Analysis: Guide To Formations With Three At The Back

November 30, 2017


“Three at the back formations have largely become the trend in football right now with many successful teams using them, most notably Antonio Conte’s Chelsea. This article will analyse why they are so successful and will discuss potential weaknesses. The most obvious advantage of three-man defences are the fluidity they offer: a team can defend with five and the wing backs can then easily turn into wingers when they get the ball. This can create overloads in many areas of the pitch and in turn free up half spaces. These formations are also very hard to break down as the teams tend to defend in a deep compact shape which minimizes the space the opposition has. With most formations this era containing one striker, three at the back formations almost always render him useless due to the striker being outnumbered. …” Outside of the Boot


World Cup 2018 Draw: How It Works

November 30, 2017

“The World Cup does not begin until June, but a crucial moment for all 32 teams in the field arrives Friday, when the draw to populate the tournament’s eight first-round groups is made. If things fall right, a team could emerge from Friday’s draw with an easy route to the Round of 16. If they don’t, a team’s hopes could be dashed even before they arrive in Russia. Here is a look at how it all works. …” NY Times


Tactical Analysis: Borussia Dortmund 4-4 Schalke 04 | An epic comeback

November 30, 2017

“This is the mother of all derbies in German football, therefore the narratives that lead to this game were full of drama and excitement: on one hand, Peter Bosz has been under pressure from the board over the past two months due to Borussia Dortmund’s slump in form, which continued during their 1-2 home loss to Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League; on the other hand, Schalke’s new coach, Domenico Tedesco, has done very well so far in the league, as the team -reportedly- witnessed around 2000 fans during their last session of training prior to the game. …” Outside of the Boot


Who Will Osorio Call? Projecting Mexico’s 2018 World Cup Roster

November 30, 2017


“It’s an exciting week for the Mexico national team, manager Juan Carlos Osorio and their fans as they all anxiously await Friday’s World Cup draw to see who will go up against El Tri in the group stage in next summer’s tournament in Russia. Mexico, the highest-seeded CONCACAF team according to the FIFA rankings, is in pot two for the draw and will avoid teams like Spain, Uruguay and Colombia, but it could face other tournament favorites such as Germany, France, Argentina and even Brazil for a second straight World Cup (in 2014 it played against the host and faced Croatia and Cameroon in the opening stage). The hope for many, especially Osorio, is that the draw is kind to them and his team even envisions winning the group, an accomplishment last achieved in 2002. …” SI


Ahead of World Cup, Fans Are Warned About Homophobia and Racism in Russia

November 30, 2017

“EINDHOVEN, the Netherlands — An anti-discrimination organization that has partnered with FIFA to control fan behavior at the World Cup has issued warnings to gay and transgender fans and people of certain races and ethnicities for next summer’s tournament, highlighting ongoing concerns about threats they may face in Russia. …” NY Times


Motherwell 1 Celtic 1: Scott Sinclair saves Celts’ unbeaten record with dramatic late penalty

November 30, 2017

“Celtic can take their sequence of successive unbeaten domestic games to 67 – that iconic number for the club – against Motherwell at the weekend after coming within a few minutes of defeat in Lanarkshire, where Mikael Lustig’s own goal put the Steelmen ahead. For the second time in three days against Celtic, the Fir Park outfit were undone by a penalty kick – again involving Scott Sinclair – although this time converted by the winger after Andy Rose had been judged to have fouled Callum McGregor. …” Telegraph


Gute Woche/ Schlechte Woche Matchday 12 Edition

November 21, 2017


“It was back to Bundesliga action after yet another international break with nine exciting match-ups for our enjoyment. Jupp Heynckes continued to work his magic at Bayern with another win, Dortmund continued to falter and Köln continued to suffer atrocious luck. Werder Bremen grabbed their first win, while Schalke and Mönchengladbach continued to climb towards the top. Drama, controversy, goals, red cards, the weekend had it all. So, just who were the winners and losers of matchday 12? …” Bundesliga Fanatic


Michael Laudrup: a portrait of an icon

November 21, 2017

“The theory of collective intelligence is well-established. The “wisdom of the crowd” principle states that the averaged answer of a group of individuals outweighs that of a single expert on matters of spatial awareness, quantity estimation and general knowledge. It was first mooted by Aristotle, and has been continued by philosophers, statisticians and economists pretty much ever since. It is one good reason why juries and panels exist. Without offending Aristotle, the Marquis de Condorcet and Francis Galton, Michael Laudrup’s lack of international recognition erodes confidence in the principle. Between 1989 and 1996, Denmark’s greatest ever player was European football’s finest footballer. …” Guardian


Tactical Analysis: Barcelona 2-1 Sevilla | Barca’s diamond-esque shape hands them victory

