Boris Arkadyev – The Soviet Genius Behind Total Football and Tiki-Taka

August 8, 2013

Around 100,000 turned up to see Chelsea vs Dynamo at Stamford Bridge
“Boris Arkadyev was born on September 21, 1899, in St. Petersburg. He had a playing career, appearing as a midfielder for Russkabel Moscow, Sakharniki Moscow, RkimA and Metallurg Moscow, between 1920 – 1936. Yet Arkadyev was to influence football to this day with his footballing ideas, from his time as a manager. Before the Russian revolution, football in Russia was widespread, with nearly 200 teams competing in czarist Russia in 1914. After the 1917 revolution, interest in football continued to rise, thanks to the RSFSR Championships. However, the Championships were of a poor quality and standard. In 1936, Russia finally installed a national football league, called the Soviet Top League. While the league was organised better than the RSFSR Championships, it was soon exposed that the change had come too late.” Russian Football News

Four burning questions for 2013-14 Bundesliga season

August 8, 2013

“1. Will Pep Guardiola bring in continuity or dressing room upheaval at Bayern Munich? Pep Guardiola’s fans have hailed him for the building of the world’s greatest team (Barcelona), while his detractors have dismissed him as an extremely lucky manager who found himself in charge of the best player of his generation in Lionel Messi as well as an equally superb supporting cast (Xavi and Iniesta) on his first day at work. …” ESPN

Germany: 2013-14 season preview
“At each and every step of the forthcoming season, the fortunes of new Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola are guaranteed to be the number one narrative, with the twists and turns of the ex-Barcelona boss’s Bavarian adventure chronicled and examined in the minutest detail.” World Soccer

How can we interpret and ‘handle’ the current hand ball rules?

August 8, 2013

“In the modern footballing era there have been many criticisms of refereeing performance and the clarity of the laws by which our players are to abide by whilst playing the game we all love. One rule that will always come into the spotlight is that relating to the law against handling the ball. ‘That was never deliberate’ or ‘he never meant that’ are two phrases used on countless occasions where a decision has been made where it is deemed a player has handled the ball. But the pain does not end there, when in similar situations, sometimes in the same match, the same decision has not been given. The modern approach seems to accept that referees make mistakes and that is an inherent part of the game, but can more be done to make this problem simpler? We can try to understand the root of this issue by looking at the wording of the relevant law set out by FIFA in their Laws of the Game.” Think Football

Anzhi shy away from the overpriced spotlight

August 8, 2013

“When Suleiman Kerimov purchased Anzhi Makhachkala and thrust the club onto the back pages of newspapers across Europe, thanks to their extravagant transfer budget, the world was led to believe that this was the birth of a team that could propel itself to domestic and European success. The signings of Samuel Eto’o, Roberto Carlos and Yuri Zhirkov proved to be a minor flurry, before the likes of Willian, Igor Denisov and Aleksandr Kokorin followed suit for equally impressive sums. But like any fairytale, there are always a few bumps along the way and over the past 24 hours the club has been thrown into turmoil.” Slavic Football Union

Anzhi Makhachkala: Why are big-spending Russians cutting back?
“When news broke that Anzhi Makhachkala, the billionaire-backed Russian Premier League club, were cutting their budget and selling their top players, many journalists – myself included – thought it was a late April fool. But this was no joke. In the hours that followed a series of announcements, each more puzzling than the other, confirmed “The Anzhi Project”, at least as we previously knew it, was coming to an end. Suleyman Kerimov, Anzhi’s billionaire backer since January 2011, was no longer happy to finance a gravy train. The club’s budget, officially quoted at an extravagant £116m per season (second only to Zenit St Petersburg in Russia), was to be reduced to between £32m and £45m.” BBC

The sad truth the Luis Suarez saga reveals about modern soccer

August 8, 2013

“This has been the two-speed summer. At the start there were the deals done smoothly and swiftly — Fernandinho joining Manchester City, Simon Mignolet going to Liverpool, Emanuele Giaccherini signing for Sunderland — and now, with a little under four weeks of the transfer window still to go, there are the deals that feel as though they have already been going on for ever: the eternal and increasingly tedious trinity of Gareth Bale, Wayne Rooney and Luis Suarez.” SI – Jonathan Wilson

Tactical Analysis: What’s the solution to Barcelona’s defensive frailties?

August 8, 2013

“With less than two weeks before Barcelona kick off the 2013-14 season the Catalans have made just one signing, Neymar, for €57m. Many fans had expected a more proactive transfer market for Barca this summer, with the defence in particular need of strengthening. Last year Barca conceded 40 league goals in comparison to 29, 21 and 24 in their three previous campaigns and it was particularly noticeable how badly they struggled at defending set plays and crosses into the box. They also conceded 17 times in their 12 Champions League matches including twice to Celtic and Spartak Moscow.” Think Football