Girona offer Catalans pride after La Liga downing of powerhouse Madrid

October 31, 2017


Girona offer Catalans pride after La Liga downing of powerhouse Madrid
“Pablo Machín stood by the table football in the middle of the Montilivi dressing room where two teams lined up rigidly in 3-3-4, one in blue, the other in white, and told his players – the real ones in red – they should be proud. He didn’t speak for long, just a few seconds standing there among the socks, bandages and bottles on the floor, and when he finished there was applause from everyone and for everyone. There was no cava, Girona’s coach said, but there was a celebration and, he admitted, euphoria. …” Guardian


Keita Baldé is slowly helping Monaco forget about Kylian Mbappé

October 31, 2017

“Keita Baldé Diao, the Senegalese forward who joined Monaco from Lazio this summer for €30m, was prepared to be compared with Kylian Mbappé. ‘I was expecting it,’ he said recently when asked about Mbappé. ‘We’re both young players. But I’ve come to write my story, to play my game. I don’t want to be compared with anyone. My goal is to play as many matches as possible, to score and provide.’ After his recent performances, Keita may find those comparisons harder to avoid, particularly if Monaco sustain their title challenge into the new year. …” Guardian


Tactical Analysis: Girona 2-1 Real Madrid | Girona’s Pressing Hassles Los Blancos

October 31, 2017

“In a shocking turn of events, newly promoted Girona FC thoroughly outplayed and beat Real Madrid 2-1 on the tenth match day of the league season. For Madrid fans, there was reason to be slightly worried from the very beginning of the match. Instead of receding into a defensive shell, Girona came out pressing with intensity. It took 10-15 minutes before Real Madrid could even string a coherent spell of possession together, but they soon threw that level of control away thanks to lethargic giveaways and general complacency. Girona took advantage of this by regaining the impetus and striking two shots off the post. However, one of those attempts off the woodwork sparked a Real Madrid counter that resulted in a goal against the run of play. The scoreline would hold till the break. …” Outside of the Boot (Video)


AJAX 2.0

October 31, 2017


“67 minutes into a game in the Eerste Divisie on the 16th September 2016, a young man, barely 16 years old, came off the substitute’s bench at the De Geusselt Stadium, MVV Maastricht’s home ground, to play for Ajax II, the mighty Ajax’s second team. This young man was different, not least because of his reputed talents, which the second-tier of Dutch football was about to witness first-hand for the first time, but because everyone in the relatively empty stadium on this cool, crisp evening had heard his name before. …” In Bed With Maradana


Tactical Analysis: Manchester United 1-0 Tottenham Hotspur | United Secure An Important 3 Points

October 31, 2017

“Against Tottenham’s press, Jose Mourinho’s troops relied on a direct approach build up as one of their approach was to play a lot of deep passes to Lukaku and Rashford in the last line. The aim was simple, access the depth and make quick entries into the box at full speed. …” Outside of the Boot


Paddy Agnew’s Notes from Italy: Napoli playing catch-up in the Champions League

October 31, 2017

“As the Champions League moves centre stage again this weekend, it is intriguing to note that of the three Italian clubs involved, it is the league leaders Napoli who may well have most to do to play their way into the second round. In their homeland, Napoli can do no wrong, having won 10 of their 11 Serie A games this season, drawing the other (10 days ago to Inter). …” World Soccer


How Did a Tiny Swiss Company Quietly Secure Valuable World Cup TV Rights?

October 27, 2017


“LONDON — Investigations over the last few years by United States and Swiss law enforcement officials into corruption in global soccer have exposed dozens of people and companies that, according to prosecutors, conspired to illegally reap profits from broadcasting and sponsorship deals tied to the sport’s biggest events. One company never named in any of the charging documents, but referred to obliquely, is a little-known entity based in the canton of Zug in Switzerland: Mountrigi Management Group, a three-person operation that illustrates how some of the biggest deals at the top of the world’s most-popular sport were put together. …” NY Times


