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    chrondog
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    Re: Futebol

    Post by chrondog on Wed Feb 15, 2017 6:43 pm

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    Re: Futebol

    Post by Ҩ on Thu Feb 16, 2017 2:00 am

    I went over to one of my old professor's apartments in the city to watch the game with some of his friends. I enjoyed myself despite the result. They had a fun time teasing me because of the terrible luck I brought the team. He also cooked this amazing seafood soup with curry spices.

    They just could not do anything the entire game and they were gifted that one goal. After that they had about 15-20 minutes where they were able to press, maintain possession, and produced a few promising chances. Once Kos went out things fell apart really quickly.

    It is probably time for Wenger to go after this season, which sucks because I really like him a lot and want him to be able to leave the club on a good note so that he can show all the detractors.
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    Re: Futebol

    Post by chrondog on Thu Feb 16, 2017 7:13 pm

    i have committed thousands of words to discussion of Arsene Wenger, these players, this club. my view at this point is not reactionary or myopic, it's nuanced. he's good and he's bad. it could get better when he leaves, or it could get worse. it's almost an ideological question at this point about the value of stasis--what is the value of continuing to be "successful" but not "compete"? is it better to assume the risk of dropping a level for the potential reward of moving up one? is agonizing stability better than the possibility of agonizing volatility?

    it's difficult because Wenger has brought many of the things that people love about Arsenal and attracted them to the club. they have style and improvisation. they have upstanding and likable players. they bring along young talent and show faith in development. they do not succumb to the "win at all costs", siege mentality of some awful narcissists who run other football clubs. but the reality is many of these elements are actually antithetical to winning in the modern game. high turnover among players keeps the squad fresh, the players on edge, and the performance levels strong. young players cannot be trusted in big competitions--you're much better off selling a youngster with potential and buying a readymade 28 year old to slot in. players who are likable and take selfies connect with the fans and are fun to root for, but they are too comfortable to display the kind of tenacity and edge it takes to come out on top in bloodsport.

    last year i think the difference between winning the title and coming in second was a big Cazorla injury. i believe we would've won the title last year barring that injury. that was Wenger's year. he knows we don't have the most talented or the most ruthless squad. but he believed that with enough time and luck, we would have our moment. last year was that moment and the moment was squandered. unfortunately, i don't think that luck is going to come around twice. a title win last year could've satiated everyone for another five years, if not more. the economics of the game are continuing to make Arsenal's squad building plan untenable when compared to Man U, Chelsea, and Man City. Liverpool and Spurs will also be around, but they don't have the resources of those "big 3".

    i will still support Wenger for the next two years if he sticks around and enjoy these players. i like them a lot. but they won't win anything except for possibly another FA Cup. if Wenger leaves, they probably still won't win in the next two years. a new manager will start the process of overhauling the squad though, and perhaps a new vision will bring a new feel to the team.
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    Re: Futebol

    Post by Nick on Thu Feb 16, 2017 8:30 pm

    Does the manager of Arsenal matter if they have keep the same spending policy? Correct me if I am wrong, but the revenue the club brings in means they should be competing against the Barca's, Real Madrid's and Chelseas of the world.

    But they're still scouting the Belgian league for hidden gems. That seems as much a club policy towards player acquisition as it does a manager philosophy.
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    chrondog
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    Re: Futebol

    Post by chrondog on Fri Feb 17, 2017 2:13 am

    Nick wrote:Does the manager of Arsenal matter if they have keep the same spending policy? Correct me if I am wrong, but the revenue the club brings in means they should be competing against the Barca's, Real Madrid's and Chelseas of the world.

    But they're still scouting the Belgian league for hidden gems. That seems as much a club policy towards player acquisition as it does a manager philosophy.

    It's a very good question. Part of the issue is that Wenger sets the spending policy, so he will always be tied to those decisions. His frugality definitely infects the whole system. I think it is possible that another manager could get more out of the same sets of players over the short-term by pushing them harder. It isn't always the best long-term move to grind on your current crop of players, though.

