OT: 2018-19 EPL Discussion Thread Part 2

The other thread has 500+ comments and takes forever to load, even though there's a relative lack of gifs or images, so I made a part 2.

The EPL run-in is shaping up to be a doozy, with Liverpool and Manchester City at the top of the table with Tottenham lurking behind. United, Chelsea, and Arsenal are in a three-way race for the fourth and final Champions league qualifying spot.

At the other end of the table, there are six teams within three points of the final relegation spot, with Fulham and Huddersfield looking likely to take the drop.

Feel free to use this thread to discuss any other domestic leagues (e.g. la liga) and domestic cup competitions. UCL discussion has its own thread (link).

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DISCLAIMER: Forum topics may not have been written or edited by The Key Play staff.

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Come on you Reds!!! Thanks GGC for starting this new thread.

Little Monday morning tunes, for the intricate cog in our attack.

Side note: Regardless of whether we win the league or not, this has been an incredible ride, one loss with 2/3's of the season done. I love this team so much!

"...I'm getting a little tired of hearing how good everybody else is..." -Coach Fu [This week: 1-0]

I can't figure out this Leicester City team. Win some good games lose to bad teams, don't finish games strong send in best player to have his first touch be a penalty kick.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

Puel out after yesterday's thrashing. Can't be too surprised, they looked like a championship side again Palace. They look like they are missing that link to Vardy that Mahrez gave them.

The crazy thing is that they were the clearly superior side for about 85 minutes of game time. Just couldn't finish and couldn't defend the counter attack. And they effectively just gave up when it was 3-1.

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

I'm curious to what you saw to say they were clearly superior. Lots of possession, but I think that's by design from ol woy. I don't think ever really felt like they'd score a second.

They had a cluster of shots wide from the penalty spot or thereabouts that were really solid chances. Lots of possession that wound up with dumb potshots from 25 yards, yes, but it also seemed like they were unlucky to go down 1-0 and 2-1 when those goals happened. Not that the goals themselves were lucky, just against the bigger run of play.

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

Fair. Again, I think the possession is by design. Any team designed like that is either looking for the counter or set pieces. Nobody in Palace's midfield is a ball carrier, so its pretty much lump it up to Zaha and Townsend and hope for the best.

Yes and Palace sure were lethal on the counter yesterday. Definitely capitalized big time.

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

Chelsea has been hit with a transfer ban over the next 2 windows over rule violations concerning youth players.

Even with that, the right course seems to be offloading some of the players who keep tuning out managers. The ban aside, they have several teams worth of players out on loan. A philosophy change might be what they need.

This might actually save Sarri his job in my view. That said they'll appeal and drag it out till they have this window to prep for the ban.

I for one hate how silly the appeals process is Chelsea won't get out of it but know the appeals process can take long enough to get them oast the summer window.

Wonder how pulisic feels about his choice now

Directions from Blacksburg to whoville, go north till you smell it then go east until you step in it

I actually think a scenario where Chelsea can give Sarri time will yield good results for them ultimately. He actually has one more win in his first 43 matches (28W6D9L) than Pep did in his first 43 (27W9D7L) at City. Though the situations are different, coaches with strong philosophical play styles and a system-first type of structure need a little time to acclimate the squad both in comfort and getting the right personnel into the team.

On the Pulisic note, I actually think if Sarri survives this season and gets more time, I believe Pulisic is the type of player who can thrive in Sarri's system. Similar skillset to some of his best guys at Napoli.

I guess that was kind of what I was saying that without the ban they very well may sack him and go for a shiny new object instead of sticking with a guy who can do it when given ample time.

Id be worried for pulisic if he gets thrown into the first team when he's not ready like if hazard leaves and Hudson odoi doesn't start for whatever reason. Who knows how long the appeal takes could be next year before it's settled so we will see

Directions from Blacksburg to whoville, go north till you smell it then go east until you step in it

Tottenham do an Arsenal at Burnley and probably put an end to their league hopes. Pochettino's master class this week included yelling at the referees after the match

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

Of course it was Mike Dean. Poch probably has the unanimous support of every club's fanbase in the league on this one.

Word on the street is he called them bottlers after the game and poch didn't take to kindly to it. And then told him to repeat it to the cameras.

Taylor, looking desperately throws it deep..HAS A MAN OPEN DANNY COALE WITH A CATCH ALL THE WAY DOWN TO THE FIVE!!!!....hes still open

I don't like injuries but hopefully this weekends results play well for arsenal over the next week or two. Poch has to get at least a 2 game touchline ban for that yesterday putting him out for Arsenal next week. Wenger got 3 for calling out refs. Then the injuries to Man U for the game in 2 weeks. Hopefully sets up well for Arsenal to get 2 or 4 points out of those two matches. Them they'll be done with the top 6 for the season.

Correy

Four injury substitutions in the first half of United-Libpool, including three by United. I've never seen anything like it

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

Not to mention one of the 3 United subs was for a sub, Lingard, who never should have came on in the first place. Big mistake by Ole there.

Yeah, that's a pretty glaring error if you know someone is an injury risk in their own right coming back from a muscle pull, especially a hamstring.

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

Missed opportunity with that many subs the first half, but in a way they played a Mourinho type match, parked the bus and hoped for the counter for about 75% of the match. They played better than us, hands down. Usually a away point at Old Trafford would be a positive, but with the way ManCity is playing, it just feels deflating. To think I feel deflated after one loss this season, is baffling.

"...I'm getting a little tired of hearing how good everybody else is..." -Coach Fu [This week: 1-0]

I heard a lot of fans baffled why Klopp didn't select Keita but I think he had to rest him since Keita has played the last 3-4 games in a row and we have another midweek game and weekend game coming up so rotation will be important.

I think the optimist in me is thinking that if I was told in August we would be a point clear with only Spurs(H) and Chelsea(A)(H) with chelsea imploding and 11 games to go I would take it in a heartbeat. But yeah it feels different with City closing the gap from 7 (what could have been 10 if we won) to just 1 point scares me. Having heartbreak in 13-14 to City, I just hope they can hold out. I still have a good feeling they will turn a corner but I do wonder if the pressure is getting to them a bit...it definitely felt like we just went for the tie not the win.

All that being said when, in the first 30 minutes, Mata, Herrera, Firmino, and Martial Rashford are all hobbling with Lingard coming on then promptly going off...I knew then it was going to be a very strange game.

Chelsea is at Anfield...Everton is away

Rashford was limping around all game too. Just a strange game all around

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

The only reason I wanted Keita, is because we needed someone to penetrate that packed back line. Instead of it being a 4-4-2, it was more like a 5-3-2, and props to them for being able to still counter from that sort of formation. They have such talent and speed. Spurs with Kane back will be challenging, and Chelsea will show up regardless of the implosion that's happening over there. Watford and Everton (Pickford is going to be a man possessed) is going to be a challenge this week. One of the commentators made a great point, our midfield at this point doesn't have the consistent goal-scoring threat (see Pogba/DeBruyne) that other teams have, so if the front 3 are shut down, it's going to be a long game. It can't be understated, getting Ox back for even one or two matches at the end of the season will be MASSIVE (and getting Keita's confidence to pull the trigger too). I'm also a little baffled that Trent didn't start. We really could've used that extra winger to get back behind their backline easier. I have tons of gripes, but most are in hindsight, and as the cliche goes, it's 20/20. We're 1 point up, and that scares the crap out of me. I just hope Klopp can gather the lads (especially Henderson), and say, look we have 11 to go, we have an 11 game season, let's go out there an grab every point possible. That's all we can do at this point of the season honestly, Man City isn't going to hand it to us, we're going to have to take it, it's been an incredible ride, and I'm scared for my heart over the coming weeks.

"...I'm getting a little tired of hearing how good everybody else is..." -Coach Fu [This week: 1-0]

Hell we played a 4-5-.5with rashford simply taking up space but his hobbling around really showed how bad of a sub Lingard was to make he should've bit the bullet and put Pereira on for mata and Sanchez on for rashford so we could've played a team with legs but I'll give rashford credit he stuck it out on one leg.

Directions from Blacksburg to whoville, go north till you smell it then go east until you step in it

I can't stand ManUre, but, props to Rashford, he had an incredible game, he gutted that out and kept our defense honest. Pogba played well too, finding pockets of space.

"...I'm getting a little tired of hearing how good everybody else is..." -Coach Fu [This week: 1-0]

I was shocked about TAA but what I have heard is that he is still recovering and it would be too much too soon for him. Similar to Keita playing so much recently. I think the Bayern game took a lot out of the squad.

It's becoming more and more evident that the Bernd Leno deal was a steal.

VT Class of '12 (MSE), MVBone, Go Hokies!

I think that's what Liverpool were hoping to get out of Karius, it just never happened. Germany is stacked pretty deep at keeper.

I'm just glad we didn't pay over 3x the amount for Kepa. Hoooly cow.

VT Class of '12 (MSE), MVBone, Go Hokies!

Immense double save against spurs just now. Absolutely incredible to save the second

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

Kepa refusing to be subbed off in extra time is one of the least professional things I've ever seen in pro sports in my lifetime. Absolute unadulterated disrespect. His bungled save against Aguero in the shootout cost his team the match as well for some instant karma.

