Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini Are Barred From Soccer for 8 Years

December 21, 2015

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“Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini, two of the most powerful figures in global soccer, were barred from the sport for eight years on Monday morning after being found guilty of ethics violations. The suspensions were imposed by the independent ethics committee of FIFA, soccer’s international governing body. Mr. Blatter, who is FIFA’s longtime president, as well as Mr. Platini, who is the president of UEFA, which oversees soccer in Europe, are prohibited from taking part in any soccer-related activities while barred — a sanction that, in Mr. Platini’s case, seemingly ends any chance that he will be able to run in February’s special election to fill the post Mr. Blatter has said he would vacate.” NY Times
NY Times: The Rise and Fall of Sepp Blatter
NY Times: A Hemisphere of Soccer Corruption


Ten Intriguing Ligue 1 Attackers

December 21, 2015

“Last season, I did a piece on 10 intriguing Ligue 1 players and looking back on it nearly a year later, it’s kind of funny to see what’s happened since. Origi has for the most part reaffirmed my opinions on his caliber as a player (scoring goals in the league cup doesn’t count), Nabil Fekir and Jordan Amavi kept going and going and they both looked like legitimately great talents until they tore his acl’s while Jordan Ayew and Florian Thauvin are floundering away in the abyss known as the relegation race in the Premier League.” Stats Bomb


Tactical Analysis: PSG 5-1 Lyon | Fournier’s men exposed by long balls

December 21, 2015

“When Ligue 1 announced its fixture list prior to the start of the current season, it was all too easy to focus on Paris Saint-Germain hosting Olympique Lyonnais as the marquee matchup of the campaign’s first half. After all, Lyon had run PSG hard for the title in the previous season, only just slipping out of contention over the last ten matches.” Outside of the Boot


Global Series | Top 10 South American Players of 2015: Alexis, Neymar and Suarez feature

December 21, 2015

“In this new annual feature, we at Outside of the Boot aim to unearth the best performing footballers from each of the 5 primary Confederations in the past calendar year. Rather than do the work ourselves, we had the bright idea of crowd-sourcing the answers and the football-sphere has spoken with its votes. Drum roll please. And the winners of Global Series: South America is…” Outside of the Boot


Hard Premier League slog would take Pep Guardiola into the unknown

December 21, 2015

“After Chelsea had won the league last season, José Mourinho made a not especially veiled dig at Pep Guardiola. … The jibe was unfair in a number of ways but it carried enough truth to sting. At Bayern Munich, Guardiola took over a club that had just won the treble. Inevitably, in terms of trophies won, the trajectory has been downward: two Bundesliga titles have followed and there will surely be a third this year but in each of the past two seasons Bayern have gone out of the Champions League in the semi-finals. In terms of the football played, though, Guardiola’s reign has been a triumph. Bayern stand in the avant-garde of football’s tactical evolution.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson


The good, bad and ugly of FIFA’s Mad Men

December 21, 2015

“I discovered it late but I’m glad I got there in the end. As a 1960s nut, the TV series Mad Men was made for me. In the last few months I ploughed through all seven seasons of a program that looked at the decade and its changes, especially in terms of gender relations, through the prism of the advertising industry.” The World Game – Tim Vickery


Tactical Analysis: Bayer Leverkusen 5-0 Borussia Monchengladbach | High press and good positioning the difference

December 21, 2015

“Bayer Leverkusen edged high-flying Borussia Monchengladbach for most of the first hour of the match before the floodgates opened for what turned out to be a feast for die Werkself‘s two strikers, Stefan Kiessling and Javier Hernandez, the Mexican scoring his first hat-trick in Leverkusen colours. An hour of finely poised action was soon to be a rout for the home side, as Gladbach were punished for their lack of conviction in the attacking third combined with Bayer’s craftily created and ruthlessly finished goals. Both clubs saw their Champions League run for the season end in midweek, but Gladbach were on the back of last weekend’s stunning 3-1 win over Bayern Munich.” Outside of the Boot


Three ways Bayern Munich could line up in Carlo Ancelotti’s diamond system

December 21, 2015

(FILES) This file photo taken on May 13, 2015 shows then Real Madrid's Italian coach Carlo Ancelotti gesturing during the UEFA Champions League semi-final second leg football match Real Madrid FC vs Juventus at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid. As Spanish sports newspaper Marca and Spanish broadcast Cadena Cope reported on December 17, 2015, Italian former head coach of Real Madrid Carlo Ancelotti will follow Pep Guardiola as head coach of German bundesliga football club FC Bayern Munich. / AFP / GERARD JULIENGERARD JULIEN/AFP/Getty Images
“Normally things would be rather quiet around this time of the year for Bundesliga clubs, soaking up the tranquility that comes with a winter break which suspends top-flight German football until late January. However, for Bayern Munich, that hasn’t been the case in the last few days. While the Bavarians are only midway through the current campaign, eyes are already turning towards a new era starting at the end of the season. With Pep Guardiola set to stand down next spring to seek pastures new after what will be three years at the helm, Bayern have moved quickly to appoint his successor in waiting ahead of 2016/17.” Squawka


Klopp: Saviour, Not Magician

December 21, 2015

“The role, impact and influence of the modern manager becomes ever more intriguing. Even in just the past ten years we’ve seen so much change: increased player power, and along with social media, decreased fan patience. There are frequent hysterias to get rid of managers, but also over their appointments in the first place. Jürgen Klopp has had the temerity to not arrive with a magic wand; a trio of outstanding away displays, the like of which the Reds probably only produced once in Brendan Rodgers’ final season-and-a-quarter (the 3-0 at Spurs), have been followed by familiar flaws that have been troubling the Reds for years, often perpetrated by the same players. The only thing you can criticise Klopp for, beyond a judgement call here and there, is not working miracles.” Tomkins Times


Poor Aston Villa, Farewell Mourinho and Leicester On Fire

December 21, 2015

“So, the end of the road came for Mourinho. Mutually frogmarched out of the club having presided over a dip in performance deeper than the journey taken by Villas Boas and without precedence in his own career. Nobody is denying that the human factors behind this drop in performance have precluded his retention but beyond that it seems wrong to presume that in turning his Champions into Chumpions, he had much leeway to continue. The demands of helming a mega-club require only the finest returns and presumably only his reputation, or financial considerations, kept him alive for this long.” Stats Bomb