Atletico Madrid: Simeone’s Tactical Development

January 14, 2015

“Diego Simeone is not out to eat humble pie. The 44-year-old Argentinian is hell bent on retaining the league title and going one step better than last season in the Champions League. Without having Real Madrid’s and Barcelona’s payrolls, Atlético have gained success with a combination of sly tactics, strong leadership from a go-getting persona like Simeone, and a matchless spirit. And the Rojiblancos, long known as the “other team” in the Spanish capital, are a title contender in La Liga again.” Outside of the Boot

Analysis: Intelligent Enzo Perez Impresses on Debut for Valencia

January 7, 2015

“In amongst a slew of yellow cards and all-action tackles from the likes of Lucas Orban and Nicolas Otamendi, not to mention the rampaging forward runs of wingbacks José Gaya and Antonio Barragan, you could be forgiven for viewing Enzo Perez’s Valencia debut as somewhat underwhelming. Indeed, in his first ever showing for the club, a famous 2-1 win over Real Madrid, the Argentine’s statistical output was decidedly ordinary. Playing at the base of midfield in Valencia’s 3-5-2 formation, Perez delivered only one tackle and one interception on the night, while simultaneously committing four fouls. In attack, too, his return was fairly meagre, and although he completed his passes with a solid 91% accuracy, not too many of them were overly significant.” Licence to Roam

Julio Libonatti: First of the Oriundi

January 1, 2015

“Like Lionel Messi, Angel di Maria and Cesar Luis Menotti, he was born in Rosario and crossed the Atlantic Ocean to earn his fortune, but Julio Libonatti’s place in football history was assured when he took advantage of his dual nationality to represent both Argentina and Italy. When the lethal Torino marksmen accepted Mussolini’s offer to become a sporting repatriate, he started a lasting trend…” TheInsideLeft (Video)

100 Best Young Players to Watch in 2015 | Forwards 10 – 1

December 29, 2014

“It’s hard to accurately predict future Ballon D’Or nominees based on a players current exploits in the early part of his career. But given the propensity of usual Ballon D’Or nominees bearing rather conspicuous goal-scoring traits, you wouldn’t go too wrong in betting Memphis Depay as a potential future nominee.” Outside of the Boot

100 Best Young Players to Watch in 2015 | Midfielders 10 – 1

December 26, 2014

“Hakan Calhanoglu grew up in Mannheim of Germany, before moving on to Karlsruhe, Hamburg and Leverkusen while getting called up to the Turkish National team in 2013. An attacking midfielder by trade, Hakan’s style and elegance on the ball has seen him sought out by some of the world’s best. Mini-Analysis: Operating behind the striker or across the midfield, Calhanoglu’s style of play is easy on the eye. A mainstay in the Hamburg team that narrowly escaped relegation last season saw him bag 11 goals and assist 4 in 32 games.” Outside of the Boot

Juventus’s bestia nera returns to haunt them as Sampdoria seal a draw

December 16, 2014

“In Turin, the locals spoke fretfully of a bestia nera coming to pay Juventus a visit. Those words translate in English to black beast, although bête noire might sound more familiar. The expression has its origins in medieval times, when the devil would often be represented in works of art as an animal with black fur and burning eyes. These days it is applied mostly by Italians to sporting bogey teams. No demon had troubled Juventus as greatly over the last few seasons as Sampdoria – a side they had beaten just twice in their latest six attempts. The Blucerchiati were responsible for the Old Lady’s most recent home defeat, recovering from a goal and a man down to snatch an unlikely 2-1 victory in January 2013.” Guardian

Champions League: Holders Real Madrid draw Schalke 04 in last 16 stage

December 16, 2014

Champions League draw
“Champions League holders and arguably Europe’s most in-form team Real Madrid were drawn against German side Schalke 04 in the last 16 of Europe’s most prestigious competition. Real, which defeated city rival Atletico Madrid 4-1 in Lisbon last year to win ‘La Decima’ — it’s 10th title — is attempting to become the first team to successfully defend the Champions League. Two of England’s three clubs face tough ties, with Chelsea drawn against Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City paired with Spanish giants Barcelona.” CNN

Rematches, Wenger reunion headline Champions League knockout draw
“After a group stage in which the main lesson was that Real Madrid and Bayern Munich are still the teams to beat in this competition, the draw for the round of 16 took place Monday. The odds on the two favorites will have shortened considerably after decent draws, and two big guns will fall by the wayside after Paris Saint-Germain was drawn against Chelsea and Manchester City against Barcelona in a pair of repeat matchups from last season. There was also a moment of sentimentality in the draw, as Arsenal was drawn against AS Monaco, where coach Gunners coach Arsene Wenger was manager from 1987-1994. Here’s a breakdown of Monday’s draw…” SI


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