The Island of Arsenal

April 14, 2011

“It’s impossible to talk about Arsenal without talking about the je ne sais quoi of Arsenal, its ineffable Arsenal-ness, that special mélange of esprit and souffrance that sets Arsenal willfully and gloriously and somewhat ludicrously apart from every other soccer team in England. Arsenal plays the most stylish soccer, an intricate passing game of overlapping runs and constant movement. Arsenal suffers the most agonizing collapses: five years and counting without a trophy.” Slate – Brian Phillips


1960s Month: Kansas City Spurs, Glory and Oblivion

April 14, 2011

“The year was 1969. Only one year earlier, professional soccer had finally arrived in Kansas City, under dubious circumstances. The National Professional Soccer League had merged with the North American Soccer League, forcing the then Chicago Spurs into a bind – they could either dissolve to make way for the newly minted Chicago Mustangs, or move. And move they did.” The Equaliser


The Greatest Footballer in the World

April 13, 2011


“The reason I can attach a title as vitriol-inspiring and inaccurate as the one above is because no such person can exist, by any standard. Pele? Zidane? Maradona? Cruyff? What about Clint Dempsey (kidding…sort of)? The debate rages, without any hope of ever coming to a consensus. So instead of casting my lot with the rest of despairing humanity, I’m sloughing off the bounds of biology and physics and building my own footballer, Mary Shelley style. Selecting eleven factors that I believe to be the most important when building a great player, I set to work in a virtual Gothic mansion, shrouded in storm clouds and ringing with echoes of my own maniacal laughter.” The Other 87


Guardiola uses Mascherano at centre-back in 1-0 win over Shakhtar

April 13, 2011

“There were no major surprises in Barcelona’s 1-0 win over Shakhtar on Tuesday night. 5-1 up from the first leg, they were fairly comfortable in Ukraine, keeping possession for long periods and winning the game with a Lionel Messi goal shortly before half time. That is, until you consider Barcelona’s line-up, where Javier Mascherano started as a right-sided centre-back, alongside Gerard Pique.” Zonal Marking

Shakhtar Donetsk 0-1 FC Barcelona – Video Highlights, Recap, and Match Stats
The 90th Minute

Manchester United 2-1 Chelsea: Ancelotti changes formation but still loses the tie
“Goals from Javier Hernandez and Park Ji-Sung saw United progress to the semi-finals. Sir Alex Ferguson made two changes from his first leg line-up. Nani replaced Antonio Valencia – he played on the left, with Park Ji-Sung on the right. Rafael was not fit enough to play, so John O’Shea came in at right-back. Carlo Ancelotti chose Florent Malouda, Nicolas Anelka and Alex ahead of Yuri Zhirkov, Didier Drogba and Jose Bosingwa.” Zonal Marking

Manchester United 2-1 Chelsea – Video Highlights, Recap, and Match Stats
The 90th Minute


Goalkeepers: undervalued, underpaid and priceless

April 13, 2011

“If, as they say goalkeepers are mad, then they ought to have really started a union by now. They are an essential anatomy of a team along with the striker says José Mourinho in ‘Can England win the next World Cup?’ but they are not nearly as valued much. In the Premier League, Craig Gordon stands as the most expensive goalkeeper at £9million when he moved from Hearts to Sunderland but he is not even close to getting into the list of the all-time most expensive transfers in England and still some way short of the £15million paid by Newcastle for Alan Shearer – some fourteen years ago now.” Arsenal Mania


Football Weekly: Stan Kroenke gunning for full control at Arsenal

April 13, 2011

“It’s Arsenal who dominate the agenda with their activities both on the field and off it. While Jens Lehmann made his return to see the Gunners through to victory against Blackpool, we wonder what the ownership of Stan Kroenke means for the club (apart from replica moustaches for fans). Next, it’s the second legs of the Champions League quarter-finals. Spurs look to have an impossible task overturning their 4-0 drubbing in Madrid, but there’s still everything to play for between Chelsea and Manchester United, while can defending champions Inter come back from their 5-2 deficit in Germany?” Guardian – James Richardson


