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Let’s Take Stock (EPL Talk Podcast, International Break Edition)

The International break is a great time to take stock of the EPL season so far. Over this break the pod will be excreting podcasts about football issues and news. The usual analysis and feedback is there but without the structure of matches and competition.

If you want to put forward a topic for discussion then email:

Up for discussion this week: International football and why it can only get better; money in the big game, why Man City are good for us all; and TV rights.

In the final segment of the podcast we get onto the season so far and offer initial thoughts on the first seven games. To add to these views or discuss some of the points that we have already covered leave a comment or get in touch through the usual avenues

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Let us know whether you agree or disagree with any of the opinions expressed in this episode. Make your voice heard in the comments section below.

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  1. Blake L

    October 12, 2011 at 8:23 am

    On the subject of Intl. Football (and I say all this while watching the Netherlands v Sweden game on replay)…

    I think it’s another way of truly determining who is the best player currently and/or historically. It’s one thing to get to train with the same group of people week in and week out but can you pull it together with people that you play with a few times a year to win? As good as Messi is and as many Balon d’ors as he is able to win, every single time you bring his name up in connection with being “the best ever” it’s always about his international record with Argentina. And come on; why wasn’t Sneijder at least in the top 3 last year?! Hup Holland!

    I agree with the globalization of football that the nationalism isn’t that important, but that’s our view. What do the people think who live in South America, Africa, Eastern Europe or anywhere outside the west for that matter? It’s a connection for people who are in rough situations to look at Drogba, Messi, Eto’o, etc… and have a little bit of hope that they too can get out of it. If football loses it’s roots with 4 kids kicking around a ball in the slums then it really will go down hill fast…and if you look at the countries where that is not happening (England, US) those are the ones who are struggling at the international level. Just saying.

    Love the pod. Keep it up and follow me on twitter! @blake_levrets


  2. Joe

    October 7, 2011 at 5:10 pm


    I was born in 1985, so until 1994 or so, my football watching was limited to watching Alessandro Altobelli and Enzo Scifo on that 1986 VHS. I feel almost exactly the same way about flopping in basketball. I’m about to write a somewhat extended bit about basketball on a football message board, so please forgive me. If you have no interest in basketball, I would suggest you stop reading this comment now. Here’s my take on flopping. Despite the increase in the level of play in the NBA over the past decade due, among other things, to the influx of talent from other continents, the style of play has become, like it has in soccer, less beautiful to watch. There are so many free throws in the NBA now that the game almost feels like baseball at times. If you watch the ball movement of the great Celtics and Lakers teams of the 80s, it seems like a relic of a better time. For so many teams now, the approach seems to be to have a guy who is good at creating a shot out of nothing and *initiating* physical contact to draw free throws. This is awful to watch in my opinion. I don’t mean to disregard his great achievements in the sport, but I blame some of this on Jordan and the success he had. It’s getting a little better now, but in the decade after Jordan, it seemed the goal of NBA teams was just to get a big, extremely athletic guard, and essentially have him take on opposing teams one on one to try to get points. While I respect the abilities of guys like Kobe or Dirk to score while being double-teamed, I prefer to watch a game where the baskets are *easy*, not hard. This can be accomplished (as has been demonstrated occasionally by the post-Garnett Celtics, among others) by passing the ball well, and that’s a hell of a lot cooler to see than constant low-percentage fade-aways where the shooter tries to catch the defender’s forearm on the release.
    You asked if it’s good gamesmanship? Certainly. Players definitely do it to score points. In the NBA it almost always seems like playoff games are decided by free throw differential these days. Plus, a lot of defenders won’t come at you as hard with a few fouls, just as a player with a yellow probably won’t come in as physically on a tackle. But more points does not necessarily mean better-looking offense, which is my goal as a fan watching. The Suarez thing is the same deal. I can’t argue it wasn’t good gamesmanship, because that red played a major role in his team winning that game. I just wish we could figure out a way to make this no “part of the game”, because I don’t think anyone likes it, and we are supposed to be the customers driving this pro sports business, right?

  3. Ben

    October 7, 2011 at 2:09 pm

    Joe, good points on how little football was shown here in the States years ago, we must be about the same age. How does “diving” in soccer, compare to taking a charge in basketball or “flopping” to get a call. Is it good gamesmanship or just all around cheap?

