Barcelona 2-1 Real Madrid: both sides threaten but Barca superior at finishing

March 28, 2015

“Barcelona moved four points clear at the top of La Liga thanks to Luis Suarez’s winner. Sergio Busquets was only fit enough for the bench, so Javier Mascherano played in the holding role, with Jeremy Mathieu the left-sided centre-back. Otherwise, the team was as expected. Xavi Hernandez had surprisingly started over Ivan Rakitic in the reverse fixture, but Luis Enrique didn’t replicate that error, so we had the unusual sight of Barcelona without either Busquets or Xavi, the two players who usually control this game.” Zonal Marking


Poor top-level management will eventually see Córdoba relegated

March 27, 2015

“At 90 minutes, when the pitch invasion started, Córdoba were staying in the Segunda Division for another year as they trailed Las Palmas 1-0 in the play-off that would send the winner to the top flight for the 2014/15 season. At 99 minutes, when order had been restored, Córdoba were heading to the big league as Uli Davila tapped in an away goal that made history; for the first time in 42 years the club from Andalusia would be among football’s elite.” backpagefootball


Tactical Analysis: Barcelona 2-1 Real Madrid | How Barca exploited half spaces

March 24, 2015

CLASICO-master675
El Clasico has become perhaps the most high profile fixture in club football. The historic rivalry between the clubs, the battle for supremacy between Ronaldo and Messi along with a star studded supporting cast, the possible implications in the title race all combine to form a heady mixture of apprehension and euphoria. The world waits with bated breath for kickoff only for it to be taken away by the plethora of talents on the pitch.” Outside of the Boot

Luis Suárez’s Validating Strike Lifts Barcelona Past Madrid
“Last October, Luis Suárez made his debut for F.C. Barcelona in a disappointing 3-1 loss to Real Madrid. He was substituted during that game after a long ban that had prompted questions over whether he could return to form and justify the record transfer fee that brought him here. On Sunday, Suárez repaid at least part of Barcelona’s investment by scoring a spectacular and decisive goal in a 2-1 victory over Real Madrid in the latest Clásico between the two giants of Spanish soccer. With the win, Barcelona opened up a 4-point lead over Madrid at the top of La Liga, with 10 games remaining in the season.” NY Times


Lionel Messi Is Back on His Game

March 24, 2015

“It has been a pleasure to watch Lionel Messi playing with Barcelona during the past week, in a way that it hasn’t been in a long time. When I profiled the Argentine superstar for the magazine in June of last year, just before the World Cup, he was in a bit of a funk. As one Argentine writer told me at the time, ‘It’s like he’s tied up.’  Messi had been having a (relatively) poor year with Barcelona, his club team in Spain, and there was a noticeable lack of spark in his play. He was hurt earlier in the year, and plagued by drama off the field at Barcelona, but nobody knew what the real root of the trouble was. He just didn’t look like himself.” NY Times


Spain’s tabloids are always partisan, but it’s peak slant ahead of a Clásico

March 22, 2015

“The first rule of Clásico club: Take everything you read with a pinch of salt. With three points, the La Liga title and those famous bragging rights at stake between Barcelona and Real Madrid, anything goes on the Spanish press’s playground as judgment day looms. Punching in Barça’s corner are Catalan newspapers Diario SPORT and Mundo Deportivo, while Madrid is counting on Marca and Diario AS.” Soccer Gods


Manchester City Was Ready for Lionel Messi, or So It Thought

March 19, 2015

“The moment that encapsulated the game came after about 40 minutes. Lionel Messi, Barcelona’s wizard in residence, had the ball near the sideline. James Milner, a sturdy Manchester City midfielder, approached. Messi caressed the ball with his foot. Milner tried to shuffle along. Suddenly, the ball was through Milner’s legs, Messi was off behind him and Milner collapsed onto his rear end, unable to stand up against Messi’s bag of tricks.” NY Times


Watch the 8 Best Goals Scored by Premier League Managers

March 13, 2015

“Sam Allardyce | Bolton Wanderers vs. Ipswich Town. 21 April 1979. Big Sam gets accused of being many things: long ball merchant, unambitious, over indulgent at the buffet. But I can only accuse him of abandoning an excellent mustache. While playing for Bolton Wanderers, Allardyce scored this thunderbolt of a header against Ipswich Town. In the early 2000s, Allardyce’s returned to Bolton as manager and would take them back into the Premier League and the Europa League. Sadly, the mustache did not come with him.” 8 by 8 (Video)


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