Daily Archives: August 7, 2014

New characters introduced to familiar Premiership story

“Unpredictability remains the most elusive quality in the Scottish Premiership. Nobody supposes that Celtic will fail to win the title for the fourth consecutive season, even if there is a new manager in place who will have to adapt to working in a different country as well as at a new club. The presence of Ronny Deila at Celtic Park does, though, add diversity to the intrigue that the top flight is capable of. The Norwegian suffered a major setback as Celtic were eliminated from the Champions League at the third qualifying round stage on Wednesday against Legia Warsaw. He must now hope that the effects of that disappointment do not linger.” BBC


Manchester United’s Back Three, and the Changing Face of Premier League Defending

“As the summer of Louis van Gaal turns into the season of Louis van Gaal, the Dutch manager seems set to put a tactical stamp on the Premier League, bringing the three–center back system he used at the World Cup to Manchester United. And it’s a harbinger of things to come; outside of England, the back three (or five) has been making a comeback. Here’s what’s behind van Gaal’s — and a handful of other coaches’ — thinking.” Grantland

Soccer in Oblivion

“The first cylinders of German chlorine gas were released on Allied soldiers during the Second Battle of Ypres, in northwestern Belgium, on April 22, 1915. The soldiers were Algerian and Moroccan, colonial forces fighting for France. The Germans — this is how sophisticated chemical weapons were in the first year of World War I — used the wind as their delivery mechanism; they simply opened several thousand containers of the poison and let the breeze convey it toward the enemy. When combined with water, chlorine gas turns to acid. If you inhale it, first you smell pineapple, then your lungs burn away from the inside. If it gets in your eyes — well, you can imagine. It’s heavier than air, so at Ypres a dense yellow fog of it settled in the French trenches. The soldiers crawled out onto the field to escape the gas. The field was being strafed with German machine gun fire.” Grantland

Versatility is Alexis’ greatest weapon

“Managers will be particularly busy over the next couple of weeks: assessing their budgets, drawing out their ideal starting XI, making ruthless decisions about who to drop and predicting the impact of new signings. And this, alas, is simply supporters considering their fantasy teams. Fantasy leagues are up and running around the world, and one of the most surprising decisions of the Premier League’s official game is the status of Arsenal’s 30 million-pound signing Alexis Sanchez. The Chilean international is somewhat peculiarly categorised as a midfielder, which seems like something of an administrative error, but also says a lot about Arsene Wenger’s approach to solving his goal-scoring worries.” ESPN – Michael Cox (Video)

Season Preview 14/15: LIVERPOOL

“Modern football has become a clichéd phrase in recent years with many connotations, often negative. As money takes over the once democratic game we love many teams are facing a destiny without success in any tangible form. While Liverpool could never be said to be a club ran by paupers, their recent past of near administration and mid-table mediocrity make what transpired last season so breathtaking and special, not just for Liverpool fans but football fans all over.” backpagefootball, Season Preview 14/15: CHELSEA, Season Preview 14/15: ARSENAL

The glory days may be back at SV Darmstadt

“There is something that feels so totally unpretentious about SV Darmstadt 98 that it’s really hard not to like them. The club itself shouldn’t be in the second division this season, and not because of anything that happened on the field, most there will readily admit that. At the conclusion of the 2012-2013 3. Liga season, Darmstadt were relegated to the fourth-tier regional leagues, before financial trouble at arch-rivals Kickers Offenbach meant OFC would be losing their 3. Liga license. Darmstadt would take Offenbach’s place in the third division as the team with the most points previously slated to go down.” backpagefootball

TTU Go Predicting: a Club-by-Club Championship Preview 2014-5

“Following on from John McGee’s freeform assessment of League 1 yesterday, here is a somewhat more plodding assessment of the level above. That, however, is no reflection on the ins and outs of this season’s Championship – a competition where extortionate transfer fees, underqualified managers and frankly terrifying owners hold sway, where parachute payments warp the competition and everyone is indulging in the filthy scramble for Premier League riches – apart from Blackpool. If the written word isn’t enough, all three of our previewers can be heard expounding in person on the same issues on three special editions of the We Are Going Up! podcast this week. Anyway, without further ado…” thetwounfortunates

Sami Hyypia: ‘If you are tough that doesn’t mean you can’t play football’

“‘When you move somewhere it is important you get to know the area,’ Sami Hyypia says as he confirms that he recently visited the Lord Nelson Inn, a pub located near Brighton’s North Laine area renowned for serving locally brewed real ale. He was spotted there by a group of the town’s sports reporters and the hope for Hyypia is that they will largely be writing good things about him in the coming months. Appointed Brighton manager on a three-year contract in June, the spotlight well and truly falls on the towering, blond Finn on Saturday when his side take on Sheffield Wednesday at the Amex Stadium.” Guardian