Tactical revolution? How the Big Four have changed

August 23, 2009

“Much has been made of the many comings and goings at the ‘Big Four’ clubs throughout a summer full of signings and speculation. The Premier League title is destined, however, for the team which makes the most of their resources, whether massive or relatively meagre. Personnel, motivation – and luck – are all important factors, of course, but countless points will be won and lost on the pre-game chalkboard.” (Footballing World)

Changing Lanes
“As Real Madrid embarked on a typically senseless transfer rampage, Barcelona stood still. Nothing broken, nothing needing fixin’, was their attitude. Winning the treble last season dictates that the current squad possesses something special, but nevertheless, a leading supermarket can never afford to sit back with a contented smile because the competition will not, and will never, give up the chase for supremacy. Yet Barcelona did just this at the beginning of the summer. And so, with the less successful competitor having snapped up the best locations and offering the best prices, the leading brand responded in a frenzy in order to, somehow, hold onto its dominant market position.” (Footballing World)

Ukrainian will, Carpathian pride and the summer of ’69

August 23, 2009

“Some 30,000 interlopers from the western extremity of the Soviet Union descended on Moscow on 17 Aug 1969 and, in a spontaneous assertion of nationalism, sang Ukrainian folk songs in the heart of the Soviet empire. Following a 20-hour train journey, supporters of FC Karpaty celebrated the temerity of a regional second-division club in making Soviet soccer history. The team known as the Carpathians, from L’viv, defeated SKA Rostov-on-Don, a top-flight Russian side, to become the only Soviet Cup winners from outside the first division.” (The Global Game)

Tottenham’s Harry Redknapp rewarded for his faith in Jermain Defoe

August 23, 2009

“Invariably, Jermain Defoe is in the thick of it, cracking jokes and volleys, startling apprentice keepers with the power of his shooting. Exuberance reigns. A natural finisher, Defoe’s knack of finding the target has been further honed through hard work. Having the popular Ferdinand around adds to the enjoyment of the session – and the expertise. Ferdinand understands what it is like to fight for an England place, knows how forwards like Defoe are creatures of confidence.” (Telegraph – Henry Winter)

Honey Baked Tottenham
“For today, at least, it’s good to be Steve Nash (even more so than usual), Jeff Beck, (suddenly) Bill Simmons, my buddy Suppe and yes, even according to this website Andrew Ridgley. Granted it’s a mere two games into the marathon that is the 2009-10 Premier League season, but there is reason to be excited about the heady days at White Hart Lane as Tottenham — the classic tease if there ever was one — is 2-0-0 with six points in the bank with seven goals scored in those matches.” (That’s on Point)

Academy for Brazilians on the Fields of Italy

August 23, 2009

brazilians home state map
“Before a ball was kicked in the Serie A season, the national coach, Marcello Lippi, expressed the wish that the Italian league would make the world sit up and notice its quality before the World Cup in 2010. Maybe it will. But it might not be the Italians doing it. The eye-catching performances in AC Milan’s 2-1 victory in Siena on Saturday night were Alexandre Pato and Ronaldinho in the attack and Alessandro Nesta and Thiago Silva in defense. Three of the four are Brazilians who are hoping the Italian league makes their national coach, Carlos Dunga, sit up and notice them.” (NYT)

Zola eyes bright future at Upton Park

August 23, 2009

“Gianfranco Zola is doing his best to dispel the myth that good guys cannot succeed in the harsh world of Premier League management. It is hard to find anyone who has a bad word to say about the little Italian, whose cheeky smile and boyish enthusiasm for the sport he mastered as a player looks set to continue into what may soon be hailed as a successful coaching career.” (ESPN)

SOS Scotland: is there a way back for a once-great footballing nation?

August 23, 2009

“During his halcyon days at Aberdeen, Alex Ferguson made a pronouncement to a gathering of football writers, a number of them visitors from England, which had a startling impact. Responding to the question of how he had restructured the club, with particular emphasis on scouting, he said: ‘Let me put it this way: no Denis Law will ever be allowed to leave Aberdeen again.'” (Guardian)