OT: 2019-2020 EPL AND OTHER EUROPEAN DOMESTIC LEAGUES PART TWO

Figured 599 posts in and it was time for a new thread for all things World football with all the different tournaments and leagues in play.

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I'll start this off by seeing what others think about Turner declining to finish out its Champions league contract.

Personally I'm thrilled I thought B/R did a garbage job of covering it and throwing it all behind a paywall practically. Theyre analyst panel wasnt awful but it felt a bit too tik tok hot takes for my old self. That all said it sounds like CBS is really looking to pick it up and put it on their CBS all access paywall unfortunately. I was listening to the caught offside ESPNFC podcast the other day and the debate was about if due to the paywall restrictions that the Premier league had actually passed the Champions league in popularity in the US due to the ease of being able to watch it with NBCSN really going into covering it in depth.

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

Concur with you on all points. Turner did an atrocious job with coverage. I think nbc, fox, and espn could all do better due to an overall higher quality of talent on their shows and ability to stream additional games online

VB born, class of '14

Honestly wouldnt mind Fox picking it back up again I thought they did it well by utilising both FS1 and FS2 and then the main FOX station for the bigger knockout games. Personally I really hope a good network picks it up and doesnt immediately paywall most of the games like B/R did. Wouldnt mind NBC but with NBCSN already full blow on the premiership I dont see them forking out more money for soccer. Turner deserved to tank for their shitty attempt to cover the CL

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

Maybe Fox could pick it up since it dropped the US Open for golf...

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

You damn well know if Fox picks it up, they'll leverage it to get people to pay for Fox Soccer Plus at $15 per month.

King Alum of the House Hokie, the First of His Name, Khal of the Turkey Legs, The rightful Heir to the Big Board, the Unbanned, Breaker of Trolls and Father of Gritty

I'm starting to feel more confident that we will win La Liga, but I remain a bit nervous about our (relative) struggles to actually score consistently. We have so much attacking talent, but few clinical finishers. We've needed two (correctly called) penalties to win the previous two matches, generating less from open play than at the beginning of the restart (and has been an issue since Ronaldo left in general). Hopefully this longer rest before our next match will pay dividends.

Our defense, both individually and structurally has been fantastic since the restart which is my main reason for optimism. Dating back even before the Messi/Ronaldo overlap in La Liga, the most consistent difference maker in who wins the league has not been about whether Messi or Ronaldo had a better year (Madrid won during Messi's highest output in 11/12, Barca won during Ronaldo's highest output in 14/15), but rather whose defense was more sound and consistent, and this will (likely) be the first season since 07/08(!!) that we concede fewer goals in the league than Barcelona. A truly crazy stat.

Thank you, good sir. I really think Man United and Arsenal are gonna be much better next year, they've really come on strong after the COVID-19 break, might be the two strongest teams in England right now. Plus Chelsea, next season should be an epic tilt with Man City being as strong as usual.

I'm cautiously optimistic on United right now due to one thing. Depth. If Bruno goes down next season or so does martial/ rashford whos the team going to rely on to come on? James? Mata? Pogba has already shown what hes good at but I think he truly needs a great player like Bruno to bring out his best and I worry we are still too thin to make a true challenger of a team next season but thats what the market is for hopeuflly we go after Sancho and possibly add another quality midfielder and possibly CB or LB to help with that as well. Greenwood will still see the field plenty with all the games to go around and I'd rather see him centrally as well alongside either Rashford or Martial. His finishing is something else right now.

Outside of ManU I can see chelsea making a go if they can sort out the defense and keep captain america healthy they have a shot with Werner and Ziyech coming in but I still would argue just like MU their depth would be a worry. Otherwise for next year I still feel City will be the one true challenger to Liverpool and they should add to the CB and LB positions like Chilwell to help them not be so error prone like they have this season. BTW what a beautiful goal by Che Adams over the weekend nothing sweeter than a long range chip.

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

Arsenal and City are level on losses, which is a little shocking. I mentioned months ago that teams with lots of draws are usually are a systemic tweak or two away from turning one point into three -- Arsenal have kept clean sheets under Arteta, which they never really did under Emery. I just hope for Arsenal that the right mix of veteran savvy helps the youth improve and grow instead of forcing them to a peripheral role. Need a little steel and dynamism in the midfield too.

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

Arsenal are playing very well since the Brighton debacle and I'm very encouraged by Arteta. However, they have gotten *three* free goals in the last two matches from GK errors or bad back passes, so the results are a little flattering. It feels like they have quite a bit of dead weight in the squad (Ozil, Luiz) and need to do some work in the window to be competitive again. I'm worried that won't happen though with financial limitations likely affecting most clubs.

Meh. We've given our share of free goals too so I'm not going to discredit it when we get some to bounce our way. Seems like Arteta is emphasizing pressing opposing GKs and defenders more too.

Also... anyone else just see Saka put Evans on rollerskates? Beautiful!

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

Tottenham be hurting my feelings ๐Ÿ˜”

My lips are moving but there's no sound
Someday somebody's gonna get run down

Same man.

Josh Sargent starting for Werder in the second leg of the relegation playoff today at 2:30 PM EST. First leg resulted in a 0-0 draw.

Another white bronco? The first one didn't go too far.

I see my man Vardy gets that 100th and 101st goal and we close the thread. /s

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

It's very irregular to get 20 goals a season from a non-Big6 striker. Vardy's overall story makes it beyond spectacular. I'm pretty sure at some point during his 20's he was play non-League football. Plus he's been consistent over a now quite large PL sample.

Until his mid 20's he still had a factory job.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

VAR-dy strikes again....

โญโญโญโญโญโญ #YNWA

This spurs team reminds me so much of Mourinhos United team not great but enough individual brilliance to do just enough but that's about it.

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

Should have never gotten rid of Pochettino. It's not his fault the owner doesn't wanna spend the money but expects trophies ๐Ÿ˜ง

My lips are moving but there's no sound
Someday somebody's gonna get run down

Josh Sargent is going to stay up in the German League. Nice to see him getting regular playing time.

Hokies, Local Soccer, AFC Ajax, Ravens

I thought this was very encouraging.

Clubs, though, will continue to test their players and staff twice a week.

There have been 19 positive results out of 16,280 tests carried out overall so far.

That's a 0.116707616707617% positivity rate.

In light of the struggle of MLS and other american leagues its very encouraging to see how Europe has successfully found ways to have the sport leagues running even with things still going on.

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

As August approaches, and the hands of another club reaches for "big ears," I figured it's a perfect time to say, "The Unbearables" are Champions of the World! (England, CL (for now), Europe, and the World). I don't care what anyone says, this is an impressive feat for our club to have. I know the Barcelona's and Real Madrid's do this often, but I don't support them, I support the Reds, and I'm proud of my Reds. (and with a new thread starting I figured it was only right to celebrate this achievement here too)

โญโญโญโญโญโญ #YNWA

Real and Barca have done it (aside from the EPL trophy, naturally), but not often...but no English club has ever done it.

Looking forward to August 1 when that Nike swag comes out.

The fact that no English club has ever done is insane! There have been so many great teams of the past 30 years, especially Fergie's teams (granted the Club world cup has only been around 20 years). I feel all the more proud. That Nike swag is a MUST come August. I promised myself that I would get one more New Balance kit; the promise to myself was whomever scored the clinching goal for the title I would get their #. Seeing as I can't bring myself to get a Chelsea shirt, I've been scouring the internet for a Pulisic Dortmund kit, since there is a Klopp connection as well.

