Felipe Jorge Loureiro

August 31, 2021


Felipe Jorge Loureiro (born 2 September 1977), known as Felipe, is a Brazilian football coach and former footballer. A left-footed midfielder, Felipe is known for his playmaking style, that nicknamed him as Maestro, with his excellent ball control, dribbling skills, and vision for orchestrating offensive plays and providing precise passes. … Years after his retirement as a footballer, Felipe started his career as a coach, debuting at Tigres do Brasil. …”
Wikipedia
YouTube: Felipe On Vasco da Gama


Player Analysis: Ryan Gravenberch

August 30, 2021


“Ajax were denied the chance to have back-to-back Eredivisie titles for the first time since 2014 after the league was suspended and announced as null and void last season. Yet, it looks like they will be winning the title this time around, as they comfortably sit six points ahead of their nearest threat, and have a game in hand too. Their academy, De Toekomst – or, the future – has played its part in this as they have provided the first-team with more hungry young talent. One player in particular, is one that could be a very special player. Ryan Gravenberch is just 18 years old but has had a major part to play for de Godenzonen, starting 21 out of 23 possible matches in the Eredivisie. The Dutch midfielder was introduced to the first-team last season, but it has been this campaign where he has placed his marker and showed his quality. …”
Breaking the Lines
A Wijnaldum-inspired Netherlands hope to finally reap the benefits of consistency
Wonderkids: Ryan Gravenberch
W – Ryan Gravenberch


A Look at Possible Build-up Mechanisms in a 4-1-2-1-2

August 30, 2021


“We’ve done a lot of tactical content here through the years, from investigating Paulo Sousa’s innovative Fiorentina tactics to Thomas Tuchel’s build-up patterns at Borussia Dortmund and Diego Simeone’s suffocating, positionally-oriented Atlético de Madrid. However, this piece is not an analysis of a team or a coach; rather, this piece investigates possible implementations coaches could use when building from the back in a 4-1-2-1-2/4-4-2 diamond. …”
Running the Show (Nov. 2020)


‘This is our final’: the team who led athletes’ escape from Afghanistan

August 30, 2021


Khalida Popal, former captain of the Afghanistan women’s team
“‘We have been working like fingers on one hand, with different roles, and we came together as a big strong punch,’ says the former captain and one of the founders of the Afghanistan women’s national football team, Khalida Popal. She is talking about the small team that pulled off the mission to evacuate 100-200 Afghan athletes and a number of individuals connected to them from the Hamid Karzai international airport in Kabul. Across a two-week period those fingers worked tirelessly around the clock and across numerous time zones, tracking the real-time movements of the Taliban and military personnel on the ground to pull off what seemed completely impossible: to get a group of female football players, many teenagers, and a host of others, including family members, into the airport and on to planes. Who is this motley, but multitalented, crew and how did they manage to get so many out where many more failed? This is their story. …”
Guardian


Rangers 1-0 Celtic: Filip Helander header settles pulsating derby

August 29, 2021


“Filip Helander’s thumping header settled a pulsating Old Firm derby as a depleted Rangers inflicted Celtic’s second Scottish Premiership defeat of the season at a packed Ibrox. The home side, with manager Steven Gerrard and several players absent after a Covid outbreak, made it seven derbies in a row without defeat, with victory in six of them. Celtic striker Odsonne Edouard somehow squirted wide from close range with the game goalless, before Helander’s header claimed the points for the champions. The victory moves Rangers to within a point of Hibernian and Hearts at the summit, with Celtic in sixth place after two defeats in four matches. …”
BBC
Guardian: Filip Helander heads winner for Covid-19 depleted Rangers against Celtic


Chelsea Proves a Point While Collecting One at Liverpool

August 29, 2021



“LIVERPOOL, England — Romelu Lukaku’s second half was not an especially glamorous one. There was a lot of running, darting into the slivers of space on either side of Liverpool’s central defenders, hoping for a ball that rarely came. There was a substantial amount of tussling and wrestling with Joel Matip, in particular, the two scrabbling for every inch of ground. There were not, conversely, many touches: only 20 in all after halftime, not quite one every two minutes. …”
NY Times
Guardian: Chelsea show resilience to survive Anfield’s medieval battle scenes


Why this season’s Champions League draw should see more glamour ties than usual

August 28, 2021


“The frantic pace of the football calendar means one can often overlook particular checkpoints until they have arrived. … Marc Albrighton is still somehow only 31 years old. These are all things that slip out of the back of our footballing minds, only to swing back into view during quiet moments when we finally get to have a cup of tea and go over the facts at a more sedate pace. … Six more places in the competition’s group stages will be decided this week but, of the 26 sides that we know will feature in Thursday’s group draw, there will be some difficult challenges ahead. Here’s The Athletic’s guide to how it all works. …”
The Athletic
Champions League Narratives: Looking at the major talking points from the group stage draw


