Twenty Years Of Fever Pitch

March 5, 2012

“It may seem odd to look at upon the anniversary of the release of a book, but Fever Pitch is no ordinary book. This year sees the twentieth anniversary of a book that launched its own sub-genre – the football confessional continues to thrive to this day – and has been held responsible for both a sea-change in attitudes towards football supporters and for the gentrification of the game in a general sense, and it is worth taking a moment to pause and consider the impact of a book that went some way towards redefining football writing in Britain.” twohundredpercent

Fever Pitch author Nick Hornby says beautiful game has lost its way
“As the 20th anniversary of the publication of Fever Pitch nears, Nick Hornby worries that the cost of supporting top clubs has turned the game from a passion into a theatre-style ‘treat’.” Guardian

Fever Pitch and the rise of middle-class football
“The publication of Nick Hornby’s football memoir Fever Pitch 20 years ago is often seen as the point when middle-class interest in football began. How far has the game changed since then?”>BBC

“Fever Pitch,” by Nick Hornby
“Fever Pitch is self-confessed football (soccer) tragic Nick Hornby’s semi-autobiography and memoir of his life built around supporting Arsenal FC. Originally written in 1992, Hornby chronicles his youth and teenage years growing up as a divorced child, his years at university, and first forays into adulthood while connecting everything to his obsession of the Arsenal, fan worship and the way obsessions find a way to rule a man’s life. The memoir is told in the format of each chapter being a short essay on the lead-up and goings on in his life preceding a particular match.” Stuff I Read

Fever Pitch
Fever Pitch: A Fan’s Life is the title of a 1992 autobiographical book by British author Nick Hornby. The book is the basis for two films: Fever Pitch (UK) was released in 1997, and Fever Pitch (US) in 2005. The first edition included the sub-title ‘A Fan’s Life’ but later paperback editions did not.” Wikipedia, amazon

Can Lionel Messi become an Argentina hero?

March 5, 2012

“Argentina will be hoping Lionel Messi is finally starting to transform his stunning club form with Barcelona to the international arena following his magnificent hat-trick in the 3-1 win against Switzerland. The hints were there late last year, in the second half of the World Cup qualifier away to Colombia, and now the Switzerland game has surely consolidated the Messi-Sergio Aguero link-up at the heart of the Argentine attack. The pair have had a natural rapport for years, built up when they roomed together during the 2005 World Youth Cup, and now that understanding is clearly visible on the pitch through their pacy, dazzling exchanges.” BBC – Tim Vickery

Which way will dominoes tumble for Premier League managers?

March 5, 2012

“It is tempting to look at the top half of the Premier League table and see rows of upright dominoes. At some point soon, one will teeter and tap its neighbor’s shoulder, and then who knows how many, and which, will follow. What if Harry Redknapp takes the England job? (What if Spurs lose to Manchester United this weekend, and Arsenal beat Liverpool?) What if Chelsea does not get back into the Champions League places? What if Roman Abramovich sacks Andre Villas-Boas? What if he’s the replacement? Why? When?SI

Leverkusen focus attacks down the right

March 5, 2012

“Bayer Leverkusen’s 2-0 win over Bayern Munich on Saturday was a devastating blow to Bayern’s hopes of winning the title – they’re now seven points behind Dortmund. The game was evenly balanced, and could have gone either way. Bayern had more possession, Leverkusen broke quicker, and the sides had the same number of attempts. Robin Dutt can hardly take this as a brilliant tactical victory over Jupp Heynckes, but the nature of his side’s shape (whether deliberate or by accident) was interesting, because much of the home side’s play was concentrated down the right flank.” Zonal Marking

Liverpool 1-2 Arsenal: Liverpool see more of the ball, but Arsenal have the finishing touch

March 5, 2012

“Robin van Persie had two chances and scored two goals, and the gap between the teams is now ten points. Kenny Dalglish rewarded Stewart Downing and Dirk Kuyt for their good Carling Cup final performances with starts. Steven Gerrard was unfit to start, Jay Spearing was used in the holding role, and Jamie Carragher replaced the injured Daniel Agger. Arsene Wenger had fitness worries over Tomas Rosicky, Thomas Vermaelen and Robin van Persie, but all three started – so Arsenal were unchanged from the win over Tottenham last week.” Zonal Marking

Liverpool 1 – 2 Arsenal
“Robin van Persie proved his worth to Arsenal as one of the deadliest strikers in world football scored two goals to snatch victory at Anfield. Despite being second-best for most of the game the Gunners strengthened their grip on fourth place – and lessened the chances of Liverpool catching them – thanks to the prolific Holland international.” ESPN

The evolution of Robin van Persie
“Not a week goes without a prelude to Robin van Persie but every time, he seems to justify it. This week, he single-handedly – well almost as he required wonderful goalkeeping from Wojciech Szczesny and some woeful finishing from Liverpool – earned Arsenal a 2-1 win at Anfield. And again he scored a technically perfect goal. There were some who criticised Pepe Reina for being beaten at the near post but such is his expert technique that he killed the ball dead from Alex Song’s lofted pass to volley pass Reina. His first, however, was a bit more banal but van Persie has made a habit of scoring such goals and that’s significant because a couple of seasons, such a transformation didn’t seem possible.” Arsenal Column (YouTube)

Benfica 2-3 Porto: pressing, transitions, set-pieces and substitutions

March 5, 2012

“A stereotypically brilliant match between these two sides ended with a narrow win for Porto, who now have a crucial lead in the title race. Benfica coach Jorge Jesus named the side that was largely as expected. In fact, it was exactly the same XI that played in the 2-2 draw in the reverse fixture. Porto coach Vitor Pereira’s side was very different from that day, however. Marc Janko has since arrived to play upfront, Lucho Gonzalez has returned in the middle, while Djalma played on the left and Maicon was at the back. This was a very attacking, aggressive game that went through various phases and was highly influenced by substitutions.” Zonal Marking

Love Story: Barca-Sporting 3-1

March 5, 2012

“In an exciting, strange, frustrating and exhilarating match, Barcelona F.C. without the world’s best player overcame Sporting Gijon 3-1 — despite playing half the match with ten men (and a few minutes with nine). I had the intro for this piece all written, in my head. I was going to recall a terrible novel from 40 years ago, a bestseller based on a movie (yes) called Love Story. The narrator of that book asks, ‘What can you say about a … girl who died?’ And had Barca lost or even drawn against Sporting at home, you would have to say that Yes, she’s a goner. But what can you say about a girl who doesn’t die? About a ten-man team that dominates and outscores an opponent, against all odds, because it has to? This one is a love story.” The Offside (YouTube)

Pep and Jose should swap sides

March 5, 2012

“Only the most one-eyed wonder any longer whether this generation of Barcelona are the greatest club team of all time, yet the title has all but been awarded to Real Madrid by complacent default. At this point, Guardiola’s first serious failure to meet expectations, you might expect the knives to be out. Now, with Jose Mourinho delivering what Real Madrid fans could only dream of last year, you might also expect endless jeroboams and prophylactics to be sent his way by his bosses. The reality though, is that Barcelona want to keep the prevaricating Guardiola while Mourinho faces internal struggles, perhaps ultimately forcing him out.” ESPN