Edit: I'm not sure if this is an elaborate plot to save face, or it was literally just misinterpreted by everyone watching, but they are saying it was all a misunderstanding now. The story is now that Sarri thought Kepa was seriously injured and Kepa was just communicating that he was okay.

What are the odds he his benched a game or two? Or even longer? Hard to justify sitting that much money on the bench, but you gotta imagine Sarri can't just let it slide.

If I'm Sarri, I don't even let him train with the senior side for the rest of the year, let alone make a matchday squad. Make Abramovich fire me so it's obvious he cares about the players opinions more than the manager's if that's what he wants to.

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

That ending was such a shit show

Taylor, looking desperately throws it deep..HAS A MAN OPEN DANNY COALE WITH A CATCH ALL THE WAY DOWN TO THE FIVE!!!!....hes still open

Kepa is a disgrace but the players protecting him from sarri says it all they are a group of players that are uncoachable and I thought sarri was gonna walk out before he remembered to go back to get fired and get some money at least. After a great performance it ended in a shit show and if I was sarri kepa would be training with the u12s the rest of the year and I'd tell azpilecueta he's manager and go have a smoke

Directions from Blacksburg to whoville, go north till you smell it then go east until you step in it

Chelsea is rotten to the core. No manager is going to fix that, they need to clean house.

VT Class of '12 (MSE), MVBone, Go Hokies!

The fact nobody from the team tried to get kepa to listen says it all even the captain didn't care they need to clean every nook and cranny out not even mou could get this lot in order

Directions from Blacksburg to whoville, go north till you smell it then go east until you step in it

David Luiz went and told him to stay in the game (based on body language interpretation from myself), which makes it even worse.

And then Kepa winks at the camera after the game? Sure - this was a "misunderstanding."

On unrelated news fernandinho and laporte were hurt today out for the cryptic "weeks" designation due to muscle injuries. Not great bob

Taylor, looking desperately throws it deep..HAS A MAN OPEN DANNY COALE WITH A CATCH ALL THE WAY DOWN TO THE FIVE!!!!....hes still open

Brendan Rogers is rumored to have left Celtic to take over for Leicester City after Claude Puel was sacked. Really excited to see Rogers return to the EPL. I rated him as a manager but felt like he was dealing with some personal issues behind the scenes (Failing marriage) and ultimately was done in by his refusal to work with the transfer committee. Seeing the money raised by sales of certain players, the main stand, etc. I could certainly see Rogers being much more successful at Liverpool now than when he took over.

So with that being said, i am thrilled to see him back in the EPL where I believe he can take Leicester into the top-8. And it is just one more ex-Liverpool manager who still has a chance to take points off City like all the others have this season :P

And it is just one more ex-Liverpool manager who still has a chance to take points off City like all the others have this season

via GIPHY

At this point, it's one of few teams that I see having a chance at beating Man City the rest of the way. Call it "empty hope" if you want, but I am holding on by a thread right now, a "one-point wide" thread. I need whatever hope I can get to help my heart get through this season.

"...I'm getting a little tired of hearing how good everybody else is..." -Coach Fu [This week: 1-0]

This 3 game stretch is crucial for city. With all of the injuries piling up at the same positions it's really important that we get through west ham, Bournemouth away, and Watford. If city can get through that and the champions league match with Schalke before the international break to get a breather for guys like jesus mendy stones laporte and fernandinho who are all nursing some injuries thatd be huge

Taylor, looking desperately throws it deep..HAS A MAN OPEN DANNY COALE WITH A CATCH ALL THE WAY DOWN TO THE FIVE!!!!....hes still open

Esh, I think you got the depth to handle all 3 of those teams, on an off day. The only reason I'd be concerned if I were you was the absence of Fern, that spelled big trouble for you guys around the Christmas break when you dropped significant points.

"...I'm getting a little tired of hearing how good everybody else is..." -Coach Fu [This week: 1-0]

Top 3 center backs are hurt. Top 2 left backs are hurt. Real Madrid cant even absorb that. I dont care who you're talking about that's rough

Taylor, looking desperately throws it deep..HAS A MAN OPEN DANNY COALE WITH A CATCH ALL THE WAY DOWN TO THE FIVE!!!!....hes still open

I'm not saying those aren't significant losses, but LFC has endured some similar circumstances too:

3 CB's hurt at one time: Gomez, Lovren, Matip [Required Fabinho to play against the Wolves in the FA cup]
TAA injury, and our second RB choice gone on loan to Bournemouth (our doing, so not a one for one comparison)

So I get it, not many teams can absorb that loss, but I reiterate my earlier point, when you have the likes of Sterling, Mahrez, Gabriel, Sane, and others up front that can't ALL get on the field at once, you should be able to take on the likes of Watford, and other middling teams. The upcoming stretch of Watford and Everton scare me, just because we don't have the depth that Man City has. I am of the belief at this point that Liverpool has to win out, or else.

"...I'm getting a little tired of hearing how good everybody else is..." -Coach Fu [This week: 1-0]

Yeah and you guys cried about your bad injury luck then too. I dont get what gives you the right to complain but not me? Also attacking talent does not fix your defense. Weve been without mendy and delph for a while. Kyle Walker has been dealing with muscle injuries for a few weeks kompany stones and laporte are all hurt Danilo had an injury to start the year. That's like our entire friggin defense.

Also through all of liverpool's injuries you still had one constant. Van djik. I'd feel a lot better if laporte or stones were the healthy defender but they arent just like I'm sure youd feel a lot better if van djik was healthy rather than just lovren or something.

Should we win? Absolutely but you guys shouldve beaten west ham as well. Its soccer. It happens. Shocking results happen and not so shocking results happen. I'm saying I wouldnt be shocked at all for us to drop points losing fernandinho really hurts. Also jesus is hurt too. Also you're giving me shit for being worried about Watford and you're allowed to be worried about Watford? Comon man...I get that you're a liverpool fan but be a little objective

Taylor, looking desperately throws it deep..HAS A MAN OPEN DANNY COALE WITH A CATCH ALL THE WAY DOWN TO THE FIVE!!!!....hes still open

I was giving your team depth credit versus ours (and saying your team is talented enough to not have to worry about those teams), it was a compliment, yeesh....

"...I'm getting a little tired of hearing how good everybody else is..." -Coach Fu [This week: 1-0]

If you were trying to come off that way you didnt at all. It seemed like you were ignoring my complaints and sticking to the typical: "psh man shitty should be invincible with all of the money theyve invested" attitude and just didnt want to listen.

Sorry if I came off a bit harsh I just think these threads get really echo chambery and ignore other teams issues. Same reason I dont like reddit pages either. They're waaaaay to biased

Taylor, looking desperately throws it deep..HAS A MAN OPEN DANNY COALE WITH A CATCH ALL THE WAY DOWN TO THE FIVE!!!!....hes still open

It's all good Esh, I'm pretty sure there was underlying jealousy for the depth MC has in my statement. So my apologies as well, I assure you though, I was reassuring you that you should have little to worry about, and that in the eyes of every Red who's had their hearts broken over the years time and time again, we fully expect to have to get 33 points from the next 11 league matches.

I truly believe the Cityzens depth is that good. The statement about the front 3, was just a representation of the depth you have at each position, I was by no means implying that the front 3 depth would get you through this rough patch of injuries. Reddit and Twitter I've learned is a cesspool of ridiculous statements, especially after losses and draws, that's why I frequent here, because at least the supporters in this forum are rational minded. My bad if I came off as Reddit'like or Twitter'noob.

"...I'm getting a little tired of hearing how good everybody else is..." -Coach Fu [This week: 1-0]

I'm just happy we actually have a fuggin title race to be stressed about this year and if theres any other team I'd like to compete with for it, it's probably liverpool and Tottenham. Although mad respect to the fergie years at United too

Taylor, looking desperately throws it deep..HAS A MAN OPEN DANNY COALE WITH A CATCH ALL THE WAY DOWN TO THE FIVE!!!!....hes still open

VT Class of '12 (MSE), MVBone, Go Hokies!

Touche love Arsene Wenger. I know he gets a ton of flak but that guys teams were a ton of fun to watch once he got them rolling.

Sorry United and Chelsea fans I just hate mou that much.

Taylor, looking desperately throws it deep..HAS A MAN OPEN DANNY COALE WITH A CATCH ALL THE WAY DOWN TO THE FIVE!!!!....hes still open

Wasn't the worst spell for City this year when Fernandinho was out? That's a big loss for sure. Those teams sitting in the 7-11 spots (and you could make a case for the next 3 as well) have it in them to give the top 6 a headache and can't be overlooked, whether you're a Red or a Citizen. I'm in agreement that I feel like my Reds will need to take the last 33 points, but the run-ins are very comparable for Liverpool and City, so we can't make any excuses.

Exactly why I and every other city fan is concerned. I dont care about our front 3 depth if we cant control the midfield and cant possess out of our back. Albeit again we cant use this as an excuse because as mentioned above every team has injuries. We managed to climb back into this while liverpool was going through their crisis and liverpool pulled ahead while we had our first one around Christmas. City fans think theres going to be an adjustment of the system with a double pivot of Danilo and gundogan to protect the thin defense.

Curious to see how we line up for these upcoming games.

