The devil and José Mourinho

December 28, 2015

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“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


Tactical Analysis: Arsenal 2-1 Manchester City | Disciplined Arsenal win the match

December 28, 2015

“Arsenal have been regarded as title contenders all season, as demonstrated through their strong performance on Monday The Gunners were forced to dig deep at the end but got the result from another solid and disciplined team performance – the same of which cannot be said for the entire Manchester City side. Manuel Pellegrini’s side was the complete opposite of Arsenal’s: they were lazy, lacked teamwork, and appeared as if they ran out of ideas until the last 20 minutes of the match. Combined with mistakes and poor decision making (both from the players and the manager), it was yet another match against a top team where City could’ve lost by more than one goal. It is clear that City was missing Vincent Kompany, and the situation was further worsened by the fact that Aguero looked completely out of sorts. Arsenal’s victory leaves City six points off the top, and if City’s poor performances against top sides continue, their title hopes will be over. To understand why this happened, Arsenal’s game plan will be analyzed, in addition to a brief editorial on City’s shortcomings, shown by the analysis of the goals and goal-scoring opportunities.” Outside of the Boot


#IBWM100 2016

December 28, 2015

“On Wednesday, 23 December at 10am (GMT) we will publish the #IBWM100 for 2016 – our list of the most exciting young* players in world football. As always, we’ve stuck with the format that served Don Balon so successfully for many years; 100 names and details of where each player is from. We’ll revisit the list in twelve months’ time and assess how the year has panned out for each of the players concerned. The process we use for selection remains exactly the same. We talk to scouts, coaches, players, journalists, fans and bloggers from around the world to get a clear a picture of exactly who we should be watching and why. Across the year, we monitor each player on our long list to see how things are going while considering what the future is likely to hold for them. Eventually our long list becomes the #IBWM100 – nothing definitive, just the players that we believe will really soar in 2016.” In Bed With Maradona – INTRODUCTION, In Bed With Maradona – 100 2015: Our twelve month review of the class of 2015


Deportivo Cali: Colombia’s Cantera de Oro

December 28, 2015

Colombia-Cantera
“It may sound like a truism but South American football usually finds itself adopting a short term mentality. With many clubs steeped in debt, the fragile state of their finances means that squads are dismantled after any success and young stars are whisked away at an increasingly early age. The gulf between South America teams and Europe is bigger than ever and shows no sign of reducing any time soon.’ Outside of the Boot


Unpredictable English Premier League Keeps Us Guessing

December 28, 2015

“If uncertainty makes for compelling competition, nothing can rival the English Premier League. While every other major league in the world shut down for Christmas, all 20 English clubs played on Boxing Day. Not too many followed form, although Manchester City’s 4-1 crushing of Sunderland, which is haunted by the specter of relegation, was predictable enough. And Tottenham’s 3-0 win over Norwich City might also have been foreseen.” NY Times


The USA – world football’s final frontier

December 28, 2015

“In American folklore, when the British redcoats came to Massachusetts in 1775 during the Revolutionary War, the message amongst the colonists was ‘one if by land, and two if by sea’. They came by land. In mid-November 2015, it was the Americans who came to New York City by land, air or subway (or my trek via a 13-hour shoddy bus ride to China Town) to see the British — two of them, with friends — packed in a Brooklyn convention center to celebrate ‘BlazerCon’. Redcoats were swapped for blazers (tweed ones were the most memorialised). Guinness was poured. Meat pies were consumed. This was a modern-day revolution of sorts, only through ‘soccer’.” Football Pink


The game that changed Italian football

December 28, 2015

bolgona-genoa
“PAUL GRECH looks back to 1920s fascist-regime Italy and an incident between two northern powerhouses that would alter the country’s football landscape forever. It was meant to be a season of celebration for Bologna. Not because of any anticipated success – sadly such dreams have faded away – but in remembrance of past triumphs. In particular they wanted to celebrate once more their last triumph in the league on the fiftieth anniversary of that success. They had hoped to honour that scudetto win with a calm league season, as they had done in the previous two years, and perhaps maybe even push for a Europa League spot. Instead, the team collapsed and when they lost to Catania with a game to go, it confirmed what had been evident for months of listless performances: Bologna were getting relegated to Serie B.” Football Pink


Allegri, Dybala and Mandzukic recover from slow start to put Juve in title race

December 28, 2015

“What a wonderful year it has been for Juventus and all those associated with the club: from the highs of winning the double and reaching the Champions League final to the lows suffered at the start of this new season. Yet whatever turbulent times the Bianconeri have experienced, they have stayed faithful to their winning mentality, coming back stronger than ever to put themselves in a great position to target yet another league title.” ESPN


Liverpool’s Premier League hoodoo

December 28, 2015

“Few can doubt that Liverpool have had a fantastic footballing legacy, but what are their chances of future Premier League success? Let’s compare their Premiership record with their pre-Premier League record. Whilst the team always do well in the cups, they often under-perform in the league. Many will be looking ahead to see if Leicester City can do a Blackburn Rovers and win the Premier League to rub Liverpool’s nose in it.” backpagefootball