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  #51  
Old 10-24-2011, 07:23 AM
One And Only Wanderers One And Only Wanderers is offline
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I'm adding a "Grounds of the championship" book to my Xmas list.....
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  #52  
Old 10-24-2011, 09:49 AM
mkecane mkecane is offline
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Originally Posted by One And Only Wanderers View Post
I'm adding a "Grounds of the championship" book to my Xmas list.....
I'll admit to being very surprised Bolton is near the bottom. Blackburn and Wigan are understandable, and you pretty much have to count on at least one promoted side going back down every year. The plus side for Bolton is that they've played (I think) United, City, Liverpool, and Chelsea (and maybe Spurs, too?). It's not a good situation to be in, but I think Bolton can be up to safety by Christmas. Are there any stars from the Big 4/5 they can bring in on loan like they did Wilshere and Sturridge? I'd like to see Macheda get loaned out, so maybe he'll go there in January.
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  #53  
Old 10-24-2011, 10:03 AM
One And Only Wanderers One And Only Wanderers is offline
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Arsenal is the other big one we've played, but I don't want to hide behind that. It's not that we've lost to these teams, it's the manner of the loss. Yes I expect to lose to Utd, Chelski etc, but not by 5 goals in each case, and we've also lost to Norwich and Sunderland. There are some major issues with the team, and if Coyle doesn't fix them, then we are going down.

Having said that here is a spot of analysis I did comparing the same fixtures (where possible) from last season.

2011/2012 2010/2011
Swansea V Bolton ? Loss
Bolton V Sunderland Loss Loss
Wigan V Bolton Win Draw
Bolton V Chelsea Loss Loss
Arsenal V Bolton Loss Win
Bolton V Norwich Loss Draw
Bolton V Man Utd Loss Draw
Bolton V Man City Loss Loss
QPR V Bolton Win Win
6 pts 9 pts
Assign QPR= West Ham, Norwich = Blackpool, Swansea = Birmingham

If we beat Swansea on Sat, we are on a par for points with last season.
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  #54  
Old 10-24-2011, 10:49 AM
Dead Cat Dead Cat is offline
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Originally Posted by One And Only Wanderers View Post
I'm adding a "Grounds of the championship" book to my Xmas list.....
There can't be that many different ones since you were last there, surely?

Although I couldn't resist making that joke, it's probably not even factually correct (I can't remember when Bolton were last promoted) - Bolton have come a long way since their years as the perennial yo-yo team, and are really part of the Premiership furniture now. Having said that, I'm afraid that I can't say I'd be that sorry to see them go. QPR and Norwich have played some good football so far and I wouldn't mind seeing them stay for a while instead.
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  #55  
Old 10-24-2011, 11:19 AM
Cumbrian Cumbrian is offline
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Worse for Bolton. Wrong time to get relegated (if there ever is a good time) - you just never know whether these nefarious American owners are going to stop promotion and relegation, thus freezing you out for good.

Tongue is in cheek, FYI.
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  #56  
Old 11-06-2011, 11:16 AM
mkecane mkecane is offline
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Big win for Bolton today. I suppose Stoke will blame it on their trip to Israel, but 5-0 is 5-0. OAOW, I think your club will be safe for another year.
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  #57  
Old 11-06-2011, 11:43 AM
One And Only Wanderers One And Only Wanderers is offline
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Bolton Wanderers, Bolton Wanderers FC

They're the finest team the world has ever seen!

What an sfternoon. I am hoping this bookends the period which began with a 5 - 0 loss to Stoke in the FA Cup Semi Final. That was the team I am accustoemd to watching
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  #58  
Old 12-20-2011, 03:13 PM
mkecane mkecane is offline
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Wow. Luis Saurez got an 8-match ban for his racial verbal abuse of Evra. My guess is that it's long with the expectation he'll appeal, and it becomes 4 or 5 matches. Too bad for him! Too bad for Liverpool!
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  #59  
Old 12-20-2011, 03:22 PM
Xan Xan is offline
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Arsenal are in 5th because Wenger and the Board are too cheap to buy the players that are needed. They should have bought Mata when they had the chance. Instead they let Chelsea get him.

