How to find the right coach

Marcelo Bielsa
“In one week last month, the British newspapers reported on names in the running to be the new Chelsea coach. Pep Guardiola, it was reported in some quarters, will be offered a contract worth £40 million ($63M) after tax, while The Times reported that Laurent Blanc was the front-runner. Jose Mourinho is still a target, claimed the Daily Mail, while The Mirror had Marcelo Bielsa snubbing an approach, via intermediaries, from Roman Abramovich. Four coaches, all at the top of their profession: but each with totally different philosophies and visions about how the game should be played, how their players should be treated, and, presumably, how they would approach their role if they worked at Stamford Bridge.” SI


Gone but not forgotten: football in the Spanish Civil War

“In 1937, at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War, Republican areas of Spain formed la Liga del Mediterraneo (the Mediterranean League) and la Copa de le Espana Libre (the Free Spain Cup) as the national league was suspended. These competitions mark a period many in Spain would like to forget, but one club wants them officially recognised.” World Soccer

Arsenal 1-0 Manchester City: City lose the midfield battle – and probably the title

“Mikel Arteta’s long-range strike settled a match Arsenal could have won by more. Arsene Wenger made one change from the side that lost to QPR last weekend. Aaron Ramsey, who looked uncomfortable out on the left in that match, was dropped and replaced by Yossi Benayoun, a player who more naturally drifts inside from the flank. Roberto Mancini was without David Silva, so used Samir Nasri, James Milner, Sergio Aguero and Mario Balotelli, who almost always starts big games ahead of out-of-form Edin Dzeko. Pablo Zabaleta played at right-back, with Micah Richards on the bench.” Zonal Marking

La Liga review: Real Zaragoza 1, FC Barcelona 4, Or, Battle in a Field of Flowers

“Let us get the complaining out of the way first, so we can focus on the football or what passed for it last night. It’s one thing to keep the pitch at your stadium at a length and state of irrigation that favours your particular style, but it’s something completely different to force visiting teams to frolic through meadows in full flower like a footballing version of The Sound of Music; soon, teams will be growing carnivorous plants around their goals in an attempt to stop Messi.” The Offside (YouTube)

It’s not a results business is it?

“So much pressure is put on sports players to perform. Win at all cost seems to be the motto at all levels of the game we should love. And why should we love it? Because it at the end of the day it is supposed to be a past time, something to enjoy, to relieve our stress of an ever increasing hard life. But there is more to life than the pursuit of winning. There is enjoyment.” The Ball is Round

Santos continue to punch above their weight

“If the Titanic was too big to sink, then Santos FC would be too small to shake the world – flawed logic on both counts. On 14 April, 1912 – the very day the Titanic hit an iceberg which caused it to sink – Santos were founded, beginning their rise to become one of the most remarkable clubs in football history. Santos represent a relatively small city, with a population of a little more than 400,000, which grew to prominence as the port through which much of Brazil’s coffee was exported. An hour’s climb away is the metropolis of Sao Paulo, South America’s biggest city, with more than 11 million inhabitants.” BBC – Tim Vickery

Liverpool 1 – 1 Aston Villa

“Luis Suarez’s late header prevented a fourth successive league defeat but it only served to paper over the cracks of another faltering Liverpool performance. The Reds went into the game on the back of six losses in seven matches, their worst sequence for almost 60 years, and with criticism mounting on both the players and manager Kenny Dalglish. Fragile confidence was eroded further when Chris Herd put the visitors ahead early on but a much-needed win for the midlanders, for whom relegation worries have been growing, proved beyond them.” ESPN