Bologna 0-0 Inter: Benitez starts with bore draw

“A low-key game with few goalscoring opportunities – the result was celebrated by managerless Bologna like a win. The home side included new signings Andrea Esposito, Matteo Rubin, Gyorgy Garics and Albin Ekdal in a 4-1-4-1 system that saw Belgian midfielder Gaby Mudingayi sitting very deep in front of his defence, with Marco di Vaio isolated upfront. Rafael Benitez used the 4-2-3-1 formation that Inter played towards the end of last season, and the system Benitez favoured at Liverpool. Maicon was unavailable so Javier Zanetti started at right-back.” (Zonal Marking)

Aston Villa 1-0 Everton: Villa strike early, then hold on
“A bizarre game that Everton dominated from start to finish, and yet still managed to lose. Stephen Ireland suffered an injury in the warm up, so Nigel Reo-Coker replaced him in the centre of midfield. James Collins returned at the back, and Gabriel Agbonlahor wasn’t fit enough to start, so John Carew continued upfront.” (Zonal Marking)


Late August looks at Bundesliga and Serie A

“As per usual action in Germany’s top-flight commenced on the Friday, and for the second week in succession Bayern Munich got things under way. Unfortunately for Louis van Gaal, they didn’t quite gets things all their own way. Much to the delight of a rapturous home-crowd in Kaiserslautern, the 2009/10 2. Bundesliga champions defeated the illustrious treble-winners by a comfortable two-goal margin.” (Tactics, analysis, opinion, & scouting)

England manager Fabio Capello snubs Joe Cole for Euro 2012 qualifying matches

“The variety and skills offered by the new Liverpool player have been overlooked with the England manager instead selecting five wingers, including Shaun Wright-Phillips and Ashley Young. In another surprising move, Capello has picked Peter Crouch and Jermain Defoe, despite the Tottenham Hotspur pair being doubtful with injuries. Capello wants them to report to The Grove at 4pm today, when Crouch’s rib problem and Defoe’s hernia complaint will be assessed.” (Telegraph – Henry Winter)

My Favourite Footballer…Rivaldo

“So, why do I love Rivaldo? A player who I’ve hardly had the opportunity to see live, whose peak coincided with my milk teeth falling out, and whose reputation was tarnished by play-acting? Rivaldo’s own audacious brand of football is what endeared him to me. His fondness for the outrageous; stepovers, heel flicks, volleys, pannas, bicycle kicks, the list goes on – he tried, and executed, them all to perfection.” (The Equaliser)

The Arsenal Fanshare: Supporter Ownership or Pipe Dream?

“In a league of Abramoviches and Glazers, and mid-ranking clubs dreaming of oligarchs and oil barons to bail them out, Arsenal’s owners have always stood out as somewhat of a curiosity. Yes, they may have both a Russian tycoon in Alisher Usmanov and an American billionaire investor in Stan Kroenke, but the club has been run by the Hill-Wood family since 1929 and takes pride in their plurality of ownership. What’s more, unlike several of England’s bigger clubs, the relationship between the board and the fans has always been generally good.” (Pitch Invasion)

Signaling – and Sharing – your Sports Fandom

“Here are a few more reflections inspired by the discussion over at Overcoming Bias of nerds using game-playing to signal social messages to the world outside the game. (Robin Hanson’s original post was here, my first extrapolation to the situation of sports fans was here, and his brief comment on that is here.) This Sporting Life is largely about making sense of the connoisseur fan’s experience of sports. In what ways is appreciating a great sporting performance in the same league, so to speak, with other valued human experiences — especially of the arts?” (This Sporting Life)