The Question: Why is balance more important than symmetry in lineups?

March 13, 2012

“Humanity seems to have a built-in regard for symmetry. It was what William Blake admired in the tiger and it explains, various surveys have claimed, why certain faces are considered more attractive than others (Denzel Washington and Cate Blanchett, apparently, have the most symmetrical faces in Hollywood). The instinct with football teams and formations has always been to set them out symmetrically – a 4-3-3 with the shuttling players neatly flanking the anchor and the wingers placed precisely on their touchlines, or a blockish 4-4-2 that becomes two lines with a line half the length set centrally atop them.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson

Bernd Leno: After Messi

March 13, 2012

“Lavish, extravagant and most importantly, abundant levels of praise have been heaped upon Lionel Messi and the magic of his ability. However, as is so often with great victors, the story of the defeat is often lost or forgotten. Rarely does the question arise, “what about their opponents”? Has anyone thought about them in the context of this footballing master-class? There have been countless teams to fall under the proverbial sword of Barcelona’s play and recently it was Bayer Leverkusen who stood out in defeat. Although slightly altered in terms of personnel, this was a side that had beaten Bayern Munich by two clear goals the weekend before their encounter in the Nou Camp. Yet for the majority of their time in modern football’s colosseum they were mere pedestrians. The collateral damage that so many sides effectively become during and after playing Barcelona is extremely interesting, not merely because of the impact it may well have on that team’s season but also on an individual’s career.” In Bed With Maradona

Messi still has some way to go before he can be considered the greatest
“As the plaudits shower on the gifted Lionel Messi, why do I keep thinking about Ron Clarke, a largely forgotten Australian athlete? A middle distance runner who, between Olympiads, set record after record, but who, when it came to the Olympic Games themselves, never came close to a gold medal? Anticlimax after four years anti-climax.” World Soccer – Brian Glanville

Five areas of interest in Everton 1-0 Tottenham

March 13, 2012

“This was another interesting clash between David Moyes and Harry Redknapp. Their tactical battle at White Hart Lane last season was fascinating, and this game followed a similar pattern of Moyes responding to Redknapp’s decisions. I’ve written about the difference between the two over at the Guardian, using the battle between Gareth Bale and Seamus Coleman to sum up the two managers’ styles.” Zonal Marking