Celtic thrash Rangers in Old Firm game to extend lead at the top

“The most galling thing for Rangers is a five-point and 17-goal advantage held over them by Celtic in the Scottish Premiership does not look at all inappropriate. Ange Postecoglou’s team mauled their city rivals in the season’s first Old Firm game. No wonder, then, that the Australian offered a post-match battle cry in respect of Tuesday’s Champions League visit of Real Madrid to Glasgow. ‘Let’s go down swinging’ said Postecoglou. Celtic, so high on confidence, will not alter approach against illustrious opposition.  …”
Guardian

Football Club Accounts: Explained

Football clubs have historically been sources of entertainment and symbols of unity in local communities. Today, they are also businesses – and as businesses, they release accounts or financial statements once every year. But financial statements can be hard to read, so we’ll show you how. Written by Abhishek Raj. Illustrated by Henry Cooke.
YouTube

Money to Burn: Lessons From the Premier League’s Transfer Window

“… This is what the Premier League does every year, of course: Every summer, and most winters, its clubs descend on Europe, the cash from infinitely spiraling television deals burning a hole in their pockets, and proceed to hose an entire continent with money. They swamp it, they flood it, they drown it with their wealth. And then, at the end of August, they go home, armed with a few more Brazilian playmakers and Swedish strikers, ready to play the games that will earn the money for them to do it all over again in a few months. …”
NY Times

Dennis Bergkamp, the Non-Flying Dutchman Who Reimagined Space and Time


“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 Dennis Bergkamp at the 1998 World Cup in France. …”
The Ringer (Audio/Video)

Football’s ‘bomb squads’ could be breaking employment law

“It is a strategy as old as it is effective. No longer have use for a first-team player and want to see him leave? Instruct them to train with the under-23s and let the nature of football take its course. The problem, more often than not, will soon resolve itself with a separation. This common practice has been seen across the Premier League and English Football League again this summer. Dozens of faces that no longer fit have been marginalised and demoted to train at a level that ought to be beneath them or, in some cases, all alone. …”
The Athletic

At World Cup, USMNT striker selections may come down to form and fit

“For the first time in years, several different U.S. men’s national team strikers are firing at the same time. Jeremy Ebobisse, Jesus Ferreira, Jordan Pefok, Josh Sargent, Brandon Vazquez and Haji Wright are all in fine form, with Ebobisse, Ferreira and Vazquez continuing their solid MLS seasons with some good play over the last month and Pefok, Sargent and Wright each off to strong starts in the 2022-23 campaign with their European clubs. …”
The Athletic (Video)

Franck Haise is doing something very special by maximising talent at Lens

“Tranck Haise welled up. The Lens manager was being interviewed on the touchline after his team had won a game last season when Thierry Henry, who was working as a TV pundit, broke into a glowing review of Haise’s “contagious and impressive” team. Haise, who had been completely unknown to most fans just two years earlier, struggled to contain his happiness when hearing a French football legend enthuse about his dynamic side. He is doing something special at Lens. When Haise took over two years ago, they were in Ligue 2. Now his players are breathing rarefied air at the top of Ligue 1. And this is his first senior management role. …”
Guardian

Is it time to analyse attacking data differently?


“The genie is well and truly out of the bottle when it comes to data in football, but there is still plenty of scope to maximise its utility. In today’s thought experiment, The Athletic asks… should we adjust all on-ball player metrics? Let’s clarify what that would mean with an example. In a busy summer transfer window, your team’s recruitment staff are looking for a clinical striker who is quick to get a shot away and will score something out of nothing. Using data as a filter, is it more impressive for a striker to score 10 goals for a team battling relegation than a striker scoring 25 goals for the inevitable title winners? When adjusted for opportunity to score, the gap between the players’ output might not be as big as first thought. This is a simple example, but let’s dig deeper. …”
The Athletic

Union Berlin are now a major irritant to the Bundesliga’s established order

“Those records keep tumbling. Their longest top-flight unbeaten run (now 11) was extended. This is the first time they have gone unbeaten in five Bundesliga away games. Add to that, of course, the big one – this was their biggest ever Bundesliga win, at the home of one of German football’s iconic clubs in front of a sold-out, 62,000-plus crowd. Union Berlin are not a curio, not a fleeting story and more than a minor irritant to the Bundesliga’s established order. …”
Guardian

The Earliest Premier League Sackings

“News broke just before 9am on Tuesday morning that Bournemouth had fired their manager Scott Parker, only four games into the 2022-23 season. The man who had stylishly guided the club back into the top-flight saw his side lose 9-0 at Liverpool on Saturday and, unlike Ralph Hasenhüttl, who has survived not one but two 9-0 defeats as Southampton boss, Parker has been dispensed with before September, reportedly more because of differing views on Bournemouth’s transfer strategy than the Anfield shellacking. Either way, Parker’s departure is one of the earliest in Premier League history, but which unfortunate managers have been sacked even earlier into the season? Read on to find out. …”