The Famous Past of Farrar Road

April 13, 2011

“Bangor City and Napoli are both currently challenging for the championship in their contrasting domestic competitions of the Welsh Premier League and Serie A respectively. While the two clubs appear to have little else in common other than their tradition of playing in blue, their one and only meeting on Welsh soil 49-years-ago has been brought back into the spotlight this week as the ground that hosted that famous Bangor City win is now set to be replaced by a leading supermarket.” In Bed With Maradona


City in ruins as Reds run riot

April 12, 2011


“Strikers have a natural tendency to command the attention, but sometimes it is exacerbated. The stark contrast of a rich plot meant that, ignoring the other 20 players, an emphatic win of the old order over the new could be distilled into images of a delighted Andy Carroll and a disconsolate Carlos Tevez.” ESPN

Dalglish revels in strike partnership
“Kenny Dalglish was in buoyant mood after seeing Luis Suarez and Andrew Carroll link-up brilliantly in Monday night’s 3-0 demolition of Manchester City at Anfield. Carroll scored his first goals for Liverpool following his £35 million move from Newcastle United in January, and for the first time there were signs that his partnership with Suarez could be something for the fans to get excited about.” ESPN

Liverpool 3-0 Manchester City: Liverpool find space between the lines
“This game was over by half time as Liverpool scored three goals in the opening period.
Kenny Dalglish gave a start to young John Flanagan at right-back, and played Fabio Aurelio at left-back. The front six was as expected, in a 4-4-1-1. Roberto Mancini rested a couple of players ahead of next week’s FA Cup semi-final, giving a start to Edin Dzeko upfront, with Carlos Tevez in behind. James Milner started on the left. The first half was about constant Liverpool pressure. Both sides tried to press in the first few minutes, but Liverpool settled much quicker and passed the ball better, and had wave after wave of attack.” Zonal Marking


Thirteen Months of Obstinacy

April 12, 2011

“For five years, the number of consecutive unbeaten La Liga games (managed by a Cruyff-inspired Barcelona side en route to the Spanish title in 1974) stood at a quite remarkable twenty-six. The current Barcelona side recently sailed past this total and now has a loftier target in sight; the sole notable domestic landmark neither of Spain’s big two can lay claim to and one that remains the preserve of a little corner of the Basque country. Real Sociedad from San Sebastián may be a modest club historically, but between April 1979 and May 1980 and spanning a remarkable thirty-eight League games, they were impossible to beat.” In Bed With Maradona


An Economic Geography of Football

April 12, 2011

“Heading to Ryton for last Saturday’s Northern League Day, I was once again treated to one of the classic vistas of UK travel. The sweeping arc of the train as it approaches Newcastle upon Tyne is a dramatic one – the Tyne far below, Victorian palaces on the opposite shore, the Millennium Bridge and Baltic Arts Centre gleaming in the sunshine and St. James’ Park visible on the horizon. It seems a confident city these days; its smart central business district thronged with consumers, a quintessential regional centre.” the two unfortunates


When Aston Villa Conquered Europe

April 12, 2011

“As Chelsea and Manchester United prepare to battle for a Champions League semi-final spot, Ross Mackiewicz recalls one of the most memorable European Cup runs of them all.” In Bed With Maradona


Udinese 1-2 Roma: quiet first half followed by exciting second, and frantic finish

April 11, 2011


“Francesco Totti was the hero again, scoring a chipped penalty and a 94th minute winner. Gokhan Inler was suspended for Udinese, so fellow Swiss international Almen Abdi took his place. Alexis Sanchez was initially named in the starting XI, but a late injury meant he dropped out of the side, with German Denis coming in. Vincenzo Montella was without Philippe Mexes, Jeremy Menez and Julio Sergio. Aleandro Rosi started on the right, with Matteo Brighi ahead of David Pizarro and Daniele De Rossi in the midfield trio.” Zonal Marking

