Beyond Barça, Bayern, and Madrid: Who’s the Fourth-Best Team in the World?

October 19, 2015

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“For going on five years now, the world soccer hierarchy has looked like this: Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich … and then everybody else. So, as players return from the international break and domestic leagues resume play this weekend, it’s time to ask: Who exactly is the best of the rest? This season, three teams have the chief claims, but questions surrounding their legitimacy make the answer as unclear as ever.” Grantland


Around Europe: Neymar, Wijnaldum strike for four; Yaya Toure unhappy

October 19, 2015

“Four-goal performances are the new hat tricks as Barcelona’s Neymar and Newcastle’s Georginio Wijnaldum both lit up Europe with their individual performances this weekend. Elsewhere, normal service resumed in England, where Jurgen Klopp’s time at Liverpool is underway, while there are managerial dilemmas to solve in Germany and Spain. Napoli continues to talk down its title chances in Italy, despite evidence to the contrary, while in France actions off the pitch seized the most attention.” SI


After Gradel, Martial and Payet: Who is Ligue 1’s Next Starlet?

October 19, 2015

“Ligue 1 has gotten some play in the English media this season for the talent that teams have bought this summer. Anthony Martial is scoring at a unsustainable rate but he’s exactly the type of striker that Manchester United need with Wayne Rooney’s continuing decline. Dimitri Payet has arguably been the best #10 in the league this season, Max Gradel before his knee injury was a perfect fit in Bournemouth’s system. Even N’Jie Clinton with his spare appearances has been a spark plug for Tottenham when he’s gotten the chance. This trend might very well continue next summer with the likes of Sofiane Boufal, Thomas Lemar and Bernardo Silva.” Stats Bomb


A purple Italy? Fiorentina and the possibility of a dream Serie A title

October 19, 2015

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“Florence has long reigned as one of Italy’s greatest cities. A city of culture, art and wonder. A city with one of the most historic and eldest Italian universities. Florence is a real treasure of Italy. Fiorentina is a real treasure of the city itself. One of Italy’s most famous clubs has been the place for many great players to showcase their ability, Gabriel Batistuta and Robert Baggio to name two.” backpagefootball


Fun, Order And Klopp

October 19, 2015

“To week nine! We’re tantalisingly close to be able to make some reasonably confident conclusions from the fare we’ve seen and the early winners and losers are starting to shake out a little. One of the early winners- Leicester- produced a real sit up and take note performance in retrieving a two goal deficit at Southampton. With a relevant caveat about the effect of the score, to bombard Southampton with 22 shots in the final 52 minutes was some effort, especially given Southampton’s prior efficiency in rebutting opposition shooting and they duly got their just rewards with a late equaliser. As we will see later, sometimes styles clash and teams neutralise each other, sometimes the opposite occurs and you get an open game and sometimes shit just happens. Predicting this is not always straightforward.” Stats Bomb


Premier League Diary: Louis Van Gaal defeated Manchester United again this weekend

October 19, 2015

“Three months of the Premier League, and Manchester United has been curiously underrepresented in these entries. In the last two seasons, Manchester United were remarkable. Not remarkably good, you probably understand, but remarkable. David Moyes and Louis van Gaal served up some moments of absolute write-aboutableness. For Moyes, there was calamity and sedition, and Wayne Rooney wasn’t very good at football anymore. For Van Gaal, there was calamity, occasional excellence, and Wayne Rooney wasn’t very good at football anymore.” Fusion