November 21, 2017

“Despite being written off by many this season after the loss of Neymar and rivals Real Madrid’s dominance last season, Ernesto Valverde’s Barcelona side came into this game at home to Champions League chasing Sevilla in inspired form. 9 wins from their opening 10 games and Lionel Messi in the form of his life had shut up many critics as they cruised towards their 3rd league title in 4 years with a 4 point lead over 2nd place Valencia and 8 points over bookies’ title favourites Real Madrid in 3rd. …” Outside of the Boot


The Illustrated History of Football – Hall of Fame

November 21, 2017


“Welcome back to the imitable work of illustrator David Squires.Most football fans can only dream of pulling on the shirt of their favourite team and running out in front of thousands of adoring fans. Pitch invaders aside, few of us get to experience that adrenalin rush. Of those who do make it as a professional footballer, even fewer realise the giddy heights of success. In the Illustrated History of Football- Hall of Fame, cartoonist David Squires returns to celebrate those who straddle the game like giants; those talented, determined souls who were juggling tennis balls in the back streets before they could talk. There’s more than one way to attain football immortality though, and Squires also turns his comic eye to the mavericks, the pioneers, the forgotten legends and the anti-heroes. From Pele to Meazza, Maradona to Socrates, you will be taken on an unforgettable journey through the good, the bad and the Hagi.” boomerangbooks, amazon


Tactical Analysis: River Plate 1-2 Boca Juniors | Organized Boca Punish River On The Counter

November 21, 2017

“Both teams started off with fluid 4-3-3 formations. Montiel was the more advanced of the two River full backs while Casco’s attacking contribution was limited due to the fact that he was a right footed player playing on the left. Ponzio was deployed as a deep lying playmaker playing as the deepest of the 3 River midfielders and controlling the tempo. Enzo Perez and Rojas were the two shuttlers who were tasked with providing support to the attack when River had the ball and getting back quickly into shape when they did not. The two inside forwards Fernandez and Martinez were playing very narrow almost as number 10’s in behind Scocco. …” Outside of the Boot


“And Smith must score” – the worst misses are the ones that truly mattered

November 21, 2017

“20 November ~ Right, let me do a quick mention of famous televised misses, to make it look as if I’ve seen them all, then we’ll move on to missed chances that mattered, because that’s all I know about. On the screen, nobody missed a more open goal than Ronny Rosenthal, who hit the bar, or Roger Davies of Derby, who went past the keeper at Stamford Bridge, then knocked the ball past the post as he staggered after it. They’re probably on a video with all the others, accompanied by a They Think It’s All Over-type soundtrack. …” WSC (Video)


Italy’s Soccer Apocalypse

November 17, 2017


“Is soccer a matter of life and death? ‘It’s much more serious than that,’ the droll Bill Shankly, who managed Liverpool in the club’s glory days, once remarked. But how much more? ‘Us, out of the World Cup?’ Carlo Tavecchio, the head of the Italian Football Federation, said to journalists, after Italy lost a crucial qualifying game in September. ‘It would be the apocalypse.’ What he seemed to be saying was that it would be something so bad that it surely couldn’t happen. But then it did. ‘THE END,’ the enormous headline of the Gazzetta dello Sport confirmed, when, on Monday, contrary to all expectations and pundit wisdom, Italy failed to score against a modest Swedish side and crashed out of the forthcoming tournament in Russia. …” New Yorker


Where it went wrong for the teams who missed out on the World Cup

November 17, 2017

“Fans from 21 countries explain why they will be staying at home next summer. Holland were unlucky, Italy were mismanaged and Mongolia were a disaster” Guardian


Frank de Boer, Ronald Koeman and the strange decline of Dutch managers

November 17, 2017

“Whatever you think of Frank de Boer’s sacking by Crystal Palace, his short stay as manager reminds us of the diminished state of Dutch football. A previously unthinkable gap has opened up between the Netherlands and the top football nations. Feyenoord, Ajax and PSV have all been humiliated in Europe this season. And it’s been decades since the national team were so bad. The players who reached the 2010 World Cup final and came third in 2014 are mostly retired now and Holland’s new normal was exemplified by the 4-0 defeat by France in August. …” WSC


Brazil’s Indicted Soccer Leader Planning to Keep His Job

November 17, 2017

“LONDON — As the president of Brazil’s soccer federation, Marco Polo Del Nero should have been here on Tuesday, watching his country’s national team play out a soporific 0-0 tie against England in an exhibition match at Wembley Stadium. Yet instead of exchanging pleasantries with executives from the Football Association in a suite high above the field, Del Nero was almost 6,000 miles away, at home in Brazil. Even there, though, it would have been understandable if his focus was not on the events unfolding under Wembley’s brightly lit arch, but instead on proceedings inside a wood-paneled courtroom in Brooklyn, where three soccer executives — well known to the 76-year-old Del Nero — are standing trial on corruption charges. …” NY Times


Romania 4 Yugoslavia 6: World Cup qualifier, Ghencea Stadium, Bucharest, 13 November 1977