Athletic Club 1 – 1 Barcelona

August 28, 2021


“Barcelona moved to the top of La Liga on goals scored as Memphis Depay rescued a point in an entertaining draw at Athletic Bilbao. Depay’s ferocious strike cancelled out Inigo Martinez’s headed opener after Athletic Bilbao had dominated. Both sides hit the crossbar and passed up numerous chances to claim all three points. Barca defender Eric Garcia was sent off in injury time for fouling Nico Williams when clean through. There is no doubt Ronald Koeman’s side are in transition – the loss of Lionel Messi leaving them in search of a new talisman and trying to find new ways to win. …”
BBC
10-man Barcelona forge their new side in the fires of San Mamés after 1-1 draw with Athletic Club
YouTube: Tactical Analysis : Athletic Club 1 – 1 Barcelona | Barca Tactics In The Post Messi Era, Highlights Athletic Club vs FC Barcelona (1-1)


Forza Pro – Video games, small-town Italian soccer by Brian Phillips

August 28, 2021


“I. My Magical Connection With the Tiny Italian Soccer Club Pro Vercelli. I have a magical connection with the tiny Italian soccer club Pro Vercelli because I once spent a year pretending to be them in a video game. Moreover, I spent a year blogging extensively about pretending to be them in a video game. Without going too deeply into my reasons for doing this — more or less the usual Internet cocktail of narcissism, a ‘desire to interrogate constructions of fantasy and reality in sports,’ and generally warm feelings about playing Football Manager at two in the afternoon for money — I can say that the project spiraled hopelessly out of control, sucked in hundreds of hours and tens of thousands of words, generated about a million inside jokes on my old soccer site, and left me with a permanent love for this obscure little club from a city of fewer than 50,000 people in the northern Italian province of Piedmont. …”
Grantland (August 23, 2012)
Pro Vercelli: They were one of history’s greatest teams. (2012)


2021–22 EFL League Two

August 27, 2021


“One point from their final seven matches last season is hardly stirring evidence of a title push but this incarnation of Bradford City are determined to mount a challenge and in Derek Adams they have a manager eyeing a third promotion from the division after guiding Morecambe into League One against the odds in May. The recruitment looks sound but the arrival of Adams, a Marmite character, may be the most important piece of the jigsaw. …”
Guardian: League Two 2021-22 season preview
W – 2021–22 EFL League Two
Who will win the 2021/22 League Two? FourFourTwo’s season preview and predicted final table
YouTube: EFL League Two 2021-22 Stadiums 14:55


How to sell a footballer

August 27, 2021


“… All six were pitched into the seller’s market — and welcome to it, whether you want to be there or not. Clubs spend endless hours formulating lists of targets they want to recruit, the footballers who improve a team, but maintaining the balance of budgets and dressing rooms is every bit as dependent on clubs ridding themselves of the ones they no longer need. Finances, tactics, personality clashes, fitness concerns; the motivation for getting shot of a player varies from case to case but the process has an identical goal: Find a taker and draw a line through the name, while saving yourselves as much money as possible. …”
The Athletic


What’s the Endgame in the M.L.S.-Liga MX Alliance?

August 26, 2021



“One could forgive the top soccer players in Mexico and the United States if they feel as if they have seen quite a lot of each other recently. When some of the best players from Mexico’s Liga MX lined up against some of the biggest stars from Major League Soccer in the M.L.S. All-Star Game on Wednesday night in Los Angeles, it was not — for a handful of them — the first time they had played an important match north of the border this summer. Whether in a series of new cross-border club competitions or in two important national team tournaments, the Nations League and Gold Cup, U.S.-Mexico matchups — in a variety of jersey colors — are now more frequent than ever. …”
NY Times


Nice v Marseille descends into chaos as fans heap more shame on Ligue 1

August 26, 2021


“Kasper Dolberg walked down the tunnel, removed his shirt and ruefully shook his head. The Nice striker’s reaction reflected the thoughts of nearly everyone watching. There were still 15 minutes remaining of Marseille’s trip to Nice on Sunday night, but the Danish international, whose stunning chested finish had lit up the game minutes earlier, had not been substituted or injured. He had simply left the pitch in disgust as events descended into farce and humiliation for French football. After 18 months without fans at the Allianz Riviera, Nice’s derby with their south-coast rivals was their first big home game in front of supporters since March 2020. However, sections of the crowd embarrassed themselves throughout the 75 minutes of play, as bottles were thrown at Marseille players. …”
Guardian (Video)
Guardian: Another Ligue 1 season, another Lyon manager and another crisis
YouTube: OGC Nice vs Marseille | LIGUE 1 HIGHLIGHTS


Penalty area

August 25, 2021


“The penalty area or 18-yard box (also known less formally as the penalty box or simply box) is an area of an association football pitch. It is rectangular and extends 16.5m (18 yd) to each side of the goal and 16.5m (18 yd) in front of it. Within the penalty area is the penalty spot, which is 11m (12 yd) from the goal line, directly in-line with the centre of the goal. A penalty arc (often informally called ‘the D’) adjoins the penalty area, and encloses the area within 9.15m (10 yd) of the penalty spot. It does not form part of the penalty area and is only of relevance during the taking of a penalty kick, when any players inside the arc are adjudged to be encroaching. … Previously, penalty areas extended the width of the field, but were reduced to their current dimensions in 1901. …”
Wikipedia
YouTube: Why do penalty boxes have Ds?


