Balotelli: A Bold Move, Or Virtual Insanity?

August 21, 2014

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“Wow, I genuinely didn’t see this coming. The first word I associate with Mario Balotelli is bargepole. As in, don’t go near him with one. That said, £16m for his talent is a steal. But why are AC Milan letting him go quite so cheaply? Once penalties are excluded he has a very good goalscoring record there in a poor team (with penalties it’s an excellent record, but Steven Gerrard still takes Liverpool’s spot-kicks). Why do people keep offloading him? Why always him? Obviously he may now be starting to grow up; but frankly, he needs to.” Tomkins Times

Balotelli is good business for Liverpool
“Few things polarize social media like the terms “Liverpool” and “Mario Balotelli.” So when news broke Thursday that the Italy striker appeared to be on his way to Anfield, the subsequent Twitterstorm was predictable. On Monday, I made the point that Liverpool didn’t need another high-profile striker, that Brendan Rodgers likely felt he’d be best served with the one-forward system he used for most of his managerial career and that, if he were going to add an option up front, it made sense for it to be a youngster or a mid-range squad player, rather than someone in the Edinson Cavani/Radamel Falcao bracket.” ESPN


PSG’s weakness: Ligue 1 champions have a thin squad & lack of options

August 21, 2014

“After the dismal draw at Reims, the Cavani-Ibrahimovic debate rages on. Cavani’s somewhat quiet performance adds further evidence to the debate, can PSG really fit two of World football’s heavyweights into their team? With Blanc’s 4-3-3 formation one of the superstars has had to budge out to the wing. The real question is whether Edison Cavani can produce his best form on the wing rather than through the centre. His performances seem to show this, likewise his goal tallies too- 16 goals last season on the wing for PSG; compared to a staggering 38 in his last season in Naples.” Outside of the Boot


La Liga Preview: Barcelona, Real Madrid spend big to combat Atletico

August 21, 2014

“James Rodriguez, to Gareth Bale, to Cristiano Ronaldo: Goal. It took less than 10 minutes for three of Real Madrid’s world-class stars to combine for the first goal in the European champion’s 2-0 UEFA SuperCup win over Europa League winner Sevilla last week while sending out a clear message. Real Madrid’s summer showings, in which fellow new signing Toni Kroos has also been outstanding in a midfield three, announced to its La Liga rivals that the reigning Champions League winner is not taking the upcoming campaign lightly. But if you were expecting, after last season’s dramatic title triumph by Atletico Madrid, normal service in La Liga to resume and that the league would return to a two-horse race between Real and Barcelona, you may be surprised. Let’s look at the contenders ahead of this weekend’s season-opening matches…” SI


Borussia Dortmund Tactical Preview: How will Jurgen Klopp’s side set up in the 2014-15 season?

August 21, 2014

“Formation | How will they set-up? The structure, which does look like a 4-4-2 at times, is actually the same 4-2-3-1 set on a more asymmetrical base. The formation seems to lean towards an attacking outlet (which was Aubameyang through most of pre-season). The more advanced placement of one of the wide players gives the appearance of a second man alongside the striker.” Outside of the Boot


Match of the Day: 50 years of broadcasting celebration

August 21, 2014

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Match of the Day’s five main presenters from 1964 to the present day
“The BBC will celebrate 50 years of its iconic football television show Match of the Day with a special programme on Friday at 22:35 BST on BBC One. Packed with classic archive material, it charts the evolution of football’s most famous programme and features new contributions from a host of footballing glitterati, including Jose Mourinho, Ryan Giggs, Thierry Henry, Gary Lineker, Wayne Rooney, Des Lynam and Alan Hansen. As part of the celebrations, legendary commentator Barry Davies will make a one-off special return for the Crystal Palace v West Ham match.” BBC


The Case Against Bayern

August 21, 2014

“Two seasons ago, Bayern won the Bundesliga by 25 points. Last season: by March. Bayern blamed its late season failure versus Real Madrid on an uncompetitive league season. Other Bundesliga clubs will hope the statement ‘Be careful what you wish for’ rings true. Bayern have not won the last two Bundesliga seasons after the World Cup (2007 – Stuttgart, 2011 – Dortmund). Bayern is rightly favorites but if this trend were to hold true, what would be the causes of Bayern’s failure? There is currently an injury crisis in Bayern. Thiago, Javi Martinez, Mitchell Weiser, and Rafinha have injuries ranging from multiple weeks to multiple months. Javi Martinez is the strongest defensive midfielder and also moonlights as a central back. Losing Javi Martinez is essentially losing two players.” Bundesliga Fanatic


Barcelona v Elche: With Luis Suarez absent, defence will be key

August 21, 2014

“Barcelona’s signing of Luis Suarez from Liverpool was arguably the biggest deal of the summer. But, given the Uruguayan cannot play until late October, it could be Luis Enrique’s defensive reinforcements that make the difference as they look to win back the Liga title. The club’s first trophyless season in six years has sparked an overhaul with new coach Enrique bringing in fresh faces for many positions ahead of a campaign that kicks off on Saturday; Barca’s opener against Elche is on Sunday night.” Yahoo


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