Manchester United 2-1 Liverpool: a contest about the small details

“No major tactical surprises here, and no surprise outcome either. Ferguson’s default line-up for these ‘big’ games is a flexible 4-5-1 shape (which means no Dimitar Berbatov) whilst Benitez was always going to go with Lucas ahead of Alberto Aquilani for a more solid midfield away at Old Trafford.” (Zonal Marking), (Zonal Marking – “Defending Steven Gerrard’s Old Trafford display“)


American beauties, the MLS free agency fight, more mailbag topics

“On perhaps the best first day ever of the NCAA basketball tournament — and believe me, folks, I still watch — the madness wasn’t confined to the U.S. side of the Atlantic. As soon as U.S. midfielder Clint Dempsey scored his brilliantly delicate chip for Fulham to cap a four-goal rally that sank mighty Juventus in the Europa League Round of 16 and sent Cottagers fans into hysterics, variations of this question started rolling into my Twitter account: ‘Best, biggest goal by an American outside of international play?’ — Adam Belz, Cedar Rapids, Iowa” (SI)

Video Of The Week: The Saturday Men (West Bromwich Albion 1962)

“This week’s Video Of The Week goes all the way back to 1962, and a short film called ‘The Saturday Men’. Produced as part of a shot series of films sponsored by the Ford Motor Company called ‘Look At Britain’, ‘The Saturday Men’ spends a week following West Bromwich Albion around. It follows them to training, the inner workings of the boardroom (to the extent to which the inhabitants of said room were going to be honest when there were cameras around), takes the time to meet a former player who is about to embark on a new career as a salesman and even stops in on a pre-match team talk by the club’s then manager, Archie McAuley.” (twohundredpercent)

World Cup Moments: Geoff Hurst, 1966. Did the Ball Cross the Line?

Geoff Hurst, 1966
“Can you imagine if both YouTube and blogs had existed in sixties? The events of the 1966 World Cup final would have caused internet meltdown. For those unfamiliar, here’s what happened: It was hosts England vs West Germany in the final. West Germany had equalized to make it 2-2 late in the match and take it to extra time.” (World Cup Blog)

The son of the USA coach is gradually disproving accusations of nepotism

“Accusations of nepotism and the misuse of patronage are standard procedure for any son playing in a team run by his father. So when, in 2007, USA coach Bob Bradley began to regularly select his son, Michael, in midfield, the ‘daddy’s boy’ taunts were as loud as they were virulent. But assembling a posse is no proof of guilt and, with the young Bradley slowly but surely carving out a niche for himself in international football, the hunting hordes have had to look elsewhere for their kicks.” (World Soccer)

Unstoppable Messi runs riot

“Lionel Messi continued his remarkable goalscoring form with a hat-trick as Barcelona moved level once more with Real Madrid at the Primera Liga summit with victory at Real Zaragoza. The Argentina winger, who also scored a hat-trick in his last league match against Valencia, opened the scoring with a header after five minutes and added two more after the break to send his side 3-0 ahead.” (ESPN)

Barca vs Zaragoza Highlights
(All About FC Barcelona)

Per Capita Player Production in American Men’s Soccer: A Sort-Of MLS Season Preview

“With the good news that the MLS season will indeed start this week, I’d like to offer my esoteric version of a season preview: where exactly does the current crop of elite American players come from? Who are the boys (Luis Gil at 16 is—as far as I know—the youngest player in the league) and men (Pat Onstad at 42 is—as far as I can tell—the oldest) we’ll watch this season?” (Pitch Invasion)