FIFA, Deemed a Victim of Its Own Scandal, Will Share $200 Million Payout

August 24, 2021


“Even as top soccer officials were still being arrested as part of a sprawling corruption investigation in 2015, lawyers for the sport’s global governing body and U.S. prosecutors began to embrace an intriguing premise: The soccer organization, FIFA, and its affiliates were not only the hosts of the scheme, the thinking went, they were also its victims. For prosecutors, the notion distinguished between the hijackers and the hijacked: It held individuals accountable for their crimes but spared the organizations and the sport that they had defrauded. For FIFA and its new leaders and lawyers, the framing had a bigger benefit: It protected against prosecution, and it offered the organization a chance to reclaim the tens of millions of dollars siphoned away by corrupt officials. Tuesday brought the payoff: Six years after a wide-ranging criminal indictment laid bare decades of corruption in global soccer on a stunning scale, and five years after those in power started pursuing a piece of the millions that American authorities were rounding up, the U.S. government approved the payment of more than $200 million to FIFA and its two member confederations most implicated in the scandal. …”
NY Times
W – Gianni Infantino
W – Sepp Blatter


Mamelodi Sundowns’ Three Coaches: Are You Not Entertained?

August 24, 2021


“The departure of Pitso Mosimane from Mamelodi Sundowns dominated the build-up to the 2020/21 DSTV Premiership, as the reigning champions had to prepare for life without the stewardship of arguably the greatest manager in the club’s history.  Forward came co-head coaches Manqoba Mnqithi, Rulani Mokwena and senior coach Steve Komphela; the trio took over in an attempt to perpetuate the team’s dominance of South Africa’s top-flight football. From the start, the coaches rapidly uncovered their go-to formation (4-3-3) at the club, and to date, the results have been fruitful, winning the league at their first attempt. The 4-3-3 presents a different configuration in build-up and attack. The below illustration shows a staggered 2-1-4-3 or 2-5-3, not much of a surprise with more teams that play a possession-conservative style of football in this configuration. It offers multiple passing lines vertically, diagonally and horizontally. …”
Breaking the Lines


Long, raking balls and a sublime volley: Watching Alex Mowatt for 90 minutes

August 23, 2021


“For the last few seasons it has looked as though Alex Mowatt has the potential to be a Premier League player. The challenge this season is for him to be as important for West Bromwich Albion as he was to Barnsley in order for that potential to be realised. If the 26-year-old thrives then so too should Valerian Ismael and his team, who have started the campaign at a canter with three wins and ten points. In their latest, a 2-1 win over Blackburn Rovers, Mowatt showed his quality in spades as The Athletic watched his every harrying run and kick of the ball. It is probably underselling things a little to suggest he started the game well. …”
The Athletic
W – Alex Mowatt


Liga MX

August 23, 2021


“The Primera División de México (Liga BBVA MX for sponsorship reasons with BBVA through its Mexican subsidiary BBVA México), is the top professional football division of the Mexican football league system. Administered by the Mexican Football Federation, the league comprises 18 clubs with plans to add 2 more teams. The season has two tournaments: Apertura, which starts in the summer, and Clausura, which starts in the winter. … Of the 56 teams to have competed in the league, América has won the title 13 times, followed by Guadalajara (12), Toluca (10), Cruz Azul (9), León (8), UANL and UNAM (7). The current league champions are Cruz Azul, winners of the Guardianes 2021 tournament. …”
Wikipedia
W – Football in Mexico


Wunderteam: Hungarian soccer team 1930s

August 22, 2021


1930: Beginning of the match.
Wunderteam (Wonder Team) was the name given to the Austria national football team of the 1930s. Led by manager Hugo Meisl, the team had an unbeaten streak of 14 games between April 1931 and December 1932. The style of the team was based on the Scottish school of football that focused on quick passing introduced by Englishman Jimmy Hogan. The forward line was complemented by wide half-backs and an attacking centre-half. Matthias Sindelar, Josef Bican, Anton Schall, Josef Smistik and Walter Nausch were the referents of the team that would dominate European football during that era. Matthias Sindelar, known as Der Papierene (The Papery Man) due to his slight build, was the star and captain of the team. In the early 1930s, Austria became a very celebrated team in Europe. … The cup was to be Wunderteam’s only championship win. …”
W – Wunderteam
Guardian – World Cup stunning moments: Austria’s Wunderteam go close, YouTube: Matthias Sindelar: The Footballer Who Defied The Nazis
Jimmy Hogan: the English pioneer who set Hungary up for greatness
How Austria’s Wunderteam defied the Nazis for one last act of greatness
Matthias Sindelar: the great pre-war footballer who danced before the Nazis
W – Austria–Hungary football rivalry
W – Jimmy Hogan, W – Béla Guttmann, W – Hugo Meisl, W – Márton Bukovi, W – Gusztáv Sebes, W – Izidor Kürschner