Italian football must do more than read Anne Frank to tackle fascism problem

October 27, 2017

“27 October ~ With 25 points from their first ten games, Lazio have made a superb start to the season. Unfortunately, they may be derailed by events off the field. They have long been notorious for having a fanbase that contains a significant number who are openly nostalgic for fascism. Though they are probably the worst offenders, they share this tendency with several other clubs, most notably Serie B Ascoli, but also Verona and to some extent Inter. …” WSC


Ronald Koeman’s Everton story exposes shortcomings of the post-Cruyffians

October 27, 2017

“Long before he was sacked, a criticism of Ronald Koeman at Everton was that he seemed to regard the club as a stepping stone. ‘He called us Everton, he never called us us,’ as the former Everton captain Kevin Ratcliffe put it on Monday. Koeman’s ultimate ambition, as he has made clear since he took his first steps in management with Vitesse in 2000, is to manage Barcelona. …” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson


The greatest Irish team that didn’t qualify for the World Cup

October 27, 2017

“It was the qualifying campaign for the 1982 World Cup, and Ireland had been drawn in what you could call a ‘tough’ group with the Netherlands, France, Belgium, and Cyprus. The world’s media (and even certain sections of the Irish media) gave the footballing minnows no chance of qualification, and to a certain degree, they were right. Ireland would not qualify, but it had very little to do with the perceived lack of quality. …” Football Pink


Is José Mourinho’s negativity a product of his failure to make it as a player?

October 27, 2017

“It is a sad indication of the recent state of Liverpool that over the past couple of weeks they have seemed more significant as a test case for others than in and of themselves. José Mourinho took his Manchester United side to Anfield and, as he waited and waited and waited for the game “to break”, the watching world waited and waited and waited for something vaguely resembling action to break out. It didn’t and the game finished 0-0. Given Liverpool’s vulnerabilities and given Manchester City’s remarkable form, that felt even at the time like two points needlessly squandered. …” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson


It’s time to stop blaming the game – and the fans – for society’s ills

October 27, 2017

“Football can suffer from high visibility. Some ­people see far too much of it for their liking. Others cannot resist the profile it offers. ­Newspapers are always looking for ways to move it from the back pages to the front. Take the case of Douglas Ross, now Tory MP for Moray and an assistant referee (or linesman) at high levels of the sport. National outrage has supposedly been sparked by his engagement at the Nou Camp in Barcelona last week when he could have been abstaining in person at the House of Commons. …” The Scotsman


Tottenham show José Mourinho how counter-attacking game should work

October 23, 2017


Mauricio Pochettino had promised further surprises after his deployment of a 5-3-2 against Real Madrid, but perhaps the biggest surprise was that he kept the shape the same. There were other unusual aspects to the win – Tottenham Hotspur had not been ahead against Liverpool since March 2013, Harry Kane had not previously scored a league goal at Wembley and Spurs, at last, looked at ease in their new home – but none of those particularly came as a shock. Neither, in truth, did Liverpool’s defending. Two goals were conceded to simple balls in behind them, at least two more could have been, and two other goals came from the thoroughly predictable source of half-cleared set-plays. …” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson


Ronald Koeman’s sense of detachment at Everton ensured this was a relationship doomed to fail

October 23, 2017

“The vile winds met corrugated steel and it was as if Goodison Park had become an old container ship struggling to navigate in the wilds of the Irish Sea. Five minutes were still left to play against Arsenal and in that time two more goals were scored. Goodison, though, had already given up. So often a “bear pit,” as Frank Lampard once described it, “the most difficult place to play” had sunken to a new eeriness, marked by a sad acquiesce. …” Independent


Vestri – Football in the fjords

October 23, 2017

“Isafjordur is an 11-hour round trip (by car) from Iceland’s capital, Reykjavik, so I decided to fly up instead, to visit the local football club Vestri. The flight itself was an incredible experience as the plane flew over glaciers, vast fjords and some of the most inhospitable terrain Iceland has to offer. The approach landing, to Isafjordur, is not for the faint hearted as the small plane hugs the 1,500-foot snow-capped mountains to combat against the dangerous wind shear, and it’s easy to see why the top aviation websites consider the approach to the town one of the most challenging in the world. …” The Football Pink


