The 100 best footballers in the world 2015 – interactive

December 31, 2015

“Welcome to the Guardian’s choice of the world’s top 100 footballers for 2015. Led by Zico, Javier Zanetti and Gheorghe Hagi, our panel of 123 experts from 49 nations compiled a countdown of the greatest male players on the planet. Click on an individual to read more about their year. Guardian: Barney Ronay: Messi regains No1 position, How our judges voted: the complete statistics, Datablog: the numbers crunched, Video: the ten best footballers in the world, Read the full list of judges and top 100 rules

Tuchel’s Tactical Positioning Revs Borussia Dortmund’s High-Powered Attack

December 31, 2015

“Borussia Dortmund have been amazing to say the least, in the first half of the 2015-16 season. It’s only half a season, yet Dortmund have scored a whopping 85 goals in all competitions which, astonishingly, is seven more than they managed all of last season. New head coach Thomas Tuchel has changed the commonly used ‘Gegenpressing’ philosophy of Dortmund, which was used by Jurgen Klopp. Tuchel’s new game model of positional play (translated from the Spanish juego de posición) makes them unique in a league dominated by pressing and counterattacking teams.” Bundesliga Fanatic

Rock-Paper-Scissors: A Brutal, Cutting League

December 31, 2015

“It’s fair to say that I don’t watch enough of the world’s other leagues to make a definitively accurate comparison, but the more I think about it (from inside my bubble) the more it strikes me that the English Premier League’s unique challenges lay not in the quality of the teams and the tactical acumen of their managers (although there are some good teams and some very clever coaches), but in the brutal intensity of almost every 90 minutes – as well as the number of games played (without a winter break) and the wide variety of approaches faced.” Tomkins Times

Swansea City – Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me

December 31, 2015

Gylfi Sigurdsson
“Even though Swansea City’s form has not been great, it still came as something of a surprise when manager Garry Monk was sacked this month, not least because the customary smooth succession to a capable replacement seems to have foundered. There have reportedly been talks with former Argentina and Chile coach Marcelo Bielsa, but coach Alan Curtis remains in charge for the time being.” The Swiss Ramble

Italy’s Future Left Back? Adam Masina

December 31, 2015

“Less than three years ago, Adam Masina was the reserve striker at Bologna Primavera, the under-19 team of the club. He was barely fielded and for him a future in football was very unlikely. Dumped by the club, he ended up in the third tier of Italian football, on loan at Giacomense, just because at the Emilian club were looking for youngsters, in order to receive the FIGC subsidies assigned to teams which regularly field under-21 players in their starting formation. To find him a place in the team, Giacomense manager Fabio Gallo, decided to field him as the left wingback in his 3-5-2 and then even as the left-back when he switched to a 4-3-3. Gallo’s intuition has been Masina’s salvation: he became a regular of the team and his good performances granted him a return in Bologna.” Stats Bomb

Tactical Analysis: River Plate 0-3 Barcelona | Barca’s enterprising play too much for River

December 31, 2015

“In Yokohama, the final of the FIFA World Club Championship, saw on one hand the champion of the Copa Libertadores River Plate, who had beaten in the semifinals Sanfrecce Hiroshima of Japan, and on the other the Champions League winners, FC Barcelona that without Messi and Neymar beat Chinese team Guangzhou Evergrande. In the end, the Spanish team had their South American trident, as both Messi and Neymar decided to play the game despite not being 100%. River Plate made one change from the team that played the semifinal, with Uruguayan Tabaré Viudez replacing Leonardo Pisculichi. Luis Enrique presented his classic 4-3-3 system, River Plate alternated between their usual 4-3-1-2 and 4-4-2, the two systems being used by the team of Marcelo Gallardo.” Outside of the Boot

The devil and José Mourinho

December 28, 2015

“At the beginning of May 2015, Chelsea wrapped up the Premier League title with a scrappy 1-0 win over Crystal Palace. It was not a great game or a great performance – for a couple of months Chelsea had looked exhausted, dragging their fatigued limbs over the line and grateful no contender was able to mount a serious challenge to them. It was a day of relief as well as exultation, manager José Mourinho’s third title with the club, his first since he returned in 2013 for his second stint as manager, and only the fifth Chelsea had ever won, despite all the recent investment from their billionaire owner Roman Abramovich.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson