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

Dimitar Berbatov eyeing one last hurrah as Monaco tackle Arsenal

February 25, 2015

“Perhaps no player has ever looked quite so much as though he ought to be playing for Monaco as Dimitar Berbatov. Forget the reality of an under-supported club sustained by Russian money and tax breaks, playing on top of a car-park; if Monaco really were a club representing the playboys of the Côte d’Azur, all yachts and deck-shoes and meaningful glances over the champagne cocktails, Berbatov would fit right in. Throughout his career, his demeanour has been of a mysterious loner in a white dinner jacket leaving a casino in the early hours, his bow-tie long since undone.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson

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

Tactical Analysis: Lyon 1-1 PSG | Spoils Shared at the Stade de Gerland

February 10, 2015

“Lyon may have dominated the French domestic scene in the noughties but times have changed and it has been PSG who’ve been the team to beat in the recent past. Lyon though have found the consistency they’ve been looking for since the turn of the decade and are right in the middle of a title race. To examine their credentials stood defending Champions PSG .” Outside of the Boot

The continued doldrums of Lille LOSC

February 10, 2015

“It has been a disaster of a season for Lille LOSC. Through 24 weeks last season, Lille held down the third and final Champions League spot in Ligue 1 and had allowed the least amount of goals at that point. They were three points up on Saint-Etienne for third and eventually held off ASSE the rest of the way. Compare that to this season and the season has been a train wreck. Lille are 11th in Ligue 1 and are 17 points off both Olympique Marseille and Paris Saint-Germain for the second and third. It was fair to say that Lille would suffer some sort of drop off from form, seeing as they sold their best attacking player, Salomon Kalou in the summer transfer to Hertha BSC. Lille even with Kalou’s 16 goals last season only finished in a tie for ninth for goals scored.” backpagefootball

Two things we learned this week in Ligue 1

February 5, 2015

“Wins for both of France’s deadliest rivals on Friday and Saturday helped to reignite the Ligue 1 title race this weekend, as PSG and OM moved within two points of the current league leaders Olympique Lyonnais. In the weekend’s first encounter, Paris Saint-Germain won their third game in a row against Stade Rennais at the Parc des Princes with a one-nil victory. On Saturday afternoon, OM entertained Évian Thonon Gaillard in a game in which they were red-hot favourites to win, but in the end just one goal separated the two sides, with the one-nil victory helping extend Marseille’s unbeaten run at home to twelve games.” backpagefootball

Claude LeRoy: French coach is African legend

January 26, 2015

“Congo’s qualification for the quarter-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations was a remarkable achievement for an unfancied side, but also a personal triumph for coach Claude LeRoy – one of the grand old men of African football. Frenchman LeRoy, 66, has managed five different African national teams since first taking charge of Cameroon in 1985. He has coached at eight Cups of Nations and has now reached the quarter-finals on seven occasions, winning the trophy once. BBC Sport caught up with LeRoy to find out more about his extraordinary journey – and what continues to drive his passion for African football.” BBC


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