Ronaldo vs. Messi

October 4, 2011

“Tall, powerful, sneering Cristiano Ronaldo and short, slippery, cheerful Lionel Messi ought to form one of the great dichotomies in sports — think Magic/Bird, only in Romance languages. They’re the two best soccer players in the world.1 They star on opposite sides of Real Madrid versus Barcelona, currently the game’s most compelling rivalry. And they’re temperamental opposites — Ronaldo a flamboyant, collar-popping he-diva who measures time in lingerie models, Messi a low-key, affable team player who seems to live for the game.” Grantland

A New Age For the New Saints

October 4, 2011

“When a football club averaging just 350 regular fans plays its way into the European history books you cannot help but wonder how it has belied the odds against it. After frightening mighty teams such as RSC Anderlecht and CSKA Sofia in recent years its progression could be the catalyst for a generation of change both in its own fortunes and the league in which it plies its trade.” In Bed With Maradona

Rainbows in the Sky at Night

October 4, 2011

“Like every aspiring plutocrat who loves AC Milan, I sometimes fantasise about owning the club. I have big plans for it. Investing heavily in the youth programme. Engineering unbreakable bonds of affection between players and club. Brokering a creative and generous understanding between our ultras and local government. Smiling calmly from the director’s box as the team crushes English clubs in the Champions’ League. This is before we lead our revolutionary boycott of UEFA competitions, demanding a structure that creates more equitable opportunities for smaller leagues and clubs. Giving incentives to star players for participating in local coaching initiatives, and encouraging young players (from the revitalised youth programme) to undertake higher education. Improving the rose gardens at Milanello. Exacting lasting vengeance on those who let so much as a single tear fall from the eyes of Andrea Pirlo.” Run of Play

Soccer Cities: The Ruhr

October 4, 2011

“Connected by the local overland regional train, the S-Bahn, Germany’s industrial heartland is home to Bundesliga champions Borussia Dortmund and German Cup holders Schalke in the top flight, along with Duisburg and Bochum in the second tier. All four enjoy a healthy fan base, with Dortmund and Schalke pulling in some of the highest attendances in Europe, while even modest Rot-Weiss Essen, who reached the German Cup Final as recently as 1994, attract relatively good crowds to their Regionalliga West games in the country’s fourth division.” World Soccer

Arséne Wenger’s side are still searching for their identity

October 4, 2011

“Begrudgingly, Arséne Wenger may have to accept progress has been made despite facing defeat to Tottenham Hotspur. Arsenal didn’t play like second-best but the difference in confidence was evident between the two sides; Tottenham with a ruthless ambition about their forward play and Arsenal, nervy and twitchy around the box. When Spurs took the lead, there was an uncertainty about Arsenal’s attacking play. Both their most direct players – and both carrying knocks before the game – were withdrawn, making you wonder why they both started.” The Arsenal Column

Premier League chalkboard analysis

October 4, 2011

“Manchester City’s forward pressing, a lack of understanding up front for West Brom and Pepe Reina’s sharp distribution” Guardian

Eredivisie Top Scorers Chart based on Win Points Added

October 4, 2011

“Traditional top scorers charts rank players simply by counting the number of goals scored, thereby assuming that every single goal scored has equal value. This goes against both emotional feeling and rational thinking. A late winner against superior oppositions ranks higher on both these scales than a goal that extends a dominating home team’s lead from four to five goals.” 11 tegen 11


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