Ligue 1 Preview 2015-16: We’re still here

August 3, 2015

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“Ligue 1 is easily overlooked in the soccer landscape so before we dive into the nitty gritty of teams and players I think some persuasion is in order. If you are already revved up for the Ligue 1 season, you can skip to the teams and players section below. I understand many of you will be hesitant like I was when dipping my toe into Ligue 1 so we need to establish why you should spend some of your time here instead of elsewhere. We all know the negatives: the lack of goals, lack of quality, etc, etc. Let’s focus on the positives. What does Ligue 1 bring to the table?” StatsBomb


André Ayew’s Roy of the Rovers moment showed off his rich talent

August 3, 2015

“In some rare games, conventions fall away. Tactical schema are ripped up, the rationale about the importance of the team disappears, and the match becomes the struggle of one player against the rest. They’re the days when Roy of the Rovers seems true to life and, however dangerous they may be in convincing individuals that they can win games single-handed, there’s a visceral charge about them. It’s in those games that football takes on a mythic quality: one man against a massed opponent.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson


Tim Vickery’s Notes from Brazil: Ronaldinho’s last decade summed up in 90 minutes

August 3, 2015

“The last 9 years of Ronaldinho Gaucho’s professional life were nearly summed up in his first 90 minutes for his latest club. The former FIFA player of the year had been presented to fans of Fluminense of Rio at a previous game a fortnight earlier. A big crowd had come out for the occasion, and, inspired, Ronaldinho declared himself raring to go, desperate to get out there on the field. He neglected to add that it would be some 8 days before he actually turned up for training – part of the deal he agreed with the club was that he would straight away be granted two weeks holiday. Since he had not been in action since the end of May (with Queretaro in Mexico) this in itself was an eye opener, yet more evidence that getting the most out of his extraordinary talent is not at the top of his list of priorities – which would seem to have been the case for some time.” World Soccer – Tim Vickery (Video)


Broken Hearts looking to consolidate on their unexpected quick return

August 3, 2015

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“It’s been a rollercoaster few years for Heart of Midlothian Football Club, but after financial rescue and a surprise runaway success in the Scottish Championship last season, what are the Jambos’ realistic aims for 2015/16. MATT LESLIE looks at the campaign ahead. The new Scottish Premier League season gets under way this weekend and Hearts fans will be delighted at the return of top-flight football following a year’s absence.” Football Pink


Goal Scoring and Assist Distributions Across Leagues

August 3, 2015

“Not all leagues are the same. We know this from looking at different shot profiles between leagues, different levels of parity between leagues, and of course just from watching different leagues ourselves. This creates a problem when we want to compare different players who play in different leagues. Is a goal in La Liga worth the same as a goal in the Premier League? It’s hard to know and we usually base our opinions on these issues by anecdotally comparing the performances of players who have played in multiple leagues. There are better ways however to do these comparisons using data.” StatsBomb


Could Valencia return to the glory days?

August 3, 2015

“Nuno Espirito Santo seems to be getting his wheels in motion to upset the apple cart in the UEFA Champions League, with a two-legged play-off match on the horizon. A 4-1 drubbing to Bayern Munich excluded, Valencia have been producing solid displays in their pre-season and will look to take the next step this season – to return to the competition that broke their hearts at the turn of the century: the Champions League.” Outside of the Boot


Community Shield Diary: Arsène Wenger wins a friendly, confusedly believes he won a real trophy

August 3, 2015

“It had, thought Arsène Wenger to himself, been a wonderful day. He kicked his shoes off onto the carpet. Then, with a sly grin and a quick check to make sure the door was closed, he swung his socked feet up onto his desk and, for the first time in years, relaxed. He closed his eyes. He fumbled in his jacket pocket, removed a cigar case, unscrewed the top and withdrew eight plump inches of Havana’s finest. He popped it into his mouth.” Fusion