The Downfall of a Russian Soccer Team

February 17, 2016

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Among other problems, Dynamo Moscow has been losing many of its best players, like Aleksandr Kokorin (right), shown here in a 2013 match against CSKA.
“The Russian soccer team Dynamo Moscow has its roots in a factory club that was founded in 1887, at the Morozov mill, on the city’s outskirts. In the spring of 1923, the club was co-opted by Vladimir Lenin’s feared secret police, the Cheka, and given its current name. (The playwright Maxim Gorky is credited with coining the club motto, ‘Sila v Dvizhenii,’ or ‘Strength in Motion.’)* By the mid-thirties, Moscow was home to five major teams, four of which represented different arms of the Soviet state: CDKA, now CSKA, was the team of the Red Army; Dynamo, the secret police; Lokomotiv, the state railways; and Torpedo was the club of the city’s sprawling Torpedo-ZiL automobile factory. The exception was Spartak Moscow, founded by the Young Communist League and the local soccer hero Nikolai Starostin, who named his club after the gladiator who revolted against Roman rule. Spartak forged an identity as ‘the people’s club,’ which is why, even today, it has more fans at its games than any of its rivals can boast.” New Yorker

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The Argument: Time to Stop Assuming Football Fans are all Thugs

February 17, 2016

“A few days ago, the Football Supporters’ Federation who, along with doing great campaigning work on issues like safe standing and ticket prices, have a solicitor who tries to help fans who get into trouble with the law, tweeted thanks to a legal firm ‘for successfully representing two fans in civil claim against police for false imprisonment & assault. Compensation paid.’ It was the latest in a long line of similar cases. Sometimes supporters have contravened the rules, on other occasions the problem has been caused by over-zealous stewarding. Often they are situations that should be sorted out without resorting to the courts. A brief review of how football supporters are treated by this country’s legal system, and their own clubs, reveals a catalogue of unfairness that wouldn’t be tolerated in any other context.” The Two Unfortunates


Tactical Analysis – Aston Villa 0 Liverpool 6

February 17, 2016

“Neither manager had any major selection dilemmas before the game. Garde was without several players but only a couple of them were genuinely missed – his only natural holding midfielder Sanchez and the target man Gestede. Interestingly though, the French manager changed the shape from his usual narrow 4-1-2-3/4-3-2-1 to a 4-4-1-1 here despite naming the same starting XI as in the last game against Norwich.” Tomkins Times


Super Sunday, Predictions And Palace: Premier League Round Up

February 17, 2016

“Super Sunday came and went as a thrilling spectacle for the non-partisan bystander. The two games featuring the top four contenders–who by any reasonable estimation have all but sealed their places–were full of contentious decisions, tension, storylines and thrills. Even the most stone-hearted fan could surely not have been slightly warmed by the returning Danny Welbeck and his winning contribution and significantly, Arsenal’s late winner kept the four teams within a six point range. Everything about Arsenal’s title challenge is reliant on squad fitness so from that perspective a deep bench for the first time since around November was a huge bonus.” Stats Bomb


Tactical Analysis: Juventus 1-0 Napoli | Defensive Solidity and Formational Fluidity

February 17, 2016

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“Juventus and Napoli both came into this match in incredible form. Napoli had won 8 straight in the Serie A, including two 5-1 victories. Juventus, on the other hand, had won 14 straight, the streak propelling them back into the title race after a dismal start to the season. With these two teams sitting on top of the table, and Napoli ahead of Juve by just two points, this match could be the deciding moment in the Scudetto race. Although the match was a stalemate until Juve scored with 3 minutes to go, it was a captivating tactical battle, as Sarri and Allegri shut out each other’s teams.” Outside of the Boot


James McCarthy: The Irish Hero who is a controversial figure in Scotland

February 17, 2016

“If you ever visit the Irish National Team’s website, you’ll notice one peculiar element to the FAI’s online shop. One entire section of the store is dedicated to Everton FC shirts and gear. Despite being an English club, Irish football fans follow Everton closely and have a fondness towards the club. This is because of the Irish players at Everton now and in the past, and Ireland’s connection to the city of Liverpool. Seamus Coleman, Darron Gibson, and formerly Aidan McGeady are some of the notable Irish stars who have played for Everton. But the most notorious Irishman at the Merseyside club is none other than rising star James McCarthy. This is because of the fact that he wasn’t born in Ireland, but their next door neighbors Scotland.” Outside of the Boot


The limelight’s on Leicester, but what about Spurs?

February 17, 2016

“Yet another resolute display by Spurs saw them claim all three points against a solid Watford side and emerge as Leicester’s closest rivals in the race for the Premier league title. The win moves Spurs into second, ahead of Arsenal on goal difference, but still 5 points behind the leaders Leicester. The match was a testament to the in – depth strength and quality that Spurs possess as Mauricio Pochettino made four changes to the side which dispatched of Norwich in midweek.” The Incompetent Football Fan