My Favourite Footballer…Dennis Bergkamp (II)

“I guess it must be Dennis Bergkamp. He may have never won any of football’s major prizes – there were three UEFA Cups, but no Champions League, no European Championship, no World Cup – but who cares? Playing football should never be just about winning trophies, Johan Cruyff’s ‘best to be remembered by the style’ approach was one to be admitted, and Bergkamp was all about style – poise, control, use of space, thought and action.” (The Equaliser), (The Equaliser)


Panathinaikos 0-2 Copenhagen: Gilberto v N’Doye battle decides the outcome

“Dame N’Doye scored the first, created the second, and Gilberto Silva received two yellow cards for fouling him twice. Nikos Nioplias selected his usual 4-2-3-1 formation. Gilberto Silva dropped into a centre-back position alongside Josu Sarriegi, leaving Kostas Katsouranis playing just ahead of Simao in the centre of midfield. Luis Garcia started in a central playmaker position.” (Zonal Marking)

Itchy-trigger-finger season

“Another week, another club left without a manager. The weekend was an uneventful one in Argentina, with few goals and a surfeit of draws to balance out the excitement of the previous round. All the same, there was a change of managers in midweek, as Wednesday brought the completion of the fourth round of matches (yes, the weekend just gone was round eight, you’ve not missed anything) when Estudiantes and Gimnasia La Plata met in the clásico (derby) of the city that’s the capital of Buenos Aires Province.” (In Bed with Maradona)

Why CONCACAF is killing the best rivalry in North America (cont.)

“Here’s how it would work: The six lowest-ranked teams in the region would have a home-and-home playoff to trim the field to 32. Then eight groups of four teams would play a six-game quarterfinal stage, with the top two in each group advancing. Then four groups of four would play a six-game semifinal stage, with the top two again advancing. Then two groups of four would play a six-game final stage. The two teams that win those groups would earn bids to World Cup ’14. If CONCACAF successfully lobbies FIFA for four spots in Brazil (instead of the previous 3.5), then the two second-place teams would also receive World Cup bids.” (SI)

Schalke 2-0 Benfica: two diamonds, little sparkle

“Schalke eventually found a way past Benfica, in a game between two sides lacking confidence. Schalke played a 4-3-1-2 / 4-4-2 diamond system, with Raul dropping off Klaas-Jan Huntelaar. Jefferson Farfan was the midfielder with most inclination to get out wide.” (Zonal Marking)

FC Utrecht 0 – 0 Liverpool

“Liverpool escaped with a goalless draw in their Europa League Group K clash in Utrecht after another disjointed and disappointing performance. A point in the Stadion Galgenwaard, where the hosts had won their previous six matches, was no disgrace but it was hardly one of those classic, gritty away performances in Europe.” (ESPN)

FC Utrecht 0-0 Liverpool – Video Highlights, Recap, and Match Stats – Europa League
(The 90th Minute)

La semaine en France: Week 7

“Ask any football fan how they’d prefer to beat their fiercest rivals, and they might not say a 5-0 thrashing or a thrilling 4-3 victory with a dramatic winner deep into injury time. For some, there is nothing sweeter than beating your worst enemies in unjust and controversial circumstances after a match in which you’ve been completely played off the park from start to finish. Fans of Saint-Etienne have been celebrating just such a victory this week.” (Football Further)