Athletic 2-2 Barcelona: Bielsa stifles Barca by telling his players to stick tightly to opponents

November 8, 2011

“Marcelo Bielsa’s tactics managed to hold Barcelona to a draw in an exciting match at the San Mamés. Bielsa went with a 4-3-3ish shape, with Javi Martinez at centre-back, and Iker Muniain out on the right – a slight surprise, given the winger has started on the left for much of the season. Pep Guardiola picked a 4-3-3, but with a front three featuring a deep-lying forward, a central midfielder and a wing-back, as David Villa was left out. This was a match that could have gone either way – Barcelona had four times as many attempts as Athletic, yet needed a last minute goal to snatch a draw.” Zonal Marking

Athletic Bilbao 2 – 2 Barcelona
“Lionel Messi scored in injury time to preserve Barcelona’s unbeaten start to the season as they struggled in heavy rain in Bilbao. Barcelona conceded for the first time in 900 minutes of football and appeared destined for defeat when Gerard Pique’s own goal gave Athletic the lead with ten minutes to go. But Messi took advantage of a slip from Gorka Iraizoz in a drenched penalty area to lash home a late equaliser. Cesc Fabregas had earlier cancelled out Ander Herrera’s opener.” ESPN

Barcelona will never be for sale, says club president Sandro Rosell
“Sandro Rosell, the Barcelona president, has criticised the corporate and foreign ownership of major Premier League clubs, saying that while he is in charge his club, which is owned by its 180,000 members, will ‘never, ever be for sale’.” Guardian

The Story of Football In East Germany

November 8, 2011

“Following the Autumn of Nations in 1989, many of the football leagues in Central and Eastern Europe went through revolutions of their own. The main leagues of Czechoslovakia split to form two new leagues in the newly independent Czech Republic and Slovakia. The Soviet Supreme League was disbanded and new championships were formed in the former Soviet Republics. The likes of Dynamo Kiev, Dinamo Minsk, Dinamo Tbilisi and Neftchi Baku were no longer faced with long trips to Moscow or St Petersburg and the perceived bias in favour of the Russian teams. Instead they were founder members of new competitions in Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia and Azerbaijan respectively. Whilst Hungary, Poland and initially Yugoslavia remained sovereign states, even their leagues were hugely affected by the collapse of communism, with many teams no longer able to rely on the State for their budget, recruitment and influence.” In Bed With Maradoma

Peruvian striker Andy Polo makes headlines

November 8, 2011

“A special player is coming to my adopted city of Rio de Janeiro this Wednesday. Universitario of Peru are visiting Vasco da Gama in the quarter-finals of South America’s Europa League equivalent [called the Copa Sul-Americana in Brazil, the Sudamericana elsewhere on the continent] and in their ranks is 17-year-old striker Andy Polo. Already linked with Liverpool and Arsenal, Polo is of particular interest to me. He is something I have been waiting for.” BBC – Tim Vickery

Guus Hiddink: Quarterback

November 8, 2011

“Guus Hiddink (65, just) has a reputation as one of the finest coaches in world football, but if you track back through his record, there’s not an awful lot apart from two fairly prolific spells with PSV between 1984-1990 and 2002-2006. Although, to be fair, they were pretty spectacular.” In Bed With Mardoma

Mihajlovic doomed from the start

November 8, 2011

“Sinisa Mihajlovic’s departure from Fiorentina on Monday came as no surprise, after a poor run of form at the beginning of the season and constant calls for the manager to leave from the club’s supporters. Replacing Cesare Prandelli was an almost impossible task. Prandelli had taken charge of Fiorentina in the summer of 2005, when it had narrowly avoided relegation to Serie B on the convoluted basis of its head-to-head record against two other sides. By the time Prandelli left, Fiorentina had enjoyed two consecutive Champions League campaigns — and it would have been more were it not for the penalties of the calciopoli scandal.” ESPN