On Reddit fans are delusional enough to think they can finish above Tottenham. Need I remind everyone that Tottenham is at least two games ahead in points?
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  #60  
Old 12-20-2011, 03:58 PM
Jas09 Jas09 is online now
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Arsenal are in 5th because Wenger and the Board are too cheap to buy the players that are needed. They should have bought Mata when they had the chance. Instead they let Chelsea get him.
I don't totally disagree with this. But they did buy the BFG and Arteta. They really need a fullback and some help with the strikeforce (RVP can't carry the team forever, can he?). It's too bad Arshavin died and was replaced by that little boy with no touch they sometimes run out there.
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On Reddit fans are delusional enough to think they can finish above Tottenham. Need I remind everyone that Tottenham is at least two games ahead in points?
I think they can finish above Spurs. Won't be easy, but not impossible. 5 points behind (with Spurs having a game in hand). Not even half the season has been played, ya know.
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  #61  
Old 12-20-2011, 04:23 PM
mkecane mkecane is offline
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Much like Spurs going out of the Europa League, Arsenal's success in the Premier League will depend greatly on what they do in the Champions League. I think Milan will win, assuming there aren't major squad changes or injuries in the next 2 months, and Arsenal would have the ability to bounce back and fight for 4th (maybe even 3rd if Chelsea continue their circus). I think Walcott's a dangerous player, but why he's always out on the right wing, I don't know. One day, Arsenal might get true wingers that can be counted on to beat a man and put in a good cross. I can't believe Arshavin has already been at Arsenal for nearly 3 years. As useless as he's been for almost of that time, his 4-goal match at Anfield will always put a smile on my face.
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  #62  
Old 05-01-2012, 10:52 AM
mkecane mkecane is offline
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Despite what Mancini says, City are certainly favorites now, right? Level points, but City are +8 on GD.

City: @ Newcastle, QPR
United: Swansea, @ Sunderland (Manchester United "B")

Maybe City will get two 1-0 wins, and United will win 7-0 and 4-0 and beat City by 1 on GD!
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  #63  
Old 05-01-2012, 11:58 AM
Jas09 Jas09 is online now
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I dunno, if I had to bet I think I'd put money on United. I can easily see City screwing it up at Newcastle or (much less likely) dropping points to QPR. I seriously doubt United drop any more points from here on out.

Just to confirm, if Chelsea wins the CL Final they get an auto-bid for next season, right? So if they finish out of the top 4 then the 4th place finisher gets screwed out of a spot next year?
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  #64  
Old 05-01-2012, 12:14 PM
mkecane mkecane is offline
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I'd love to believe that Newcastle could get something from that match on Sunday, especially with City's problems away from home this season. And I know the jokes about City failing in the most spectacular way possible. But they're home free if they do the job for 90 minutes on Sunday (City aren't dropping points to QPR, who are awful right now). I just can't see it happening.

And you're correct, if Chelsea beat Bayern, they get the 4th spot.
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  #65  
Old 05-04-2012, 05:59 PM
Busy Scissors Busy Scissors is offline
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Originally Posted by mkecane View Post
I'd love to believe that Newcastle could get something from that match on Sunday, especially with City's problems away from home this season. And I know the jokes about City failing in the most spectacular way possible. But they're home free if they do the job for 90 minutes on Sunday (City aren't dropping points to QPR, who are awful right now). I just can't see it happening.