Tactical Analysis: Napoli 0-0 Inter Milan | Sarri’s Strong Attack And Counter-Press Against Spaletti’s Deep Block

October 23, 2017


“Luciano Spaletti’s initial plan of a low block was securing the 10 (by occupying Napoli’s 6), defended the defensive third using a 4-4-1-1/4-5-1 basic formation, and blocking Napoli’s use of the diagonal passing lane from the left half space into the box. Borja Valero, Inter’s number 10, would join the central midfield duo to secure the area around Inter Milan’s midfield line. …” Outside of the Boot


Dieter Hecking’s Unique Defensive System

October 23, 2017

“Although man-marking reminds us of the old ‘70s and ‘80s, it has been enjoying rebirth since these days. In fact, man-marking has been reinvented, thanks to zonal coverage. Thus, giving birth to a new marking systems, such as zone-oriented man coverage. So far, zone-oriented man coverage has been used in the Bundesliga by Dieter Hecking both during his time at 1.FC Nürnberg and currently at Borussia Mönchengladbach. In Hecking’s treatment, this system is a compromise between man and zonal defenses. …” Bundesliga Fanatic


Chelsea still in title hunt with dramatic comeback win vs. Watford

October 23, 2017

“LONDON — Three points from Chelsea’s 4-2 comeback win versus Watford on Saturday at Stamford Bridge that saw the defending champions avoid three consecutive Premier League defeats. …” ESPN – Michael Cox (Video)


Savage Enthusiasm: A History of Football Fans

October 18, 2017


Savage Enthusiasm traces the evolution of the football fan from the sport’s earliest origins right up to the present day, exploring how football became the world’s most popular spectator sport, and why it became the undisputed game of the people. The book starts with football’s big bang in 1863 with the creation of Association football. Within ten years, the public was hooked and football was woven into the fabric of if not daily life, then certainly weekend life. Brown posits this rise to football simply being the best sport and supports this with scientific theory published in Nature in 1996 alongside his own rather more plausible explanation that it is its simplicity that accounts for its popularity. …” Football Pink, amazon


Tottenham’s coming of age performance in the Bernabeu proves they are here to stay

October 18, 2017

“Perhaps Tottenham were slightly fortunate to get a draw in Madrid on Tuesday night, given that Cristiano Ronaldo hit the post and Hugo Lloris made a barely credible close-range block from Karim Benzema and a spectacular tip-over from Ronaldo. But maybe they weren’t. After all, as Brian Clough always used to say after a performance of particular excellence from Peter Shilton, the goalkeeper is a part of the team. Plus, Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen both had chances to win it, Spurs should have had a penalty for Casemiro’s foul on Fernando Llorente and there was probably a foul in the move leading up to Serge Aurier’s stupid challenge on Toni Kroos that led to the penalty from which Ronaldo equalised. Nobody could realistically argue that Tottenham deserved to win, but it’s easy enough to conceive how they might have done. …” unibet – Jonathan Wilson


Edin Dzeko: ‘I don’t run? I don’t give my best? Come on! That is a joke’

October 18, 2017

“Edin Dzeko looks as if he wants to jump up from the chair. He is animated. His cheeks are red and he gesticulates wildly. … It is a moment that encapsulates what the Bosnia-Herzegovina striker is all about. He has been described as being indifferent and cold but when we meet in an empty hotel restaurant on the outskirts of Sarajevo he is neither. Instead he is extremely passionate about the game, more perhaps than any other player I have interviewed, and a man who realises how lucky he is to play football for a living. …” Guardian


TURF WARS: A history of London football

October 18, 2017

“The four giant cranes climb strikingly above the north-east London skyline. They are visible from the North Circular Road as Tottenham’s new stadium takes shape – soaring and dynamic symbols of London’s endless football revolution. Spurs new ground will open in 2018 with a capacity of 61,000, which will be 548 more people than they get into Arsenal’s Emirates. The percentage difference is 0.939 per cent, but every little counts in London’s most fierce football turf war. Not as much as winning trophies or league placing, at which Arsenal are so much better than their neighbours. But Spurs have a plan to change all that and the tiny difference in capacity is a part of it. …” London football history: Why our city’s turf war makes it the world capital of football, amazon


