Tactics: Pass master Van der Vaart central to Spurs’ redevelopment


“Having essentially admitted that the purchase of Rafael van der Vaart was a transfer deadline day whim, it has been interesting to see how Harry Redknapp has tried to accommodate the Dutchman in his team. Spurs’ success last season was built on a fairly classic 4-4-2 formation, with dashing wingers on either side and a big-man-little-man combination in attack. Redknapp conceded over the summer that the same system would likely prove too naïve and inflexible for the demands of the Champions League, so van der Vaart’s arrival can also be seen as a recognition of the need for greater subtlety and sophistication in Tottenham’s attacking approach.” (Football Further)

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Ajax 1-1 Milan: neither plays their best football

“An entertaining first half, a much less interesting second half, and a point apiece. Ajax maintained the 4-3-3 shape they used in the 2-2 draw with Twente, making one change – Demy de Zeeuw replaced the ineffectual Rasmus Lindgren, with Eyong Enoh dropping into a deeper midfield position.” (Zonal Marking)

Chelsea 2-0 Marseille: Chelsea win relatively comfortably without playing well


Cornelis van Poelenburgh, Landscape with Roman Ruins
“Chelsea are onto six points after a victory over Marseille that was in doubt for longer than it should have been.
Carlo Ancelotti made two changes from the side that lost to Manchester City at the weekend. Ramires, who had a poor game, was left out in favour of Yuri Zhirkov, whilst Gael Kakuta was in for Didier Drogba, who is serving his traditional start-of-season Champions League suspension.” (Zonal Marking)

How Would Paul Gascoignes Appointment Garforth Not Be A Publicity Stunt?

“Football management is an extraordinarily harsh business. Managers are judged in the harsh glare of the public eye, with debate over their shortcomings often being led by those that shout the loudest, regardless of whether those doing the shouting are right or not. Many people that we might have expected to be very effective managers have fallen at the first hurdle, and many of them have not been given a second chance. It feels extremely doubtful that the position of manager of a football club could be beneficial in any way for the wellbeing of an individual that has suffered from alcoholism or is understood to have mental health issues.” (twohundredpercent)