And you're correct, if Chelsea beat Bayern, they get the 4th spot.
I think the fact that City are a level above Utd in talent, yet it's going down to the wire, shows you that they're a vulnerable side. Mancini, in particular, is not a convincing manager. There is definitely that city-factor at work that could bollox everything up for them.
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  #66  
Old 05-04-2012, 06:28 PM
Gangster Octopus Gangster Octopus is offline
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One of the best seasons ever, each critical spot on the table is up for grabs. Top spot between City and ManU, 3rd/4th/5th between Arsenal, the Magpies and Hotspur. The seventh spot between Everton, Liverpool, and Fulham. And as always relegation up for grabs as well.

I can't even predict, it is so close. I would probably predict City since their tough game is at home. I would go with Arsenal/Tottenham/Newcastle for 3-5 based on Newcastle having to play City.
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  #67  
Old 05-05-2012, 01:56 AM
One And Only Wanderers One And Only Wanderers is offline
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i don't know what to predict for Bolton. I think 4 points from the last 2 games would do it, but can we get them? A lot will depend on the QPR vs Stoke gakme. if they lose that I think we can stay up.
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  #68  
Old 05-05-2012, 07:30 AM
Ximenean Ximenean is offline
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Originally Posted by Gangster Octopus View Post
I can't even predict, it is so close. I would probably predict City since their tough game is at home.
Other way round. Man City have to play Newcastle away, then QPR at home. Meanwhile Man U play Swansea at home, Sunderland away.
I think City's task is harder, so it's pretty even as to who will win the title. I was surprised to see City odds-on favourites by some distance (it has since come in a bit), so I've actually put some money on United. Don't know if they will do it, but seems like a mathematically good bet.
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  #69  
Old 05-05-2012, 05:56 PM
polar bear polar bear is online now
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Originally Posted by Gangster Octopus View Post
One of the best seasons ever, each critical spot on the table is up for grabs. Top spot between City and ManU, 3rd/4th/5th between Arsenal, the Magpies and Hotspur. The seventh spot between Everton, Liverpool, and Fulham. And as always relegation up for grabs as well.

I can't even predict, it is so close. I would probably predict City since their tough game is at home. I would go with Arsenal/Tottenham/Newcastle for 3-5 based on Newcastle having to play City.
What exitement is concerned you're right, quality wise it is very disappointing. If ManU were to win it really is an indictment of the drop in quality of the EPL (relying on oldies as Giggs and Scholes).
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  #70  
Old 05-06-2012, 01:50 PM
Busy Scissors Busy Scissors is offline
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Originally Posted by One And Only Wanderers View Post
i don't know what to predict for Bolton. I think 4 points from the last 2 games would do it, but can we get them? A lot will depend on the QPR vs Stoke gakme. if they lose that I think we can stay up.
Sickener that today for the Wanderers. Was looking forward to seeing the back of QPR and the arch-phoney Mark Hughes, but they've taken it down to the last game. Basically a head-to-head now with them playing Citeh and you playing Stoke - with QPR having the benefit of the draw keeping them up.
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  #71  
Old 05-06-2012, 08:38 PM
MJinks MJinks is offline
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What exitement is concerned you're right, quality wise it is very disappointing. If ManU were to win it really is an indictment of the drop in quality of the EPL (relying on oldies as Giggs and Scholes).
Surely the fact that Man City have spent almost half a billion quid in the last 4 years on transfers in order to (successfully it seems) win the league is a bigger indictment? At least Scholes and Giggs came through the ranks and weren't just hired mercenaries.

...
I reserve the right to step down from my moral high ground if Posh get bought by Carlos Slim and we end up top of the Premier league one day...
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  #72  
Old 05-07-2012, 07:35 AM
polar bear polar bear is online now
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Surely the fact that Man City have spent almost half a billion quid in the last 4 years on transfers in order to (successfully it seems) win the league is a bigger indictment? At least Scholes and Giggs came through the ranks and weren't just hired mercenaries.

