“Liverpool pulled off a stunning victory against favourites for the title, Manchester City this past weekend. The 4-1 scoreline didn’t really flatter the Reds, who were dominant, and right on top of their opponents. What magic dust has Jurgen Klopp sprinkled on pretty much the same squad that was struggling under the previous manager?” Outside of the Boot (Video)
“In Juventus and AC Milan we have two giants of world football. The hosts have found life difficult following the departures of greats Carlos Tevez, Arturo Vidal and cult-hero Andrea Pirlo; the slow start to their defence of last season’s record-breaking 31st title has seen them pick up only 6 wins from their opening 13 league fixtures. However, back-to-back victories leading into this tie created a hopeful vibrancy amongst Juve fans and the Torinese people sold out all 41,000 seats to make for an electric atmosphere against their Milanese rivals who travelled the relatively short 80-mile distance across the north of Italy to the beautiful region of Piedmonte and the Juventus Stadium that sits in a remarkable location beside picturesque backdrops of the Alps.” Outside of the Boot
“The last 16 of the Champions League is beginning to take shape. The second day of Matchday 5 saw Real Madrid confirm top spot in its group as Cristano Ronaldo scored two and set two up in a 4-3 win away to Shakhtar Donetsk, while Paris St-Germain is through to the next round after Zlatan Ibrahimovic marked his return to Malmö with a goal in a 5-0 victory. Benfica and Atlético Madrid also progressed. Benfica had to come from 2-0 down to draw in Kazakhstan against Astana while Antoine Griezmann scored twice in Atlético’s 2-0 win over Galatasaray.” SI – Jonathan Wilson
Ipswich goalkeeper Roy Bailey in action against Bolton in September 1962.
“Manchester City 1937-38. The pattern of winning the championship and then having a dozy season is not a new one for Manchester City. What’s happened over the past four years is barely a ripple compared to the wild dip City endured in 1937-38. After losing to Grimsby on Christmas Day, they’d gone unbeaten through the second half of the previous season, taking the title by three points from Charlton with a side that included such greats as the goalkeeper Frank Swift, the rapid winger Ernie Toseland and the goalscoring trio of Eric Brook, Alex Herd and Peter Doherty.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson (Video)
“We are a third of the way through the Premier League of 2015/16 already, so it seems as good a time as any to evaluate that greatest of football imponderables – Everton. How have the Toffees done and what can we expect to see from them going into the crucial winter slog? Up front I’m going to declare that I was one of those people who clamoured for Roberto Martinez’ head last season. Does that make me one of those intolerably excitable kneejerk types? Possibly, but plenty of managers have been given the shove at all levels of professional football – never mind the Premier League – for presiding over the type of dross that was served up by Everton during the 2014/15 campaign.” Football Pink
“The BPF Top 50 feature is back for 2015, and this time we are counting down the greatest players to have graced the Premier League since it was established in 1992. The first part of this year’s countdown includes some of Arsene Wenger’s best performers during his time as Arsenal manager, as well as one of the most consistent midfielders of his generation who sadly left us far too soon.” backpagefootball
Schalke’s initial defensive scheme.
“Andre Breitenreiter fielded his Schalke side in a 5-4-1 basic shape that would be transformed into something like 3-4-3 during attacking build-up. This was a defensive-minded approach with a deep block and quick counters whenever the opportunity occurred. Keeper Ralf Fährmann was shielded by a five-men-back shape, consisting of Sascha Riether and Dennis Aogo at right and left back, while Joel Matip, Benedikt Höwedes and Roman Neustädter played as the central defender trio with Matip on the right half-back and Neustädter on the left.” Bundesliga Fanatic
“The nights are drawing in, the shops are teeming with desperate bargain-hunters and children will shortly be disappointed by the quality of their advent calendar chocolate. We are nearly entering the final month of 2015 and, while the weather cools down, the Football League action heats up. Here are some of Saturday’s best bits.” BBC
“When PSV Eindhoven secured the treble of Dutch League, Dutch Cup and European Cup in May 1988, it was typical of a brief period of unprecedented egalitarianism in the European game. As surprising as it may look some 27 years later in an era of G-14 ‘Super Clubs’, the Dutch side’s European victory followed Champion Clubs’ Cup wins by Steaua Bucharest in 1986 and Porto in 1987.” backpagefootball