In light of Lewandowski, five most dominant performances of all time

September 24, 2015

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“At halftime on Tuesday night, Wolfsburg led Bayern Munich 1-0. It had defended well, looked dangerous on the counterattack and seemed that it might, for the first time in its history, win at Bayern. Pep Guardiola made two changes at the break, bringing on Javi Martinez for Juan Bernat and Robert Lewandowski for Thiago Alcantara. Six minutes later, Lewandowski equalized, rolling in a half-blocked shot at the back post. A minute later, surging through the middle, he dispatched a fierce low shot into the bottom corner from just outside the box. Three minutes after that, he hit the post, then drew a save from Diego Benaglio and then, at the third attempt, completed his hat trick. Two minutes after that, he rammed in a volley at slightly higher than waist height, contorting superbly to keep his weight over the ball. And two minutes after that, hooking the ball from behind him, he lashed in a side volley from the edge of the box. Five goals, three of them in stunning quality, in the space of nine minutes.” SI – Jonathan Wilson

Four Incredible Things That Happened in Bayern Munich–Wolfsburg BESIDES Robert Lewandowski’s Five Goals
“Yesterday, in the Bundesliga, Bayern Munich found themselves in an unfamiliar position: They were losing. This usually isn’t the end of the world for a team, especially one as good as the defending champions, but Bayern happen to be locked in what will likely be the most entertaining title race in club football this season. Bayern and their rivals Borussia Dortmund — who might be playing the most effervescent version of the sport right now — are steamrolling the competition, winning their matches and winning them big. Every game counts. Every goal counts. The entire league might be decided by the two matches that Dortmund and Bayern play against one another and how many goals they score throughout the season. Bayern losing to Wolfsburg, at home no less, was not on the menu.” Grantland (Video)


Barcelona beaten 4-1, Juve problems continue

September 24, 2015

“Barcelona suffered a big shock and Juventus stuttered again while Real Madrid and Lyon impressed. We round up how the group stage contenders got on in Wednesday’s action.” UEFA


Brendan Rodgers running out of time as air of resignation engulfs Liverpool

September 24, 2015

“Transition, transition, transition. It is the curse of modern football and also its great excuse. Whenever a club are underperforming, it is because they are in transition. To which it is tempting to reply, “Well, stop signing so many players then.” It is not, of course, as easy as that, partly because the club that are not in transition tend to be perceived as in stagnation (and that leads to boredom, which is the worst crime of all in the soap opera morality of the Premier League), and partly because, if you’re not one of the absolute elite, other clubs keep buying your players.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson


Tactical Analysis: Chelsea 2-0 Arsenal | Pressing, overloads and half-spaces

September 24, 2015

“Even though there was a gap of six points separating Chelsea and Arsenal, both the teams were in slightly similar circumstances. An unimaginable start to the season for Chelsea, and regular ups and downs in terms of the results for Arsenal forced both the teams into a “must-win” situation in a match that was more than just a derby.” Outside of the Boot


Living on the edge – footballers under threat in Russia

September 24, 2015

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“… One of the last half-dozen straws that broke my back in the day-to-day grind of sports was what happened to another player with whom I went through the same process. He signed for a D2 Central team and received 20,000rbs on his contract and another 20,000rbs black. As a favour to his Dad I helped him negotiate the deal. He got a break alright, as well as cuts and bruises which left him in a regional hospital for three days. I was in Voronezh and visited him. His story was nothing uncommon. No pay from November and a showdown with the Sports Director in April.” backpagefootball


Reuniting Palestine

September 24, 2015

“From the Palestinian national team’s debut at the 2015 Asian Cup in Australia to this summer’s diplomatic effort to suspend Israel from FIFA, football has become an important instrument for the Palestinians to reach an international audience and gain recognition. During this summer, football has emphasised the division between Gaza and the West Bank. The Palestine Cup, a two-legged match between Itthiad Shajaiya from Gaza and Ahli Al-Khalil from Hebron, the Cup winners in both Palestinian territories determined which team would qualify for the AFC Cup and represent Palestine internationally. For the first time in 15 years, a club from the Gaza Strip could travel to the West Bank for a match, and vice versa. This game was to become an instrument for internal healing and reunification of a politically divided Palestinian people.” Football Pink


What is Our Best XI?

September 24, 2015

“… So many of our players are unknown quantities right now. Someone like Firmino was clearly bought to be in the XI but on performances to date, you wouldn’t pick him. You would assume Sturridge would be the first name on the teamsheet and yet we don’t yet know if he can re-become the player he was in 2013/14. And then there’s Jon Flanagan who became first choice left-back during 2013/14 and hasn’t kicked a ball for the first team since. Is a solitary campaign the season before last sufficient evidence to assess his credentials for a first team place? I feel we have to play 3-5-2. The 3 is because we don’t have a left-back at the club. Moreno is clearly better as a wing-back. Gomez is a centre-back. Even Flanagan is right-footed. And Enrique is in purgatory. Also the 3 because I don’t want to see Can in midfield or right-back (ever) but I rate him in a back 3.” Tomkins Times


An insight into Data Analysis in Football: Interview with Dustin Bottger

September 24, 2015

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Global Soccer Network‘s main target is it to revolutionize the modern day scouting in soccer. Influenced by ‘Moneyball’, Michael Lewis’ international bestseller, they have considered possibilities of how scouting in professional football could become more effective and created their unique rating system, the GSN-Index. We thank Dustin Bottger, CEO of Global Soccer Network, for his time and valuable insight.” Outside of the Boot


Arsenal – Searching For The Hows And Whys

September 24, 2015

“What to make of Arsenal? On the one hand, they are once again adding to their trophy cabinet, winning the FA Cup for the past two seasons, and continue to qualify for the Champions League, a feat that most clubs can only dream about. On the other hand, the feeling remains that Arsenal are not making the most of their (abundant) financial resources. 2015 was meant to be different, but the lack of signings this summer has once again sent many fans into a tailspin, as the same old failings continue to be exposed. This is particularly disappointing, as manager Arsene Wenger himself believes that Arsenal should now genuinely be able to compete for the Premier League title, as the club no longer has to sell its best players.” The Swiss Ramble


The partition of Irish football – why we don’t have a single island team

September 24, 2015

“Sporting website The42.ie have published a selection of interesting insights, garnered from a discussion between Paul Fennessy and Cormac Moore about the latter’s new book The Irish Soccer Split, in a piece entitled, ‘Why don’t we have an all-Ireland soccer team and will we ever see one?’  The Irish Football Association (IFA), founded in Belfast in 1880, was, of course, the original football association in Ireland and was, at that time, officially representative of the entire island. It remained the sole national governing body for a period of over forty years.” backpagefootball