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)