    According to these latest figures Arsenal's revenue is around 68% of Manchester United's, even though Arsenal is the #7 club in the world. City and Chelsea are also higher. Further, those two clubs have "sugar daddies" in the form of Abramovich and the Emeratis that inject cash when they need to. Obviously Financial Fair Play has affected that somewhat, but not very much. Even if Abramovich injects 20 million into the club to buy a player, if Chelsea sells that player for 40 million in two years I think it's fine for FFP on their accounts (though I'm not an expert in the system). It's not a certainty that you'll be able to resell every player you buy in this way, but Chelsea have been extremely successful in this regard in the past few years. I give their staff a ton of credit for that. To me, whether Arsenal should be competing with City, Chelsea, and United isn't the most important issue. Even though Arsenal's resources dwarf almost everyone in Europe, these teams are on another level still. The issue is we should be blowing teams like Liverpool and Spurs away, and their growing relevance makes everyone who supports the club nervous.

    Beyond revenue, the big issue at the moment for attracting top players for Arsenal is wages. The club hasn't revised its wage structure in many years, which is the issue with the current contract holdups for Ozil and Sanchez. Further, there are TONS of players at the club who are mediocre or backups and on very large wages. Especially British players. Arsenal need to have the stones to pay world class players a top class wage, AND tell the middling players at the club to get fucked and they're not getting top wages just because Sanchez is. They also need to cut bait on decent players who don't make a tangible impact but are sucking up huge wages. Players like Ramsey, Gibbs, Walcott, etc.

    I don't think there's anything wrong with scouting for hidden gems, but that long-term development needs to be paired with bringing in quality players for RIGHT NOW, almost every year. Even if you believed in the long-term development of a player like Oxlade-Chamberlain, for example, he's not a title or European winning player. He should absolutely be loaned out every year until he's a star. People don't like that and think that stunting young players growth is cynical, but who cares. Do it to improve the team.

    As much as it has been used as a scapegoat by Wenger and some fans, it's worth pointing out that Arsenal will continue to be in a better financial position every single year going forward. The Emirates project was done at the wrong time from a global financing point of view and cost more than people thought, but it is a revenue monster. A new manager would definitely have funds to work with. It will be interesting to see if clubs like Liverpool, Spurs, and Chelsea struggle with their own stadium expansion plans.

    Beyond the transfer strategy of the club (which I understand as largely dictated by Wenger), my biggest issue with Wenger is that I see him as a macromanager and not a micromanager. In the 90s and early 2000s, his focus on reshaping the club through the culture, the training, the diet, etc. was revolutionary and paid huge dividends. He bought bright footballers and gave them the freedom to find their own way on the pitch in an era where the rest of the league wasn't as skilled. He did massive things. But the game has moved on. Players are stronger and faster than ever. One-dimensional teams don't cut it. A manager like Pep or Conte is a micromanager who puts his stamp on every aspect of the teams play. They instruct their players on exactly where to stand on the pitch. They choreograph attacking moves that lead to goals. They use their force of will and personality to affect each member of the squad individually. I don't think Wenger is interested or capable of that style of management. As far as I understand, the attacking plan for this team is to "pass it around and create chances". The lack of attention to the shape in the attacking third, to me, is the root of many of our issues defending on the break. Do you think Conte tells Hazard, Costa, and Pedro to "pass it around and create chances"? Or does he show them videos of the precise balls he wants them to play, where he wants them to cross and shoot and pass from, the statistics for creating chances against this opponent, and then has them repeat it on the training ground?
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    Re: Futebol

    Post by Ҩ on Sat Feb 18, 2017 3:05 am

    Thanks for that write up, Chrono.

    The only enjoyable part about watching the game this week, aside from that bomb ass soup, was being around intelligent and engaged fans. My professor has been following the team since his childhood in Tehran in the 60s. He adores Wenger and he gave me a pretty solid crash course on the teams history. He also expressed some nostalgia for the old stadium in Highbury and lamented the new generation of spoiled, impulsive yuppie fans. His assessment was that in the 1990s, as Wenger was revolutionizing both the club and transitively the entire league, the fans themselves were also the most good humored, funny, and self-deprecating.