...
I reserve the right to step down from my moral high ground if Posh get bought by Carlos Slim and we end up top of the Premier league one day...
Sure, Man City and Chelsea previously are indictments that money buys you championships. I was just talking about the quality of play. You know how the pundits always talk about league winning teams needing to win even when they are playing badly? I feel like that's what has being said about ManU for just about the whole season. City - with all their money - have played some really good football though (and provided pure comedy with Ballotelli).

As for general level of play, the results in Europe show the EPL hasn't been that strong (compared to the naughties). Even Chelsea - while in the Champions League final - seemed second best to me, in the last three rounds (Napoli, Benfica and Barca). Still, they won and good for them, but the play hasn't exactly been an advert for the EPL (unlike Real, Barca, Atletic the Bilbao).

At this point in time I would put the Primera Division waay on top, with the Bundesliga, EPL and (maybe the Seria A) closely together on spots 2/3/4 (in whatever order).

If you look at the top EPL teams (without Man City): ManU and Chelsea pretty much play the same players as a bunch of years ago, except that most of them are in decline (Lamps, Terry, Drogba, Scholes, Ferdinand, Giggs). Arsenal has lost their midfield (Nasri, Fabregas) and has to rely on RVP. Liverpool is ashambles, and anyone must surely agree they aren't as good as when Gerrard and Torres were in their prime.

Teams like Tottenham and Newcastle are doing well, but are never going to be world beaters (well Tottenham maybe has some promise). One of the best teams to watch has been Swansea forkrissake!
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  #73  
Old 05-07-2012, 08:37 AM
mkecane mkecane is offline
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It seems to me that the quality of the Premier League is way up from ~5 years ago. Think of some of the teams that came up and went back down, and how bad they were: Hull, Watford, Derby, Shefield United, and Crystal Palace (add in Boro for good measure, though they were established in the PL). There was a lot of drek. Barnsley (or was it Burnley?) started out well, but fell apart when Owen Coyle left for Bolton. Now, Swansea and Norwich have done very well and played well in the process. QPR have actually had moments where they can play well, though I think they'll deservedly go down. Wolves are awful, and Blackburn's not much better, and Villa is a disappointment. In Villa's case, though, they've sold so many players in the past few years that it's to be expected, and I guess they're bringing in a lot of their youth now, so that should be a silver lining. Bolton is a lot better to watch than under the Allardyce days, though looking less successful. Everton, when they actually bring in some good players (Pienaar and Jelavic) aren't the 10 men behind the ball we're used to.

And for all the knocks of United looking awful by their standards, with a win on Sunday, they will have equaled the points and GD of the 2006/07 team, which many United fans will say is the most fun to watch in the Rooney era. That team finished with 89 points and +56. Right now, they're 86 and +55. This has been done with key injuries and bringing in lots of young players. Oh, and 30m Berbatov has played about 5 matches in 2012. That he isn't playing makes me think SAF is building for the future (again) yet believes they can still do well in the process.

And all the talk of City being so much better...well, it's not showing in the table, is it? They lost to United in the FAC, and went out at the same stage of Europe as United, but to a lesser club (at least in the Europa League). All this was done with their top players, except when they're getting their 3rd suspension or going on 6-month vacations. That said, I'd kill to get Yaya Toure from them.
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  #74  
Old 05-07-2012, 08:55 AM
Jas09 Jas09 is online now
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While the overall league quality may be higher the fact that a team as sloppy defensively and as limited offensively as this Arsenal squad are likely to finish 3rd is surely an indictment of the top-end of table.

