Soccer Men by Simon Kuper: Book Review

January 5, 2012

“Simon Kuper is the preeminent intellectual football author of our time. His works such as Football Against the Enemy, and Soccernomics (aka Why England Lose) need no introduction to many fans of the beautiful game. His columns in publications such as The Financial Times are indispensable reading for those who want to keep a sharp edge on the developments throughout the world of football.” EPL Talk

Soccer Men (ESPN)
“Parallels between football and religion are unbounded. The stadium as a place of worship, the passion of its followers, and the celestial reverence of its most prominent figures – namely Pele and Maradona – are just a few examples that suggest football has penetrated global culture more effectively than any religion in the past century. Yet football, like so many faiths upon their arrival on the world stage, has recently been forced under the microscope.” ESPN

Soccer Men
“Soccer Men goes behind the scenes with soccer’s greatest players and coaches. Inquiring into the genius and hubris of the modern game, Kuper details the lives of giants such as Arsène Wenger, Jose Mourinho, Jorge Valdano, Lionel Messi, Kaká, and Didier Drogba, describing their upbringings, the soccer cultures they grew up in, the way they play, and the baggage they bring to their relationships at work. From one of the great sportswriters of our time, Soccer Men is a penetrating and surprising anatomy of the figures that define modern soccer.” amazon: Soccer Men

Manchester City 3-0 Liverpool: Liverpool dominate possession but City score all the goals

January 5, 2012

“Liverpool completed twice as many passes, but City were more creative and ruthless in the final third. Roberto Mancini was without Mario Balotelli, who often features against big sides, so went with Edin Dzeko upfront with Sergio Aguero behind. Kenny Dalglish didn’t use either Craig Bellamy or Steven Gerrard despite good performances against Newcastle, whilst Luis Suarez was banned. Andy Carroll started upfront alone, with Dirk Kuyt out on the right. A combination of little creativity plus mistakes at the back meant Liverpool couldn’t turn their dominance of the ball into a positive result.” Zonal Marking

Manchester City 3 – 0 Liverpool
“Normal service was resumed for 10-man Manchester City as they once again put daylight between themselves and rivals Manchester United at the top of the Premier League table with victory over Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium. After just one point and no goals from two matches, they were given an easy ride on their way to opening up a three-point cushion over their neighbours, who will try to reduce the gap again at Newcastle tomorrow.” ESPN

Newcastle United 3-0 Manchester United: Newcastle combine high pressure and long balls

January 5, 2012

“Newcastle gave an excellent performance to overpower Manchester United, and inflict their second straight defeat. Alan Pardew gave Shola Ameobi a start upfront, which hinted that Newcastle would play more direct than usual. He also used Ryan Taylor in an unusual narrow right-sided midfield role, with Davide Santon at left-back.” Zonal Marking

Get Rich Quick: The Peril of the Champions League

January 5, 2012

“It may sound weird, but the facts are there to see: most small clubs that managed to have some success in Europe’s top competition are now facing a wide variety of problems. Some of them are actually on the brink of a financial meltdown. How to justify such a strange phenomenon? Is it a curse? Maybe just bad manegement.” In Bed With Maradoma

Calcio: A History of Italian Football by John Foot

January 5, 2012

“Fittingly, for a nation that has given the world the Renaissance, grand opera and Machiavelli, a history of Italian football reveals a beguiling mixture of the artistic, the overblown and the scheming. Unlike football played in Spain, Germany or France, say, Italian football possesses a uniquely seductive quality that often amounts to more than the sum of its parts. This is because, as Foot’s admirable survey of the game makes clear, football in Italy is not as it is in other countries: this is a nation where the largest selling daily newspaper is dedicated almost entirely to football; where its former ruling party is named after a football chant; and where its former Prime Minister owns one of the league’s most famous clubs. Football, it seems, is Italy, and Italy is football, and so, inevitably, a narrative about the game can’t help but be a narrative about the country as a whole – its dynamics, its preoccupations, its outlook and its problems.” Independent

Calcio: A History of Italian Football
“The first history of Italian football to be written in English, ‘Calcio’ is a mix of serious analysis and comic storytelling, with vivid descriptions of games, goals, dives, missed penalties, riots and scandals in the richest and toughest league in the world. ‘Calcio’ tells the story of Italian football from its origins in the 1890’s to the present day. It takes us through a history of great players and teams, of style, passion and success, but also of violence, cynicism, catenaccio tactics and corruption.” amazon

Transfer window could prove quiet for Americans playing overseas

January 5, 2012

“With the European transfer window back open, there’s no better time for the annual tradition of taking inventory of which Americans could be on the move over the next month. The only thing is, there’s not really that many that need to go anywhere at all. In contrast to last year at this time, most top-tier American players find themselves situated in favorable and productive club situations, and instead of using the winter months to plot moves for more playing time, they’re preparing for the next phase of their respective seasons.” SI

Sorry still seems to be the hardest word for Liverpool in Luis Suarez affair

January 5, 2012

“Kenny Dalglish and the club have done the right thing, electing not to appeal against Luis Suárez’s eight-game ban for racially abusing Patrice Evra, the real victim in all this. There was little chance of winning any reprieve for their Uruguayan for directing the word ‘negro’ at Evra.” Telegraph – Henry Winter

Match Review: FC Barcelona 4 – CA Osasuna 0

January 5, 2012

“Did you know that last night’s match was Barça’s 1000th win at the Camp Nou? No, neither did I until I read it somewhere this morning. Anyway, their 1000th win at the Camp Nou came from a 4-0 defeat of Osasuna…yes, the team they won 8-0 against back in September. Isn’t it funny that no-one has noticed that the scoreline was halved since the last time Barça faced them? Are Barça in crisis again? …No.” The Offside