A tactical guide to the Champions League semi-finalists

April 14, 2010


The Oaths of the Horatii, Jacques Louis David
“When it comes to surviving in the latter stages of the Champions League, it seems versatility is the key to vitality. One of the most notable things about the four sides that have made it to this season’s semi-finals is that all four have, to a greater or lesser extent, deployed formations and tactical systems that they do not use in domestic competition in order to reach the last four.” (Football Further)


The Question: Why is the modern offside law a work of genius?

April 14, 2010

“Nothing in football is so traduced as the offside law. Most seem to regard it as a piece of killjoy legislation, designed almost to prevent football producing too many goals and being too much fun, while for the punditocracy it has become the universal scapegoat, the thing that “nobody understands”. Just because Garth Crooks doesn’t get something, though, doesn’t make it a bad thing. The modern offside law may be the best thing that’s ever happened to football, and it is almost certainly the reason Barcelona have been so successful with a fleet of players whose obvious asset is their technique rather than their physique.” (Guardian)


Fiorentina 0-1 Inter – Eto’o wins the tie, then Inter go ultra-defensive

April 14, 2010

“When two teams play each other twice in quick succession, the second game is often boring and predictable – so the fact that there were eleven changes between the sides from the weekend’s line-ups was a welcome surprise. That first game was a league game, where the sides drew 2-2. The first leg of this encounter was, ludicrously, as longago as 3rd February, where a Diego Milito goal gave Inter a 1-0 win. Away goals counted after 90 minutes, so a single Inter goal would leave Fiorentina needing three.” (Zonal Marking)


Politics and sport fight it out in Bill Shankly’s shadow

April 14, 2010


“To the many and storied benefits of the Premier League revolution, chalk up the increasing requirement for committed fans to have a finance qualification. ‘Three years ago,” reflects Everton supporter Dave Kelly, “if you’d have said ‘enabling grant’ to a supporter on the Goodison Road, they’d have thought you were talking about Tony Grant’s brother.’ Tony Grant is a former Everton midfielder, should you be unfamiliar with his work, while his brother Enabling is viewed by some as the saviour of any number of successful football clubs who bafflingly find themselves financially embarrassed.” (Guardian)

Revealed: How Goldman Sachs drew up financial rescue for Liverpool
“One of the world’s greatest football clubs owned by a group of investors put together by the world’s most powerful investment bank. It sounds far fetched doesn’t it? Except, until six weeks ago, it was one of the options being looked at by Liverpool’s beleaguered owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett.” (BBC)


“El Clasico” in Haiti

April 14, 2010

“Laura Wagner, a UNC Anthropology graduate student who was in Haiti during the earthquake (and wrote a searing account of her experience at Salon.com), has recently returned to continue her research there. On Saturday, she took this photograph in Port-au-Prince, in the neighborhood of Delmas 32. The chalk board in front of this damaged building — you can see a broken gate inside the building, and the tarp is a necessary addition now that the rainy season has begun — invited fans to come watch the Real-Barca game, something that is of course not to be missed under any circumstances.” (Soccer Politics)


Maradona: Pancho Villa in Soccer Shorts

April 14, 2010


“I was lucky enough this past Saturday night to see the 2008 film Maradona by Kusturica (it is currently unavailable in the United States). It was the same night that, 30 minutes into the El Clasico matchup with Real Madrid—what was essentially the La Liga championship match—Barcelona’s Argentine striker Lionel Messi catapulted his way into the penalty box, chested an incoming cross in such a way that turned his defender completely around, and then slap-kicked the ball so it bounded past the helpless goalkeeper.” (Vanity Fair) Must Read Soccer


Technology In Football

April 14, 2010

“It rather seems as if every time there is a refereeing decision that costs a team a point or two, the usual suspects in the media start stating the case for all manner of whizzy gizmos to make sure that such a travesty of justice never occurs again. FIFA, however, are against the introduction of such technology and Rob Freeman has similar reservations.” (twohundredpercent)