Valencia 5-0 Villarreal: spare man at the back, and direct football going forward
“Third-placed Valencia demolished fourth-placed Villarreal at the Mestalla. Unai Emery brought Ever Banega back into the side in the centre of midfield, and also recalled Portuguese defenders Miguel and Ricardo Costa at the back. Juan Carlos Garrido was forced to change things at the back, after the news that centre-back Gonzalo Rodriguez is out for the rest of the season with a broken leg. He gave a rare start to Kiko, resisting the temptation to move Carlos Marchena from his ‘new’ central midfield position.” Zonal Marking

Hamburg 1-1 Dortmund: late equaliser snatches a point for the leaders
“Jakub Blaszczykowski scored a thunderous volley in stoppage time, so Dortmund’s lead now stands at five points. Michael Oenning brought back Ruud van Nistelrooy and David Jarolim into his starting XI, playing a 4-1-3-2 formation. Jurgen Klopp played his expected XI – unchanged from the previous weekend’s win over Hannover, and with the exception of long-term injury victim Shinji Kagawa, this was the standard starting line-up throughout the season. This was a decent game – the entertainment value game from the tension and the importance of Dortmund’s result, however, rather than any great technical quality or major tactical interest.” Zonal Marking


Will Piazon stand out at Stamford Bridge?

April 11, 2011

“Have Chelsea done a good deal acquiring Sao Paulo striker Lucas Piazon, who joins the club next year when he turns 18? Sao Paulo are certainly happy. The deal enables them to sell a player who has yet to appear in their first team, bring top-class centre forward Luis Fabiano back to the club – he scored 118 goals in 160 appearances for Sao Paulo between 2001 and 2004 – and still have some money left over.” BBC – Tim Vickery


Cesc Fábregas-inspired Arsenal punish Blackpool’s adventurism

April 11, 2011


“If this win is to re-ignite Arsenal’s title challenge – a title challenge which had threatened to actually descend into ‘considerable disappointment’ – then it is probably apt that it was a game which displayed Arsenal’s season in a microcosm that invigorated them. Arsenal were exuberant in attack for most parts, picking off Blackpool’s courageously high backline with ease but were profligate in attack; and that, coupled with a sudden inexplicable nervousness, contrived to throw open the game.” Arsenal Column


Scouting Report : FC Porto

April 11, 2011

“Twenty-five games played for twenty-three victories and two draws, a balance sheet better than Barcelona’s one, the Liga Sagres’ title already won even though there are five games left, a Europa League quarter-final to play and a manager who walks into Mourinho’s footprints… All these reasons make the tactical analysis of Porto’s tactics quite relevant, the Villas Boas’ one, who became the youngest manager to win the championship’s title on Sunday night. Moreover in Lisbon after a victory over Benfica. What else?” Panenka


1960s Month: The Nomad’s Curse

April 11, 2011

“It is high noon in Vienna, May of 1990. Benfica is scheduled to play the great Milan side of Baresi, Rijkaard, Gullit, van Basten and Sacchi the following day for the European Cup. A man kneels beside a gravestone and murmurs a few words with a light, weeping voice. He stands and leaves with a glance that combines both anguish and love. The name on the gravestone is that of Béla Guttmann. The weeping man goes by the name of Eusébio da Silva Ferreira.” The Equaliser


That Was Northern League Day

April 10, 2011


Seaham Red Star
“The sun shone on the Tyne Valley and roared on by their third-highest crowd of the season, Ryton Football Club won their first home game of the season – and their first three points in any competition since a 2-1 win at Sunderland RCA on Tuesday 10th August 2010. Northern League Day really began a few minutes after midday, when 106 fans at Whickham (including Northern League Chairman Mike Amos, George Caulkin of The Times and at least one football blogger, saw Washington’s Joseph Mence put through his own goal. By that stage, the Socrates Ryton football writers had come to the unanimous conclusion that Mordue Brewery’s Riverboat was far and away a better choice of brew than ice-cold Foster’s Lager. Well, the near unanimous conclusion…” northernleagueday


English Premier League (EPL) Match Of The Day (MOTD) Video Highlights

April 10, 2011

“Below are MOTD video highlights for all the EPL matches on April 9, 2011.” The 90th Minute


