Picking a Football Club, Part 2

If you’ve been following along, I’m trying to decide on a favorite English Premiere League club. I have narrowed the list down to eight clubs, and you can read up why I eliminated the other 12 here.
As a reminder, here are the remaining eight clubs in alphabetical order:
AFC Bournemouth
Burnley
Crystal Palace
Everton
Leicester City
Newcastle United
Southampton
West Ham United

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Picking a Football Club, Part 1

Now that I have decided to invest my sports fandom in English football, I need to identify to team. Or, as a friend put it, have a team find me. This first cut will be 12 teams, and I will further narrow it down to My New Favorite Team™ within the next few weeks, hopefully before the season kicks off on august 10th.
With 20 teams to pick from, it would be in my best interest of finding a way to eliminate teams quickly to narrow my focus. Instead of exploring the histories of all the teams, I can narrow my list a bit, making it easier to find a story that captivates me enough to become a fan. After all, this is a fandom that will pass from generation to generation, whether or not Lincoln wants to become a soccer football fan or not.

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Kawhi Leonard Traded to Raptors

Yesterday, in something of a rarity within the NBA, two top players were traded for each other, along with some other flotsam to balance out the trade:


The San Antonio Spurs finally met the request of superstar wing Kawhi Leonard to be traded, though they may not have given him exactly what he wanted. Reports were that Leonard wanted to be traded to one of the Los Angeles teams – the Lakers were seen as his preferred team even before LeBron James took his talents to Inglewood – and the Spurs instead shipped him north to Toronto, a solid team that always seemed to meet its demise each season at the hands of LeBron.
Though Leonard missed the bulk of last season – he played in only 9 games – due to a quadriceps injury that was at the root of his discontent with the Spurs, he is still considered a top player in the league, and the hope for all fans of the NBA is that he can return to his pre-injury form. This is a player that has finished in the top five in MVP voting: third after the 2017 season (behind Russell Westbrook and James Harden) and second after the 2016 season (behind Stephen Curry).

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Cardiff City 2018-2019 Transfer Review

Note: This is the latest post in a breakdown of all Premier League clubs’ transfer activity leading up to the 2018-19 season. This post will be updated throughout the transfer window during the upcoming season.
I don’t have the same optimism for Cardiff City that I have for Fulham, and I think the Bluebirds are probably in for a rough season in the Premier League. Despite massive debts and measures to cut the wage bill dramatically (read more about that here), they have spent a sizable sum. My other major concern with Cardiff is their losses, specifically Birmingham City (19th), Bristol City (11th), Bolton (21st), QPR (16th). Additionally, in the League Cup, they lost to eventual relegatees in Burton Albion (23rd place), and that was only after barely squeaking by Portsmouth, a side a division below them, after extra time.
To me, this suggests either a lack of focus, or that they are lackadaisical in handling of the ball against “lower” opponents. Regardless of what it is, there could be a game with 5 or 6 goals conceded this level. They had a few other losses, but they were to quality opponents and thus concern me far less.

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An Introduction to My New Football Fandom

Hello there, new readers of SportMuse.

This post, and a couple of the subsequent ones, initially appeared on my personal blog. I write a lot of stuff over there, and I plan on continuing to do so when the inspiration hits. But I’ve decided to move all my writing about sports over to this new home. Chris and I have a lot of big plans for this, and his launch here should help indicate what our initial focus is going to be.

So I hope you stick around and see all the stuff we have planned.  

Robert

I’ve decided that it’s time for a new sport fandom in my life. Baseball, something that I have been a casual fan of for most of my life, just isn’t all that interesting to me anymore. I never got into hockey, and I don’t have plans to do so. The NFL is still super huge, but the concussion stuff and other issues surrounding the league have also dampened my enthusiasm. The NBA is still fun to watch – and I look forward to seeing what the Jazz can accomplish this year in the shadow of the Golden State Warriors – but regular season basketball is a long slog for the most part and things only matter come playoff time, in which the Warriors will run roughshod over everyone and win the third title in four years.

Hard pass.

So I’ve decided that it’s time to get interested in the other football. I could make it easy and get fully invested in our local MLS team Real Salt Lake. They’ve even had some success, winning the MLS Cup in 2009 and having some second place finishes in other Cups along the way. But MLS is still not quite a top flight league when compared to the rest of the world, with “premiere” players only coming to the United States at the end of long careers in Europe after their peak earning potential has run out.

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Fulham 2018-2019 Transfer Review

Note: This is the first in the series covering the transfer activity of English Premier League clubs in advance of the 2018-19 season. These posts will be updated regularly as the transfer window progresses throughout the season.

Fulham should be able to avoid relegation this year, they finished with tied with newly-promoted wolves, each with 3 players in the Championship First XI (one of which has since left the team). Overall, they finished 3rd in the Championship and advanced by way of the promotion playoff. In the championship they averaged 1.7 goals for and 1 goal against per game. Fulham lost only 8 games in the championship (1 more than 1st place team, Wolves, who conceded 7), though they drew 4 more times than wolves. They split games with both of the other promotion teams, 1st place Wolves (each team winning the home leg) and 2nd place Cardiff. Fulham lost roughly the same number of games the bottom four teams from the Premier League won, although the Championship does play more games than the Premier League (by 8). Fulham was shut out only 5 times out of 46 matches.

My biggest concern for this Fulham team is the loss of Ryan Fredericks at Right Back, as the team has only Cyrus Christie (25) and Denis Odoi (30) as replacements. Christie was brought in during the 2017 winter transfer window and despite playing almost every minute for Middlesbrough in the championship, he played only 135’ minutes in 5 appearances for Fulham, failing to come off the bench for another 12 games. Odoi on the other hand made 38 appearances for Fulham, although only 3 appearances at his favored right back position, the other appearances coming from 26 as centerback and 13 more as left back. Marchand’s favored position is a center back which should allow Odoi to feature more regularly as starting right back, however, the gap in quality between Odoi and Fredericks remains to be seen.

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