+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 42 1 2 3 11 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 822
  1. #1
    Ridill
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    22,182
    BG Level
    10

    Want to watch soccer? Start here! Soccer thread 2014

    Did you enjoy this great world cup?

    Is this you?




    There were a fair amount of comments throughout the World Cup in the old thread (which went from like 7 pages in 2 years to 130+ in the month of the tourney) about people wanting to get into watching soccer, and looking for some advice on where to start. As such, I wrote up this introduction to the EPL, the most accessible (for English speakers) league for Americans. Mayareira has volunteered to do the same for the Italian Serie A, and I'm still planning to do some more on lesser teams in the EPL as well as some looks at other leagues.

    So, here we go!


    English Premier League

    The English professional soccer system is insanely deep. More than 9 full leagues deep. At the top you're looking at the best players in the world, being paid NFL/NBA superstar level money. At the bottom you're looking at little more than groups of guys playing on their neighborhood team that are lucky if they're getting a couple hundred bucks a week.

    You can go AT LEAST 3 leagues deep before you're starting to see teams as weak as MLS.

    Details:

    Spoiler: show
    Here's the basics of how it works:

    Below the Premier league, while there are titles, the goal is promotion. For the top few leagues, the top 2 in league will be promoted, and the next 4 will play in a playoff for the chance at a final promotion spot. Below Football League 2 (the 4th highest), it becomes the champion getting a promotion, and the next 4 playing for one single other promotion.

    Meanwhile, finishing in the bottom 2-4 depending on which level (3 each in the top 2, 4 in the #3, 2 in the #4) will have you relegated to the lower division.

    The level of competition in the Premier league is quite possibly the best in the world, as even in EUFA champs league there are far more mismatches than EPL. It's also almost unarguably the most physical league in the world.

    Long story short, even as someone that considers himself not an EPL fan, I can see and appreciate that there's a reason this is the most popular, most talked about sporting league of any sort in the world. This is an exciting brand of soccer played by many of the best players in the world.

    Some teams people might like to cheer for:
    Spoiler: show


    ManU, Man City
    Yo dog I heard you like money so the Glazers got some more money from Adidas this year to throw in with their money and spend even more money; their yearly income over the next decade will be around half a billion dollars. Man City isn't that rich, but they've got money on the back of their recent success, and they're not afraid to spend it. Man City does not have the historical brilliance of ManU, but of late they've become quite a team, winning 2 of the last 3 titles, while ManU can still claim 5 of the last 8.

    To put things in perspective, though, most English fans would scoff at the idea of grouping ManU and ManCity like that (aside from rivalry talk), as prior to City's FA Cup win in 2011 and subsequent prosperity, they hadn't won shit in 40+ years, cups or leagues.

    As of today, though, those are the 2 most recently successful teams and likely to stay competitive for the top for the foreseeable future.

    And ManU will be outspending everybody now.

    ManU players to watch:
    Spoiler: show
    RvP: Brilliant when he's on

    Rooney: Not excited about the prospect of van Gaal making RvP captain. Expect him to give everything he's got to prove he's the player so many say, and prove that he has earned the right to, and can successfully lead that team again.

    Dutch Transfers: Daley Blind talk started the moment he hooked up with RvP with that unbelievable through ball to a spot in the air 40+ yards away. Before that there was already talk about Martins Indi and de Vrij. There are questions over what van Gaal would want to do with the midfield at ManU, and the answer may well be to bring in his own.

    With the specific talks we're hearing, I expect van Gaal to switch the team to a 4-3-3 or even use wingbacks with RvP and Rooney up front and hope to continue to use Blind in a holding midfield role instead of letting him get back to left back. Should be very interesting to watch them build and see who they get.


    Man City players to watch:
    Spoiler: show
    Joe Hart (GK): Will he be the guy that wins Golden Glove (most shutouts) every season? Or will he be the guy that's been fading for a while, gave up 2 per game in the WC, and got briefly benched last year? They've brought in competition for him, but it's probably not serious competition.

    Jesus Navas: Really fun player to watch. He doesn't have the finishing of Robben or even Oscar, let alone the distance shooting of Robben and Sneijder, but he has the speed and ball skills to match anybody out there, and he's really creative from the wing. His being left out of most of Spain's WC looks extremely questionable after Torres, Silva, Villa, Pedro, etc. all accomplished jack shit.

