England Rules: Four Questions That Explain the Summer Transfer Window

July 27, 2015

“While there’s still more than a month remaining, something about the current transfer window just seems … off. Most of the big clubs — Chelsea, PSG, Arsenal, Barcelona, and Real Madrid — have been relatively quiet, and the star we all expected to leave looks like he might stay put in Italy for another year. Now, there’s been plenty of movement in Munich, Manchester, and everywhere else, but even those transactions have been underpriced, overpriced, or seemingly out of nowhere. In short, the silly season’s gotten weird. Here are four questions to sort through all the mayhem.” Grantland

Liverpool’s Striking Choices And Problem Shooters In The Premier League 2014-15

June 11, 2015

“If you are a club aiming to infiltrate the Premier League’s top four on a regular basis, how does this sound as a description of one of your strikers for next season: 4 time League Champion in Top 5 leagues; 2 time Domestic Cup winner; Champions League Winner; Established international for major European nation; 24 years old. This player is coming into his peak years and his club have already secured his services on a long contract. This is a winning situation, right?” StatsBomb

José Mourinho and the issue of ‘boring’ and ‘immoral’ football

May 1, 2015

“Then a team are 13 points clear at the top of the table and have been manifestly the best side in the league that season, perhaps it’s only natural that others should look for sticks with which to beat them. In Chelsea’s case, it’s because some apparently consider them boring, a point Arsenal fans made with gusto during last Sunday’s 0-0 draw – you hope, given their past, with at least some semblance of irony. José Mourinho’s riposte this week was magnificent.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson

Chelsea’s style contrasts recent Premier League winners but is not new

May 1, 2015

“All things considered, Chelsea’s draw vs. Arsenal on Sunday was an archetypal Jose Mourinho way of effectively wrapping up the Premier League title: a goalless draw away at your title rivals, and a couple of digs at the opposition manager after the match, which prompted a debate about what constitutes ‘boring football.’ The consensus, it appears, is that Chelsea have regressed since the start of the campaign, in terms of playing style, at least. Before Christmas, Mourinho’s side played a fluid, attacking, energetic style of football that surprised many as it utilised the assists of Cesc Fabregas, the dribbling of Eden Hazard and the power of Diego Costa.” ESPN – Michael Cox

Who Needs Goals? Chelsea and Arsenal Turn a Scoreless Draw Into a Referendum on Head Injuries, Refereeing, and Philosophy

April 29, 2015

“Realistically, even if Arsenal had beaten Chelsea on Sunday, they weren’t going to catch the presumptive champs. A seven-point lead with five matches remaining would’ve required a massive collapse from Chelsea. And as we saw yesterday, ‘collapses’ aren’t José Mourinho’s kind of thing. Still this is Mourinho’s Chelsea and Arsène Wenger’s Arsenal we’re talking about, so even a scoreless draw in a meaningless game can’t keep us from finding things to argue about. Here are the three biggest story lines from yesterday’s match.” Grantland

The rise and wane of the English-style manager (and what England will lose when they’re gone)

April 24, 2015

“With a click of a remote, the modern soccer fan can flit effortlessly from Chelsea versus Man United in London to Juventus-Lazio in Turin or Bayern against Dortmund in Munich. As stars like Eden Hazard blur into Carlos Tévez then Thomas Müller, we stare groggily at the magnificent, endless, globalized spectacle being played out in front of us in gleaming stadiums by athletes from every continent, trying to remember what game we are watching, or where it is taking place. ‘If it’s Tuesday, it must be Munich,’ we think, our heads throbbing. It wasn’t always like this. No man is an island, wrote John Donne, but with its draughty, brutish terraces, muddy pitches, halftime pies laced with botulism, and Luddite-esque devotion to the long ball game, there was a time, not so long ago, when English soccer felt a world apart from its European cousins. The five-year club ban from European competition in the 1980s and `90s also added to the sense of not so splendid isolation. Even today, the relatively small number of English players keen to ply their trade abroad can give the national team a parochial air.” Fusion

United Take Back Manchester: How Louis van Gaal Finally Found His Best Team

April 13, 2015

“We’re 32 games into the season, and this much is now obvious: Manchester United are one of the four best teams in the Premier League. Yesterday’s 4-2 romp over Manchester City was United’s sixth league victory in a row and the team’s best performance of the season. Just a month removed from a heated battle for fourth place with Liverpool, United totally dominated their crosstown rival and now sit four points clear of City in third. Over the first half of the season, Louis van Gaal’s team strung together a host of ugly victories on the back of improbable goals and timely finishing. But now, with wins over Tottenham and Liverpool in addition to City, the manager has his team playing the kind of attacking soccer he warned that fans might have to wait until next season to see. So what finally clicked for United? Basically, van Gaal finally found the right starting lineup.” Grantland


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