Pedro sparks Barca comeback

December 22, 2013

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“Pedro scored a hat-trick in the space of eight minutes as Barcelona came from two goals down to beat Getafe 5-2 and return to the top of the Primera Division for Christmas. A much-changed Barca side, without the suspended Neymar plus the injured trio of Xavi Hernandez, Lionel Messi and goalkeeper Victor Valdes, conceded twice in the opening quarter of an hour, with Sergio Escudero breaking the deadlock and Lisandro Lopez scoring a header.” ESPN


Arsène Wenger at Arsenal and Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United prove the value of the ‘manager’

December 22, 2013

“Some self-admiring owners invade the dressing room, diluting the power of the manager, a damaging trend. If Arsène Wenger guides Arsenal to glory in the Premier League it would be a wonderful, well-timed triumph for the managerial profession. Managers are not just for Christmas. Even Wenger’s rivals would surely acknowledge privately the long-term benefit for their industry of the success of a manager who will have been in his job almost 18 years, who alone decides recruitment and loan policy, whose influence is so all-pervading at the Emirates that he even chose the wall colours.” Telegraph – Henry Winter


What’s next for Ronaldinho?

December 22, 2013

“Another magisterial free kick goal from Ronaldinho, this time against Guangzhou Everglade in the Club World Cup third place-off, serves as further testimony to the extraordinary depth of his talent. The way that he flitted around on the game’s periphery, even against a team from China, was an all too eloquent statement of how much of this talent has been wasted. What a puzzling enigma he is! The question is not easy to answer; should we be grateful for the fabulous moments Ronaldinho has given us, or frustrated that he could have delivered so many more of them?” ESPN – Tim Vickery


It’s a squad thing – part 2

December 22, 2013

“In the second of two posts, Jonny Sharples reminisces about his three favourite squads of all time, who brought unity, glamour, and entertainment to football. If you’ve not read Part 1, do so first…” Put Niels In Goal


Georgia on my mind

December 22, 2013

“At around 20.45 local time on 12th October 2002 a power failure at the Mikheil Meskhi stadium in Tbilisi plunged Georgia’s Euro 2004 qualifying match against Russia into darkness. It wasn’t to be the last time that an energy shortage in the Caucasus would cause a blackout in the relationship between these two bitter rivals. Captaining Georgia that night was AC Milan defender Kakha Kaladze, the young republic’s most famous footballing export, but even the defensive barricade that would go on to collect a Champions League winners medal barely three years later was powerless to intercede as he and his teammates waited with uncertainty in the Tbilisi darkness.” World Soccer