Napoli 2-1 Dortmund: Higuain & Insigne exploit Dortmund’s failure to heed their warnings

September 20, 2013

Napoli's Rafael Benítez reflects on victory over Borussia Dortmund - video
“Gonzalo Higuain and Lorenzo Insigne scored the goals from set-piece situations – but they had been the most threatening players in open play, too. Rafael Benitez’s line-up was as expected, with Insigne’s role on the left probably the biggest news on the teamsheet. Jurgen Klopp is without long-term absentee Lukasz Piszczek at right-back, and the excellent central midfielder Ilkay Gundogan. Kevin Grosskreutz and Nuri Sahin played in those roles, while Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was only on the bench. The teams were evenly matched for long spells of the first half, but Napoli increasingly threatened in two particular ways – and they proved the game-changing situations.” Zonal Marking

Napoli 2-1 Borussia Dortmund: Tactical Analysis
“By sheer audacity or Great Optimism? Napoli’s clash against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League’s group of death match was certainly dubbed as the match of the game week. And Boy! Did it live up to its billing, however marred with controversies? The pragmatic vs the Visionary. As the two master tacticians went head to head for the first time, it was certainly a Rafa Benitez vs Jurgen Klopp clash from the very beginning.” Outside of the Boot


Seeds of doubt starting to sprout in Mourinho’s second Chelsea term

September 20, 2013

“It wasn’t supposed to be like this. Toward the end of last season, as it became increasingly clear that Jose Mourinho would be leaving Real Madrid, Chelsea fans began chanting his name. He was seen as the messiah, the coach whose second coming would end the chaos around Chelsea and restore them to the kind of success they enjoyed in his first spell at the club. That may yet happen, but it is becoming increasingly apparent that glory is not inevitable.” SI – Jonathan Wilson


FC Barcelona 4-0 AFC Ajax: Player Ratings

September 20, 2013

“A detailed, player-by-player breakdown of Barcelona’s 4-0 UEFA Champions League win over AFC Ajax at the Camp Nou” Barca Blaugranes


Decoding Moyes and Pellegrini with David Peace

September 20, 2013

“Bill Shankly, the obsessive Scot who is widely recognized as the British game’s first true ‘modern’ manager, had a very simple way to capture the total devotion and sacrifice it took to be successful at the elite level: ‘My life is my work, my work is my life.’ Shankly became a messianic figure at Liverpool from 1959 to 1974 as he dedicated his personality, charisma and creative thinking to transform the club from a second division cellar dweller into a three-time Premier League champion and perennial European threat. That journey is now the subject matter of ‘The Damned United’ author David Peace’s new book, ‘Red or Dead.'” ESPN (Video)


Manuel Pellegrini’s Manchester City centre-forward duos belie 4-2-3-1

September 20, 2013

“While Manuel Pellegrini’s formations are often interpreted as 4-2-3-1, the blanket description for a wide variety of modern systems, he prefers fielding a strike partnership. ‘I like playing with two central forwards up front,’ he says. At Villarreal, for example, his side was often a narrow 4-2-2-2 – Pellegrini’s determination to play simultaneously with two strikers and dominate the midfield zone meant he sacrificed natural wingers.” Guardian – Michael Cox


Have sportsmanship and morality become incompatible with modern football?

September 20, 2013

“Have we finally reached a point in football where a hard-fought honourable match is rarer than one involving ethical controversy? It seems so – as England’s recent friendly against Scotland left many surprised at the sportsmanship on show. As the seasons go by football’s ethicality seems to become more and more diluted. Perhaps it’s down to generational change, perhaps inflated wages or the financial implications of failure are to blame – but if the ease with which players hop from one club to another tells us anything, it’s that the 21st century win-at-all-costs attitude is certainly not down to club devotion.” Think Football (Video)