High Five: Top Five FC Barcelona Defenders In The Last Decade

June 26, 2011

“It is quite natural for offensive players to hog the lime-light. We, at TheHardTackle, do not deny that and have already paid our tribute to them. However, trophies are won on the basis of a great defence. It is not a coincidence that teams with stingy defensive lines usually end up winning league titles. Yet, defenders are sadly a neglected lot. They rarely get the spotlight or awards, despite performing well. Here’s a little homage to the top five Barcelona defenders in the last decade.” The Hard Tackle


Jack Climbs a Beanstalk While the Giant Pays Transfer Fees with Golden Eggs

June 26, 2011

“In a more recent piece for the Financial Times, Simon Kuper informs us that top flight football clubs have rapidly turned the business of player evaluation into a quantifiable pursuit. As opposed to a more personal scouting scheme where a club manager might have to rely on whether the opinion of whomever he sent to watch whomever he’s watching is worth a flutter, instead a few statisticians can torture the mountain of numbers at their fingertips sufficiently enough to objectively assess a player’s potential value to his squad. Having read that piece, one might wonder why the Alex Ferguson who misinterpreted the stats on Jaap Stam made, what thus far appears to be, another error in statistical analysis when he signed Bébé without having seen him play.” twohundredpercent


River Plate’s descent into madness

June 25, 2011


“A year ago, when River finished last, the words River and relegation, did not seem possible in the same sentence says Daniel, a fan of River Plate. One of Argentina’s and indeed the world’s greatest sporting institutions, the giants of the game are facing just that — dropping down a category and having to play in the B league — this Sunday when the second leg of a two-way playoff will determine its future.” SI


Santos 2-1 Peñarol: greater attacking variety gives Santos the Copa Libertadores

June 25, 2011

“After a goalless first leg, goals from Neymar and Danilo gave Santos their first Copa Libertadores for nearly 50 years. Muricy Ramalho made a few changes from the first leg, including a significantly different back four. Danilo dropped back from the midfield to become a right-back, whilst Leo started at left-back, and Edu Dracena returned at centre-back. Ganso had recovered from injury to take Danilo’s place in midfield.” Zonal Marking


Trials and Tribulations

June 25, 2011

“Why isn’t el Tri better? Mexico is the most populous nation in the Spanish-speaking world, and soccer is by far the most popular sport.11 In the second most popular sport in the poll, boxing, Mexico currently has twice as many world champions as any other country. Youth leagues and impromptu street games dot the landscape from one peninsular extreme (Yucatan) to another (Baja California). The nation boasts a rabid fan base as well as a successful pro league that lures talent from around the globe. These are the ingredients for a world power.” Run of Play


Liverpool Target Nolan Roux Is Half Guivarc’h Half Papin Says A French Scout

June 25, 2011

“In a summer packed with tedious transfer speculation surrounding the on-off-on-off sagas of Cesc Fabregas and Carlos Tevez, it was a pleasant surprise that Liverpool were this week linked with an €8m swoop for little-known Brest striker Nolan Roux. Liverpool sports director Damien Comolli obviously knows the French market well, but with Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez already at the club – not to mention Dirk Kuyt, Maxi Rodriguez, and at time of writing, David N’Gog, Joe Cole and Milan Jovanovic also on the books – where would Roux fit in? We asked a French football scout who has watched Roux in action for his thoughts.” Sabotage Times


Tactical Observations and Talking Points of the 2010/11 Bundesliga Season

June 25, 2011

“While the Bundesliga may not necessarily be known for the tactical nous of Seria A it has become increasingly more aware of modern trends and more and more coaches are putting an emphasis on the tactical aspect of the game. This season saw several bold moves being made by coaches throughout the league. Whether it was deviating from the norm or taking a risk in their approach, there were several tactical talking points or trends of interest. Here are some of the more noteworthy tactical observations of the 2010/11 Bundesliga Season.” Bundesliga Fanatic


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