Juventus Learns That Progress Requires a Plan


“The fairest way, perhaps, is simply to recount the story as Massimiliano Allegri told it, stripped of all interpretation and emphasis. It is not a long one. Earlier this month, a few minutes after Benfica had beaten his Juventus team in the Champions League, Allegri ran into Rui Costa — the Portuguese team’s president — in the corridors of the Allianz Stadium in Turin. …”
NY Times

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World Cup 2022 power rankings: how the 32 look with two months to go

“With most teams having played their final matches before the tournament in Qatar, who appear most likely to lift the trophy? …”
Guardian

From Podcast to Promised Land? Could Open Goal Replicate Its Studio Success on the Pitch and Progress through Scotland’s Footballing Pyramid?

“Scottish football has never been in short supply of intrigue or unpredictability. Counter to claims south of the border, the game in Scotland is alive and well and arguably far more blockbuster than its English cousin. Many outsiders harness their views on Scottish football exclusively through the exploits of its two famous Glasgow clubs, who have indeed historically cast a dominant shadow over the country. True, the almost soap-style drama of Celtic and Rangers’ ferocious rivalry certainly contributes heavily to Scotland’s footballing dynamic and, by extension, embeds itself into the very fabric of native society. However, those invested in the narrative of the Scottish game would swiftly point to a myriad of other tasty plotlines. …”
Football Paradise

Premier League Big Six – when did they have their best days?

“Over the past few years, we have supposedly seen the ‘best ever’ club sides in the Premier League and even Europe. When Liverpool and Manchester City went head-to-head in 2019, some were quick to proclaim them the greatest of all time, but in 2019-20, City fell short and a year later, Liverpool’s defence of their Premier crown was rather tepid. The real test of a great team is consistency over a period of time and both of these clubs have shown they have that quality. …”
Game of the People

France’s World Cup preparations: Harassment allegations, scandal and injuries


“There have been six World Cups in the past quarter of a century and France have reached the final in half of those tournaments, winning in 1998 and 2018 and losing to Italy on penalties in 2006. One of those six ended in respectable failure, a 1-0 defeat to eventual winners Germany at the quarter-final stage in 2014. But the other two were epic disasters. …”
The Athletic (Video)

How to take notes when watching football

“Trying to capture everything imaginable when watching a football match remains an impossible endeavour. But simultaneously, trying to capture absolutely nothing beyond the first glance won’t necessarily yield great results in your task to remember important information and events. You’ve probably heard it before as professors lamented your lack of note taking in university, but you are far more likely to remember information if you take the time to write it down. Your distracted brain already has a million other things to focus on, and if you don’t take the time to write down your thoughts, the chances of allowing a thought to go from short-term to long-term memory becomes less by the second. …”
The Mastermindsite (Audio)

“Cup Sides”: Do they exist?

“Some sites are just good, right? They’re in the race for the most trophies most years, and while they invariably meet some disappointment along the way, the pots and pans usually start to pile up. Now think of Manchester City or Manchester United under Alex Fergurson or Liverpool in the 1970s and 1980s. However, other teams seem to do better as pure cup sides. A look back to the 1970s and 1980s and a look at the two major domestic cup competitions seems to confirm this. If we start our last ‘ah, those were the days’ in 1970 and look at that decade’s FA Cup competition, for example, we see certain teams with a distinct ‘cup pedigree’. …”
UK Daily

Freddy Adu: What happened to ‘The Next Pele’, the wonderkid from USA?

“Most 14-year-olds daydream about the goal of the weekend in science class. Most 14-year-olds have, at one point or another, at least thought about breaking an XBOX or PlayStation controller in a FIFA–induced fit of rage. Most 14-year-olds do not start their professional football debuts and, in doing so, become a true global sensation. But Freddy Adu, at 14, wasn’t like the rest. …”
Foot the Ball