Tim Vickery’s Notes from South America: Uruguay fly under the radar en route to Russia

October 15, 2017


Uruguay’s Federico Valverde celebrates after scoring against Paraguay during their 2018 World Cup qualifier in Asuncion
“There is almost too much drama to take as South America’s World Cup qualification campaign moves into Tuesday’s final round. Amid the threat of elimination hanging over Argentina, and continental champions Chile, the remarkable resurgence of Paraguay and a crunch game between Peru and Colombia, Uruguay are flying under the radar. Little space has been devoted to the fact that, barring a mathematical miracle, the Uruguayans have already booked their place in Russia. This breaks a pattern. In all of the other campaigns this century Uruguay got underway with a comfortable win at home to Bolivia only to wobble along the way before just managing to clinch the play-off slot in the final round. …” World Soccer – Tim Vickery


Next Generation 2017: 60 of the best young talents in world football

October 15, 2017

“From Vinicius Júnior, who has already signed for Real Madrid, to ‘the Romanian Donnarumma’ the Guardian identifies 60 of the best players in the world born in 2000. Check the progress of our 2016 class | 2015 | 2014Guardian


Jürgen Klopp eases Liverpool’s pressing game in the search for solidity

October 15, 2017

“It is not something you often have to consider but what if José Mourinho was right? What if, on Saturday, there was for once no bluff or manipulation, no attempt to provoke or deflect attention: what if the analysis he gave of Manchester United’s 0-0 draw at Liverpool was straightforward and correct? …” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson


The Real Failure of U.S. Men’s Soccer Sporting – Brian Phillips

October 15, 2017


“For around 30 years, from the 1986 World Cup through the night of Tuesday, Oct. 10, the United States men’s national soccer team managed to project at least a pleasing illusion of progress. Maybe it wasn’t always real progress. Maybe it wasn’t the kind of spectacular success enjoyed by the United States women’s team, which has won three World Cups and four Olympic gold medals and galvanized generations of fans. But there was always something you could point to, some piece of evidence to suggest that the men’s game was improving in this country. That the people at the top had a plan. …” NY Times


Winners and losers from Southampton 2-2 Newcastle United

October 15, 2017

Manolo Gabbiadini hit a brace as Southampton twice came from behind to draw 2-2 at home to Newcastle United in an entertaining encounter at St Mary’s this afternoon. Newcastle took the lead in the first half through Isaac Hayden’s first Premier League goal but Southampton equalised early in the second half when Gabbiadini, who has struggled this season, managed to find the net.” Squawka


1903: German Fußball’s First Tournament

October 15, 2017

“In 1903, The German Football Association held the first championship in association history. Thirty teams were eligible. Six entered. Move forward to August 2017, I found myself watching the film Leatherheads, a Gridiron Football film starring George Clooney. In Leatherheads, Clooney is a captain of a team in a failing league. His actions rejuvenate gridiron football and turn it into one of the most popular sports in America. As I was watching the film, I began researching the history of our beloved German Football Association. I quickly realized that there simply was not much information on the roots. …” Bundesliga Fanatic


World Cup 2018 power rankings: Germany on top among qualified 23

October 12, 2017


“Twenty-three nations have booked their places for the World Cup in Russia, with the holders and Brazil looking in good shape but we rank England in 13th place, below Iceland.” Guardian (Video)


Argentina Savior Messi Enforces His Brilliance When His Nation Needs Him Most

October 12, 2017

“Twenty years ago, Lionel Messi, then a 10-year-old playing for a youth team at Newell’s Old Boys, headed into rural Santa Fe for a game against Pujato. These were always difficult, physical matches, and Messi took a kicking. … Messi has been getting the face on a lot recently. With Neymar gone, Ousmane Dembele injured and general chaos at the Camp Nou, it feels as though Barcelona’s perfect start to the season has been the result of him, fired by the ‘bronca’ that used to motivate Diego Maradona, dragging Barcelona forward almost single-handed. …” SI – Jonathan Wilson


