Daily Archives: January 19, 2015

Ten intriguing Ligue 1 players this season

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Yannick Ferreira-Carrasco (AS Monaco)
“The Ligue 1 season is over 50% completed this season, around the point where team and individual success at least for that particular season starts to lose out its novelty act, for both good performances and bad performances. With the financial restrictions that Ligue teams not named PSG have, more times than not Ligue 1 has gotten the reputation of being a league where the majority of their top players develop and leave at a young age to other European leagues. In a season where the goal scoring rate in Ligue 1 has increased from last season’s rate, it’s given way for numerous talents to show their work and in certain case, blossom under a much heavier workload. Let’s take a look at how the ten players have fared so far.” backpagefootball

Charlie Austin: Is it time England called on QPR striker?

“England manager Roy Hodgson’s focus has been on the defensive arts this week after his contentious nomination of Argentina’s Javier Mascherano for the Ballon d’Or – but he had a striker on his mind at Loftus Road on Saturday. Wayne Rooney may have captured his attention after Hodgson took his seat in the directors’ box to watch Manchester United beat Queens Park Rangers 2-0 but there is little new to learn about the man he made his captain. The object of Hodgson’s attentions was more likely to be QPR’s Charlie Austin, whose 13 Premier League goals in a struggling side leave him third behind 17-goal Diego Costa of Chelsea and Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero, who has 14, in the Premier League scoring charts.” BBC

The Catalan Roller Coaster

“It’s been a mad few weeks for F.C. Barcelona, turbulent and stressful in the extreme. Let’s break it down, shall we? It seems every season since Pep Guardiola left, rumors pop up suggesting Messi is fed up with the club and the board and is demanding a transfer. Obviously, these rumors have been false up until this point, and there’re several reasons why the greatest player to ever grace a football pitch will not leave the club for many years.” Soccer Pro

Tactical Analysis: Manchester City 0-2 Arsenal | Arsenal relinquish style in favour of substance

“Arsenal’s horrendously poor record against fellow top sides has long been a thorn in the North London club’s side. Many thought that the game against Manchester City would serve to be yet another instance in which Arsene Wenger’s men would be brushed aside. Indeed all indications ahead of the game pointed to a comfortable home victory and it was up to Arsenal to change the well worn narrative and show some fight at the home of the Champions. And they did just that as a refreshingly solid shape and resilient display ensured that they left Manchester with 3 points in the bag.” Outside of the Boot

Southampton Fill-Ins Continue to Be First-Rate

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Eljero Elia
“The supply line of Dutch-Surinamese talent has not dried up — it just needs people to remember it, identify with it and take a chance on it. Eljero Elia, a winger whose parents were born in the former Dutch colony in South America, won the game for Southampton on Saturday. The quick-footed Elia was playing his second game for the Saints and scored both goals for Southampton in a hard-fought 2-1 victory at Newcastle United.” NY Times

Tactics: Is Bengaluru FC’s shift to a 4-4-2 vs Dempo a worry in Midfield?

“When Bengaluru FC let go of Johnny Menyongar, plenty of the supporters gasped in disappointment. It wasn’t that the Liberian was a popular fan favourite (comparatively), but the fluidity with which he controlled the midfield left most viewers starring in awe. Coach Ashley Westwood replaced the 34-year-old Menyongar with Joshua Walker, ex-England U-21 captain. And as displayed in the sides’ maiden Federation Cup triumph, the 25-year-old seemed to struggle in the opening games but quickly asserted himself in the side and evidently was a step ahead at reading the game. But that victory in the final over Dempo also saw Walker come off early with an injury concern, later displaying an ice pack on his thigh.” Outside of the Boot

Panning for gold – the Sudamericano Sub-20

“As a beaming Lionel Messi wheeled away from an ugly goalmouth scramble after putting Barcelona’s victory over Atletico Madrid beyond doubt, he was set upon by the evening’s two other scorers. Neymar, Luis Suarez and Messi made their way back to the back to their positions arm-in-arm having together lifted a slightly deflated mood around the club beset by managerial pressure and rumours of their favourite son’s discontent. The victory left Barca just a point behind Real Madrid in the Liga BBVA and three ahead of Atletico and it was these three South American stars, each arriving at the club via hugely different paths, that were its architects. There’s nothing quite as marketable as a South American football star. By now the image has become something of a cliché: the young pibe winding through cobbled, uneven streets from dawn to dusk, with nothing but a rudimentary ball and a dream; carrying that childlike exuberance into the professional game and becoming a star.” backpagefootball

Baby-faced Vietto is South America’s latest marksman to find his range in Europe

“Silence camouflaged Atlético Madrid’s Vicente Calderón stadium as Luciano Vietto dropped his shoulder and spun to his left. Propelling himself into the Atleti area, the Villarreal attacker thumped the ball beyond goalkeeper Miguel Ángel Moyà, ending the La Liga champion’s 18-month unbeaten home run in the league. He’d only been in Spain for four months. On the touchline, Atlético boss Diego Simeone was left conflicted. He’d just seen his star defender, Diego Godín, made to look like the Statue of Liberty, something very few players have been able to do over the last two years, as Villarreal robbed his side of key points in the race to retain the Primera División. Still, the man that was wearing the balaclava, Vietto, was someone he couldn’t help but be glad for.” Soccer Gods