Active vs passive centre-backs: What the data tells us about different roles


“For those coming to this article to discover who is the ‘best’ Premier League centre-back statistically, you are going to be disappointed. The truth is, evaluating any defender based on the data will rarely show one is better than another, but will instead give you an indication of a player’s — or team’s — style. We could compare players in high-pressing sides with those in low-pressing ones; we could contrast ball-playing defenders with those who have a more no-nonsense approach; we could even identify centre-back partnerships by cat or dog-like behaviours. On this occasion, we ask: What does the data tell us about active and passive centre-backs in the league? …”
The Athletic (Video)

Against all odds, Lionel Messi has one last shot at World Cup glory with Argentina

“Argentina went to Russia in 2018 with a sense it was now or never. They had lost in the final of the previous World Cup. A great generation of attacking talent was ageing. Lionel Messi was 31 and two years earlier had flirted with international retirement after a second successive Copa América final defeat to Chile. And at last the Argentinian Football Association had managed to appoint, in Jorge Sampaoli, a dynamic and progressive coach who promised to restore the days of Bielsista optimism. Messi scored one brilliant goal, against Nigeria and there was a spirited exit against France in the last 16, but the last World Cup was a huge disappointment. …”
Guardian – Jonathan Wilson

Neymar Is Still a Singular Star, but He Has More Help on Brazil

“LE HAVRE, France — As the announcer at the Stade Océane cycled through Brazil’s team on Friday, before the squad dismantled Ghana, 3-0, a murmur of appreciation greeted each familiar, stellar name. Alisson was granted gentle applause. Thiago Silva earned a respectful, admiring cheer. Raphinha drew a sizzle of anticipation. And then, leaving just a hint of a dramatic pause, the announcer came to Neymar. There were, perhaps, mitigating circumstances. …”
NY Times

Germany still confident about World Cup hopes despite lean run of form

“A proud footballing nation on a lean run of just one win in six games. A humiliating defeat at home against Hungary. And above all, a sense of stasis and frustration, a lack of creativity, the suspicion that for all the talent and trophies in this team, it remains considerably less than the sum of its parts. Germany and England may share a common predicament, but as they prepare to meet on Monday night only one of these nations is currently racked by existential crisis. …”
Guardian

The World Cup’s Carnival Comes at a Cost


“The good news is that it’s a yes from the gigantic, fire-breathing spider. It is hard, after all, to imagine a World Cup without its finest tradition: 50 tons of decommissioned crane arranged into the shape of a monstrous arachnid, pumped full of highly flammable fuel and then stocked with hopefully less flammable D.J.s. The spider will form the centerpiece of one of the cultural highlights of this winter’s World Cup in Qatar: a monthlong electronic music festival called the Arcadia Spectacular, staged just south of Doha and boasting what the promotional material calls an ‘electrifying atmosphere, extraordinary sculpted stages and the most immersive shows on earth.’ …”
NY Times
Guardian: What do Qatar’s World Cup workers fear most? Being sent home
Guardian: Migrant workers in Qatar left in debt after being ordered home before World Cup starts
Athletes, Fans Demand Remedy for Migrant Worker Abuses in Qatar

England look more feeble than at any other point in the age of Southgate

“Well, it is a pretty weird World Cup anyway. Can we asterisk this thing? Just a thought, but is it actually too late to boycott? Norway did the T-shirts. Good optics. For Gareth Southgate and England this was another cowed and pallid step towards Qatar 2022. What is the perfect prep for these four-yearly moments of destiny anyway? How about not scoring a goal from open play for almost 500 minutes? How about three defeats in five games, topped by a 1-0 here against a so-so Italy? How about getting relegated? …”
Guardian

Geoff Hurst, a Dog Named Pickles, and the Curious Case of the Missing World Cup Trophy

“The Ringer’s 22 Goals: The Story of the World Cup, a podcast by Brian Phillips, tells the story of some of the most iconic goals and players in the history of the men’s FIFA World Cup. Every Wednesday, until the end of Qatar 2022, we’ll publish an adapted version of each 22 Goals episode. Today’s story involves Geoff Hurst, a dog named Pickles, and the curious case of missing World Cup trophy in England in 1966. …”
The Ringer – Brian Phillips (Video)