Matthias Sindelar


Scottish Soccer’s Brexit Problem: No Way In, and No Way Out

August 21, 2021


Scotland’s two biggest teams, Celtic and Rangers, have the means to support some of their ambitions. Most of their Scottish rivals do not.
“Juhani Ojala knew he would have to wait. Travel restrictions were still in place in Scotland when, in the middle of July, the Finnish defender agreed to join Motherwell, a club of modest means and sober ambitions in the country’s top division. Upon landing, Ojala knew, he would have to spend 10 days isolating in a hotel before joining his new teammates. … All of that changed in January, when — four and a half years after the Brexit referendum — Britain formally, and finally, left the European Union. As of that moment, clubs in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland no longer had the untrammeled access to players from its 26 member states (a different set of rules apply to Ireland) they had enjoyed since the 1990s. …”
NY Times


Interchanging front threes or a traditional No 9? Why top Premier League teams prefer flexibility

August 21, 2021


“As the Harry Kane transfer saga rumbled on in the background, the scene on the pitch for last weekend’s Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester City clash was more typical of modern football. With no Kane available, Tottenham used Son Heung-min up front. With their pursuit of Kane so far unsuccessful, City used Ferran Torres up front. Son and Torres are both generally regarded as wide players. That’s not to say they’re not sporadically prolific — each one scored a Premier League hat-trick last season, and both say they’re perfectly happy playing through the middle. But neither is anything like traditional No 9s: they drop off, they come short and they make runs into the channels. …”
The Athletic


The Parable of Inter Milan

August 21, 2021


“The first alarm rang in February, a warning from thousands of miles away. Jiangsu Suning was one of the mainstays of that strange period, five or six years ago, when soccer awoke — almost overnight — to discover that China had arrived, its pockets bottomless and its ambitions unchecked, intent on inverting the world. At first, Europe saw this new horizon as it sees everything: as a market. China’s corporate-backed clubs were, as Turkey’s and Russia’s had been years before, a convenience and a curiosity, a place where they could offload unwanted players from bloated squads. …”
NY Times


Forget the Tournaments, Football Is Already Home

August 20, 2021


“Football is obsessed with nostalgia. At no time is this more evident than during international competition wherein football cultures, nationalisms, and emotion blend into a heady liquor which draws in even the most casual of sports fans. It is no surprise, therefore, that in a football landscape dominated by human-rights-abusing petrostates and governing bodies who are both morally and financially corrupt, we are all (even those of us who weren’t alive then) drawn towards the seemingly ‘Golden Age’ of the game. In that pre-Sky Sports age of shorter shorts, baggier shirts, bigger haircuts, and, as some would like us to believe – better players – many people see the antithesis of the sterile and corporatised experience we have now. …”
Football Paradise (July 27, 2021)


Borussia Dortmund 1 – 3 Bayern Munich

August 19, 2021


“The first half was a blink-and-you-miss it affair, with chances coming and going seemingly by the minute. Bayern targeted BVB right-back Felix Passlack early on, robbing him of possession three times with their relentless high press to set up presentable scoring chances, but neither Kingsley Coman (twice) nor Müller managed to hit the target. Dortmund were also dangerous going forward, though, and Bayern needed a world-class stop from Manuel Neuer to deny Marco Reus following a sensational through-ball from Jude Bellingham. Reus, Müller, Lewandowski and Erling Haaland all went close thereafter, while 16-year-old Youssoufa Moukoko had a goal disallowed for offside before Lewandowski thundered in the opening goal with a powerful header from Serge Gnabry’s cross to give the visitors the lead at the break. …”
Bundesliga: Robert Lewandowski double as Bayern Munich overcome Borussia Dortmund to win the Supercup (Video)
W – Der Klassiker
YouTube: Tactical Analysis : Borussia Dortmund 1 – 3 Bayern Munich || Nagelsmann’s Mid-Game Adjustments, Borussia Dortmund 1-3 Bayern Analysis |How Bayern won the German Super Cup


No surprise Leeds lost to Manchester United, just look at the wage bills

August 19, 2021


Marcelo Bielsa
“The easy thing is to blame the manager. It has become football’s default response to any crisis. A team hits a poor run or loses a big game: get rid of the manager. As Alex Ferguson said as many as 14 years ago, we live in ‘a mocking culture’ and reality television has fostered the idea people should be voted off with great regularity (that he was trying to defend Steve McClaren’s reign as England manager should not undermine the wider point). Managers are expendable. Rejigging squads takes time and money and huge amounts of effort in terms of research and recruitment, whereas anybody can look at who is doing well in Portugal or Greece or the Championship and spy a potential messiah. Then there are the structural factors, the underlying economic issues it is often preferable to ignore because to acknowledge them is to accept how little agency the people we shout about every week really have in football. …”
Guardian: Jonathan Wilson
Man United 5-1 Leeds – Tactical Analysis – Pogba’s Masterclass
YouTube: actical Analysis : Manchester United 5 – 1 Leeds United | Solskjaer’s Tactics vs Bielsa


