The Coolest Soccer Team in Europe

February 25, 2012


“Napoli’s startling 3-1 upset of Chelsea in the Champions League last Tuesday accomplished three important things. It put a formal timestamp on the moment everyone realized that Serie A had caught up to the Premier League. It launched a thousand ‘Andre Villas-Boas DeathWatch’ columns, to the point that hasandrevillasboasbeensackedyet.com became a vital resource for soccer journalists. And it cemented Napoli’s status as the coolest club in Europe and the default answer to the question, ‘If you’re an American looking to get into European soccer, which team should you support?'” Grantland – 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

The Question: Why is the back three resurgent in Italy?
“Given everything in football – tactically speaking – is relative, perhaps nothing can ever truly be dead. Systems and styles of play that have seemed to have outlived their usefulness drift away, fade from consciousness and lie dormant, waiting for the game to forget about them so they can be triumphantly reintroduced. For a long time, playing three at the back seemed finished, but Napoli’s victory over Chelsea on Tuesday night was just part of a wider resurgence.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson

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

February 25, 2012

“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


On Thomas Müller

February 25, 2012

“There are a lot of reasons to be happy about Germany right now. Comparatively, things are really great there. More importantly, they have an excellent soccer team. As James Tyler wrote at The Classical, they’re a really good soccer team because they’ve decided to stop being German.” Run of Play


Great Football League Teams 31: Liverpool 1961-2

February 25, 2012


“I grew up during a period of near total domination for Liverpool Football Club but one thing I shall always remember is a notebook my Dad had stored away in which he had kept a record of all the FA Cup results for several seasons in the early 1950s.” thetwounfortunates


Racing look for a to return to the glory years

February 25, 2012

“There was a time, before being relegated to the second division in the 1980s, before ‘ceasing to exist’ in 1999, before bankruptcy threatened their existence yet again in 2008, Racing Club de Avellaneda was unofficially the best team in the world after winning three trophies in the space of a year: the 1966 Primera División title, the 1967 Copa Libertadores, and the 1967 Intercontinental Cup, all while breaking several records in the process.” World Soccer


Stuttgart 4-1 Freiburg

February 25, 2012

“Stuttgart comfortably defeated near-ish neighbours Freiburg in the Bundesliga’s Baden-Württemberg derby by four goals to one, with Martin Harnik bagging his tenth and 11th goals of the season. Although question marks over the Swabian outfit’s ability to defend set-pieces remain, with Stuttgart having conceded a needless goal from a corner in the first half, thereby allowing Freiburg to temporarily enjoy a spell on top, Bruno Labbadia’s side simply had far too much attacking quality for the visiting defence here, whose inexperience was plain for all to see. Added to that, Christian Streich’s side showed at the Mercedes-Benz Arena this afternoon that they are severely lacking in quality and invention in the final-third, although the coach may point to last weekend’s 0-0 draw against Bayern Munich, which might conceivably have taken a lot out of his young side both mentally and physically.” Defensive Midfielder


Non-League Videos Of The Week: 19/02/2012

February 25, 2012

“After a couple of weeks off, we can finally get back to some matches from this weekend’s football and we have a variety of competitions for you today. First up, we have a match from this weekend’s FA Vase between Whitley Bay, who have won the tournament for the last three years in a row, and West Auckland. Next up, we have the match between Wrexham, who are chasing the title in the Blue Square Bet Premier, and Hayes & Yeading United, who are fighting to keep their heads above water at the other end of the table. After this is a match from the Premier Division of the Evostik Northern Premier League between FC United of Manchester and Frickley Athletic, and finally we have a match from the Premier Division of the Ryman League, between Bury Town, who are chasing a play-off place, and another team struggling to avoid relegation, Harrow Borough. Our thanks go to all of those that record, edit and upload these videos.” twohundredpercent (Video)