Edit: I've also been scouring the internet for a shirt I've only seen ONCE, and I can't find it again. It has the Premier League Trophy with Klopp's glasses mounted around it. If anyone sees this, please send me a link, I'm dying to buy it.

โญโญโญโญโญโญ #YNWA

Chelsea tried giving the game to Crystal Palace. Another goal from Captain America tho! Three since the restart, nine on the year.

Another white bronco? The first one didn't go too far.

I seriously wish I never became an Arsenal fan.

I just watched the Juve-Milan match because I have ESPN+... what an insane 2nd half that was. 0-0 at half, Juve goes up 2-0, then Milan wins 4-2 at FT.

Feels like Arsenal got what they deserved there. Too many mistakes to claim the points. Eddie's challenge didn't look like it had any malice behind it but it was dangerous nonetheless. Tried to take a touch and misplaced it.

Anyway, all they had to do was bury a few of the many missed chances from the first half. They simply have to finish, looking at a certain Frenchman. 1-nil to the Arsenal isn't going to be good enough against good sides.

Meh. Schmeichel had a good day. Laca is becoming everyone's favorite scapegoat nowadays. I actually think he was okay today, though yes it was frustrating that he didn't get one through. Unlucky day for us. Still encouraged by the first half. Especially Ceballos, definitely improving by the game.

Glad the guys get a decent break before the NLD. Guys like Xhaka and Tierney have to be exhausted.

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

Really frustrating to have Eddie sent off (probably correctly) and not even have this reviewed - not even a yellow!

More games needed out of four, to topple Man City's record. It's going to be tough, we'll see how the rest of the season goes. Regardless, up the Reds!

โญโญโญโญโญโญ #YNWA

MLS Welcome Back tournament started last night. After watching the Bundesliga, La Liga, and EPL for the past two months, last night was god-awful soccer. Regardless, soccer is soccer and there is a 9:00 AM game this morning.

Another white bronco? The first one didn't go too far.

Another rocket from greenwood who quietly sits on 9 PL goals this season all the sudden.

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

I made a mistake picking AWB/Martial/Rashford for FPL coming out of the restart -- Martial-Bruno-Greenwood better!

Greenwood is some talent

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

Looking better by the day his ability to hit rockets is fun to watch plus the fact hes so raw still makes you wonder how high the cieling is. When rashford came into the team in the dark days his pace was his main attribute but with greenwood its his finishing which is so good.

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

Well City's ban gets overturned and they will still pay a 10 million pound fine for not cooperating with UEFA during the investigation but the two year ban go squashed so they will qualify for next years Champs league. This now makes finishing in the top four critical for the other clubs and makes the next 3 GW's very interesting with Chelsea looking weirder by the game and Leicester only winning 1 in their last 7 in all comps. Gotta feel United have a heck of a chance today if they can handle southampton at home.

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

Classic UEFA...they are more suggestions than rules. Why even have FFP if they're not going to enforce it?

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

Turns out they didnt actually break the rules this time its just they refused to cooperate with UEFA's investigation so they got slapped with an absolutely laughable fine of 10 million.

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

Every reputable football journalist I've read/listened to on the subject has said it's not about whether they did break rules or not, they did, rather they have attacked the acquisition of the evidence and the evidence itself, not cooperating with the investigation, and attacking the time elapsed between the transgressions as almost a statute of limitations type deal.

Uefa said in response to Monday's verdict: "Uefa notes that the Cas panel found that there was insufficient conclusive evidence to uphold all of the CFCB's conclusions in this specific case and that many of the alleged breaches were time-barred due to the five-year time period foreseen in the Uefa regulations.

From The Guardian's article on the subject

This was not a story of victory for an innocent club prevailing against false accusations, it's the story of a club who absolutely did all these things getting away with it because they hired a mountain of lawyers to slow down, elongate, and attack the evidence/method of acquisition until they could find a way around it, mostly by getting the majority of the major accusations to be counted as "time barred" per UEFA's own regulations.

Huh I stand corrected the info I had seen was that that they hadnt done anything but then again I'm not surprised being it was through the MEN site. FFP has been killed by this ruling no two ways about it, UEFA have become a sad state like the NCAA at this point.

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

I fully expected it to be overturned. Especially after listening to the journalists on Guardian's Football Weekly and the Totally Football Show explain the kind of people who work for these governing institutions like CAS in comparison to the army of the best lawyers money can buy on City's side. It was never going to be a fair fight.

Gaurdiola demanding apologies from critics is just the icing on the cake today like they did nothing wrong. UEFA made a mess of this unfortunately not being able to know their own rules sounds like Ron Cherry was running that show from the start.

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

Yeah, Pep demanding apologies, was comical. I'm not down with Klopp throwing shade at Pep, but I think he did it at least in a respectful manner, stating that MC having 14 less games makes the challenge that much MORE harder to finish on top next season. They did something wrong, they can't deny that, but honestly if you can operate in the grey area, and slip through the fingers of penalties, then, credit to you and your legal representation. #LwyrUp

โญโญโญโญโญโญ #YNWA

Hilarious...considering he would have been the first one out the door if City actually had to sit out of the Champions League for 2 years.

There were reports disputing that though. It would've been interesting to see how things would've played out. DeBruyne's decision would've been the linchpin to it all. Part of me (the soccer fan side) is glad they got off, because it keeps the EPL competitive and interesting, the other part of me (the soccer purist side) hates the idea that a cash cow can come in, and simply inject insane amounts of cash into a team to make them competitive. I hope the most beautiful part of soccer, the need for a team effort, outweighs the attempts to purchase mulitple titles, but I have my doubts. For every PSG, there is your Man City.

โญโญโญโญโญโญ #YNWA

Uh no he wouldntve, he told city brass hed be in even if they got relegated to league one, word on the street is debruyne had come back around too and I legitimately believe it because city has become his project, he wants to succeed here

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

The league one stuff cracked me up but no way he walks next year he will want to retake his crown from Klopp no doubt. Still awaiting the PL investigation I think, though weve heard nothing on the front in ages.

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

That coupled with the fact that it's an ego thing. People attribute all of peps success to messi which I dont think is fair. I think pep wants to prove he can be successful without messi and city is willing to do anything to make that happen

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 Pep has more than proven he can win without Messi at Bayern and City. I think everyone from the golden age Barca has struggled to prove they can be that good again without the other components. Even Messi has only won the CL once since Guardiola left, and it was with a prime Suarez and Neymar up front with him and a still capable Iniesta/Xavi/Busi behind them.

The two primary critiques of Guardiola that I believe have some level of credence are that he is only a top club manager, hardly a fault, but he has only ever won at teams with elite players, with the deepest and most talented squad in each respective league, the best resources relative to their peers, and very supportive boards for his (copious) transfer demands. To me this isn't so much a knock, there are managers who could win at any level, there are managers who are meant to elevate lower teams, there are mid table managers, and there are top managers. I think Zidane is another example of a manager who might only be successful with top level teams, though we have a smaller sample size for him.

The second legitimate critique of Pep is that he sometimes overthinks and overcomplicates his "big game" tactics, particularly in the CL knockouts. He has a history of strange rotations and odd tactical diversions from what was otherwise working. This one is just pretty undeniable, but it's far from something that can't be overcome.

I mean pep and zidane were both highly successful with their respective youth teams too but yeah we'll never know there. And I cant tell you how many people I've heard say peps a failure at city if he cant win the CL which I think is missing the point. His domestic teams are fantastic. I mean a lot of people consider his Bayern tenure a failure because again he didnt win the CL again which is just absurd to me. It's really difficult to win that competition, you have to be talented, and a bit lucky and chips just havent fallen our way yet.

