African Nations Cup preview

January 22, 2012

“There was widespread carnage in the qualifiers for the 2012 African Nations Cup as some of the continent’s biggest names failed to make the cut – most notably the reigning champions Egypt, who finished bottom of their group.” World Soccer

Group C: African Cup of Nations Preview (Gabon, Morocco, Niger, Tunisia)
“We’ve looked at Demba Ba and friends in Group A and contemplated Côte d’Ivoire in Group B. Just Football’s team-by-team African Cup of Nations 2012 group previews continues now with a look at Group C. Follow us on Twitter or subscribe to Just Football to get all the latest news from Just Football at the African Cup of Nations and beyond.” Just Football – Group C, Group D: African Cup of Nations Preview (Botswana, Ghana, Guinea, Mali)

2012 Africa Cup of Nations
“The 2012 Africa Cup of Nations is the 28th edition of the Africa Cup of Nations, the football championship of Africa organized by the Confederation of African Football (CAF). It will be co-hosted by Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.[1] The two countries won the right to host the tournament after defeating a Nigerian bid along with two other bid winning nations, Angola and Libya. Bids from Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Senegal were rejected.” Wikipedia


Madrid’s Pepe disgraces himself, more thoughts on the clásico

January 22, 2012

“Five thoughts from the first leg of the Copa del Rey and Barcelona’s 2-1 win over Real Madrid in the latest clásico.” SI

Gary Cahill suits Chelsea statistically & tactically

January 22, 2012

“It is often said that when building a side, you should start with the defence, but Andre Villas-Boas seems to be doing things in reverse. Chelsea barely evolved from the Jose Mourinho days to Carlo Ancelotti’s final season. The spine of Petr Cech, John Terry, Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba remained intact – Chelsea were an old side depending upon players who, whilst still capable of good performances, were probably all four or five years past their peak.” Zonal Marking

Southampton – Saints Alive

January 22, 2012

Nigel Adkins
“‘Are we keeping up with you?’ That was the chant aimed at Nigel Adkins by Brighton and Hove Albion fans after a particularly ill-advised comment made by the Southampton manager during last season’s League One promotion tussle. As it turned out, Southampton finished second to the Seagulls, but crucially achieved their primary objective of promotion to the Championship.” Swiss Ramble

Liverpool losing their Way

January 22, 2012

“Supplying a code to insiders while appearing an impenetrable anachronism to outsiders, the ‘Liverpool Way’ is given mythical meaning by tales of the bootroom and past glories. Those with most experience of it seem the most fervent believers. There are times when Kenny Dalglish’s every decision appears informed by the ‘Liverpool Way’. Never publicly criticising his players is a central tenet of his management, informed, it seems, by ideas he encountered in the 1970s. Yet when his charges broke others of the code’s commandments – never disrespect an opponent, no matter how lowly; never get distracted by future fixtures when there is a more immediate match – the Scot made a rare break with tradition.” ESPN

Football In Iraq

January 22, 2012

“On July 29, 2007, on a hot, summer day in Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta, two Arab countries faced each other in a battle for Asia’s biggest football tournament. One nation in particular, faced heavy odds against them due to the turmoil and bloodshed it has faced over the years, and the fact that they were facing a team who has had huge success in the tournament over the years in the shape of Saudi Arabia. The underdogs in this case and in this match-up was Iraq, a nation that surprised everyone including myself, by reaching the final of this illustrious tournament when some believed that they would struggle to even get past the group stages due to lack of preparation and the appointment of a new coach in Jordan Viera, just weeks before the tournament began.” In Bed With Maradoma