La semaine en France: Week 29

April 10, 2011

“And then there were two. A week after Paris Saint-Germain gave up the ghost in the Ligue 1 title race, Lyon and Rennes both followed suit in Week 29. Lyon led 2-0 going into injury time at Nice on Sunday, before capitulating completely in the space of just three minutes to leave their title ambitions in tatters. Pape Diakhaté was the villain of the piece.” Football Further


Barcelona 3 – 1 Almeria

April 10, 2011


“Lionel Messi scored twice as Barcelona survived a scare to come from behind and beat bottom club Almeria at the Camp Nou and preserve their eight-point lead over fierce rivals Real Madrid at the top of the Primera Division table. Barca had seen Madrid beat Athletic Bilbao 3-0 at San Mames earlier in the day but found it surprisingly difficult to break down an Almeria side playing their first game under new coach Roberto Olade.” ESPN

FC Barcelona 3-1 Almeria – Video Highlights, Recap, and Match Stats
The 90th Minute


Blackpool 1-3 Arsenal: Arsenal continually exploit Blackpool’s high defensive line

April 10, 2011

“Arsenal had some nervous moments, but attacked intelligently and were comfortable after their third goal. Ian Holloway kept his back four unchanged, but brought four players into the side, with only Charlie Adam and Gary Taylor-Fletcher surviving from the side which lost 3-0 to Fulham last weekend. DJ Campbell returned after suspension. Arsenal had Abou Diaby in for Alex Song, and also had a late change in goal, where Jens Lehmann returned after Manuel Almunia went down with an injury shortly before kick-off.” Zonal Marking


That’s Entertainment

April 10, 2011

“Fulham-Blackpool—the encounter I watched last Saturday with real attentiveness—is, in a weird sort of way, my kind of match. Not that I don’t enjoy the big clubs with their expensive workforces: especially when they play one another there’s an entertaining Clash of the Titans feel to the enterprise.” Run of Play


Eintracht Frankfurt 1-1 Werder Bremen

April 9, 2011


Antoine Jean Gros, The Battle Of Abukir
“Two sides still too far away from mid-table security played out an entertaining, chance-heavy and yellow card-ridden 1-1 draw. Although Werder Bremen perhaps deserved the win on the balance of play, the fact they were held to a draw is unsurprising given that the last clean sheet they kept in the league was on December 4, 2010 against Wolfsburg.” Defensive Midfielder


I Just Can’t Get Enough

April 9, 2011

“He’s been likened to a horse, had semi-serious cannibalism allegations thrown at him, and is theoretically barred from the world’s second largest continent. This could easily be the story of a villain in a bad ‘B’ movie, though instead, is the story of Luis Suarez; the Uruguayan striker spear-heading the new look Liverpool into a new era. A player who could possibly go on to define Liverpool for the next decade, similar to the way in which Steven Gerrard has spent the last decade doing so. That may sound a little optimistic, though after just a handful of appearances in a red shirt, the twenty-three year old has already had to modestly put to one side comparisons with another Liverpool number seven who needs no mention.” Some Team Up North


Benfica 4-1 PSV: overlapping full-backs crucial

April 9, 2011

“Benfica will take a commanding lead to Holland next week after a confident performance in Lisbon. Jorge Jesus was able to bring back Oscar Cardozo and Maxi Pereira after they missed the weekend defeat to Porto, whilst Jardel started at centre-back. Fred Rutten named an unchanged side from the XI that lost to Twente last Saturday (the teams came into this game off the back of similarly devastating results) in 4-2-3-1 system. The game was open and exciting throughout – five goals were a fair reflection of an attack-minded contest.” Zonal Marking


1960s Month: La Grande Inter

April 9, 2011

“When Inter Milan ended a 45-year wait to lift the European Cup at the Santiago Bernabéu in May 2010, their 2-0 victory over Bayern Munich was the culmination of a run which had been fundamentally based on organisation. José Mourinho, famed for his man-management and pragmatic tactics, had moulded a team in his own image: determined, ruthless and adaptable.” The Equaliser


