Set-pieces dominate the first week of the Copa

July 8, 2011

“For a tournament often hailed for its flair and unpredictability, the Copa America has clearly been lacking excitement. So far, the goals per game count stands at a pathetic eight, from seven matches. That gives a goals per game rate of just 1.14 – roughly half the goals per game rate of last summer’s World Cup, where the figure was 2.27. There have been three 0-0s, and only Chile have scored more than once.” Zonal Marking

Argentina 0-0 Colombia: another goalless draw
“The third 0-0 from seven Copa America games so far, as Argentina again struggled. Sergio Batista made one change from the opening day 0-0 against Bolivia. Marcos Rojo dropped out, with Pablo Zabaleta coming in on the right. Javier Zanetti moved to the left. Hernan Dario Gomez also made a single change, bringing in Carlos Sanchez for Gutavo Bolivar, a straight swap in midfield. Argentina had much of the play but failed to create enough chances to get the breakthrough, a common feature of this tournament. Colombia sat back and played on the break, and deserved their point.” Zonal Marking

Chile 2-1 Mexico: Borghi’s change in formation prompts Chile’s comeback

“Chile recovered from 1-0 down to record a 2-1 victory in an excellent contest. Claudio Borghi lined up with a 3-4-1-2 formation containing various players who are familiar from last year’s World Cup, and there were no major selection surprises. Like Costa Rica, Mexico are competing with an Olympic squad in this tournament, and assistant manager Luis Fernando Tena is in charge. He played a 3-5-2, with Giovani dos Santos just behind Rafael Marquez Lugo, not to be confused with the more established Rafael Marquez.” Zonal Marking

Copa América 2011: Chile Rely on Set-Pieces to Get Victory
“Chile embarked on their journey for a first Copa America trophy against a weakened Mexico side. With last month’s Gold Cup Mexico’s main international competition of the summer, a mostly under-22 side make up the Copa America squad for the tournament invitees. This meant that Chile, with the likes of potentially Barcelona bound Alexis Sánchez, as well as Humberto Suazo and Matías Fernández, were clear favorites. Meanwhile Giovanni dos Santos – Tottenham-loanee and spectacular goal-scorer in the Gold Cup final – the main player of note for the Mexicans.” the elastico

Transfer activity this summer is frenzied so far despite FFP rules

July 8, 2011

“This summer is quickly turning into one of the most frenzied transfer periods in recent years. In the Premier League alone, Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool have already spent a combined £77 million ($122.9M) on new players, a figure that could easily double before the end of August, as even bigger moves (Samir Nasri to Man Utd, Wesley Sneijder to Man Utd, Ezequiel Lavezzi to City, Stewart Downing to Liverpool) potentially come to fruition. Then there’s Chelsea, yet to sign a new high-profile recruit, and Arsenal, who’ll be eager to add to the £9 million ($14.3M) outlay for Gervinho in the wake of some high-profile departures. It’s feasible that total spending among the 20 first division English teams will top £400 million ($638.8M) this year.” SI

WWC: Erica Turns on the Style

July 8, 2011

“Sure, Copa América has Messi, Forlán, and Neymar. Yes, it will be a very interesting test for Mano Menezes. Yeah, it’s nice to see the young Brazilian and Argie talent that’s been shining in leagues around the world. And I’ll grant you that, despite lackluster performances from Brazil in its first game and Argentina in its first two, there are good reasons to expect both to put on an offensive show in this Copa America. Both Brazil and Argentina are using very offensive schemes, and both have players who can make things happen. Plus the third traditional power in South American soccer, Uruguay, has a pretty good team, the one that went farthest in the last World Cup and the one with the best player from that tournament. And we can’t forget Chile or Colômbia, both of which bring some interesting players. There are lots of reasons to watch this Copa America.” Cult Football

The 50 greatest managers of all time

July 8, 2011

Joan Bleau – 1645 – Cumberland
“Alex Ferguson looked on, realising a big lesson was needed here. He had been sitting in the Carrington canteen, chatting away to an old friend but keeping a vigilant eye on the Manchester United youngsters lining up for lunch. As underage forward Robbie Brady opened his mouth to order, he was suddenly cut off by someone cutting in. Cristiano Ronaldo, just in the door and having just received the 2008 Ballon D’Or, presumed the place in the queue to go with his new prize.” The Football Pantheon

Can Charlie Adam succeed at Liverpool?

July 8, 2011

“Liverpool’s new midfielder Charlie Adam may have been playing beside the seaside at Blackpool last season, but he was the ultimate big fish in a small pond. Ian Holloway was frank about Adam’s impact upon his side. ‘If he plays well, we play well,’ Blackpool’s manager said.” ESPN

Comolli on Adam and transfers

July 8, 2011

“Director of Football Damien Comolli speaks about Charlie Adam, set pieces, transfer strategy and how he believes there will be plenty more comings and goings at Liverpool over the coming months.” Liverpool FC