    Yaya Toure: The definition of all around player, and not only is he capable of playing every position on the field, but you'll actually find him in just about every position on the field at some point or another in a given game. He's a big strong dude that can body people around and is fantastic defensively, and at the same time has the technical skills to create or follow up and finish. Plus, his name is Yaya.

    Pablo Zabaleta: brutal defender that's always entertaining to watch, even when Eden Hazard is breaking his ankles from 5 feet away.



    The rest of EPL's big 4: Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool

    Chelsea is the only team other than ManU or Man City to win a title since Arsenal did it in 2003. They won in 04 and 05, and were the combo breaker in 2009 when ManU won the 3 before and the 1 after that. They have a living legend in goal, and probably the most exciting young attacking mid and winger combos in football with Oscar and Eden Hazard. They also added Cesc Fabregas this year, making them one of the most dangerous attacking teams in the world if Torres plays well.

    Chelsea would probably be the most "hipster" of the big 4 in the U.S., as the others all have bigger names here for various reasons.

    Players to watch:
    Spoiler: show
    Petr Cech: as mentioned, a living legend in goal. Records everywhere, probably the most famous name ever in goalkeeping. He's more likely to shut teams out than not. He's 32, watch him while you still can.

    Eden Hazard: is a freak with the ball. He wasn't that great in this world cup, but he absolutely has Messi-like potential. He also creates incredible space and opportunity for...

    Oscar: He showed signs of brilliance in this world cup, but they needed him to be truly great... which he can be. At his best he could have changed that Germany game early, he found the opportunities and just couldn't capitalize. He could, potentially, develop into an even better version of Wesley Sneijder. He's not far from it already when he's playing well. Even though he only finished one, he did some shocking things to a fantastic German defense.

    Willian: WIIIIIIIIIIIIIILLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLIIIIIIIIIIIIAAAAAA AAAANNNNNNNNN



    Arsenal: The first thing that needs to be mentioned about Arsenal is that they're theoretically the most successful soccer team ever, although ManU has taken over that position over the last couple of decades. Arsenal remains the only team to have gone an entire season without a loss, when they (obv) won the title in 2003. Unfortunately they haven't had a title since.

    The second is that Arsenal ownership is... different. It's not exactly publicly traded, but there are shares and it's run by a board of directors. However, recently they've been basically letting someone (the guy that owns the rams, among many others) buy it all. Currently he has like 65% and one other guy has about 30; just a few years ago nobody had more than about 20.

    Despite having serious cash reserves, Arsenal is known to field a young team, and not spend a lot of money on big name scorers, even selling them off when they develop their own (see: RvP). They're infamously defensive minded, and they tend to feature holding midfielders that advance very deliberately and don't push up into the wing nearly as much as the teams that stack their front line and throw in attacking midfielders right behind them. They'd rather just let a good attacking midfielder play as a forward and bring in even bigger bodies behind them (again, see: RvP).

    Arsenal players to watch:
    Spoiler: show
    Jack Wilshere: One of the youngest players ever to mage the English national team, is in kind of a weird spot at this club. He's probably a true center midfielder, best playing box to box and creating, while occasionally finishing when the opportunity arises. But, Arsenal uses him mostly as a wing now... and the national team likes to use him as a holding mid lol. In the end, what you get from him is a pretty exciting player that even as a winger will tend towards at least as many assists as goals. Also he got suspended for flipping off the crowd last year lol.

    Per Mertesacker: Big badass german central defender. Named Mertesacker. Nuff said.

    Mesut Ozil: Don't think I need to say much here after his world cup. Everything on this team goes through him, and he's the reason Wilshere isn't needed in a position he'd be fantastic in. He's definitely one of the best players in the world at the moment, and between him and Per this is a pretty exciting team for fans of Germany.

    Alexis Sanchez: Arsenal has suddenly broken their own rule this offseason, and spent a decent amount on a threat up front. He doesn't make them one of the holy wtfness front lines, but he changes the offensive dynamic significantly. In him they have speed, and particularly runs to the flag, that they haven't had in years. Not to mention, he's a pretty damn exciting finisher... who they'll probably sell for twice what they paid in 3 years.