I absolutely agree he overtinkers sometimes but if that's my biggest critique of him that's A-ok with me and some of that may be why chips havent fallen his way but I can live with that. Mancini, Lambert, jose and Pellegrini have all shown it's not necessarily easy to win despite spending pep has put together some of the most entertaining teams I've ever watched (a 2 month period of negredo and aguero banging in 5 goals a game with Pellegrini aside)

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 agree. It would be absolutely absurd to call his tenure at City a failure if he doesn't win CL. He's built one of the best league sides in history. The 17/18 through 18/19 run rivaled the best two year spans of consistency I've ever seen in league play, 198 points in two seasons is insane. That's more than he had in any two year span at Barca, more than Mourinho's 10/11 and 11/12 at RM. Even this season that consistency finally broke (it's inevitable because of injuries, and form is difficult to maintain), but offensively has still be one of the most impressive sides in Europe. That's not even touching on the tactical innovations he has brought to the game.

The CL being the end all be all is the toughest bar for any manager to be held to. It's the most difficult competition to win in football, and only one team across all leagues can win CL in any given year. We won it in four out of five seasons during his time at Bayern and City. Every team that didn't win the CL during that period can't just be considered an out and out failure because that bar is completely unfair for anyone.

If he wins the Champions League and FA Cup that would give Pep 10 major trophies in 4 seasons. That's almost as many trophies as all other Citeh managers in the clubs history combined. So yes, definitely a successful stint so far.

Exactly those madrid teams were absurdly good, and there is no shame in losing to them or an incredible (obviously) liverpool side. And the teams that bookended those Madrid runs are no slouches either (see other point about barca with prime suarez and neymar and my long standing admiration for klopp and liverpool)

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

Didn't his last 2 City title teams rack up like 198 points in those 2 seasons? That's just bonkers. Doing that in a densely competitive league like the PL is more than enough "without Messi" credibility.

He just needs to win the Champions League with City at some point. After that what could the critics have to say?

What's the likelihood City picks up Koulibaly?

Hokie fan | W&M grad

Not great imo, I think eric Garcia is settling into that position and has been nothing short of fantastic. And I think we just let that work itself out rather than breaking the bank for koulibaly. I think we let ota walk keep stones, and sign a depth player rather than going big there. I think the big money splash buy this year for us is a winger with pace to replace sane. Leon bailey is the rumored target, and then I think we sign a left back to push mendy to be a bit more responsible

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

Bummer, it'd be fun watching him on this team. City already has dominant forwards and midfielders, can't help but think putting a stud defender back there would be scary for the rest of league. Not sure I trust Mendy or Stones, but it's not like they're giving up a lot of goals either.

Hokie fan | W&M grad

Esh... please tell me you don't actually believe that lip service about dropping to league one. That's an all-time meaningless "leader rally cry" with no weight or substance behind it. Not only was that outcome not even remotely on the table, but there is no way to prove he would or wouldn't have. It's just a hollow rallying cry for the fans to get behind him. I would bet every dime I own he would not have stuck around if they dropped even one level, much less two.

I dont buy the league one claim but I sincerely doubt he was ever leaving. Even from the start he said he was sticking around, and he has been saying that in press briefings since day 1. He has given 0 indication that hed leave for a CL ban. I think he relishes the challenge with klopp and I think he loves the support system he has at city. Simple as that. Debruyne was the only one that I think had a chance of leaving and he seemed to have changed his mind as time wore on, whether that was because he knew the outcome or not I'll never know but I seriously doubt pep leaves and I think debruyne enjoys playing for pep. Theres no doubt pep has elevated his play

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

There's no doubt that Pep has had a major influence on DeBruyne becoming one of, if not the best, midfielder in the world right now.

If the big clubs are ever actually threatened by UEFA or FFP there will be a super league created outside of their control.

The original intent was, I believe, to stop owners of local-tier clubs from spending themselves into bankruptcy. Of course, they can't even do that. Bolton and Bury in England recently went bust and everyone shrugged.

At what point do UEFA only give the too two in England champions league football since the rest of the teams are all inept at actually being consitently decent. Garbage performance by United, zero energy in the second half and Southampton deserved the point if not more. United have no quality in their depth to really change the game when they go flat.

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

Meh, they really only have 3 guaranteed spots, the 4th place team has to win a two-leg playoff to get into the group stage (I am unfortunately all too familiar with this having seen Arsenal barely squeak through on more than one occasion). Plus, the number of spots is based on UEFA coefficients, which is basically how well all the teams in that league have done in UEFA competitions over the last several years.

I think English teams do fine in the CL, but since it is the most watched league (I think) the teams get more hype and are expected to advance quite far. The reality is, the other teams are good and their guys are getting paid too!

So, to answer your question, UEFA will redistribute the CL spots if other leagues continue to outperform English teams year in and year out (seems unlikely with the amount of money coming into the PL). Liverpool just won last year, two teams still in play in this years tournament. All they really have to do is get to the knockouts consistently with an occasional run to the finals and they'll maintain four spots.

Edit: It looks like the qualification has changed, so the 4th spot is now an automatic qualification. For reference, England is currently the 2nd-ranked country on UEFA coefficient behind Spain, and they have not been 1st since the 2010-2011 season. To lose the 4th spot, they would have to fall behind Portugal or France (currently 5th/6th) and I don't see that happening.

After playing out of their asses for 4 games, Man United finally realizes their new normal and draws against Southampton. Ugh. Luke Shaw was hurt in the process which is also a new normal. It looked like just an ankle roll, but the guy is simply just not healthy enough to be relied on as starting left back.

Marshall University graduate.
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Formerly known as JWillHokieAlum.

Think this game revealed a few cracks that the success had papered over that still exist in a lack of real depth and the need to move on a bunch of the older guys who are just bench fodder to clear out room for more academy kids and new signings. Dont think this result is the end of the world with the favorable run in but Ole is going to need to find a way to rotate his squad this week I think and still get results.

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

So I gotta ask where do you stand on ole?

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

Split honestly, the first half of the year it was tough and I honestly didnt think he was cut for it. That said the much needed injection of Bruno has made the system work that Ole wants but it also revealed how little quality the squad behind the best 11 have. If this wasnt a pandemic window I might think Utd would move on from him and be more ruthless but honestly only Poch would be a logical upgrade thats attainable right now. Due to the Covid stuff financially it makes more sense if he gets us in top 4 to keep him on for the next year and go out and use all money available to upgrade the squad but more importantly trim the fat, guys like lingard, jones, smalling, sanchez.

TLDR: I'm not overly fond but I think hes doing a decent job with what in my eyes isnt a very deep squad. If we somehow blow the shot at the top 4 I would be a bit more on the down side though considering where we are right now.

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

Gotta give him credit for fighting the ship without pogba for a good chunk of the season too though. He seems to have figured out how to use him and he pairs with bruno so well. If they can find a way to keep ole around I think united will correct things and I say this as a city fan. Didnt think hes the right guy for the job but they havent looked bad and like you said that's with a pretty thin roster. Hes impressed me but I'm trying to look at COVID results in a vacuum. I dont think city are 4 goals better than liverpool, I think covid has basically been a reset button on the season. Next season will be telling for ole but regardless of how things end i think he's earned next season

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

Arsenal fan here and I think Ole has been passable. I think it took him too long to settle into the right squad balance, but injuries to Pogba and Rashford didn't help. Matic has been playing much better with Pogba around as well, which is huge for balance. No more need to rely on McTominay (and/or Fred) to keep the midfield ticking. Bruno was a fantastic signing and you can tell he really pushes the players around him too.