USMNT’s struggles vs. Japan mirror those seen throughout World Cup qualifying

“The U.S. men’s national team had plenty of problems in a 2-0 loss to Japan in a friendly on Friday in Dusseldorf, Germany. But while those problems are concerning, particularly with just one game to go until the World Cup, few of them are new. Throughout World Cup qualifying, the U.S. did a lot of damage by pressing teams high and hard, winning the ball in dangerous positions, then attacking vertically and quickly. …”
The Athletic (Video)

World Cup health check: The issue each country must address before Qatar


“The September international break is normally relatively relaxed — a chance to tweak tactics and focus on formations. Not this time. For almost all 32 competing nations, this is the final set of international fixtures before the World Cup begins in Qatar on November 20. So that you can go into the break feeling prepared, The Athletic has identified one issue every team need to try to fix this break…”
The Athletic (Video)

How the Champions League final descended into chaos – visual investigation

“On 28 May 2022 the Champions League final between Real Madrid and Liverpool took place at the Stade de France in Paris. But the showpiece match between two great clubs was disfigured by chaotic organisation, in which Liverpool supporters suffered a near disaster and riot police teargassed spectators while failing to protect people from violent attacks by local thugs. Yet the French government, police and Uefa united instantly to put the blame on Liverpool supporters, claiming that the chaos was caused by thousands seeking entry with fake tickets. …”
Guardian (Video)
Guardian – ‘I had to leave’: concerns raised over state of Uefa amid cronyism claims
Guardian: Uefa pre-prepared Champions League final statement blaming ‘late’ fans

Losers can be heroes, too

“How often do you hear today, that somebody declares they deserve success because they want it so badly? Wanting something doesn’t mean you deserve to be rewarded, “want” is often a symptom of greed, of entitlement and more than a touch of arrogance. Success has to be earned and the problem for the aggressively-driven folk in society, they are up against similarly-minded people that also feel they ‘deserve’ accolades because they crave the recognition. In a world where instant gratification, impatience and the need to win attention seems to dominate so many people’s lives, life has become a competition. It may have always been like that, but now we have the means to command and control that attention. …”
Game of the People

Panini World Cup stickers: The history, the joy, the mullets and more


“This is an excerpt from Greg Lansdowne’s chronicling of Panini’s World Cup Stickers: Panini Football Stickers – The Official Celebration. Lansdowne and Bloomsbury Press have graciously allowed us to run two more future excerpts — one on the 1994 World Cup set, and another highlighting some of the best hairstyles throughout the history of the sticker collection. …”
The Athletic

Williams brothers enjoy stirring send-off at Athletic after international calls

“On Sunday evening Iñaki Williams boarded a plane north to Paris. About the time he set off from there to Le Havre on Monday, Nico Williams was heading in the other direction, south to Barajas and on to Las Rozas, 25km outside Madrid. On Saturday, a night none of them would ever forget – a delirious, joyous celebration of everything they are – they had embraced; then, for the first time, Bilbao’s brothers went separate ways. …”
Guardian

Think tank: Some potential reasons why Bayern Munich is struggling

“A dominating DFL-Supercup, plus strong four games to open the Bundesliga season — including the improbable Gladbach draw, which may have been the best of the performances — followed by three straight clunkers coinciding with the return of English weeks. How serious is the crisis at Bayern Munich, and what can be done about it? Let’s explore four of the possible narratives behind the recent Bavarian mudslide. …”
Bavarian Football Works

Juventus and Allegri struggles go on as Spalletti and Gasperini take centre stage


“A different coach has won Serie A in each of the past four years. A different team has been crowned champions in each of the past three seasons. On the one hand, this serves as a reminder of Italy’s strength in depth in the technical area. On the other, it highlights a renewed domestic competitiveness. Serie A went down to the final day in May and looking at the table now I can’t be the only one scratching my head, musing on who will be celebrating the Scudetto come June. …”
The Athletic

Bruno Fernandes exclusive: Manchester United’s ‘ghosts of the past’ and marking the referee

“Thirty-five minutes into the second assignment of the Premier League season and the scoreboard reads Brentford 4-0 Manchester United. An optimistic pre-season tour under new manager Erik ten Hag has given way to a season-opening defeat by Brighton at Old Trafford and then comes United’s most dismal half of football in recent memory in west London. …”
The Athletic (Video)
W – Bruno Fernandes