Cox: How Nuno repeated Tuchel’s trick by using narrow attack to beat Manchester City

August 17, 2021


Manchester City’s 2021-22 started in the same way their 2020-21 ended — with a 1-0 defeat. Sunday’s loss at Tottenham wasn’t as disheartening as their defeat by Chelsea in the European Cup final, but there was a common pattern in how their opponents set up without possession. Although the 3-4-3 of Thomas Tuchel was different to the 4-3-3 used by Nuno Espirito Santo in his first game as Spurs manager, it’s worth looking at the positioning of the front three. In Porto, Tuchel evidently told his three attackers to remain in narrow positions and block any passes through the centre of the pitch, as shown below, which largely hampered City’s build-up play — particularly their ability to feed the ball into the centre of midfield. …”
The Athletic
Tottenham 1-0 Man City – Tactical Analysis – Nuno’s First Game
The Stats: Who was Tottenham’s biggest threat? Why didn’t City score? Do either need Kane?
YouTube: Tactical Analysis: Tottenham 1-0 Manchester City |How City’s Best Tactic Was Their Biggest Weakness|


Gerard Piqué shows his Barcelona colours as pay cut helps set up victory

August 16, 2021


“Gerard Piqué was 13 or 14 the day the Barcelona manager came to tea. When his grandfather proudly introduced him as the future Camp Nou centre-back, Louis van Gaal walked over and without a word pushed him to the floor. Standing over him, he looked down at this kid lying there and delivered a devastating verdict: you’re too weak to play for Barcelona. Twenty-one years, 567 games, eight leagues, eight cups and four European Cups later, a World Cup and a Euros too, he’s not just still standing; he’s carrying the club on his shoulders. Well, someone has to. …’
Guardian
Guardian: Barcelona lift post-Messi gloom with win over Real Sociedad
Five talking points from Barcelona 4-2 Real Sociedad (Audio)


The Original Pirate Football League

August 16, 2021


Alfredo Di Stéfano’s adventures in Colombia
“The Golden Age of football in Colombia had war, destruction and corruption, long before Pablo Escobar. Between 1949 and 1954, some of the world’s very best players congregated in a brand new league with no history, in Colombia. Tifo uncovers how a ‘pirate league’ attracted stars of the day (including Alfredo Di Stefano, World Cup winner Schubert Gambetta, and Manchester United’s Charlie Mitten), how an assassination of a presidential candidate launched the competition, and how the fallout changed a FIFA law forever. Written by Seb Stafford-Bloor, illustrated by Philippe Fenner.”
YouTube: The Athletic
‘The Only Thing That Unites Us’ – Origin Story of Colombian Football: Part 1, El Dorado – Origin Story of Colombian Football: Part 2
W – El Dorado (Colombian football), W – Alfredo Di Stéfano
NY Times: The Lessons of the Pirate League
Colombia: …and an overview of the El Dorado era (1949-1953).


Masters of Modern Soccer: How the World’s Best Play the Twenty-First-Century Game – Grant Wahl

August 15, 2021


“In Masters of Modern Soccer, Sports Illustrated writer Grant Wahl asks: How do some of the game’s smartest figures master the craft of soccer? By profiling players in every key position (American phenomenon Christian Pulisic, Mexican superstar Javier “Chicharito” Hernández, Belgium’s Vincent Kompany, Spain’s Xabi Alonso, Germany’s Manuel Neuer) and management (Belgium coach Roberto Martínez and Borussia Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc), Wahl reveals how elite players and coaches strategize on and off the field and execute in high pressure game situations. …”
amazon
Google


Player Analysis: Noni Madueke

August 14, 2021


“As if the new generation of English footballers isn’t already special enough, another budding winger is starting to make serious waves with PSV Eindhoven in the Dutch Eredivisie. Most young players who come up in Premier League academies either break into the first team at their respective clubs or end up being sold to a championship side and other top leagues but rarely opt to completely try to make a name for themselves in a foreign league from the get-go. With Noni Madueke, that has been the case. At the time the decision may have seemed a bit rash, but at 19 the venture to take a different path is starting to pay dividends for the young starlet as he looks to have cemented a starting spot in PSV’s vastly talented team ahead of their 2021/22 campaign.  In the summer of 2018, he signed a three-year contract and hasn’t looked back. Upon his arrival, Noni played a single season with the youth team before taking the next step into the Eerste Divisie (Dutch First Division). …”
Breaking The Lines
W – Noni Madueke


