“When Greece won the UEFA European Championship in 2004, Otto Rehhagel had his side man-marking. Forwards brought up to play against zonal systems found themselves unable to cope, and over the six-game span of a tournament, no opponent was able to rediscover the art of bypassing man-markers. What Claudio Ranieri has done at Leicester City has a similar sense of invoking an old style of play and discovering that modern sides have no answer.” Bleacher Report
Claudio Ranieri: from inveterate tinkerer to do-nothing tactical master?
“Everybody had known the end was coming for Claudio Ranieri at Chelsea but the moment at which the decision seemed made – and, more than that, was made to seem justified – came in Monte Carlo in April 2004 when he presided over a substitution that appeared baffling at the time and proved disastrous in retrospect. It is easy to pick fault with hindsight but this was one of those rare occasions when everyone reacts as one. After 62 minutes the board went up: Mario Melchiot off and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink on. What was he doing?” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson
Premier League Diary: Leicester City emerges from a sea of failure to win historic title
“There are ways to fail to win a title, and then there are ways to fail to win a title. Chelsea, for example, failed to win this season’s title by being, broadly, total garbage. Despite starting with the advantage of being champions — and so, in theory, as the best team in the country — they quickly started to look like a collection of strangers who actively resented one another’s company. Like the inhabitants of an overfilled train carriage that’s ground to a halt at the peak of rush hour, they squirmed and chafed and sweated against one another until it became too uncomfortable to bear, and then Jose Mourinho got sacked. That’s probably the equivalent of opening a window or something.” Fusion