Defence and justice

“‘It’s like we’re girls, in England it happens all the time.’ So said Estudiantes captain Juan Sebastián Verón last week, after a photo of River Plate winger Erik Lamela’s bloodied and bruised knee circulated in the media. ‘Verón’s right, you can’t come out showing what they did to you,’ said Godoy Cruz playmaker David Ramírez. ‘For me he’s a poof. I get hit hard, but I also tackle hard, because that’s football’, ‘Mincing about and showing his leg isn’t a manly thing to do,’ opined Argentinos Juniors midfielder, Néstor Ortigoza.” (The Football Ramble)


Wonderful Old Soccer Postcards

“I haven’t read, or even seen, Hunter Davies’s Postcards from the Edge of Football, but I love looking at old football postcards. I like the thought that underneath all the large public channels of media and culture, the world is being crisscrossed with these incidental private images of the game, carrying greetings, questions, and experiences from one person to another.” (Run of Play)

My Promise To Roy

“There was pressing. There was a higher defensive line. There was no Poulsen to slow the game down. Meireles was not marooned on the wing. The game was taken to the opposition. There was passing and movement, playing to the strengths of the players. It was what so many of us have been calling for. Play like that in six of the next eight games, and Roy Hodgson might find the criticism from fans (myself included) dissipating. So that’s my promise: more of this, on a consistent basis, and all can still be forgiven.” (Tomkins Times)

20 Years of New Stadia

“It’s now over twenty years since the publishing of Simon Inglis’s seminal The Football Grounds of Great Britain, a book that predated Hillsborough and the first of the breed of stadia, Scunthorpe United’s Glanford Park. So, I thought it would be informative to analyze some of the successes of the subsequent period: an era that has seen great change impinge upon the game. Debate as to what the turning point was – the aforementioned disaster, the setting up of the Premier League, Italia 90, MDMA, all seaters, Fever Pitch and even Michael Thomas’s 1989 winner at Anfield for chrissakes – all have their apologists and the changes have often not been for the better but, as far as stadia is concerned, and away from Goodison or Fratton Park, our forefathers wouldn’t recognise the match going experience as we would. Which clubs have gotten it largely right?” (thetwounfortunates)

Premier League title far from a formality for early leader Chelsea

“Under normal circumstances in the Premier League, you’d look at a side that was five points clear with a quarter of the season played and assume it was strolling toward the title. These, though, are not normal circumstances. Chelsea has been the best team, scoring four more goals than anybody else and conceding five fewer. Beyond statistics, it feels as though Chelsea has been playing the best football.” (SI – Jonathan Wilson)

FC Uniteds FA Cup Dilemma

“When the dust settled after a weekend of FA Cup Fourth Qualifying Round matches that were watched by over 40,000 people, one tie from the First Round draw stood out from the rest: Rochdale vs FC United of Manchester. It could hardly more apposite that FCUM earned their first appearance in the competition proper of the FA Cup in this of all months. The name of Manchester United has been dragged through the mud by the Wayne Rooney transfer debacle – an event that may have woken many up to the colossal lack of soul at the heart of Premier League football. The protest, meanwhile, goes on at Gigg Lane but such success brings new debates to be had for a club that is a protest against much of what is wrong with modern football.” (twohundredpercent)

Leverkusen 0-1: Mainz: Mainz go clear at the top thanks to Tuchel’s substitutions

“Another impressive tactical decision from Thomas Tuchel, and another victory for Mainz. Jupp Heynckes has played a variety of formations so far this season – here, he went for a 4-5-1 / 4-3-3. Stefan Reinartz played at the back in Sami Hyypia’s absence, whilst Sidney Sam was on the right wing, outside Lars Bender.” (Zonal Marking)

Fenerbahce 0-0 Galatasaray: not enough support for the lone strikers
“Galatasaray ended their incredible ten-year losing streak at the Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium with a goalless draw. Fenerbahce played a fairly standard 4-2-3-1 systemwith few surprises. The powerful Mamadou Niang was the lone striker, with support from the Brazilian playmaker Alex. Miroslav Stoch started on the left and Issiar Dia on the right, but they switched flanks throughout.” (Zonal Marking)

Clearing Up A few Loose Ends: Celtic, Portsmouth and (Briefly) Wednesday

“It’s the football scandal of a generation. And it won’t go away. Colleen Rooney, photographed blatantly sipping a cool drink by a holiday swimming pool… while there’s a recession on!! I mean not one single British passport holder anywhere else in the world has done that in the last week. As to whether that shite really does sell newspapers, that’s a debate for someone else to start. I don’t know enough to offer an informed opinion, so I won’t offer any opinion. Something for Mail columnist Martin Samuel to ponder next time he writes about Uefa’s ‘financial fair play’ regulations.” (twohundredpercent)