Marseille: The Bielsa Press quantified

September 26, 2014

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Marseille’s coach Marcelo Bielsa
“Previously I have written about the metric which can help us quantify and assess the strength that a team used to press the opposition; Passes per Defensive Action or PPDA. An introduction to this metric, including its definition and what the numbers represent can be found in this article written in July. In a follow up article which looked at manager tendencies in relation to this PPDA metric  it was no surprise to find that Marcelo Bielsa ranked very highly amongst managers that incorporated a pressing game.  In fact, over the last four seasons across the Big 5 leagues only six managers used a more agressive level of pressing that Bielsa did.” Stats Bomb

Marcelo Bielsa restless but Marseille are early Ligue 1 pacesetters
“First, the caveats. It was only against Reims, who had the second worst defensive record in the French top flight even before Tuesday, and whose goalkeeper Johny Placide was hampered by an injury that forced him off at half-time. And Steve Mandanda did have to make a couple of decent saves in the second half after the intensity of the game had dropped. So Marseille fans must temper their excitement a little. But only a little.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson

Marcelo Biesla’s Marseille lighting up Ligue 1
“After a demoralising, disappointing 2013-2014 season for Marseille, the club knew that something needed to be done to address the situation. That decision saw talented tactician Marcelo Bielsa take the helm at Marseille. The former Argentine, Chile and Athletic Bilbao coach was appointed and started work after the World Cup. Marcelo Bielsa is a hugely respected figure in World Football and was hand-picked as a coach that could re-vitalise and energise this Marseille outfit that despite its sixth place finish insinuates great promise.” backpagefootball


Why Is the Premier League Table So Weird Right Now?

September 26, 2014

“Only one match in the Premier League this weekend ended the way most people expected. Amusingly, that was the biggest match of all: Chelsea’s cagey draw with Manchester City. Mind you, the path to that draw was about as dramatic as it gets, with a down-to-10-men City getting a late goal from, who else, former Chelsea icon Frank Lampard.” Grantland


Wobbly Liverpool, Everton have much in common ahead of Merseyside derby

September 26, 2014

“It feels like every time Liverpool plays Everton these days, the game is billed as ‘the most important derby’ for years. Ahead of Saturday’s Premier League encounter, both sides have more in common than usual; managers battling with early-season selection problems, defensive lapses, key players injured and unrealistic expectations after over-achievement last season.” SI


Aleksandr Mostovoi – A Legend In His Own Time

September 26, 2014

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“…Mostovoi…busca posicion para el disparo…sigue el Ruso…Mostovoi…Gol,Gol,Gol,Gol,Gol del Celta…Gol de Mostovoi…” – This was the sound it used to come out of my old television set back in the final years of the 1990s every time I tuned in TVG (Televisión de Galicia) to watch a Celta de Vigo match. That faint satellite connection gave me the opportunity to watch some glorious moments of football that I will never forget, most of them performed by a true artist that I learned to admire and that, to this day, I believe was one of the most talented players ever to have played in the so-called modern football: the one and only Aleksandr Mostovoi.” Russian Football News


Diagnosing Liverpool’s Early-Season Slump

September 26, 2014

“After last season’s unlikely, high-flying, high-scoring, high-octane season, things are looking a lot more mundane for Liverpool at the moment. Their last two Premier League results have been pedestrian losses to West Ham and Aston Villa. Those defeats are bookended by a ludicrous last-second victory over Champions League minnow Ludogorets Razgrad and a League Cup match in which they needed 14 penalty shots to beat Championship side Middlesbrough.” Grantland


Scout Report | Tin Jedvaj: Leverkusen & Croatia’s young rising defender

September 26, 2014

“‘Niko Kovač (Croatia’s national team coach) and I speak a common language. He decided that I am needed in the team and I respect his decision, I am Croatia’s solider. I don’t play for the money, a transfer or a record. I just want to help as much as I can’ Darijo Srna, Croatia’s captain, said after the World Cup in Brazil. In 12 years of loyal service the versatile right back collected impressive 118 caps and scored 21 goals for Vatreni . He played at three European and two World championships. After this year’s World Cup in Brazil, where Croatia exited the competiton very early, some players waved farewell to the national team. Srna, although some expected otherwise, didn’t. He remained an integral part of the team and is now, motivated as ever, chasing his fourth European championship qualification.” Outside of the Boot