Poland’s Lewandowski ‘proud to wear Ukraine armband’ at Qatar World Cup – video

Robert Lewandowski received a captain’s armband in Ukrainian yellow and blue from Andriy Shevchenko. The Poland striker promised to ‘carry the colours of Ukraine to the World Cup.’ Lewandowski was one of the first elite athletes to rally to Ukraine’s cause back in February, days after Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, when he lobbied for the postponement of Poland’s international fixture against Russia. When he next took the field for Bayern Munich, his teammates wore black armbands to honour the victims of the invasion, while Lewandowski, the Bayern captain at the time, wore an armband in the colours of Ukraine. …”
Guardian (Video)
Guardian: Russia demands Uefa ban Ukraine’s manager for remarks about war

Kalvin Phillips’ rare skill set means his shoulder injury is a big problem for England


“Before every World Cup, we are struck with the unfortunate news of an injury to an important player. In 2018, it was Dani Alves for Brazil. Four years before that, it was the unlucky Marco Reus, who this weekend was stretched off against Schalke, with fears that he may also miss the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. And in 2010, it was Michael Ballack who sustained an ankle injury in the FA Cup final against Portsmouth. …”
The Athletic (Video)

Marco Tardelli, and the Grandeur and Glory of a Goal Celebration

“The Ringer’s 22 Goals: The Story of the World Cup, a podcast by Brian Phillips, tells the story of some of the most iconic goals and players in the history of the men’s FIFA World Cup. Every Wednesday, until the end of Qatar 2022, we’ll publish an adapted version of each 22 Goals episode. Today’s story involves Marco Tardelli at the 1982 World Cup in Spain. …”
The Ringer (Video)

Atlético Madrid fans’ racist abuse of Vinícius Júnior overshadows Real win

“Real Madrid went to the Metropolitano and danced, delivering their response to this derby victory over Atletico Madrid and the racism that overshadowed it. Goals from Rodrygo and Fede Valverde took Carlo Ancelotti’s team to the top of the table and maintained their 100% record this season but this was a night – a week, in fact – that will be recalled more for what happened off the pitch, with Atlético fans chanting abuse at Vinícius Júnior. …”
Guardian

The crisis baton passes to Leicester City and Brendan Rodgers


“LEICESTER CITY’s latest defeat, at Tottenham Hotspur by six goals to two, underlines the crisis that is unfolding at the club. It also highlights the plight of their manager, Brendan Rodgers, who will be only too aware that he has a big hole to quickly dig himself out of. In the Premier League, there is always a ‘crisis club’ and this season, the baton has passed from Manchester United to Liverpool to Chelsea to Leicester City. The moment a club dips into the crisis zone, they are rarely left alone to work themselves out. …”
Game of the People

Chile Loses Appeal Seeking Ecuador’s Place in World Cup

“Chile failed Friday in its latest attempt to have its South American rival Ecuador thrown out of soccer’s World Cup, another setback in a high-stakes campaign that threatened to alter the field for the sport’s showcase championship only two months before the tournament’s opening match. An appeals committee at soccer’s governing body, FIFA, rejected Chile’s newest claim, agreeing with an earlier decision by a disciplinary panel to reject the contention that Ecuador had fielded an ineligible player in several qualification matches. …”
NY Times

Using StatsBomb 360 Data As A Performance Analyst

“Ever since the release of StatsBomb 360, we’ve shown how this new dataset is the ultimate upgrade on traditional event data. 360 allows you to detect deeper insights, such as players who receive the ball in space, the positioning of defenders around each event, whether a pass was line-breaking and how many defenders it bypassed, and plenty more. On top of this, we’ve shown you practical use cases for the data in finding new insights into football and creating bespoke visualisations which display this. …”
Stats Bomb

