Champions League quarter-finals: tie-by-tie analysis

March 18, 2018

“We run the rule over the last-eight matches, including the all-Premier League duel between Liverpool and Manchester City, and predict who will triumph …” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson


Memo to Theresa May: In Premier League, Russian Roots Run Deep

March 18, 2018

“LONDON — The Russian flag has been there so long now that it hardly attracts any notice, just another familiar piece of background scenery in the global, cosmopolitan Premier League. It hangs from the upper deck of the Matthew Harding Stand at Stamford Bridge, the home of Chelsea Football Club. In its central blue band, spelled out in white block capitals, are the words ‘The Roman Empire.’ …” NY Times

Identifying Ligue 1’s Next Breakout Talent: Tanguy Ndombele

March 18, 2018

“This feels like an annual thing I do with Lyon, where at least one of these type of posts is dedicated to their young starlets. It’s a credit to them that even though they’re having a mildly turbulent season, you can’t help but be excited at the young talent at their disposal. A lot of that is due to them having one of the best youth academies in European football. When the club was in a dire financial situation earlier this decade, they relied on their kids coming through and some of the academy graduates included Alexandre Lacazette, Nabil Fekir, and Corentin Tolisso. Their academy has been ridiculous for quite some time in churning out elite young talents, and they’ve got even more talent coming up with Willem Guebels and Amine Gouiri. …” Stats Bomb (Video)

The Agony of Being an Arsenal Fan

March 18, 2018

“I’ve been a follower of Arsenal Football Club since I was ten years old. So often our sporting allegiances are shaped by family tradition, passed down like heirlooms. That is not how I fell in love with Arsenal. My mother often tells the story of how, at the end of a trip to London, she got into a cab on her way to the airport. Wanting to bring home a memento for her eldest son, she asked the driver for the name of London’s soccer team. …” New Yorker

Searching For the Root: Marley, Music and Football

March 18, 2018

“… Football is the only sport on earth that can be considered truly global. Simple and inexpensive, it is equally likely to be found in a tight Marseille banlieue, an obscure corner of a Lagos slum, and the heart of a Buenos Aires barrio. Marley’s music is similarly universal. It is the embodiment of the ghetto sufferah, the dispossessed street urchin whose never-ending battle for survival transcends continent and race. …” In Bed With Maradona

Curse of the second-choice Premier League striker: an unwinnable war?

March 18, 2018

“When it comes to impossibly handsome multimillionaire athletes, the natural feeling towards them tends not to be sympathy. Despite that, even the most cold-hearted onlooker might have harboured some pity for Fernando Llorente as Tottenham played Bournemouth last weekend. The Spaniard has endured a wretched season and barely kicked a ball in recent weeks, but when Harry Kane limped off after half an hour it looked like a rare chance to drum up some confidence. …” FourFourTwo

A case of Dejan vu all over again for Lovren the Liverpool fall guy

March 13, 2018

“A long ball. Dejan Lovren steps tight to Romelu Lukaku, tries to shove him, fails to move him and drops off. Lukaku wins the header and Marcus Rashford scores. A long ball. Lovren steps tight to Lukaku, fails to unsettle him. Lukaku wins the header and Rashford, after the brief intervention of a block challenge on Juan Mata, scores. For Liverpool it was a case of Dejan vu all over again. This was not as bad as his performance at Wembley against Tottenham, when Lovren played as though dazed, but it was another game in which Liverpool conceded goals that, from a defensive point of view, came through the Croat. …” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson