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Rubbing may be racing but it isn't footie

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Gimme a B! L! O! G! Yay... blog post!!!  ... Wait, this is one of those lousy roundtable ones?  Oh, <i>wonderful</i>!
Gimme a B! L! O! G! Yay... blog post!!! ... Wait, this is one of those lousy roundtable ones? Oh, wonderful!

Those of you who have journeyed over from our old blog home may remember the occasional "blog roundtable" feature. And you may have hoped that we never repeated the gimmick again. Alas, here it is.

For those of you new to these parts, below is an edited transcript of Neal and my conversation(s) over instant messenger. You'll see the beginnings of his The Week Ahead intro from yesterday and get updated on where my team is at. **Spoiler alert**: it's not a good place.

Tuesday

Neal J Thurman: if only my fantasy EPL team could get it turned around, my sports and leisure life would be in great shape
Jeremy Spitzberg: don't get greedy
Jeremy Spitzberg: you need balance in your life
Neal J Thurman: I think the Eagles and Arsenal's respective starts to the season and the Phillies crapping out of the playoffs has provided a build up of negatives that I'd like to see the reverse side of
Neal J Thurman: :-)
Neal J Thurman: (or so I rationalize it)
Jeremy Spitzberg: ha
Jeremy Spitzberg: so speaking of karma...
Jeremy Spitzberg: i wonder how much of mine I used up this weekend

