Why Ajax Are No Longer Dutch Masters

November 16, 2010

“For football fans of a certain age, the name Ajax resonates with history, bringing back memories of the early 70s when the famous club from Amsterdam won the European Cup three years in a row, displaying a brand of ‘total football’ that also inspired the Dutch national team in its dazzling run to two World Cup finals.” (Swiss Ramble)

Superclasico Time

November 16, 2010

“A midweek clash between two mid-table teams that brings a country to a standstill? Sam Kelly builds up to Rive Plate v Boca Juniors, the biggest match in the Argentine calender.” (In Bed With Maradona)

River Plate vs Boca Juniors: starting lineups
“The superclásico will be upon us in around four and a bit hours, at 7pm local time (10pm Greenwich Mean Time) with Argentina’s two biggest clubs doing battle in what has become a mediocre middle-of-the-table clash, but which will grab all the attention of the country’s football-watching public anyway. The latest indications are that each team’s most important player will play, after a late injury scare for one of them during the week: Juan Román Riquelme has shaken off a knock in training to feature for Boca, and Matías Almeyda returns after a spell out injured for River. Former Boca defender Jonatan Maidana is also in the River lineup, whilst Jesús Méndez, the midfielder who started out at River, is playing for Boca. Both XIs are right here…” (Hasta El Gol Siempre)

Roman returns as the gladiators prepare to do battle
“After the will-he, won’t-he saga surrounding his contract negotiations, after the repeated demonstrations, in nearly every match, of how much his team are missing him, and after a long injury layoff, Juan Roman Riquelme returned for Boca Juniors on Saturday. Perhaps fittingly, he did so against his first club, Argentinos Juniors – who also happen to be the club that current Boca manager Claudio Borghi took to the title back in May.” (ESPN)

Depression and Dreading: Life as a Red.

November 16, 2010

“It’s never a good time of year in England, is it? British Summer Time is at an end and with it goes daylight beyond 5pm at night. Seasonal Adjustment Disorder (SAD, aka Seasonal Affective Disorder) is very real: sunlight makes us feel more optimistic. Right now I – like a lot of others – am suffering with HAD: Hodgson Adjustment Disorder. We’re not adjusting at all well to him and his methods, and he’s not adjusting at all well to Liverpool and its demands and expectations.” (Tomkins Times)

Love Thy Neighbour

November 16, 2010

Pietà – Domenico Zampieri
“Ask someone to name a Portuguese derby, and they’ll inevitably cite the age-old rivalry between Benfica and Sporting, which has divided the city of Lisbon since 1907. They might also reference O Clásscio, the meeting between Benfica and FC Porto which, as was discussed last week, has become the pre-eminent derby in Portuguese football. Yet despite the stranglehold that these two encounters hold on the footballing calendar, there are others. Plenty of them, in fact. Admittedly none are as well-attended and widely-covered in the media as those involving the três grandes, but for fans of those involved, they are as important an occasion as when the likes of Benfica come to town.” (In Bed With Maradona)

Ten steps: how Sunderland beat Chelsea

November 16, 2010

“For the second weekend in a row, a north-east side went to London and picked up a shock win. Like Newcastle in their 1-0 victory over Arsenal last weekend, Sunderland recorded a win over Chelsea by playing with two nominal strikers. Unlike Newcastle, they pressed high up the pitch, attacked in numbers in open play, and took the game to the opposition.” (Zonal Marking)

For the love of the Danes

November 16, 2010

“For the past couple of years I have had the pleasure of working during the week in Scandinavia. Whilst this means spending a few nights away from my girls, it does mean I get to experience a different culture. I live in Copenhagen, consistently voted as one of the best cities in the world to live in. You can see why – lots of green space, a focus on the family and all those things that go with a socialist society. Virtually every Dane I have ever met shares the same three pleasures – beer, sausages and football.” (The Ball Is Round)