Taylor, looking desperately throws it deep..HAS A MAN OPEN DANNY COALE WITH A CATCH ALL THE WAY DOWN TO THE FIVE!!!!....hes still open

Hey this Ozil guy is pretty decent.

Honestly though some guys are really rounding into form at the right time. Kolasinac, Mkhitaryan, and Iwobi in particular have come alive.

VT Class of '12 (MSE), MVBone, Go Hokies!

Tough on Guendouzi for the error. Could have been called a foul (I'm okay that it wasn't), but either Leno can't make that pass or someone has to shout that he doesn't have time to turn and take a touch.

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

He needs to move it along a bit faster too. That was a 19 year old's mistake in my opinion, though yes Leno maybe could have made a better choice as well. Guendo has been asking for something like that to happen all year though, so hopefully he learns from it.

Overall though I'm enjoying things so far. Jenkinson is actually putting in a good shift and I love that almost as much as Ozil's performance. Auba had a poor half but aside from that pretty good all around.

VT Class of '12 (MSE), MVBone, Go Hokies!

Okay now I'm having a LOT of fun. Mkhi is on FIRE.

VT Class of '12 (MSE), MVBone, Go Hokies!

Figures they finally come out and pound somebody on a weekday game in the afternoon. And then our dear friends Spurs couldn't make Chelsea drop another 3 points. Bottlers :)

Hey if we can both perform the same way Saturday, it's 1 point to 3rd in the table! The fight for 3-6 is looking to be REAL close.

VT Class of '12 (MSE), MVBone, Go Hokies!

Spurs thin squad is catching up to them

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

Thought Chelsea learned a lesson when playing ManCity. Park the bus, counterattack. Their 6 goal beating they seemed to play in lines that weren't tightly packed and they just couldn't man mark where and when appropriate... by playing more compact and countering they had a shot in the last game.

Only watched a little of yesterdays game but I felt like Chelsea played pretty straight up and had more success with high (up the field) pressure. Shocked. I really felt like Tottenham was too good for Chelsea to play straight up. But I dunno, maybe if I watch more closely I'll see more park the bus. IMHO Sarri has made Chelsea a pretty good straight up team, though I think top off ball running teams and guys with good 1v1 will kill them.

Tottenham still have a lot of guys out?

ManC seems to survive despite everyone parking the bus on them. So many guys who can take you 1v1, hard to guard them all and cover.

Was watching RealM, man that coach is putting it all on Vinesciuous... and in a couple years I think he'll be capable of carrying that team... but the coach's formation and ideas just doesn't put guys in space. Dembele got so open in that game multiple times, yet RealM never seemed to be about abusing the opponent's lack of formation. RealM seems to want to beat you 1v1, but has no horses except for V, who is emerging. Barca Messi can beat you 1v1, everyone else with their off ball running can take apart your organization. If I'm RM I go after Poch in a big way in the summer.

Sorry completely random musings.

Speaking of real Madrid, chris how is my boy Diaz looking? I really thought he could be something special hes shown tons of flashes and can absolutely take guys 1 on 1. He also has a ton of speed and creativity. The mans lightning in a bottle. I really hope Madrid works out for him

Taylor, looking desperately throws it deep..HAS A MAN OPEN DANNY COALE WITH A CATCH ALL THE WAY DOWN TO THE FIVE!!!!....hes still open

I think he's an exciting talent, but I really don't know why we bought him. We already are operating with a surplus of creative/attacking midfielder/winger types that we are struggling to find minutes for everyone. Time will have to tell for him, but I wouldn't be surprised if we loaned him out somewhere during the summer window. The Madrid board gets a real hard-on for young Spanish talent and sometimes it feels like we are just playing keep away so other clubs can't have them.

I can't decide if it's better that MU finish 6 and out of Europe or finish 5th and have to do the Europa slog again. Either way take all the points on the 10th!

Side note - I was feeling adventurous with the fixtures yesterday and did a round robin with most of the top 6 games. Spurs not managing a draw was the only one that didn't hit, but still came out ahead.

So because Man City won the EFL cup and are pretty much already guaranteed top 4, the sixth place team will now also qualify for Europa. If Man City or Man U win the FA cup, that means the 7th place team (or Man U directly) will qualify for Europa. So yeah...yall are basically going to be in Europa again next year unless you can slip in top-4. And having supported Liverpool through the years where we were more often in EUropa than UCL...you definitely wan't to push for UCL rather than drop out all together. It is all about the money and both competitions pay out. But as you said Europa is a slog.

Exhausts the shit out of your team too. You need so much depth to play through that league. The fixture congestion blows up so much and the style of play + travel is brutal on teams. Take liverpool for example, I think they're wayyyy better suited in style og the champions league. Rather than playing a billion eastern European teams where you have to travel out there and back and face a bus parking team repeatedly you're playing wide open games where Jurgen klopps press will force your opponent into mistakes.

At least it's worth a champions league spot now if you win. It used to just suck to be in. It was like the poor mans NIT

Taylor, looking desperately throws it deep..HAS A MAN OPEN DANNY COALE WITH A CATCH ALL THE WAY DOWN TO THE FIVE!!!!....hes still open

Yep, lots of travel to eastern europe/russia. I think what really hurts is not just the travel but the games are always thursday and so the best the EPL can do (consistently) is a Sunday game. All champions league teams will play Tue-Sat or Wed-Sun. All Europa league teams get the short end of the stick on top of travel.

I am happy the Europa is worth something. Our run to the final in 2016 was amazing and extremely enjoyable even if it wasn't champions league.

I honestly kinda enjoyed the Europa a little after getting knocked out of UCL in the RO16 like 7 times in a row, usually by Bayern. It was a nice change of pace to play some new teams for a year or so.

I'm ready to be back in the UCL money though.

VT Class of '12 (MSE), MVBone, Go Hokies!

Exhausts the shit out of your team too.

That is more what I was gearing towards. If MU have to kick about in the Europa, no way they are near the top of the league and the cycle repeats. As a Liverpool fan, that would be a joy to see. Last time Liverpool were in the hunt this late, was the year where the league was the only focus. It's a testament to the different strategies that Klopp has employed this year that we are still at the top of the league. Even crazier the level at which City keep going even though they just won the EFL and still alive in the FA and Champions League.

Find myself starting to watch more German games to see young americans, but the PL is getting really good.

These things seem to go in ebbs and flows / cycles. But if the PL can continue getting 1-6 improved, the league should be pretty amazing in a year or two. But coaches will leave, players will get picked up by other leagues, owners will make random firings.... still could be interesting to see where Champions League / Europe performance is in two years. This year already seems like PL teams have done better.

Right now the EPL is really ramping up and, in my humble opinion, is the toughest league top to bottom. With or without the rumors that Poch goes to Man U. With Brendan Rogers now at Leicester. The top 6 is almost certainly going to be Liv, ManC, ManU, Ars, Chel, Tot, and then you can sprinkle on Leicester, Wolves, and maybe West Ham and Everton.

Remember when we all thought Fulham would finish top half? *yikes*

On another note wouldnt be shocked to see Wolverhampton go on a spending splurge this offseason and upgrade their squad even more. Didnt their owner say the goal was to win the epl in 3 years? Expect some major upgrades across that roster

Taylor, looking desperately throws it deep..HAS A MAN OPEN DANNY COALE WITH A CATCH ALL THE WAY DOWN TO THE FIVE!!!!....hes still open

I think the conversation about the best league is a really nuanced one. I think both La Liga and the EPL have strong arguments. No league can match the money and number of "top teams" that the EPL has. The top 6 are better than any other league's top 6, it's similar to where the Italian league was in the 90's. You throw Wolves, Everton, and a couple other mid table teams who decide to play well in a given year and you have a really strong top half. That brings me to the bottom half, which is what hurts the overall strength of the EPL in my opinion, particularly from a viewership perspective. The money backfires on the EPL here, because the financial incentive to remain the PL is enormous, given the absurd amounts of money that even the bottom teams make each season for just being in the PL and the moster TV contract. A lot of teams are content to play an extremely cynical, long balls and deep block style of play in order to earn draws and really just try to survive every EPL season. It should be noted this style of play was also entrenched in english football as their "manly" style of play. Most of the top and even mid table teams have transitioned from this but some teams still play it as that culture of english football still remains to some degree, or teams use it out of absolute necessity because they don't have the quality to play an open and free-flowing game against City, Liverpool, etc.

La Liga is quite different, though Barca and Real Madrid can match any team in the world for money outside of City and PSG (you can't match the Sovereign Wealth Fund of an oil state), they are and will remain the most desirable and historic destinations for the world's best players. Atletico has a solid amount of money now through some smart financial moves and Simeone drastically increasing their profile in Europe. After that you have a few historically solid clubs who have had money trouble in recent years like Valencia, Athletic Club, and Villarreal, Sevilla who has been a big part of Spain's dominance in the CL and Europa league over the last 10 years or so, and a bunch of teams who can fluctuate pretty drastically in any given season. The money just isn't there, in La Liga like the PL, but the style of play is much more attacking and technical across the board. There are still teams who employ cynical or defensive styles in any given year, but for the most part, La Liga is a more free flowing, technically impressive league which makes for a lot high quality soccer. The biggest and most obvious argument is Spain's dominance in European competitions, especially when the teams other than Real and Barca have had success, particularly against English teams.

