Atletico Madrid – It’s A Mad World

August 21, 2012


Radamel Falcao
“Atlético Madrid ended last season in some style, just missing out on a Champions League place after surging up the La Liga table and then winning a terrific Europa League final 3-0 against Athletic Bilbao with two goals from their prolific Colombian forward Radamel Falcao, the man known as ‘El Tigre’. This was particularly impressive after their faltering start following the sale of many leading players last summer, including their South American strikers, Sergio Aguero to Manchester City and Diego Forlán to Inter.” Swiss Ramble


Everton 1-0 Manchester United: Fellaini dominates in the air

August 21, 2012

“Marouane Fellaini was the game’s star player, and scored the winning goal with a fine header. David Moyes used a familiar 4-4-1-1 system, with Fellaini deployed behind Nikica Jelavic. Sir Alex Ferguson had major injury problems at the back, with Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Jonny Evans and Rio Ferdinand all out. Michael Carrick had to play at the back, and Antonio Valencia started at right-back, with Rafael still recovering from the Olympics. Further forward, Shinji Kagawa started as the number ten, but Robin van Persie remained on the bench.” Zonal Marking

Ferguson showcases a 4-2-1-3 against Everton
“The main story on the night was Everton’s excellent performance, but the more significant development in the long-term was Manchester United’s choice of formation and personnel. The arrivals of both Shinji Kagawa and Robin van Persie have seen many questions about precisely how they’ll fit into the side, and while this starting XI doesn’t solve the issue of where van Persie plays, it hints at a change in strategy.” Zonal Marking


Neymar must leave comfort zone to fulfil promise

August 21, 2012

“On Wednesday Neymar helped Brazil to a morale-boosting 3-0 win away to Sweden. The next evening he was back in action on the other side of the Atlantic, in Florianopolis in the south of Brazil, where he played the starring role as Santos came from behind to seal a 3-1 victory against Figueirense.” BBC – Tim Vickery


Reading between the results

August 21, 2012


“The surprise opening day thrashing is becoming a routine part of the Premier League’s opening weekend. In 2010-11, newly promoted Blackpool beat Wigan 4-0 away from home. Last year, Bolton also recorded a surprise 4-0 road win over Queens Park Rangers. This time, we saw three big wins — Fulham defeated Norwich 5-0; Swansea traveled to QPR and was victorious by the same score line; West Bromwich Albion recorded a 3-0 win over Liverpool.” ESPN


Real Madrid 1-1 Valencia: Xabi Alonso dictates the game but Real fail to find the finishes

August 21, 2012

“Mauricio Pellegrino’s debut as Valencia coach resulted in a draw at the Bernabeu. Jose Mourinho’s side was very familiar from last season – no new signings played. The main surprise was that Lassana Diarra was fielded alongside Xabi Alonso in midfield. Valencia continued to play in a 4-2-3-1 system, the formation they’ve pretty much used since Pellegrino’s mentor Rafael Benitez was in charge of the club a decade ago. New signings Joao Pereira, Fernando Gago and Andres Guardado all slotted in where you’d expect. This was a game that started surprisingly open, before becoming increasingly cagey as the match wore on, as Valencia sensed they could pick up a draw by parking the bus.” Zonal Marking


Camp Nou news

August 21, 2012

“Last season, as regular readers may recall, I dragged my young daughter from San Sebastian to the Camp Nou to watch Barcelona v Real Sociedad, only to experience the coldest night in the city for 50 years. However, the thoroughly decent 2-1 result helped to keep our toes warm.” ESPN


10 Best Bundesliga Bargain Transfers 2012/13

August 21, 2012

“With the 50th Bundesliga season just days away, Bundesliga clubs are still fine tuning their squads and making adjustments where needed. With most transfers out of the way already, here are some of the best moves made by clubs in the league ahead of the 2012/13 season, players who might not have stolen the headlines but who could turn out to be the best bargain buys of the season.” Bundesliga Fanatic