Blunt going forward, weak at the back – dissecting Arsenal’s defeat at Brentford

August 14, 2021


“Despite getting their first semi-proper pre-season under Mikel Arteta, Arsenal began the 2021-22 Premier League season as they ended the last, struggling to penetrate in the final third and unable to dominate defensively. They failed to match Brentford in their first game in the top flight since a 1-0 loss to Arsenal in May 1947. … His glare was caught by the TV cameras and it was justified. Arsenal did not show what was necessary to take anything back to north London. Neither in attack, nor in defence did Arsenal assert themselves. To some extent, with very young players leading the charge. that is understandable. But those more senior players who could guide the youngsters did not do that job. Here is where it went wrong. …”
The Athletic
Did you just fall in love with Brentford? Quick, learn the basics on Toney, Canos, Frank and the rest


The Wisdom of the Crowd

August 14, 2021


“Conspicuous consumption runs through soccer’s billion-dollar transfer market. Club executives hold meetings in deluxe suites in the finest hotels in London, Monte Carlo and Milan: the Connaught, the Méridien, the Palazzo Parigi. There, they haggle with agents in tailored suits over eye-watering transfer fees, lavish salaries and towering commissions. The players being traded sink into the plush leather seats of private jets to travel between clubs, before signing contracts worth tens of millions of dollars in sumptuous, state-of-the-art training facilities. …”
NY Times


Brentford 2-0 Arsenal: Jubilation for Bees as fans return for victory over Gunners

August 13, 2021


“The charismatic Dane, a cult figure loved by Brentford fans after ending their 74-year wait for top-tier status, need not have bothered. Brentford’s followers needed no encouragement or orchestration to lift the decibel levels to deafening on a memorable, emotional occasion for a great old club and its fiercely loyal and fervent fanbase. The stage was set hours before kick-off as fans, finally allowed to fill this modern stadium to a 16,479 capacity, gathered around Kew Bridge Station and Chiswick roundabout with a sense of anticipation that was almost tangible. And expectations were fulfilled in 90 minutes Brentford fans will never forget, ending with the chant of ‘we’re top of the league’ (which of course, they are) after a fully merited 2-0 win over Arsenal. …”
BBC
BBC: Brentford 2 – 0 Arsenal
“This was the perfect start” – Five things learned as Brentford sting Arsenal 2-0 to kick-off the new Premier League season
Guardian: Canós and Nørgaard sink Arsenal to give Brentford dream start
Guardian: Arteta’s Arsenal already on back foot after bruising first night failure
YouTube: Sergi Canos blasts Brentford in front of Arsenal


Should the Premier League have a salary cap?

August 13, 2021


“… It may be a surprise, but Premier League football clubs are not actually good at making money. This years’ winners of the Premier League and Champions League (Man City & Chelsea) made pre-tax losses of over £1.5 billion. But is that the cost of success? Would bringing in a salary cap make the Premier League a more even playing field? Could they follow La Liga’s rules? Or could a salary cap actually hand the advantage to the traditional big six? …”
YouTube: Should the Premier League have a salary cap?


Premier League round table: Who can challenge City? Which teams should fear drop? What would make you happy?

August 12, 2021


“In two days’ time, the Premier League is back. Promoted Brentford kick things off by hosting Arsenal at their shiny new stadium on Friday night and the first weekend of fixtures also treats us to Harry Kane-admiring Manchester City against Harry Kane-owning Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday afternoon. City are the team to beat after coasting to the title in 2020-21, so who are the teams that are going to challenge them? Which clubs should be looking over their shoulder in the bottom half of the table? And who are you most looking forward to watching this season? We asked four of our writers to answer those questions and more, as we ramp up our Premier League content before the 2021-22 season gets underway…”
The Athletic
BBC – Premier League predictions: Who will finish where in 2021-22?
Guardian – Back in the game: here comes the Premier League again


How Vienna coffee houses gave rise to a new era of intellectualism in football

August 11, 2021


Cafe Griensteidl in Wien
“The intellectual scene in football has taken a sharp upturn with the emergence of quality publications over the last half a decade that fearlessly delve into the niche and fascinating aspects of the game that may otherwise be overlooked. Alongside this, the rise of social media has allowed us to engage more intimately with tactical theoreticians and pundits, giving our understanding of the game’s nuances a chance to thrive. Essentially, we know more about football than ever before. It’s hard to imagine that we could trace the emergence of this facet of football culture all the way back to interwar Vienna’s coffee houses. It was here that the game became an intellectual pursuit, not just a sport, and it helped give rise to one of the most ephemerally wonderful international sides of all time. As well as being a movement about the unrelenting desire for growth and development, it was also one marred by tragedy. …”
These Football Times
Coffee Houses of Vienna: Birthplace of Intelligent Football – Jonathan Wilson
Coffee House rules – how football was shaped in Vienna’s cafes
BBC – Dancing over the edge: Vienna in 1914


2021–22 La Liga

August 11, 2021


“The 2021–22 La Liga will be the 91st season of La Liga, Spain’s premier football competition. It will begin on 13 August 2021 and will conclude on 22 May 2022. On 24 June 2021, the Spanish Council of Ministers resolved that spectators could return to stadium by means of a modification of the royal decree regulating the ‘new normality’, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Atlético Madrid are the defending champions, having won their 11th title in the previous season. RCD Espanyol, Real Mallorca and Rayo Vallecano are joining as the promoted clubs from the 2020–21 Segunda División. …”
Wikipedia
W – La Liga


What On Earth Is Going On At Werder Bremen?