That said, money almost always wins, and with the drastically increased quality of the top 6 over the last two seasons I think the PL will soon supplant itself as the consensus top league sooner or later unless La Liga makes some big changes (preferably much better international TV contracts). Real, Barca, and probably Atletico will continue to keep La Liga top heavy, but eventually the powers to be in Spain will have to make some branding and contract decisions that will bring more money and capitalize on a growing US audience in particular or the league will still be strong, but won't have as much of an argument moving forward.

If the EPL wants to improve its performance in European competitions, they need to get with the program and institute a winter break like most other leagues do, instead of pushing a ludicrous holiday slate of games for viewership $. Every year it's the same story, lots of injuries and burnouts around the December/January time frame because they're playing 2-3 games a week for an extended stretch.

VT Class of '12 (MSE), MVBone, Go Hokies!

Fixture congestion is particularly bad in the EPL, having two domestic cup competitions adds up over the course of a season (France has this issue too). That said, pretty much every top team in Europe has to deal with fixture congestion in second half of the season. I do think the Winter break would be wise for the EPL, but I'm not sure how they can just implement that without making the schedule even tighter somewhere else as a result (that's just off the top of my head).

To start, I'd say make the League Cup a non-EPL competition. Half of the league doesn't take it seriously as it is and uses it as trial run for younger/depth players. That can be important, but then with roster limits you still have to play some of your larger contributors. At the very least, definitely get rid of two-legged matchups and replays (just do extra time and pens from the start) in that competition.

The easiest way on paper to get to, say, Bundesliga-level fixture congestion, is to reduce the size of the league, but I don't see that ever happening with how profitable the whole league seems to be top to bottom.

VT Class of '12 (MSE), MVBone, Go Hokies!

I was gonna say do away with the EFL and then the fall weeks where the EFL comps would be, just put EPL matches there. Then that should free up from boxing day to mid/end of january.

This is coming, it's been discussed the last few years and will be implemented soon...thought I think its only a 2-3 week break. I'll try to find a link and post it here.

I actually really enjoy the Bundesliga a lot. I like the pace of the games and I think the atmosphere is far better (from my TV viewing perspective) than in the EPL.

It's just harder to catch the games from that league. I'm a quasi Hoffenheim fan this year because Reiss-Nelson is maybe one of the hottest prospects Arsenal has, and Nagelsmann is a great manager (I wanted him to replace Wenger honestly).

VT Class of '12 (MSE), MVBone, Go Hokies!

Same, it's much harder to watch the Bundesliga where I am. We have a network called Bein Sports but the coverage seems totally random. Definitely not enough to choose a club and watch their matches on a regular basis.

They actually air matches from La Liga and Ligue 1 as well, but again it's random teams at random times it feels like. Saw a Monaco match scheduled once and was sort of curious because of Thierry Henry...but they were shit and he got canned.

Fox has Bundesliga fixtures, normally on replay, ut I norally find one or two on live every weekend. I used to have Bein on Comcast but they were dropped right before the season started this year. Comcast claims Bein is trying to get to much money. I would watch LaLiga there. The announcers aren't there live, I blieve they're in a studio somewhere calling it as they watch. Tales away from the game IMO. I believe they're indirectly owned by the same people who own PSG (Qatar).

Correy

BeIN is a pain in the ass to get, it's usually on the top or just below top tier TV package for most providers. We had Spectrum Cable silver package which was pretty much all the sports channels, but still didn't have BeIN and we were paying $200 plus a month for cable.

La Liga needs to find a good TV contract for the US. NBC's deal with the PL has been HUGE for exposure and visibility in the states.

That said, if you've never watched a La Liga match called by Ray Hudson you need to fix that. He says the most ridiculous things I've ever heard in sports casting and it's absolutely amazing.

Is he the Scottish guy? I think I have heard him.

Correy

FS1 actually shows a lot of Bundesliga...most weekends they have a Friday afternoon game, a Saturday morning game and a sunday morning game. Not bad for basic cable.

Or look at ESPNs model buy rights to a league like serie A and put it all behind a paywall and only broadcast one game a weekend on tv and its always a 6am game on ESPNNEWs

EsPn Is So SmArT

Directions from Blacksburg to whoville, go north till you smell it then go east until you step in it

IF Benitez sits Yedlin today, I'll Brexit the EPL from any / all US networks and cable companies. Cable cuts server hacks, you name it. Tired of these English-mfers showing Yankees disrespect. Y'all might as well start watching Bundesliga or Bein or LaLiga now. EPL won't be available for much longer. And F buying any more of that Newcastle Brown Ale. Ima hide it in the liquor stores. Churchill used to be very complementary about the English speaking peoples banding together. I say we take the shores of that forlorn crappy island. We can probably land in Newcastle, takeover the Brown Ale factory, then head down to the football stadium, where we can put our boys in the starting line up. I may need to find another sport. Imagine what I dream of when Pulisic ends upsitting for Les Bleus.

Meh, Yedlin has been built up beyond what he's capable of. Maybe a stand out in MLS play, but not so much in EPL play. I'm still 50/50 on him for the USMNT...

To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
@BuryHokie #ThanksFrank

Yedlin can get in behind the defense with pace and make runs down the flank. There were many USMNT games where that was the only way we could get the ball out of our half because of how awful and outclassed our midfield often finds itself, so while I agree that he is limited in his ceiling, he still provides a spark that we could not provide without him. I don't think we have anything better at the moment, and overall I do feel you are downplaying him considerably considering he often makes the XI of an EPL team, which is a substantially higher level than MLS.

Agree with the getting forward part. And the spark that can provide. But he's limited in the defense skills, which should be his #1 priority while actually playing defense. He'd be a great 11, but as a 5, he makes me cringe.

To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
@BuryHokie #ThanksFrank

I agree that his defensive commitment is often lacking, but fullbacks playing more offensively is a very popular trend at the moment so that plays to his favor. It's been trending for several years now with fullbacks essentially playing as wingers overlapping in behind inverted wingers. The most recent advancement has been even more aggressive where Pep has started inverting his fullbacks into the midfield and participating more centrally.

Ultimately, I agree he has aspects to his game that can be rightfully and fairly criticized, but given the (lack of) quality we've put on the pitch for the USMNT in recent years, he's hardly been the primary point my ire.

The stadiums seem so cavernous. The stands look like they're 50 yards off the pitch, mainly because they all look like dual use stadiums. I like the way almost every EPL pitch is closer to the fans. Is the German model a reaction to the fights and hooligans?

Correy

In the EPL it isn't perfect. Teams like West Ham, Man City, Tottenham, Arsenal etc. have all moved to new stadiums and in general, the bowl type stadium for soccer takes away atmosphere. Tottenham still haven't played in their new digs so it remains to be seen. I was heavily against a new stadium for Liverpool and was extremely happy to see a stand-by-stand renovation. I love fan atmosphere, I love Lane Stadium, Century Link Field, etc. because they were designed to be loud--not high capacity.

I'm right there with you, hoping that I can get the visit to Anfield off my bucket list before they leave the grounds. Trying to convince the Mrs. to go in 2 years for my 40th.

"...I'm getting a little tired of hearing how good everybody else is..." -Coach Fu [This week: 1-0]

They won't. The amount of money they have invested in the main stand and now they are looking to renovate the anfield road end...they are at anfield for the foreseeable future.

VTAE/KopHokie, good breakdown of our head to head fixtures:

10 more heart-attacks to go till a champion is crowned

Down to Cityzens/Reds (maybe an outside chance for Spurs)

"...I'm getting a little tired of hearing how good everybody else is..." -Coach Fu [This week: 1-0]

Sounds like 2013-4...I'm not sure I can take another round of that. As far as going to anfield...GO!!! it's a truly historic stadium and place...but know that if you do it as a day trip from London leave as early as possible and visit the pubs around the ground just to take it all in (each one caters to a different type of Red). Hope you have a great time, haven't been there since 2000 and probably wouldn't even recognize the place....so my advice might be outdated.

I'm not sure ANY of us can take another round of that. But the reality is, we're both barreling towards the finish line at full speed, so it's going to be a bumpy ride from here on out. Here's hoping that we cross the finish line, I think every red fan is expecting some sort of heartbreak though. Winning the league can change the perception for our fanbase dramatically.

I am super jealous man, I am dying to see those hallowed grounds. Good advice, will surely take it into consideration. We were looking at flights directly into Liverpool and the price points were INSANE. So yeah we'll probably need to go through Heathrow to get up there.

"...I'm getting a little tired of hearing how good everybody else is..." -Coach Fu [This week: 1-0]

Oh Mane Mane, Duh-Duh-Da-Dah-Dum-Dum #LFC

"...I'm getting a little tired of hearing how good everybody else is..." -Coach Fu [This week: 1-0]

Play him in the middle again in Munich...they wont see that coming. That prospect is mouthwatering.

I know having Firmino out is debilitating, but man, Mane in the middle was insane, Salah's workrate to get him the ball was incredible, I've been saying to myself for the last few games, 1. We need to keep things unpredictable for our opponents, and 2. We need goals from someone else besides MFS. Both things happened at Watford, and I'm hoping they continue to happen. I think once we get a threat like Oxlade back in the side, and hopefully at some point Naby can slot one pass a keeper, I really think teams are going to find it hard to just park the bus on us.