    Liverpool... has not lived up to its reputation as of late, but remains one of the most popular teams in the world. Their most recent major success was when they won the League Cup (English club team tourney) in 2003, then went on to win the UEFA champs league and the super cup for 04-05. They haven't won the EPL since it was just called the First Division, in 89. However, they have been runners up twice recently, in 2008 and again last year. They're in a very interesting position right now, having been runners up but also having sold their best player... for an exorbitant amount of money. They also have some pretty serious young potential waiting in the wings in Samed Yesil and the newly acquired Emre Can (who may even be a difference maker immediately). Look for them to be spending the shit out of all that cash over the coming weeks. Also, Liverpool started the sponsor names on soccer jersey shit, just fyi.

    Liverpool players to watch:
    Spoiler: show
    Rickie Lambert: Started with Liverpool's youth program, but was released when he was 15. He has made his way through the top 4 leagues in England, Starting in the "3rd' (fourth highest) division, being sold first up, then down, then back up a couple times, before landing in Southampton in the 2nd highest league after they'd been relegated from premier league. After just missing the playoffs largely on his back his first year, they won the playoff to be promoted back into premier league after his second. He played 2 years there in the premier league, and with an obvious fade after scoring 15, then 13 goals, (he was scoring 30+ in the next division) he comes to Liverpool at 32 hoping to live out his lifelong dream and be a creative and effective, though not the most talented or exciting, finisher. He's already making a name for himself, having shown up to camp early and working his ass off as soon as he got there.

    Philippe Coutinho: One of the best passers in the world today. A true playmaker in midfield, his being left out of the Brazilian world cup was questioned from the start, and attacked pretty harshly starting as soon as they played a game. It's really amazing sometimes the openings he sees, it's as if he's watching on an overhead cam while everybody else has to play in first person.

    Jose Enrique: One of the most exciting wingbacks in the world. If you're the type of person that noticed how much of a presence Dirk Kuyt had for the Netherlands, you're in for a treat here. Where Kuyt was a forward playing wingback, this is the perfect natural role for Enrique. On a lot of really good teams, you would expect that everything goes through Coutinho, but that's not the case here. Enrique is just as creative and completely changes the dynamic of defending against a player like Coutinho. The goals can come from a serious variety of places on this team, and these 2 are a huge reason why.


  2. #2
    Ridill
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    22,182
    BG Level
    10

    aaand reserving this spot for more stuff about EPL

    EPL hipster pick #1

    Spoiler: show


    My personal pick:

    Leicester City (Pronounced Lester)

    This is a team that tends to be in the first division (premier league) about half the time. They've never won a first division title, or gotten past the first elimination round in any euro tourneys. They have won the Footbal League Cup, which is a yearly tourney of all of the top 4 divisions in english ball, a few times. Many of the top teams don't play their true lineups unless they make the semis in that tourney, so the big powers are often eliminated early fielding teams of backups and u20 players. Still, it's a HUGE deal for a lower level team if they manage to win.

    Personally I became a bit of a fan when I made a friend vacationing in Colorado that was from Leicester, and luckily for me the late 90's was about the best they've ever been. Unfortunately they had an absolute collapse near the end of the first season after the coach who led all that success had left. They dropped from the top of the table to around 15th, and the next year finished dead last and were relegated. They were then terrible in the second league, and on the verge of further relegation when their coach resigned and an assistant stepped up and saved the day... but then he lost or drew like 10 straight near the end of the season and the ownership and management went through huge changes. They managed to barely avoid relegation.

    The next year they had a manager ditch a month into the season, couldn't get anything under control, and got further relegated, playing in the 3rd division for the first time ever.

    Then they hired Nigel Pearson, promptly dominating the league and winning back promotion without having to play in a playoff. The next season, back in the second division, they made the playoff for promotion to premier league, but lost in a shootout in the semifinals. Pearson was lured away, mostly because he didn't like the chairman or the c.e.o.

    Those guys left, Pearson came back mid season, but wasn't able to make the playoffs. The next year, they made the playoffs, but lost again in the semis on an absolutely insane situation where they had a penalty stopped and the opponents took it down and immediately scored, in extra time.

    Finally, last year they took off into first place through midseason, and then won 9 straight, dominating the league and winning promotion to EPL easily.

    So here they are, back in the premier league at last, and with one of the most impactful coaches in the game.