November 17, 2017

“In his interview with Dragan Stojković in Issue Two of The Blizzard, Andrew McKirdy asked, “Serbian and Yugoslavian football has a history of drama and highs and lows. Do you think this reflects the Serbian psyche and do you think this is true of you?” Stojković is an intelligent man and a good talker, but his answer missed the point. He spoke about bad organisation, poor leadership, a refusal to take responsibility and the lack of a professional mindset, but he didn’t touch the painful truth. The history of drama and highs and lows derives to a large extent from a confused national psyche that leads it simultaneously to overestimate itself and to have an inferiority complex. …” The Blizzard


Jose Mourinho ready to renew rivalry with Rafa Benitez, the man he hated first

November 17, 2017

“The last time that Jose Mourinho and Rafa Benitez had one of their many flashpoints, back in that odd exchange in the summer of 2015 when the Spaniard was Real Madrid manager and his wife Montse even had comments about how they ‘tidy up his messes’, it wasn’t actually the Portuguese who was most bothered. Mourinho’s loyal long-time assistant Rui Faria seemed to care the most.” Independent


A Night in Belgrade With an Undercover Crowd Monitor: ‘Try to Act Casual’

November 7, 2017


“BELGRADE, Serbia — At the appointed hour, the man picked up his phone, sat down on the couch in his hotel, and dialed the number. ‘Yes, hello, I’m calling you on behalf of Fare,’ he said, dropping the name of a network based in London that fights discrimination in world soccer. ‘Just to inform you, I will be the matchday observer tonight in Belgrade. We have done some research. Of course, we all know it’s a high-risk match ….’ The match in question, set to begin a few hours later, was a Europa League contest last Thursday between Partizan Belgrade of Serbia and Skenderbeu of Albania. The person on the other line was the UEFA delegate assigned to supervise proceedings at the stadium. And the so-called risks? …” NY Times (Video)


Tottenham’s defeat of Real Madrid is a warning to Europe’s super-clubs

November 7, 2017

“It was one of the greatest nights in Tottenham’s history. It was better than beating Internazionale 3-1, probably the equal of those fraught nights in 1983-84 when Bayern Munich, Austria Vienna, Hajduk Split and Anderlecht were overcome on the way to the Uefa Cup. Almost whatever happens over the next three decades, it is safe to assume that in 2050 Christian Eriksen’s goal will still be included in the pre-match White Hart Lane montage as Danny Blanchflower’s voice, the crackle of time even more pronounced, explains once again that the game is about glory. …” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson (Video)


New Candidate and Palace Intrigue Shake Up U.S. Soccer Election

November 7, 2017

“In the surest sign yet that Sunil Gulati, the United States Soccer Federation president for the past 12 years, is in for a bruising re-election fight, his deputy Carlos Cordeiro announced Wednesday night that he would enter the race to replace his longtime friend. The entry of Cordeiro — a former Goldman Sachs executive who currently serves as U.S. Soccer’s executive vice president — into an increasingly crowded field of presidential candidates represents one of the most significant challenges yet to Gulati, whose stewardship of American soccer has been under fire since the United States men’s national team missed out on qualification for the 2018 World Cup last month. …” NY Times


Berlin – Hotbed of football, beer, politics and noise

November 7, 2017


“Germany, and especially Berlin, is no stranger to change. Its borders have changed drastically and repeatedly over the last century, and the governments within have been no exception to this rise-and-fall pattern. In many ways the only constant in Germany over the course of the 20th century was football. The Nazi Gauligas ran almost unhindered from 1933 to 1945, and only ceased due to Allied forces occupying most of Germany by that point. Following the fall of the Third Reich it only took until 1948 for the East to start playing again, with the West following a year later by turning semi-pro. The continuity of football was so strong it even outlasted the dissolution of its parent country, with East Germany’s Oberliga continuing as normal for two years after the Berlin Wall fell, and survived the actual reunification of Germany until the Spring of 1991. …” Football Pink


Tactical Analysis: Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 Real Madrid | Spurs Make A Statement

November 7, 2017

“Pochettino looked to take a secure approach of press as Tottenham didn’t always insist on disturbing the early phase of Real’s build-up. Tottenham assigned the pressing work based on a 5-3-2-ish shape, with Christian Eriksen slightly higher than the other two central midfielders. The Dane pressed Casemiro while Harry Kane and Delle Alli kept an eye on Real’s both center halves. The other defensive duty for Tottenham’s 8 was that they also had to maintained good access to Kroos and Modric. …” Outside of the Boot


Tactical Analysis: Roma 3-0 Chelsea | Chelsea’s Possession Play Failed to Tear Down Roma’s Fortress

November 7, 2017

“… Roma fielded their usual 4-3-3. Alisson in goal, Florenzi and Kolarov as full backs, and Fazio-Juan Jesus duo in the central area. In midfield, de Rossi in the six space covered the moves of Nainggolan and Strootman, who were initially 8’s but had license to roam into the wide areas and center around 10 and 9. In the last line, Edin Dzeko was flanked by Perotti and El Shaarawy. …” Outside of the Boot