I guess you could say it points to the depth and how there are far fewer gimme matches, but I'm not really seeing it. The battle for 3rd and 4th sure seems to be more of a battle of who fails to blow their chance first.
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  #75  
Old 05-07-2012, 09:07 AM
mkecane mkecane is offline
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Well, whatever it says, it's been a pretty interesting and really fun season. The top 2 will probably finish with 2 of the 7 highest point totals ever (I think Chelsea topped 90 twice, Arsenal got it once, and United hit 89 and 90 in recent years). If I have some time later, I'll look to see what sort of point disparities have existed before similar to this year's. Right now, it's 19 points from 2nd to 3rd, and 23 points from 3rd to 14th.
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  #76  
Old 05-07-2012, 09:08 AM
Busy Scissors Busy Scissors is offline
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If Utd and City swapped managers then Utd would be about 7th and City would have 100+ pts. Powerful is the Ferguson effect.
That midfield Utd sent out against City was tragic, I almost felt bad for them.
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  #77  
Old 05-07-2012, 09:12 AM
Jas09 Jas09 is online now
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Oh yeah, the top two teams are undeniably good. And for a follower of those two teams or any number of mid-table teams it's been fun as well, I'm sure. Even the newcomers had pretty good seasons.

Really I guess I'm just bitching about another mediocre-at-best Arsenal season, and have to feel like Liverpool and Spurs fans must feel the same way. Chelsea fans at least have the cup runs to feel good about.
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  #78  
Old 05-07-2012, 09:38 AM
polar bear polar bear is online now
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Well, I did say Man U won ugly a lot this season (hence the points). I agree that the bottom half of the table has been better than it used to be; but not the top half. Hence the relatively bad showing in Europe. I'm not disputing it has been a 'fun' season, but so has been the dutch league for the last 5 years and quality wise it stinks. Just looking at the players in the top teams (compared to a few years ago) should be enough to get at what I'm trying to say.
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  #79  
Old 05-08-2012, 01:44 AM
blindboyard blindboyard is online now
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Am I the only one who remembers the two successful Arsenal teams in 2002 and 2004 having Ray Parlour, Kolo Toure and Sylvain Wiltford? Or Liverpool starting a European Cup final with Jermaine Pennant? Or Arsenal starting one with Eboue and ending up with Almunia in goal? I don't think quality's gone down at all.
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  #80  
Old 05-08-2012, 03:14 AM
One And Only Wanderers One And Only Wanderers is offline
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Sickener that today for the Wanderers. Was looking forward to seeing the back of QPR and the arch-phoney Mark Hughes, but they've taken it down to the last game. Basically a head-to-head now with them playing Citeh and you playing Stoke - with QPR having the benefit of the draw keeping them up.
I think Citeh will do QPR, after all they need to to win the title, the big unknown is what will happen at Stoke. I am hoping the Stoke team will show up with ice creams and deck chairs, but it's going to be a long week.
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  #81  
Old 05-08-2012, 03:47 AM
Busy Scissors Busy Scissors is offline
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Am I the only one who remembers the two successful Arsenal teams in 2002 and 2004 having Ray Parlour, Kolo Toure and Sylvain Wiltford? Or Liverpool starting a European Cup final with Jermaine Pennant? Or Arsenal starting one with Eboue and ending up with Almunia in goal? I don't think quality's gone down at all.
True that. Say what you like about Rafael Benitez, but he won the Champions league with Djimi Traore at left back. Not too many managers around with that byzantine achievement on their cv.
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  #82  
Old 05-08-2012, 03:40 PM
mkecane mkecane is offline
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It looks like Chelsea have given up on 3rd/4th by getting mauled at Anfield. If they want Champions League money next year, they'll need to beat Bayern.

This result will surely help get the hopes up for next year in the Scouse Boom/Bust cycle.
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  #83  
Old 05-09-2012, 02:31 AM
One And Only Wanderers One And Only Wanderers is offline
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It looks like Chelsea have given up on 3rd/4th by getting mauled at Anfield. If they want Champions League money next year, they'll need to beat Bayern.

This result will surely help get the hopes up for next year in the Scouse Boom/Bust cycle.
If they do win, I feel for whichever team does finish in 4th. Imagine being Newcastle and managing 4th, only for it to mean Europa instead of Champions league
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  #84  
Old 05-09-2012, 08:31 AM
mkecane mkecane is offline
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I'll be really disappointed that Liverpool don't finish 4th this year, should Chelsea win it.
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  #85  
Old 05-09-2012, 01:43 PM
Gangster Octopus Gangster Octopus is offline
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In the US every single game will be broadcast live this Sunday. Of course you have to have the right channels and some are live streamed on the Internet, but still every single game.
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  #86  
Old 05-13-2012, 10:59 AM
Laggard Laggard is online now
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Amazing! Suck it Sir Alex you fucking prick.

