Who will win the Pep Guardiola sweepstakes?

November 14, 2012


“For a guy who stands short of 6 feet and has spent the past few months holed up on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, Pep Guardiola casts a huge shadow. In fact, you struggle to remember the last time a manager’s absence from the big time caused so much buzz around the game. Conventional wisdom has it that he can write his own ticket. And, in fact, he just about can. He could phone up just about any club in the world, say, ‘Hey, I’d like to be in charge there next year, what do you reckon?’ and you could probably count on one hand the clubs that would not return his call.” ESPN


Diskerud goal in injury time gives Americans draw at Russia

November 14, 2012

“Mix Diskerud scored his first international goal in the third minute of injury time, giving the United States a 2-2 draw against Russia on Wednesday in a friendly at Krasnodar. Michael Bradley, who scored in the 76th minute, sent a long ball into the penalty area toward Terrence Boyd, who was marked by defender Sergei Ignashevich. The ball rebounded off Ignashevich to Diskerud, and the 87th-minute substitute sent a 20-yard, right-foot shot in off a hand of goalkeeper Vladimir Gabulov.” SI

U.S. fortunate to escape Russia with draw in final match of 2012
“The U.S. got a tie despite being largely outplayed. This was just a friendly, so there’s little reason to make much of the result, just as there was little reason to do so when the U.S. won at Italy and Mexico in friendlies earlier this year. That said, there’s still some value in bagging a tie even when you weren’t the better team on the day, and the U.S. managed to do so thanks to Mix Diskerud’s injury-time equalizer. Goalkeeper Tim Howard made several key saves that kept the U.S. in the game, and give some credit to subs Juan Agudelo and Terrence Boyd, who had knockdown header assists on the U.S. goals. It’s fair to ask if Michael Bradley may now be making The Leap. The Roma starter was the best player on the U.S. squad, continuing an upward trend in his play over the past year, and his opening strike from distance was a thing of beauty.” SI


Milan 1-3 Fiorentina: Allegri’s Milan outplayed across the pitch

November 14, 2012

“Fiorentina produced an excellent display, particularly in the first half, while Milan looked completely uncomfortable in their system. Max Allegri continued with the 4-2-3-1 system he’d successfully used in the 5-1 win over Cheivo, but brought back Philippe Mexes, Mattia De Sciglio and Kevin-Prince Boateng into the side. Vincenzo Montella was without Stevan Jovetic, so used Luca Toni as his primary striker. Fiorentina’s system seemed to cause Milan problems across the pitch – they were unable to win the ball quickly and didn’t exploit their numerical advantage on the flanks.” Zonal Marking


Brazil milestone evokes memories of Pele and Moore

November 14, 2012

“‘One of the biggest blasts of hot air, which I’ve been hearing ever since I was an adolescent, is the idea that top level sport is a good place to learn and develop ethical and moral values. It never was. Ambition, the desire to be a hero and to make lots of money are usually much stronger.’ So wrote 1970 Brazil great Tostao in Sunday’s version of his always interesting column, a twice weekly space where football is analysed by someone of great knowledge and intelligence who loves the game but is even more fascinated by the subtleties and contradictions of the human being.” BBC – Tim Vickery


Horncastle: Borussia Dortmund and the need for speed

November 14, 2012

“Mustafa Amini stands in the middle of a cage. Rest assured, this isn’t what it seems. Contrary to appearances, the Borussia Dortmund youngster isn’t the club’s captive. This isn’t some draconian punishment for a poor performance, ill discipline or threatening to grow back that outrageous auburn afro. No, this here is an experiment and Amini is a willing guinea pig. Why? Because, with time, he might leave the cage a Footbonaut. That’s the name of the new state-of-the-art training machine Dortmund unveiled at their Brackel training ground back in late September.” The Score (Video)