Rodgers: Counter-Attack, Noise & Confusion

November 1, 2013

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“The seduction of the beautiful game, and loyalty to our team of choice, had brought us all to the same point: currently joint top in the English Premier League. Far from being a unifying occurrence, it kindled and stoked differences of opinion, reflective of our diversity and richness of thought perhaps; not that many saw it that way. Once more, the debate became fractious; fans were reading from the same book – except not all were on the same page.” Tomkins Times


Emirates encounter promises a clash of partnerships

November 1, 2013

“While Arsenal’s excellent beginning to 2013-14 has owed much to Mesut Ozil’s arrival, Mathieu Flamini’s return and Aaron Ramsey’s sudden transformation into a top-class midfielder, the Gunners’ form has actually been very good over the course of 2013. No side has collected more points than Arsenal this calendar year and the Gunners have lost just one of their last 19 league matches, on the opening day, at home to Aston Villa. The turning point, it seems, was in the wake of the defeat to Tottenham at White Hart Lane in early March, a match in which Arsenal’s defensive positioning was awful. The back four was repeatedly opened up by a combination of through-balls and runs in behind, because of Arsenal’s high defensive line, combined with no pressure on the ball.” ESPN – Michael Cox (Video)


Football and the Benefits of Immigration

November 1, 2013

“The eminent economist Jonathan Portes, Director of the National Institute for Economic and Social Research, likes to cite two examples in attempting to convince audiences of the merits of free movement of labour. The first is his own field – economics – where collaboration between academics trained within country traditions has produced the field’s most innovative work, and seen real international powerhouses established in the UK, the USA and Canada. His second example is the world of post-Bosman professional football. This is, thinks Portes, an infinitely better place for the impact of that landmark, shackle-loosening judgement in the mid-90s. The cross-breeding of nationalities in European leagues has encouraged them to flourish, and seen a heightened competition both within and across borders and, crucially, an overall improvement in both the quality and saleability of the product.” thetwounfortunates


The Day The Giants Fell

November 1, 2013

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“It began while much of Europe was still asleep, and indeed many Russians would have only been stirring in their beds when the first goal went in. Vasily Karmazinenko’s 28th minute goals for SKA-Energia Khabarovsk against Volga arrived just before 4.30am in the UK, and by the time the final whistle blew, British clocks were yet to strike six. Nevertheless, Volga were out of the Russian Cup. Karmazinenko grabbed a double was enough to see off the Nizhny Novgorod side 2-0, and before long they were joined on the cup scrapheap by ‘local’ rivals and an altogether much bigger side in Rubin. Tasked with the equally daunting prospect of a trip to the Far East to take of Luch-Energia Vladivostok, Kurban Berdyev’s men responded by falling a goal behind inside the first three minutes. Ruslan Mukhametshin responded after another ten minutes, but a devastating spell of ten minutes either side of the break saw the hosts breeze through into the next round with a 4-2 win. Things had only just begun.” Russian Football


Debate: Can Arsenal Win The Premier League?

November 1, 2013

“The new Premier league season has seen an unlikely leader- Arsenal. With the lack of transfer activity for large parts of the window, fans were getting restless and a terrible opening day loss at home to Villa only worsened things. However, it has all been smooth sailing for Arsenal since then, with the team pulling out great football, a lot of wins, and some excellent signings like Flamini and Ozil to find themselves leading the pack in October. However, before we begin to wax lyrical about the Gunners and their prospects, we must all remind ourselves that this could be classic Arsenal, terrific start, but mess ups at key moments. And of course, one or two signings cannot really paper over the cracks of a squad that just about managed to finish 4th last season, or can it? Which leads us to the topic of the latest installment of our debate feature: Can Arsenal win the Premier League?” Outside of the Boot


Premier League: 10 things to look out for this weekend

November 1, 2013

“There could be a goalfest at the Emirates; Paul Lambert’s Hi Viz army will be out in force; Fernando Torres can continue his form; and Joe Hart faces an anxious wait” Guardian


How to solve a problem like Wayne Rooney

November 1, 2013

“Roy Hodgson and David Moyes have a common problem — even if of late he has gone under the guise of the solution. But for Wayne Rooney’s goals, England might not have qualified for the 2014 World Cup. But for his all-round input, Manchester United’s undistinguished start to the season would surely have been far worse. After a summer of speculation about his future, a fitter, happier and more prolific Rooney has been in a rich vein of form this season.” ESPN