Thiago Alcantara : Tactical Analysis of a Brilliant Comeback Campaign

May 6, 2015

“The list of achievement is impressive: a penalty decider in the thrilling Pokal shootout against Leverkusen, an away goal in Porto keeping Bayern’s UCL hopes alive, and finally the opener in Bayern’s 6-1 dismantling of FC Porto. These key moments make Thiago Alcantara’s return to Bayern’s starting lineup appear perfect. Doubts about the Spaniard lengthy injury exodus and wider future have quickly disappeared. According to this convention thinking, Thiago’s arrival back on the field has been a combination of perfect timing brilliant football. But a question can be posed, is this conventional thinking true?” Bundesliga Fanatic

Defending Is Hard: Porto Learn a Lesson Against Bayern Munich

April 24, 2015

“It’s one of the most pernicious myths in soccer: Defending is easy. Any manager can order his players to stay behind the halfway line, kick some shins, clear a few corners, and voilà: He’ll have a clean sheet. Fans lob this accusation against opposing teams all the time, but tune in to enough postgame interviews and you’ll see managers are often no different. After the infamous Steven Gerrard slip game last year, Brendan Rodgers said it about José Mourinho, and a week later, Mourinho himself dropped a similar bomb in response to Norwich’s tactics. Seemingly anybody who’s ever played against Tony Pulis or Sam Allardyce has lodged a comparable complaint: What’s so special about you? All you do is defend.Grantland

Berlin-Bound: Which Team Has the Best Chance of Winning the Champions League?

April 16, 2015

“As we told you a few weeks ago, the drama’s all but gone from the major domestic leagues across Europe. Thankfully, the Champions League is here to save us. The quarterfinals of soccer’s greatest annual competition kick off today with Atlético Madrid hosting Real Madrid in a rematch of last year’s final and Monaco traveling to Juventus. Tomorrow, FC Porto welcomes Bayern Munich and Barcelona visits Paris Saint-Germain.” Grantland

La Liga’s top Spanish scorer may have played his way to Portugal

April 13, 2015

“The messages started arriving, and they didn’t stop. ‘There were more than 100,’ Rayo Vallecano attacker Alberto Bueno told El País. ‘And that’s not including Twitter. I couldn’t even keep track of the ones which were coming through on there.’ Manchester United’s Juan Mata wasn’t among those who sent a message, but he did phone Bueno, who he played with at Real Madrid many moons ago, to congratulate him on his 14-minute, four-goal haul in Rayo’s win over Levante at the end of February. And the goals didn’t stop there: One more came against Barcelona, two against Granada and another at Eibar.” Soccer Gods (Video)

Cape Verde’s win in Portugal will reverberate and be remembered

April 3, 2015

“Let’s start with the caveats. There was no Cristiano Ronaldo, João Moutinho, Nani, Fábio Coentrão or Bruno Alves. There wasn’t even José Bosingwa. This was a young, experimental Portugal side. It was only a friendly. It was windy. And Cape Verde have improved immeasurably over the past decade; they are ranked 38th in the world, not quite as good as Wales but better than Scotland, and were denied a play-off for World Cup qualification only after they were penalised for fielding an ineligible player. But still, this is a result that will reverberate and will be remembered – the night when Portugal, semi-finalists at the last European Championship, hosted their former colony and lost 2-0.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson

Spain-based Scot Ian Cathro continuing to grow admirers

March 11, 2015

“Ian Cathro has not followed a conventional career path, but he has still encountered lingering assumptions. During his first pre-season as assistant coach at Rio Ave in Portugal, a training session based on running rather than ball work prompted some players to cast withering glances his way. As a Scotsman, even one whose very presence in the Portuguese top-flight at an age when he was younger than many of the players in the squad was unorthodox, still prompted stereotypical thinking.” BBC

Deco’s Instrumental Display in Porto’s 2003/2004 Champions League Final Win

February 10, 2015

“‘He’s taught me many, many things. When he came to Porto he brought a new mentality. Many players didn’t believe it was possible to win the Champions League. I’ll never forget that. We had a good team but his narrow-mindedness showed us how to do well and win the big games.’ These were the words muttered by Deco as he mused upon the incredible belief that Jose Mourinho instilled into the Porto squad that won the 2003/2004 Champions League. And what a triumph it was. Along the way they knocked out the likes Manchester United, Lyon and Deportivo la Coruna before defeating Monaco in the final. The remarkable 3-0 win over Didier Deschamps’ men in the final showed just how far Mourinho had brought this side.” Licence to Roam


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