AWB is still learning and you can tell his confidence is not there with ball attacking, but that could come. They suffer for width with AWB/Shaw at fullback, and Shaw is injury prone. Not sure Brandon Williams is the answer, and it would just be the most United thing ever to buy someone like Chilwell or Tagliafico to boost that position. And then there's just depth in general. The dropoff to Lingard, Mata, Pereira, McTominay etc is pretty big.

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

This seems pretty spot on. Whoever made the call to sign Bruno is the real brains, whether that was Ole, their advanced analytics team or someone else, they're a much better team when he's on the pitch.

Hokie fan | W&M grad

Honestly I wasnt convinced by the what I had seen that he would have the impact he has had and was skeptical when we made the signing but hes been well worth the money spent and were lucky nobody else grabbed him beforehand. Just the change in getting Martial to actually try alone is really impressive how motivated he is is so refreshing.

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

Gonna reply to both here, I agree with what yall are saying I think hes had a tough job that I'm not sure many others do too much better than he is right now. Depth has to be the big focus this summer if they want to challenge for something I dont expect in the title next year. The other big reason I'm okay with him staying and keeping on is we dont need another manager, another system change over, another new regime etc we need some stability even if its not a world class manager we just need one system and some continuity to see a bunch of the misfits in the squad out the door to get in some fresh and hungry blood.

If I had to identify positions I'm worried about its mainly some kind of a CAM, RW or ride side attacker. Ideally Greenwood would be the off the bench super sub next year and add to the rotation up front not be a heavily leaned on youngster. The other priorities have to be backup for the midfield so that when Bruno or Pogba arent on the field the drop off isnt so bad that we do what we did last night and fall flat. After that ideally a CB to pair with Maguire, who I personally think isnt the best but we dont need him to be. Hes solid but I'm not sold on Lindelof, ie last nights goal he makes big mistakes sometimes that are just hard to watch. I think between Shaw and Williams were okay at LB and I;d focus more on the above positions. Personally I think Chilwell goes to City as they desperately need a LB and CB as good as he would be I dont think united will be able to fork that sum for a LB with other needs.

Personally I hope Ole gets one more year with a better team to show if hes good enough as I dont think this years a good year to go through another manager change and along with that I dunno who else other than Poch I'd be willing to take a chance on anyway.

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

Anybody else excited for All or Nothing with Spurs? Mourinho is must watch TV good or bad.

Yes, inject this into my veins!

#SomethingTheKopWantsYouToKnow

Got my game day program pre-ordered for this momentous event!

โญโญโญโญโญโญ #YNWA

lmao. *shrugs*. COYG.

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

Kudos to your backline today, ya'll fought for that one. Kudos to your pressing also, forced us into errors. Sucks that we can't get 100 points now, but honestly at this point, I'm just ready to see the trophy lifted. Stick a pin in this season I swear...

โญโญโญโญโญโญ #YNWA

Arsenal won with 31% possession, I bet that hasn't happened in a very long time...pre-Wenger. Hope you get into Europe.

I recall a cheeky 2-0 win away at Manchester City in 2014-15 (maybe?) with about that much. Absolute Cazorla master class in midfield. Miss that guy

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

Arteta's gone and done a Mourinho.

Could end a miserable PL season with 3 wins. You'd think they can come out and beat Villa and Watford now.

This statement encapsulates the club so perfectly. Arsenal about to Arsenal their way back into the Europa League

The only takeaway from today was peacock was awful and I hope they stick to NBCSN, loved the it's gonna be ad free only to be bombarded by peacock ads every two seconds

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

If you have Gold you can still watch it that way fyi

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

I usually use that but was at work today and peacock wasn't being screened so had to use it till I got home. Wasn't impressed I really hope it's not where sports are heading.

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

If I recall correctly NBC Sports Gold for the PL is going away. The same kind of package will be available under a Peacock premium membership when the next league season starts.

Yes, I got the email about that today. But for the last bit of this season, the gold option is still available if peacock is giving you any trouble. I will be interested to see pricing for the next premier league season, I thought I read somewhere that the monthly billing would wind up being less than what a typical gold pass would cost, and they hope you just keep it through the off-season when you're not really using it. But who knows ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™‚๏ธ

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

4.99/month or 9.99/month for ad-free. So I think that is less than NBCSG

Link

I'm pleased with our odd win today, but seriously, eff VAR. I don't think there's some giant conspiracy against Arsenal, but Gooners have several good reasons for complaint over the past few weeks. Nketiah got sent off for the same exact tackle TAA delivered to Saka today and VAR didn't even take a look in this case. Shoot, the day after Nketiah saw red, Tarkowsky did the same thing but worse and, nope. Nothing. At the time, I fully agreed with the Nketiah red, but now I'm just angry at the inconsistency. Arsenal aren't the only ones affected obviously but I'm struggling to think of a VAR event that went our way.

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

Overall I think the PGMOL royal fucked up VAR this year. By telling the refs to not use the monitors, to the new handball law, the officiating has been trash this year. They need to make serious revisions to how VAR is implemented and personally I'd much rather the in game official be the one making the calls than the booth guy. They seem to take ages anyway and the match official should be the one with the final say. I dunno how TAA doesnt go off for that tackle personally as you said due to it being given in other games but then again VAR has botched so many calls this year ie Brunos Pen against bournemouth, the handball against wolves today, they tried to make it minimized and instead its now a joke.

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

Its gonna come down to the last day for the top four now in the EPL. really interested to see how Chelsea get on against Liverpool could be a big game if they don't wrap up the three points.

As a modern PL fan I'm eager to see what the older wigs think of potentially Leeds United being back.

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

Foxes giving me the same feeling Hokies sports do. Never know which team is going to show up.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

Should make the league more compelling at least with Leeds going up. Many English love to hate them and that makes for a great atmosphere.

It's a proper big club domestically and it took legendary poor management for them to have been in League One and the Championship for 15 years. Like Leeds is definitely a bigger club in England than many clubs in the bottom half of the PL table right now. Some significantly so.

I'm sure they've missed Man Utd in particular and will welcome them warmly to the ground next year.

Not sure what you mean by "modern" but it's true the EPL doesn't feel the same without Leeds or even Sunderland. These are tradition-rich clubs who have fallen on hard financial times lately. Most on here don't remember but Nottingham Forest were a good team for a few decades in the 70s and 80s but haven't been in the EPL since the late 90s-they've won TWO European Cups and only one English Championship...probably the only club in Europe that can claim that distinction. It will be good to see Leeds back in the big time and Forest will make the playoffs.

I don't let myself play FIFA anymore for my own mental health, but when I did, Nottingham Forest was the team I'd try to take to the top. After all, Arsenal wears red thanks to Forest (explained in the first couple paragraphs in the link below for any that are curious/don't know) so I've always kinda liked them a bit.

https://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/the-arsenal-kit

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

That's interesting, I never knew that little nugget. That 1895-96 home kit...YIKES!

All I meant by modern is my serious knowledge of the world of the premier league doesn't go back to when they were last really relevant I started filling back in the mid 2000s, the 06-07 was the first season I seriously began following the PL. Due to limited cable and bad internet it was hard to follow but I did via friends with better tvs and cable. Always heard about both forest and Leeds but can't help I wasn't born when they were last really relevant so I'm calling on more aged eyes to see what them being back really brings to the league.

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

Welcome back Leeds!

