Golden goal: Juninho Pernambucano for Lyon v Bayern Munich (2003)

October 31, 2014

“There was a jarring fragment of radio commentary during the Burnley v Everton game the other day. ‘Antolín Alacaraz does a Cruyff turn,’ said the man on TalkSport. It sounded wrong. But of course it was right, or at least correct. That is the gift that Cruyff gave us, a trick that nearly anyone can do but only a genius can patent. The best Panenka penalty will always be the one produced, to universal astonishment, by the Czechoslovakia captain in the 1976 European Championship final. Cruyff and Panenka are psychedelic footballers; they altered our perception of the game by expanding our imagination, leaving a permanent distortion. Juninho Pernambucano belongs in that company, except that his free-kicks remain head-wreckingly difficult to copy despite years of studious gerrymandering by boffins intent on making it easier.” Guardian


Champions League: Bayern Munich thrashes Roma amid goal bonanza

October 22, 2014

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“Tuesday’s Champions League action brought thumping wins for Chelsea, Shakhtar Donetsk and, perhaps most impressively, Bayern Munich, who hammered Roma 7-1 at Stadio Olimpico. Manchester City’s misery went on as it threw away a lead to draw in Moscow, while there was another defeat for Athletic Bilbao away to Porto. Here is what caught our eye from the day’s games, when a Champions-League-record 40 goals were scored…” SI – Jonathan Wilson

Robben impressed by rampant Bayern
“Arjen Robben, Bayern forward. Afterwards it’s always easy to talk. I’m still convinced Roma have a very good team – they’ve shown that this season – but we should pay a big compliment to us, to all the players, but also to the coaching staff who prepared this game in the way we played, the way we created chances and scored goals. There were some great goals tonight. We played a little different tonight. Everybody has seen it, but it’s not good to talk about our tactics and how we want to play. Everybody can see it and watch the match to analyse us. But a big compliment to the team and the tactics.” UEFA


5 Tactical Conclusions From September

October 1, 2014

“Southampton have recovered excellently. No Rickie Lambert, no Adam Lallana, no Luke Shaw, no Dejan Lovren, no Calum Chambers…and no problem. Many predicted Southampton would struggle having sold so many star performers, but some intelligent recruitment and clever coaching from Ronald Koeman means Southampton are riding high, in second position in the Premier League table.” Betting Expert – Michael Cox


Marseille: The Bielsa Press quantified

September 26, 2014

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Marseille’s coach Marcelo Bielsa
“Previously I have written about the metric which can help us quantify and assess the strength that a team used to press the opposition; Passes per Defensive Action or PPDA. An introduction to this metric, including its definition and what the numbers represent can be found in this article written in July. In a follow up article which looked at manager tendencies in relation to this PPDA metric  it was no surprise to find that Marcelo Bielsa ranked very highly amongst managers that incorporated a pressing game.  In fact, over the last four seasons across the Big 5 leagues only six managers used a more agressive level of pressing that Bielsa did.” Stats Bomb

Marcelo Bielsa restless but Marseille are early Ligue 1 pacesetters
“First, the caveats. It was only against Reims, who had the second worst defensive record in the French top flight even before Tuesday, and whose goalkeeper Johny Placide was hampered by an injury that forced him off at half-time. And Steve Mandanda did have to make a couple of decent saves in the second half after the intensity of the game had dropped. So Marseille fans must temper their excitement a little. But only a little.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson

Marcelo Biesla’s Marseille lighting up Ligue 1
“After a demoralising, disappointing 2013-2014 season for Marseille, the club knew that something needed to be done to address the situation. That decision saw talented tactician Marcelo Bielsa take the helm at Marseille. The former Argentine, Chile and Athletic Bilbao coach was appointed and started work after the World Cup. Marcelo Bielsa is a hugely respected figure in World Football and was hand-picked as a coach that could re-vitalise and energise this Marseille outfit that despite its sixth place finish insinuates great promise.” backpagefootball


What’s the reason behind PSG’s current struggles?

September 19, 2014

“Usually clubs with wealthy benefactors aren’t simply attempting to buy success. They’re also attempting to buy style — and it’s extremely difficult to achieve both. … Paris Saint-Germain is a peculiar case, because there doesn’t seem to be any emphasis upon playing beautiful football. Since QSI bought the club in 2011, the results have been excellent — PSG have won the title for the past two seasons and have performed reasonably well in Europe, too.” ESPN – Michael Cox


The Confusing Case of Ribery’s “Retirement”

September 19, 2014

“Rarely do footballers come around that experience a whirlwind trip to the top of the heap, get embroiled in a dirge of controversy, and somehow maintain a level of play that allows them to weather the massive storm. Franck Ribery is no ordinary soccer story, and his play is always anything BUT ordinary. The Bayern Munich winger, now 31, has amassed every success possible at the club level, and has accomplished all of this while being a huge part of the French national team that has not found the success that Ribery experienced in 2006. So, when a player like Ribery decides to lower the curtain on his international career, the process would seem relatively simple.” SoccerPro


Five things we learned this week in Ligue 1

September 17, 2014

“The drought continues – Paris Saint-Germain go three away games without a victory. PSG fans ‘It’s a problem’ replied an abrupt and clearly agitated Salvatore Sirigu in his Canal + post-match interview. The problem of course that the Italian international, who signed a new four-year contract with PSG this week, was referring to is his club’s lack of conviction on away trips this season. So far, PSG have performed impressively in their opening matches of the season, however they have failed to do better than drawing in their first three away matches.” backpagefootball


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