    Players to watch:

    Spoiler: show
    Kasper Smeichel: Yes, that's Peter's son. By 21 he had become the starter at Man City, but he lost his job to Joe Hart. He was then passed around some lower division clubs, but repeatedly it became obvious he was way too good to be playing at that level, and the teams could not afford to keep him around. He constantly looked like Tim Howard behind those lesser defenses. At Leicester he's been fantastic, and big teams have been after him, including ManU. However, he's quite happy there, and just signed a new contract. He's not huge for a goalkeeper, but he's not one of the tiny guys that succeed almost entirely on reaction speed... but he sure makes saves like one. He's also one of those keepers that could legitimately be a field player at top levels, and in desperate situations, you will see him up front. see:



    Jamie Vardy: Another player that was passed around the lower ranks, though he was playing for much lower level teams, he eventually set the record for highest price for a "non-league" (below the 4th division) player when Leicester bought him for a bit over a million. The year before last he almost quit soccer entirely, but was talked into staying by his manager. Last year he was fantastic as a striker in a 2 man front, be it finishing, breaking teams down on his own, or setting up to lay it off. He's a player that beats defenses not necessarily by the flashiest moves or blowing by people (though he can), but more who confuses defenses, and understands their structures and how to exploit it and mix them up. He's also extremely aggressive towards defenders that have the ball, and mistakes made in distribution with him around are devastating.

    Wes Morgan: A slightly undersized central defender that makes up for it with an athleticism almost never seen at the position. He's one of those guys where the announcer gets sick of saying his name because he's just constantly in the way. He's the solid heart of a defense that will have to play better than they ever have to compete with the attacks they're going to see upon returning to the EPL. He'll also have to get forward and get his head on some crosses.

    David Nugent: Where Vardy is a creator on the ball, Nugent is an equally if not more successful striker on give and go's or completely off the ball. He's super happy to be giving the ball away and getting it right back at full speed, and he's constantly in position for the dump off from Vardy making deep runs or guys like Drinkwater and Matty James bringing it in behind him. He's also the definition of a clinical striker, almost always choosing placement over power, and constantly hitting all 4 corners and the side netting.


    Another thing worth mentioing while on the subject of Leicester: Soccer schedules are insane, especially for teams that make eruo leagues/tourneys and stuff. There aren't a lot of guys that you'll see every day game in and game out, and the ones that you do tend to be the true superstars. However, as rough as it is for the high end teams, as you move down the ladder you start to see a lot more parity even within a given team. Thus, if you cheer for a team like Leicester, your favorite player might end up only playing half the time; the gap behind Jamie Vardy is not like the loss you take when someone fills in for Christiano Ronaldo. At the EPL level, though, they will be at least trying to establish a true #1 roster that you can expect to see in the biggest games.

  3. #3
    Piece of shit Bruins fan

    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    5,520
    BG Level
    8
    FFXIV Character
    Beat Daisukenojo
    FFXIV Server
    Hyperion


  4. #4
    Piece of shit Bruins fan

    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    5,520
    BG Level
    8
    FFXIV Character
    Beat Daisukenojo
    FFXIV Server
    Hyperion

    Also for an obligatory comment, I'm not pro enough to know that MLS is better or worse than Premier League or the others (enjoyed watching Swansea lol), but I do think it's unfairly slagged because it's not European.

  5. #5
    The Anti Miz
    The Anti Miz of the House of Weave

    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    32,306
    BG Level
    10

    WHAT ABOUT MIGHTY EVERTON? ALSO WESTHAM UNITED? Green Street Hooligans make Westham United very appealing

  6. #6
    Nidhogg
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    3,721
    BG Level
    7
    FFXI Server
    Quetzalcoatl
    WoW Realm
    Proudmoore

    Reserving for Serie A.

  7. #7
    Ridill
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    22,182
    BG Level
    10

    Quote Originally Posted by tyven View Post
    WHAT ABOUT MIGHTY EVERTON? ALSO WESTHAM UNITED? Green Street Hooligans make Westham United very appealing
    I'll get to Everton, I wasn't planning on doing West Ham tho.