โญโญโญโญโญโญ #YNWA

Campeones :)

Definitely looks like a good time to be a Madrid fan. I don't follow La Liga super closely but the stories of dysfunction coming out of Barcelona are hard to miss. Like those players aren't going to accept a manager unless it's Xavi or someone. And when they add Neymar back to the club it'll totally be chill.....

I do have a good feeling about what we have moving forward in comparison to Barca, but Barca is a club that can quickly turn around poor fortunes much like ourselves. We all were saying the same things after we won the Double in 16/17 and then we had two of worst league campaigns of my time following the club the next two seasons.

So I always hold some reservations to see how things shake out. However, I do think we are substantially superior in how well the club is run and the leadership of the club. I don't think many would argue that point. Both clubs are in a similar situation as far as squad construction goes that we have a mix of aging legends/important players and some young, but not quite totally ready young players, with some inbetweeners as well.

I think the 2021 summer window will be crucial to see how each team develops moving forward. Eventually Messi, Ramos, Pique, Marcelo, etc. will retire or move on to smaller clubs to sunset their careers, Benzema will begin to decline, etc.

I absolutely love the beauty of football, congratulations Leeds! Welcome back!

โญโญโญโญโญโญ #YNWA

This opens up the possibility of Brentford earning an automatic promotion spot to the Premier League...Brentford hasn't been in the big time since the 1930's...also theirs is the only stadium with a pub on each corner. Sadly, they're moving to a "modern" stadium next season. Come on you Bees!

ESR ๐Ÿ‘€๐Ÿ‘€๐Ÿ‘€๐Ÿ‘€๐Ÿ‘€

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

It's hard not to be excited about the youth in the squad right now. Bummed that we won't see Martinelli back until 2021 but even without him I'd say we're in a great spot with young players right now.

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

Aaron mooy you beautiful bald aussie!

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

Oh my my!

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

Oh baby oh baby

I thought we were getting Pep Lite but turns out Arteta can do a bit of a Simeone too!!!!!!!

Never in a million years would have thought we could do that kind of performance twice in a row. I was nervous when I saw them line up in a 3-4-3 but Tierney was immense at LCB

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

I miss arteta :( fuckin told you guys he was a good get for arsenal, he has earned himself a ton of goodwill. If he gets the proper backing arsenal will be back to top 4 in no time

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

Tierney has been our best field player since restart, easily. The whole team is rounding out a bit better but that guy is consistently gold.

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

This was a bit different than the Liverpool match though. Arsenal didn't have a lot of possession but they actually made meaningful plays when the had it and didn't have to be given free goals by the defense. Much more encouraging honestly.

Goals is goals -- the difference in the two games was that they were clinical against liverpool after getting turnovers from the press, while the one big forced error (xhaka stepping in to nick ederson's pass to aubameuang, whose layoff was between two players) didn't result in a goal this time.

Also city didn't press as highly and franticly as pool did. Lots of times the city front three just sort of sat back a little bit and dared arsenal to try to play it out, and twice arsenal did directly for a goal

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

Tierney was massive but City we're gifted some chances by mustafi and Luiz and just simply scuffed em. Today was a prime example of city always over complicating things always trying to get one more pass in instead of just shooting it via the so few shots on target and such. All the sudden I'm thinking madrid could easily make it past them without aguero.

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

I mean let's not get ahead of ourselves here aguero didnt play in the first round. I dont think this is a gimme either way

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 the sky's falling I just think without aguero to be selfish sometimes they just get too cute without him in the box. Unlike the game against Liverpool I thought arsenal actually played well enough to deserve the win and did more than city did at times which I would've bet the house when I saw the lineups on city but arsenal didn't make the typical errors they make and the few they did city didn't finish off. Just weird seeing city spurn the chances is all

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

You clearly havent been following city much this season then. As soon as d silva and gundogan started together I knew thered be a problem. We got away with it last time we played arsenal but our record when those two start together isnt good at all. They both fill the same role and I dont understand why pep keeps rolling them both out, it leaves a huge gap in front of our defense. Were something like 6-3-6 when they both start the same game, which just isnt good enough for a club with this quality

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 got legitimately nervous when rodri came on for gundogan.... Just having a rodri or fernandinho who is comfortable sitting backish and recycling the ball and breaking up opposition possession is huge in allowing the other midfielders to have a freer role without things getting too congested. Gundogan is a little too ambitious to do that well. It seems a little arrogant of pep to just try to cram more attacking players into "defensive" roles and expect tactical balance to be unaffected

HAVING SAID THAT though.... Agรผero is by far the most clinical finisher at City, especially for players you'd want playing through the middle. He's just got such good instincts to poach goals and such good finishing to take his chances. Sterling and Jesus just aren't nearly as clinical and you can see it the more they play

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

Oh not arguing agueros importance. Hes fantastic and hell be tough to replace, but the real issue is the midfield of Silva, gundogan and debruyne. It doesn't work, and it hasn't for like 3 years dont get it. But whatever as I've stated above I really cant shit on pep to much. If VT football has taught me anything, its appreciate the good while you've got it

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

That is what usually happens with Mustafi and (more so) Luiz, but they were actually fantastic yesterday. I only recall one bad error from Mustafi and honestly none from Luiz. Bellerin also had a bad back pass. Sterling missed their one really good chance but that was about it.

Yeah honestly Luiz was immense. I can't remember him putting a foot wrong.

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

Plus that superb pass to Auba for a great chance to score, was pretty surprised he missed that. So many good performances but Luiz was definitely a candidate for MOTM.

Give Aubameyang whatever he wants in salary and give Arteta whatever he wants in the transfer window. Crushed for the London fans who can't go to Wembley for a final.

Will be interesting to see how FA cup/EPL finishes because I'm not sure Auba stays if no European football. Beating City makes that much more likely via the FA cup, and they could def still finish in a Europa league spot via EPL table.

I personally think he's staying regardless.

We need to make Ceballos permanent though.

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

I will definitely defer to you on that one. Auba has obviously been excelling so far in the PL. I just heard that on one of my football podcasts. (GFW or TFS)

Zidane's return and Fede Valverde's emergence makes the Ceballos move becoming permanent much more likely. At the beginning of the season I thought we wouldn't sell because of the big wigs/club/fanbase's obsession with young Spanish talent. I've now seen several reports that we are willing to sell him to Arsenal.

I think Auba wants to stay, but he wants a longer deal (3 years instead of 2) and won't take a cut, so it will be up to the board if they want to cash in or move on. I don't think they'll find much of a replacement now tbh.

I think ceballos is as good as done as well. He runs so hot and cold and I have been very frustrated with him and critical of him, but he definitely grew into the game today after a few early wobbles. The 343 suits him much better than the 4231 does I think.

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

He's building a great partnership with Xhaka (who was 10/10 today). Really warming up to the squad under Artetas management. They're still fairly error prone but at least now we see the attitude shifting.

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

All I have to say is, Aubama-bloodclot-yang! Congratulations Gunners!

โญโญโญโญโญโญ #YNWA

No way David de Gea continues as keeper for United...their guy on loan is going to come back and win that job.

But anyway, we've got an all-London FA Cup final. Hoping to get revenge on Chelsea for last year's UEL final debacle.

Absolute disasterclass from him in the net today tbh

I wanted Chelsea to win and that's what I got. Can't wait for August 1

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

Man utds defense was woeful as well. De Gea was bad but I'd say the entire back line played at Arsenal banter levels.

That being said. I too was hoping for a Chelsea win today. United gets far too many iffy penalties to be playing in a high stakes final match, as fun as the match up would be. Activate secret agent Giroud now, please.