Special report: Inside Liverpool’s medical department


“Darren Burgess was an Australian fitness and conditioning specialist whose appointment at Liverpool in 2010, during a period of unprecedented upheaval across all levels of the club, was attached to that of their head of sports medicine and science Peter Brukner. Roy Hodgson was drowning as manager and, two weeks before Fenway Sports Group’s takeover, striker Fernando Torres was left out of a Europa League game because of concerns from the new staff about his physical state. …”
The Athletic

The Surprising Names at Risk of Missing the Flight to Qatar 2022

“We’re currently 67 days away from the first ball being kicked at the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup, and as we approach the first ever World Cup to be staged in winter rather than summer, players have less time and more pressure to impress their respective international managers. Some players have an almost guaranteed spot in their national teams regardless of their seasons – think Harry Kane and Achraf Hakimi. Others don’t have such a luxury and have a constant point to prove when they step out to play. Those are the players we’ll delve into in this article: players with a point to prove to be part of the travelling pack who jet off to Qatar in mid-November. …”
Football Paradise

Too cool for their own good? Union Berlin’s fight to retain their identity

“It takes about half an hour on the train to get from the centre of Berlin to Köpenick, and the journey is a game of two halves. The second half is a gentle rumble through the industrial, residential and woodland heartlands of Bundesliga club Union Berlin. The first half is a sight-seeing tour of Berlin’s world-famous nightlife. …”
Guardian

England squad: Toney selected on form but others rely on Southgate’s loyalty


Marcus Rashford has not kicked a ball for England since that fateful penalty shootout in the European Championship final against Italy last July. Jadon Sancho has appeared just once. And after being left out of Gareth Southgate’s latest squad today (Thursday), the Manchester United duo really are running out of time to force their way into his World Cup plans. …”
The Athletic (Video)

At Soccer’s Best Talent Factory, the Future Is Always Now

“THE HAGUE, the Netherlands — As a rule, Arco Gnocchi regards himself as too old to buy a replica jersey with his favorite Ajax player’s name emblazoned across the back. Such displays of hero worship, he feels, are not entirely becoming of a person ticking through their early 40s. … This summer, though, for the first time in roughly a decade, Gnocchi made an exception. The jersey he bought for the new season bears the No. 9 and, above it, the surname of Brian Brobbey, Ajax’s bullish, bustling 20-year-old forward. …”
NY Times

How to win the World Cup – Chris Evans (2022)


The art of international football management – by those who’ve done it: “The pinnacle of the game. A job reserved only for the very best. That was how an international manager’s role was viewed for decades. The World Cup was where the globe’s top coaches would meet in the dugout, just as the best players were doing so on the pitch. While the growing importance of domestic leagues and the Champions League has curbed international football’s reputation in the 21st century, there remains a special enchantment to leading a national team to glory. No other job in football gives a manager the chance to bring such unbridled joy to so many people. …”
Guardian
amazon

Real Madrid’s finances – a display of resilience?

“Real Madrid are on a bit of a cautious high at the moment; European and Spanish champions, in the middle of a stadium redevelopment programme and seemingly starting to bounce back from a financial perspective. Preliminary figures for 2021-22 issued by the club provided further evidence of the resilience of their finances, despite losing around € 400 million through the pandemic. …”
Game of the People

2022-23 Premier League – Location-map, with 3 charts … Fulham, Bournemouth, Nottingham Forest.

“2022-23 Premier League – Location-map, with 3 charts. The map is a basic location-map, with an inset map of Greater London. Also shown are small labels which point out the three promoted clubs (Fulham, Bournemouth, Nottingham Forest). And there are three charts. The Attendance chart, at top-centre of the map page, shows 4 things for each of the 20 current Premier League clubs…A) 2021-22 finish (with promotions noted). B) 2021-22 average attendance [from home league matches]. C) Stadium capacity [2021-22]. D) Percent-capacity [2021-22]. At the right-hand side of the map page are two more charts. …”
billsportsmaps

Analysing Bayern Munich 2 Barcelona 0: Xavi’s Alonso gamble, misfiring Lewandowski and ruthless Sane


