Champions League Team of the Week

February 21, 2014

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“The first set of Champions League fixtures this week all went according to script as far as the results were concerned, with all four away sides taking large strides toward the quarterfinals with wins. Not only that, but none of the home teams were even able to register on the score sheet, and three of them had men sent off to make their improbable tasks near impossible.” ESPN


Relying on over-the-hill defenders: An explanation

February 21, 2014

“When Manuel Pellegrini announced his team sheet for Tuesday night’s match with Barcelona, there seemed one obvious weak link — Martin Demichelis. It wasn’t just that the Argentine was in the side at centre-back, a position he’s struggled in throughout his short Manchester City career; it was also that Pellegrini wasn’t playing an extra holding midfielder. Some suggested Javi Garcia might start deep in midfield, in an attempt to minimise the space afforded to Lionel Messi, Barcelona’s main threat.” ESPN – Michael Cox


AC Milan 0-1 Atletico Madrid: Tactical Analysis

February 21, 2014

“The 2 teams that clashed in this particular round of 16 clash have had wildly contrasting seasons up until this point. While the home side have been disappointing, and recently sacked Allegri and replaced him with club legend Seedorf, Atleti have been on an upward curve ever since the excellent Simeone has control at the Calderon. The clash was always going to be interesting, as the great European team took on the greenhorn that is Atletico.” Outside of the Boot


3. Liga Week 25 Review

February 21, 2014

“A rare occurrence took place in Matchday 25 of the 3. Liga and that was that there was not a single draw in all of the 10 matches that were played. This is most definitely a first for this season and something which hadn’t happened in the league since Matchday 24 of the 2010/2011 season. There must be something about February. This meant that big advantages were made or lost in this week, the former at the top of the table and the latter at the bottom. Also, all ten of the victories were one-goal advantages, which resulted in tight matches that were unresolved until the whistle went, some of them crucial three points for the victors.” Bundesliga Fanatic


Socceroos a crucial test for Ecuador

February 21, 2014

“Millwall’s stadium in South London might seem a strange spot for the 2014 FIFA World Cup to begin, but that is the way that Ecuador sees it when it takes the pitch there against Australia on 5 March (Thursday morning AEDT). Ecuador coach Reynaldo Rueda is well aware that the World Cup comes with a level of mental pressure which can stew the mind and freeze the legs. Four years ago the Colombian coach took Honduras to its first World Cup since 1982. His players, then, belonged to a generation which had never experienced anything like it. The first two games passed them by. Only in the third match, by which time it was already too late, did Honduras display its true colours. The same thing happened to Ecuador on its World Cup debut in 2002. And the fear is, after missing out on South Africa 2010, a similar problem might strike Ecuador’s latest generation.” The World Game – Tim Vickery


Felix Magath: ‘Hellfighter’ could be perfect fit for Fulham

February 21, 2014

“Fans of Felix Magath liken him to a demon headmaster. One of his former players claims he was more like Saddam Hussein. Another one dubbed him ‘the last dictator in Europe’. None of this sounds good. Perhaps Dimitar Berbatov, who left Craven Cottage in January, learned of the imminent arrival of Fulham’s new manager in a premonition and got spooked. ‘Pack your bags, Mrs Berbatov, we’re moving to Monaco.’ Certainly, the notoriously sedentary Bulgarian striker is better off out of it.” BBC