    The cliche about Arsenal fans today is really obnoxious. Arsenal Fan TV and all that. Do you recommend any sites that are good weekly reads? I usually give their SB Nation page a quick glance before any match but the comment sections are usually awful.
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    Re: Futebol

    Post by chrondog on Sat Feb 18, 2017 3:29 am

    Since I don't live in England and don't have that historical perspective I have a hard time discerning whether the moaning about "Arsenal fans" is mostly fact or fiction. Maybe Bruegel would know better? Certainly any fanbase that gets accustomed to winning and then drops a level begins to moan? Manchester United fans have been pretty fucking annoying since SAF left, but many of their ex players dominate the media landscape so they seem to escape criticism. I think as the Arsenal fanbase has gotten a lot bigger, both domestically and globally, it's also become decidedly more middle or upper middle class. That means less atmosphere at the stadium, more upper crust anxiety, and more entitlement. But Liverpool also seem to be having similar problems AND their domestic title drought is longer. Benitez's CL victory papered over the cracks though, I guess. Plus they have the same ex-pros dominating the media thing on their side. It's not impossible for me to believe that in England Arsenal fans are exceptionally annoying because of the triple entitlement of 1) past success, 2) rich club and, 3) being in London, but I haven't seen any real evidence that would make me think one way or the other. Arsenal fans seem to be just as reactionary and histrionic as any sports team I've ever supported. The complaints I see about "Arsenal fans" are basically about "modern fans" writ large, imo. I also don't think having a recent rivalry with half of the other top clubs (Manchester United, Chelsea, and Spurs) helps Arsenal. There's not a lot of non-fan defenders of the club because most other teams need us to fail to be successful.

    Chelsea, United and most of the other big clubs have their own version of ArsenalTV too. ArsenalTV, as I understand it, was just the first one to get really big. It's weird for people to hate the club because they have media savvy fans. That's not to say they're not insane and hilarious, but it's small shit.

    I don't read any Arsenal-specific media, really. I think some people make fun of Arseblog, but last I checked it was still good. r/gunners on Reddit would be the place I would go. I read r/soccer religiously, r/gunners not so much. The main things I consume are The Football Ramble podcast and Guardian Football Weekly podcast. I like The Guardian, BBC, and occasionally ESPNFC (when they're not generating pure clickbait) for general football articles.
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    Re: Futebol

    Post by Bruegel on Sat Feb 18, 2017 4:54 am

    Arsenal fans have always been a relatively tame bunch. Highbury wasn't called the library for nothing.

    I lived on Gillespie Road for years and could happily sleep through matches in the day when I was on night shift.

    A few musings on Arsenal's current problems:

    The extent of their decline has been somewhat masked by the low quality/transitional nature of their major domestic rivals (Leicester won the league, ffs)

    Wenger inherited the defensive bedrock on which his league success was built. The invincibles were forged in that cauldron of defensive stability/strong leadership that predated his era. That influence has ineviatbly diminished so the team has become more a reflection of him than the divine fusion that characterised his first 10 years.

    Chrono is pretty spot on about Wenger's spending agenda. He was conditioned by the stadium-funding austerity and genuinely sees relative frugality and top four finishes as preferable to actually exploiting the spending parity that his careful stewardship has now afforded.

    I've got a lot of time for the chap but I do understand the frustration of fans who pay the highest prices in the game to watch an obscenely-remunerated sexagenarian guard their coffers like a miserly Victorian stepfather.

    The departure of David Dein really didn't help. Wenger has always had defensive blind spots that were somewhat tempered by Dein's influence. The repeated failure to pull the trigger on Kante despite the player's willingness to join the club is the ultimate distillation of his transfer market perversity.