Jeremy Spitzberg: almost everything broke my way
Neal J Thurman: why, did you pick up Bale?
Neal J Thurman: ;-)
Jeremy Spitzberg: ha
Jeremy Spitzberg: no
Neal J Thurman: #StillBitter
Jeremy Spitzberg: then I'd KNOW i was going to eat it soon
Jeremy Spitzberg: AJ "outpointing" Aguero
Neal J Thurman: yeah - that was a nice late save by him
Jeremy Spitzberg: Suarez being kept quiet
Jeremy Spitzberg: as was Cabaye
Jeremy Spitzberg: Rivers sucking
Jeremy Spitzberg: on the domestic side
Jeremy Spitzberg: Tebow REALLY sucking
Jeremy Spitzberg: 29pts from the DET D
Jeremy Spitzberg: selling Gerrard
Jeremy Spitzberg: (though I was going to do that anyway)
Jeremy Spitzberg: sturridge shanking his shots
Jeremy Spitzberg: etc
Jeremy Spitzberg: all good for me this weekend
Jeremy Spitzberg: this coming weekend will be interesting
Jeremy Spitzberg: big teams with good matches
Jeremy Spitzberg: but CL
Jeremy Spitzberg: and $
Jeremy Spitzberg: so whom do you buy?
Jeremy Spitzberg: RVP and Lamps. Still trying to figure out how you got there
Jeremy Spitzberg: Aguero and DDG cheap, and sold VDV?
Neal J Thurman: yup
Neal J Thurman: HBA still in the line-up
Jeremy Spitzberg: move him to Guedioura
Neal J Thurman: ditched Richards (no faith in the City CS minus Kompany)
Jeremy Spitzberg: or that he'll play
Jeremy Spitzberg: #zab
Neal J Thurman: went Brown/Verm/Jenkinson as my back 3
Neal J Thurman: #OnABudget
Jeremy Spitzberg: trying to decide if I want Gued, or AJ/Eth
Jeremy Spitzberg: as my last middie
Jeremy Spitzberg: bannan another cheap option
Jeremy Spitzberg: HBA was never going to get time against Stoke
Jeremy Spitzberg: #ramsey
Neal J Thurman: Have Ramsey too :-)
Neal J Thurman: Is Bannan out of jail yet?
Jeremy Spitzberg: back in training
Jeremy Spitzberg: was looking Gabby, but hmmm....
Neal J Thurman: I do like Gabby's chances of having a big weekend but haven't looked at cost yet
Jeremy Spitzberg: 9
Jeremy Spitzberg: iirc
Neal J Thurman: pretty solid value there
Jeremy Spitzberg: so K2 --> Gabby
Jeremy Spitzberg: Gabby, Mata, Sturridge
Jeremy Spitzberg: potentially
Neal J Thurman: I'm and Kun, Mata, RvP for right now but not a lot of room to move around unless I want to ditch RvP
Neal J Thurman: tough call on him - I've very worried that he'll be rested (assuming he starts in midweek) but I certainly can't get him back at 30
Jeremy Spitzberg: hmm...
Jeremy Spitzberg: woodgate/bannan/guedioiura frees up enough $ to get RVP at 30
Neal J Thurman: that doesn't seem promising
Jeremy Spitzberg: interesting, but may prefer AJ/Eth
Jeremy Spitzberg: spread the wealth
Neal J Thurman: agreed - that's why I like my current alignment - wealth not spread but some decent talent filling in the gaps assuming HBA plays after a week and a half off
Neal J Thurman: BTW, is it time to start believing in NUFC yet?
Jeremy Spitzberg: i was surprised yesterday
Jeremy Spitzberg: but ask me again in 3 weeks ;-)
Jeremy Spitzberg: #oncebitten
Neal J Thurman: They're building a big enough reserve of points that they aren't going to care what happens when they eventually get around to playing the big boys
Jeremy Spitzberg: true
Jeremy Spitzberg: not worried about relegation
Jeremy Spitzberg: but not sure they're european material
Neal J Thurman: that's the real question, isn't it?
Jeremy Spitzberg: but no reason they can't be Fulham ;-)
Neal J Thurman: are they just guaranteeing that they won't have to worry about NOT finishing in the Top Ten or could they pull off a run like EVE did when they made it to the Champions League
Neal J Thurman: Speaking of which - Clint to NUFC, it's a thing :-)
Jeremy Spitzberg: good questions. or are they like a blackpool and will fade as it gets cold and the season drags on?
Neal J Thurman: could be but seems to be built on much stronger fundamentals than Blackpool ever were
Jeremy Spitzberg: yeah, there is talent there
Jeremy Spitzberg: hmmm... how much do you invest in Wolves this weekend?
Jeremy Spitzberg: O'Hara?
Neal J Thurman: his was a popular name on the chat
Jeremy Spitzberg: 352
Jeremy Spitzberg: ddg, woodie, jenk, brown (don't like, but..), silva, vdv, aj, ohara, eth, mata, gabby
Neal J Thurman: definitely spreads the opportunity out
Jeremy Spitzberg: picking around the points
Neal J Thurman: or that
Jeremy Spitzberg: or seemingly lots of good, but no great, bets
Jeremy Spitzberg: just hate to let a good "home to Wigan" go unappreciated
Neal J Thurman: they do seem to be a cut below the rest so far
Jeremy Spitzberg: though maybe my stoke support is misguided
Neal J Thurman: hard to say if Stoke is as bad as the scoreline yesterday or NUFC is just better than the rest of the mid-table
Jeremy Spitzberg: would be betting against Bolton
Neal J Thurman: you know how we feel about betting for or against
Jeremy Spitzberg: bolton terrible at home
Jeremy Spitzberg: shipping 17 goals
Jeremy Spitzberg: scoring 4
Jeremy Spitzberg: but stoke lousy on the road, scoring 3 & shipping 10
Neal J Thurman: movable force vs. resistable object
Neal J Thurman: or something like that ;-)
Jeremy Spitzberg: might be a good week to stick with Balo and AJ ;-)
Neal J Thurman: could be
Jeremy Spitzberg: we'll see who plays in the CL
Neal J Thurman: who are they playing against?
Neal J Thurman: in CL?
Jeremy Spitzberg: villareal?
Jeremy Spitzberg: yes.
Jeremy Spitzberg: @villarreal
Neal J Thurman: hmm - hard to rest the studs against quality opposition on the road
Neal J Thurman: esp when two of the studs (Kun and Silva) have a track record of rocking it in Spain
Jeremy Spitzberg: and they need the pts
Neal J Thurman: yeah - looks to be one place between the 3 non-Bayern members of that group
Jeremy Spitzberg: or at least b/w napoli and city
Jeremy Spitzberg: villarreal yet to earn a point
Neal J Thurman: that's a tough group
Neal J Thurman: I've seen bits and pieces of Napoli and they appear to be the real deal
Jeremy Spitzberg: 13th in spain
Jeremy Spitzberg: rough year
Jeremy Spitzberg: villarreal, not napoli obviously
Jeremy Spitzberg: and they've lost Rossi, Senna, and a few other players
Neal J Thurman: didn't Rossi just go down? or did he transfer at the start of the season?
Jeremy Spitzberg: "Worst fears have been confirmed. Villarreal's Italy striker Giuseppe Rossi seriously injured in his right knee in the match against Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu and is out for six months."
Jeremy Spitzberg: that was on Thursday
Neal J Thurman: that's what I thought - so they've had him all season
Neal J Thurman: and they still stink
Jeremy Spitzberg: "Balotelli could make his Champions League debut for City on Wednesday night when they travel to Villarreal having completed the suspension he carried over from last season's Europa League."
Jeremy Spitzberg: maybe why they rested him @wolves?
Jeremy Spitzberg: sigh
Neal J Thurman: hard to say - do we really know who the first choice "big" striker is at City at this point between Dzeko and Balo?
Jeremy Spitzberg: i don't think we do
Neal J Thurman: otherwise, we seem to have a solid grasp of who will play for City in big matches and we're even getting a sense of CHE's preferred starting group
Neal J Thurman: United's preferred line-up is still a bit of a mystery because of all the injuries
Neal J Thurman: who is the starting CB pair? the 2nd forward? attacking M? holding M?
Jeremy Spitzberg: do they even have a holding M?
Jeremy Spitzberg: i guess fletcher or carrick
Jeremy Spitzberg: but...
Jeremy Spitzberg: no makelele type to be seen
Neal J Thurman: none
Jeremy Spitzberg: not even hargreaves ;-)

