From The Mind of Xoel: Barça Defeats Madrid 2-1 in “El Clásico de Neymar”

October 27, 2013

“FC Barcelona defeated Real Madrid by a 2-1 score line in the first El Clásico of the 2013-14 season. Neymar shined as he grabbed a goal in his Clásico debut. Alexis Sanchez made the Camp Nou jump for joy with his golazo in the 78th minute. Jesé got a late goal for Los Blancos, but it was too late as Tata Martino’s team are now six points up on Los Blancos in the La Liga standings.” Barca Blaugranes

Ten keys to Barca’s Clasico win
“Although Saturday’s clasico was not the greatest of spectacles — ultimately, it was a more tactical and less petty contest than recent ones — it served to give Barca an important three points, doubling their lead over Real Madrid at the top of La Liga. Here are 10 key factors to Barca’s victory.” ESPN (Video)

Barcelona manager Tata Martino takes first blood in Clasico
“Saturday’s managerial clash of Clasico debutants ended decisively in favour of Barcelona’s Tata Martino, with Carlo Ancelotti now facing a rough ride from the Madrid media following Real’s deserved 2-1 defeat at the Nou Camp. Goals from Neymar and Alexis Sanchez ensured Jese Rodriguez’s late strike was irrelevant. Before the game, Ancelotti was the man with the biggest decisions to make. His team had been winning but playing poorly, and there were clear deficiencies to address in a number of areas on the pitch.” BBC

Barcelona 2-1 Real Madrid: Tactical Analysis
“Despite the Premier League being the ‘global league’ in terms of visibility and a hold on the football market in numerous countries, there’s one game that supersedes all of the Premier League games. That of course is none other than ‘El Clasico’, the highly charged game between Barcelona and Real Madrid. From severed pig heads to eye pokes (yes Mourinho, we still remember that one) this fixture has a knack of producing high and sometimes downright bizarre drama. In between all the political undercurrents of this fixture, there is some scarily good football that is on show when the 2 sides battle it out.” Outside of the Boot

Searching for the next Lionel Messi: The life of a football scout

October 27, 2013

“Eight hours at the coalface, 13-page report, 2am finish. Blurred eyes, frazzled mind, empty stomach. All for £4. That’s what a day working in elite English football can net you. If you’re ‘only’ a scout, that is. Scouts are the lifeblood of the game, yet probably the most undervalued part of it. …” BBC

Schalke 1-3 Dortmund: Tactical Analysis

October 27, 2013

“On Saturday, while the world braced itself for a Clasico, the biggest derby in Germany took place at the Veltins Arena in Gelsenkirchen. The two sides of the Ruhr district, Schalke 04 and Borussia Dortmund faced off in a match that has as much history as it does animosity. Coming into this game, Schalke sat in 5th place after a bit of a chaotic start to the season. Dortmund on the other hand were in second, and a win could have taken them to the apex of the Bundesliga. Schalke started with a 4-2-3-1. At the back, Uchida was moved to right back, and Howedes to the middle. Along side Howedes was the talented Joel Matip, and Kolasinac was the left back. In the midfield, Aogo and Neustadter were the chosen ones, behind Fuchs on the left, Prince in the middle, and Draxler on the right. Adam Szalai was the lone striker.” Outside of the Boot


October 27, 2013

“Recently, fresh from five days in Europe’s biggest metropolis, Istanbul, myself and my traveling companion decided to stop off in the Turkish capital Ankara for a couple of nights in advance of a plunge into deepest Anatolia. With floodlights punctuating the central skyline and flags and pennants emblazoned across shop and market stall windows, it was clear that this was yet another football-worshipping hotbed. Closer inspection, however, revealed the banners, as well as the numerous replica shirts on display to be the black & white, redcurrant & amber and blue & yellow of the Constantinople clubs. It was as I had expected of course – Ankara is a modern creation to place alongside the likes of Washington DC and Ottawa and if it lacks, at four million, the anodyne blandness of Brasilia or Canberra, it’s a town the charms of which take a while to reveal themselves.” In Bed With Maradona

From obscurity to the Champions League and back again: the FC Petržalka 1898 story

October 27, 2013

“FC Petržalka 1898; not a name synonymous with the footballing greats, but for a brief two year spell the club incredibly took its place alongside some of Europe’s finest. Since their formation in the late 19th century, FC Petržalka 1898 have changed their club name no fewer than 15 times, perhaps more akin to a struggling franchise club in the MLS rather than a football club steeped in a proud 115 year history of Czech and Slovak football.” World Soccer

Paolo Di Canio is not welcome back at Sheffield Wednesday

October 27, 2013

“Today, we welcome back Sheffield Wednesday fan John Leigh, co-author of The Football Lexicon and author of Voltaire’s Sense of History. Here, John reacts to the rumours that are linking Paolo Di Canio with a return to Hillsborough. … My brother was at THAT infamous England vs Croatia game at Wembley. Remember the one: the Euro qualifier, the one we lost 3-2, the game in which Scott Carson blundered. But it would be easier simply to commemorate it as the game at which Steve McClaren stood under the umbrella and mutated into ‘the wally with the brolly’. When I spoke with my brother after the game, it was apparent that he did not know what I was talking about, when I expressed some sympathy for McClaren’s failure to show a common touch (apparently unlike Louis Philippe who got deliberately wet when meeting his subjects on tour in France). Funnily enough, he had not been looking at the manager on the touchline. It was apparent that we had rather different experiences of that match: He watched the game; I watched the television.” thetwounfortunates