PSG positivity: formation changes, improving players and surprising form

November 8, 2014

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“It would be sufficient to describe the start of the 2014-15 season for Paris Saint-Germain in one word: tumultuous. The early months have been bombarded with injuries and the concession of late equalisers in league games coinciding with an apparent dressing room crisis and the defeat of the previously undefeated Barcelona while qualification to the last 16 of the Champions League has also been achieved. Consistency is a key quality of the best teams, but starting slow and picking up pace is theoretically more desirable than fading away at the end of the season. Perhaps that is the path that PSG are taking this season; whilst currently the only remaining unbeaten team in Ligue 1, the club has also racked up the most stalemates in the division; 6 wins, 6 draws is the tally.” Outside of the Boot

Marseille’s love of OM is proving difficult to emulate in France’s capital
Revons Plus Grand. Dream Bigger. The phrase — in both French and English as a nod towards the international market, naturally — has been plastered everywhere connected with Paris Saint-Germain for the last 18 months or so. It’s at the reception at Parc des Princes itself, writ large on backdrops in the media areas at the club’s training center in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, an affluent suburb on the outskirts of the city, and all over the prime location fan boutique on the Champs-Élysées (it’s a few doors down from Abercrombie and Fitch’s French flagship, set back from the boulevard in an opulent former feudal home).” Soccer Gods (Video)


2014-15 Bundesliga Power Rankings: Match Day 10

November 8, 2014

“We are back with the 2014-15 Bundesliga Power Rankings – the post-Match Day 10 edition. Since our last edition, Bayern clings to its undefeated record, Mönchengladbach taunts the league with its, Dortmund continues its stunning crawl through the Bundesliga’s dive bars, Hannover 96 stubbornly clings to respectability, and Freiburg and Werder finally win a match. It’s the Bundesliga, folks. The Power Rankings do not necessarily reflect the current table standings, since they account both for form and expectations, all the while acknowledging the fluctuation and random effects riddled through a single match day weekend, yet also acknowledging that the weekly randomness does something like work itself out over the long run. Thus, we proudly present our Match Day 10 Power Rankings. Debate. Discuss. Rinse and repeat. Huzzah!” Bundesliga Fanatic


Barcelona policy switch means they risk becoming just another superclub

November 8, 2014

“Barcelona’s peak under Pep Guardiola probably came at Wembley in the 2011 Champions League final. It was not only the performance, hugely impressive though it was, but the sense this was a dynasty that could last for an awfully long time. Barça beat Manchester United 3-1 to win the competition for the second time in three years – having missed out in the middle season because of a combination of extraordinary resilience from José Mourinho’s Internazionale, an Icelandic volcano and ill fortune. With a long-established philosophy and much-admired academy, they seemed to have the ideal platform for success.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson


Analysis: Arsene Wenger’s wing dynamics during his time at Arsenal

November 8, 2014

“Arsene Wenger’s disdain for traditional wingers was evident from the very beginning of his tenure. Marc Overmars, Robert Pires, Freddy Ljungberg all used to start on the flanks only to find themselves in goal scoring positions near or inside the box. Wenger preferred his right sided wingers to be goal mouth players and his left wingers to be skillful attacking midfielders. If one looks through Arsenal squads from 1996 you’ll find that the teams rarely employed wingers whose job was to inject crosses, nor did they employ targetmen who were to get on the end of said crosses. Wenger has a belief in his high tempo possession play that creative midfielders find themselves on the wing to help greater link up with the forward line. This facet of wing play had become a mainstay for many years at the club and players, who came in, were brought according to the same principle.” Outside of the Boot


La Liga: UD Almeria 1-2 FC Barcelona: Match Review

November 8, 2014

“After slipping to two successive La Liga defeats, FC Barcelona looked set for a third as they fell behind in Andalusia to UD Almeria in the early Saturday afternoon kick-off. Former Espanyol striker Thievy got the goal, clinically finishing a chance on a counter-attack as Barça seemed to have no answer for the tactical setup of the hosts. However, a host of changes at the break, not least the introduction of Luis Suarez and Neymar, slowly but surely turned the tide in the Blaugrana’s favour as Neymar converted a Suarez cross to tie the teams at 1-1 before Luisito provided once again, this time for Jordi Alba to grab a winner. Deserved? Nope, but three points nonetheless as Barcelona temporarily moved into top spot.” Barca Blaugranes


Why Brendan Rodgers should ignore the bad press

November 8, 2014

“Carlo Ancelotti was pictured touching the famous ‘This Is Anfield’ sign in the tunnel the day before Liverpool hosted Real Madrid two weeks ago, saying how much of an honour it was to bring his galacticos to such an iconic European stage. The ruthless ease with which Karim Benzema’s brace and Luka Modric’s passing saw off their opponents the following day must have rankled with the Anfield hierarchy and support. That sign was to Liverpool what the pinstripes were to the New York Yankees – a symbol of the terrifying aura that engulfed visiting sides and mentally beat them into submission before they had stepped foot onto the pitch itself – but here was a side beaten 4-0 on aggregate only six seasons ago trampling over them as if it were their own home ground.” backpagefootball