Daily Archives: August 13, 2010

Expect another close EPL-title race

Antoine Caron, The Triumph of Mars
“With the Premier League season kicking off Saturday, here’s what the next nine months might have in store …” (SI)

Premiership season predictions
“With a week to go before the season begins, here is my read on how the 20 Premier League clubs will finish, with the caveat that rosters could still change because we’re in the midst of the transfer window.” (SI)

Fergie squanders Ozil money on Oliver Twist
“The new season is nearly upon us and Off The Ball will be scratching around the underbelly of professional football for some bizarre and often inexplicable revelations every step of the way. This week, we have Manchester United spending £7.4 million on some bloke from the Portuguese third division, Steven Gerrard claiming Joe Cole is better than Lionel Messi, Patrice Evra’s attack on Lillian Thuram and a referee running for his life.” (ESPN)

Pretenders eager to kick-off after poor pre-seasons
“It was a stroll in the sunshine, a chance to introduce new players to an appreciative audience. That, historically, was the role of the pre-season friendly. Now its definition has changed. It can become part of a global PR campaign, winning new friends and cementing distant allegiances. For the biggest clubs, it can be a lucrative interlude before the official start of business.” (ESPN)


Will a defensive-minded World Cup mean a defensive-minded Premier League season?

“ZM was planning to publish an extended article about how the defensiveness of the World Cup could result in a more defensive Premiership season. However, Jonathan Wilson got there first and covered everything. The last time we had this was 2004, the year of the underdog – Jose Mourinho’s Porto won the Champions League and Otto Rehhagel’s Greece won the European Championships by playing defensive-minded football. The start of the next Premier League season was the most negative in the short history of the division, with Mourinho summing it up with his legendary ‘park the bus’ comment following a goalless draw against Tottenham.” (Zonal Marking)

Camus: Football’s Great Intellectual

Albert Camus
“Here at The Equaliser we like to think, perhaps a trifle pretentiously, that football and philosophy are more closely related than some would have us believe. That in mind, Albert Camus is something of a hero to this humble blog, the French-Algerian goalkeeping philosopher having merged two of the world’s greatest muses, sport and existential thought.” (The Equalliser)

Football’s Greatest Managers: #15 Giovanni Trapattoni

“Giovanni Trapattoni, now 71, is one of the grand old men of European football and a manager who has won numerous titles across the continent; in Italy, Germany, Portugal and Austria. In fact, he is one of only two coaches to have won a league title in four different countries, the other being the great Austrian manager Ernst Happel. He may have opted to take on several lower-profile jobs in recent years, but Trapattoni more than deserves to be recognised as one of the most astute and relentlessly successful coaches of his generation.” (The Equaliser)

SPL season 2010-11 preview

“Twelve months ago Celtic had a new manager who had gone on a summer spending spree. Across the city, Walter Smith hadn’t been able to supplement his Rangers squad at all due to financial restrictions. Funny how the more things change, the more they stay the same.” (Guardian)

Who will top the scoring charts in the SPL?
“Wanted: a new hired gun to be crowned the leading goalscorer in the Scottish Premier League. Since sharp-shooters Kris Boyd and Scott McDonald left to join Middlesbrough, a goal-scoring vacuum is waiting to be filled. Boyd, as the statistics show, was a goal machine during his time at Rangers as he terrorised opposition defences. He topped the goal-scoring charts in four of the five seasons he was at Ibrox, with former Celtic striker McDonald taking his crown in the 2007/08 season.” (BBC)

Football Weekly Extra: Premier League season preview

“Football Weekly returns with a director’s-cut length Premier League preview show with host James Richardson and an old-school line-up of John Ashdown, Barry Glendenning and Sean Ingle. First up we discuss the contenders for the title: Will Man City be hampered by having too many holding midfielders? Will Man Utd’s ageing squad be a problem? Are Chelsea on the way down? Who comes out best in the Cole/Benayoun swap? What the hell is going on at Aston Villa? And has Barry really bet Sean £20 that Liverpool won’t finish in the top six?” (Guardian – James Richardson)

Bob Bradley: The Safe, Responsible Choice For US Soccer

Bob Bradley
“At a crossroads, the United States Men’s National Team’s decision about its next coach seems to break down to simple mathematics. Don’t worry or stop reading now, I’m not about to break into a lecture on derivatives or differential geometry. I might however, use a rudimentary game theory model. In fact, I will. You have three Figures involved in the search, or technically, a figure Y, a figure X, and an unknown variable that at least has a relatively stable, speculative identity based on the Federation’s past. In other words, we don’t know who Figure Z is, but we can make a predictive assessment about the pool where Figure Z will be drawn from, if chosen. Let’s try this out, shall we?” (Yanks are coming)

The Premier League Previews 2010/11, Part 17: West Bromwich Albion – Haven’t We Been Here

“It feels like we’ve been here before. West Bromwich Albion are promoted back to the Premier League, and have played some beautiful football to get here. Having spent eight seasons in what is now called the Championship, West Bromwich Albion have become a bit of a yo-yo club, so to speak, having not spent more than two seasons in the same flight since. And while they can only continue that trend this season, they must certainly look to this season to lay the foundations to break the spell next season.” (twohundredpercent)

Braga hope to go one better in the Portuguese league

“The Portuguese football season kicks off tonight, with Braga hosting newly promoted Portimonese. Braga almost won the title last year, only losing out on the final day of the season. There was a possibility that Braga’s players would be sold off in the summer, but the only significant sale was the Portuguese international goalkeeper Eduardo. They’ve since secured the services of the inspirational Uruguayan midfielder Luís Aguiar for another season and if they keep their current squad together they should prove that last season was no fluke.” (WSC)