"...I'm getting a little tired of hearing how good everybody else is..." -Coach Fu [This week: 1-0]

Speaking from experience, don't make long term plans involving the Ox. You'll only be disappointed later. He's got a lot of talent and he was one of my favorite players when he was in London, but he cannot stay on the field.

VT Class of '12 (MSE), MVBone, Go Hokies!

I hear you, I'm trying to temper my excitement at all the social media posts about his recovery. You look at them and you forget how he would unlock a level of midfield play that would take us to the next level. Thanks for keeping me grounded LOL.

"...I'm getting a little tired of hearing how good everybody else is..." -Coach Fu [This week: 1-0]

AOC's got bigger fish to fry than the PL now... like congress.

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

The sad thing for me was it was a freak tackle (almost a scissor) that caused this injury. I know he is labeled as injury prone and so I will never hold my breath. I just felt like this particular case he was a bit hard done.

Massive start to the NLD!

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

And Spuds gets the help they need with a penalty on a clear offside miss.

VT Class of '12 (MSE), MVBone, Go Hokies!

Anthony Taylor paid it back in kind. And Lloris saved a relatively tame take by Auba.

If anything today's match was a perfect argument for VAR. I think both penalties would have been overturned

VB born, class of '14

Thank you for replying to my attempt to have a discourse with an opposing fan. Do you agree or disagree about VAR?

Dont miss then pen then¯\_(ツ)_/¯

VB born, class of '14

Clearly everyone wants VAR.

3 distinct extremely Spurs friendly decisions led to that penalty miss even being a factor. Arsenal missed some chances but that game should have been 1-nil to the Arsenal and anyone who watched knows that.

VT Class of '12 (MSE), MVBone, Go Hokies!

I dont disagree with any of those points. You're right man.

I'm just trying to say that every weekend it seems, regardless of the teams playing, VAR is too big to ignore and it seems is coming a season too late for the PL

VB born, class of '14

Cheaper solution than VAR...send this linesman to the nearest optometrist and we're good. I realize that the man couldn't have paused it here and unlike the Gooner Twitter masses I do not believe the officials were bought (lol)...but what even is this? He even leaned into it...

But...
As a Liverpool fan I'm completely unbiased here, but apparently it was the right call.

How does that make sense? How is he not attempting to play the ball?

That's the fun bit where soccer rules always leave some room for interpretation, but I'm assuming because Mustafi made contact just before he jumped, it was deemed that he was moving towards the ball but not yet actively attempting to play it (by a millisecond). At least that's how the officials can defend themselves.

When I was a young sprite, you knew pretty quickly how the lines were gonna get called. If the guy was consistent all game, Arsenal have no one to blame but themselves. Sometimes you get a ref you can pull the trap like mad other times you don't .... either way you gotta own the runners and Arsenal looks here like they deserve to get owned.

Lacazette and Auba pure garbage when needed.

Not sure how torreira gets a red and rose didn't.

Because Anthony Taylor is a closet Spurs fan and owes us 2 points.

Auba and Laca let us down today, no doubt. But that statement is generally not applicable. They've been clinical all season.

VT Class of '12 (MSE), MVBone, Go Hokies!

I'm only talking about today. I love both of them.

good lord man, xhaka had 2-3 yellow card offenses and got away with all of them. terreira's was a red card with just about any ref

this theory you have that spurs are somehow in the favor of all refs is bizarre

And Sanchez got away with a leg stamp on Koscielny, someone who's just returned from a leg injury. You watch, if that truly wasn't spotted by the referee, protocol is a retroactive ban by the FA. We'll wait and see this week, but I'm wagering nothing will come from it. I agree, Torreira deserved red, but so did Rose. Studs up on the keeper? Come on, if you're going to call it, call it evenly.

In addition to the "bizarre" decisions centering around the penalties as noted above, I don't see how you can't see how shambolic that whole display was. It takes me back to the Spurs/City match last year. Flying kicks and crunching tackles against Sterling and KdB all day and nothing happened during the game or after. That was "bizarre".

VT Class of '12 (MSE), MVBone, Go Hokies!

Rose studs to the keepers liver ... no red. Many soccer fields Rose would have left bloodied that instant.

The problem I believe is today's refs have no humility, they believe they are ultimately correct etc.

Decades ago Rose gets a red 1) because he deserves it, 2) the ref doesn't want violence to enter into the game, and 3) Arsenal gets a 30 minute man advantage at which point the next stupid Arsenal penalty gets red and makes the game 10v10 again.

You young bucks can think replay tv is gonna bring justice to the game. For me, what happened decades ago makes a hell of a lot more sense. JMHO

Edit: my bad totally misread that! Agreed but I dont think bringing in VAR is a bad idea. If operated correctly it takes some human error out of the problem and holds officials more accountable

Taylor, looking desperately throws it deep..HAS A MAN OPEN DANNY COALE WITH A CATCH ALL THE WAY DOWN TO THE FIVE!!!!....hes still open

No problems. I just post when I disagree with stuff. Don't always agree with what I post but it is a POV.
>>I dont think bringing in VAR is a bad idea. If operated correctly it takes some human error out of the problem and holds officials more accountable

That's kinda my point... officials in the old days acknowledged their humanity by basically giving a duration to a red card.... something really bad was gonna last the whole game, a bad foul you'd get a man advantage for 30-45 minutes, a double yellow could last 10-15 minutes.... the referees were all about giving another team an advantage...not about deciding the game

clearly everyone would like to have VAR.... but in 99.99999% of soccer fields across the world that luxury doesn't exist ... so why have it in the .000001%? I know that sounds stupid but I've watched aa vs muslim flag football indoor teams and fans tear themselves to pieces with cameras and phones and complaining to referees... this was a high end flag football game... I really believe some of these guys were former D1 athletes... the game was amazing to watch the behavior of the fans and spectators was disgraceful, because they all thought they had the truth in their hands... let the refs call the game and move on!!!

give it a rest you sorry arsed inexperienced SJWs.... injustice is a part of life... the more you try to remove it the worse you make it for someone else... its a balancing act... when you teeter someone else is gonna totter and they'll comeback looking to teeter

JMHO, don't care too much what you want to say about it... just my POV

you're an old dude if I remember correctly... hasn't life taught you any lessons worth keeping? LOL J/K around

mentioning "social justice warriors" when discussing people who want to add video replay to a sport is...something

You only post when you disagree with stuff? You MUST be english (no disrespect intended).

Chelsea now controls their own destiny for champions league qualification after today's results. Hope is the worst and I fully expect us to bottle it again Fulham tomorrow or some lower level team towards the end of the season. The Manchester United game coming up next month is setting up to have huge implications on the line for both the teams.

I am fully onboard the Pulisic / Chelsea bandwagon... if he doesn't get 1st team playing time I will go beserk... I am holding off on buying his blue jersey and I feel somewhat guilty... I tell myself its because the running and working out i'm going to do this summer will take me from a L to an XL... i'm not sure I might be lying to myselfr

I think Chelsea lose at least 1, if not 2, of their wingers this summer so he should get plenty of playing time next year.

My experience with soccer jerseys is to always buy a size one step up from what you normally wear. I typically wear a large, but the jersey I have from them is tight fitting (the beer belly does not fit in soccer jerseys very well).

Deflated....on to the next one 9 to go

"...I'm getting a little tired of hearing how good everybody else is..." -Coach Fu [This week: 1-0]

*sigh* really avoided posting because of how disappointing that was. On the bright side it was a completely different performance than the one against United. We actually looked a threat to score but just couldn't finish. I said, I think it was here somewhere, that once the gap closed to 1 point I felt like we needed to be perfect and now we are a point behind.

I know a lot of Liverpool fans are getting crap today because they have been so boisterous about being top of the table but the truth is we haven't won a title in 30 years. But when we go top of the table just about every EPL fanbase gets on board the "Liverpool fans are insufferable" bandwagon. I say all that to say--this one hurts.
Maybe more than 13-14 especially if we can't see this one out. There are still 9 games to go, there are still a lot of things that can happen and so there is nothing to do but remain hopeful that we can gain that point back.

MC is must DVR 4 me, but I am sad they are atop the PL. I don't consider Tottenham or Liverpool to be up to the task of MC. Teams have been parking the bus against MC for along time now... Tottenham and Liverpool, maybe a little bit (Everton fans should be ashamed... u didn't play Liverpool straight up today), but if these teams faced PTB strategies every week I just don't think they'd be anywhere near where MC is. The biggest difference: midfield. I don't know how you can compete against DeBruyne, Fernandinho, the Silva brothers, and lets not forget about Mahrez. I never had the stamina or open space skills for WC midfield, but wish I did... I'd get up off this couch. Someone needs to even this competition up. Arsenal might have the second best midfield... do they have a shot?

Issue for MC is no de bruyne and no fernandinho for a bit now most likely luckily they have depth but those two are big misses, also arsenals midfield isnt close when at its peak liverpool is far and away second to city in midfield theyre just not humming at speed right now.

