Daily Archives: August 10, 2011

The American Outlaws

“American patriotism is a heart on sleeve affair. As a visitor to the United States there is a sense that you’re never more than a few hundred yards from a flagpole flying the Stars and Stripes. American children pledge allegiance to the flag at school, and the national anthem is sung at all levels of sporting events, not just show piece finals. There is then perhaps an irony that America’s main spectator sports provide little opportunity to cheer on American national teams in major sporting events. Enter football to fill the void.” In Bed With Maradona


Milan 2-1 Inter: Gasperini’s 3-5-1-1 dominates first half, but needless switches see him beaten

“Inter were 1-0 up at half time but managed to lose 2-1, after a strange tactical change from their new boss Gian Piero Gasperini. Gasperini was widely expected to bring his favoured 3-4-3 to Inter, but for this match he started with a 3-5-1-1, with new signing Ricardo Alvarez breaking forward from the left of midfield to form a lopsided front three. Max Allegri played the same 4-3-1-2 he favoured last season. In fact, with the exception of Zlatan Ibrahimovic in place of Pato, it was the same XI that started the previous derby. This was, of course, a game of two halves – the only question was why Inter relinquished their dominance from the opening period.” Zonal Marking

How Arsenal have been shaping up for 2011/12

“With all the talk of Arsenal’s pre-season performances centring around defensive meltdown, it’s arguable (and we will argue that in our next article this week) that replacing Cesc Fábregas – or at least replicating his creativity – will be Arsenal’s main concern this impending season. Frustratingly for us tactical anoraks and dissectors, he hasn’t played a single minute in pre-season which means any tactical conclusions that are to made — if Cesc Fábregas stays of course — will be treading on the hypothetical.” Arsenal Column

Through Gritted Teeth #35: Liverpool 1988

“Occasionally in life, something happens that is so alien, so counterintuitive, so brain-jarringly wrong that it makes you question whether there can ever again be such a thing as certainty. It was May the 14th 1988, FA Cup final day, and I was in the pub. Nothing unusual or counterintuitive about that, as anyone who knows me would confirm.” Twisted Blood

LFC Season Preview – Time To Go Fourth?

Lucas Leiva
“My previous look at the season ahead revolved around the work we had done on the Transfer Price Index, and how the cost of a club’s XI (called its ‘£XI’, as inflation is taken into account) over the course of the season correlates fairly accurately with where they will finish in the table; and the higher up the division you go, the more predictable it gets. No team’s chances are chained to conclusions taken from retrospective analysis, but they do set a benchmark – a starting point – for what is probable.” Tomkins Times

Why Lucas is needed ahead of the rest of Liverpool’s midfield army
“I was at Anfield on Saturday for the final warm up match before the 2011-2012 Premier League season begins. It was a competent win against a good Valencia side. Agger was my man of the match yet others such as Downing impressed. Lucas was fantastic when he came on with a patient, intelligent and exciting performance within just 45 minutes of playing time – surprisingly sharp considering he’s only just back at training after his break following Brazil’s Copa America exit.” Joshua Kearney

A Degree of Progress Will Be Enough: Liverpool FC 2011/12 Preview
“When Paul Konchesky was sold to Leicester City earlier this summer, one of the strangest and most stressful periods of the past two decades in Liverpool’s history came to a close. Seen as the embodiment of the mediocrity that had somehow become the norm at the club, Konchesky’s departure was deemed as confirmation that the standards that had been allowed to drop were now being pushed upwards again.” A Liverpool Thing

The Reducer: Premier League Preview

“Welcome to The Reducer, Grantland’s weekly soccer column focusing on the English Premier League. A Reducer is a particularly nasty sliding tackle, one often aimed at something other than the ball (like, say, the knee or thigh). To pick one of hundreds over the years as an example, please watch Manchester United’s Paul Scholes commit midair assault with a deadly Puma boot on Barcelona’s (not particularly lovable, himself) Sergio Busquets in the 2009 Champions League final.” Grantland

Football Weekly: Premier League 2011-2012 preview
“James Richardson Check! Barry Glendenning? Check! Gags, predictions, stats and more puns than you could shake a stick at? Check-checkity-check-check! Yes, Football Weekly is back to preview the new Premier League season, with Sean Ingle and Gregg Roughley joining James and Barry to shoot the breeze over each team’s chances. Predictions abound, so keep this edition safe to beat us with later in the year.” Guardian – James Richardson

WhoScored.com’s France National Dream Team XI

“Laurent Blanc leads his France side to Montpellier to take on an exciting Chile side, that reached the quarterfinals of the Copa America, in a friendly on Wednesday night. Under his guidance Blanc has tried to mix the experienced internationals with some of Ligue 1’s most talented players including Marvin Martin and Yann M’Vila. Lille’s new winger Dimitri Payet would also possibly have been given a place in the starting line-up.” WhoScored