Fallen Idols or Charm of the Championship?

August 20, 2016

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“Since the inception of the English Football pyramid as we currently know it in 1992, English football has always operated within a very rigid, very strict hierarchy of power and quality. At the very top is the international behemoth, the commercial powerhouse and footballing nirvana coveted worldwide that is the Premier League. Dominated by the best of the best, from all corners of the world it is a league of ferocious intensity, some of the most passionate and famous fans and stadiums in the world, and an unequivocal and unapologetic influx of foreign talent both on the pitch and off it. The Premier League has grown into the world’s greatest domestic showpiece for the sport that we love, full of drama, pedigree, tradition and some of the most memorable moments in the history of the sport.” Outside of the Boot

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Over/Under: European club, season predictions for 2016-17

August 20, 2016

“With the new top-flight seasons set to kick off in Italy and Spain this weekend–and Germany one week later–and the Premier League just underway, there are lots of predictions to be made and questions to be answered. Will the competitive imbalance in France, Germany and Italy continue to be a problem? Will we see a surprise winner in any league? Will there be an outsider who cracks the Champions League elite? And just who will Jose Mourinho fall out with next? With all of those questions–and more!–in mind, we take a look at the European club landscape in the over/under prism to provide as much clarity as possible entering a nine-month quest for trophies and championships…” SI


Low crowds and chaotic La Liga fixture list cannot deter from guarantee of drama

August 20, 2016

“Spain’s football stadiums will be full this season – and that’s an order. Well, they’ll look full, anyway. The Spanish league will fine clubs whose grounds aren’t at 75% capacity, double for those who don’t reach 50%. The part of their grounds that are visible on TV screens, that is. There will be someone there whose job it is to count and sanctions will apply to the stand and the corners opposite the master camera – the televisual U, it’s called. The bit that can be seen. As for the bit that can’t be seen, well, that bit can’t be seen.” Guardian


The Question: can De Bruyne and Silva prosper in their ‘free No8’ roles?

August 20, 2016

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“These are, it must be stressed, very early days. Things will change, things will develop and besides, one of Pep Guardiola’s greatest skills is his protean nature, his capacity and willingness to change approach game by game – something that will be tested by the flood of matches an English season brings. But two games in to his competitive tenure as manager of Manchester City, certain patterns have already begun to emerge.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson


Burnley 2 Liverpool 0: Andre Gray terrorises Klopp’s defence as hosts show they’re not prepared to be relegation fodder

August 20, 2016

“Jürgen Klopp may have a vision for heavy metal football, but his defence is currently more like Spinal Tap. The deficiencies so glaring at Arsenal a week ago were more embarrassingly exposed as Burnley deservedly secured their first win since returning to the Premier League. For Sean Dyche, who argued English football is beguiled by overseas coaches to the detriment of home grown talent, there could have been no more satisfying scalp. Tactically and physically his side was superior to the visitors.” Telegraph


Five Bundesliga Players Who Are Facing A Critical Season In 2016/17

August 20, 2016

“Now that the Bundesliga season is finally upon us, we can look back on all that happened in this summer’s international tournaments and transfer window to see what teams and players look ready for the grind that is the Bundesliga season. From new look teams to players donning new shirts, the upcoming season is important for a lot of the teams that spent money this summer. But besides the teams, there are plenty of players who need to step up this term for a variety of reasons. Either their club future or international future might be on the line, and since this is the case, a lot of players, especially the five listed, have a critical season upcoming.” Bundesliga Fanatic


Tactical Analysis: Manchester City 2-1 Sunderland | Guardiola already implementing Juego de Posición

August 20, 2016

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“With Manchester City now a couple of months into the Guardiola reign, while Sunderland barely a month into Moyes spell as manager, the ambitions but also issues of these teams going into the 2016/17 couldn’t be any more different. Pep Guardiola’s City have already begun successful implementation of his favoured Juego de Posición with the Catalonian coach being provided with both the players and funds he needs to succeed in his role as manager. The arrivals of Stones, Gundogan and Sane, without even mentioning the other £55m spent this summer, show the ambitions of both the club and everyone surrounding it. David Moyes, brought in quickly following the departure of Sam Allardyce isn’t blessed with nearly as strong a squad as he’d like, though the signings of Paddy McNair, Donald Love and Adnan Januzaj (the latter on loan), do suggest that Sunderland do have some sort of ambition ahead of next term. In the opening fixture of both sides season’s, it was Guardiola versus Moyes at the Etihad.” Outside of the Boot