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

Giroud v. Luiz - who loves their old club more?

I've watched just about all of Chelsea's matches since the restart (solely for Pulisic). Apart from Pulisic, they don't really seem to create much in attack and their defense is certainly nothing special. Cautiously optimistic

I thought United looks hosed for the third straight game. Bruno looks leggy and Maguire and lindelof are turning into beevis and butt head. It's the simplest shit with them too, all Chelsea did all day was hit crosses in and you'd think a professional would understand to not let the attacker get in front of you at any point but they were always a second or two too late to react. All that said de Gea was laughable again twice he made a mess of what should be routine for him but his confidence has to be shot. If anyone could use a full summer break to hit the reset it's him.

Overall I'm beginning to fear United are gonna blow their shit with the midweek game, they'll sneak by west ham then go into the Leicester game against a team on a full weeks rest with nothing to lose and get run around like they have the last few games. I was really hoping they would right the ship and get some flow back but they have looked inept at playing against the press in the last few games and the tired legs don't help.

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

If it makes you feel any better, LEI are down Chilwell, Ricardo, Maddison, and Soyuncu from their first choice XI. Rodgers has been doing a back three that doesn't really work to try and hide his wingbacks (and Wes Morgan's "pace"). Luke Thomas will be a good player one day and he looked the part against SHU, but he got absolutely roasted time after time by Lucas against TOT today.

Final UCL spot will likely come down to that match and I wouldn't back LEI's form

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

The issue is Vardy is still there and his pace and ability can be lethal if we try and play with the ball and he gets a break or two. I thought LEI played well today against spurs they just simply got hit on the counter a few times with lethal effect. It might just be the pessimism Jose instilled or the years of being a hokie but I'm beginning to get nervous and hopefully Moyes does us a solid and plays his u15's at mid week. No matter what united do mid week a loss would leave us out of the champions league spots which makes the draw at southampton even more of a bitter pill to swallow.

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

I thought LEI played well today against spurs they just simply got hit on the counter a few times with lethal effect.

https://understat.com/match/12010

passy passy passy but going nowhere in possession, just like Mou drew it up. A ton of low value shots that never had a chance of testing Lloris with TOT's defense packed in. it was a classic Mou match.

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

I cant stand Mou's approach its so bad to watch and frustrating as hell when it works. The one worry LEI have is if Vardy isnt scoring who is without Maddison out as well. I would like to think united can pull 4 points from these last two games but they need a positive rebound on West Ham.
A dream scenario for me is if Chelsea lose both games and united and LEI draw it out so chelsea get left in 5th place. Really exciting that the last day will have two massive games on at the same time with so many different outcomes.

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

They are going to have a tough time finding a team that wants to pay his wages

Yep. It's a (much) less extreme version of our Bale problem.

Ultimately, I think De Gea is too young and too talented to even consider talking like this even during a poor run of form.

He's on way too much money and in a pandemic market it would be almost impossible unless say PSG wanted him. Gonna have to stick with him and try and get him to build up his confidence. That said he needs a better defense in front of him to help and lindelof isnt helping in that regard. If his CB's werent allowing the attackers to get in front of them so often it would help him.

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

I signed up for a free trial of FuboTV b.c of the YouTubeTV price increase, and I feel like a kid at Christmas getting to see Real Madrid, Barcelona, PSG, and others play. I have a whole new respect and love for La Liga!

Hokie fan | W&M grad

Birmingham City wunderkind Jude Bellingham completes a move to Borussia Dortmund for 23m euro

After following how squads have been playing since the restart (and throughout the season), I believe Bayern Munich are the best club in the world right now. Am I off-base here?

They are definitely one of them, but that's sort of what the Champions League is for, so I guess we'll see in August. For my money, one of Liverpool (although knocked out), City, Madrid, or Bayern.

I think Bayern look the most complete front to back but who knows what the long set back time from end of league play to CC tourney will have on them. PSG are a sleeper but with no real serious games to get fitness to the top level you'd tend to favor a team thats played a fair amount lately.

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

Liverpool look like relegation fodder right now, but thanks for including them

As you all get ready to hoist the PL trophy and hopefully pound chelsea into oblivion, I'll serenade this remark with the worlds smallest violin

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

Nice touch with LeBron, he is a part owner of LFC after all. Well done.

One of 2 reasons I started to support the Reds, LeBron and Stevie G's slip, I'm a sucker for a heartbreaking underdog what can I say?

โญโญโญโญโญโญ #YNWA

LOL

heartbreaking underdogs or underachieving would-be juggernauts?????????????

if i didn't know you were a giants fan already, i'd suggest rooting for the cowboys ๐Ÿ˜‰

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

Keep in mind, I was observing from the outside looking in, I seen the clip of Stevie-G nonstop that summer, and it tugged at the heart strings. I didn't know of their prior dominance. It was kind of like my Yankee fandom. It started before the Derek Jeter years, it was late 80s/early 90s, when they were contenders, but not juggernauts. Being from New York, and more specifically from Brooklyn, you HAD to be a Yankees fan though, it just took me a little longer to catch on to baseball. Ironically my dad was once a Cowboys fan, and then after they fired Landry, he became a Giants fan, thus my Big-Blue addiction.

โญโญโญโญโญโญ #YNWA

I'm sure Klopp tried his best but with Liverpool out of the remaining tournaments those guys checked out when the league was wrapped up. Playing as the champions in empty stadiums, especially at home, probably got old reeeeeeal quick. No one even there to celebrate with or even hate you for being the best.

She's a beaut ๐Ÿ†:

All I hear is Drizzy horns playing right now #CueTheHorns:

โญโญโญโญโญโญ #YNWA

Is yours gold? ๐Ÿ˜‰

Unfortunately not, wonder if our Champions League trophies are? How about you check yours for me ๐Ÿ˜‰ I'll wait...

Disclaimer: I think going a full season undefeated is an impressive feat

โญโญโญโญโญโญ #YNWA

Just let us have this, we can't have nice things anymore.

I'm not sure anyone will ever match Arsenal's undefeated season again, the league is just too competitive (erm, even more so than when Arsenal did it with the influx of foreign billionaires). Truly one of the most impressive achievements of all time.

That's the real arsenal. Absolute garbage.

I bet you at least 80% of the Arsenal fanbase saw that coming. We had to rotate our squad for that game and that shows what Arsenal's squad depth is like. And the guys who weren't rotated looked 100% out of the game, like they couldn't be bothered. Lots of work to due this window.

I think our starters on the flanks are good to go and obviously we're set at keeper. Aside from that, we could use some level of addition (including some subtraction) all over the pitch. A creative, attacking midfielder and a solid center back are clearly the biggest needs right now. The center of the pitch is no man's land for us right now.

And holy crap, they need to work on set pieces going both ways. 46% of our goals against this season? That's a stunning stat.

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

I saw a bunch of fans ranting about Auba for joking with mings before the goal came on that set piece seems petty to be worried about though.

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

It's creative midfielders for me, full stop. Without knowing the transfer budget, it's tough to say how many improvements we'll be able to make. Arteta has been consistently saying he feels he has the Kroenkes support, but we'll see if that translates to $. But if we are limited in the number of moves we can make, it's got to be playmakers. Arsenals pass charts basically have a black hole in the area just outside the penalty area, there is just simply no one in the team who creates chances. ร–zil has the most chances created this season, and he hasn't played since the restart (and it seems likely he won't play for the club again). I'm not knowledgeable enough to know who to go after, but have simply got to buy some players who can make dangerous passes in the final third.