August 11, 2021


“Werder Bremen are the third most successful club, and sit third in the all time Bundesliga table, trailing only Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund in both instances. And yet, following relegation last season, the Green-Whites begin the 2021-22 campaign playing in the 2. Bundesliga for the first time in over 40 years. In this short documentary, HITC Sevens takes a look at what went right for Werder Bremen, and ultimately what went wrong, in a tale containing cheats, liars, genius, brilliant signings, awful transfers, relegation, league titles, and everything in between.”
YouTube: What On Earth Is Going On At Werder Bremen?
W – SV Werder Bremen


‘He’s electric’: Spurs land a fearless, old-school winger in Bryan Gil

August 9, 2021


“The way the story is told at Sevilla, the first time Bryan Gil turned up at the club’s training ground, one November evening when he was 11, they put him up against the biggest, strongest, hardest kid they could find. That would show how good he really was. Tall and blond, they called the kid The Russian, after Dolph Lundgren’s character in Rocky IV. His name actually was Iván too, and although he was Leiva not Drago, from Málaga rather than Siberia, he was an intimidating figure. Bryan took him apart. Sevilla’s academy director, Pablo Blanco, recalls the story, returning later with a team picture, the two boys by then on the same side. There’s something in the legend: The Russian is twice the size of the rest. …”
Guardian
Bryan Gil (pronounced Hill) – Spurs’ new signing is fearless, direct and similar to Grealish
W – Bryan Gil


Rodrigo de Paul: La Liga Player Watch

August 8, 2021


“Rodrigo de Paul cost Atlético Madrid a fee of £30m when they tempted him back to Spain from Udinese with the offer of a five-year contract and the opportunity to work under fellow Argentinian Diego Simeone. Like Simeone once was, De Paul is established in midfield for Argentina, and has experience of playing for some of Italy’s and – in Valencia – Spain’s biggest clubs. Aged 27 when he moved in July 2021, he is, typically for one of Simeone’s signings, a player in his prime. ‘I’ll enjoy being under his command because I grew up watching him play with Argentina’s national team,’ said De Paul, an influential figure in the team that won the 2021 Copa America. …”
Coaches Voice (Video)
How Rodrigo de Paul Will Fit Into Atlético Madrid
W – Rodrigo de Paul


Introducing ‘expected threat’ (or xT), the new metric on the block

August 8, 2021


“By this point, you’ve probably heard of the term expected goals (or xG). If not, familiarise yourself. It’s the poster-boy of the football analytics movement, going from being included in the box-score on shows such as Match of the Day and Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football to shaping how those within the game think about chance creation. It even influences scouting and recruitment. It’s become something of a meme too, with Brighton’s well-documented gap between goals and xG dominating the discourse for Graham Potter’s side in 2020-21. …”
The Athletic


Paying the Price for Premier League Riches

August 7, 2021


Andreas Pereira is known as the Preseason Pirlo. But he has nowhere to go.
“The headed clearance did not quite get the requisite power, or direction. It floated, rather than fizzed, out of Brentford’s penalty area, the danger not quite clear. Two Manchester United players converged on it, sensing opportunity. The ball bounced off the turf, not too high, not too quick, and hung in the air for just a second. And that is where Andreas Pereira met it.There is a reason some Manchester United fans have come to know Pereira — with equal parts affection and admonishment — as the Preseason Pirlo. …”
NY Times


Why Julian Nagelsmann could unlock Alphonso Davies’ potential at Bayern Munich

August 7, 2021


“With Julian Nagelsmann to take over from Hansi Flick as Bayern Munich head coach, many players will be wondering what the young tactical genius has planned for them at the Allianz Arena. One of those is Alphonso Davies, whose potential could be fully unlocked by the incoming coach. Having swept the board with trophies in the last year or so, it’s easy to forget that Davies is still only 20 and very much in the infancy of his career. … That could come sooner rather than later with one of the best tactical innovators in world football taking over the Bayern helm for 2021/22. First, let’s look at what Nagelsmann does with his current RB Leipzig team, and in particular his primary man on the left wing, Angelino. …”
Bundesliga (Video)
YouTube: What Nagelsmann Brings To Bayern Munich | Nagelsmann’s Potential Bayern Tactics (Aug. 6, 2021), Potential Line Up 2021 ft Julian Nagelsmann with formation 3-5-2
Julian Nagelsmann: Coach Watch (Video)
W – Julian Nagelsmann


The geographic shift of English football: From a game for the north to southern dominance

August 6, 2021


“If a visitor to England asked you to drop them off somewhere convenient for watching Premier League football, you probably wouldn’t instinctively drive them to North Kilworth. The Leicestershire village, with a population of about 600, can only offer a club at the 13th tier of the English football pyramid. As their Twitter bio explains succinctly: ‘League and Cup double 2016-17 and 2017-18. Been pretty shit ever since.’ … Maybe the English top flight’s geographic midpoint is roughly where you’d expect it to be — but things haven’t always been like this. …”
The Athletic


2021-22 EFL League One: Location-map, with League History chart.

