Joys and surprises of watching Liverpool and Arsenal in Ethiopia (for 45p)

November 24, 2015

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“José Mourinho swept a disgusted arm through the air, spun on his heel and disappeared down the tunnel, furious at Chelsea conceding an equaliser to Liverpool well into the third minute of first-half injury time. The majority of the 90 or so people packed into the courtyard of the Sebli Cafe laughed. Outside, a mule trotted past, followed by a man carrying the hide of a skinned goat on a stick. Smoke drifted across the doorway from the charcoal of the woman warming a coffee pot outside the cafe next door.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson


Scouting New Talent: The Age of Technology

November 24, 2015

“The football world is obsessed with transfers and possible surprise moves; it all boils down to multi-million dollar pay cheques, club rivalries and a never-ending flow of players. Often, we only see the sport from the perspective of the premiere leagues and forget that the large majority of transfers occur in the lesser known divisions. There is a soccer transfer being made every five minutes that you won’t read about. It’s not just the big teams that are looking for new talents all over the globe. Today, almost every team has to compete with the rest of the world to find the right balance of players and hopefully discover a future star that will help them reach a new playing and financial level.” Football Pink


Leonid Slutsky Juggles Two Demanding Jobs in Russian Soccer

November 24, 2015

“The Russian soccer federation announced this year that it was toughening one of the rules for teams in its top domestic league: In an effort to bolster the development of young Russian players ahead of the 2018 World Cup, club teams would be particularly limited in the number of foreign players they could have on the field at any given time. Reactions to the change varied, and in a recent interview, the coach of the Russian national team said — not surprisingly — that he understood the thinking behind the regulation. Also not surprisingly, the coach of CSKA Moscow, one of the country’s perennial juggernauts and a team with the financial resources to sign players from abroad, said he was opposed to the rule.” NY Times


Champions League reform? Yes, please.

November 24, 2015

“Every May, there’s a special occasion held in our humble abode and it tries to combine the best of European food and football. It usually falls on a warm, late spring evening, which sees windows open and a cool breeze wafting the smells of a busy kitchen around the whole apartment. An annual four course dinner, themed around two particular countries, complete with paired wines, is served over the course of a few hours. Last year we bounced between Italy and Spain for an aperitif, a starter, the main and a sweet. We cook, we eat, we get merrily drunk and we watch the UEFA Champions League final.” Football Pink


Kasper Schmeichel on Leicester City’s remarkable rise to the top

November 24, 2015

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“Leicester’s incredible start to the season continued on Saturday as they beat Newcastle to move top of the Premier League table. The Foxes were bottom of the table in April, but seven months on, led by the goals of prolific striker Jamie Vardy, they have lost only one of their first 13 league matches. Claudio Ranieri’s in-form team host second-placed Manchester United next weekend, with the chance to extend their unlikely lead at the top. Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel, who has been at the King Power Stadium since June 2011, tells Match of the Day 2 what is behind his team’s remarkable rise.” BBC


Milner best suited to Liverpool wing, despite preference to play centrally

November 24, 2015

“Ahead of Liverpool’s trip to Manchester City on Saturday, all eyes will be on Raheem Sterling. The young attacker’s decision to switch from Liverpool to City was English football’s most protracted, and controversial, transfer of the summer; but, going the other way, there was a more surprising move. James Milner was at Manchester City for five years, winning two league titles and two domestic cups, but elected to make the step down to join Liverpool. In many ways, Milner’s decision was understandable; often overlooked at City in favour of players with bigger reputations and bigger egos, Milner wanted to be appreciated, to feel like a central part of a major club. Brendan Rodgers and Liverpool offered him that opportunity, and Milner was immediately named the club’s vice-captain. The absence of Jordan Henderson through injury has ensured Milner frequently starts with the armband, too.” ESPN – Michael Cox


Hertha Berlin: Winning Ugly is Still Winning

November 24, 2015

“On a snowy November Sunday in Germany’s capital, Hertha Berlin hosted a Hoffenheim side desperate for points, but it was the Berliners who came away with all three points, winning 1-0. The win was more ugly than an artistic triumph, as Berlin could only manage one shot through the entire ninety minutes, but yet another victory leaves Coach Pál Dárdai’s Berliners in the final Champions League spot in the BuLi table with a 7-2-4 record, one point behind 3rd place VfL Wolfsburg and one ahead of streaking Borussia Mönchengladbach. Hoffenheim occupies the league’s cellar on eight points, and have yet to score a goal under fireman coach Huub Stevens in his three games in charge.” Bundesliga Fanatic