How Will This Season’s Bayern Munich Pep Squad Compare to Barcelona?

July 29, 2013

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“I don’t really know why I’m bothering to show up for soccer season this year. Bayern Munich’s complete dominance is, after all, a fait accompli. Last season’s Champions League winners only went out and added their biggest rival’s best player, Mario Goetze from Borussia Dortmund, and possibly the best coach in the world, the architect of the all-conquering 2008-12 Barcelona, Pep Guardiola. Bayern’s possession-based style is a perfect match for Guardiola. Last season in Europe’s five biggest leagues, Bayern was the only team besides Barcelona to average more than 60 percent possession. We’re all playing for second, right? Well, maybe.” Grantland

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Tactical Analysis: Can Ibrahimovic and Cavani work together in the same PSG starting line-up?

July 29, 2013

“Two summers, two transfer windows, two world class strikers. After the capture of Swedish marksman Zlatan Ibrahimović sent shock waves through world football in July 2012, Paris saint-Germain have gone onto secure yet another centre forward feared throughout Europe in the form of Uruguayan Edinson Cavani. This £54 million transaction provides new manager Laurent Blanc with a wealth of talent in the striking department, in spite of the departure of Frenchman Kévin Gameiro to Sevilla. However, it also begs the question: is this club big enough for the two of them?” Think Football


Ronaldinho joins select club after Atlético’s debut Libertadores crown

July 29, 2013

“As Matías Giménez stepped up to take Olimpia’s fifth penalty, Cuca, the Atlético Mineiro coach, knelt on the touchline. Clad in jeans and a T-shirt, he rocked back and forth, head bowed, arms crossed over the sequined pattern on his chest. He didn’t look as Giménez’s shot struck the top of the post. The noise of the crowd told him the kick had been missed and he pitched forward, to lie still for a second or two before being engulfed by his celebrating coaches: Atlético, after another unlikely comeback, were Libertadores champions for the first time.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson


Celtic’s Saturday Afternoon At Brentford

July 29, 2013

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“Apparently, last Saturday, I and hundreds of others went on a hooligan rampage and “destroyed” the West London suburb of Brentford, while attending a pre-season ‘friendly’ between weakened sides from Brentford’s League One club and current Scottish champions, Celtic. That last event was actually how I spent my Saturday afternoon; which I why I was very surprised to discover my role in the first. Let’s get some things straight straightaway. The behaviour of the 6,000+ Celtic fans at Brentford was raucous and loud both outside and inside their Griffin Park ground. Some of it was, frankly, wrong; fireworks and drunks on the pitch during the game, for example. However, I would be hard pushed to describe it as worse than the behaviour of many of the football crowds I have observed in, ulp, 40 years watching the game at various levels. In fact, in some aspects it was fabulous. And I would certainly not describe it in the emotive terms used by others of a, shall we say, non-Celtic persuasion – many of whom were nowhere near London, let alone Brentford, last Saturday.” twohundredpercent


Radnički radical no more?

July 29, 2013

“The south of Serbia, with its rich and complicated past, is something of a historical and political melting pot. Niš, the region’s most populous city, is no different. Over the years, the city bore witness to the coming and going of a multitude of would-be conquerors, each of whom recognised the city’s importance as a gateway between East and West, a metaphorical confluence of cultures, ideologies, and nations. Consequently, Niš has long been possessed of a certain flexibility of nature, an ability to seamlessly adjust to the incursion of a previously unfamiliar authority. This year, the city’s illustrious football club, Radnički, has been obliged to exhibit a similarly acquiescent character.” World Soccer


Crying Out Loud

July 29, 2013

“There’s this Felt song called ‘I Will Die With My Head in Flames’ that I sometimes think of when I think of Landon Donovan. Not because he’d like it — it’s existential mid-’80s jangle-pop, and his taste trends more toward SUV-Bluetooth music, or whatever you want to call the Venn diagram intersection that includes both T.I. and the Fray. A certain type of SoCal white-dude uncoolness has become as central to his image as his rank as the all-time leading scorer for the U.S. men’s national soccer team; if you doubt this, please examine the covers of the first two 9-and-up children’s biographies to answer an Amazon search for his name.” Grantland


Barcelona coach Gerardo Martino’s ideology shaped by Old Boys’ network

July 26, 2013

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“For three days nobody saw Marcelo Bielsa. He was in his room at the Conquistador Hotel in Santa Fe but he had not emerged since arriving, chewed up by the 6-0 home defeat Newell’s Old Boys had suffered against San Lorenzo in the Copa Libertadores earlier that week. His project, his great plan, was falling apart and El Loco was suffering a crisis of faith. Newell’s had won the Apertura championship in 1990-91, playing brilliant, vibrant football but, exhausted, they had stuttered badly in the Clausura championship and were even worse in the Apertura in 1991-92.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson (Video)

Martino planning for Messi and Neymar
“Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino said he will have failed in his role as new Barcelona coach if he is unable to get Lionel Messi and recently signed Brazilian star Neymar to play to the best of their ability in his starting lineup. Martino, speaking at a news conference to announce his arrival at the Camp Nou on a two-year contract, has the task of accommodating two of world football’s biggest stars next season — one of them from his hometown of Rosario, Argentina. But he is certain that Neymar, who arrived this summer on a five-year deal, and four-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi will complement each other perfectly on a Barca team that he believes can go on winning for many years to come.” ESPN