Saturday, December 19, 2009
Monday, December 7, 2009
This is a rant. If you don't like them, tune out now.
US v England, Rustenberg, South Africa, June 12, 2010 at 20:30.
It's on people. Don't try to talk El Chupa off of the ledge. This ain't no friendly. El Chupa is not an Anglophile--oh, no, far from it. Pack your toothbrush, forswear fish and chips, English ale and Elizabeth Hurley and prepare to get it on. Seriously, El Chupa will never forgive Italy for Brian McBride's broken nose and the two red cards in 2006 when we held the cowardly Azzurri to a tie. Never. Few teams other than Italy and Mexico raise El Chupa's blood pressure. But this June he will add another vaunted foe to his list of nasties: Rooney and company--the limey bastards.
We may watch, follow and admire the EPL. But we do so for its international flavor and quality of play. The fact that it has Drogbas, and Van Persies and Torres. We don't watch, follow and admire it because toothless chavs populate the stands high on meth and cheap, high-alcohol English lager.
We were thinking of writing a funny piece using the usual stereotypes of the English in an ironic, gently humorous fashion. But we gave up. And we're dead serious. If you think any football fan in Europe has respect for American soccer, the American team, or American soccer fans, you're on crack. They don't. They may like Donovan, and Dempsey and Howard, but they know we're not deep, and they know and love the fact that our team embarrassed itself and the country in Germany in 2006.
Have you ever noticed how violent are the matches between our boys and the big powers in world soccer? Have you ever noticed that we never get the calls in said matches? And that we frequently acquire red cards on the most ridiculous of pretenses? It's not a conspiracy. It's a deep-seeded psychological resentment of American political, cultural and economic hegemony.
In the view of most of the soccer world, the beautiful game is theirs not ours, and we're like the handsome and successful outsider who comes to the wedding and all the girls want to do him and the local boys get pissed and wait outside to beat the leaving crap out of him when he tries to leave in his fancy new car none of them can afford. You've seen that movie? Right.
As such, I urge my readers to step up and stifle any friendly talk around the water cooler or in your local pub about this mother of all matches. This ain't no weeny roast. Get your Gadsden flag ready, stock the fridge with the American craft and micro brews that now put European and British ales to shame and get ready to freaking rumble. Yeah, we respect the other team, but we don't like them, not at all. It's time to earn the respect US soccer fans so desperately crave by sticking a big thumb in the eye of the Lion.
There's a malaise of mind in American soccer given its status as a sport of the white, upper-middle class, that sees it as a gentlemanly game much like tennis and golf. Bullshit. Have you tuned in on a sleepless night to the 1:00 am game on FSC or Gol to watch an obscure match from South America or Europe only to be astonished at how physical is the play? This ain't tiddly winks, as Elizabeth Lambert has so ably and admiringly demonstrated. And it's time American soccer fans acquire the ruthless madness of fanaticism required to urge our boys to victory. In the words of Thomas Paine:
In short, it's time to get just wee bit angry people, it's not time to get scared. This is Lexington and freaking Concord not an exhibition game of Old Maid. El Chupa is not at all scared. He can't wait for the bodies to hit the floor. Any US fan who says otherwise better step back.
Friday, December 4, 2009
By El Chupacabra
Villa over Hull at Villa Park (no U.S. TV). Do it. Here's why.
This is not a terribly interesting weekend in EPL betting-wise or even just in terms of good matches. Regarding the latter, Chelsea at Man City could be a good one to watch (its the only one that looks remotely interesting), but we think Chelsea will choke off City's attack and then dutifully put in a goal or two (or three). But other than this contest, there are no marquee match ups.
Hull at Villa is the best bet of the weekend. Villa at home at -220 earns you just under 50% and its the surest thing you'll find this weekend at decent odds. Remember, look for home teams you think have the best chance of winning and try to stay around a 50% return or better. Villa leads Hull in the Luchametric by over 1.0 StandDevs. Hull's recent form is definitely better than Villa, but Villa is at home looking for a sure three points from a league bottom-feeder. What's more, Villa are one of four finalists in the Carling Cup and have not lost at home since the opening day of the season, winning four of their last six matches in front of their own fans.
OUR PREDICTION: Villa to win.
MONEY LINE: Villa-220 Hull +755 Draw +358
LUCHAMETRIC: Advantage: Villa - The Villans have an advantage of nearly 1.2 Stand Devs in the LM measure of production per game. We consider 1.0 StdDevs as indicative of a significant competitive difference between any two teams.
MOTIVATION: Draw - Villa's recent form and position in the table give them all the incentive in the world to grab three points and stay in the hunt for a top four finish. Hull look to continue their recent form and continue to climb out of relegation and erase the nightmare of the first few weeks of the season.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
The Luchametric EPL Power Rankings have been fully updated through Sunday's fixtures. As always you may download an Excel file with the data here. Chelsea is on top (duh) followed by Man U, Arsenal and Spurs. Chelsea has opened quite a bit of space in the official table and in the rankings. They are now nearly a full StandDev (.92) over second place Man U. We have Arsenal ahead of Spurs by .37 of a Stand Dev. We think the nine goals Spurs scored against Wigan were a fluke and that they'll move further down the rankings in the weeks ahead.
Chelsea's dominance is most obvious on defense. They allow the fewest Goals Against per game in the league (.57), the fewest Shots on Goal Against per game in the league (2.5) and the lowest percentage of SOGA to SHTs Against (.26). This latter stat tells us that only 26% of the oppositions' shots are actually on goal, giving us a sense of how few quality chances Chelsea actually allows its opponents (the league average is 37%)
They also lead the league in Recent Form, and have now beaten Liverpool, Man U, Arsenal and Spurs. The season is far from over, and Man U lurks five points behind with a home game against Chelsea still to come. But seriously people, the Blues have a shot at the EPL crown, the Champions league and the FA cup. I'd still take Barca over Chelsea at this point, but what a match it would be.