The month Senegal were better than France — Remembering Metsu

October 20, 2013

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“As World Cups go, the 2002 edition was not a classic. A combination of stifling heat and a draining European club season combined to leave the best players woefully out of form, with joint favourites France and Argentina both departing at the group stage. There’s nothing wrong with successful underdogs, of course — but there was a feeling that the quality throughout the competition was particularly low. Turkey and South Korea both reached the semifinals, a genuinely remarkable achievement for both — but neither side will be remembered particularly fondly by neutrals.” ESPN – Michael Cox


Two points dropped, but things are as you were for Liverpool

October 20, 2013

“The brutish reality is that Liverpool dropped two points against Newcastle. The cacophony of noise at full-time alerted all who could hear it. The medley of relieved Geordies and the disbelieving away following, prompted by the tardy toot of the referee’s whistle, confirmed it. Even simple mathematics proves it. Liverpool drew 2-2 at St James’ Park and took one point instead of three. They did so against a side that had 10 men — one man less than Liverpool — for over 45 minutes. Two points most definitely, undeniably, frustratingly dropped.” ESPN

Newcastle United 2-2 Liverpool: Tactical Analysis
“Newcastle vs Liverpool is always an exciting fixture, as history bears witness. The two sides have always thrown up some wonderful football, some fantastic results and memorable moments. This particular game wasn’t quite as brilliant, but it did have it’s fair share of incidents and excitement (and so very nearly an entralling end). Coming into the fixture, all the talk was about Loic Remy and Daniel Sturridge who were the two leading scorers of the league. Newcastle twice took the lead in this game, even being reduced to 10 men in between those goals. Steven Gerrard notched up his 100th league goal for Liverpool while Daniel Sturridge continued his rich form. Cabaye was Newcastle goal-scorer with a fantastic long attempt, while Paul Dummet scored his first for the home side in only his second appearance.” Outside of the Boot


Fiorentina 4-2 Juventus: Tactical Analysis

October 20, 2013

“After Roma did well to beat Napoli in their clash on Friday evening, Juventus had to win this match up in order to keep pace with their Roman rivals at the top of the table. Fiorentina on the other hand had slipped into 6th place, after flattering to deceive, with many of their performances not getting the desired results. It was therefore a clash that was important to both teams in the context of their positions on the table and the momentum they needed.” Outside of the Boot


Pekerman’s big call on Yepes

October 20, 2013

“Life, and World Cup qualification, played a cruel trick on me. The first World Cups I was old enough to follow were in 1974 and 1978, when I was nine and 13 years of age. And it was precisely these two that my native England missed, losing out in qualification to Poland and Italy respectively. In 1982, though the road was bumpy, England did manage to make it to Spain, and I could at last savour the experience of watching my country in a World Cup. It was intense, but by now I was 17, had discovered music, and there was a lot going on in political terms as well. So I didn’t live and breathe the competition in the same way as a younger version of myself would have done.” The World Game – Tim Vickery (Video)


David Moyes’s Manchester United: Are opponents sensing weakness?

October 20, 2013

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“David Moyes always knew that following in the footsteps of greatness was never going to be easy. On the approaches to Old Trafford on Saturday, there was no escaping the shadow, the memory. You can now walk along Sir Alex Ferguson Way, past the vast Sir Alex Ferguson Stand and into the bastion of invincibility that Sir Alex Ferguson built over the course of 26 years. Just to add to it all, Ferguson’s highly-anticipated book hits the shelves this week, followed by the tour to promote it, of course. Sales for his night at the Lowry Theatre, less than a mile from Old Trafford, sold out in four minutes.” BBC (Video)


Matchday Musings: Arsenal 4-1 Norwich

October 20, 2013

“Mesut Ozil scored his first two Premier League goals with two classy, well taken finishes against Norwich. Initially an injury doubt for the game, the German lined up from the start to gain his side another two points. His first goal was an excellent finish early in the second half, and he then sealed the game of with an eighty-eighth minute finish. The goals cap of an exceptional start to his Arsenal career. A start that has propelled the Gunners to top of league.” Beyond The Ninety Minutes


La Liga: FC Barcelona 0-0 CA Osasuna: Player Ratings

October 20, 2013

“For his fourth consecutive clean sheet on the road Valdes had very little to do. Officially he was credited with one save and a single cross claim in what was one of the calmest games of the season for the Barcelona goalkeeper. His long range passing struggled once again, but his short passes were on the mark. Valdes’ highlight of the game came in the 83rd minute when he made one of his trademark 25 yard sweeper-keeper runs to clear a loose ball the could’ve led to danger.” Barca Blaugranes