Daily Archives: January 14, 2015

Atletico Madrid: Simeone’s Tactical Development

“Diego Simeone is not out to eat humble pie. The 44-year-old Argentinian is hell bent on retaining the league title and going one step better than last season in the Champions League. Without having Real Madrid’s and Barcelona’s payrolls, Atlético have gained success with a combination of sly tactics, strong leadership from a go-getting persona like Simeone, and a matchless spirit. And the Rojiblancos, long known as the “other team” in the Spanish capital, are a title contender in La Liga again.” Outside of the Boot

Cameroon look better off without Alex Song for Africa Cup of Nations

“Last time Alex Song wore a Cameroon shirt, against Croatia at the World Cup, he was sent off five minutes before half-time for dragging his elbow down Mario Mandzukic’s back. That was the centre-piece of a general implosion from Cameroon that also included rows over bonuses, widespread rumours of dressing-room unrest, allegations of match-fixing and Benoît Assou-Ekotto seemingly trying to head-butt Benjamin Moukandjo after a row in injury time.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson

Arsenal: Unwilling Beyond Fourth

“Perhaps the timing of this is fitting, discussing just why, at least for me, Arsenal just do not have what it takes to finally achieve greater things in the Premier League more than the Arsene Wenger memorial fourth place trophy. After success in the FA Cup in May and another mad dash to the final Champions League birth, we were all promised more…we were promised progression – it hasn’t happened. What’s worse? It won’t happen this season either, but when will it? When will we finally be apart of the Premier League elite once more? So, why is the timing of this beyond perfect? Recent news has boiled to the surface that Le Prof is nearing the singing of 17-year old Krystian Bielik from Legia Warsaw. Who, you may ask? Well to be honest, I haven’t got a clue who that is, apart from our usual January spending that involves minimal financial resources being sacrificed, young player for the future being brought it, and MAYBE a loan-signing to add some semblance of added squad depth. The problem is, this is more than inadequate, and has been for quite sometime.” Outside of the Boot

With refined accuracy, Tottenham’s Kane emerges as EPL breakout star

“The emergence of Harry Kane as the latest Great English Hope at striker has been the fascinating lead story in the latest season in which Tottenham desperately and haltingly tries to break into the Premier League’s top four. You don’t often see a $45 million striker like Roberto Soldado take a backseat to a 21-year-old local kid, but that’s what’s happening as Kane has now bagged eight goals in 17 league appearances (11 starts) and 18 in all competitions this season.” SI

Simeone and Atlético are a perfect fit, but Cholo’s next step is on the horizon

“Long before he was introduced to hair gel, Diego Pablo Simeone was conducting an orchestra in Argentina. He was only 10 years old at the time, still in school and tasked with organizing children much older than him. But Bruno Amasino, the school’s music teacher and a ‘genius at playing the piano’ (Simeone’s words), disregarded his age. His leadership was far more important. Amasino clearly had a good eye. Thirty-four years later, the Atlético Madrid head coach is still leading, his restless patrol of Atleti’s technical area reminiscent of a highly-tuned jungle cat. Covered in black from head to toe and with that trademark gel swooping his hair back, he now appears to be auditioning for a part in a South American version of Goodfellas. On the contrary, Simeone’s too busy cementing his place as one of the elite coaches in world soccer.” Soccer Gods

Chelsea – Hey Hey, My My (Into The Black)

“By the standards of most clubs, Chelsea’s 2013/14 season was pretty good, as they finished 3rd place in the Premier League and were semi-finalists in the Champions League, but it must have felt a little disappointing after capturing silverware in each of the previous two seasons: the Europa League in 2012/13 and, most memorably, the Champions League and FA Cup in 2011/12. However, this did not stop their progress off the pitch, as they reported record revenue of £320 million, up 25% on the prior year, and profit of £19 million (before tax), compared to a loss of £51 million in 2012/13. Equally importantly, given Chelsea’s history of being bankrolled by their owner Roman Abramovich, these results ensured that ‘UEFA’s break-even criteria under the Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations continue to be satisfied.’” The Swiss Ramble

Barça Bluster: How Can a Team With Neymar, Messi, and Suárez Consider Itself in Crisis?

“What do you call a team that’s one point out of first with 20 games to play? A side that’s conceded six fewer goals than the second-stingiest defense in the country? A club that’s breezed through the early stages of both its domestic cup and Champions League campaigns? A squad that just soundly defeated its second-biggest rival and the defending league champs? Read enough English-language coverage of Spanish soccer, and you’ll be able to convince yourself that the proper answer to all of those questions is a firm ‘in crisis.’ So let’s just get this out of the way right off the bat: Unless your definition of crisis is ‘title-contending team that isn’t quite as good as when it was maybe the best team in the history of the sport,’ Barcelona is not in crisis. Things in the north of Spain certainly are a-changing, though, so let’s take a deeper look at what all the fuss is about.” Grantland

In Defence of FSG’s Transfer Policy

“This article on the This Is Anfield website was brought to my attention (by, amongst other people, its author, Mark Pearson, via Twitter), and I wanted to respond, as I took exception to some of the points raised. I told Mark that I’d respond via an article, and he may respond in turn. (This may lead to an infinite loop, until one of us dies.) My problem with transfer articles like this is that they exist in the vacuum of a Liverpool’s fan’s perspectives on transfers, and come from a position of someone who seems to be a fine writer but who isn’t an expert on the subject of transfers. (See: Dunning-Kruger. Much of the work I do now is based on knowledge that other people don’t have, as they haven’t studied these things. Unless you also study transfers, I find it hard to accept that you’re not just guessing.)” Tomkins Times

Manchester City doesn’t care who you want to win the title

“As recently as a few weeks ago, you could hardly open a newspaper refresh a website without seeing a feature proclaiming Chelsea as champions-in-waiting. There was no shortage of premature comparisons to Arsenal’s Invincibles™ of 2003-2004, casting José Mourinho’s against history instead of the rest of the Premier League. Fast-forward to the start of 2015, and Manchester City have quietly crept up and caught the Blues. Ahead of both teams’ Saturday matches, City and Chelsea are level in ever category. If the season ended today, the two would head for a play-off.” Soccer Gods