England 3-6 Hungary: 60 years on from the game that stunned a nation

November 26, 2013

Nandor Hidegkuti scores Hungary's final goal in their 6-3 win against England at Wembley in 1953
“Hungary’s 6-3 victory at Wembley 60 years ago resonates like no other in the history of English football. It wasn’t just that this was a first home defeat to non-British or Irish opposition, the magnitude of the scoreline or the brilliance of the Hungarian display: it was the sense of shock. Over the course of one game – one hour even, given Hungary pretty much eased off in the final third – the complacency and the insularity of the English game were exposed. After 25 November 1953, none of the old certainties were certain any more.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson

England v Hungary 60 years on: What lessons have been learned?
“You can normally count on a Scotsman to cut to the chase when it comes to English football’s failings. After all, they have been pointing them out ever since 11 Englishmen went north on 30 November, 1872, for the first ever international match. That game ended 0-0, but the Scots would win nine of the first 13 matches between the teams, and 27 of the first 50. England would trail in the head-to-head series until 1983. Losing to more skilful opponents from a country called Scotland was not that shocking for most of English football’s history.” BBC

Could this be a make-or-break year for Arsenal’s Theo Walcott?

November 26, 2013

“Arsenal’s 2-0 victory over Southampton was comfortable but forgettable. The Gunners’ goals came from a crazy goalkeeping error and a penalty, while the team’s flair players like Santi Cazorla and Mesut Ozil were far from their best. In terms of long-term positives, Arsenal fans can point to three things: another clean sheet, Olivier Giroud ending his four-match goalless streak with two simple goals and the return of Theo Walcott.” ESPN – Michael Cox (Video)

West Bromwich Albion 2 Aston Villa 2: match report

November 26, 2013

“With one decision, Paul Lambert changed the destiny of this thunderous West Midlands derby. With one bold move, a triple substitution after 57 minutes, Lambert re-energised Aston Villa, seizing the initiative back from a West Bromwich Albion side who had been magnificent until then. Lambert had had to act. Albion were leading 2-0 and should have been over the horizon. Shane Long was so good, almost unplayable at times. He scored two fine goals, the first full of power, the second full of deftness.” Telegraph – Henry Winter

Everton 3-3 Liverpool: amazingly open game, and goals from set-pieces

November 26, 2013

“Positive tactics and awful defending combined to create a goalfest at Goodison Park. This is Roberto Martinez’s first-choice XI at the moment, with Leon Osman only on the bench. Brendan Rodgers switched to a cautious 4-3-3 system, with doubts over Daniel Sturridge’s fitness meaning Luis Suarez played alone upfront. Joe Allen came into the midfield, with Jordan Henderson moving right. Jon Flanagan made a rare start at left-back. This was quite a contest – and while the defending was often terrible, there were also some interesting tactical decisions from both coaches.” Zonal Marking

Everton 3 Liverpool 3: In-Depth Tactical Analysis
“Both teams had to make one or two changes to their usual starting eleven. For Everton, the only change was Barkley replacing Osman as the attacking midfielder behind Lukaku. Everyone else remained in their usual positions within Martinez’s usual lopsided 4-2-3-1 formation. The Reds had to make two rather enforced changes. With Enrique missing the next couple of months and Cissokho failing to impress recently, Rodgers opted to use Flanagan as the left-back. It seemed to me that using Johnson there (to deal with the speedy and tricky Mirallas) with Toure on the right (to track Pienaar’s roaming runs) had the better tactical suitability. But as Rodgers hinted in the days before the game (and further verified after it), Flanagan was mainly selected for his ‘mentality’ and ‘understanding’ of what the derby is all about, rather than some specific tactical reason.” Tomkins Times

Yura Movsisyan: “Spartak fans are at a different level, just like the club”

November 26, 2013

“It’s been quite the year for Spartak forward, Yura Movsisyan. After making the move to Moscow last winter from another Russian club, FC Krasnodar, Movsisyan has bagged a pair of hat-tricks, scored 22 goals in 32 appearances, and emerged as one of the young guns on a rising Armenia side. Spartak, meanwhile, are 3rd in the league, just three points behind Zenit and Lokomotiv. Though he’ll miss the final two matches of 2013 due to knee surgery, the 26 year old was on fire all autumn, racking up eight goals in his final seven appearances, including strikes against Bulgaria and Italy in World Cup qualifying. After 17 league matches, he’s tied with Artem Dzyuba for top scorer on 12 goals. And assuming he’s fit when play resumes in March, Yura will be raring to help Spartak battle for the league crown after a 13-year drought.” Russian Football

Brazil venues struggle to meet World Cup deadline

November 26, 2013

“After a spate of building problems and public protests in Brazil, the governing body of world football, Fifa, repeatedly warned there would be “no compromise” over the delivery of World Cup stadiums. But with Fifa’s end-of-year deadline looming, several stadiums are well behind schedule and one host city, Cuiaba, has told the BBC that not only will be it unable to finish its stadium on time, but there are not even enough hotel rooms for visiting fans.” BBC (Video)