“A ruthless 10-minute spell immediately after half-time helped Bayern Munich beat Barcelona at the Allianz Arena, with goals from Lucas Hernandez and Leroy Sane sealing three points for Julian Nagelsmann’s side. Barcelona dominated the first half but Robert Lewandowski failed to make Bayern pay on his return to Munich. Whatever the Bayern head coach Nagelsmann said at the break did the trick — by the 54th minute they were two goals ahead, first a header by Hernandez and then a neat finish from Sane. …”
The Athletic

Arkadiusz Milik sparked bedlam in Turin. But then the real chaos

“Arkadiusz Milik knew the punishment but still committed the crime, ripping off his shirt and throwing it in the air as he barrelled toward Juventus’s supporters behind the goal. They came tumbling down the stand towards him, delirious and disbelieving. In the 91st minute, their team had trailed 2-1 at home to Salernitana. Now, in the 95th, Milik had scored to put them 3-2 ahead. …”
Guardian

The Rise of Thierry Henry

Graceful yet powerful. Predictable yet unstoppable. Thierry Henry was an artist of a striker. He scored goals that should be framed and hung in a gallery. He was extraordinary. But he wasn’t always. This is the story of Thierry Henry’s rise, from the housing projects of Paris, to the glittering lights of Highbury, via left wing-back in Italy. Written by Seb Stafford-Bloor, illustrated by Henry Cooke.
YouTube

Most Goals Scored in a FIFA World Cup by One Player


“The only players to score nine or more goals in a single FIFA World Cup did so between 1950 and 1970 – a competition with nearly a century of history cramming its one-tournament stars into two decades. It seems the game’s defensive focus and organisation had yet to catch up to its emerging individual attacking skill. It was a time of free goals, and in some places free love, and if you weren’t around to experience it in person, you’re left with grainy video – and of course the numbers. None of the five players to score that many did it in more than six games while the modern-day format for World Cup tournaments has made it possible for top goalscorers to get seven in should they reach the last four. …”
The Analyst

World Cup 2022 news round-up: Jesus’ Brazil snub, Pepi’s debut and Queiroz’s return

England and the USA have goalkeeper injury concerns, Ricardo Pepi has made his debut in Holland but Arsenal’s in-form Gabriel Jesus is suddenly out of favour with Brazil. With the transfer window shut and September international fixtures looming, a relentless domestic and European calendar is providing opportunities for players to shine and prepare for Qatar. …”
The Athletic (Video)

Lorient are seizing the moment and challenging the elite in Ligue 1

“There was always going to be one club who made the most of the World Cup interruption and challenged the elite this season. A few clubs on the fringes of Europe made this calculation in the summer transfer window and, instead of selling players, they held firm. Lens and Strasbourg were chief among these sides in Ligue 1. …”
Guardian

The transfer window stories we heard but could not report Illustration of an agent on the phone


“The transfer window is a weird and wonderful place. … So much that happens during the window, which was officially open for 83 days between June 10 and September 1 in England but in reality is an ongoing conversation throughout the year, can’t always be written down. The majority of the activity involving agents, players, managers, sporting directors, recruitment staff and owners exists in the margins. It’s neither official nor unofficial, but somewhere in between. The task of journalists is to try to pull information from these grey areas, comprehensively source it and ‘stand it up’, to get to the point of being able to press publish. …”
The Athletic

World Cup 2022 stadiums: Host cities, capacities, and everything you need to know

“Eight World Cup 2022 stadiums in Qatar will have the honour of hosting this winter’s tournament. The Middle Eastern state was announced as the surprise World Cup 2022 host back in 2010, and has since gone about building the infrastructure needed for a global tournament. Here, FourFourTwo gives you the lowdown on all eight host stadiums. …”
FourFourTwo

Fixture fatigue: What happens to players when the games pile up

“… It was early August when Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp revealed his concern over the potential impact this winter’s World Cup could have on international players. Fixture congestion is nothing new (nor are managers’ complaints about it) but adding a major tournament into the mix mid-season, with only brief pauses before and after it, certainly is. ‘… Clubs competing in Europe have no free midweek until the turn of the year, so this round of fixtures will likely be added to the list for early 2023, further complicating life for teams who progress in cup competitions domestically and in Europe. …”
The Athletic

