Spain: The Next Generation

November 22, 2010


“Since 2008, Spain, first under Luis Aragonés and then Vicente Del Bosque, have thrilled the world with their wonderfully aesthetic ‘Tiki Taka’ style of football. Reaping the benefits of a remarkably gifted generation, the likes of Xavi Hernández, Andrés Iniesta, Iker Casillas, Carles Puyol and David Villa have driven La Furia Roja to both the European and World titles.” (Equaliser Football)


Bruno, the boo boys and Brazil

November 22, 2010

“A tragic, real-life soap opera unravelling in Brazilian football over recent months has been the story of Bruno, goalkeeper of Rio giants Flamengo, who is in prison accused of ordering the brutal murder of an ex-lover. Flamengo fans have found a way to extract some black humour from such horrific developments. Last year, Bruno captained the team to the Brazilian title. This season, they have struggled. And as they have slipped dangerously close to the relegation zone, the confidence of Bruno’s replacement, Marcelo Lomba, has seemed to suffer.” (BBC – Tim Vickery)


The Argentine Renaissance

November 22, 2010

“To decide the national team roster for the Argentine national side is to paint a picture. The pigments are poignant, the easel world class, and the brush made of the finest hairs from a dark Arabian stallion. Yet, despite these brilliant starting points, an unskilled hand can still botch the promising masterpiece. Surround a wizard like Riquelme with bodyguards such as Cambiasso and Mascherano, and the setting trumps the figures. Field three genius-in-a-bottle strikers like Tevez, Higuaín, and Messi, and the characters fail to connect on canvas.” (Run of Play)


Poland And The War

November 22, 2010


Leonidas
“The game is too far back to stand out in the memory of many football fans, but the 1938 World Cup clash between Poland and Brazil was a classic. What went before and after for Poland puts football in a little more context. Here’s Juliet Jacques.” (In Bed With Maradona)


Boca win, River draw

November 22, 2010

“Boca Juniors recorded a much-needed win in their first match since Juan Román Riquelme’s latest injury, beating Arsenal de Sarandí 2-1 in La Bombonera thanks to goals from Martín Palermo and Sergio Araujo. Elsewhere on Sunday River Plate and San Lorenzo drew 0-0 in a dreadful match, Racing and Quilmes drew 1-1, and Gimnasia La Plata and Vélez also shared points to ensure Estudiantes will finish this round – which continues on Monday – at the top of the table. All the highlights are right here, and Martín Palermo’s goal, by the way, might just be the most Martín Palermo goal ever scored.” (Hasta El Gol Siempre)


Mastering the holding midfielder position

November 22, 2010


“Manchester City’s decision to start the recent derby game with a midfield of Gareth Barry, Nigel de Jong and Yaya Touré was an extreme example of how much the ‘holding midfielder’ has become a part of the football scene. More than half of the teams in the World Cup used formations with two holding players, and it is just as common to see the same pattern in Leagues One and Two. Not bad for a position that Leeds United legend Johnny Giles describes as ‘a myth’.” (WSC)


Fulham 1-4 Manchester City: Mancini gets the better of Hughes as City run riot

November 22, 2010

“City’s superb first half display effectively won the game before half-time. Mark Hughes chose a 4-4-1-1 / 4-4-2 formation, with Clint Dempsey just behind Andy Johnson. Carlos Salcido returned so Damien Duff moved back into midfield, whilst Chris Baird replaced Stephen Kelly at right-back.” (Zonal Marking)


Premier League chalkboard analysis

November 22, 2010

“Last week, we looked at how Birmingham’s pressing of Manchester City’s centre-backs at goal-kicks forced Joe Hart to kick the ball long, losing possession on every occasion. Against Fulham, the situation was changed with the introduction of Jô. He offered more of an aerial presence in the City attack, despite being positioned on the left wing. The majority of Hart’s kicks were sent towards the left-hand side, where six of the long balls were won by the Brazilian striker. This chalkboard compares Hart’s distribution in the Birmingham game to the Fulham game, showing how the presence of Jô helps City win possession high up the pitch.” (Guardian)