Also Everton shouldnt be ashamed at all and the fact people are crapping on them for playing for a point is a joke. They dont have an actual decent striker they dont have a center back like Van Dijk, they dont have the midfield theyre completely out gunned all over the field and you want them to play toe to toe with Liverpool? Teams have figured out how to slow Liverpool down and they havent quite gotten over it yet. Its not on everton to be the team to take the game to liverpool when they have hardly the team to compete when everyone knows liverpool want an open game with end to end stuff so why shoot yourself in the foot? Theres more than one way to play the game this whole silliness around if you dont play open attacking football youre crap thing is a joke.

Directions from Blacksburg to whoville, go north till you smell it then go east until you step in it

Teams have figured out how to slow Liverpool down and they havent quite gotten over it yet.

According to Klopp it is really the wind or some other natural event that is making them not perform. Liverpool is turning into UNC football with the weather excuses.

Let's not kid ourselves, we missed our chances and he knows this. But it isn't like wind doesn't affect the game either so that can't be outright discounted. Klopp says these things because he wants the blame and full focus to be on himself and not, say, Salah for a missed opportunity. He has a history of making some head scratching remarks because he knows the media will lap it up and call him a loon. Better him than a player struggling with form.

>> Teams have figured out how to slow Liverpool down and they havent quite gotten over it yet. Its not on everton to be the team to take the game to liverpool when they have hardly the team to compete when everyone knows liverpool want an open game with end to end stuff so why shoot yourself in the foot? Theres more than one way to play the game this whole silliness around if you dont play open attacking football youre crap thing is a joke.

agree it is not a park the bus or straight up choice that its a spectrum... I do think playing more toward park the bus is a stigma... a stigma amongst the players and a stigma amongst the fans.... 4 me however whatever you do if played with style and verve and panache i'm a huge fan

Suarez at Liverpool led an offense that was more long ball counter oriented... I absolutely loved watching them play

4 me the game at Everton wasn't enjoyable and I wasn't able to focus on the areas where the action was likely happening to really get into the game... they seemed to double Mane and Saleh ... I thought Delefau (sp?) played for Everton but I never saw a forward that I felt was able to get much traction.... rightly or wrongly I attributed that to them getting behind the ball (double teaming M&S)

4 me that's whats great about soccer u can be mid table talent wise but with a good scheme and teamwork david can slay goliath ... I usually with root for the attacking team in these games but not always... I've certainly played in my share of shell and counterattack games

feel like Klopp is constantly rotating the midfielders and that has hurt the team's continuity... the guys they have purchased haven't done anything but dilute the ability for these guys to play together... I thought Keita was gonna be a guy who could make a difference but I haven't seen him play much recently

Everton is more perplexing to me they seem like they keep getting close to breaking and sustaining top 10 then they lose a manager sell some guys... feel like last season or last year I was DVRing most of their games

What exactly do you expect from the mid-table and lower clubs in matches like this? Tell them to play attacking "beautiful football" and lose 8-0 on counterattacks from the world class players at the top clubs? David might slay Goliath every once in a while but the rest of the time they have to come out and get slaughtered?

Most U.S. fans support the big clubs (I am included) because it's actually possible to follow them here, but I think people lose perspective quite easily on what the smaller clubs face in matches like this. Seeing one team outgunned at every single position in professional sports isn't common in the U.S. - maybe in the NBA these days, I guess.

Well you could say we know what its like to watch a team of amateurs play in a pro league since the browns have been around a while

Directions from Blacksburg to whoville, go north till you smell it then go east until you step in it

(Deulofeu plays for Watford now)

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

Man I love the premier league had both Everton vs Newcastle on and tottenham vs southhampton on at the same time both beautiful comebacks from smaller teams with less talent its what makes it so much fun to watch.

Directions from Blacksburg to whoville, go north till you smell it then go east until you step in it

Absolutely massive results for Liverpool and Arsenal today. Chelsea showed resolve to salvage the point against Wolves, who played an incredible tactical match and could have won. Top two are separated by just a point, in addition to two UCL spots for four clubs separated by just four points with Chelsea having a game in hand. It'll be a great run-in!

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

Tough one to lose finally for ole but guess it's time to see what he's made of down the stretch was hoping for a better performance but United looks sluggish from the mid week which isn't much of an excuse considering Arsenal's ordeal as well. De gea needs to do so much better on the xhaka goal that was an awful mistake and the pen was soft but Fred is a dumb ass and makes too much contact you know they're gonna drop when you do that.

Directions from Blacksburg to whoville, go north till you smell it then go east until you step in it

Honestly, Lacazette has a history of not going down. There were a couple of games earlier in the year where a penalty should have been given but because he kept his balance the ref didn't call it. It encourages the soft crap like that.

Correy

Same for Salah. Last season he endured a lot of abuse without going down (and i think last season we only got 1 or 2 PKs in our favor at Anfield. This season he has been going down for softer stuff and I can't stand it but I totally get it. Worst is over in england the media calls him on his diving but credits Alli and Kane on their 'ability to draw the foul'...ridiculous.

IDK if its accurate but Arsenal fans constantly complain that Tottenham are the media darlings. I think Alli and Kane get the benefit of the doubt since they're from the UK.

Correy

Yeah it's not that Tottenham are darlings, per se, but the English players absolutely get either a) preferential treatment from the media (most common) or b) lambasted on a regular basis more than anyone else (see: Raheem Sterling until this season, where it's kind of impossible to find much wrong with his game). Just so happens that Tottenham have a large number of the English golden boys at this moment and we very rarely hear much negative about them. It's taken far far too long for Trippier to get called out on how horrendous he's been this season, just for instance.

VT Class of '12 (MSE), MVBone, Go Hokies!

Kane wears the armband for England on top of just being one of them...and he reportedly isn't interested in playing on the continent. There's probably definitely a fair bit of salt involved from Spuds' rivals, but he definitely checks a lot of boxes as far as darlings go.

I think Xhaka's goal caught De Gea off guard. He was guessing that the ball would bend towards that goal post since X primarily hits with his left foot. The ball bent the other way, had sort of a weird bend to it. He went the wrong way

Correy

Agreed, I felt most were being fairly harsh on De Gea for that one. It's happened to several keepers from Xhaka's long range efforts. Once I saw the angle from behind the goal I could see how he got bamboozled.

VT Class of '12 (MSE), MVBone, Go Hokies!

Lose to a mid-table French club on Thursday, clean sheet vs United on Sunday. Exactly as planned, no doubt.

I think the pen was pretty soft, but the hand on the back and the shoving motion right in front of the ref is playing with fire in most cases. That doesn't explain the total WTF from De Gea on the first goal. Just not Utd's day.

Got a real race now, 3-6 on the table is totally wide open.

The Rennes game was so frustrating. Tied 1-1 and playing with ten men and the defensive performance was just so dodgy. Losing 2-1 away with ten men is a justifiable (if still laughable) result. But conceding a third goal is pretty annoying for a veteran team. Thankfully the home form has been pretty good so maybe they can turn it around.

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

Now they'll be playing without Laca and Socrates this Thursday. They'll have Torreira though and no other games until April 1.

Correy

Need those 3 points in the face of a flimsy first goal, and Alison has to save that second goal. Great win, 8 to go, my nerves are going to be flimsy by the end of this campaign. Every part of me would prefer either winning the title or losing it by more than 5 points. Losing by a point would be cruel torture lol.

"...I'm getting a little tired of hearing how good everybody else is..." -Coach Fu [This week: 1-0]

This is gonna be fun where's your sense adventure? Nothing will EVER be worse than 1990 (if you were alive then)

I was alive then but soccer wasn't at the top of my sports list as it is right now. Gerrard's slip is fresh on my mind though.

"...I'm getting a little tired of hearing how good everybody else is..." -Coach Fu [This week: 1-0]

Not sure what Alisson could've done differently for either goal. First goal is a clear foul that the ref missed. He had two Burnley players on his shoulder. Second goal should have never happened since Salah was bear-hugged in the midfield with no call. But then it is the end of the game, up 3-1 and the defense was asleep. Alisson got a hand to it but that proximity and speed of the shot does not leave much change for him. The fact he got his fingers to the ball was enough for me. If the ref/linesman showed up, the game likely would have been 3-0 ish...I think our last goal was off sides.

Didn't get to see the game, just caught highlights, so thanks for the perspective.

"...I'm getting a little tired of hearing how good everybody else is..." -Coach Fu [This week: 1-0]

nbd...Alisson has been really good except for the one or two issues in holding the ball too long. This was a game where, when we went 3-1, we immediately backed off and lowered pressure. It felt like we were saying to Burnley that we won and they knew it so to cool off. But burnley kept pressing and got their goal (fair play to them if the ref doesn't make a call we are just as accountable to have to defend). But then we responded immediately with a goal which truly felt like Liverpool saying, "Fine, you want to fight to the end, we can do that."

Basically with Bayern on wednesday I think the team wanted to play low-key from 60th minute onward.

What did you think of Lallana's play? From some highlights I caught, he made deep penetrating runs that we've been really missing for awhile now, prevented Burnley from just pressing the wings.

