Napoli 2-0 Udinese: 3-4-3 against 3-5-1-1, and Mazzarri beats Guidolin

October 27, 2011


Jean Lattre and Charles Francois Delamarche – 1800
“An interesting first half, and ultimately a convincing win for Walter Mazzarri’s side. Mazzarri was without Walter Gargano, so played Blerim Dzemaili alongside Gokhan Inler in the centre of midfield. Francesco Guidolin had Antonio Di Natale, Mauricio Isla and Maurizio Domizzi unavailable, meaning there were plenty of changes, resulting in a disjointed side. Antonio Floro Flores played upfront against his hometown club. This was tactically exciting and yet also very basic – Napoli were the clear winners.” Zonal Marking

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The Curious Career of Blagoje Vidinić: Bribes, Bank Notes and Balls

October 27, 2011

“Champagne, bags of bank notes and Adidas balls: these were amongst the gifts Macedonian Blagoje Vidinić received during his African odyssey in the early 1970s. This was a man who presided over the joint-worst World Cup performance of all time, but also a man who as a goalkeeper had once rivaled Lev Yashin in many eyes, who had played in Los Angeles, San Diego, St Louis in a pioneering era of American soccer; a man who as coach took two African countries to unprecedented heights – and managed to change the course of world sporting history, by tipping off Horst Dassler just in time for the Adidas head to back the right man in the 1974 FIFA presidential election.” Pitch Invasion


Levante continue to defy the odds

October 27, 2011

“The biggest spenders in Spain in the last 3 seasons naturally occupy the top four positions, Barcelona and Real Madrid are on another level, fan base, investment and a disproportionate tv deal ensure it’s difficult for others to keep up. Málaga’s fairly recent new ownership and strategy mean they are now well positioned to challenge in future seasons, although the jury is still out as to what they can achieve in the present. But the other team that currently sits in a Champions League position after 6 games is a lot more surprising – Levante.” La Liga UK


The First of the Liberos

October 27, 2011

“Everyone with a modicum of football knowledge has heard of Catenaccio – the system synonymous with generations of Italian defenders. Yet very few remember its finest practitioner Armando Picchi, the man around whom the system of La Grande Inter was built. The first of the famous Liberos made an indelible mark on the game’s tactical history. The memory of Picchi presents football historians with an obvious contradiction. Italian teams since the 1960s have been associated with a pragmatic, safety first approach to the game which was founded on the beauty of the 1-0 victory. Meanwhile individual Italians have long been seen as stylish exponents of the Beautiful Game.” In Bed With Maradoma


Mancini’s City exposes Man United’s season-long vulnerability

October 27, 2011

“When Manchester City beat Tottenham Hotspur 5-1 at White Hart Lane at the end of August, Manchester United did what they have been doing for half a century and eclipsed the majesty of that performance by beating Arsenal 8-2. If these had been four anonymous teams, it might perhaps have been rather easier to acknowledge what at the time was barely a puff of dust on the horizon: that it had been City’s performance that had been more impressive, that the ‘noisy neighbors’ might perhaps have arrived.” SI – Jonathan Wilson


Why Sebastián Coates’ Clanger Proves Him To Be Liverpool’s New Jamie Carragher

October 27, 2011


Sebastian Coates
“Last night for a brief moment Jonathan Walters made Liverpool’s Sebastián Coates look distinctly average. With Walters bearing down on him, deep inside his own half, the Uruguayan international hesitated on the touchline with the ball. Several failed attempts to jink past the striker later, and a particularly lack lustre effort at a clearance and Liverpool were 1-0 down. It looked amateurish, it was clumsy and had seemingly provided Liverpool’s hoards of pessimists with a new scapegoat. Move over Lucas Leiva, farewell Emilano Insua, we’ve got a new young, South American to spit venom at for 90 minutes every Saturday.” Sabotage Times


The effects of Chelsea’s pressing game in 2011/12

October 27, 2011

“Amongst all the nonsense about Andre Villas-Boas being the new Jose Mourinho, the irony is that he’s done more to move Chelsea away from Mourinho’s overall playing style than Avram Grant, Felipe Scolari, Guus Hiddink and Carlo Ancelotti. In particular, the way they play without the ball. Though not as much of a purely defensive manager as often made out, Mourinho was a fan of defending deep at Chelsea. The 4-3-3 looked more like a 4-5-1 in the defensive stage, with players asked to get behind the ball quickly and retreat into a deep, compact unit.” Zonal Marking