Champions League draw analysis: Picks to make it out of each group

August 29, 2015

UEFA General Secretary Gianni Infantino, left, and UEFA Competitions Director Giorgio Marchetti, right, remove the balls containing the names of the soccer clubs, during the draw for the Champions League 2015/16 play-offs, at the UEFA Headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland, Friday, Aug. 7, 2015. (Salvatore Di Nolfi/Keystone via AP)
“There was a twist to the Champions League group stage draw in Monaco Thursday. UEFA’s new seeding regulations meant that only reigning champions would be picked from Pot 1, leaving some dangerous contenders in the lower pots. And so it proved, as Manchester City was drawn with Juventus and Sevilla while Real Madrid drew Paris Saint-Germain and Shakhtar Donetsk. The draw resulted in some intriguing individual storylines, powerhouses going up against one another and the first steps on the road to the San Siro.” SI (Video)

Louis van Gaal’s possession obsession risks blunting Manchester United’s edge

August 29, 2015

“‘My worry,’ Louis van Gaal said after Manchester United’s draw against Newcastle on Saturday, ‘is that we have to dominate the opponent’. He was not bothered, he insisted, that his side had failed to score, and he felt no great urge to sign another striker despite the ineffectiveness of Wayne Rooney; rather he was happy because ‘three times we are the better team … We did it today, we did it against Aston Villa and against Tottenham. Against Tottenham was less but against Villa, Brugge and today we dominated’.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson

Roma v Juventus, a season defining game…already?

August 29, 2015

“It is only the second game of the season and we already have the spectre of a ‘season defining’ game as Roma and Juventus go head to head at the Stadio Olimpico. In previous years, this fixture may have been known as an early ‘title decider’, as Roma have been Juve’s closest challengers in the last two seasons (close in the sense of being seventeen points behind).” backpagefootball

Tactical Philosophy: Paco Jemez

August 29, 2015

“Born on the 18th April 1970 as Francisco Jemez Martin, to the son of a flamenco singer, Paco has always admitted that he would have followed in his father’s musical footsteps if he had the talent for it, however he has proclaimed that he had ‘neither the voice nor the talent for it’. Instead his father helped shape his career in a different way. With his father being an avid Cordoba fan, it was Cordoba that Paco joined, and made his debut in the Segunda Division B as an 18 year old as a tough tackling centre-back.” Outside of the Boot

Klinsmann faced with several options in picking U.S. roster for friendlies

August 29, 2015

“So much for the best-laid plans of national team managers. U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann desperately wanted to avoid a playoff for CONCACAF’s spot in the 2017 Confederations Cup. So he selected a Gold Cup roster stocked with veterans and promising younger players—the best available, he claimed—who comprised a ‘very, very strong group that can win this prestigious tournament.’ It failed. The U.S. was 2-0-1 but unconvincing in the continental championship’s group stage.” SI

Tactical Analysis | West Ham 3-4 Bournemouth: Cherries dominate with wide overloads

August 29, 2015

“Premier league new boys AFC Bournemouth picked up their first ever top flight win in a 7 goal thriller at Upton Park. The game was characterised by drastic swings of momentum for both sides, though on the overall balance of play, Bournemouth certainly deserved to win the match and were rewarded for their refreshing attacking bravery.” Outside of the Boot

It’s Not You, It’s My Tactics: Francis Coquelin and the Impossibility of the Defensive Midfielder

August 26, 2015

Francis Coquelin
“With the final week of the transfer window upon us, Arsenal still haven’t bought a defensive midfielder. (Drink.) And if that doesn’t change for the first time in what feels like a century running, it’ll be because Arsene Wenger has decided to ride with Francis Coquelin. Let’s just get this out of the way: Coquelin is not a great midfielder, and he never will be.” Grantland


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