A new challenge: Udinese in Football Manager 14

September 24, 2014

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“Regular readers of my FM posts and, indeed, those subject to my anguished diatribes on social media, will be aware that I suffered a catastrophe a few months ago. In the middle of my first season at Everton, having been offered the job on the back of my resounding success at Rangers employing a Moneyball-style transfer strategy, and in my second season at Manchester United which had generated this semi-fictional Moyes-trouncing piece in Pickles, I lost my saved games. They vanished from my computer quicker than Ali Dia from the Southampton match-day squad and I could not find them. And so, bereft, I wandered lonely through an unceasing interior monologue of woe and self-commiseration.” Put Niels In Goal


Who’s to blame for Liverpool’s defensive woes?

September 24, 2014

“Following Liverpool’s disappointing 3-1 defeat to West Ham came Brendan Rodgers’ admission that Liverpool might be unable to compete for the title. Perhaps, he conceded, Liverpool ‘peaked too early’ last season. ‘Peaked’ is a rather unfortunate word to use — the best, Rodgers surely believes, is still to come. Nevertheless, it underlines the fact Liverpool punched above their weight in 2013-14, despite falling at the final hurdle. They started the season as outsiders for a Champions League place, they finished it devastated not to have won the title.” ESPN – Michael Cox


Appreciating Mesut

September 24, 2014

“At the highest level, there are relatively few footballers who warrant having teams and formations constructed around their style and abilities. Almost every player would benefit from a system set up especially to accommodate their strengths and weaknesses, but those who deserve that kind of special treatment are the ones who, with such support, feed as much or more into the rest of the side as is fed to them – those who enhance their team mates, and whose talents can help take their sides to a higher plain. Of course, there can be a danger in building for the needs of an individual. The most prominent being ‘what if that individual is missing?’, which Arsenal learned to their cost in the case of Cesc Fàbregas, both while he was at the club and the years immediately proceeding his departure. The other major issue being if that central figure is struggling for form, and how the rest of the team will have to cope with that.” Arseblog


Tactical Analysis | Manchester City 1-1 Chelsea: Two well organised sides

September 24, 2014

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“Manchester City 1-1 Chelsea | Most people’s predicted top two for the season met at the Etihad; two sides with arguably the best squads in the league with two of the best managers to handle them. Mourinho went with his tried and tested approach for these big games, Pellegrini responded by containing the most threatening duo of the away side.” Outside of the Boot


Dilemmas of Football Ownership: Marching on, Direction Unknown

September 24, 2014

“As we move into Day Three of our Football Ownership series, Gary Hartley tries in vain to make some sense of what, exactly, Massimo Cellino is up to at his beloved Leeds United. It’s not particularly new, this football clubs subsumed by rich men’s egos thing. It’s just that in the presumed halcyon days, the egos were more the Rotary Club, cigar on Sunday type of affair – vaguely but not entirely unapproachable, with no offspring on Twitter. Things are different now; we’ve supported or allowed the cult of moneyed personality, accepting that since it’s all ultimately a game, we can in turn allow our game to be gamed. Sigh. But hey, down at Elland Road, at least our rich man has a personality. Right? You with me? Right?” thetwounfortunates


The sporadic Scottish football round-up: First installment

September 24, 2014

“Hello and welcome to the first of a semi-regular review of the Scottish football season so far by your friend in pie Meat Filled Pastries (@MFPTasty). So what’s been happening up north, well apart from the whole referendum business in many respects it’s business as usual, well almost. Let’s review. European competition is something that starts in July and finishes in August north of the border, St. Johnstone repeated last years feat of beating a team that some people of heard of only to be knocked out by a team only yours truly and anyone looking for Slovakian bargains in Football Manger will have heard of while Motherwell went one better and didn’t even bother winning a game against a team nobody had ever heard of. Aberdeen fared better comfortably beating Daugava Riga, who one assumes were part of Latvia’s attempts to integrate rugby into their national sporting curriculum, before perhaps getting the best Scottish result in Europe so far this season by beating Groningen over two legs.” The Football Pink


Reviving Benfica: The Return Of Bela Guttmann

September 24, 2014

“Early in August, Bela Guttmann returned to Lisbon to be greeted at the airport by a wildly enthusiastic crowd of players, directors and fans all hysterically delighted to welcome him home. For the Hungarian born, naturalised Austrian, ‘home’ now is surely Lisboa, for although it is now more than three years since he quit, it has never ceased to be clear that Guttmann left his heart with Benfica. This being so, it becomes difficult to understand why he left in the first place, for there was never any suggestion of the directors sacking him, or another club attracting him. His resignation, announced so sensationally in London, where Benfica were to meet Tottenham Hotspur in the Semi-Final of the European Cup only 24 hours later, was a typically Guttmann touch for while the decision had been made months before, he withheld the announcement until it could bring the maximum benefit to Benfica.” In Bed With Maradona


Measuring Strength in Depth – Part 1

September 24, 2014

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“I have previously talked about the idea of an elements model. This had 30 elements grouped into Physical elements (e.g. Strength, Speed, Height, etc.), Mental elements (e.g. Concentration, Vision, Patience, etc.), and Technical elements (e.g. Tackling, Close Ball Control, Accurate Long Passing, etc.) that could be grouped together in a huge variety of combinations, like the ingredients for a multitude of meals.” Tomkins Times


Sark FC – the worst team in the world?

September 24, 2014

“TOMOS KNOX looks at the plight of the team from the tiny Channel Island as they search for more ‘international’ recognition. It’s 2003, and the Island Games, an Olympic themed tournament for islands all over the world, is just about to begin. Hosted in Guernsey, it includes triathlon, sailing, basketball, and of course, football. The opening ceremony, held on the seafront in St Peter’s Port, was a far cry from the multi-million pound Olympic Games ceremonies, but it still attracted thousands of people. Instead of parading around a monsterously large stadium, the 2,500 competitors and officials walked from North Beach to Albert Pier, drawing applause from the crowd. Among the 23 islands were Greenland, debutants Bermuda, and Sark. Although the latter had competed in previous editions of the Games, this was to be the first time that they would enter a football team. …” The Football Pink


Stuart Gray lifts dark clouds from Sheffield Wednesday

September 24, 2014

“It’s only seven years since Sheffield Wednesday took a Manchester City team containing Joey Barton to an FA Cup third round replay. That was probably the best Owls team since relegation from the Premier League and a lot has changed since, on both sides of the Pennines. City have added some billionaire owners, two League titles and a few cups while Wednesday are have just about clawed their way back to the same position after another stint in League One and a brush with financial meltdown. Yet Owls fans can go into tonight’s League Cup third round tie optimistic that they can make an impact at the Etihad.” WSC