An example of why three-man defences struggle against three-man attacks

“ZM rarely covers anything other than top-flight football, but with 2010/11’s Premier League action not starting until next weekend, here’s an opportunity to focus on a lower league game. The match? Exeter City v Colchester United, and it provided with a brilliant example of how three-man defences struggle when up against the 4-3-3 system. This has been covered at length before on ZM, but a case study on the subject is overdue.” (Zonal Minute)


Chivas make Libertadores final against the odds

“Mexico’s Chivas Guadalajara have endured a journey over time and space to reach the final of the Copa Libertadores. First, because they are outsiders in South America’s equivalent of the Champions League. Mexico is in North America. The distance between Mexico City and Buenos Aires, for example, is further than that between London and Mumbai. Guadalajara and Porto Alegre, home city of final opponents Internacional of Brazil, are even further apart.” (BBC – Tim Vickery)

The Premier League 2010/11 Previews Part 11: Manchester City – Great Expectations

“‘Where now for Manchester City?’ has probably been the hottest Premier League question of the summer. Such has been their level of spending that the Champions League was regarded by some as the minimum target for last season, and Mark Hughes paid the price for this increase in expectation with his job. Whether the improved that much under new coach Roberto Mancini is open to question, and City were beaten to the fourth Champions League place by Tottenham Hotspur with a game to go of the season. City’s reaction has been, perhaps unsurprisingly, to go out and spend more money, though perhaps not as much as some had expected. This season, qualification for the Champions League is the minimum expectation for Manchester City, and that’s a phrase that not many people would have considered likely as recently as three or four years ago.” (twohundredpercent)

The Case for the US 4-3-3

Jozy Altidore
“As I promised at the end of that roster discussion, I am writing now to discuss US tactical strategy going forward into the 2014 World Cup cycle. In the last 4 years, outside of one disastrous night at the Saprissa, we’ve seen two lineup formations employed by Bob Bradley’s men – the traditional 4-4-2 and the traditional 4-5-1. In fact, what may shock some USMNT supporters who are less familiar with Bob’s lineup choices until recently, we didn’t settle into the 4-4-2 formation until the 2009 Confed. Cup where two things happened: 1.) Charlie Davies emerged as a viable option at striker. 2.) We used the 4-4-2 to beat Spain.” (Yanks are coming)

2010-11 English Premier League Preview, Part I: EPL Talk Podcast

“In the first of four parts, the EPL Talk team returns from their post-World Cup hiatus just in time for the 2010-11 English Premier League Season. Richard Farley, Laurence McKenna and Kartik Krishnaiyer, in the first quarter-hour of a recording from Sunday night, talk about some of the summer’s overriding issues – the sale of Liverpool, 25/7 – as well as the direction the show will take in the next week and over the next season.” (EPL Talk)

Prepared Blanc wastes little time undertaking French challenge

“Why take on a challenge in which you can’t do any better when you can go somewhere you can’t do any worse? That would seem the gist of the rationale behind Laurent Blanc’s reported decision to turn down the coaching job at European champions and Italian double-winners Internazionale and instead take over the France side after the most embarrassing World Cup campaign in its history.” (SI)