European roundup: Bayern held by Stuttgart, Napoli and Milan grab wins

“Bayern Munich conceded a stoppage-time equaliser scored by the VfB Stuttgart striker Serhou Guirassy from the penalty spot, as the champions endured a third consecutive Bundesliga draw. The game started well for Bayern, with Mathys Tel scoring their opener in the 36th minute. The France youth international Tel, who at the age of 17 years and 136 days became the youngest player to start a league game for Bayern, had already scored in the German Cup first round. He scored his first league goal by drilling in a low drive from an Alphonso Davies cutback. …”
Guardian

Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea sacking – the inside story told from both sides


“Chelsea’s sombre players shunned most of their non-mandatory media duties as they made their way out of Stadion Maksimir after Champions League humiliation at the hands of Dinamo Zagreb on Tuesday evening, only to find their discomfort was far from over. Boarding the plane that would take them back to England from the Croatian capital meant filing awkwardly past the front rows of seats containing head coach Thomas Tuchel and his staff, as well as co-owners Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali. …”
The Athletic
Guardian – Style, central midfield and strikers: Potter’s key Chelsea issues to tackle

Why Leroy Sane’s late runs into the Inter box were so crucial for Bayern Munich

“On Tuesday evening, an Italian side playing 3-5-2 were defeated by the runs of a speedy attacker — starting deeper and narrower than you’d expect, but going in behind. Kylian Mbappe scored the opener for Paris Saint-Germain against Juventus and got the second goal, too. On Wednesday evening, an Italian side playing 3-5-2 were defeated by the runs of a speedy attacker — starting deeper and narrower than you’d expect, but going in behind. Leroy Sane scored the opener for Bayern Munich against Inter Milan and forced the own goal that was their second. …”
The Athletic – Michael Cox

This Shoe Changed Football Forever

The Adidas Predator, one of the most iconic football boots in the game. Worn by true legends, Zinedine Zidane, David Beckham, Xavi Hernandez. But before it became popular it was regarded as controversial. This is the story of how an Australian footballer had an idea, stuck some rubber to an old boot, and convinced one of the biggest sportswear brands in the world to make his boot. Written by Seb Stafford-Bloor, illustrated by Craig Silcock.
YouTube

Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool have lost their identity


“A crestfallen Jurgen Klopp walked across to the travelling Kop inside Stadio Diego Armando Maradona after the final whistle and held his hands up apologetically. … Liverpool have given their supporters so many memories to cherish with their European exploits during Klopp’s reign. Last season, they became the first club in Champions League history to win all six away matches en route to the final in Paris. Yet the contrast between the team that dug deep to fight for glory on all fronts and the one that was humiliated by the rampant Serie A side on Wednesday could hardly be greater. Rarely has a team fallen so far, so quickly. …”
The Athletic

The Champions League Final is Damned and Doomed: Part I, Part II

“Barrie Davies’s journey to the Champions League Final takes a turn when he finds a rundown flat, smelly bar, and ‘Magic Messi Milk’ between himself and Paris. Part one of a two-part series. … Journey to the Liverpool-Real Madrid final reaches its zenith as the crew enters Paris.”
Football Paradise – Part I, Part II

Kylian Mbappé Is Coming for It All


“Kylian Mbappé will eventually turn up for his interview in an oversized vehicle outfitted with tinted windows, and accompanied by his mother, two P.R. reps, two lawyers, a small documentary crew, a stylist and a friend whose role is, initially, unclear. This is how one of the world’s biggest sports stars travels these days. Kylian Mbappé doesn’t just walk through the door. He arrives. But not just yet. …”
NY Times

Champions League: Michael Cox’s tactical guide to this season’s leading contenders

“Judging by the bookmakers’ odds, there are eight sides who stand a decent chance of winning this season’s European Cup. Broadly speaking, they look familiar from last season — few clubs have undergone a dramatic overhaul in terms of their starting XI and only one of these eight clubs appointed a new manager in the summer. If you haven’t watched any of the favourites since last season, here’s the lowdown on their approaches for 2022-23. …”
The Athletic