Football Weekly: 2009-10 season preview

August 6, 2009

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Tiziano Vecellio (Titien): Le Concert Champêtre, 1509-10
“Fasten your seatbelts and set phasers to stun because Football Weekly is back! After dragging in the pod crew in at an ungodly hour, James Richardson is joined by Barry Glendenning, Sean Ingle and Kevin McCarra to ask the big questions. Can Manchester City break into the Big Four after their extravagant summer spending? Who will win the Premier League? And will AC Jimbo’s young lad have to go without shoes now Setanta has gone bust?” (Guardian)

Premier League preview No8: Liverpool
“Nineteen years have passed without league title No19 and still the prediction is that this could be Liverpool’s year. But now the expectation is justified at Anfield and so high, so unforgiving, that not even Xabi Alonso’s departure diminishes the demand on Rafael Benítez. Regaining the mantle of England’s most decorated champions from Manchester United is imperative.” (Guardian)


Evaluating the German game with national-team coach Joachim Löw

August 6, 2009

“Is German soccer in trouble? A German club hasn’t won the Champions League in eight years, and success in the UEFA Cup (now the Europa League) has been few and far between as well. World Soccer chats with German national-team coach Joachim Löw, who explains the need for speed at the top level, not just in the legs, but in the mind, too.” (SI)


South Africa’s white knight

August 6, 2009

“As the only white player in South Africa’s starting line-up, Matthew Booth accepts he “sticks out like a sore thumb” every time they play. This led some foreign observers to assume he was being booed by the predominantly black crowds at this summer’s Confederations Cup, when in fact the complete opposite was the case. The 6ft 6in central defender is a firm favourite with the fans of Bafana Bafana, who greet his every touch with loud cries of ‘Booooth!'” (BBC)


Revitalising respect for referees

August 6, 2009

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“Every football season begins with a ‘clampdown’. Traditionally this involves referees acting on new directives to punish foul play. The result is a spate of bookings and dismissals in the early months of the season, accompanied by an outcry from managers. Referees then loosen their interpretation of the rules a little – often after a meeting with managers at which ‘robust views’ are exchanged – and we end up roughly back to how things were before, except that at least one match official will have been maligned in highly personal terms.” (WSC)


Can Brazil hold it together for 2010?

August 6, 2009

“The world’s biggest party is fast approaching. In less than 12 months, throngs of joyous fans will journey to South Africa, bringing the World Cup to Africa for the first time. Aficionados without tickets will snuggle up to the TV: More than 715 million viewers watched Italy’s dramatic win over France in the 2006 final in Germany. To put that into perspective for U.S. fans, about 151 million took in this year’s Super Bowl.” (ESPN)


Rosicky’s Knacked, All Four One And 4-3-3 & Other Stuff

August 6, 2009

“The news that Tomas Rosicky is out for six weeks comes as little surprise yet is still saddening nonetheless. The Czech international tweaked a hamstring in training yesterday, another aspect which is totally unsurprising having been out for so long. Echoes of Eduardo’s recovery resound around this incident. As far as the squad goes, it is obviously a blow when combined with the absence of Samir Nasri yet it would have been surprising if Rosicky had reclaimed a place in the starting XI immediately having been out for so long.” (A Cultured Left Foot)