Barcelona 5 – 1 Real Sociedad

August 20, 2012


“Messi bags brace for five-goal Barca. David Villa scored in his first competitive appearance of the year and Lionel Messi netted a brace as Barcelona claimed a convincing 5-1 victory over Real Sociedad in new coach Tito Vilanova’s Primera Division debut in the Nou Camp hotseat.” ESPN

La Liga: FC Barcelona 5-1 Real Sociedad: Player Ratings
“Is there a better way to start the season? Real Madrid dropped points against Valencia, at the Bernabeu no less, and in response, Barcelona put five past Real Sociedad. As opening days go, this was pretty good from a Barca perspective. The season ahead is going to be tough, but even at this early stage, a two-point differential could make all the difference. But it wasn’t just the results, it was also the performances.” Barca Blaugranes


Newcastle 2-1 Tottenham: Pardew switches formation; Ben Arfa excels in both systems

August 20, 2012

“Newcastle started their 2012/13 campaign with a hard-fought victory over Tottenham. Fabricio Coloccini wasn’t fit to start for Newcastle, so Alan Pardew used James Perch at centre-back. New signing Vernon Anita was on the bench. Andre Villas-Boas left Jan Vertonghen and Rafael van der Vaart on the bench. Jermain Defoe, Tottenham’s only senior striker, played upfront. This game started slowly but got progressively more interesting. There were three main points of interest – (a) Villas-Boas’ strategy in his first game at Tottenham, (b) the battle down Newcastle’s right in the first half, and (c) Pardew’s half-time change in formation.” Zonal Marking


Chelsea’s inventive midfielders will benefit Fernando Torres

August 20, 2012

“It’s difficult to work out Roberto Di Matteo’s preferred football style. When he was manager of West Bromwich Albion his side played an attack-minded 4-2-3-1 system, but he was sacked 18 months ago because the side conceded too many goals, among reports that little time was spent working on team shape in training. In stark contrast, Di Matteo won the Champions League last season by assembling an extremely defensive side that benefited from admirable organisation.” Guardian


Ten Reasons to Love the Football League

August 20, 2012


“So Football is officially dead then – beside images of sideburns, NHS celebrations, Kenneth Branagh in a top hat, a Somali-born hero, David Rudisha, the lightning bolt and the tranquil surrounds of ‘Eton Dorney’, the game has lost its sheen – embattled as it was when Freddie Flintoff inspired an Embrace song in 2005 and Jonny drop kicked that ball two years before. Well maybe – but we still feel there are reasons to celebrate the return of the round ball – and the Football League in particular. Hence, Lanterne Rouge (LR), Lloyd (LL) and John McGee (JM) have been called upon to provide 10 reasons why the resumption of hostilities is to be welcomed this blisteringly hot August Saturday.” thetwounfortunates


Premier League preview: Breaking down every club’s outlook by tier

August 20, 2012

“The new Premier League season is about to begin, which means it’s time to dig out the Magic 8 ball, give it a shake and ask: How will things go this year? In recent seasons, teams have been separated into four groupings: top four, the chasing few, the bottom five and the rest. That doesn’t seem like such a good breakdown in 2012, as only a few clubs stand a probable chance at winning the title. A far greater number approach the season with at least a tang of apprehension as the rest of the table is concerned.” SI


England: preview of the 2012-13 season

August 20, 2012

“The England national side may have battled bravely through the Euro 2012 group stage this summer before their limitations were exposed, but there can be no doubting the strength of the English game at club level.” World Soccer