Inside Italy’s ultras: the dangerous fans who control the game

December 2, 2016

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“On 7 July this year, Raffaello Bucci’s body was found at the bottom of the so-called “viaduct of suicides”. Just a day before, he had been interviewed by police investigating links between football and organised crime. The viaduct is an impressive structure connecting Turin to Cuneo, a city 100km to the south, and south-eastern France. The arches carrying the dual-carriageway over the Stura di Demonte river are 45 metres high. It was on this same spot that Edoardo, only son of Gianni Agnelli (the late owner of Fiat and Juventus), ended his life in 2000.” Guardian

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Pep Guardiola v Antonio Conte: a tactical showdown of brooder against extrovert

December 2, 2016

“It would, perhaps, be the defining irony of Arsène Wenger’s uneasy relationship with Chelsea if it turns out that when he finally devised a way of beating them it provoked a tactical shift that won the Blues the title. Since Chelsea switched to a back three when 3-0 down at half-time at the Emirates, they have conceded only once, winning seven Premier League games in a row. They passed one major test by coming from behind to beat Tottenham last week but on Saturday represents an even more severe examination as they go to Manchester City.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson


RB Leipzig – How the most loathed German club has been silencing its haters

December 2, 2016

“All those who have a pre-conceived notion about the Bundesliga being a boring league, the ongoing season is forcing them to think again. It has panned out in a manner which would probably be quite different to how most would’ve predicted, going into the new season. The number of surprise packages have matched the number of teams who are underperforming. Sides like Hoffenheim, Koln and Eintracht Frankfurt have made flying starts to the new campaign, whereas the trio of Bayer Leverkusen, Borussia Monchengladbach and Wolfsburg have has left many disappointing.” backpagefootball


The curious geography of Welsh goalkeepers

December 2, 2016

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“11th June 2016. A moment I had resigned myself to never seeing had actually, finally arrived. In the magnificent Stade de Bordeaux Wales were about to make their European Championship finals debut and play its first match at a tournament since eight days shy of exactly 58 years earlier in the World Cup of 1958.” Football Pink

The Curious Geography of Welsh Goalkeepers
“With the news in the run up to Euro 2016 that Chris Maxwell had been called up to Wales squad as cover for Danny Ward it meant that Wales’s four first choice goalkeepers are north Walians. Russell Todd investigates the curious geography of Welsh goalkeepers.” Podcast Pêl-droed


Tactical Analysis: FC Rostov 3-2 Bayern Munich

December 2, 2016

“FC Bayern and FC Rostov ‘s first Champions League encounter was widely anticipated, as everybody wanted to see how ‘Russia’s Leicester City’ would fare against the German giants at the Allianz Arena. In the end, the outcome was disappointing, as Rostov’s passive defense was easily demolished, and Bayern won 5-0.” Bundesliga Fanatic


Player Passing Motif Style Application: Distinctive Players & Recruitment Opportunities

December 2, 2016

“I was recently invited to send some of my work on passing motifs to be used for a Fink Tank column in The Times, but of course a dendrogram such as the one I linked in my previous entry wouldn’t cut it in printed media. Therefore, I thought the best thing to do was set out to answer some concrete applied questions the methodology might answer, which would be easy to display but interesting nevertheless.” Stats Bomb