Ranking the Top 10 Young Midfielders so far in 2014-15: Sterling moves up as Liverpool begin late season resurgence

March 6, 2015

Raheem-Sterling-e1353655434188
“After another minor break, the Talent Radar Player Rankings return, with the men in the middle of the park the focus of our attentions. A lot has changed since the last time the rankings were out, Borussia Dortmund’s fall was only just starting, Liverpool were still in the Champions League and the Italian Serie A race actually looked interesting. While the rankings itself saw Marco Verratti on top, with a couple of challengers looking to dethrone him. Here’s who continue to impress us as we move into the business end of the football season.” Outside of the Boot


Centers, Catchers, and Chileans: The Trouble With Mesut Özil’s Unquantifiable Excellence

March 6, 2015

“Watch any Arsenal game, and you’ll very quickly notice something: Alexis Sánchez is really good at soccer. The lovable Chilean buzzes around the field from start to finish, and it’s clear what he brings to the side. He shoots a lot, he runs with the ball at his feet, he shoots some more, he gets fouled, he puts crosses into the box, and he presses defenders who have the ball. In other words, Sánchez is always, visibly, doing stuff. Now, all that stuff came with a price tag, as Arsenal had to pay somewhere around £35 million to bring him over from FC Barcelona last July. As we’ve already said, signing Sánchez has added a dangerous, active component to Arsenal’s attack, but there was also a bit of a statement behind the signing: It marked the second summer in a row the Gunners spent big money on a big-talent, big-name attacker from one of the two big clubs in Spain.” Grantland


The Motley Crew: The Story Behind America’s Wackiest Football Club Names

March 6, 2015

“As the summer of 1995 came to a close, Luis Orozco, a Colombian-born student living in Akron, Ohio, popped a letter in the mail that was bound for his local newspaper. He was overcome by two emotions: pessimism and intrigue. The latter of the two was fueled by Orozco’s love of football, which, to his delight, was welcoming a yet-to-be-named professional team to his area, set for a place in the newly formed Major League Soccer league. The pessimism: that came from Orozco’s belief that his suggestion for the Columbus slot’s name, contained in the letter that was now on its way to the Columbus Dispatch, may not be chosen, thanks to a wave of competition.” 8by8


Norwich City – East Of The Sun, West Of The Moon

March 6, 2015

Cameron Jerome
“The 2013/14 season was a mixed bag for Norwich City, as another good year from a financial perspective was completely overshadowed by the results on the pitch. As the annual report stated, it was ‘a disappointing season for the club, culminating in relegation to the Championship following three successive years in the Premier League.’ Although Norwich had arguably outperformed the previous season by finishing in a comfortable 11th position in the Premier League, it must have been strange to supporters to see the club record a £9 million profit before tax (up more than 700%) and further reduce debt instead of spending more in an attempt to avoid relegation.” The Swiss Ramble


The four levels of local derby significance, from must-watch to objectively terrible

March 6, 2015

“For the second time in a week, rivals Aston Villa and West Bromwich Albion are set for a West Midlands Derby, with Saturday’s FA Cup quarterfinal at Villa Park coming on the heels of Tuesday’s Premier League match in Birmingham. Surprisingly for what was effectively a ‘relegation six-pointer’ and a local derby, Villa’s home ground was not even close to being full in midweek. Local rivalries, with their often unique histories of animus, usually carry an added level of intrigue that separate them from other fixtures on the calendar, but as we saw while West Brom came up short in the dying seconds on Tuesday (thanks, Ben Foster!), not all derbies are created equal.” Soccer Gods


Rising Reds: Liverpool’s Recent Remarkable Run

March 6, 2015

“It is no secret that early in the Premier League season, Liverpool were struggling. They were sitting in 12th place in the Premier League standings, and didn’t have a clue as to which way was up. Somehow, Brendan Rodgers has righted the ship, and Liverpool are making a strong push for a Champions League spot. Liverpool had one of the busiest offseasons in all of world football. The club decided to offload controversial striker Luis Suarez after his World Cup debacle, selling the player for 75 million pounds to Barcelona. This allowed them to go out and buy multiple top notch players. Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana, Emre Can, Lazar Markovic, Dejan Lovren, Divock Origi, Alberto Moreno, and Mario Balotelli were all byproducts of the Suarez sale.” Soccer Pro