Tactical Analysis: Spartak Moscow 1-1 Liverpool | Klopp’s fluid side held

October 12, 2017

“Spartak Moscow headed into the match with a lot of injury trouble. Quincy Promes – arguably their best attacker – was confirmed to be unavailable just days before the match. Before the Dutch, Roman Zobnin, Denis Glushakov – the captain -, and Ze Luis had been also confirmed to be out. The injury record and the fact that Spartak are currently ranked 8th, raised the pressure bar on Massimo Carrera. So, the match against Liverpool, for sure, was a real test for Carrera and his troops. …” Outside of the Boot


United States Misses World Cup for First Time Since 1986

October 12, 2017


“COUVA, Trinidad and Tobago — There was always a chance that a year would come when the United States again failed to qualify for the World Cup, when the hurdles in the nearly two-year slog of regional qualification — the matches on steamy afternoons and muggy nights, the hard tackles and the coin-throwing fans, the lousy fields and the dubious refereeing — all proved too much. That year is 2017. Trinidad and Tobago, whose World Cup dreams ended months ago, stunned the United States, 2-1, on Tuesday night. The result, combined with just-as-shocking outcomes in two simultaneous games in Honduras and Panama on the final day of qualifying for the Concacaf region, ushered in the unthinkable: The American men, mainstays of the World Cup for more than a generation, are out of next summer’s tournament in Russia. …”
NY Times, How the United States Missed the World Cup, Minute by Minute


Tactical Analysis: Stoke City 0-4 Chelsea | Blues take advantage of individual errors

October 12, 2017

“Stoke were knocked out of the League Cup after suffering a 2-0 defeat against Bristol City. They had also lost their last two games in the league, so a good result for them here was crucial. Even though Chelsea drew their last league game against Arsenal, they won 5-1 against Forest in the Cup and managed to rest most of their key players for the match against Stoke. …” Outside of the Boot


Where They Used To Play: Borussia Dortmund and the Stadion Rote Erde

October 12, 2017

“The Bundesliga is famed for its impressive, modern stadia- in part a legacy of the 2006 World Cup held in Germany. However, some of the biggest and best sides in the league have a longer tradition and some of their past glories were played out in quite different arenas. In this series we take a look at some of the iconic stadiums of yesteryear and relive history. First up…Borussia Dortmund. …” Bundesliga Fanatic


The Best Soccer Teams in History to Miss Out on Qualifying for the World Cup

October 8, 2017


France, 1994
“As World Cup qualification reaches its final stages, a number of major nations find themselves in danger of missing out on Russia 2018. As Argentina, the Netherlands, Chile and Ghana struggle to make it, and with reigning African champion Cameroon already eliminated, we look back at the most shocking failures to qualify in World Cup history. …” SI – Jonathan Wilson


Finding Gabriel Jesus and freeing Neymar – how Tite made Brazil into Brazil again

October 8, 2017

“A point would have been a respectable result. Brazil had never won a World Cup qualifier up in Quito, losing two of their last three. Still, with 20 minutes remaining and the game goalless, a new era for Brazilian football was heading for a somewhat underwhelming start. When teenage debutant Gabriel Jesus set off after a lost cause that afternoon, it was mostly an attempt to appear useful after a fairly useless opening 70 minutes. And then everything changed. …” Independent


Odd Man Out

October 8, 2017

“In November’s Fifa rankings, Macedonia FYR fell to 155th place, the worst position in the country’s history. Their hopes of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup have all but disappeared, the national team reflecting the desperate state of Macedonian football. Milko Djurovski is a former Yugoslavia international and the brother of the former Macedonia FYR head coach Boško. …” The Blizzard


Chelsea 0-1 Manchester City: Guardiola uses his full-backs & wingers to get De Bruyne into space