Ha!
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  #87  
Old 05-13-2012, 11:01 AM
Gangster Octopus Gangster Octopus is offline
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Soccer is so boring!

Wow!
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  #88  
Old 05-13-2012, 11:01 AM
RetroVertigo RetroVertigo is offline
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Mr. Noisy Neighbor, indeed.
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  #89  
Old 05-13-2012, 11:02 AM
Laggard Laggard is online now
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Perhaps the greatest ending to any season in any sport I've ever followed!
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  #90  
Old 05-13-2012, 11:05 AM
Baron Greenback Baron Greenback is offline
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That's the way to finish a season. Fucking hell, I don't even support anyone there.
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  #91  
Old 05-13-2012, 11:08 AM
nudgenudge nudgenudge is offline
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As someone once said: football, bloody hell. Can't remember who it was .
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  #92  
Old 05-13-2012, 11:11 AM
Jack Batty Jack Batty is offline
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Unbelievable. I've never seen anything like it. If you told me ahead of time it would go down like that, I'd never have believed you.

The only downside is that QPR doesn't get relegated. Not that I have anything against QPR but Joey Barton is fucking asshole; he deserved to be a bigger goat than he was.
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  #93  
Old 05-13-2012, 11:34 AM
mkecane mkecane is offline
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Spend 900m. Win the league on GD.

That sucked, but what can you say? Football, bloody hell. United will get it back next year.
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  #94  
Old 05-13-2012, 11:56 AM
RetroVertigo RetroVertigo is offline
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Amazing! Suck it Sir Alex you fucking prick.

Ha!
You forget yourself, sir!
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  #95  
Old 05-13-2012, 01:29 PM
polar bear polar bear is online now
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That's the way to finish a season. Fucking hell, I don't even support anyone there.
Not really, a couple of years ago we had a final day in the Dutch league where three teams could win it. Every 10 minutes we had a different virtual champion. PSV eventually won over Ajax with equal points and a better goal difference by one (1!!) goal. The third team (AZ Alkmaar) would have won it if they won their game; they drew, but hit the post in the last 5 minutes...but no one cares about this league, since it sucks. There also have been a few years that Barca won the championship, solely because Real couldn't beat Tenerife in the last round (with all kind of penalty kicks and the like).

Still a nice end of the season, it's just that we don't see it that often in the EPL. Somehow I like it more now that ManU actually thought they were going to win it...so much more satidfying than if City had won by 5-0.
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  #96  
Old 05-13-2012, 01:52 PM
mkecane mkecane is offline
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2002/03, Rangers beat Celtic by +1 on goal difference. Both had 97 points, but Rangers were +73 vs Celtic's +72. Rangers won their last match 6-1, which included a 90th minute penalty for Rangers, and Celtic won 4-0.
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  #97  
Old 05-13-2012, 02:04 PM
nudgenudge nudgenudge is offline
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Even the English league has an arguably better candidate for most dramatic finale - 1989, when Arsenal won the league with almost the last kick of the season, deep in injury time at the end of the last game, which happened to be against their rivals for the title (the final round of games were not played simultaneously). The two teams finished with the same number of points and the same goal difference, but Arsenal had scored more goals.
For today to top that, it would have to have been City vs. United, held on a day by itself, and with similar goal differences. Still an amazing last day, though.
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  #98  
Old 05-13-2012, 03:26 PM
Laggard Laggard is online now
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Spend 900m. Win the league on GD.