  8. #8
    Ridill
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    22,182
    BG Level
    10

    Quote Originally Posted by Cutriss View Post
    Also for an obligatory comment, I'm not pro enough to know that MLS is better or worse than Premier League or the others (enjoyed watching Swansea lol), but I do think it's unfairly slagged because it's not European.
    This is a fair assessment for the Mexican league, which is probably at least fairly close to English second division play, but MLS is overall a reeeeally low level of soccer that's only recently given up on attempting to Americanize the sport and is still rarely taken seriously for good reason.

  9. #9
    RNGesus
    Sweaty Dick Punching Enthusiast

    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    29,169
    BG Level
    10
    FFXIV Character
    Lenette Valkyr
    FFXIV Server
    Gilgamesh

    Someone Bundesliga watching info me again pls!

  10. #10
    THIS IS BREGOR'S STORY
    Beard +1

    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    23,096
    BG Level
    10
    FFXI Server
    Bahamut

    Yay new soccer thread!

    I have a buddy who's really into EPL and didn't even know it, so I'm gonna pick his brain a bit and also use all the info from the last thread and pick my squad. Excite!

  11. #11

    Sweaty Dick Punching Enthusiast

    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    1,321
    BG Level
    6
    FFXI Server
    Quetzalcoatl

    SHOULD I DO THE BRAZILIAN LEAGUE???

  12. #12

    In a surprise to absolutely no one but Freddy Adu, Freddy Adu will not be playing for AZ Alkmaar.

  13. #13
    Yoshi P
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    5,396
    BG Level
    8
    FFXI Server
    Bahamut

    Bill Simmons did the whole "Pick a favorite EPL team" exercise back after the 2006 World Cup. He stuck with it about as long as your average American does, but he ended up choosing

  14. #14
    Cake Bitch
    Sweaty Dick Punching Enthusiast

    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    30,068
    BG Level
    10
    FFXIV Character
    Cakey Yama
    FFXIV Server
    Leviathan
    FFXI Server
    Unicorn

    is this the thread for the next world cup?

  15. #15
    WASTE OF CURRENCY
    I CAN'T I CAN'T I CAN'T

    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    9,029
    BG Level
    8
    FFXIV Character
    Izzy Izumi
    FFXIV Server
    Sargatanas
    FFXI Server
    Phoenix
    WoW Realm
    Arthas

    I always kinda had a thing for MCFC because their kits were always my favorite. Now, with them owning NYCFC, I guess that's where my loyalties should lie now!

    I've been following the Spurs for the past 2 seasons, but for no other reason than "I don't wanna be that guy that jumps on the MCFC bandwagon", but whatever.

  16. #16
    The 69th Donor
    Pens win! Pens Win!!! PENS WIN!!!!!

    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    15,106
    BG Level
    9
    WoW Realm
    Kil'jaeden

    I don't know why anyone would accuse you of ever being a bandwagon fan, considering where your hockey and football loyalties lie.

  17. #17
    E. Body
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    2,050
    BG Level
    7
    FFXI Server
    Phoenix

    What about the Argentine League? River Plate or bust.

  18. #18
    The Anti Miz
    The Anti Miz of the House of Weave

    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    32,306
    BG Level
    10

    you guys i am going to contribute! Premier League 2014-15 TV schedule!

    http://prosoccertalk.nbcsports.com/2...3893&utm_tags=

    is the season really only August thru Nov?

  19. #19
    Tom Wilson will never be good.
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    13,109
    BG Level
    9
    FFXIV Character
    Zero Star
    FFXIV Server
    Hyperion
    FFXI Server
    Ifrit

    Quote Originally Posted by tyven View Post
    you guys i am going to contribute! Premier League 2014-15 TV schedule!

    http://prosoccertalk.nbcsports.com/2...3893&utm_tags=

    is the season really only August thru Nov?
    no, it clearly says, "schedule for the first three months of the season".

    season goes until May.

  20. #20
    The Anti Miz
    The Anti Miz of the House of Weave

    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    32,306
    BG Level
    10

    LOL

+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 42 1 2 3 11 ... LastLast

Quick Reply Quick Reply

  • Decrease Size
    Increase Size
  • Remove Text Formatting
  • Insert Link Insert Image Insert Video
  • Wrap [QUOTE] tags around selected text
  • Insert NSFW Tag
  • Insert Spoiler Tag

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 37
    Last Post: 2008-01-21, 12:10