EPL 2011-2012 Season

choose another team. there will be no thin. supporting man utd or chelsea is boring. these teams will never suck (if they lose a game or 2 it is perceived by their fans as a major disaster), unless they go bankrupt somehow. one day i hope they and a couple of other overly privileged sides will go off and join a european league and top flight english football can become interesting again rather than a procession.

FA Premier League Champions 1993-2011

1993 Manchester United
1994 Manchester United
1995 Blackburn Rovers
1996 Manchester United
1997 Manchester United
1998 Arsenal
1999 Manchester United
2000 Manchester United
2001 Manchester United
2002 Arsenal
2003 Manchester United
2004 Arsenal
2005 Chelsea
2006 Chelsea
2007 Manchester United
2008 Manchester United
2009 Manchester United
2010 Chelsea
2011 Manchester United

2012 Manchester City

That’s great info Shorn, thanks, gives me a lot more pointers of what to search for.

Am I right that basically the most coveted trophies in order are:

  1. UEFA
  2. EPL
  3. Football League Cup
  4. FA Cup


moss_icon, I know, I’d like to support a team I can actually ‘support’ through ups and downs but a couple of factors, which may be based on incorrect assumptions, brought me to one of the top teams:

Coverage: living in north america there’s very little football news or anything to follow, so following a more niche team I was concerned it would be hard to stay engaged, I might not even be able to find all the games without an expensive subscription. I download some English soccer programs and their coverage of even the bottom bunch of EPL teams seems thin.

Also, I figure pretty much any team is going to have its forgone conclusions, whether it’s win or lose. For Chelsea the more interesting match-ups will be with the top teams, for West Brom the most interesting match-ups will be ones around its level. It’s true that it’s more fun to hope you’ll win against a tougher team than to be afraid you’ll lose or tie to a less tough team (damn you Stoke!). But you’re more likely to make it into UEFA (if I understand correctly) and see interesting match-ups that way.

I’m interested in others’ perspectives on the league. I read Chelsea has some hooligan history, but don’t pretty much all the teams?

I’ve just recently started following the EPL and, more specifically, Liverpool. I became interested when John Henry bought the team from The Great Evil Tom Hicks (as a Stars and Rangers fan, the guy is the devil to me) and have become a fan of LFC in that time. Honestly, the best way I’ve found to learn the game is to play hours of Football Manager and watching as many games as possible on FSC.

Good game for Liverpool today. It’s always nice to get a win over Arsenal, even if it’s sloppy and against a somewhat depleted Arsenal. The first 60 minutes it seemed like LFC’s offense consisted of trying to cross the ball into Carroll and have him try to head it into the goal and nothing else. Not much imagination or creativity, but they did manage to completely control possession and gave Arsenal very few chances. Once Frimpong got sent off and Suarez and Meireles came on they looked like a completely different team.

In the other games, it was nice to see QPR pick up a victory and I was pretty disappointed that West Brom couldn’t hold an early lead over Chelsea.

We’ll see if Kun Aguero can do it at Stoke on a rainy Tuesday night in January.

Union of European Football Associations. There’s an acronym for every contintent. I’m going to go forth from this just to explain the club competitions.

The Europa League I tried a few times to explain this, but (as per English teams) I gave up. Just note that Stoke, Tottenham, Fulham (and I guess) Birmingham City are in said second tier pan-European competition. You’ve got qualification rounds, a group stage, some fallouts from the Champions League, then a knockout setup. To most EPL teams, it’s a midweek game away to Lech Poznan that you don’t want. Note that it is silverware, and Fulham had a chance to win it a couple of years back. The current holders are Porto (of Portugal). The 2012 Final will be held at the Stadinoul Nationa in Bucherest, Romania.

The Champions LeagueDE MEISTER, DIE BESTEN, LES GRANDES EQUIPPE. Top Tier competiton of European clubs. For the EPL, the top three teams qualify for the group stage (setup similar to the World Cup); the fourth has to qualify for it. From the 8 groups of four, the top 2 each go to the knockout round; same country teams can’t be drawn against each other until the final 8. Barcalona are the holders of the Cup with the Big Ears. The final will be held in May in the Fußball-Arena München in said city will be the final.

Any other Tottenham Hotspur fans in the house? They became ‘my’ EPL team to follow about 5 years ago when they signed Dimitar Berbatov and I had just started taking footie seriously. I was watching random games on Fox Soccer Channel and he really caught my eye. Now he plays for ManU of course (and I still like him as a player) but Spurs are very much my team still.

Now everyone who watches world news knows that Tottenham was ground zero for the London riots; cost them a postponement of their first game of the season. Two seasons ago was their best in recent history when the finished fourth in the EPL and qualified for Champions League and made a pretty decent show of it. But they will not be back at CL level only qualifying for Europa play this year. Van Der Vaart, Bale and ??? They signed Adebayor? Anyone think he still has the quality in him? Ah well. Arsenal is showing cracks and Liverpool is vulnerable again. Might be room for Spurs again in the top four this season along with Man City and the usual suspects; ManU and Chelsea.

Pumped for the first game Monday at Old Trafford.

It’s early days, but Chelsea isn’t looking like they will really challenge Man U or Man City Mr. Peach. I’m as mystified by Fernando Torres not getting it done as everyone else is. They didn’t even bother to play him and Drogba together, just subbed in Drogba for Torres at the sixty minute mark.

Yeah Chelsea in today’s game was pretty rough looking.

From an English perspective it would be more like this:

  1. Champions League
  2. EPL
  3. FA Cup
  4. Europa League
  5. League Cup

The League Cup was never really that important when it was introduced, and now hardly anyone cares about it at all. Officially the Europa League probably ranks higher than the FA Cup, but for many people that competition is like the European equivalent of the League Cup, i.e. nobody cares about it until their team reaches the final (usually without trying too hard) and then everyone is suddenly interested.

