Where has Africa’s creativity gone?

February 24, 2013

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“The former Cameroon captain Theophile Abega died in November, aged just 58. He was one of the great midfielders of what now seems a golden age of west African football; a period that lasted for about two decades, from the start of the 1980s, when it appeared that African teams might seriously challenge for the World Cup.” World Soccer – Jonathan Wilson


La Liga Review: FC Barcelona 2, Sevilla 1 – Change Is Possible!

February 24, 2013

“Barça needed a pick-me-up after the painful Milan loss (and before Clásico week begins), and instead they got a hard-won victory, which points-wise amounts to the same, but not when it comes to reassure the worried fans. Roura has finally discovered rotations, and yesterday he indulged quite a bit, playing VV, Alves, Mascherano, Piqué, Montoya, Song, Thiago, Iniesta, Alexis, Messi and Villa. There were surprised comments from some non-Barça sources at seeing Piqué, Iniesta and Messi starting, but a) Messi always starts; b) it’s a Liga match against Sevilla, not a meaningless friendly where you can rest everyone; c) even in non-crucial matches before crucial matches, it’s always been the custom to play at least one ‘first XI’ player per line, so as to not lose shape completely.” The Offside (Video)


Tactical Analysis: Why are Manchester City so far off United?

February 24, 2013

“Manchester City are now 12 points behind leaders United and looking increasingly unlikely to retain their Premier League title. Their home game against Chelsea on Sunday could be crucial, but if United beat QPR on Saturday they could go in to the tie 15 points off the pace. So where has it gone wrong for Mancini and his side?” Think Football


4-4-2 Managers and 4-4-2 Fans

February 24, 2013

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“If you, as a football fan, recognise the shortcomings of 4-4-2 (the system, not the magazine), then that leaves you a few genes short of being a ‘proper bloke’ and certainly unpatriotic in the extreme. Here, we welcome back John Dobson, a regular chronicler of Yorkshire football, to point out how fan pressure must not be allowed to hold sway at Bootham Crescent.” thetwounfortunates


England’s World Cup winning captain Bobby Moore: 20 years gone, but never forgotten

February 24, 2013

“Across town at Wembley, setting for Moore’s finest hours, the flag of St George will fly at half-mast. A skilled surgeon operated on Moore’s colon in 1991 but the cancer would not yield. It spread to the liver. Moore never complained. He simply set about delaying its pitiless impact. Eventually, on Feb 15, 1993, England’s World Cup-winning captain released a statement, revealing his illness was terminal. Two days later he was at Wembley, commentating on England’s game against San Marino for Capital Radio, his collar turned up to hide his paleness. A week later, on Feb 24, 1993, Moore passed away. He was only 51.” Telegraph – Henry Winter


Milan 2-0 Barcelona: Barca completely nullified

February 24, 2013

“Milan restricted Barcelona to only one shot on target – a hopeful effort from 25 yards – and pounced at the other end with a set-piece and a counter-attack. Max Allegri was without cup-tied Mario Balotelli, so Giampaolo Pazzini played upfront. Kevin-Prince Boateng replaced M’Baye Niang on the right, and Max Ambrosini returned to the side. Jordi Roura selected what appears to be Barcelona’s first-choice XI – Alexis Sanchez and David Villa on the bench, and Cesc Fabregas in his roaming free role. Aside from Victor Valdes’ return, it was the same XI that started the recent Copa Clasico against Real Madrid. This was a highly impressive display from Milan, and arguably the most convincing defeat of Barcelona since the current era started in 2008.” Zonal Marking