Liverpool and LeBron

April 9, 2011

“So the world is now a place in which LeBron James can own a stake in Liverpool. On Twitter yesterday, the news was greeted first breathlessly and then, by People Who Know Things, with derision. Ives Galarcep pointed out that athletes buy small stakes in teams all the time. Jen Chang declared that this was no different than if David Beckham bought 0.1% of the L.A. Dodgers. (But wouldn’t it sort of be a story if David Beckham bought a share of an American baseball team?) Calm down, was the general cognoscenti idea. This isn’t real. It’s just a marketing stunt.” Run Of Play


Brazil has proven fertile shopping grounds for Eastern European clubs

April 7, 2011


“Giuliano is one of the brightest prospects produced by Brazilian football in recent years. A midfielder of talent, versatility and intelligence, he captained Brazil’s Under-20s with distinction in the 2009 World Youth Cup. Last year he was chosen as the star player in the Copa Libertadores — his goals, many of them after coming on as a substitute, helped Internacional of Pôrto Alegre claim South America’s premier club title. And a few months ago he made his debut for the senior Brazil team.” SI – Tim Vickery


Barcelona 5-1 Shakhtar Donetsk: Shakhtar incapable of dealing with runners from deep

April 7, 2011

“Barcelona became the third side to take a massive lead into the second leg of the European Cup quarter-finals. Pep Guardiola was still without Carles Puyol and Eric Abidal, so Sergio Busquets continued at the back. Pedro Rodriguez was only fit enough for the bench, so Andres Iniesta played in the front three, and Seydou Keita started in the middle.” Zonal Marking

FC Barcelona 5-1 Shakhtar Donetsk – Video Highlights, Recap, and Match Stats – Champions League
The 90th Minute

Chelsea 0-1 Manchester United: first half Rooney goal gives United the lead in the tie
“A tight game at Stamford Bridge saw only one goal. Carlo Ancelotti chose to leave out Nicolas Anelka, starting Didier Drogba alongside Fernando Torres upfront. There was a surprise on the left, where Yuri Zhirkov played over Florent Malouda. Sir Alex Ferguson welcomed back Rio Ferdinand. He also gave starts to Ryan Giggs and Park Ji-Sung, in a surprise midfield four. Javier Hernandez played just ahead of Rooney. The game took a while to settle down into a pattern. Both sides made too many errors in the opening minutes, with misunderstandings between teammates and possession conceded too cheaply.” Zonal Marking

Chelsea 0-1 Manchester United – Video Highlights, Recap, and Match Stats – Champions League
The 90th Minute


In Defence of the Inter Defence

April 7, 2011

“Over the past three years the potent attacking players of Inter have been much lauded and rightly so. From the criminally overlooked and under-appreciated displays of Wesley Sneijder last season to some sublime solo efforts from Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Alongside them we have seen the predatory skills of Diego Milito and Giampaolo Pazzini as well as some of the most versatile and diverse performances in memory from the immensely talented Samuel Eto’o.” In Bed With Mardona


From Wembley to the Himalayas: The Story of Crook Town

April 7, 2011

“As many football clubs know: money can’t buy you history. You can try to buy a future but in football it’s the past and the present that matters. The future is pegged to survival. If a club can ensure that then everything else becomes a bonus. Football fans of many clubs always point at where they have come from and, if they are lucky enough, what they have achieved. Until you have your own history, no matter how great or how small, you will always be looked at as having never been at the top table.” In Bed With Maradona


Saints sitting pretty in latest Aesop variation

April 7, 2011

“The Greek fabulist Aesop was attributed to the famous old fable of the hare and the tortoise and a new re-enactment of the story has evolved from the current Principality Welsh Premier League season. The modern-day comparison reached a poignant stage in the story last week when The New Saints overtook, and then extended their lead, over Bangor City at the top of the table without breaking a sweat while their rivals continued to reacted to letting go a one-time sixteen point lead by further losing ground on their consistent professional rivals with yet another defeat.” The Ball is Round


Politics and Personality in Sport: In the Commercial Era, Does Tradition Matter?