Spurs fan here. No new news on Adebayor yet, from what I’ve seen this morning, although my morning news scan does show me that Modric either hasn’t been selected for, or is refusing to go to, today’s game – reports vary. Can’t say I’m shocked. It’ll be a surprisingly good year for Spurs, in my mind, if they make it back to Champions League play this year.

I’m not looking to taking the delayed start away to United, either. Rough way to start the season.

Speaking as an American Spurs fan, even following a non-top-4 team can be a little challenging. Depending on how deep your obsession becomes, you might want to look into a subscription to foxsoccer.tv. $15/month there will get you coverage of all the games that Fox has rights to (whether they originally show on FSC, FSC+, or straight to FS.tv) as well as coverage of Ligue 1, UCL, and various other bits and bobs.

Do you download BBC Match of the Day and MotD2?

Tottenham v Man U is on ESPN2 today at 2:55 EST.

And I’m going into football media blackout at that time so I can enjoy (or not) the match when I get home!

It was an interesting match weekend, on the whole. I think my initial assessment of Swans may have been way off. They looked as flat and uncreative at home as they did at City last week; they play pretty triangles, but everything else seems to die under the pressure of top tier teams.

And, good grief do City look like they have the potential to be explosive this year. Perhaps not so solid in their own half, but, well… if they can keep egos in check, that vast amount of filthy lucre they’ve been splashing out could make for an interesting fight for the top spot in the league, I think.

Arsenal’s making me not feel so bad about being a Spurs fan.

Should be on ESPN3.com as well. ESPN’s production values are light years ahead of anything on FSC, and I generally perfer to watch games on ESPN.

I’m considering that subscription to Fox soccer, though one thing I’m liking about the EPL is that there’s only one game per week for my team. The baseball people I know are watching a game basically every day. I’m happy to spend any extra time I have for football doing analysis of the week’s performance.

I have downloaded those BBC programs last week, it helped but there’s still a lot of assumed knowledge (and slang), which reminds me, I need to figure out what ‘width’ is supposed to mean and why Chelsea needs it. Does that mean we need faster players so they can run in from the sides?

Thanks for the list Tim, important to know when the stakes are highest.

That Arsenal game was the other one I watched other than Chelsea/West Brom, very painful for them.

‘Width’, used in this context, means that a team has players that play out toward each touchline. They’re usually fast players designed to either get onto balls kicked behind a high defensive offside line (especially useful when playing on the counter-attack), to stretch (across the field) defenders toward them, moving said defenders out of position and providing space for either them or someone else to run into, or to bypass a congestion of players in central midfield (by playing it out wide to exploit possible space).

Although generally you see left wing/left foot and right wing/right foot setups, it’s come into vogue to play ‘inside-out wings’; i.e. you have a right footed player on the left wing and vice-versa. Teams do this in order to have the wing player cut inside the defense; if you can pull it off, this can provide more options (passing and shooting wise) than traditional wing play.

You don’t have to use wide midfielders or wide forwards providing that width either; you can use your fullbacks to do this. That tends to be a little riskier though; you’re using what are essentially defensive players (in most formations) to go up the field, and if the wide players in your formation aren’t disciplined and capable of taking up the resulting slack, this can cause gaps.

When playing with the 4-3-3 that Chelsea started off with, getting width can be a problem if one of your wide forwards is having an off day (Kalou got subbed after 35 minutes, and no, that’s not normal) and your playing against a discplined, well-drilled team (Hodgson’s teams are just that, and he’s had a full off season to work with West Brom).

And a touchline, in case you were wondering, is what we would usually call a sideline in the US…:)

So Man U dismantles poor Spurs 3-0. Is it me, or has Rooney had hair plugs put in? I thought his hairline was much further back.
Also, as someone pulling for City, I was delighted watching United’s keeper make so many simple stops look desperate.

Well, that was a disappointing start to the season. Same problem as last year: absolutely nothing doing in the final third. Spurs had some good opportunities but blew them all. I’ve been dubious about Adebayor, but after seeing the product put on the field tonight I think I’d welcome him in if only to shake things up a bit and put some drive into the strike force.

Meh. Off to Titan Quest.

Spurs haven’t won at Old Trafford in long enough for a kid born in the year when they last won there to be able to drink, United have reloaded for far larger game* and 'arry left out one of Spurs better players.

Is it me, or has Rooney had hair plugs put in? I thought his hairline was much further back.

Yeah, he’s had some additional fur installed up top. I think it makes him look less Shrek-ish, and hey, if you’ve got the money and are going bald at his age, why not?

Also, as someone pulling for City, I was delighted watching United’s keeper make so many simple stops look desperate.

De Gea’s going to take some time to adjust. He’s 20, just came to a lot more physical on goalkeeper league (especially compared to La Liga) and has had 2 entirely different sets of center-backs in 3 games. Not only that, but at Athletico Madrid he was in action** for a good portion of the game. At United, for about 28 games a year he might as well be on a bike helping to power the lights at Old Trafford for 80 to 85 minutes a game. It’s a signifigant adjustment overall, and I think it’s going to take at least a year or two to determine its outcome.

I’m not a United fan by any means, and I do think it’s a gamble. It might cost United 3 to 6 points this year and next as it’s downside; the upside is that you’ve found your first choice goalkeeper for the (barring injury) next 10 to 15 years.

*They’re gunning for Barcalona and/or Madrid; no offence to Spurs fans ment here.

**Defined as the oppositon being in control of the ball in your half. I watched about 8 Athletico Madrid games last year, so I might be mistaken in this statistic.