More than a club: FC Barcelona and Catalonia’s road to independence

November 22, 2012


“As Catalonia votes in an election that could lead to a referendum on independence from Spain, Sid Lowe looks at one of the region’s great cultural sporting icons, FC Barcelona, and its role in Catalan identity. Key figures in the club’s history, including Johan Cruyff, Joan Laporta and current vice-president Carles Vilarrubí explore Barça’s motto ‘more than a club’ and its role in today’s political landscape” Guardian (Video)


Champions League group stage approaching a climactic finish

November 22, 2012

“This has been one of the most memorable Champions League group stages in history, and Matchday Five will be a pivotal moment for several big clubs. It could see the elimination of champions from England, Holland, Russia, Portugal, and Italy, while reigning champion Chelsea has a nerve-wracking away game to negotiate too. The previous Matchdays have provided late drama, superb goals, surprising shocks and stars of the future. Here are some storylines to watch from Matchday Five…” SI


Champions League Team of the Week

November 22, 2012

“Much was decided in the last round of Champions League fixtures, with as many as 13 of the 16 knockout round qualification places now filled. The fact that one of them was not taken by Chelsea on Tuesday night following a defeat in Turin ultimately cost Roberto Di Matteo his job, despite the fact that the Blues look likely to end the group on 10 points. However, as the Italian looked set to become the first ever manager to exit the competition at the group stage having been victorious the previous season, Abramovich wielded the axe yet again.” ESPN


Tactical Analysis: Should Rafa Benitez switch Chelsea to a 4-3-3?

November 22, 2012

“Having failed to win a game in their last four Premier League games, some may say that Chelsea are experiencing a mini-crisis. Having been purring up until their controversial defeat to United, everything looked rosy, but now there is talk of dressing room unrest and people are doubting the viability of Roberto di Matteo’s 4-2-3-1 formation. With this in mind it may be worth exploring a plan B, such as a move to a 4-3-3. A new manager may wish to come in and alter this, but do Chelsea have the personnel for a 4-3-3?” Think Football


Madness, Or Something More Calculated? The Inevitable Early Departure Of Roberto Di Matteo

November 22, 2012

“If there is one aspect of the sacking of Roberto Di Matteo that actually does retain the capacity to startle, it’s the numbers. Di Matteo is the ninth Chelsea manager to have left Stamford Bridge in the nine years to since Roman Abramovich bought the club. This is a higher managerial turnover than the club had in the first seventy years of its existence, a stark figure, even if we factor in the fact that clubs generally have a higher turnover of managers than they used to have and, while it is clear that the club has won more trophies over these last nine years than it did during those first seventy, we could counter-argue that this may have had more to do with with the vast amounts of money that have been lavished on the first team than the clubs appointment policy with regard to its managerial staff has.” twohundredpercent


Manchester City 1-1 Real Madrid: City out

November 22, 2012

“Roberto Mancini started with a back three, then moved to a back four, but Manchester City couldn’t find a second goal. Mancini decided to start with a similar XI to the second half shape against Tottenham, when they looked good with a back three. Nine of the 11 players were the same, with the exception of Matija Nastasic coming in for the injured Gael Clichy, and Samir Nasri (ill for the Spurs game) starting in the centre alongside Yaya Toure, an extremely attack-minded midfield.” Zonal Marking