Sticks and Stones

February 23, 2014

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“Jose Mourinho knows how to lie in a way that sounds deeper than the truth. Of his many usefully unscrupulous talents, this is one of the most useful and least scrupulous. He says things that he knows are untrue, and that you know are untrue, and that he knows you know are untrue, but that somehow or other just stick. In 2005, during his first run as the manager of Chelsea, he called Arsene Wenger a ‘voyeur’ when the Arsenal boss publicly questioned Mourinho’s transfer policy. It wasn’t fair, but neither is poetry. The jibe captured something weird and curdled in the impression the hawk-eyed Wenger makes; they were still talking about it in England eight years later. No one actually believes Wenger spends his free hours gazing into the rear courtyard, but that’s not the point. The goal of Mourinho’s lies isn’t to persuade you to believe anything. It’s to hit you at a level below belief, to shock your sense of reality into thinking it agrees with his.” Grantland – Brian Phillips


From The Mind of Xoel: Barça Loses: Barça Now at Liga Crossroads.

February 23, 2014

“From the ecstasy of beating Manchester City 2-0 on Tuesday night, to the agony of losing 3-1 against Real Sociedad on Saturday, FC Barcelona has had a roller coaster of a week. In this article, Xoel Càrdenas gives you his take on the loss, Tata’s mistakes, and why this is the turning point for FC Barcelona’s season.” Barca Blaugranes

La Liga: Real Sociedad 3-1 FC Barcelona: Match Review
“A passionless Barcelona stepped on the historical inhospitable pitch at Anoeta in San Sebastian and were ran over by Real Sociedad. Gerardo Martino’s rotation policy backfired in Basque Country as goals from Alex Song (o.g.), Antoine Griezmann and David Zurutuza were more then enough to see of Barcelona whose only reply came from Lionel Messi.” Barca Blaugranes


Reds edge Swans in Anfield thriller

February 23, 2014

“Jordan Henderson and Daniel Sturridge netted twice each as title outsiders Liverpool edged a seven-goal Anfield classic against Swansea. Brendan Rodgers’ side continue to be plagued by a porous defence but moved within four points of Barclays Premier League leaders Chelsea after emerging victorious from one of the games of the season.” ESPN


Fearing relegation, Fulham panics, turns to eccentric Magath

February 23, 2014

” If you think you’ve made a mistake, perhaps the best thing to do is to admit it and look to make amends as quickly as possible. But sacking a manager, then sacking his replacement 75 days later while getting rid of two other coaches you’d only just brought in, does look, as Rene Meulensteen said shortly after he’d been ousted from Fulham, like ‘pressing the panic button.’ Fulham lies at the bottom of the Premier League table, four points from safety with 12 games remaining, its fate in the hands of one of German football’s more controversial figures. Felix Magath won two doubles with Bayern Munich and then, astonishingly, he led Wolfsburg to the Bundesliga title, yet nobody who played for him ever seems to have enjoyed the experience.” SI – Jonathan Wilson


Book Reviews – Clough and tumble

February 23, 2014

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“Brian Clough, the greatest English manager never to manage England, old Big ‘Ead, mad as a box of frogs but brilliant with it, is without doubt one of the most interesting characters in football history. He is someone I have become a little bit obsessed with, if truth be told. The scale of his achievement with Derby and Nottingham Forest is matched only by the absurdity of some of his behaviour, the outlandishness of his outbursts, and the extraordinary pathos of his descent into alcoholism. In this piece, I have looked at two different books about Clough, stylistically different and yet complementary, to find out what we can learn about the green-tracksuited guru.” Put Niels In Goal


Bergkamp Statue Revealed: “Henry Himself, Would Argue That Dennis Was Better.”

February 23, 2014

“This weekend, whilst a lot of the British press are passing judgements on Arsenal’s current star signing, arguably the greatest Gunners arrival of them all is set to be honoured outside Emirates Stadium. As a big name with a similarly big price tag in 1995, Dennis Bergkamp had a slow start adapting to a new league, but went on to be revered by Arsenal fans. Certainly in the Wenger-era, few would argue that Thierry Henry is the greatest player for the Gunners. Henry himself, would argue that Dennis was better.” Sabotage Times


Responding to Klinsmann, U.S. players say it’s opportunities they lack – not belief

February 23, 2014

“If it can be measured or tested, Jurgen Klinsmann has measured and tested it. From strength and agility to VO2 max, pattern recognition, sleep and caloric intake, U.S. national team players have been subjected to an unprecedented amount of quantitative analysis under their thorough and ambitious coach. As Klinsmann has claimed repeatedly over the past two-plus years, it’s all designed to help forge players who can compete at soccer’s highest level.” SI