The Shape of the Premier League to Come

August 17, 2013

“A survey of the players, managers, ideas, tactical developments, and themes to watch out for in the 2013-14 Premier League season. Chris Ryan: The above video is of William Gallas scoring a game-winning goal for Chelsea, against Tottenham, back in 2006. Chelsea won the league that season, finishing eight points clear of Manchester United. Spurs keeper Paul Robinson likely spent three months in a room, by himself, with a roast beef platter and a copy of The Queen Is Dead after this goal, but it’s not the goal that Gallas scored that interests me, it’s who he celebrated it with. …” Grantland (Video)

Premier League 2013-14: Phil McNulty’s predictions
“The Premier League’s top three – along with Everton and Stoke – are under new management, star players at Manchester United, Tottenham and Liverpool are under a cloud and Cardiff, Hull and Crystal Palace will all be experiencing the anticipation and trepidation of newcomers. The new season starts on Saturday. Can Manchester United win their 21st title? Can Manchester City wrestle it back from Old Trafford? Can Jose Mourinho recreate former glories at Chelsea?” BBC


Bayern Munich 3-1 Borussia Mönchengladbach: evolution rather than revolution for Guardiola

August 17, 2013

“Bayern Munich appeared comfortable towards the end of the contest, but they endured some nervous moments during Pep Guardiola’s Bundesliga debut. Guardiola was unable to call upon Bayern’s major two summer arrivals, Thiago Alcantara or Mario Gotze, so there was a familiar feel to the home side’s starting XI. Lucien Favre’s back four was also very familiar from last season, although there were changes ahead – Christophe Kramer has signed from Bochum, Brazilian Raffael played in the central attacking role, while Max Kruse’s impressive season at Freiburg means he’s started this campaign as the first-choice striker, with last season’s flop Luuk de Jong only on the bench. As expected, Bayern dominated – but things didn’t go entirely swimmingly.” Zonal Marking

Loving Arsenal, Away From the Numbers

August 17, 2013

“I spent the weekend in the most pleasant way an Arsenal fan can spend a weekend that falls within the summer transfer window: perusing YouTube for a contact high off the fumes of past glories. The complete Invincibles season. The wizardry of Dennis Bergkamp. Legends of the Premier League: Thierry Henry. Cesc Fábregas ‘Pass Master’ compilations. Michael Thomas’s stoppage-time goal-into-breakdance-windmill/caterpillar-celebration as Arsenal win the league over Liverpool at Anfield on the final day — the final seconds! — of the 1988-89 season.” Grantland

No more bickering as Supercoppa awaits

August 17, 2013

“The Italian Supercoppa is traditionally a competitive curtain-raiser to the Italian season, although the actual scheduling of the event this year roused more resentment between its two protagonists than can be expected at the Stadio Olimpico this Sunday. When Juventus and Lazio take to the field in Rome, most of the battle will have already been won and lost after months of off-field debating. The Italian Football League, Lega Calcio, stipulated an agreement with China in 2010 that formalised plans for three of the subsequent four editions of the Supercoppa to be staged in Beijing.” ESPN

The Book of Luis

August 17, 2013

“At the beginning of time, Luis Suarez bit God, and God was like, ‘ouch,’ and God’s ‘ouch’ became the universe. And God convened a three-person disciplinary committee to review the incident. And Luis Suarez said unto the disciplinary committee that he would accept a 1-million-year ban, but 10 million years seemed like overkill just for accidentally creating the universe. But God rolled up his sleeve, and the disciplinary committee gazed upon the bite marks, and they were fairly wroth.” Grantland – Brian Phillips

Mignolet is Reds’ hero

August 17, 2013

“Striker Daniel Sturridge got Liverpool’s season off to a winning start but it was new goalkeeper Simon Mignolet who was the hero with a late penalty save. The hosts had dominated throughout but had only the one goal to show for their efforts when Daniel Agger handled former Reds midfielder Charlie Adam’s free-kick three minutes from time.” ESPN