"...I'm getting a little tired of hearing how good everybody else is..." -Coach Fu [This week: 1-0]

Lallana has been so underwhelming this season that when I saw him on the team-selection I was really worried. But honestly I thought he was MOTM. He played like the undroppable 2016 Lallana that we all remember. Can he do that consistently? Has he been nursing injuries and struggling with playing time? There are a lot of unknowns that we can speculate about...but with Ox coming back into the fold, Keita looking more natural, Fabinho looking undroppable , and Wijnaldum having the season he is having--it is nice to actually be ramping up towards the end of the season where last year our midfield was selecting itself by this point with the mount of injuries.

It wasn't pretty but I'll take it. I wish American sports would adopt a relegation approach. It was clear today that a side facing relegation a the end of the season is the equivalent of a pitbull trapped in a corner. Great effort by Fulham. Thankful that Virgil was bailed out, would've hated that his one notable mistake this season would've cost us 3 points that we truly needed.

"...I'm getting a little tired of hearing how good everybody else is..." -Coach Fu [This week: 1-0]

Incredible situation with Fulham...spent more than some of the big 6 last summer and are going straight back to the championship. Honestly not making fun of them, pretty sad actually. A smaller club gets an owner willing to invest and it blows up spectacularly.

Agreed. I think the sexy picks were Fulham and Wolves at the beginning of the season. I am shocked to see them going down. Klopp was pretty complimentary, yet blunt, about them at the end of the game. Said something along the lines of: "they play different, they play around and not through which is hard to defend. But they were not a proper threat in front of goal" He went on to say how they were a really good side and he intimated that he lamented seeing them relegated because he felt they were close to something special...I hope they immediately turn around and dominate the championship and come back. I have always liked FFC.

I think the xG for the game was 1.2-1.9 (+1 for the penalty) so 1.2-2.9. The full value of their 1 came from their goal so without VVD blunder it was really 0.2-1.9 from open play.

If Sarri's seat wasnt hot already, surely it is has got to be now?

VB born, class of '14

Only thing keeping him there is they haven't resolved the conte pay out and the transfer ban looking in the summer they look dead in water when any team scores first they go flat. If hazard leaves in the summer they're in real trouble

Directions from Blacksburg to whoville, go north till you smell it then go east until you step in it

I still think there is big potential long-term for Sarri to excel with Chelsea if they give him time to fully implement his ethos and tactical philosophy. These kind of tactical overhauls can take differing amounts of time based on what the players/team has long held as an ethos/philosophy tactically. The core of this Chelsea team has played more defensive/counter attacking football than anything over the years with Mourinho/Conte. It might take a little longer to have a real paradigm shift there. However, I think Sarri is a good manager to ride out a transfer ban with, because if you can't fix the the team through transfers, you have to rely on tactical superiority (and a little heart/grit) with what you've got.

Completely agree. In the beginning of the season his team was scary to play. But this team also has a history of giving up on managers so what will be interesting to see is the balance of keeping Sarri, keeping the team happy, not losing too many stars through it all.

Yeah, the biggest worry for him is partly out of his control and that's the dressing room. If the players decide to quit on him, then it doesn't matter if his tactical plans will work in the long term. If they decide not to execute then it doesn't matter what he does.

If only he could actually bring in players that actually fit his system

via GIPHY

Directions from Blacksburg to whoville, go north till you smell it then go east until you step in it

I mean...he brought Jorginho with him to help with the change over and he was given funds for Kepa. I am not going to pretend to be experienced with Sarri's system but it's not like he was given nothing.

The problem with bringing over Jorginho is that it's impossible to fit both Jorginho and Kante into Sarri's system in a manner that plays to both of their strengths.

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

Not saying it is possible--I was just saying that the transfer ban was not in place last summer and Sarri did onboard Kepa, Jorgino, Higuain while also signing Pulisic.

Sure, I was just saying that "bringing in players to fit his system" is generally an albatross of an argument. You can bring the players in, but you also have a squad already present that you need to work with to an extent. Or else you need to reshape the squad over the course of a few successive windows, which he can no longer do. Jorginho and Kante are different players, but both operate at their best in the same place as the other guy. Not a waste of money, but definitely not the best use of resources available either.

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

not the best use of resources available either.

Well this is Chelsea we are talking about.

I'd say he didnt quite bring in enough to over haul a very contentious player power type locker room and I wouldnt expect tiki taka pretty football from this team even with jorginho and higuain. Hell Giroud looks miles better for chelsea than Higuian, that all said can higuain even stay because of the transfer ban or can they work around that?

Biggest take away from this season is if Hazard goes, nobody is saving this team from a drop off if they cant bring in anyone to help. Pulisic and CHO arent nearly ready for the step and pedro and willian arent getting younger. Kind of feel for Sarri here since he cant really recruit anyone new but you can definitely argue he needs to try and do more with what he has and pray they dont loose Kante either.

Directions from Blacksburg to whoville, go north till you smell it then go east until you step in it

The point of transfer bans is that it hurts. If players leave they cannot be replaced. This is the importance of correctly enforcing FFP so that teams are not tempted to break the rules and hurt other teams. Heck even Liverpool are nearing the end of a transfer ban for academy players.

It isn't that i don't feel bad for Sarri on a human level--it is that I don't feel bad for Chelsea for breaking the rules. I am surprised Sarri left Napoli for this. He could have waited a year and been in contention for many other big jobs. Now we wait and see for City and what the investigations come up with. Big rumor there is their owner paid Etihad somewhere around ~50million so that when Etihad gave their 65+ million sponsorship, it would afford them the ability to buy more players when in reality the deal was only worth ~10 mil.

If Abramovich allows the players to dictate like that then why would any reputable coach go there? That would be 3 coaches with that same problem.

Correy

If A&M fans run coaches out of town within 2 seasons of not winning why would Buzz consider moving there?

Every coach has an ego and to be that successful they have to believe that they are the best. So the coaches can look at the track record but the money plus their own self-belief is what has them taking a job. And let's face it...if someone paid me 6 million for one year and fired me, I wouldn't be sad.

heck even RM has been considering Mourinho for their job...I think that says it all. No top tier team is willing to risk on up and coming coaches, lest they fall too far.

Manchester United appoint Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as permanent manager

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been appointed Manchester United manager on a three-year deal after a successful stint as caretaker, the club have announced.

The former United striker has reversed their fortunes since leaving Norwegian club Molde to replace Jose Mourinho in December, reaching the quarterfinals of the Champions League and battling for a place in the Premier League top four.

wonder what his offseason budget is. Still think this is an oddly unbalanced squad

Taylor, looking desperately throws it deep..HAS A MAN OPEN DANNY COALE WITH A CATCH ALL THE WAY DOWN TO THE FIVE!!!!....hes still open

For sure. But considering how inept we were in the market last summer it serves us right. Hopefully they give him quite a bit to tool the squad.

I have no idea why my username is VT_Warthog.

Arkansas blew a 24-0 lead in the Belk Bowl.

He deserves to be given a fair shake after what he's been able to do this year. Also coming out and saying complacent players need to be sold is great.

89th minute Tottenham bottle job keeps the title race going strong. You couldn't even script this stuff.

6 more heart attacks to go #LFC

"...I'm getting a little tired of hearing how good everybody else is..." -Coach Fu [This week: 1-0]

Just 6? I had three today alone

Kop, I'm not built for this man....I literally woke my children up cheering 😂

"...I'm getting a little tired of hearing how good everybody else is..." -Coach Fu [This week: 1-0]

Looks like the one assistant on the bench had an accident too (10:10)

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

Top notch work there GGC; LOL

"...I'm getting a little tired of hearing how good everybody else is..." -Coach Fu [This week: 1-0]

And Anthony Taylor seems intent on continuing this dismal week of EPL officiating.

VT Class of '12 (MSE), MVBone, Go Hokies!

I can't believe the clubs had been voting against VAR for so long. The NBC broadcast had this vision simulator and it looked like Taylor couldn't have even seen the tugging that got the goal disallowed.

three points is three points - this is the exact type of game arsenal would've found a way to choke away in years past.

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

Oh I agree. And actually I was very, very pleased with the way Arsenal played. Just... I had flashbacks when Taylor disallowed the first goal. The 2nd was also iffy but we had a cushion by then so I was less jumpy. We need to get that away form squared away to finish out the season. If we can handle our business, this could be a fantastic first year for Emery.

(also the rumors that we're looking at Ryan Fraser from Bournemouth are welcome. Fantastic player. Leads the league in chances created.)

VT Class of '12 (MSE), MVBone, Go Hokies!

Once again United were woeful played better than on the weekend but ashley young showing why hes an awful defender and brain dead as a door knob huge 3 points thrown away there. If only lukaku had sunk the early chance for once. Still plenty to play for and atleast Young isnt available next game atleast.

Directions from Blacksburg to whoville, go north till you smell it then go east until you step in it

Arsenal also has Wolves away and our away form has frankly been shocking. Still surprised to see Utd drop all 3 points. They also have City and Chelsea left. It's like the other clubs want us to have 3rd.

I'd like to think we can handle chelsea at home this game was dissapointing simply because we played well just finishing was awful again and mistakes killed the game. Still feel United arent out of the top 4 race but they arent far off being out of it. Luckily arsenal are mostly away from home down the stretch so we shall see.

Directions from Blacksburg to whoville, go north till you smell it then go east until you step in it

While we're still not "good" by any means away from home, Arsenal are doing better than last season in that regard.