August 5, 2021


“… This is a new template, which features a standard location-map, plus a chart which shows the League History of all the clubs in the division, this season. As well as showing the locations and crests of the 24 League One clubs this season, the main map includes the 58 Unitary authorities of England, and shows the major Urban Areas of England and Wales. The League History chart lists the total seasons that each club has played in the 1st level [Premier League], the 2nd level [EFL Championship], the 3rd level [EFL League One], and the 4th level [EFL League Two]. Alongside each column there is also listed the most recent season each club has played in each level. …”
billsportsmaps
Guardian: League One 2021-22 season preview


Gregg Berhalter’s Plan for American Men’s Soccer Is Working

August 3, 2021


Some two dozen players sat in neat rows of chairs and peered at the projector screen in front of them, waiting for the tracksuited man to start the meeting. ‘I’m Gregg Berhalter, head coach,’ he announced, as if anybody in the room didn’t already know it. So began Berhalter’s first training camp in charge of the United States men’s national soccer team in January 2019. He paced around the room as he spoke, holding a marker in one hand and scraps of paper in the other. He smiled a lot but spoke seriously. …”
The Ringer
W – Gregg Berhalter


The Names Heard Long Ago: How the Golden Age of Hungarian Soccer Shaped the Modern Game – Jonathan Wilson

August 2, 2021


“Jonathan Wilson’s eleventh book, The Names Heard Long Ago: How The Golden Age of Hungarian Football Shaped The Modern Game, once again sees the celebrated journalist and author delving into a fascinating part of football history, meticulously detailed, thoroughly researched, as one would expect from the architect of the football fanatic’s Bible, Inverting The Pyramid. The Names Heard Long Ago explores the revolutionary concepts found in early 20th Century Hungarian football and the subsequent spread of ideas, tactics and characters around the globe, often granting unprecedented success in the far-reaching countries in which they were adopted, and still found in the game today. It illuminates names of once-great teams MTK and Ferencváros, characters who had a profound influence on the game such as Béla Guttman, Dori Kürschner, and Imre Hirschl. …”
How 20th Century Hungarian Football Influenced The Game We Love Today
amazon


United States beats Mexico in Gold Cup final on late Miles Robinson header

August 2, 2021


Miles Robinson headed home an extra-time winner as the United States beat Mexico 1-0 in the 2021 Gold Cup final Sunday night at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. Matt Turner made a stellar save just after 10 minutes — his 20th of the tournament — from a goal-bound Rogelio Funes Mori header to keep the score level early. The U.S. missed a great chance to take the lead at 25 minutes when, after dispossessing Mexico in its own half, Sebastian Lletget sprang Paul Arriola in the area, but his shot came back off the post with only the keeper to beat. Despite having the better of the shots and possession, Mexico failed to score as a scrappy U.S. side went into halftime tied 0-0. …”
ESPN
USMNT vs. Mexico score: Miles Robinson nets dramatic extra time Gold Cup winner as USA beat El Tri again (Video)
YouTube: Extended Highlights: USA 1-0 Mexico – 2021 Gold Cup Final


Mauricio Pochettino

August 1, 2021


Mauricio Roberto Pochettino Trossero (born 2 March 1972) is an Argentine professional football manager and former player who is the current head coach of Ligue 1 club Paris Saint-Germain. Pochettino played as a central defender and began his career in 1989 with Primera División club Newell’s Old Boys, winning a league title and finishing as runner-up in the 1992 Copa Libertadores. In 1994, at age 22, he transferred to newly-promoted La Liga club Espanyol, helping establish their top-flight status and won the 2000 Copa del Rey, their first trophy in 60 years. In 2001, he joined Ligue 1 club Paris Saint-Germain, and had a stint with Bordeaux, before returning to Espanyol in 2004, winning another Copa del Rey in 2006. He was capped 20 times for the Argentina national team and played at the 1999 Copa América and 2002 FIFA World Cup. …”
Wikipedia
W – List of Paris Saint-Germain F.C. managers


The Bizarre Stadium That BANKRUPTED

August 1, 2021


“In the late 1990s, a local kitchen worktop tycoon and multimillionaire named George Reynolds saved Darlington Football Club from extinction. Initially, he was hailed as a saviour, but within the space of just five years – Reynolds loaded the club with debt, made a series of high-profile transfer failures, and built a bizarre football stadium that was among England’s largest outside of the Premier League. So in this documentary, HITC Sevens takes a look back at the life of George Reynolds, the ridiculous 25,000 seater stadium that he built, and the legacy that both he and it have had on Darlington FC. …”
YouTube: The Bizarre Stadium That BANKRUPTED 38:03
W – Darlington F.C.
W – George Reynolds