Maurizio Sarri – A tale for hipsters and dreamers alike

December 17, 2015

“The latest instalment in one of the most extraordinary football stories of recent years is currently playing itself out in Serie A – the wonderful tale of Maurizio Sarri, manager of Napoli. I’ve always been a sucker for those managers who without stellar football careers behind them have risen by dint of their coaching and inspirational qualities, their intelligence and their sheer perseverance to some of the top jobs in the game.” backpagefootball

Tactical breakdown: How Ranieri’s Leicester City has overtaken the EPL

December 15, 2015

“Leicester City sits on top of the Premier League table after 16 rounds in one of Europe’s biggest stories nearly halfway through the season. New manager Claudio Ranieri has sharpened Leicester’s focus, harnessing his players’ scrappiness to become a formidable defensive side paired with England’s in-form striker, Jamie Vardy. Unlike its results, the team’s tactics are fairly typical. The Foxes line up in a standard English 4-4-2, with Riyad Mahrez’s tendency to drift inside and next to the front two passing as their most complicated wrinkle.” SI

Power Rankings | Top 5 Managers (November 2015): Klopp joins Enrique at the top

December 10, 2015

“A new mini-feature on the site for the new season is the introduction of the manager Power Rankings, where every month we list out the Top 5 tacticians from across Europe’s top leagues. October’s Power Rankings features five managers who’ve played key roles as the table begins to take shape.” Outside of the Boot

The Outsiders, Part 5: AP Campionese

December 10, 2015

“‘And this is Campione d’Italia’, she’s the Italian comune in Switzerland, you know, she’s an Italian enclave and exclave surrounded by Switzerland but still in the Province of Como, Lombardia, in the Swiss canton of Ticino’. Introducing the small town of Campione d’Italia, is much like describing a distant relative at a very large family celebration. She’s both vaguely recognisable and completely unfamiliar. She has the same plump and contented face as aunty Giulia, yet she’s definitely got the nose of grandpa Müller.” Football Pink

The Outsiders, Part 6: FC Andorra
“As countries go, there are few that can match the sheer stunning beauty of Andorra. Nestled firmly in the Pyrenees between France and Spain, Andorra is the sixth smallest nation in Europe in terms of size, its population could fit inside Barcelona’s Nou Camp stadium. It has a rich culture stretching back over a thousand years and is a constitutional monarchy with an official language of Catalan, though French and Spanish are widely spoken too.” Football Pink

The Outsiders, Part 7: The New Saints
“Around the globe, football teams that have incorporated their sponsor’s name are common place. Of course, Red Bull have taken on teams in New York, Leipzig and Salzburg, aptly named the New York Red Bulls, RB Leipzig and FC Red Bull Salzburg whilst Bayer Leverkusen in Germany have taken their founders’ name since their emergence in 1904, as did PSV Eindhoven in 1913. Hyundai have taken on two teams in South Korea, Jeonbuk and Ulsan whilst Toyota even got in on the act in Japan.” Football Pink

The 10 Young Stars of 2015: Paulo Dybala (South America)

December 10, 2015

“Paulo Dybala is an Argentine striker currently playing for Juventus. The youngster made the move to Juventus this summer from Palermo for 32 million euros, in one of the blockbuster moves of the summer. He’s also a full Argentine international, making his debut in the recent World Cup qualifier against Paraguay, when he came on as a sub for Carlos Tevez. The striker started out at Argentine club Instituto de Cordoba, playing in the second division, where he broke all sorts of records, including some held by the legendary Mario Kempes.He played 38 consecutive games there, scored 2 hattricks, and scored in 6 consecutive games. After some controversy about the paper work, he completed his move to Palermo, and in his time there, made enough of an impact to be signed by Juventus for a massive transfer fee.” Outside of the Boot

The 10 Young Stars of 2015: Ryan Thomas (Oceania)
“Ryan Thomas is a 20 year old New Zealander currently bearing the colours of PEC Zwolle. The youngster was signed from a youth academy in New Zealand in 2013 after Zwolle took him on trial and were impressed with what he had to offer. The player is usually deployed as a winger, but can also fill in in the middle of the park, a position he was deployed in during his youth days. Thomas is the only Kiwi in the entire Eredivisie, and indeed, The Netherlands aren’t really a well trodden path for his compatriots. Despite this though, he’s settled in well, and made a huge impact on the league, and his team. His greatest success has come in the cup final in 2014, where he scored a brace to help his side beat the mighty Ajax and lift the trophy.” Outside of the Boot

Tactical Analysis: Napoli 2-1 Inter Milan | Fluid Neapolitan Football But Inter’s Energy Almost Alters Result

December 6, 2015

“Napoli went atop the Serie A standings for the first time since April 1990, with a win over Inter Milan decided by the narrowest of margins and some Gonzalo Higuain striking brilliance. Higuain’s brace took his goals tally to 12 this season, and only a fine save from goalkeeper Pepe Reina denied Inter a share of the points. Roberto Mancini’s Nerazzurri played the entire second half with ten men, but it was a case of too little too late for Inter, who lived to rue their defensive mistakes on the night.” Outside of the Boot

Tactical Analysis: Juventus 1-0 AC Milan | Juventus struggle to break down a compact Milan

November 28, 2015

“In Juventus and AC Milan we have two giants of world football. The hosts have found life difficult following the departures of greats Carlos Tevez, Arturo Vidal and cult-hero Andrea Pirlo; the slow start to their defence of last season’s record-breaking 31st title has seen them pick up only 6 wins from their opening 13 league fixtures. However, back-to-back victories leading into this tie created a hopeful vibrancy amongst Juve fans and the Torinese people sold out all 41,000 seats to make for an electric atmosphere against their Milanese rivals who travelled the relatively short 80-mile distance across the north of Italy to the beautiful region of Piedmonte and the Juventus Stadium that sits in a remarkable location beside picturesque backdrops of the Alps.” Outside of the Boot


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