AncalagonTheBlack

Football: Showdown Sunday

404 posts in this topic

1 hour ago, Consigliere said:

@baxus - that's why I suggest the break is taken sometime in January so as not to interfere with the festive season fixtures.

Oh, sorry then. I didn't get it that way.

Either way, during January, teams play 4-5 matches over the 16 day span. There's no way of making space for 16 days break in that period without doing some major cuts like dropping League Cup altogether or something like that.

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1 hour ago, baxus said:

Oh, sorry then. I didn't get it that way.

Either way, during January, teams play 4-5 matches over the 16 day span. There's no way of making space for 16 days break in that period without doing some major cuts like dropping League Cup altogether or something like that.

I think it's doable. As I previously mentioned the maximum amount of domestic fixtures in England is only three more games than Spain despite having two domestic cup competitions. Scrapping FA Cup replays and a two legged C1C semi final should free up enough space to allow for a winter break.

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Just now, Consigliere said:

I think it's doable. As I previously mentioned the maximum amount of domestic fixtures in England is only three more games than Spain despite having two domestic cup competitions. Scrapping FA Cup replays and a two legged C1C semi final should free up enough space to allow for a winter break.

I agree with that.  Simply having every cup game settled in a single leg, by penalties if needed (no extra time), would reduce the logjam of games in January.

Of course, I'd also like to remove the mid-season international breaks and have those games all concentrated in late May and June instead.  There's lot of potential to streamline the domestic season and improve player fitness and health (or at least non-injury).

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Of course, next season instead of a winter break we're going to see even more congestion with 6 rounds of fixtures played in the last 16 days of December to bring forward the end of the season for more prep time for the World Cup.

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Much as I love the opportunity the League Cup gives for lower league sides to be drawn against Premier League teams with only one win, I'd be happy to see it go, as long as the FA Cup is retained in close to its present format. Also I'd reduce the League to 18 teams - it would get rid of four matches, allowing a winter break to be added and one or two of the midweek rounds to be removed. Pretty much every year there are one or two teams who are relegated by Christmas, so I don't think that they would be a huge loss. The other benefit would be that more teams would have something to fight for at the end of the season - a Europa League spot guaranteed for 6th place with no League Cup and relegation down to 16th. You just need to look at Pulis teams' records once they have reached 40 points to see the situation at the moment. 

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'Pretty much every year'? I can't recall the last time two teams were 'relegated by Christmas'. Even one is uncommon.

Besides, no team (except maybe one or two of the top six) is going to vote to reduce the size of the league. Who votes to leave the most lucrative league in the world?

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Relegated by Christmas was exaggeration for rhetorical effect - but Boro and Sunderland this year and Villa the season before barely put up a fight. I would agree that it is not likely that the proposal would pass, but is what I would do if given free reign to reform. Besides, the Premier League has contracted before, admittedly before the money grew anywhere near as large. One way in which the bigger clubs might be able to do it is by threatening leaving entirely to join a super league. If it is a choice between reduced access to the top-6 or no access, they would probably play along.

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Posted (edited)

There is absolutely no way that the number of teams in the EPL will be reduced. I also find it highly unlikely that the C1C will be scrapped. Not only will this result in a rift with the Football League, it would not go down well with the majority of premier league teams either. While the C1C might be seen as a nuisance to the "elite few", I would think that the majority of premier league clubs view it as a great opportunity to win some silverware. I'm willing to bet that any motion put to premier league clubs to abandon the C1C would fail.

I think that when debating the issue of a winter break in England, people need to be realistic. Reducing the number of EPL teams and scrapping a cup competition are not realistic proposals. There is room for streamlining the schedule to allow for a break without going to such extremes.

In addition to scrapping all cup replays and making the C1C semi final a one-off game at a neutral venue, another area that can be streamlined is for EPL clubs to enter the FA Cup in the fourth round/round of 32 as it is in Spain. This would mean that the maximum number of domestic fixtures in England is only one more than Spain. Surely one extra match/round can be squeezed in over the course of a nine month season to allow for an 18 day winter break.

Edited by Consigliere

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15 minutes ago, Horse of Kent said:

Relegated by Christmas was exaggeration for rhetorical effect - but Boro and Sunderland this year and Villa the season before barely put up a fight.

At Christmas Sunderland were in 18th, one point behind Crystal Palace and three points behind Leicester and Burnley: Middlesborough were above all of those in 14th. They had a shit second half of the season, no question, but that's kind of the point - the teams who were bottom (Hull and Swansea) had a great second half, nearly escaping and actually escaping relegation. It was a long way from over by Christmas.

