From Galáctico to Partridge: Why are we obsessed with trolling Michael Owen?

August 24, 2015

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“As much I’m looking forward to the Premier League’s latest Saturday lunchtime kick-off, I can’t seem to concentrate on the screen. It’s the BT Sport logo in the top-right corner that’s causing me the problem. As soon as I see it my thumbs take over in a flurry of muscle-memory. It seems like I’m not alone. Within minutes, Twitter’s trending topics reveal that the eyes of the whole country have been yanked from the big screen at the front of the room to the small screen in their hand. Michael Owen, it seems, gives us all absolutely no choice but to tweet about him. Indeed, by the time the weekend’s over, criticism of his commentary has already hit the back pages, with stories that are little more than the journalistic equivalent of a playground pile-on.” Four Four Two (Video)


Player Analysis: Sergio Busquets against Athletic Bilbao

August 24, 2015

“In the 1st leg of the Spanish Super Cup, Barcelona had huge problems dealing with the high-press of Bilbao in Barcelona’s own half-pitch, while also employing a man-marking system. Athletic were also very centrally compact playing with a 4-4-2, which Barcelona could not penetrate, conceding 4 goals through different pressing approaches of Bilbao which eventually led to counter-attacks against the then destabilized Barca defense.” Outside of the Boot


Italian football’s stadium problem

August 24, 2015

“Italian football has been the sick man of Europe. The phrase was once used to describe the Ottoman Empire, with which Italian football has similarities. Like the Ottoman Empire in the early twentieth century, Serie A is living off past glories. Its Constantinople was the San Siro, where great Milan sides once battled it out, but now plays host to two pale imitations. The Ottoman Empire was behind the great powers of England, Germany and France, whereas now Italy is also behind England, Germany Spain and France.” backpagefootball


Tactical Analysis | Atletico Madrid 1-0 Las Palmas: Simeone’s build-up system and pressing changes

August 24, 2015

“Atletico kicked off their 2015/16 La Liga campaign against newly promoted side, UD Las Palmas. The game had some interesting tactical strategies with the yellow men from Las Palmas quite secure in defence.” Outside of the Boot


Taking the temperature of Manchester United

August 24, 2015

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“Making observations based off one game and presenting them as fact is reactionary pulp, especially when players and teams have anywhere between 37 and 50 games left, including cups, to rectify mistakes, build chemistry and become comfortable with themselves, each other and the system they play within. Three games in, and little more than guesswork is still the most prevalent manner of forecasting the next nine months of soccer.” backpagefootball


Bundesliga This and That: Random Thoughts on our Favorite League – Week 2

August 24, 2015

“After two matchdays, which club is currently best in the Bundesliga? Two weeks into the season, only Borussia Dortmund, FC Bayern Munich and Bayer 04 Leverkusen still carry perfect records, with BvB tops in the table due to their +8 goal differential.  Are they the best so far, though?  Personally, the answer is a qualified yes — no goals allowed, incisive play, and a whopping 53% conversion rate of shots on goal (eight goals in 15 SOGs), while Roman Bürki has been perfect in stopping opponents’ SOG (three saves in three SOGs).  Dortmund look more robust, healthier, than they did all of last season.  Their only blight thus far was the almost-ambush in Norway Thursday in Europa League action by Odd Grenland, who notched three early goals before Die Schwarzgelben answered with four. One could say that Thursday’s match was a learning experience for Thomas Tuchel, and fortunately, a rather inexpensive one.” Bundesliga Fanatic


Athletic Bilbao 0-1 FC Barcelona: Match Review

August 24, 2015

“Starting the game, Barcelona were coming up against a familiar opponent. The Catalan club have already played Athletic twice this season thanks to the Supercopa and the wounds from that defeat are still fresh. Therefore you would expect a lively start from Barça as they look to seek revenge but the opening stages were all a bit tame. Athletic were smart about absorbing the early Barcelona pressure and neither side registered a shot on target during the opening minutes. The high press of the Basques succeeded in limiting Barcelona’s ability to create clear-cut chances.” Barca Blaugranes