October 8, 2017


“Chelsea came into this game on the back of a midweek victory at Atletico Madrid, probably the tactical performance of the season so far – they showed defensive discipline, midfield control and completely outwitted Diego Simeone’s usually-formidable Atletico. The key was Antonio Conte’s use of 3-5-2, a modification upon the 3-4-3 that won Chelsea the league last season. This 3-5-2 allowed Eden Hazard to play centrally, and means Cesc Fabregas can be used in central midfield without Conte having to sacrifice one of his two disciplined defensive midfielders. Two big advantages. …” Zonal Marking


Emmanuel Adebayor puts Cabinda behind him as Togo go through

October 8, 2017

“Togo secured the draw they needed against Tunisia and so made it through to the quarter-final of the Africa Cup of Nations for the first time in their history. Those are the bald facts, but they don’t begin to tell anything like the full story of an extraordinary night at the Mbombela. It may not have been great football, but it was magnificent drama. …” Guardian


Gareth Southgate should switch England to a three-man defence

October 8, 2017

“It’s difficult to imagine a starker contrast between performance and outcome than England’s 1-0 victory over Slovenia at Wembley on Thursday night. The narrow win, sealed by Harry Kane’s last-gasp goal, didn’t really mask an uninspiring performance from manager Gareth Southgate’s side. But ultimately it means England have qualified for next summer’s World Cup. Preparation starts now: The FA immediately announced home friendlies against Germany and Brazil next month, knowing those dates wouldn’t be needed for playoff matches, while Sunday’s trip to Lithuania effectively has become another friendly, a chance for experimentation. And experimentation is crucial if England have any chance of reaching the latter stages in Russia next year. …” ESPN


U.S. National Team Still Controls Its Own World Cup Destiny

October 5, 2017


“The easiest route to the World Cup, any national team will tell you, is through the front door. Win your qualifying games and you can’t be left out. No worries. No math. No if-we-do-this-and-they-do-that calculations. Win, and you’re in. This, then, is the most appealing route for the United States national team over the next six days. If Coach Bruce Arena and his players win their final two qualifying games, at home against Panama on Friday and at Trinidad and Tobago on Tuesday night, they can pack their bags for Russia 2018. …” NY Times


Parking The Coach: Liverpool & The Anfield Boot Room

October 5, 2017

“For more than a quarter of the Twentieth Century, English football was dominated by a new way of thinking. A Socialist revolution that inspired dedication, simplicity and some of the most breathtakingly brilliant, instinctive and organic football that Europe had ever seen. This side were not halted by changes in playing staff, nor managerial switches. On four occasions the reins would change hands without so much as a blip or interruption to their accumulation of titles, accolades and awards. It was a system so holistic, so deceptively simple and enduring, that every rival club studiously ignored it with flying colours. Eventually, the club that had incubated this philosophy also disavowed it. They haven’t won a league title since. …” twohundredpercent


Flying the flag for Azerbaijan: The story of FK Qarabag

October 5, 2017

“The letter was out of the blue and did not mince its words. From the offices of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan, there was something sinister about the instructions, albeit offset by the reassuringly bureaucratic tone. …” The Set Pieces


Barcelona in the strange and symbolic eye of a storm over Catalonia

October 3, 2017


Football fans await outside the stadium before the Spanish league football match FC Barcelona vs UD Las Palmas at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on October 1, 2017.
“At every Camp Nou game for almost six years now, chants for Catalan independence have gone up when the clock reaches 17 minutes and 14 seconds, commemorating the year the city fell to Felipe V, but not this time – not on the day they were perhaps closer to independence than ever before. This time, Europe’s largest stadium was silent. No fans could be heard, only footballers. Occasionally, the referee’s whistle rang out or somebody clapped yet there were no chants, no songs and no one to sing them. At the side of the pitch where Barcelona played Las Palmas, stewards in orange bibs lined up to keep an eye on stands that had no one in them. Ninety-eight thousand seats sat empty; barely a couple of hundred people were there, and many of those wished they weren’t. …” Guardian


Tactical Analysis: Monarcas 3-0 Xolos | Monarcas’ Pressing And Xolos’ Offside Trap