April 7, 2011


“In the last piece I wrote for Just Football I retold the story of Matthias Sindelar, the Austrian footballer who symbolised, in part, a nation’s defiance of their Nazi occupiers; an archetype of Austria’s considered and poetic passing game. Sindelar represented not only the Austrian football team but Austria’s intelligentsia and their consciousness expressed through sport.” Just Football


Stop Whingeing theres no such thing as a true football fan

April 7, 2011

“There appear to have been quite a few bloggers of late who seem obsessed with what it is to be a “true” football fan. Those who were not born within 300 yards of the club’s ground, don’t have a season ticket, watch games on TV and/or – shock horror – come from a different country are clearly the reason the game is sliding into a corporate-induced death. I’m bored of it. Particularly as it seem to use history in quite a perverse way.” Touchline Shouts


Episode 14: Boca’s revival, River Plate’s liquid football, & the world’s tightest league?

April 7, 2011

“In the fourteenth episode of Hand Of Pod, Sam, Dan and Dan are once again back on the fernet (after an alcohol-free episode 13), whilst Seba is dry as ever. We discuss the two giants of Argentine football; Boca Juniors, who had another Riquelme-inspired win, and River Plate, who scored an absolutely fantastic goal which their latest wunderkid was at the heart of.” Hand Of Pod


A Doctor at Hillsborough, by Neil Dunkin.

April 6, 2011


“A perfect day for an FA Cup semi-final. As Dr Glyn Phillips drove with his brother Ian and two mates from Merseyside to Sheffield, they all agreed the weather could not have been better. April showers had been replaced by radiant sunshine and the Pennines looked stunning beneath the immaculate blue skies. A beautiful day for the semi between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest.” Tomkins Times


Miguel Delaney: the trouble with Torres

April 6, 2011

“One of Fernando Torres’s main problems at Chelsea has not been confidence, fitness or adjustment but rather that Carlo Ancelotti’s side simply don’t play the type of pass or game that the striker specialises in. In that sense, he’s been wasted, writes Miguel Delaney” eircom


Inter 2-5 Schalke: awful defending produces an incredible scoreline

April 6, 2011

“Schalke shocked Inter to put themselves on the verge of a European Cup semi-final place. Leonardo switched to a 4-3-1-2 system after Inter’s poor display against Milan with a 4-2-3-1. Dejan Stankovic replaced Goran Pandev, whilst Diego Milito played alongside Samuel Eto’o upfront. Ralf Rangnick played a 4-4-1-1ish system. Kyriakos Papadopoulos was used as the sole holder in midfield, with Jurado given license to go forward. Raul played just off Edu upfront.” Zonal Marking

Inter Milan (Internazionale) 2-5 Schalke – Video Highlights, Recap, and Match Stats – Champions League
The 90th Minute


The Rise and Fall Of Graeme Murty

April 6, 2011


“Sunday 30th April 2006 was a memorable day for Reading fans. With the Championship title already clinched with a hearty sixteen-point cushion, Queen Park Rangers visited Steve Coppell’s peerless champions on the final day of the season. The match was played in a fine spirit and blue and white placards were held across the ground before kick-off.” In Bed With Maradona


He Was A Paraguayan

April 6, 2011

“Guess the player? He made his debut aged fifteen. He holds the Argentine record for goals scored in one season, forty-seven in thirty-four games. He is the joint highest scorer in Argentinian football history with 293 goals, yet he never represented his country. Alfredo Di Stefano who watched him growing up described him as circus artist, a compliment on his incredible ability to jump.” In Bed With Maradona


Goethals: The ‘keeper who came in from the cold

April 6, 2011

“Goalkeepers are supposed to be different. Estranged, aloof and regularly inhabiting the more extreme regions of the personality spectrum, the men who spend their time intercepting spherical projectiles with all parts of their anatomy and are often viewed as football’s great outsiders.” The Equaliser


Real Madrid 4-0 Tottenham: Spurs fall apart

April 6, 2011

“The early loss of a goal – and then a player – put Tottenham in a terrible situation they couldn’t recover from. Jose Mourinho named his expected line-up. Emmanuel Adebayor played in the absence of Karim Benzema, who was injured, and Gonzalo Higuain, who was fit enough only for the bench. Harry Redknapp named his expected starting line-up initially, but was then force to change his side when Aaron Lennon became ill before the game. Jermaine Jenas replaced him.” Zonal Marking


