Manchester City – The Masterplan

December 2, 2011

Roberto Mancini
“After many years in the wilderness, these are good times to be a Manchester City fan. Last season their team recorded its best ever performance in the Premier League by finishing third, thus qualifying for the Champions League for the first time, and won its first major trophy for 35 years when defeating Stoke City in the FA Cup final. Their momentum has continued this season (at least on the domestic front), as they lead the Premier League by five points after a series of impressive victories, including an astonishing 6-1 triumph against local rivals Manchester United at Old Trafford, and have reached the semi-finals of the Carling Cup. However, they have found life more difficult in Europe, where they now have to rely on others to avoid elimination at the Champions League group stage.” Swiss Ramble

Tactics: How Barcelona have changed football

December 2, 2011

“iny cracks may be starting to appear in the previously impregnable armour of Barcelona, with Real Madrid rampant and Pep Guardiola’s side rudely obliged to play catch-up, but this team’s place in history is already secure. The trophies and the unique, hypnotic passing style have made sure of that, but less remarked upon is the tactical legacy that they have bequeathed to the game. As the first budding usupers begin to congregate at the gates of the Barca citadel, Football Further looks at five tactical maxims that Guardiola and his team have torn to shreds.” Football Further

An advantage to be in Group A or B for Euro 2012 – especially when it comes to the semis

December 2, 2011

“It remains to be seen how the process of today’s Euro 2012 draw will be structured, although we can assume it will be convoluted and drawn-out – certainly with long speeches and explanations, and possibly cultural dances from the two host countries. Often, the first draw involves deciding which groups the seeds go into – A, B, C or D – before determining which sides anyone will actually play. As it happens, this time around Poland have already been assigned to group A, whilst fellow hosts Ukraine have been placed in group D.” Zonal Marking

Conte’s Juventus storm back from 2-0 down to draw 3-3 at Napoli

December 2, 2011

“One of the good things about a very tactical match is that the coaches are pressed for the reasons they made particular decisions at the post-match press conference. Antonio Conte’s approach away to Napoli was very surprising. Having started the season with a 4-4-2 often called a 4-2-4 and more recently moved to a 4-1-4-1, he switched to a 3-5-2 system. Giorgio Chiellini tucked in, Marcelo Estigarribia played on the left, and Simone Pepe moved inside to the centre of midfield, with Claudio Marchisio suspended.” Zonal Marking

Soccer Cities: Northern Spain

December 2, 2011

“There are currently five La Liga clubs in the regions that spread across northern Spain – Racing Santander in Cantabria, Sporting Gijon in Asturias, Osasuna in Navarre, and Athletic Bilbao and Real Sociedad in the Basque Country – and with most being situated close to the coast, a weekend football break can easily be accompanied by some seaside relaxation.” World Soccer

Euro 2012 Draw

December 2, 2011

“In many quarters, the European Championship is the soccer tournament, ahead of the World Cup, because there is no fluff, no Saudi Arabia, no United States, no Paraguay, no North Korea, no Honduras, no New Zealand … but also no Brazil and Argentina.” NY Times

The Reducer: Week 13, Northeast Passage

December 2, 2011

“After a Saturday that saw Stoke and Chelsea recover from dips in form, Arsenal and Manchester United slip up, and Tottenham continue its fire-hazard win streak, a darkness descended on the Premier League. Sunday morning, before the kickoffs of Liverpool versus Manchester City and Swansea versus Aston Villa, news broke that Gary Speed, a heroic figure in the recent history of British football and manager of the Wales national team, had been found dead in his home from an apparent suicide. He left behind a wife and two children.” Grantland (Video)


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