October 3, 2017

“Monarcas and Xolos both entered the match in decent form, although the home side were slight favourites to win. In the end, they did the job and won 3-0 to put them back in a playoff spot. Tijuana had a nightmare of a match tactically, with many issues particularly in the defence. The attack wasn’t clicking for them at any point in the match, while Monarcas who are usually a structured and defensively solid side enjoyed the game. …” Outside of the Boot


Harry Winks’ Dembele-esque skillset explains his value to England

October 3, 2017

“Being English and receiving one-to-one tuition from Mauricio Pochettino is virtually a guarantee of a senior international call-up these days with Harry Winks the latest player to benefit from the Argentine’s expertise. Should Winks debut for England against either Slovenia or Lithuania, it will mean that 14 of England’s last 29 debutants have been coached by Pochettino before their first call-up. Winks’ teammate Kieran Trippier became the latest to do so against France in June. …” Squawka


Hibernian 2 – 2 Celtic

October 1, 2017


Callum McGregor opened the scoring and later levelled with his sixth goal of the season
“Hibernian came close to ending Celtic’s now 58-game unbeaten domestic run on Neil Lennon’s return to his old club. The former Celtic boss saw his side fall behind to Callum McGregor’s sweet first-half strike. But two thumping goals from Scotland midfielder John McGinn put the visitors ahead with 13 minutes remaining. But they could only hold the lead for three minutes, McGregor tucking home an equaliser before Scott Sinclair went close to a late winner for the hosts. Celtic remain top of the Premiership, on goal difference from Aberdeen, while Hibs drop to sixth, but level on points with fifth-placed Motherwell. …” BBC


Examining the Bundesliga’s 3 Most Valuable Clubs from Forbes Latest List

October 1, 2017

“Every year the esteemed Forbes magazine releases it’s list of the most valuable football clubs on the planet. The latest rankings were recently released for 2017 with three German clubs placing within the top 20. Who are these clubs and why are they ranked at their respective positions? First, you might want to take a look at the five most valuable sport team in the world, then come back to see how the German clubs fared. …” Bundesliga Fanatic


Premier League results: Man City win at Chelsea, Fellaini and Kane score twice

October 1, 2017

“The top three all won in the Premier League on Saturday as Manchester City defeated Chelsea in the late game to reclaim the top spot that had briefly been taken away from them earlier in the day. Kevin de Bruyne smashed a stunning second-half strike past fellow Belgian Thibaut Courtois as Manchester City leapfrogged Manchester United on goal difference with a slender 1-0 victory. …” BBC


Carlo Ancelotti’s Firing a Strike Against Complacency Threatening Bayern Munich’s Reign

October 1, 2017


“From the outside, it doesn’t look like much of a crisis, but this is Bayern Munich, and at a modern superclub what appears to be a gentle blip can feel on the inside like a seismic convulsion. Carlo Ancelotti was sacked on Thursday in response to Wednesday’s 3-0 defeat at Paris Saint-Germain, but in truth the discontent has been building for some time. …” SI – Jonathan Wilson


Tactical Philosophy: Patrick Vieira

October 1, 2017

“While this website has made its name focusing on the lesser known youth of this beautiful sport, utnd combined it with a tinge of tactical flavour meant for the football enthusiast, we found a large gap to be exploited in terms of combining the two. This mini-series thus focuses on young managers (below the age of 45) and their tactical philosophies, deriving what got them here and where they could go. Patrick Mills has a look at Patrick Vieira’s rise in recent seasons. …” Outside of the Boot


Book review – Gunshots & Goalposts: The Story of Northern Irish Football by Ben Roberts

October 1, 2017

“Northern Irish football has a history every bit as complicated as the socio-political context that surrounds it. Back in late 2014 I wrote an article for The Football Pink issue 6 in which I talked about Irish Football’s Long Divorce, as the island’s football federation split into two. Just like the partition of Ireland in 1921, the split was messy but involved a great deal less bloodshed. It did though leave bad blood between the two federations and created a situation where the Irish League came to mirror the state that it represented. To British Unionists this is ‘a great wee country’ that is an integral part of Britain, but to Irish nationalists it’s a state that few fully identify with. …” Football Pink, amazon