Dortmund building Arsenal-like empire

August 24, 2014

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“It would be an exaggeration to describe 2014-15 as a genuinely new era for Borussia Dortmund, but they’re set to embark upon another phase in their exciting adventure as one of Europe’s most revered sides. To be specific, this is the third phase — and potentially the most interesting so far. The first phase was simple — it was Dortmund’s sudden transformation into Germany’s most complete side. In 2010-11, Dortmund took a huge leap from fifth the previous campaign and become the Bundesliga’s best team almost overnight, without much warning or a significant intermediary step.” ESPN – Michael Cox


Tactical Analysis: Everton 2-2 Arsenal | Giroud adds final third efficiency

August 24, 2014

“Everton 2-2 Arsenal | Everton have had the edge against the North Londoners in recent times, with their last meeting at Goodison ending in a comfortable 3-0 win for the Toffees. Martinez and co. looked for an encore, but Arsene Wenger and his team showed a new resolve to claw back from 2 down, and rescue a point.” Outside of the Boot


Borussia Dortmund, Atlético Madrid, and the Art of Talent Scavenging

August 24, 2014

“Spain and Germany kick off their seasons this weekend. The two leagues have a tremendous amount in common. They’re both top-heavy, frequently dominated by clubs with deep pockets (Real Madrid and Barcelona in Spain, Bayern Munich in Germany). But in both La Liga and the Bundesliga, two teams have emerged from the middle class to consistently challenge the hierarchy.” Grantland


The Racist, Homophobic, Xenophobic Text-Message Scandal Rocking English Football

August 24, 2014

“A few days ago, the contents of two letters sent to the English Football Association — detailing offensive text messages between Malcolm ‘Malky’ Mackay and Crystal Palace executive Iain Moody — hit the news. The inflammatory nature of the texts throws Crystal Palace’s already rocky season into a chaotic jumble and threatens the future employment prospects of Mackay and Moody. It is a ragged and roiling shit show. So, let’s talk about it.” Grantland


Optimism springs eternal as club football rolls back into town

August 24, 2014

SV Werder Bremen v FC Chelsea - Pre Season Friendly
“I confess that it has not been easy to put the 2014 World Cup behind me and focus once more on club football. Part of that, of course, is that the party happened on my (adopted) doorstep, and I had a grandstand view. But there is something else. Nationalism can be a dangerous force. But in the heat of a giant tournament there is so much to celebrate in national team football. It is not so much ‘my country is always right.’ It is more a case of ‘my country fitting into a global context’ – a much more healthy way of looking at the world. I enjoy the power of representation that national team football engenders, and love the fact that this is a forum where the likes of Uruguay and Costa Rica can be competitive. It is striking how in the world of national teams the playing field is levelled. True, the last two World Cups were won by Germany and Spain, countries with powerful domestic leagues. The same, though, is not really true of Algeria, which pushed the Germans hard in that second round match in Porto Alegre. Many of the Algerian squad, though, have grown up in France, where they have benefited from a welfare state and from local facilities and coaching.” The World Game – Tim Vickery


A new team taking on their manager’s identity

August 24, 2014

“With a host of new managers getting ready to lead their charges into a new Premier League season with new signings, the memories of departed players and plenty of new tactics and ambition, the hope is that each club selected their new leader wisely. From Ronald Koeman at Southampton to Louis van Gaal at Manchester United, these coaches will be looking to stamp their authority as soon as possible, and some already have.” backpagefootball


In Belo Horizonte, Cruzeiro fans turn to their club to forget World Cup rout

August 24, 2014

No other graveyard in the world could be this festive, this crowded, this loud. The Estádio Mineirão, where Brazil’s World Cup hopes were cut to pieces—seven, to be precise, one for each German goal—and buried without honor, is ablaze with life. A crowd that will swell to 42,000 is on its feet, waving huge blue-and-white flags and chanting to the insistent beat of bass drums. And the game hasn’t even started. Barely five weeks after the most humiliating home loss ever suffered by a World Cup contender, soccer fans here are again finding hope and joy in the game. That’s partly because, in a fine bit of redemptive irony, the Mineirão is the home pitch of Brazil’s best football club: Cruzeiro, the defending first-division champion and a favorite to repeat. And on this overcast Sunday afternoon it’s hosting a solid side from Santos, Pelé’s old team, newly fortified by the return to Brazil of Robinho.” SI


Has Rojo fixed Man United’s defensive woes?

August 24, 2014

“In the lull between the World Cup and the new Premier League season, Manchester United were linked with moves for centre-backs Mats Hummels and Mehdi Benatia. On Wednesday evening, however, the former champions secured the signature of Marcos Rojo from Sporting Club, but some may feel he was not quite the household name supporters were pining for.” Pitchside Europe


Celtic manager Ronny Deila urges authorities to look at Scandinavian model when scheduling league calendar

August 24, 2014

“As Ronny Deila prepares his Celtic side for Tuesday’s crucial return leg of the Champions League play-off against Maribor – at stake is a place in the group stage for the third successive season – the Parkhead manager called for Scottish football to give itself a better chance of European success by moving the domestic season into line with the Scandinavian leagues. Deila has made plain his concern about Celtic’s pre-season commitments – he claimed that they contributed to player fatigue in the 6-1 qualifying defeat against Legia Warsaw, which was overturned because the Poles fielded an ineligible player – and he expanded the theme when musing upon the implications of success against Maribor.” Telegraph