Daily Archives: February 23, 2012

Tactics: winning ways with Universidad de Chile

“You wonder what Marcelo Bielsa must think of it all. In 2011 the two most successful club sides in the world have been Barcelona and Universidad de Chile. Both play hard pressing, attacking football, often going with three at the back. In other words, they both play Bielsista football – which raises the question of why the man himself is leading Athletic Bilbao to upper mid-table in Spain rather than managing one of the continent’s giants.” World Soccer – Jonathan Wilson (YouTube)

Marseille 1-0 Inter: Marseille finally get the breakthrough with their 44th cross of the match

“Andre Ayew pounced in stoppage time, and Marseille will take a one goal lead to Inter. Didier Deschamps was without top scorer Loic Remy, so Brandao was upfront. In midfield, Benoit Cheyrou started rather than Charles Kaboré. Claudio Ranieri made the fitness-related decision to omit Diego Milito, and instead play Diego Forlan and Mauro Zarate – otherwise, the side was as expected. A strange game here – Inter looked in control midway through the second half, but then increasingly invited pressure. 0-0 was probably a better reflection of the balance of play.” Zonal Marking

Good old Sussex by the Sea

“Danny Last may have put away the computer keyboard from European Football Weekends but that doesn’t mean he has also filed the old Polaroid in the bin too. Yesterday he was part of the Sussex Army who descended on Anfield for the FA Cup 5th Round tie. We all know the score but his outstanding pictures tell a different story.” The Ball is Round

My Dreams About Jose Mourinho

“I have recurring dreams about Jose Mourinho. The circumstances change — there are different places, different story lines — but each time we exchange a surprised glance, and one of us begins to talk in a strange language. And then something horrible happens. The last one I had came the night I was doing research for the next day’s Athletic Bilbao-RDC Mallorca game in La Palma.” Run of Play

Napoli 3-1 Chelsea: Ivanovic plays high up and Napoli exploit the space in behind him

“Napoli played their classic counter-attacking game to put themselves in a strong position going into the second leg. Walter Mazzarri was suspended from the touchline, so assistant Nicolo Frustalupi took charge. Morgan De Sanctis returned in goal, Hugo Campagnaro was fit to start, and Juan Zuniga was picked rather than Andrea Dossena on the left. Andre Villas-Boas left out Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole, though the latter replaced Jose Bosingwa early on at left-back. Florent Malouda got a surprise start (though he has played the majority) of games in Europe this season. As expected, Didier Drogba played rather than Fernando Torres, while John Terry was out.” Zonal Marking

Cardiff claim cup glory

“As Cardiff prepare for the Carling Cup final against Liverpool this weekend, the Welsh side know that they have the chance to make history. The club have brought home few major trophies in their 113-year history, but winning the FA Cup final in 1927 against Herbert Chapman’s Arsenal was the culmination of a decade in which the Bluebirds were seen as one of the top clubs in the English league.” ESPN

Wenger and Arsenal’s decline due to idealism or fundamentalism?

“There is probably no better account of a leader in decline than the depiction Gabriel Garcia Marquez gives of the final days of Simon Bolivar in The General in his Labyrinth. The great liberator is seen as exhausted and paranoid, clinging ever more desperately to the doctrines that made him great even as he drifts down the Magdalena toward death. Soccer managers tend not to have sufficient longevity for their decline to achieve such an epic feel, but the protracted misery of Arsene Wenger does. All great men, perhaps, are doomed to slide into self-parody.” SI – Jonathan Wilson