Show Me The Money

April 30, 2013

Kagawa joins celebrations as Man Utd clinch league title
“In the past few years there has been tremendous progress in football fans’ knowledge of their clubs’ finances. Some might say that this is not a good thing and we should focus on matters on the pitch. That’s perfectly fair, indeed I would also personally much prefer to watch a great game, such as Borussia Dortmund’s recent demolition of Real Madrid, rather than investigate the minutiae of their balance sheets. However, it is important that fans are aware of what is going on at their club, so that they understand the board’s strategy and any constraints that impact their activities, e.g. why a club might sell its best players every summer or why a club does not splash out on the world-class striker that might take them to the next level.” Swiss Ramble


Real Sociedad 4-2 Valencia: superb counter-attacking seals the win

April 30, 2013

“Real Sociedad opened up a five-point gap in the race for fourth place. Philippe Montanier brought in Alberto de la Bella for the injured Liassine Cadamuro at left-back, Asier Illarramendi returned after suspension, but Antoine Griezmann was banned so Gonzalo Castro played on the left. From the side that thrashed Malaga 5-1, Ernesto Valverde brought Ricardo Costa back into the centre of his defence, while Sofiane Feghouli started on the right, as Canales was injured again. Jonas switched to the left. The key feature of this game was not about formations, individual positioning or possession dominance – but instead about Real Sociedad’s brilliant quick counter-attacks that repeatedly carved Valencia open.” Zonal Marking


Statistical Analysis: Do Chelsea need more from Demba Ba in the Premier League?

April 30, 2013

“Demba Ba was signed from Newcastle in January to increase the competition up front for Chelsea given that Daniel Sturridge was set to be sold to Liverpool and that Fernando Torres was not firing in the league. On joining the club many expected him to provide goals to ensure Chelsea a top three finish and he did not initially disappoint scoring twice against Southampton on his debut in the FA Cup. In total Ba has managed to score six goals, but worryingly he has only scored twice in 11 league appearances for Chelsea.” Think Football


A Wales of Two Cities: South Wales Derby (Part One)

April 30, 2013

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“It’s a fairly warm September night on the South-West coast of Wales. All eyes in South Wales are turned towards one place: a football match at the Liberty Stadium. It is 0-0. It is the 56th minute and Swansea’s midfield maestro Ferrie Bodde is lining up a freekick. From my seat near the halfway line I feel myself shaking with excitement as I’m certain Bodde can score from here. He’s certainly more than capable of it. Bodde steps up, feints and suddenly Jordi Gomez runs at the ball instead and hits a powerful left-footed drive. It ricochets off the studs off an opposition player and glides into the far corner past the desperate stretch of the goalkeeper. Swansea are 1-0 up and I can literally feel the Liberty Stadium shake.” Outside of the Boot – Part 1, Part 2


Arsenal 1-1 Manchester United: Arsenal start strongly but are unable to maintain early tempo

April 30, 2013

“Despite having little to play for, Manchester United collected a point at the Emirates. Without Olivier Giroud, Arsene Wenger used Lukas Podolski as his main forward. Jack Wilshere was only on the bench. Sir Alex Ferguson named a strong starting line-up, with Rio Ferdinand returning to the defence alongside Jonny Evans. This was all about Arsenal’s strategy – Manchester United weren’t as uninterested as some predicted, but one suspects Ferguson didn’t spend too long working on specific tactics for a relatively meaningless game.” Zonal Marking


Saving Filadelfia

April 30, 2013

“In its heyday it stood majestically as the home of Torino. It housed ‘Il Grande Torino’, arguably the greatest side calcio has ever witnessed. It presented a wall of noise in an intimate atmosphere. It was where Torino claimed six of their seven Scudetti. Today the Stadio Filadelfia is a desolate, crumbling shadow of its former glory. The spiritual home of the Granata – claret reds – has few sections remaining. Like an Ancient Roman ruin, pieces of edifice linger to offer a haunting reminder of its majesty. Torino haven’t played a League match at the stadium since May 19, 1963. On that occasion 1982 World Cup winning Coach Enzo Bearzot was on target in a 1-1 draw against Napoli.” In Bed With Maradona


Analysis: Gotze, Guardiola & Bayern Munich

April 27, 2013

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“Bayern Munich, hours before their European Cup semi-final triumph over Barcelona, dropped a bomb-shell on the footballing world. German newspaper, Bild, ran the incredible story of Gotze to Bayern; which most fans took with a pinch of salt. Dortmund revealed the deal later through their social media platforms, that sent shivers across Europe.” Ge