That sucked, but what can you say? Football, bloody hell. United will get it back next year.
How did it suck? Amazing finish and the best team over the entire season won.
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  #99  
Old 05-13-2012, 03:50 PM
Busy Scissors Busy Scissors is offline
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Went to the Everton game today - we dominated Newcastle which surprised me, as in theory they were playing for CL qualification. It was plain sailing though.

The worst attack of Cityitis in history was overcome in the dying seconds - shame IMO as the comedy would have been epic. I'm disappointed they won as it seems like the final victory of total plutocracy in the game. I do have some friends who are long-suffering (and I mean long-suffering) City fans so I'm happy for them at least.

I can only see both Manchester teams diverging from here - with City getting better and Utd falling away. Utd fans will argue it the other way around - as in look how basically shite we are yet we contested things to literally the last kick of the season. If we stopped being shite then we'd take charge. Not the case IMHO - a few years of under-investment (by the standards of top clubs) has done some damage and Ferguson won't be able to turn it around in his remaining time left.

Sad to see Bolton go, especially as it meant QPR staying up.
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  #100  
Old 05-14-2012, 04:03 AM
Cumbrian Cumbrian is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2010
There's some interesting stuff here, what with the finale yesterday and some of the review of the season comments.

I think the closeness of the league between the two Manchester clubs (and their distance from the chasing pack) has obscured that the overall league currently is more competitive than it has been in some time - which is not to say that the quality is as high as it was 4 or 5 years ago either. Arsenal, Tottenham, Newcastle and (on their day) Chelsea have the ability to beat anyone in the league - but they also have the tendency to drop points against unlikely teams. Throw in teams like Swansea, Norwich and (towards the end of the season) Wigan who were well capable of creating upsets with quality play and you might think that the overall quality of the league was really high.

It isn't. It is a real testament to SAF and Manchester United that they pushed the league all the way to the wire because this is not a vintage Manchester United team. The lack of real investment from the Glazers is, I think, beginning to tell as the side has relied on very old players (Scholes had a good season but how desperate are you for a quality midfielder that you have to bring someone out of retirement to get one?), some very young players who needed time to bed in (De Gea being the most obvious example) and some guys who just don't have it anymore - Ferdinand being a prominent example (Vidic being injured was a big problem for them this season). That they got so close speaks to will and organisation, for which they are to be commended. All that said, any team that concedes 4 goals at home to Everton, 6 at home to Manchester City and barely gets a shot in during the biggest game of the season away at City is not going to be up there with the last 20 years worth of Manchester United sides.

The fact is though that the league is not very good - all those teams mentioned above can beat each other because, collectively, the standard of defending is low in the Premier League at the moment and every team has glaring flaws (usually at the back, though for Chelsea it is over-reliance on ageing players). I'd go so far as to say that the teams near the top of the league in 06/07 would likely be near the top of any composite competition that could (virtually) be created.

Manchester City have spent a lot of money - but they're not the first to do this to win a title. Blackburn and Chelsea have been down this road before. They deserved to win the title - if you beat the team in 2nd twice and one of those is 6-1 away from home, you can hardly have people claim that you were not deserving. Still, for all the money that they've spent, they're also still a flawed team - overly reliant on Silva and Yaya Toure in midfield, struggling to find the right striking partnership (Aguero plus who?) and very thin at the back (if Kompany goes down, they're absolutely screwed - much more so than Manchester United, who at least had Evans to come in when Vidic went down - the problem was more Ferdinand over there). You can spend all that money but the team is not very deep and probably not well balanced. I see them getting dumped out in the first knockout stage of next year's Champions' League for instance.

It's been an exciting season but it's going to be interesting to see what happens in the summer. Everyone could stand to invest but the financial fair play rules coming in make it difficult in some respects and Wenger has already said that he expects limited movement due to the economic downturn. Unless some quality youth team players are due to come through for the sides in the upper part of the division, I can see next season being similarly exciting but with the overall quality of the league still lower than in previous years.
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