Why the through ball is becoming a dying art in European football


“The number of through balls in the UEFA Champions League dropped 50 per cent between the 2018-19 and 2021-22 seasons. In Europe’s top five leagues, the number of through balls dropped on average 30 per cent over the same period. In the Europa League, it dropped 24 per cent. The through ball is not extinct, but it is endangered.Before examining why, we need to define the term. FBref data define a through ball as a: ‘Completed pass sent between the back defenders into open space.’ It is a complex pass to complete, hence the number of through balls is never particularly high and is in fact lower than the goals-per-game total in Europe’s top divisions. …”
The Athletic (Video)

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World Cup Worries Mount With 100 Days (They Mean It This Time) to Go

“At a flashy ceremony on Nov. 21 last year, some of Qatar’s most senior officials, including the Gulf nation’s prime minister, joined the FIFA president Gianni Infantino, top soccer executives and invited guests for a celebration. They gathered on Doha’s corniche, the sweeping promenade that hugs the city’s shimmering waterfront, to unveil an ornate countdown clock and to mark a milestone: the day they were celebrating was precisely one year before the opening of the 2022 World Cup. …”
NY Times

Bayern Munich and the Myth of Competition

“Just like that, it was over. For two months or so, there had been just the slightest flicker of hope for the clubs of the Bundesliga. They had not felt it in some time. They did not want to admit to feeling it now, not publicly: It was fragile, guilty, most likely forlorn, but it was hope nonetheless. Robert Lewandowski was gone. Serge Gnabry, for a time, seemed as if he might follow. Thomas Müller and Manuel Neuer were another year older. For the first time in a decade, Bayern Munich seemed not weak — Bayern Munich is never weak — but just a little diminished, just a little more human. …”
NY Times