The re-invention of Catenaccio: The evolution of defensive tactics

December 21, 2012

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“Attack, Attack, Attack. As the tireless cliché goes: football is an art form – creative and elegant. That’s what we want it to be, anyway. Never have football teams been so heavily criticised if they didn’t exhibit The Beautiful Game in its glorious entirety. It seems passes are being praised more than goals. And as for the appreciation for a solid tackle? – You may just earn yourself a yellow card for applauding it. Football is a changed sport. A more frantic, frenzied game. Complete reverence to forward play, along with, what seems almost like, a disregard to the defensive side. In 2009 only two, of the thirty two teams in the Champions League group stages, managed to keep their average number of shots conceded per game below 10. Disregard.” Think Football

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Tactics for Beginners – No. 6

December 21, 2012

“A new found fluidity. We talked about stretching and squeezing space when in and out of possession, and I can see how the front and back players can do this by pushing up, dropping back, and pulling out wide. But being in the middle, aren’t the midfield limited in how much they can stretch and squeeze space?” Tomkins Times


2012-13 Scottish Premier League

December 21, 2012

“This post is a continuation of my recent new category, ‘Eng-Map/Attendance/Kit Badges’, which is now called ‘Engl. & Scot. – Map/Attendance/Kit Badges’. I decided to open up the category to include Scottish clubs because in my first post in this category, {which was on the 2012-13 Premier League here}, I mentioned Celtic and Rangers right off the bat (in the third paragraph in the above link). And I don’t have any other category which includes both English and Scottish clubs, so I thought I should have at least one. The essence of this style of map is the depiction of facsimiles of each club’s current home jersey badges, and those badge-facsimiles can be seen at the top of the map page (with the clubs placed in alphabetical order). From Historical Football Kits, ‘Clydesdale Bank Scottish Premier League 2012 – 2013 [the kits of all 12 Scottish Premier League clubs]‘. billsportsmaps


Sturridge not the answer for Liverpool

December 21, 2012

“There were gasps of surprise the country over when last week’s Premier League results came in and Aston Villa had won 3-1 at Anfield, but it was just further proof that Liverpool are currently a club in transition. People seemed to assume when Brendan Rodgers came that he was going to turn it around instantly – that just isn’t realistic. He’s got a young team and I think the players and fans need to have maximum patience at the moment – there’s no quick overnight fix. A match against notoriously poor travellers Fulham this weekend, therefore, comes at a very useful time for Brendan & Co.” ESPN


Germany in 2012: Near misses in Europe, domestic brilliance

December 21, 2012

“It was the year of broken dreams. First, Bayern Munich wrote nine out 10 chapters of their own fairy tale, before running into a horror twist at the very end: losing the Champions League final, in its own stadium, against an ultra-defensive Chelsea, on penalties. A month later, it was Germany’s turn to get it all wrong against Italy in the Euro semifinals. In purely domestic terms, however, German football shone.” SI


Madrid-United the gem of Champions League Round of 16

December 21, 2012

“A dramatic Champions League Round of 16 draw was made Thursday morning in Nyon, Switzerland, giving football lovers exciting matchups to look forward to in February and March. Part of the drama of drawing the eight pairings now comes from not knowing exactly how the teams will be playing when the games come along in eight weeks’ time: confidence, injuries and general form could all change the picture between now and then. Not to mention the longer-than-usual three weeks between first and second legs. Here is a breakdown …” SI


Zenit St Petersburg take first confused steps away from prejudice

December 21, 2012

“Let’s imagine that fans of Sunderland (and I use the example purely because that is who I support), tiring of the constant churn of the transfer market, decide that enough is enough and they want their team to do things differently. They get together and hammer out a manifesto which they then post as an open letter to the club hierarchy. Among a number of points about the need for absolute commitment and an abhorrence of cheating, they suggest they would rather the club focused on local players.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson