How the 2000s changed tactics #1: The fall and rise of the passing midfielder

May 4, 2010


“In 2004, Gabriele Marcotti wrote an article for The Times about Barcelona legend Pep Guardiola. It wasn’t a celebratory piece looking back at Guardiola’s fine career, nor remarking on his ability to defy the critics and keep playing at a high standard, like Paolo Maldini. It was about how, in 2004-spec football, Guardiola was useless. That is not to say that he had declined as a player. A physically unremarkable player, his domain was sitting front of his own defence and spraying passes across the pitch for his more illustrious teammates – Michael Laudrup, Hristo Stoichkov and Romario being amongst the biggest names to have benefited from his presence. When Marcotti wrote the article, at 33, Guardiola should have been at his peak.” (Zonal Marking)


Management matters

May 4, 2010

“I can rarely remember a week that has featured so much chit-chat about managers. Sometimes you begin to wonder whether the players matter any more. Mourinho this, Mourinhno that. The implications of Barcelona’s elimination from the Champions League last week spread far and wide, but in Spain all that matters is that Mourinho has allegedly proved himself eligible for the Bernabeu hot-seat.” (ESPN)


Home turf may not be enough

May 4, 2010

“Regarding the chances of the African teams in this year’s World Cup, you may have already heard some optimistic prognostication. Something along the lines of this: Ivory Coast will be the first African team to make the semifinals, and perhaps even win the Cup on ‘home’ soil. Ghana is ready to improve on its second-round performance last time out. Algeria is a dangerous dark horse. Host South Africa is sure to do better than expected.(ESPN)


As Juventus lurk, Rafael Benitez tells fans why he has to go

May 4, 2010

“General Custer, in his last stand, was ambushed by overwhelming forces. Rafael Benitez might perceive a similar scenario when he barrels to the dugout at Anfield today for what is likely to be his last stand at a stadium where he has given wing to so many dreams.” (TimesOnline)


League Championship, 2009-10 season. The 2 promoted clubs and the 4 Play-Off clubs

May 4, 2010

“On the right of the map are the 2 clubs automatically promoted to the Premier League for the 2010-11 season…Newcastle United, and West Bromwich Albion, both of whom bounce straight back to the top flight. Shown in each club’s profile box are major domestic titles and League history; 2009-10 average attendance; 2009-10 kits; and 4 photos of the club’s ground. Ditto for the 4 Play-Off clubs (on the left of the map). The four play-off clubs will vie for the third promotion spot…with two legged match-ups of Nottingham Forest versus Blackpool; and Cardiff City versus Leicester City.” (billsportsmaps)