Is Ligue 1 Ready For Prime Time?

August 3, 2014

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“The French league has gotten some good P.R. of late (thanks to a certain player on a certain club), but it’s still a long way from Europe’s elite. If some segments of the soccer press are to be believed, Paris Saint-Germain, with its record transfer fees, big-name stars, and Zlatan-mania, is leading French football into a new, vibrant era. Despite the club’s undeniable glamour, though, Ligue 1 is still not ready to crack Europe’s big four: the Premier League, Bundesliga, La Liga, and Serie A.” Fusion


Franck Ribéry’s Race against Time

July 29, 2014

“While a nation rejoiced in the city of Berlin as Die Nationalmannschaft returned home with the coveted World Cup for the first time since reunification, a calming aura was captured in the heart of Munich: Franck Ribéry completed his first training session with FC Bayern since an unfortunate back injury ruled him out of participating in Brazil. The moment Bayern Munich defeated Borussia Dortmund in the DFB Pokal final, a colorless Ribéry first began to trudge into his own abyss of doom. A man once known for his bombastic celebrations (he attempted to lightheartedly escape with the DFB trophy after winning it in 2010), Ribéry was uncharacteristically reserved throughout this celebratory night. Caught in two minds, his aloofness may have stemmed from a physically damaged state and an overwhelmed psychology.” Bundesliga Fanatic


Another flood of exciting European talent arrives in the Premier League

July 18, 2014

“Every summer, the internet is set ablaze with speculation, rumours and counter-rumours of potential transfers once the window opens in July. Of course, with all the ‘on the verge’ and ‘set to’ headlines, the only stories that truly matter are the completed transfers. This summer has been no different in ushering in another breed of exciting young Europeans that will surely help keep the drama of the Premier League alive. Despite having only been officially open for a couple of weeks, some Premier League clubs have wasted no time in getting ahead of their rivals as manager’s study scouting reports from every corner of Europe before setting about strengthening the squad. Alan Pardew is eager to improve on last season’s 10th placed finish and has signalled his intentions of furthering the French revolution on Tyneside with the double acquisition of Remy Cabella from Montpellier and Emmanuel Riviere from Monaco.” backpagefootball


World Cup 2014: Top five transfer targets – and those already done

July 15, 2014

“They may not be new to everyone, but Brazil 2014 brought a handful of players to the attention of a wider global audience who sat up and took notice of them. Even more importantly for the players’ agents, it is likely to have sparked the interest of the clubs with the deepest pockets, who may well be about to spend big on their talents. Here, we look at five stand-out transfer targets to emerge from the World Cup finals – and five deals that were done during the tournament.” BBC


World Cup Tactical Analysis : France 0-1 Germany | France get caught out early and Germany’s high line shuts out France

July 7, 2014

“At the end of  a very highly anticipated clash, Germany reached their fourth consecutive World Cup semi-final as Mats Hummels opened the scoring from a set piece in the 12th minute, scoring what turned out to be the winner. Germany looked dangerous going forward in the early phases, while France tried to exploit the space behind the high defensive line of Löw’s team. The scoreline is a perfect reflection of how close the game was, with both sides having ample opportunities to score goals. Eventually, the game fell in favour of the Germans, who just managed to take their chances on the day.” Outside of the Boot


Germany 1-0 France: Germany get the better of the midfield battle

July 6, 2014

“Mats Hummels’ early header from a Toni Kroos free-kick was the difference in a peculiarly tame, flat contest. Jogi Low made two significant tactical alterations to his side, moving Philipp Lahm to right-back, and bringing in Miroslav Klose upfront. Didier Deschamps, as expected, returned to a one-striker system with Antoine Griezman replacing Olivier Giroud, and Karim Benzema shifting upfront. Germany dominated the first half with some good midfield play, and then the second half was…almost non-existent, with France barely launching a fightback.” Zonal Marking


Talent Radar: Paul Pogba shackled and Raphael Varane stutters as France bow out of World Cup

July 6, 2014

“… Paul Pogba. France’s midfield has won many an admiring glance over the course of their World Cup journey and the match-up against Germany saw the clash of the 2 arguably best central midfields. With Cabaye playing in the regista position, both Matuidi and Pogba have been responsible for providing thrust to the French attack using their physicality and embarking on their trademark driving runs. … Raphael Varane. Despite being only 21, Varane was France’s first choice centre-back leaving Koscielny and Sakho to battle it out for the other position. The Real Madrid defender had a decent game but in the end the solitary goal of the game came directly as a result of his error although credit must be given to Mats Hummels too who was excellent on the night aside from his goal.” Outside of the Boot


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