Did the long ball tactic really ruin English football?

March 1, 2015

“In the glorious game of football many things are forgiven—cheating, biting, lying, spitting—but there’s one thing that’s inexcusable. One thing so wretched and sickening it deserves no place in the game we all know and love. That one thing, the cardinal sin, is called the long ball. Next year marks the 50th year of hurt for the weathered and beaten English faithful. 50 years since Geoff Hurst belted the ball against the bar and allegedly across the West German line. 50 years without a trophy and what’s to blame? That despicable long ball.” Outside of the Boot

Juventus must find a way to cope with Dortmund’s pressure

February 25, 2015

“The greatest aspect of top-level European competition is the opportunity to witness contrasting footballing styles face one another; pleasingly, despite the globalisation of football and the increased movement of players and coaches across borders, obvious differences remain between Europe’s best leagues. The obvious example from this week’s set of Champions League fixtures is the clash between Borussia Dortmund and Juventus in Turin on Tuesday night. Whereas some of the second round ties are frustratingly familiar — Manchester City vs. Barcelona, PSG vs. Chelsea, Schalke vs. Real Madrid — these two sides haven’t met since the European Cup final of 1997. The clash of styles should be fascinating.” ESPN – Michael Cox

Boring Winners and Long Ball in England Boring Winners and Long Ball in England

February 25, 2015

Robin van Persie, of Manchester United.
“Earlier this month, Louis van Gaal, the manager of Manchester United, showed up at a press conference armed with an unusual prop: printouts of statistics from his most recent match, a 1—1 draw against West Ham United. West Ham’s coach had accused van Gaal of playing “long ball,” a tactic that involves repeatedly sending long, searching passes forward to opportunistic strikers, hoping for a lucky bounce or knock-down near the goal. Long ball eschews the beauty of intricate passing play and coördinated counter-attacks for trial and error: more often than not, the passes are headed out of play or kicked back down the field by the opposing team, caught by the keeper, or go out of bounds. The approach calls for tall, muscular center-forwards who can overpower defenders to win the ball; the rest of the team hangs back so that they can immediately launch the ball forward after the play and try all over again. While long ball can be very effective, particularly for teams of lesser technical ability, it makes for deadly dull viewing.” New Yorker

Human rights official identified as one of fans involved in Chelsea race storm

February 23, 2015

“A human rights official has apologized for his part in an alleged racism incident involving Chelsea supporters on the Paris Metro, but has insisted he is not a racist. Richard Barklie was one of three men identified by the UK’s Metropolitan Police in a video showing what appears to be a group of Chelsea fans preventing a black man from entering a train, following the English club’s UEFA Champions League game against Paris Saint Germain last Tuesday. The group of supporters can be heard chanting on the train: ‘We’re racist, we’re racist and that’s the way we like it.’ A director of the World Human Rights Forum, Barklie has issued a statement through his lawyers admitting his involvement ‘in an incident when a person now known to him as Souleymane S. was unable to enter a part of the train.'” CNN (Video)

Extreme behavior is still tolerated in the name of supporters culture
“‘So-called fans’ is a phrase that springs into action when clubs want to separate a tiny minority of badly behaved supporters from the rest. It suggests that miscreants who heap shame on themselves, and by association their club and their sport, are divorced from the game: not really part of it; an extremist fringe of interlopers. The phrase has been aired frequently in the wake of the racist incident involving Chelsea fans on the Paris metro. The usage is understandable, but it’s naive at best, disingenuous at worse. Because in my experience of attending maybe 700 matches in England, it’s precisely their status as fans that encourages a small percentage of people to believe they have the right to behave badly.” Soccer Gods

Everton’s problems move to the front

February 15, 2015

“Everton enjoy a weekend off as many of their Premier League rivals switch their focus on to the FA Cup fifth round. If results go in favour of the clubs at the bottom of the table then, when the Blues return to Premier League action on Sunday 22nd February, they could be just two points clear of the drop zone. Despite enjoying something of a return to form over recent weeks, they are now facing the prospect of becoming embroiled in a relegation battle following their 1-0 defeat to Chelsea in midweek.” Football Pink

Loan Deals, Backup Wingers, and Balance Sheets: Recapping the Premier League’s Drab January Transfer Window

February 3, 2015

“The January transfer window ended not with a bang, but with Aaron Lennon being loaned to Everton. Usually, the first month of the year is good for at least one panic buy from a big team looking to turn its season around — and occasionally, those moves work. It seems almost comical now, but when Mario Balotelli went from Manchester City to AC Milan in January 2013, he put that team on his back, scoring 12 goals down the stretch to propel the Italian giants into the Champions League. More often, though, the moves end up saddling a team with an overpriced, awkwardly fitting piece like Juan Mata at Manchester United. And every once in a while, a January signing will result in a Fernando Torres–size disappointment that, yes, in fact, you can see from outer space.” Grantland

Tactical Analysis: Chelsea 1-1 Manchester City | Sluggish Chelsea hold off City

February 1, 2015

“When Jose Mourinho starts coming up with his quotable quotes, and the controversy pot is being stirred, you know you’re getting to the business end of the season. As we come closer to the end of the season, and the point where medals are distributed, the heavyweights all need to raise their game. Stamford Bridge was the scene of the battle between the league leaders, and the chasers-in-chief, Manchester City. The animosity between the two sides is quite apparent, given the rewards at stake. Pellegrini and Mourinho too, haven’t been shy of going at it in the past, with clashes between the duo dating back to their days in Spain. The two teams came into the clash in a charged atmosphere, thanks to the off field incidents involving a certain Diego Costa.” Outside of the Boot


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