Baines Football Cards: The Victorian Panini

April 5, 2011


“As a football fan it’s highly likely that at some point in your life you’ve collected football cards or stickers. For many of us it will have been Panini stickers, and for today’s kids it’s all about Topps Match Attax. But the addictive combination of football and collecting has been around for more than 120 years, and young Victorian football fans just couldn’t get enough of Baines Football Cards.” In Bed With Maradona


Serie A title is AC Milan’s to lose

April 5, 2011

“What makes a great season? If it’s the quality of soccer played, then this has been a dismal year for Serie A, something shown up by the performances of Italian clubs in European competition. Internazionale limps on in the Champions League, somehow in the last eight despite a back line about as well-drilled as a class of five year olds on their first school trip. However, AC Milan and Roma went out in the last 16 and Italian interest in the Europa League ended when Napoli lost to Villarreal in the last 32. Juventus and Palermo didn’t even make it out of the groups.” SI


Blogging tips from the best

April 5, 2011

“I’ve worked full time with hundreds of football bloggers for the past two years now and prior to that, another two years part time with a handful of dedicated guys (and girls). So, into my 5th year of football blogging, what have I learned?Well, the first thing is that there are plenty of people who have been doing this for a lot longer than me! But I’ll get to that.” FootballUnited


Twente 2-0 PSV: Twente go top

April 5, 2011


“FC Twente moved ahead of PSV Eindhoven, thanks to two goals from Theo Janssen. Nikolay Mihaylov replaced Sander Boschker in goal, in Michel Preud’homme’s only change – Bryan Ruiz was only on the bench. Fred Rutten named an unchanged side from the XI which beat Utrecht the previous weekend. The game started at a slow tempo.” Zonal Marking


Saturday Night Fever

April 5, 2011

“What an extraordinary weekend here in Spain, where events in La Liga took place in a counter-intuitive fashion, and more or less set the seal on the destiny of the league title, give or take an improbable implosion of form at Barcelona FC over the next eight weeks.” ESPN


Norway and England: A Made In Heaven

April 5, 2011

“Whilst the Premier League now is enjoyed by millions around the world, Norway has always had a unique relationship with the English game. Welcome to IBWM, Michael Moruzzi.” In Bed With Maradona


Moody Mourinho looks to cure Madrid’s premature ejection by beating Spurs

April 5, 2011

“José Mourinho is looking mean and moody on the front cover of Monday’s edition of AS. Then again, the Madrid manager is always looking mean and moody. But in this particular photograph it looks as if Mourinho had spent the past two months living next door to The Libertines in their drug-addled pomp and is about to blast the band’s front door down with a shotgun.” FourFourTwo


Fiorentina – The Most Profitable Club in Serie A

April 4, 2011


“Over the years, there have been many reasons for football fans to admire Fiorentina, not least the myriad midfield talents of such creative stars as Giancarlo Antognoni, Roberto Baggio and Manuel Rui Costa and the goalscoring prowess of the prolific Gabriel Batistuta. Others have been attracted to the romance of following a club from Florence, one of the most beautiful cities in the world, while fashion gurus have simply appreciated the distinctive purple of the team’s shirts, which inspired the club’s Viola nickname.” The Swiss Ramble


Copa America on horizon for South Americans

April 4, 2011

“The countdown is on towards the Copa America, this year’s top senior international competition. Over the next couple of months, though, the focus will be firmly on club football, with the closing stages of domestic championships, the Champions League and the Libertadores. In the wake of the two recent Fifa dates, this would seem to be the appropriate moment to look back at the recent international friendlies and reflect on how South America’s teams are preparing for the Copa.” BBC – Tim Vickery


Jonathan Wilson Interview

April 4, 2011

“In this episode, Richard Farley chats with Jonathan Wilson about the launch of The Blizzard, a new quarterly magazine that has made quite a splash on the football world. Wilson discusses the genesis of the idea, why there’s a need for it, the objectives of the publication and describes the types of stories you can find in there as well a discussion about the business model.” EPL Talk – Jonathan Wilson