Thursday

Jeremy Spitzberg: Thursday trading (waiting for a response to an email)...
Jeremy Spitzberg: ... and I've either hit on the greatest, or worst team ever
Neal J Thurman: no in-between?
Jeremy Spitzberg: no
Jeremy Spitzberg: you'll understand when I line them up ;-)
Jeremy Spitzberg: so many gambles
Jeremy Spitzberg: this clearly is unsustainable
Jeremy Spitzberg: ddg, jenk, savic, stearman, silva, vdv, aj, ramires, gabby, aguero, se-b
Neal J Thurman: wow SE-B is the real gamble for me in that group
Jeremy Spitzberg: obviously dependent on team news
Jeremy Spitzberg: ramires/se-b to guerdioura/mata very easily
Jeremy Spitzberg: in fact the changes went the other way this AM ;-)
Neal J Thurman: ha
Neal J Thurman: not sure why I'm having so much trouble with the idea of Mata at 7ish
Jeremy Spitzberg: same reason as I am
Neal J Thurman: (probably because he was still available for 7 after 9 matches)
Jeremy Spitzberg: yeah...
Jeremy Spitzberg: flashes
Jeremy Spitzberg: good player, but behind the guy behind the guy
Neal J Thurman: exactly
Jeremy Spitzberg: sturridge so tempting
Jeremy Spitzberg: that bolton game fresh in one's mind
Jeremy Spitzberg: but he's been lousy for three weeks now
Jeremy Spitzberg: well, at least two
Jeremy Spitzberg: i'm not sure
Neal J Thurman: don't have to tell me :-\
Neal J Thurman: three because he managed to go for less than 10 against EVE despite scoring
Jeremy Spitzberg: ha
Jeremy Spitzberg: fair enough
Jeremy Spitzberg: mata had a great goal against Ars
Jeremy Spitzberg: but is that repeatable?
Jeremy Spitzberg: or will he do that 4-5 times this season and you just have to catch him on a good day?
Jeremy Spitzberg: just thinking that CHE won't steamroll Rovers
Jeremy Spitzberg: @Rovers
Jeremy Spitzberg: (btw, this could be our first blog roundtable of the NMA era)
Neal J Thurman: and how many times will he have Lukaku "blocking" for him to get him free?
Neal J Thurman: (or Santos "marking" him on his assist on Lamps' goal)
Jeremy Spitzberg: lol
Jeremy Spitzberg: it's called a rub
Jeremy Spitzberg: not a pick
Jeremy Spitzberg: according to Gruden and Jaworski ;-)
Neal J Thurman: ha
Neal J Thurman: Rubbing may be racing but it isn't footie