    I also have some sympathy, albeit diminishing, with die-hard Wenger acolytes who fear that his exit and an Usmanov-led spending spree would fundamentally alter the nature of the club. Although, I'd remind them that it was formed in 1886, not 1996.

    Personally, I think its time he let somebody else have a bash at building on his legacy because he's been tarnishing it for a few years now.
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    Re: Futebol

    Post by chrondog on Sat Feb 18, 2017 4:46 pm

    Bruegel wrote:The extent of their decline has been somewhat masked by the low quality/transitional nature of their major domestic rivals (Leicester won the league, ffs)

    Not winning the title last year really killed Wenger. Not capitalizing on the transitions by Chelsea and Manchester United, two of our modern rivals, makes it difficult to see a path to the title in the future. As I said upthread, Wenger's strategy always seemed to be the long game. Apply his low risk strategy and EVENTUALLY you'd sneak a title win. And in his big chance to do that, it slipped away. A Cazorla injury!

    Also, consider how the gap between England and the rest of the top teams in Europe is widening. There have been many people prognosticating why this is. The "Winter Break" argument is popular, but not convincing. It's just not enough on it's own. I see two big issues. First is inflation. Arsenal and Bayern Munich have similar revenue and wage bills, but Bayern's squad is head and shoulders above ours. The fact is that from their position atop the Bundesliga they can snap up the best German talent and bargain prices and still have money to poach players around Europe. And when they go to a club and ask about a player they don't get quoted some insane, inflated fee because the club knows about the English TV deal. Every English team is not in as good a position as their revenue would suggest because they aren't getting value for that money. La Liga is basically a cartel that is funneling money to Real Madrid and Barcelona, further strengthening their financial position. Second, the style of the Premier League is not as suited to the tactical rigors of European play. The English obsession with high tempo and pace turn PL games into scrappy contests that de-emphasize tactics and doesn't teach players how to adjust the pace of the game to suit their advantage. The game within the game, if you will. Arsenal are exceptionally guilty of this. It's why they occasionally have 15 minute patches where they look amazing, then run around with their heads cut off for the next 30.

    Bruegel wrote:Wenger inherited the defensive bedrock on which his league success was built. The invincibles were forged in that cauldron of defensive stability/strong leadership that predated his era. That influence has ineviatbly diminished so the team has become more a reflection of him than the divine fusion that characterised his first 10 years.

    An astute historical point. I have heard people make this point before, but as youngin' who became interested in Arsenal partially because of Samir-fucking-Nasri, I try to not chime in on the history too much. There can be no doubt that Wenger just isn't particular interested in training defense. There's a reason you hear so much about "Steve Bould".

    A good historical video--Wenger's first game in charge vs Blackburn


    Bruegel wrote:I've got a lot of time for the chap but I do understand the frustration of fans who pay the highest prices in the game to watch an obscenely-remunerated sexagenarian guard their coffers like a miserly Victorian stepfather.

    When discussing the domestic situation, always essential to remember this point. Arsenal tickets are like 60 quid or whatever? I would be fuming if I was actually going to the games. It's actually a goal of mine to see a game at the Emirates before I'm 30. We'll see how that pans out.

    Bruegel wrote:I also have some sympathy, albeit diminishing, with die-hard Wenger acolytes who fear that his exit and an Usmanov-led spending spree would fundamentally alter the nature of the club. Although, I'd remind them that it was formed in 1886, not 1996.

    Personally, I think its time he let somebody else have a bash at building on his legacy because he's been tarnishing it for a few years now.

    As do I, but not primarily because it would change "the nature of the club". Arsenal have financial resources, but they're not unlimited. I fear an overreaction that brings in a lot more mediocre players and cripples the long-term flexibility of the club. Since I'm not sure there's the right successor in the wings, I don't want to see whoever takes over as the next manager given all the money and told to spend it. I think that we need to be sure that we have someone with a plan that can lay out a coherent transfer strategy that builds the team over a period of years.

    I think it's almost more than likely that a change in manager could see Arsenal drop out of the top 4 for an extended period of time.

