves, darting runs, jinxes,  and leaving piles of defenders in his wake, it seems far too often his final touch deserts him at the end of it all, or only to fire clear over the bar, or some other error. 

I can't see the Danes going any further.  They are solid and its been huge how far they've made it, but England have too much fire power.  And they are playing as a team, not a bunch of high priced egos firing shots from 25 yards out.  3-0 to England today.

That was a tense match yesterday.  Another benefit of 100% mandated telework, I've been able to catch most of the matches, and there've been some good ones.  England 3-2 Italy

With both teams playing solid defense, I'm thinking 1-0 in AET.  I like England's ability to bring in some really good playmakers after the 75th minute, like Sancho, Rashford, Foden, and Grealish.  Though I wouldn't be surprised to see one of them starting over Saka.  But Saka does do more tracking back than any of those guys, so he may stay in the lineup to start.

@azwiese posted:

With both teams playing solid defense, I'm thinking 1-0 in AET.  I like England's ability to bring in some really good playmakers after the 75th minute, like Sancho, Rashford, Foden, and Grealish.  Though I wouldn't be surprised to see one of them starting over Saka.  But Saka does do more tracking back than any of those guys, so he may stay in the lineup to start.

There seems no chance to me that Sancho is playing at all. 

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