My idea is to sell one of Leno and Martinez when their stocks are both very high. In fact, I can't believe either would be willing to sit even if the club wanted to keep both. Both have shown that they are good enough to play in the PL and other top flight leagues. That's more money for outfield players. The problem is that Chelsea would probably first in line to buy....

With Guendouzi that might be 50-60 million of pick-your-currency. I can also see Torreira wanting out. I don't think the club has ever pinned down a use for him and committed to it...how is he going to develop here? It's a fair question if he's asking it.

I agree with you on all points except I won't commit to the first point because I know as soon as we do that, the one we keep is going to spend 3 years on a trainer's table. I do realize it's probably the smartest option given our current situation.

I know some want Lacazette sold but I don't share the confidence in Nketiah that many seem to have, and I don't think we'd get enough out of Laca's sale to adequately replace his output (yes, this season was a bad one for him but honestly that applies to just about everyone except Auba, Saka, and the keepers).

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

I agree they'll need to sell a keeper. Don't want to, but almost no choice. I honestly don't mind selling to Chelsea as long as we charge them an outrageous sum. They should pay it to get Kepa as far away from their goal as possible.

Won't get much for Torreira coming off an injury and not getting many minutes. Better to keep him if he's willing. Doubt they'll get that much for Guendouzi even though he's talented since he clearly has attitude problems. Maybe 40, but best bet is to use him in a swap which has been rumored.

I also have no interest in keeping Kolasinac or ร–zil (although he apparently refuses to be sold). A few others will likely be sold as it's just time to move on (I.e. Chambers)

As an Aston Villa fan just getting to this thread after Sunday...

BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA, thank you Arsenal for being Jekyll on Tuesday and Hyde on Sunday.

I've really gotten into pulling for villa to find their way out of relegation and today's result was huge honestly didn't see it coming but they looked good. Lining up for an amazing bingeworthy last day. I'm trying to find extra TV's so I can have all the meaningful games on at once.

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

It's no surprise that AVFC's dark days of a few years ago coincided with the ownership of the club of one Randy Lerner...of Cleveland Browns fame. Glad to see a club of their stature start to turn it around...survival would be a big deal for them this season.

I'm making everyone bring tvs to our last day party and I'm trying to have all 5 meaningful games streaming at once so we can keep track of top 4 and relegation.
Its nuts that United would be guaranteed top 4 if they get 2 points but not if they only get 3 points.

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

If I can, while I'd love to welcome you to the Villa fanbase on a permanent basis, might I suggest giving that a long think before committing, for your own emotional well being. Although, I will say today is the most optimistic I have been as a Villa fan in probably ten years. And by optimistic, I'm thinking there's a realistic shot for 13th next season if they can keep Grealish, get some decent wingers (I'd love to steal David Brooks off of Bournemouth, but that's just the Welsh in me) and figure how to fucking score goals. AIM FOR THE STARS!

Although I'm irritated I have to figure out this Peacock bullshit in order to watch this next season.

They've become my second team I find myself pulling for when Man U isnt on and if I can survive the Van Gaal and Mou era I'm sure I can take supporting villa. I cant see anyone paying the serious money Villa will want for grealish this summer so if they can keep him and maybe steal a Stanislas and maybe nip buendia from Norwich and keep Mings they should have a decent shot at staying up next season. Villa also desperately need a striker that can help get goals so maybe find a way to poach maybe king or callum wilson would be well worth the money. That said this years new group from the championship is gonna make the relegation interesting especially with Leeds coming up as well.

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

What a match, and I thought the only excitement would be from lifting the trophy LOL. Pulisic is repping Murica' well. So happy for Bobby.

โญโญโญโญโญโญ #YNWA

I could watch CP play all day. Then I realize that he has to play under Berhalter and alongside the MLS recreational all-stars.

Another white bronco? The first one didn't go too far.

Yup more kids need to leave and go the route he went to better themselves his development is amazing and he gets better and better.

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

They are. Just give it a few years. US will be loaded by 2026

Ahhhh just like footballs recruiting 2026 is our year guys!

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

Lol yeah...but the difference is most of these guys can't big dog us!

Remember when klinnsman was murdered in the media and then essentially fired for this take? I member

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'd say he was more criticised by the MLS media and lots of the US outlets but a fair amount got what he meant. The MLS is a great up and coming league but to develop to the absolute top of world international football our young players like Reyna as well are showing it pays off to get out of the US and go to Germany and other european teams.

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

One of the biggest problems is that most MLS managers don't do a good job of playing the young players. MLS is Back is nice because it doesn't really matter so hopefully some of the younger players get more minutes for showcasing purposes. But during a normal season, there is hardly any rotation.

The other issue is MLS ridiculous transfer policy that gives a portion of every international sale to MLS itself...So when a team sells a promising young player overseas they have to give 25% (for a homegrown player) to MLS. AND they are only allowed to allocate up to $1M of the money to their cap space allocation. This results in the teams asking for higher fees so they can actually get the money they think their player is worth. The European clubs decided to buy a prospect from a league with regular rules and the prospect gets stuck in MLS. #AbolishMLS

This Sunday lineup is great for drama.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

Man. I really wanted to see Bournemouth stay up. So close.

Another white bronco? The first one didn't go too far.

Bournemouth and Watford going down were both pretty sad to see. On the flipside, I was happy to see Aston Villa stay up so that's just how it has to be.

The goal-that-wasnt from Sheffield United in the first game back against Aston Villa really does look large right now. If it had been properly given, Villa is down and Bournemouth stays up.

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

Bless you, goal differential.

Remember when we were 11th a couple games ago? Yeah ill take this

My lips are moving but there's no sound
Someday somebody's gonna get run down

Arsenal finish 8th. Obviously a season to forget. Looks very likely that the right manager is in place...lots of questions elsewhere in the club.

BRodgers the nearly man

Just a reminder that even though many believe we are back on our perch, things can change quickly:

Congratulations to all those supporters whose squads finished in positions that were ideal.

โญโญโญโญโญโญ #YNWA

Considering where Man u were in december and Janruary I'll take a third place finish all day. Sure it sucks to be behind Liverpool and city but from where we were it aint too shabby. Now the real rebuild starts and I dont think we will be true challengers next season but top 4 is a must and a good cup run and a trophy would be a good sign of progress for next year.

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

The Saudi's have pulled out of the Newcastle takeover. This club may actually be cursed. I don't think I can ever believe another takeover rumor considering this is about the 3rd or 4th failed bid in the last 3 years.

That's a real kick in the ass. Getting rid of that guy would be like Washington getting rid of Dan Snyder. It really looked like you guys were going to be free this time.

I think the EPL sat on this one and just waited the Saudis out. Not a bad strategy. With the illegal broadcasts (probably the biggest concern from an EPL perspective) and human rights concerns they probably didn't want to touch this new ownership, but weren't prepared to justify refusing the takeover. It's frustrating as a Newcastle fan, but at this point I don't believe we will ever get rid of Ashley. He might be the owner forever.

"That move was slicker than a peeled onion in a bowl of snot." -Mike Burnop

Yeah, I find it difficult to believe that Ashley truly wants to sell, even though there are reports that he's been completely checked out during the O&D test.

The Saudi statement was a bit odd. Why mention uncertainty for the season start and training policies? They've been playing for weeks and the protocols are all in place. It definitely sounds like they just wanted an excuse to pull out.