    But the last point is basically it. As much as Wenger critics have said "it's the same thing year after year", I would give him more credit and say that there have been distinct phases with different context. Pre-stadium, post-stadium, selling club, buying club, etc. Unfortunately, the results have been eerily, blindingly similar and that has jaded everyone.
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    Re: Futebol

    Post by chrondog on Sat Feb 18, 2017 9:36 pm

    https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/feb/18/arsene-wenger-arsenal-manager-four-more-years

    as a sentimental guy myself, there is a part of me that would revel in Wenger staying on another four years. if there was a way for me to be employed as his personal assistant and follow him around everywhere he went i would do it.

    more than anything changing managers is a reset button for the media. it's a scapegoat. changing managers twice in the last few seasons hasn't done jack shit for Manchester United except lower the expectations every year because "a new manager needs time to implement his ideas!!"

    as much as i've identified Wenger's culture of spending and his recruitment choices as one of the main barriers for the club reaching another level, i am stupid and sentimental enough to prefer him to stay on as long as heart is fully in it and continue this level of stasis rather than let a bunch of reactionary fans and media members push him out.
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    Re: Futebol

    Post by Bruegel on Sun Feb 19, 2017 4:14 am

    Taking over at Utd straight after SAF had somehow squeezed a 13th title out of a declining squad is the epitome of poisoned chalice. not really comparable.

    I don't think stasis quite conveys the current trajectory. The certainty with which we can predict that they will not be truly competitive in the CL or league creates a similar dynamic to dropping out of the top four, particularly in terms of attracting the highest strata. I'm not sure they'd attract another Sanchez now. Even less likely after a couple more years of this.

    The days of being able to write off those that think its time for a change as a bunch of reactionaries are long behind us. Last season was the watershed; a lot of slow-to-judgement and level-headed gooners called time. This season I'm seeing a lot of ardent Wenger supporters hoping for a dignified amicable exit (partly for legacy damage limitation purposes).

    I have an unusual perspective because I'm a season ticket holder but wouldn't identify myself as an Aresnal supporter. I'm very thankful to Wenger for what he's served-up for me over the last 20 years and Id happily watch his sides play for another few year but from my emotionally-distant/experience-rich vantage point, I'd advise hime to ride off into the sunset in May and spend a few years on the Copacabana having kick abouts in his budgie smugglers...


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    Re: Futebol

    Post by Bruegel on Sun Feb 19, 2017 4:14 am

    still a stud
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    Re: Futebol

    Post by chrondog on Mon Feb 20, 2017 4:45 pm

    Your point about SAF's poisoned chalice is well taken. One, I think Arsenal could easily have the same problem when Wenger leaves and drop out of the top 4. I also think that it shows that you can't just change the manager, you have to change to the right manager. I don't think there's an obvious "right manager" out there, though there are many good ones in Europe.

    Also right that the "top 4 stasis" doesn't reflect that the club has actually fallen relative to other rivals. Going back to another point I made, the wage structure is a big big deal. There are really only 30-40 top players in the entire world and you have to open up the top of the wage structure to get those players, otherwise they go to Real Madrid. The reality is Arsenal aren't trying to outmuscle West Brom for players. Even if we can't actually compete with Real Madrid, we have to compete for those same players and give them a better opportunity to start on the same wages. That's how the Ozil deal went down.

    Even though he constantly talks about how he has nothing to do after the game, I would really love to see Wenger all over the television when he's finally done. He's fantastic.

    Heading off to a bar that serves Bosnian food and shows all the games on tv for SUTTON UNITED. If I never post again you know why (I choked on a cevapi).
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    Re: Futebol

    Post by Bruegel on Mon Feb 20, 2017 6:16 pm

    chrondog wrote:(I choked on a cevapi).

    lol



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    Re: Futebol

    Post by Ҩ on Mon Feb 20, 2017 8:59 pm

    Arsenal looked about as evenly matched today as they did against Bayern on Wednesday...
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    Re: Futebol

    Post by Bruegel on Mon Feb 20, 2017 10:37 pm

    One of my mates is an attendance completist. He paid more to see the match today than he did for the 2006 CL final. Less than 500 gooners in the ground. Lowest attendance for a game involving Arsenal since records began.

