The Team of Choice In the Windy City

“Across the road from Alexandra High School, where I spent five years of my childhood, is the Harry Gwala Stadium. Named after an African National Congress icon, it is the home of South African top flight club Maritzburg United. Not much more than a pitch, some stands, and some floodlights, it is an unprepossessing venue. Yet it has become something of a fortress in recent years, in keeping with Mr Gwala’s combative spirit. Had United played all their games at home last season, they would have ended snugly in the top half of the PSL log. By contrast, they were second from bottom in the ‘away table.’ The team’s home record owes much to passionate local supporters, who, unusually for South Africa, are drawn from all racial groups.” In Bed With Maradona


In Praise of: Attacking Full-Backs

“The modern full-back has many duties to perform. No longer is it enough to leave an opposition winger stud-pocked and bruised, a modern full-back must also present an attacking threat of his own. He must overlap his own winger, get to the byline and deliver a cross. A modern full-back must have pace, he must have discipline and positional sense, he must have good technique and great stamina.” The False 9

Illustrated Map of Argentina’s Primera División Stadiums and Clubs

“Bill’s Sports Maps returns to Pitch Invasion, with all the details you could possibly want on Argentina’s Primera División for the 2012 Clausura. Bill was assisted by our old friend Sam Kelly of Hasta El Gol Siempre, so you know the details should be spot-on. Click on the map for the full-size version!” Pitch Invasion

James Richardson’s European football papers review – video

“With a festive flourish, James rounds off the year in continental football with yet another match-fixing scandal in Italy ruining the recently optimistic mood of their press with regard to the Champions League; Dutch demolition on the pitch as a fan has an altercation with the AZ Alkmaar keeper; David Beckham rekindling Franco-British relations with his proposed move to PSG and shock in Spain as the Madrid press hails Barcelona as they get an early Christmas present from Santos in the Club World Cup” Guardian – James Richardson

Tottenham 1-1 Chelsea: both goals from left wing

“There were plenty of goalscoring chances at either end in an eventful London derby. Harry Redknapp was without Aaron Lennon, but Gareth Bale passed a late fitness test to give width on the left. Rafael van der Vaart started with Sandro also in the side, and Ledley King at the back. Andre Villas-Boas had David Luiz injured so started Jose Bosingwa and Branislav Ivanovic. Jon Obi Mikel started rather than Oriol Romeu, and Frank Lampard was again on the bench. This was a classic English football game, a classic London derby – end to end, plenty of chances and the game saved in the final minute by the England captain getting his backside in the way of a goalbound shot.” Zonal Marking

The greatest ever comeback

“The Saturday before Christmas in 1957 saw one of the greatest comebacks in football history as ten-man Charlton beat Bill Shankly’s Huddersfield 7-6 at the Valley, having been 5-1 down with only 30 minutes to go. The hero of the (half) hour was Charlton winger Johnny Summers, who scored five and set up the other two in the game. This is the story of that amazing match.” ESPN