Tactical Analysis: Is the role of the striker dying out?

December 7, 2012

MapOfEurope
“At the mention of Pele, Puskas, Muller and Eusébio, you instinctively think ‘goals’. They were both great goal scorers, and scorers of great goals. They lit up world stages, influenced generations, tormented defenders and forged an image of lethality at the mention of the word ‘striker’. You might even mistake them for hit-men; they were that feared. They are so well known, well remembered and well documented that it would be almost impossible to imagine football history without them. There would be a gaping hole in the Annals of football if we neglected them and their feats. But is it time that we overlook these types of players?” Think Football

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Is Bayern Munich ready to ascend to Champions League winner?

December 7, 2012

“Bayern Munich made it a historic clean sweep of top-of-the-group finishes for the three Bundesliga sides in the Champions League with a 4-1 win over BATE Borisov on Wednesday. On Thursday, Stuttgart, Bayer Leverkusen, Hannover and Mönchengladbach all qualified for the next stage of the Europa League. That’s another first: Germany’s top flight has never had seven teams involved at the international stage after the winter break.” SI


Mediocre Manchesters?

December 7, 2012

“On Sunday, Manchester United will make the short trip to Etihad Stadium for the Premier League’s most eagerly anticipated fixture. A local derby, 1st versus 2nd last season and 2nd versus 1st so far in 2012/13. How could this meeting be any better? Well, it would be improved if either were a good team – in the true sense of the word ‘team’. Not simply a collection of outstanding individuals but instead an XI comprised of like-minded players with mutual understanding, featuring reliable partnerships across the pitch. For a clash between the top two, the lack of identity, cohesion, framework and strategy from City and United is incredible.” ESPN – Michael Cox


Barcelona hopeful on Messi’s knee; Chelsea makes dubious history

December 7, 2012

“Lionel Messi picked up an injury while Chelsea made horrible history as the Champions League group stages concluded Wednesday night … 1. Messi injury spoils Barcelona’s night. What started as an irrelevant match for the Catalans took on an alarming importance as Lionel Messi was taken off on a stretcher with what appeared to be a left knee injury near the end of a goalless draw with Benfica at Camp Nou. With qualification at the head of Group G already assured, Barcelona rested numerous first-teamers for the match, which the visitors dominated in the first half. But Messi came off the bench in the 58th minute. He twisted his knee trying to beat Benfica goalkeeper Artur in the 85th minute and looked in considerable pain.” SI


Commons touch takes Celtic into knockout stages

December 7, 2012

“A Kris Commons penalty nine minutes from time took Celtic FC into the UEFA Champions League round of 16 for the first time in five seasons as a narrow victory against FC Spartak Moskva secured second place in Group G. The Scottish champions kicked off level with SL Benfica on seven points but needing to better their Portuguese rivals’ result to go through for the first time since 2007/08. All looked promising when Gary Hooper fired them into a 21st-minute lead only for a delicate Ari chip to bring eliminated Spartak level before the break. With time running out, Celtic pushed for a winner and were rewarded when Giorgos Samaras was impeded by Marek Suchý, Commons smashing his spot kick in off the underside of the crossbar to earn a result that, combined with Benfica’s draw in Spain, sparked joyous scenes at the final whistle.” UEFA


Schrödinger’s Coach

December 7, 2012

wenger2
“You’re familiar with The Gaze, yes? It’s late in the match. Arsenal is trailing 2-1 to a beatable opponent. The Gunners are passing with urgency, doing everything but scoring, when suddenly some jumped-up Championship striker — let’s call him, I don’t know, Lee Stanhope, or maybe Robbie Davies — nabs the ball on the counter and goes barreling off toward Szczesny. He gets past Koscielny — it’s not hard — and finds an opening before Sagna can track back. Quick chip shot and … yes! It’s 3-1, just in time for the fourth official to hoist his little light board. The air sucks out of the Emirates. Game over.” Grantland – Brian Phillips


Rodgers tactical evolution at Liverpool needs time

December 7, 2012

“Brendan Rodgers has enjoyed a mixed, if not poor start to his spell at Liverpool. Neutrals and some Liverpool fans may feel that Liverpool’s mediocre league position is down to him, but in truth it will take time for his methods and style of play to become apparent at the Anfield club. The club won 1-0 against Southampton at the weekend to lift them into 11th in the league, a position that will still be regarded as too low for a lot of the Anfield faithful.” Think Football