    Best part of the match was watching Xhaka wrestle with his conscience about sliding on plastic. Now there is a man who appreciates a good cevapi.
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    Re: Futebol

    Post by chrondog on Tue Feb 21, 2017 4:31 pm

    Ҩ wrote:Arsenal looked about as evenly matched today as they did against Bayern on Wednesday...

    wank

    I thought Sutton looked impressively resolute, but, aside from the first 15 minutes, they went over an hour without controlling the ball and contributed almost nothing going forward other than some industry. Arsenal will never be a lockdown defensive side so Sutton never looked snuffed out down 1-0 or 2-0, but they really never looked much like stringing four passes together, let alone scoring. Not a particular impressive or tenacious Arsenal performance, but I'm not having any of that shit you're selling here.
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    Re: Futebol

    Post by chrondog on Tue Feb 21, 2017 4:40 pm

    Bruegel wrote:Best part of the match was watching Xhaka wrestle with his conscience about sliding on plastic. Now there is a man who appreciates a good cevapi.

    i'd dip lepinja in ajvar with this bro any day

    Mo, the Bosnian bartender, was apparently a Rijeka player in the 60s or 70s or something? i think he has a house in Croatia somewhere. he's from Banja Luka in the Northern part of Bosnia and had the brightest, lightest blue eyes i've seen in awhile. he had a profitable grocery store here in Portland called "Taste of Europe" market, but converted it years ago into his true passion, 442 SOCCER BAR! http://www.442soccerbar.com/

    probably the only bar in Portland that has slivovitz behind the counter. Mo gave me a free shotglass of it and i choked down the Serbian firewater with pleasure.
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    Re: Futebol

    Post by Ҩ on Wed Feb 22, 2017 12:45 am

    Monaco v City was lit. Goddamn.
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    Re: Futebol

    Post by chrondog on Fri Feb 24, 2017 5:24 pm

    the online reaction to the Ranieri sacking is a great example of how the faction that disagrees with a decision will always be the loudest and get the most attention. all season long all anyone does is talk about which mangers should be fired and reference the betting markets on who is going to get sacked. pundits have discussed sacking Ranieri for well over a month now. then it finally happens and i have seen almost universal condemnation from the media. no greater evidence that the world is chugging along on a furnace of burning hot takes.
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    Re: Futebol

    Post by Ҩ on Sun Mar 05, 2017 1:15 am

    Wenger is not going to make any friends keeping Alexis on the bench. That first half was garbage.
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    Re: Futebol

    Post by Nick on Sun Mar 05, 2017 9:49 am

    Considering how well Liverpool plays against the top 6, it is frustrating to see them drop so many points to the bottom half of the table.

    Yesterday's match was an example of how amazing this group can play in Klopp's system.
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    Re: Futebol

    Post by Ҩ on Mon Mar 06, 2017 2:13 am

    It seems entirely possible at this point that Wenger, Ozil, and Sanchez could all leave this summer.
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    Re: Futebol

    Post by chrondog on Mon Mar 06, 2017 4:22 pm

    Ozil seems exceptionally unlikely and Wenger looks more likely to stay by the day. Alexis is maybe 30/70 leave/stay, for me.

    I couldn't bring myself to post anything about the game the other day, so I wrote a post talking up Hull City's Sam Clucas then deleted it because it was shite.

    I still don't rate Liverpool after that performance, which shows what I think of Arsenal at this point. Spurs should rip both of us to shreds. The results don't bare that out because of fixture congestion--Liverpool have actually smashed Spurs a few times this season already--but I think Spurs are clearly the second best XI in the league. Their depth is questionable though. Kinda like Liverpool!
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    Re: Futebol

    Post by Ҩ on Wed Mar 08, 2017 12:44 am

    chrondog wrote:

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    Re: Futebol

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