Universidad de Chile take the 2011 Copa Sudamericana crown in style

December 17, 2011

“The club of the moment? Universidad de Chile: sweeping up trophies in their domestic league, unbeaten in 35 games, and this week crowned Copa Sudamericana champions, their first ever continental title. More interesting than their success has been their style of play. Coming 18 months after Marcelo Bielsa took Chile to the World Cup having played dynamic, quick football with heavy pressing, usually in a 3-3-1-3 formation, his fellow Argentine Jorge Sampaoli is doing something similar.” Zonal Marking

Copa Sudamericana champions face uphill struggle to hold onto key players
“The best team in South America face an uphill struggle to hold onto their prize assets. With a crushing 4-0 aggregate victory over the formidable LDU Quito, Universidad de Chile secured their first ever continental title. The comprehensive victory ensures La U can be counted as one of the best teams on the continent. With Copa Libertadores football secured for 2012, they now face the task of holding on to their key players and push on to become one of the greatest teams in the recent history of South American club football.” Purple Patch

Paraguay’s hooligan problem is getting out of control
“Six games in 2011, four in just over a month, have been suspended in Paraguay due to crowd violence. The latest suspension came on last weekend’s crunch game between league leaders Libertad and title chasers Cerro Porteño, two points behind with three games to play. With Cerro Porteño leading one-nil at half time the players and officials came out ready for what was set to be a thrilling and potentially season-defining 45 minutes of football. But before the second half could begin a flare thrown from the Cerro Porteño end struck the linesman who had to leave the stadium in an ambulance.” World Soccer

Imaginary Enemies

December 17, 2011

“Nicolas Anelka will soon be playing professional soccer in China. This is surprising because Nicolas Anelka is still a talented, effective soccer player who would help all but about 10 teams in the world. This is not surprising because Nicolas Anelka is going to a place where they’ll pay him an exponent of a number it’d take me years to count to.” Run of Play

Wolfsburg 1-0 Stuttgart

December 17, 2011

Charles Le Brun, Horatius Cocles Defending the Bridge
“Stuttgart’s poor form at Wolfsburg continued as young Sebastian Polter’s goal handed the hosts a priceless 1-0 victory to end the first half of the season on a high. The striker came on as a sub to tap in a 74th minute winner, put on a plate for him by Wolfsburg’s scruff-of-the-neck-grabbing, swashbuckling and technically sound left-back Marcel Schäfer. Bruno Labbadia’s side actually enjoyed the best of the first half, and looked much the better team. However, even then it was Felix Magath’s team who were having most of the chances, with Stuttgart’s inability to test Diego Bengalio proving just as big a problem in the second half. Wolfsburg move up to 12th courtesy of this result, while Stuttgart stay in seventh sot (for now).” Defensive Midfielder

Liverpool without Lucas – a bleak prospect

December 17, 2011

“Hearts were in mouths and joy was on hold. In the 70th minute of Liverpool’s 2-0 Carling Cup win over Chelsea, Lucas Leiva was stretchered from the field, having tried in vain to hobble on, and the fans began to fear the worst. It was a sour end to an enjoyable night, the second time in nine days they had come to Stamford Bridge and tasted victory, but the news was to get worse. Within 48 hours it was confirmed that Lucas had suffered an injury to the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee which would require surgery to correct, ruling him out for the rest of the season.” The Football Project

Why Liverpool Should Consider Signing Steven Fletcher
“There are a lot of Liverpool fans talking about the need to purchase a striker in January, to bring some rain upon a very sun scorched and drought ridden chance conversion rate. In fact, 15 games into the season, Liverpool has the worst chance conversion rate into goals in the league: a feeble 8.9%.” EPL Talk

A – Partial – Defence Of The Club World Cup

December 17, 2011

“On Sunday morning – if you happen to be in Western Europe – the champions of world club football will be crowned, as the final of the 2011 Club World Cup is played at the International Stadium in Yokohama between Barcelona, the current champions of Europe, and Santos of Brazil, the current champions of South America. The Club World Cup has been running since 2004, but it has yet to engage a great deal of interest in Europe.” twohundredpercent