Races tighten in La Liga, Serie A; Manchester City stumbles again

January 19, 2017

“While the Bundesliga continues to remain on break, the title races came alive in two of Europe’s other preeminent leagues as Real Madrid and Juventus both slumped to surprise defeats to reignite the drama atop La Liga and Serie A. In England, Pep Guardiola has more problems to deal with at Manchester City, which is now out of the Champions League spots and 10 points behind Chelsea in the Premier League. Meanwhile, there is a new owner in Ligue 1 at one of France’s clubs hoping to rebound and rediscover greatness. This is what caught our eye around Europe this weekend. SI


Celtic’s rivals face mission impossible; Rob Maclean picks his team of the (half) year

January 4, 2017

“The big problem for Rangers and Aberdeen in trying to play Scottish Premiership catch-up is that runaway leaders Celtic are no sitting target. Manager Brendan Rodgers had some chilling words for the chasing pack after Celtic ended 2016 with their third Old Firm win of the season so far. If they beat St Johnstone in their first game after the winter break, they’ll be 22 points clear at the top after 21 matches. Rodgers says his team, already far too good for any domestic challenge, will be even better on the back of the January shutdown. Celtic will aim to get the title won at what could be a ridiculously early stage, take their first steps towards completing a treble and further strengthen the squad for another crack at the Champions League next season.” BBC


Champions League last 16: Tie-by-tie analysis

December 12, 2016

“1) Manchester City v Monaco. Pep Guardiola will be content with this draw, but Monaco are among the most exciting sides in Europe and perhaps the most underrated team in the competition. Leonardo Jardim has created an exciting side who have scored an incredible 53 goals in 17 Ligue 1 matches. Although Monaco share the goals around impressively, it is notable that Radamel Falcao has found his shooting boots again, scoring five goals in Monaco’s past two games. They are also tactically flexible, able to play both 4-4-2 or 4-2-3-1 effectively, as they demonstrated with 2-1 victories home and away against Tottenham Hotspur in the group stage.” Guardian – Michael Cox


Legia Warsaw and the Champions League: an unexpected success

December 8, 2016

“It couldn’t have started any worse. Legia Warsaw, Poland’s first representative in the Champions League group stage in 20 years, kicked off their grand adventure at home to Borussia Dortmund in mid-September. Instead of a gutsy performance Legia succumbed to a 6-0 thumping in such an embarrassing fashion that they sacked their manager – and the display was so dire that many Polish fans expected to watch further matches behind assembled living-room furniture. On top of the terrible result Legia hooligans made a fool of themselves in the stands, leading to the next home match vs Real Madrid to be played behind closed doors.” Rightbankwarsaw


Arsenal seal top spot as Spurs head to Europa League – Football Weekly Extra

December 8, 2016

“The award-winning Football Weekly returns to look back on a busy midweek of European action. AC Jimbo’s voice is at around 75% in the seductive stakes, so he’s joined by Barry Glendenning, James Horncastle and Jonathan Wilson on the harmonies. We begin with the Champions League. Arsenal were most un-Arsenal and ended up winning their group, while Spurs were über-Spursy and ended up third and in the Europa League. As for Leicester, well – at least they did the business before heading to Porto.” Guardian (Video)


Greed Is Destroying European Football, but Too Many Don’t See It as a Problem

December 8, 2016

“And so with a weary sigh, the Champions League group stage comes to an end. There have been brilliant goals, lots of them, and a couple of exhilarating games. The clashes between Atletico Madrid and Bayern Munich, between Manchester City and Barcelona, between Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid, had certain self-contained dramas. Ludogorets Razgrad and FC Rostov, here and there, put up encouraging fights. But fundamentally, it all passed with a shrug and a yawn. Those big clashes have essentially ended up being meaningless, as both teams went through.” Bleacher Report (Video)


Tactical Analysis: Arsenal 2-2 PSG | Thrilling night ends in a stalemate

December 1, 2016

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“Despite being a thrilling encounter in terms of its result and implications, the lesson learned from Paris Saint-Germain’s trip to Arsenal should ultimately be one of two limited teams doing battle in a way that did little to inspire confidence. The Gunners were sloppy in possession, unadventurous and limited in wide areas. Paris Saint-Germain, as they have since the departure of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, lacked a reliable focal point in attack, with Edinson Cavani getting only one of eight shots on target. They somewhat surprisingly controlled possession, but with Blaise Matuidi, the nominal left winger, playing in a deeper role than the teamsheet would suggest, there was little venom from the French side.” Outside of the Boot