In other news, I'm the Hokies FPL champ two years running now ๐Ÿ’โ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿ’โ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿ’โ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿ’โ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿ’โ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿ’โ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿ’โ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿ’โ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿ’โ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿ’โ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿ’โ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿ’โ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿ’โ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿ’โ€โ™‚๏ธ

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

Weird how I started doing so much worse after I started actually checking my lineup...

to be fair, i kept getting super excited about liverpool conceding goals and then realized you were slowly getting away from TAA-Robertson-Alisson. So idk if keeping your same team would have helped you

next season will start up soon, hoping Hokiebone gets us set up again!

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

Klopp kind of screwed me on the run-in - I started out thinking he would rest some players, so I benched them and of course they played well. Then, I figured out they were going for the record and started playing them again but I had to guess which of TAA and Robertson he was going to start each match (he seemed to start one on the bench most matches) and I usually guessed poorly.

I reached a point where I wanted to sell them all to generate funds to upgrade other spots, but I didn't want to keep losing points for extra transfers.

It was a long shot for me to come back once you started leaning on United after the restart and they actually played well. Well-deserved victory for you!

I finished second and missed the $360 pot in my league this year and all cause I used my triple captain a week too early and the last match day my opponent triple cap'd de bruyne. I hate fraudiola.

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

did you join the Hokies FPL mini league? you should next year if you didn't.

I finished OR 125,623 with 2254 pts this year, my best finish yet. Finished second in my money league and the guy who won ran away with it -- OR 21,319 and 2333 pts!

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

I'll definitely join it next year. Love playing it but damnit it can be infuriating when at the end of the season some rando who hasnt played since week 1 can blow you away. Those are solid numbers and wouldve been top our league. After bombing it out last year not knowing how it works I did alot better this year and hopefully can step up and win a league next year. This year I finished with 2,122 points and 24 wins 1 draw and 13 losses.

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

Had a good time with it my first season playing. Definitely took a little bit of time to figure it out but once I did it got more fun. I'm looking forward to actually understanding things from the get go this coming season.

Arsenal beat Chelsea 2-1 to extend their record of FA Cup victories to 14. Nice finish to an up and down season, they qualify for the UEFA Europa League for next season.

Kop, I got that new Nike kit this morning, the que to just GET on the site, was an hour LOL. Clearly all the Reds are floating on cloud 9 still. Made sure to get a Henderson kit, with the EPL champion patch, and the World Cup Champion patch. Figured it would be a good reminder that we were the Champions of the WORLD for a period of time. HYPED!!!

S/N: congrats to the Gunners, see you at the end of the month for the Community Shield match

โญโญโญโญโญโญ #YNWA

Oh baby oh baby

Not the best game I've ever seen, and Anthony Taylor definitely is a storyline coming out of it, but I don't even care. FA CUP WINNERS!!!!!!

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

Yeah that refereeing performance was... bad. And heavily in our favor. Once again I'll point to how piss poorly VAR has been implemented.

That being said, Arsenal really did look fantastic after the early Pulisic goal. It's a shame that injuries and an undeserved red card are going to make all the headlines, but meh, don't care too much. Worst season since '95 and 3 head coaches and we still managed a trophy out of it. Gotta love it.

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

What (non-) VAR incident are you referring to? I don't think yellow card offenses (Kovacic) are reviewable unless it's to upgrade to red. Nor are keepers using hands outside the box. As a whole it's definitely poor, but I didn't think there was anything egregious today.

I just think it's silly that the second yellow wasn't reviewable, because that was at the very best, soft. And I hesitate to even give it that.

However the commentators claiming that Xhaka could have seen a straight red instead of Kovacic's first yellow was pretty hilarious.

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

Oh I agree it wasn't a yellow. Probably should be reviewable but Europe seems to be reluctant to adopt the American sports custom of making almost anything reviewable. But the rules are the rules.

Up The Arse, Chelsea!

Auba's second goal, goodness gracious what a move and chip.

So, obviously Taylor was bad as usual. I agree with the questions about the Kovacic card (although Azpilicueta could've easily seen red for the penalty). Some other decisions questionable, but what I don't understand is Chelsea fans believing the second goal should have been disallowed. Claiming Christiansen was fouled after tackling Bellerin? Not a chance. Arsenal have had more then enough matches decided the other way due to officials since the dawn of time, so I'm not too broken up about it.

I think the decisions went heavily in Arsenal's favor but none of the goals are in question for me.

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

Tbh I thought bellerin fouled him in real time as it happened and even said out loud "good lord Hector, pass the ball instead of dribbling yourself into a yellow" but I'm so happy to be wrong

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

I would say Taylor had a very very poor game and in a cup final you want the referee to be a non story but in England they dont have too many great refs it seems and then the really screwed up VAR protocol they have makes it even worse. If he was allowed to go to the monitor for either the second yellow, PEA's second goal, or the martinez outside the box those decisions would atleast have been in Taylors hands.
I'd say the second yellow was very soft but there was minimal contact and again Xhaka makes a meal of it and gets the ref to react. The second goal shouldve been chalked off after bellerin lost control and kneed Christensen in the back but somehow VAR dropped the ball again on that one, Andreas goes for the ball and Bellerin is very late and reckless but I'm beginning to think nobody in the VAR room has a clue anymore with how weird the decisions are being. All that said Chelsea did very little going forward after 10 minutes and they need to get Pulisic back to full health before next season. He has been the only real game changer for them lately and even with Werner and Ziyech coming in they need Pulisic's pace and directness. Arteta has seemed to give this team an edge mentally that theyve lacked for a long time interesting to see if he can get Kroenke to open the wallet or not though and find some central defenders.

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

Martinez kept the ball in the box no question after seeing replays on the internet but the fact that there was no second look there is silly. The 2nd Auba goal is contentious but Taylor had sight on it and just like with football you're going to need clear evidence to overturn the call on the field.

The 2nd yellow is the main issue here I think.

Arsenal already has one new CB coming in from a purchase and loan back last summer, and unless they can sell some of the current ones I don't know how many more they can realistically sign. Mustafi and Chambers are injured so it'll be hard to move them. Luiz is staying for the leadership aspect he brings. Mari is a recent signing and injured. Sokratis is apparently refusing to move out until his contract is done and that's something he's planned since he got there really. So pretty much Holding is the only one I can see potentially moving on. And the Kroenke's have been investing plenty. It's not from their pockets like Abramovich or Mansour but they reinvest a lot. Our net spend is near the top of the league recently, we've just been garbage with player sales.

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

Re: Martinez in the box

I agree he was poor (not sure why anyone would expect differently, he's never been good), and I'll admit I haven't seen a great replay of the alleged foul on Christansen. But from the angles I did see, it just looked to me like Christiansen went to ground and made a good tackle and Bellerin fell on top of him as a result of being tackled. I find it hard to believe that would have been reversed as a "clear and obvious error" even if VAR had checked it (aren't all goals checked automatically?)

Club looked like it needed to be nuked from orbit at Christmas. Now we've won an FA Cup in...August. What a year.

I think I'm ready for the club to meet Madrid's price for Ceballos if Zidane doesn't rate him and they are willing to sell a young Spaniard. They need to get AMN's head right. He's too valuable and versatile to tunnel vision on a specific position and leave the club over it. He will regret leaving Arteta. Obviously pay Auba.

Have to get the league figured out. We have the manager but we'll see what else.

Rumor is they are going to announce soon the loan extended for another year for Ceballos.

This is the last I've heard as well through Madrid channels.

The typical suspects for arsenal chatter are indicating that it will likely be an extension of the loan for a year with a compulsion to buy for an agreed upon fee next summer, with the compulsion triggered by a low number of appearances

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

Does anyone have a good podcast or website where you can catch up on EFL news? It's hard to find recaps on Championship, League 1 and League 2