Archive for August, 2009

Onion Bag: Luck, Waterbottles and a Heroic Beckham

745515_f520Manchester United beat Arsenal 2-1 at Old Trafford. Soccer can be cruel.  Arsenal dictated the match to Man United, forcing a reactionary formation and tactics.  They dominated for 89 minutes but two mistakes beat them.  Wayne Rooney tumbled, anticipating the contact Manuel Almunia then provided, for a cheap penalty.  Abou Diaby stupidly headed a floating free kick into his own net.

Arsene Wenger was sent off bizarrely for kicking a water bottle in frustration, after a last second equalizer was ruled offside.  The officials forced him to leave the playing, straight into a section of Man United fans, who had been singing all match about him being a pedophile.  Referees chief Keith Hackett apologized.

Continued at TheBigLead

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In Soccer, Size is Not Everything

Alexi Lalas told The Big Lead yesterday, he believed Landon Donovan was “one of the Top 20 players in the world.”  That’s nutty.  But, so were comments he made on The B.S. Report.  Lalas told Simmons “height” was becoming a more prevalent issue in soccer and that diminutive talents like Leo Messi were “a dying breed.”

Soccer players, as with all athletes, are becoming bigger, faster and stronger than before (through unnatural means?), but that does not give a team a decisive advantage.

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Michael Owen: Past His Prime or Past His Time?

25475Toward the end of his book Inverting the Pyramid, Jonathan Wilson writes about the changing nature of modern football.  A player he brings up to emphasize this is Michael Owen.  To Wilson, Owen is a relic of a previous era.

Continued at EPL Talk

Big Lead Link Dump From Last Week

Wesley_Sneijder_smilingI was traveling the past week, and did not have time to post every Big Lead article.  Here are my posts from last week.

Onion Bag: Man U Frenzy, Brawl at Chelsea’s Training Ground

The Ultimate 11, by Position, with WAGs

Violence Erupts During West Ham-Millwall Soccer Match

Chris Berman Emerges From Lair, Speaks to Greater Southington Chamber of Commerce

Perpetual Victim Lenny Dykstra Now Alleging Insurance Fraud

Five Reasons No One Will Be Watching Baseball in 20 Years

Onion Bag: Sneijder to Inter, Diving and Drunks

Liverpool Mob Gets its Wish, Steven Cohen Resigns Over Hillsborough Comments

steven-cohenThe hate-fueled mob of Liverpool supporters has achieved its goal.  Steven Cohen, host of World Soccer Daily, announced yesterday that the Friday episode would be the last.  According to Cohen, the pressure came from neither sponsors nor Sirius but from threats to his family.

Continued at The Big Lead

2009 NFL Preview: Miami Dolphins

chad-pennington-dolphinsMiami is the city of sun, fun, fabulousness, and, if you are Dan Le Batard, profuse sweating.  The Dolphins are the enduring franchise in the city, and they could not have found two more fitting public faces to represent Miami’s flavor and diversity, Bill Parcells and Chad Pennington.

Last Season: The Dolphins finished a sad 1-15 under Cam Cameron in 2007, but under new coach Tony Sparano rode the wildcat and an easy schedule to a fierce 10-game swing in 2008, largest in NFL history, to finish 11-5.  Improbably, they beat both the castrated Patriots and the Brett Favre Express to win the AFC East.

Continued at The Big Lead

Honus Wagner Has “No Clear Numerical Edge” Over Derek Jeter. What?!

Honus WagnerJesse Spector of the New York Daily News asks, “Is Derek Jeter baseball’s best hitting shortstop of all time.”  While answering his question, he shows why adjusted OPS+ (and adjusted ERA+) is important.

Spector says Jeter is merely “one of the best” of all time, because he has “no clear numerical edge” on Honus Wagner.  Jeter has no edge on Honus Wagner, because Wagner was, compared to his contemporaries, a much better player.

Continued at The Big Lead