Villa, well... they're one of those exceptions. They were shit.

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4 hours ago, Rorshach said:

Klopp has done well. However, the comparasion is off - both Benitez and Rodgers had to start from scratch in summer, and even Dalglish started in January. Klopp started in October - and had 10 months and two transfer windows before his "full season" - a planning stage not afforded to the others. 

On paper maybe.

But the season planing and signing was pretty much done, when Klopp came in (which player was still on the market during his first window?). Winter windows are basically panic buys or desperately trying to fix errors comitted in the summer windows. The lower you go on the foodchain, the more likely you will find a fix for your squad woes. For a top 6 team in one of the big leagues there are simply less interesting players around, and even much less available. E.g. a fringe player from Everton may improve a relegation battler or a Championship club (as loan or signing), but it will hardly be an upgrade for Arsenal, Liverpool, Spurs, United or Chelsea. And players who are not wanted by their club is pretty much what you get in the winter window (with one or two exceptions maybe, when a player is trying to force his way out), because no sane club would under normal circumstances part with a key player in the middle of their campaign. Other than that, yes, he had more time to get to know the squad and thus properly plan for the next season.

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10 hours ago, Notone said:

On paper maybe.

But the season planing and signing was pretty much done, when Klopp came in (which player was still on the market during his first window?). Winter windows are basically panic buys or desperately trying to fix errors comitted in the summer windows. The lower you go on the foodchain, the more likely you will find a fix for your squad woes. For a top 6 team in one of the big leagues there are simply less interesting players around, and even much less available. E.g. a fringe player from Everton may improve a relegation battler or a Championship club (as loan or signing), but it will hardly be an upgrade for Arsenal, Liverpool, Spurs, United or Chelsea. And players who are not wanted by their club is pretty much what you get in the winter window (with one or two exceptions maybe, when a player is trying to force his way out), because no sane club would under normal circumstances part with a key player in the middle of their campaign. Other than that, yes, he had more time to get to know the squad and thus properly plan for the next season.

Which, you know, was the point. Rodgers and Benitez had to buy not knowing their squads at all - which generally leads to what you described before. 

Still not saying he did badly, or not better, just that the comparasion is flawed.

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Well, we're doing the job. Can't help but feel we could push the pace a bit more though...

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Professional performance. Just like the game against Chelsea where were scored early in both halves, we were able to control the game and snuffed out our opponents. Our game management is very good. So it turned out to be a decent first season under Mourinho (two trophies+community shield+automatic entry into the CL). I say only decent because we should not lose sight of the fact that our league campaign was very disappointing. Considering the amount of money that has been invested, struggling for fourth place (and failing in three out of four seasons since SAF's retirement) is really not good enough.

Oh, and Herrera is a beast!

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The commentary regards the attacks the other day has been painful at times today.



Our game management is good but Ajax were pony and we could definitely have gone up the gears. Hope if Jose gets the players he wants (reports in France this week that we've put in a silly-money offer for Bernardo Silva) he'll start trying to be attacking again, because this sort of thing gets grim. Though in today's case you can offer some praise for Ajax's one really good performance, from Davinson Sanchez, who snuffed a fair few of our attacks.

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Posted (edited)

Yeah, Mourinho has adopted a conservative approach in the last month or so which is not pretty to watch. Hopefully next season he gets back to the more attacking brand of football that he employed for most of this season. To be fair though, you rarely get an open game in a final but Ajax were there for the taking and had we been braver going forward, we could have had three or four. Then again given that we have been so shit in front of goal this season, Mourinho probably rightly decided to keep things tight rather than go for more goals and potentially expose ourselves to the counter.

Edited by Consigliere

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Jose always keeps it tight when the stakes are high, that's just how he plays. That will never change. He'd rather nick a draw or penalties than lose.

They made Ajax look young and naive tonight, they were never allowed to come close. They had no idea how to break united down, especially in the final third.

Bit of a shame, I wanted Ajax to win

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Rather predictable. Ajax got this far on their home form and have looked very shaky away from Amsterdam. The dull style of football Mourinho favours, especially lately and in finals was the best way of negating Ajax's play. Although it is hard to say they were not the best team on paper in the tournament, it would have been nice if United had faced some of the bigger names on the other side of the draw or even Ajax across 2 legs.

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Dodgy handball decision favouring the Bundesliga side in the relegation playoff. Never seen that before.

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