Everton – No Blue Skies

Phil Jagielka
“Football fans are rarely happy. After all, there are only so many trophies that can be won, so the majority of teams will end the season empty handed. That said, Everton’s fans seem to be particularly despondent these days, so much so that a coalition of supporters’ groups known as the Blue Union initiated a protest march before last week’s home game against Aston Villa.” Swiss Ramble


Eight points on Manchester City 1-1 Napoli

“Walter Mazzarri’s tactics should be commended after a disciplined Napoli side deserved their point at Manchester City. 1. The battle when wing-backs come up against interiores (wide players that come into the middle of the pitch) is always interesting. In theory, the wing-backs should be very uncomfortable coming inside into the centre of the pitch – they’re meant to be covering the flanks, after all – but the situation is different in a 3-5-2 to with the system that Napoli play, which has two wide forwards.” Zonal Marking

Woe Flowers of Scotland

“Scottish football is in crisis. With Scottish clubs exiting European competition even earlier than usual, fans and the media are mourning the latest ‘death’ of the national sport. Newspapers and radio phone-ins are leading the now annual debate asking ‘where do we go from here?’ There’s no disputing that change is required. League reconstruction (discussed here previously) and a massive shift in attitudes and approach are long overdue, but that’s a conversation for another time.” Just Football

Leandro Damiao: Superstar Under the Radar

Leandro Damiao
“Brazil have made a habit of producing a fine profusion of strikers in the past. Tostão, Pele and Rivelinho all graced that 1970 World Cup in a team which some have dubbed the greatest squad in the history of the game. Eight years prior, it was Garrincha and Vavá who stole the show with their fine movement and keen eye for goal that led Brazil to their second title. Fast forward to the modern era and the 2002 tournament which focused on the “Three R’s” of Ronaldo, Rivaldo and Ronaldinho, the trio working in perfect tandem that eventually landed their fifth World Championship in South Korea and Japan.” In Bed With Maradona

Dortmund press Arsenal’s full-backs and the problem with Wenger’s defensive strategy

“Pat Rice cannot wait for the return of Arséne Wenger to the dugouts – the manager still has one game remaining in his touchline ban from UEFA – and it’s easy to see why having put through a stern examination of his coaching credentials that he didn’t want. While against Udinese the comfort of the early goal dictated the encounter, he got no such assistance away to Borussia Dortmund as Jürgen Klopp sought to impose his style as quickly as possible. And they did, creating an overwhelming swirl of yellow and black around Arsenal in possession. It was a strategy that earned them many plaudits last season and while they haven’t made the best of starts this year, they aimed to put that right against Arsenal, the team that in the past, have been the model of the tireless, high-intensity and rapid passing game they displayed on Match Day 1.” The Arsenal Column

Fernando Torres’ form an ongoing concern for both club and country

“Juan Mata slotted the ball into the net, rushed across to the man who had provided the pass and leapt into his arms. Chelsea had just got its second of the night, securing a 2-0 win against Bayer Leverkusen in its opening Champions League game at Stamford Bridge and the former Valencia player had scored his second goal in just three games. Yet Mata handed the credit to someone else, pointing at the tall, blonde striker who provided the assist: Fernando Torres. The message was clear: cheer him, everyone, cheer him.” SI

St Pauli 4 – 2 1860 Munich

“For this particular match, there was no bus running for my fan club. This represents obvious disadvantages, foremost being the chance to travel as a group and catch up with friends. The one advantage however of no bus, is that suddenly I was faced with a mere 3 and half hours travel to Hamburg, as opposed to approximately 6! So as I wandered drunkenly out of a night club at 4:30am, I looked at my watch and realised that not needing to get to the usual pickup point, I could go home and catch two hours kip before travelling. Nice!” FCUM A.D.

2000s Month: The Mayfly

“The mayfly, that most romantically fated of insects, spends the majority of its life under the surface of the water. After going through several months feeding on decaying flora and fauna; moulting numerous times – going through change after change; they emerge in to the sun. After one final metamorphosis, they dry their wings and take glorious flight. Their mouthparts, however, are not functional, and their digestive system is full of air. They cannot feed. They have but one day to make their mark, to fulfil their purpose, and then they are gone. Their bodies fall down into the water again.” The Equaliser