  4. JC

    October 6, 2011 at 10:29 pm

    Another good podcast. Can’t believe we have an international break yet again, but at least you guys are still talking some EPL.

  5. Joe

    October 6, 2011 at 8:23 pm

    Great episode. This is perhaps the best non-league discussion I’ve ever heard on any Premier League podcast. As an American, I’ve always been fond of the international game mainly because it was the only way I was exposed to football at a world class level when I was a kid. We had a VHS about Mexico ’86 that I probably watched 100 times. Then every four years the world cup was televised. Besides that, the only game I could usually see was the Champions League Final. I’m not even sure if that was on every year, but I distinctly remember watching Dortmund beat Juventus. Additionally, I’ve always viewed the international game as a way to see the incarnations of the footballing cultures of each country and how they compare head to head. I think you can appreciate this without fomenting intercultural hatred, etc . . . With globalization though, the differences are disappearing anyway.

    Jesse’s mention of English and American perspectives made me think of one of my biggest pet peeves about British football coverage. What is with the insecure obsession with whether or not the Premier League is “the best league in the world”? I, personally, couldn’t give a shit. Clearly, England is among the greatest leagues with Spain, Germany, Italy, perhaps France, and we all enjoy watching it regardless. Every time a big name player transfers to England, I have to read some journalist say something like, “Hope you enjoy yourself mate, because you’re in the greatest league in the world!” Then at the end of each season, I have to read through some panel of journalists discussing whether or not the past season made a convincing case that the EPL represents the best league in world football. I wish I could read German or Spanish to see if their media care so deeply about this issue. I’m from a country that bathes itself in belief in its own exceptionalism and *I* can’t stand this. Why must we hear the discussion so often? Sorry. Just had to vent on that one.

    One last thing on the whole Rodwell/Suarez/Atkinson thing: whenever problems with player “diving” are discussed, it seems people’s problems are that it’s somehow dishonorable for a player to exaggerate contact for a whistle or that it’s unfair to the player making the challenge. While I agree those things may be unfortunate, by far my biggest problem with the issue is that the visual quality of play has suffered significantly with the constant falling for free kicks. These for example: or Can you imagine plays like those happening in a contemporary game? If that Compostela goal happened today, Ronaldo would have hit the grass 3 times by the time he got to the goal. Just thought I’d share that.

    • thomas

      October 10, 2011 at 5:04 pm

      I agree…

      There’s a lot of times when you almost feel like England has some sort of inferiority complex when it comes to its place as a power player in the world game.

      I think a lot of it stems from the failures of the English national team for the better part of the last 2 decades. Sort of like, well we invented the game, and our domestic league is still dominant.

      I think the EPL is as competitive of a league as any, and probably does stand among the best in the world (it’s hard to knock Spain). I think Germany lacks the star power, but overall, the consistency and competitiveness is unrivaled.

      In many ways, I don’t see the German media making as much of a fuss about the Bundesliga. It’s probably not as good as the EPL, as a whole. But there’s some vindication of it’s quality when you look at the German National Team constantly exceeding expectations, and doing so with is alsmot always a team fielded of players who pry their trade in the Bundesliga.

  6. Ben

    October 6, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    I listend to the “Let’s take stock” podcast and really enjoyed the conversation and points made about internationals. I can relate to a few of the points and perhaps add some perspective. I grew up playing soccer in the mid 70’s as a youth and played through high school. There was never a lot of soccer on so I really never paid attention. This past year I really decided to start watching more and started to education myself on the EPL, how it works and learning about teams and players. I will say that the international aspect is what got my interest back into. I’ve always enjoyed seeing World Cup games, but it would stop there. As I have learned more about the EPL, I have grown more of an appreciation of league play and how it is different than the international scene. It is a good way to bring the casual fan around. I would be interested in your points about what the view would be from a fan in Germany, Italy, Brazil, ect… and how they view international matches. Keep up the great work!

  7. Stop Yelling

    October 6, 2011 at 10:40 am

    Why is Kartik always yelling at me?

    • The Gaffer

      October 6, 2011 at 10:55 am

      I listened to it and I didn’t think he was yelling. He was trying to put his point across and was pretty passionate about it.

      The Gaffer

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