Champions League: Bayern Munich thrashes Roma amid goal bonanza

October 22, 2014

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“Tuesday’s Champions League action brought thumping wins for Chelsea, Shakhtar Donetsk and, perhaps most impressively, Bayern Munich, who hammered Roma 7-1 at Stadio Olimpico. Manchester City’s misery went on as it threw away a lead to draw in Moscow, while there was another defeat for Athletic Bilbao away to Porto. Here is what caught our eye from the day’s games, when a Champions-League-record 40 goals were scored…” SI – Jonathan Wilson

Robben impressed by rampant Bayern
“Arjen Robben, Bayern forward. Afterwards it’s always easy to talk. I’m still convinced Roma have a very good team – they’ve shown that this season – but we should pay a big compliment to us, to all the players, but also to the coaching staff who prepared this game in the way we played, the way we created chances and scored goals. There were some great goals tonight. We played a little different tonight. Everybody has seen it, but it’s not good to talk about our tactics and how we want to play. Everybody can see it and watch the match to analyse us. But a big compliment to the team and the tactics.” UEFA


Olympiakos-Panathinaikos: Europe’s maddest derby?

October 22, 2014

“Petrol bombs, flares, firecrackers and fights. And that’s just on the pitch. Welcome to derby day in Athens, where recent meetings between Olympiakos and Panathinaikos have also seen fans start fires in the stands and attempt to torch the team coach of their fierce rivals. The last time Greece’s two major powers met, in March, Panathinaikos manager Yannis Anastasiou was left sprawled on the touchline after being hit by an object thrown from the crowd.” BBC


Turkish football column: Wesley Sneijder’s brilliance, Fatih Terim’s issues & more

October 22, 2014

“With now 6 match days gone by, the Turkish league is still nowhere near promising by any means. The quality of football is low, the attendance average is the worst in history, the national team is yet to secure 3 points in the Euro 2016 qualifiers and out of all this, Beşiktaş, who won their last championship in the 2008-09 season, are in the driving seat.” Outside of the Boot


Goalkeepers: How repeatable are shot saving performances?

October 22, 2014

“Assessing the skills of goalkeepers is exceptionally difficult, and it’s why I have never attempted to do it. As well as the basic and fundamental skill of shot stopping, the best goalkeepers will be able to effectively assess situations and decide whether to advance or stay on their line. How they deal with a high ball is also important, as is their distribution and their communication and organisational skills. Combine those altogether and you have a range of skills that would be very difficult to measure using conventional statistics. Although I don’t think we are in the position of being able to rate goalkeepers in terms of their entire skillset we are in the position of being able to assess their shot stopping attributes. I’ve been told that the best way to eat an elephant is ‘one bit at a time’, and so we’ll take the same approach to rating goalkeepers. Let’s start the process by having a look at goalkeepers’ shot stopping numbers.” StatsBomb


Real Madrid has never beaten Liverpool, but that’s a stupid stat because they’ve only met three times

October 22, 2014

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“Some stats should come with small print, like financial ads: Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Like the fact that Real Madrid has never beaten Liverpool, and has never even scored against the club – quirks that are going to be consigned to history at Anfield on Wednesday in the Champions League, if current form is any guide. If the two teams had met 20 times, it would be notable. But surprisingly, considering the clubs’ pedigrees, the sides faced each other competitively only twice: a 1-0 Liverpool win in the 1981 European Cup final, and Liverpool’s 5-0, two-legged Champions League victory in 2008-09’s Round of 16, a high point of the Rafael Benítez era.” Soccer God (Video)


Roma Holiday: How the Italian Club Became a Champions League Contender

October 22, 2014

“Roma are a really good soccer team. This shouldn’t be surprising. They are, after all, the biggest team in the biggest city in Italy. It’s easy to shrug and say, ‘Of course Roma are the second-best team in Serie A. They are Roma.’ Except that, with the exception of two stretches — one in which they were managed by Fabio Capello and another under Luciano Spalletti — Roma have frequently been an average side. They have never been considered a perennial Champions League side. Yet here they are. On a superficial level, Roma’s approach isn’t all that special. They do all the things well that you’d expect good teams to do. They shoot more than their opponents, give up fewer shots, and, in general, create better chances.” Grantland (Video)


Analysis: Sergio Agüero as a lone striker and in a strike partnership

October 22, 2014

“Sergio Agüero became Manchester City’s all-time top Premier League goal-scorer this past weekend after scoring all four goals in his side’s 4-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur. But the terrific feat hardly came as a surprise to Manchester City supporters. The Etihad faithful adopted and mothered the Argentine like a Mancunian academy graduate the minute he landed in the North West during the summer of 2011, and he rewarded that affection with an impassioned strike against Queens Park Rangers that sprinkled glitter on 44 years of gloom in 2012. Two years on, and the £38.5m City spent on Agüero still seems like pennies.” Outside of the Boot