What does a central midfielder do in 2010?

July 30, 2010

“It’s this year’s must-have for any side looking to finish near the top of the Premier League: a player who prompts the question, ‘What does he do?’ This man is a central midfielder. He’s not a tackler, nor is he a creator. He doesn’t score many goals – in fact, he rarely looks to get into the box. So what does he do? It’s a question asked by Arsenal fans about Denilson. It’s a question by Manchester United fans, about Michael Carrick. And it’s not just the fans who ask. Britain’s most famous football pundit, Alan Hansen, has the same question about Jon Obi Mikel, who started the majority of games at the heart of Chelsea’s midfield as they won the Premier League lastseason. ‘What does John Obi Mikel do?’, asks Hansen. So there we have it. The best three teams in one of the world’s best leagues all field a player in the centre of their team who apparently has no specific purpose.” (Zonal Marking)

The Ball Day 49 – Mali, The world’s largest Mud Mosque

July 30, 2010

“Yes you read it right, The Ball visits a beautiful mud mosque in Djenne, Mali, one of the largest of its kind in the world. You can find out more about this amazing building right here. Music in this EP is from Ghanaian Quabena Philip with ‘Wadaada Me,’ find the track from Akwaaba Music right here on Fairtizler. Also in this EP the second track you hear is from a favorite artist of us here, Iba Diabate with ‘N’nah.’ Find his latest album and the track featured right here at Bandcamp.” (The Ball 2010)

The Monday Miscellany

July 30, 2010

“So. England have won the World Cup. (In case you haven’t got it yet, I’m asking you to imagine a hypothetical scenario. Try harder.) Wayne Rooney, Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, Ashley Cole and Aaron Lennon have all fulfilled their potential and England have pulled off the greatest feat in the nation’s sporting history. Gerrard, looking slightly less miserable than usual, lifts the trophy aloft in Soccer City. But is it a good thing?” (Footballing World)

Defending the Defensive Midfielder

July 30, 2010

“During the excellent world cup coverage on my home channel RTÉ, two ex-footballers decried the rise in the defensive midfielder. Johnny Giles and Liam Brady are two certified legends of Irish football both won multiple trophies at club level and Brady is currently the director of Arsenal’s famed youth system. Both were also midfielders who played at an elite level for most of their careers and have commented on football and have provided genuine insight into the game.” (EPL Talk)

Euro results underline need for change in Scotland

July 30, 2010

“It’s never too early to panic say some sceptics and in the case of our European results this week they may have a point. With Celtic and Hibs both hammered, and only Motherwell managing a creditable draw, all against teams coming from small countries, the alarm bells must finally ring the complacency out of our game’s rulers. These results come in the week that new SFA chief executive Stewart Regan correctly told Scots to forget past glories and look to the future.” (BBC)

Football transfer rumours: Bentley, Jenas and Keane to Villa in exchange for Ashley Young?

July 30, 2010

“Having made front-page news earlier this week for offering to find a nice sanctuary for para-sailing Russian donkey Anapka, Harry Redknapp is showing no such compassion to David Bentley, Jermaine Jenas and Robbie Keane, who he appears ready to ship out to Aston Villa in exchange for Ashley Young.” (Guardian)

To Asia, Taking La Liga Beyond Real Madrid and Barcelona

July 29, 2010

Philips Wouwerman, Battle scene, ca. 1655-60
“In July last year, Real Madrid president Florentino Perez made a major push to get at least one La Liga game a week played earlier in the day to attract Asian audiences and support: ‘The change is vital if the Spanish league is to compete with the English,’ he said. ‘The revenue figures for our clubs this year will be around the €1.55bn mark, in England the figure is closer to €2.4bn. It is not just the TV deals themselves but the potential repercussions that being shown prime time in Japan can have on marketing revenues.’ A year on, and it looks like this change to La Liga kick-off times will actually happen, following an offseason that has revealed just how parlous Spanish finances are, Barcelona’s debt and Mallorca’s financial troubles only the most obvious examples.” (Pitch Invasion)