Benfica 1-2 Porto: Porto are champions

April 4, 2011

“Two goalkeeping errors from Roberto handed Porto the Liga Sagres title. Neither Oscar Cardozo nor Maxi Pereira were fit to begin the game for Jorge Jesus’ men, so Jara and Airton started. Andre Villas Boas brought back Helton in goal, and Nicolas Otamendi replaced Maicon at the back. Joao Moutinho came in for Fernando Belluschi in midfield.” Zonal Marking


Real Oviedo and the Passion of Asturias

April 4, 2011


“I’m standing on a mountaintop, at the foot of a large statue of Jesus. It’s a beautiful day and from up here I can see miles into the distance. Behind me lies the sea while in front of me there are mountains. Below me lies the city, its cathedral, a controversial shopping centre and an impressive looking football stadium. Despite appearances, I’m not in Rio de Janiero but in Oviedo, capital of Asturias. Unlike much of Spain, Asturias was never captured by the Moors, a fact not lost on the locals. In these parts they have an expression, Asturias is Spain and the rest is recaptured land.” In Bed With Maradona


Football Weekly: Rooney lets it all out

April 4, 2011

“James Richardson has Sean Ingle, Barry Glendenning and James Horncastle on board for 46 minutes of Football Weekly aural pleasure. We start with all the action from the Premier League, including Wayne Rooney’s hat-trick and general sweariness, Sunderland’s slide towards the relegation zone, and the unveiling of the highly tasteful Michael Jackson statue at Craven Cottage. Next up, Sid Lowe tells us about the mood in Madrid ahead of Tottenham’s visit to the Bernabéu in the Champions League just days after Real all but surrendered La Liga by losing 1-0 at home to Sporting Gijón (which was, remarkably, José Mourinho’s first home defeat in nine years).” Guardian – James Richardson


Good Day, Bad Day: Conspiracies and understated celebrations

April 4, 2011

“Though the coach will have to repeat the ‘league is not won yet, the league is not won yet’ mantra pretty much every minute of every day for the next two months, Pep and the Dream Boys know that the title was moreorless sewn up, thanks to Saturday’s double delight of a defeat for Madrid and a win for Barça at Villarreal in a match where a draw probably would have been a fair result.” FourFourTwo


Time For A Change?

April 4, 2011

“Dick Advocaat accumulated plenty of political capital during his time at Zenit. But as Domm Norris reports, things aren’t going so smoothly at the helm of the Russian national side.” In Bed With Maradona


Premier League chalkboard analysis

April 4, 2011

“Ryan Giggs as an emergency left-back, Chris Smalling’s passing, Ashley Young and Stewart Downing’s wing play, and David Wheater’s tackling” Guardian


Wolfsburg 1-1 Eintracht Frankfurt

April 3, 2011


Vittore Carpaccio
“Wolfsburg dominated a limited Frankfurt side but had to come from behind to scrape a draw after missing a host of second-half chances. As well as being a tussle between two sides struggling to avoid the drop, this game was also intriguing as it saw Felix Magath take charge of his first home game in his second spell at Wolfsburg. Meanwhile, there was also another new face on the bench a few feet away from Magath’s: Christoph Daum, the former Fenerbahçe manager, was back in the Bundesliga after a two-year absence.” Defensive Midfielder

Köln 1-0 Nürnberg
“Köln and Nürnberg looked all but certain to have played out an entertaining and fiery 0-0 draw until Slovenia international Milivoje Novakovič scored an injury-time winner for the hosts at the RheinEnergieStadion. For the neutral football fan, a Bundesliga battle between the sides in 12th and 6th may not have forced all other afternoon plans to be cancelled. But there was a fair bit riding on this game, with the hosts knowing that if they lost here and Wolfsburg beat Eintracht Frankfurt in the day’s other game, they would be just two points above the drop zone.” Defensive Midfielder


English Premier League (EPL) Match Of The Day (MOTD) Video Highlights

April 3, 2011

“Below are MOTD video highlights for all the EPL matches on April 2, 2011.” The 90th Minute