I still think Arsenal just needs 7-8 points from the 5 away games to get top 4. Overall we're in a bit better form than the rest of the competition for UCL spots.

VT Class of '12 (MSE), MVBone, Go Hokies!

Thats the silly bit that 7-8 points could be enough, I completely agree but dunno how confident I feel any of the three teams in it can find the points right now other than arsenal. Guess whoever sucks the least will fill out the top 4 I dont think chelsea stand a chance. Will be fun watching Tottenham tomorrow to see if they can kick the bucket finally or succumb to the form bug and drop more points

Directions from Blacksburg to whoville, go north till you smell it then go east until you step in it

I'm loving the way this is shaking out. Though I have no love lost for ManU, it's not seeing them drop points that's making me happy so much as knowing they're going to have so much more of a reason to get up for the City game, as is Tottenham. I expect them to cruise through these next 2, but if City are going to drop points, the last half of April is the time to do it. Three matches against Spurs, away to United with a trip to Crystal Palace stuck in there in a span of just over 2 weeks, I would love to see a loss and a draw in that stretch.

Also, congrats on one of your guys being Mike Dean's 100th PL red card. Years of genuinely hard work paying off right in front of our eyes.

Just realized you'll be without Shaw for 2 games for yellow card accumulation. Having both fullbacks out is going to sting a little.

VT Class of '12 (MSE), MVBone, Go Hokies!

Yup young would typically fill in there but he was an idiot so guess we will most likely run with Phil Jones as right back and we may have to go to the youth academy for a left back with rojo still out

Directions from Blacksburg to whoville, go north till you smell it then go east until you step in it

Those reds love to do things the hard way, 5 more heart attacks to go. Win out, and see where the chips fall that's all you can do. The Blues will surely make things difficult on us, especially Mr. Hazard.

"...I'm getting a little tired of hearing how good everybody else is..." -Coach Fu [This week: 1-0]

How disgusting would it be to NOT win the title with 97 points? Ugh...

It would be ROUGH...you have to think City will drop points but their depth is unprecedented, I can't see them losing, so I've chosen to just enjoy the ride to the end while hoping for the best.

"...I'm getting a little tired of hearing how good everybody else is..." -Coach Fu [This week: 1-0]

We still have United AND Tottenham. I wouldnt be shocked at all if we drop points on either of those games

Taylor, looking desperately throws it deep..HAS A MAN OPEN DANNY COALE WITH A CATCH ALL THE WAY DOWN TO THE FIVE!!!!....hes still open

Esh, I don't see it, you guys have SO much depth, I honestly believe it's one of the better teams that's ever been assembled. Pep has done an amazing job, FFP or no FFP, it still takes talent to assemble a squad like that.

"...I'm getting a little tired of hearing how good everybody else is..." -Coach Fu [This week: 1-0]

I mean I'm not questioning that, just saying it wouldnt be unreasonable at all for us to draw one of those games especially considering in a week we play United and Tottenham 3 times

Taylor, looking desperately throws it deep..HAS A MAN OPEN DANNY COALE WITH A CATCH ALL THE WAY DOWN TO THE FIVE!!!!....hes still open

Crystal Palace is a trap game too, they've got 8 points off of the top 6 already this season, with a win against City at the Etihad. I don't fancy them getting a sweep by any means, but I'd love them to sneak a result in with city looking ahead in the midst of a tough stretch.

Kind of crazy that it could be Woy that does us a favor in pursuit of the championship

Honestly my fingers are crossed they drop a good amount of points because I highly doubt LFC will win out, Hazard always sticks it to us, I'd be happy with a draw v Chelsea

"...I'm getting a little tired of hearing how good everybody else is..." -Coach Fu [This week: 1-0]

I'm working under the assumption that we HAVE to win out. We're playing like the team feels that as well.

We've lost the league with 90+ points several times in the last 10 years lol. Life in La Liga.

Off the top of my head 09/10, 10/11, 14/15, 15/16.

09/10 we lost La Liga with 96 points to Barca's 99.

I'm not throwing shade when I say this, but there's like 2, maybe 3 teams in La Liga...

"...I'm getting a little tired of hearing how good everybody else is..." -Coach Fu [This week: 1-0]

Horrible start for arsenal. On the back foot from the start, concede a goal directly from an uncalled foul throw, and sokratis booked and will now be suspended for the next two league matches (@watford, vs palace)

Everton are really bossing the game

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

As much as the commentary talked about that throw, I'm not sure it was even illegal. But even if it was, he didn't realistically gain anything from that... Just more terrible defending from us.

Much better with Ramsey and Auba on for now. Elneny was a void on the field and Douzi has been very poor.

VT Class of '12 (MSE), MVBone, Go Hokies!

It's not often a throw leads directly to a goal like that, but if you really pay attention to throw ins, a lot of them are toeing the line of legality. It's become something that's just ignored unless it's blatant.

Pitiful but unsurprising. I'm still not panicking yet. I think that was one of our two toughest fixtures left. We need to play better of course, but I'm not losing hope for top 4 by any means.

VT Class of '12 (MSE), MVBone, Go Hokies!

Neither am I - just pretty disheartening to see that kind of first half performance with that kind of opportunity

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

Congratulations to City, they keep fighting, I'm SO thankful to get that Chelsea match out the way, what a goal by the Egyptian king.

"...I'm getting a little tired of hearing how good everybody else is..." -Coach Fu [This week: 1-0]

Really happy as well to get past chelsea, first win at Anfield in 7 years. This coming week is huge and winning today will hopefully play a big part in that. Man City have to play to win against Tottenham in the UCL and hten again in the EPL and following that is Man united. I hope that City beat Spurs in teh UCL only because it keeps them in more competitions and more chance for exhaustion.

But us winning keeps the pressure on city (like in December) so I am hoping they drop a few points. All it takes is one tie...heres to hoping.

It's gonna be hard for anyone to take points from City in the league, so I'm tempering my excitement as best as possible, but that "thunder-bastard" from Salah will surely be on replay time and time again if we somehow win the league. It helps that we beat Chelsea, just always have hated them for some odd reason.

🎶F*#$ Off Chelsea FC,
You ain't got no history,
Five European Cups and 18 leagues,
That's what we call history...🎶

(Was so happy to hear this Kop favorite chant today)

"...I'm getting a little tired of hearing how good everybody else is..." -Coach Fu [This week: 1-0]

All it takes is one tie and then its back in our hands. So I am cautiously optimistic. But whatever happens it has been a great season.

I have always had a general dislike of teams that get a huge injection of cash and then have immediate success (i.e chelsea, man city). But it really was 2013/2014 that did it for me. Having Mourinho walk into our technical area to celebrate in December. And then Stevie G's slip, and subsequent Chelsea win he goes running around our stadium beating his chest like a moron. Have hated chelsea and Mourinho ever since.

Today is the 30th anniversary of the Hillsborough Disaster. A sad day for every LFC supporter. Please take time to remember the 96 souls perished that day.

What's even worse is that tomorrow is the anniversary of the 12 year anniversary of the massacre. A very somber time for both fanbases, and doubly so for fans of both.

This team is an absolute enigma. I hate away games. But we got the 3 points.

Watford will point to the red card, but when your guy makes a statement like this and then proceeds to send an elbow into the face of a guy a foot shorter than him, he's asking for the referee to make a decision.

VT Class of '12 (MSE), MVBone, Go Hokies!

Deeney's lucky it wasn't Xhaka or he'd probably have gotten studs to the back of the knee 🤷‍♂️ definitely didn't seem to be an intentional high elbow, but it definitely wasn't purely incidental in a "woops my bad" sense either.

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

Oh he meant to take a shot. Maybe not to a face but it was an obvious shot off the ball. I respect the guy for his back story but he's a bit of a punk.

VT Class of '12 (MSE), MVBone, Go Hokies!

Yeah that's a better way of saying what I meant. I don't think he went into it trying to elbow Torreira in the jaw, but I think he definitely intended to barge him.

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

Sad part is he probably gets away with it if his hand doesnt flap back and also smack Torreira. Makes it almost look like a punch, which I think is what he was upset about. If he is gonna punch someone, he's gonna make it count.

I always see the issue of height in these type of calls but the way guys go down these days and sell shit it's gonna get called. Personal opinion is he knew what he was doing but didn't mean to clock him in the head that bad. Teams like Watford have to get physical against better skilled opposition at some point you have to let them play

Directions from Blacksburg to whoville, go north till you smell it then go east until you step in it

Teams like Watford have to get physical against better skilled opposition at some point you have to let them play

This is not entirely true. Being physical is one of the easiest ways to play better skilled opposition. It is also one of the most frustrating to watch because you are watching one team try to succeed and win by playing football while the other team measures their success in not losing and therefore they play with an intent to hurt. People can call it 'playing physical' all they want but bear hugging opponents, sliding in studs up, elbows, smacks, punches etc. are taking advantage of the rules and the good will of the referees.

Plenty of teams have success by playing extremely skilled and disciplined defenses while having one to two outlets to combine for a skilled counter-attack. On top of that having a few strong tall players for set pieces and defense of set pieces is a surefire way to have good chances of success against top flight teams. It is just that coaching the discipline, tactics, and skill to play that way is so much harder than getting a group of guys together and saying...beat em up.