Super Sunday in South America, with five titles up for grabs

December 17, 2013

sanlorenzo_ap
“South America staged its Super Sunday at the weekend – five domestic titles were up for grabs. In Argentina the fixture computer had played its part. Four teams still had a chance of glory, and they faced each other in a dramatic double header. Two draws meant that San Lorenzo, with the Pope’s blessing and an interesting crop of youngsters, came out on top. There was even more drama in Uruguay, where three teams went into the last day with a chance. Favourites were traditional giants Nacional, with a relatively straightforward home game against little Fenix. They took the lead, and with rivals River Plate losing they seemed well on course.” BBC – Tim Vickery


What makes an offence dynamic? Here’s a checklist…

December 17, 2013

“Tottenham’s 5-0 defeat to Liverpool on Sunday proved to be the final nail in Andre Villas-Boas’ coffin — the Portuguese coach was sacked less than 24 hours later, to little surprise. It was one of those astonishingly one-sided games, between two sides apparently well-matched on paper, that prompted a debate about what was more important to the result: Liverpool’s brilliance or Spurs simply being woeful. Inevitably, it’s a combination of both. But it’s difficult to ignore Tottenham’s sheer tactical stupidity. Playing a high defensive line with an unfamiliar and slow centre-back partnership, against the Premier League’s best goalscorer who loves running in behind opposition defences, is one of the most curious managerial decisions of the season.” ESPN – Michael Cox


Are Premier League chairmen really becoming more ruthless?

December 17, 2013

“On Monday, Andre Villas-Boas became the fifth Premier League manager to be sacked this season when he was dismissed by Tottenham. Just two days earlier, Steve Clarke was shown the door by West Brom. It represents a big leap from the last four seasons when clubs seemed to be prepared to play a slightly longer game. By the end of December 2012 only two managers had gone – Mark Hughes at Queens Park Rangers and Roberto Di Matteo at Chelsea. The year before, Steve Bruce’s departure from Sunderland was the only casualty at Christmas.” BBC


It’s a squad thing – Part 1

December 17, 2013

Gary Neville instructs England players in 2006
G Nev exhorts his boys.
“In the first of two posts, Jonny Sharples picks his favourite squads, from the nearly men to the gloriously overachieving. Managers are often heard discussing the importance of having a squad: the depth of it, the balance of it, the blend of it. If you get the right mix of players and you could challenge for, and sometimes win, trophies; get it wrong and you could see fall outs within the squad and trouble on the pitch. Sometimes, though, the squad that a manager brings together can just been really fun or really interesting. It can capture your imagination and strike a chord with you for nothing more than being exciting or having a somewhat cult feel. I decided to pick five of my favourite squads that, for whatever reason, have stuck in my head throughout the years. Each squad is selected on the basis of a particular season or tournament that they were brought together, reflecting the temporary nature of players being teammates one minute and opponents the next…” Put Niels In Goal – Part 1


Napoli 4-2 Inter Milan: Tactical Analysis | Benitez counters Mazzarri

December 17, 2013

“Napoli came in to this match after suffering a heartbreak exit from the Champions League, despite winning 2-0 against the in form Gunners and amassing a total of 12 points in the group stage, which included a victory over Napoli. Rafa Benitez’s men were now relegated to the Europa League had the task of making the most of their league campaign in order to play Champions League football again next year. A 3-3 draw last match day against Udinese saw Juventus and Roma pull away at the top. Inter Milan started the game four points behind Napoli. After three consecutive draws (Bologna, Sampdoria and Parma) in the league, Inter look to close the gap and give Napoli a fight for their much yearned Champions League spot. With Fiorentina leapfrogging in front of them after a 3-0 victory against Bologna earlier that day, three points against Napoli was massively crucial for Walter Mazzarri’s men.” Outside of the Boot


Top 50 Players in the World 2013: Part 3 – 30-21

December 17, 2013

“The third part of the Top 50 Players in the World 2013 sees us move into the top 30. There’s plenty of green arrows in this instalment of the countdown, testament to some of the huge strides made by some players in 2013. Five different leagues are represented here – the Premier League, Bundesliga, La Liga, Serie A and Ligue 1.” Backpage Football