Real Madrid & the Role of Tactics at Elite Teams

Does a team need a complex tactical structure to be elite? In recent times we have seen complex tactical approaches from managers and clubs like Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea, Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool and even Julian Nagelsmann’s Bayern Munich. But does a club need one to be successful? Real Madrid would argue not. Jon Mackenzie explains, Marco Bevilacqua illustrates.
YouTube

David Moyes’s bubble is in danger of bursting at downbeat West Ham


“Individually, none of West Ham’s first three Premier League games of the season have been that bad. They were extremely unfortunate to lose at Nottingham Forest, there’s little shame in losing to Manchester City, and Brighton can be awkward opponents for any side, but especially West Ham, who now haven’t beaten them in 11 attempts. All together, though, these three defeats with no goals scored have West Ham bottom of the table. Sunday’s meeting with a struggling Aston Villa comes with a distinct sense of pressure. …”
Guardian – Jonathan Wilson

Liverpool 9-0 Bournemouth: Record-equalling Reds ‘could have scored 14’

“… It came just a couple of months on from last season’s exploits, when they came agonisingly close to football immortality, winning the Carabao Cup and FA Cup but then finishing runners-up in the Premier League by a point and losing the Champions League final against Real Madrid. Manager Jurgen Klopp has set high standards during his time at Anfield and his side failed to meet them so far this term, but promoted Bournemouth’s arrival on Merseyside gave the Reds a chance to remind their rivals of their credentials. …”
BBC (Video)

Is this the worst Premier League foul ever?

“Some fouls leave you wincing. Some are debatable. And some leave players with lasting damage. The Premier League is widely regarded as the most competitive league in the world, so naturally, there have been some hefty challenges. But which is the worst foul committed in the Premier League? Seb Stafford-Bloor writes. Philippe Fenner.”
YouTube

Milner vs Van Dijk: Who was to blame for Manchester United’s opener against Liverpool


Jadon Sancho’s composed opener had only just hit the back of the net, but the inquest had already begun. As he rolled the ball past James Milner, Sancho only had Virgil van Dijk between him and the goal. Van Dijk held his ground, hands behind his back as he looked to cover the space, before Sancho slotted in the bottom-left corner. … The question is, who was right? Could Van Dijk have done any more, or did Milner have a point? …”
The Athletic (Video)

Can Barcelona and Manchester United Right Their Financial Ships?

“The Old Testament is full of cautionary tales about profligacy, and one of the most famous involves Esau and Jacob. Esau, after working all day in the field, comes home to find his younger brother in the kitchen making soup. Jacob offers to share his soup in exchange for Esau’s part of the family inheritance, a bargain that the hungry Esau accepts. Thousands of years later and thousands of miles away, a new pot of soup is on the stove. FC Barcelona defined European soccer for about a decade earlier this century. …”
Reporter Wings

Alan Shearer on Alexander Isak: The pace, the playing style and embracing that record fee

Newcastle United’s purchase of the Sweden striker Alexander Isak is an exciting signing that will capture the imagination of the Geordies. Eddie Howe needed to get a forward in, and Isak is someone who can play either with Callum Wilson, or instead of him. Isak’s going to have to do both because of Wilson’s current hamstring injury, and he might have to hit the ground running. …”
The Athletic

What the Champions League Is Lacking


“PARIS — There will be stories, of course. There are always stories. The Champions League delivers them so frequently and so reliably that it is impossible to dismiss the nagging suspicion that all of this might just be scripted, the product of some complex simulation being run from a secret lair in Nyon. Robert Lewandowski, clad in the blue and red of Barcelona, will return to Bayern Munich, only a few weeks after forcing his exit. Manchester City’s visit to Borussia Dortmund will see Erling Haaland standing once more before its Yellow Wall, that great force of nature no longer at his back but marshaled in his face. …”
NY Times
The Athletic: Champions League draw analysed – The biggest games, the shocks in store, the toughest groups

Klopp’s Liverpool: is time catching up with this magnificent red machine?

“When it was all getting a little too much for Jürgen Klopp at Mainz, when the defeats began to accumulate and the negative thoughts began to spiral, he would clear the schedule, jump in the car and take his squad on an adventure holiday. Long walks in the Hunsrück. Mountain biking in the Black Forest. Two or three days spent knocking back beers, sleeping in tiny huts, having the sort of honest conversations you couldn’t really have in an office. This was Klopp’s terrain, the land where he grew up, and in times of crisis it also became his sanctuary. …”
Guardian

The Myth of South America

South America has produced some of the greatest ever players in football history. Many South American players have played for the best teams in the game. But rarely do players make a move directly from South America to elite-level clubs. But why? As Jon Mackenzie explains most players need a stepping stone club to take them to the next level. Illustrated by Henry Cooke.
YouTube

Manchester United Powers Through in Win Over Liverpool Amid Transfer Chaos, Protests


“Football has a remarkable habit of making fools of us all. When it was pointed out after Liverpool’s surprise draw against Crystal Palace last Monday that Manchester United could go above Liverpool if it beat Jürgen Klopp’s side, it was with a smirk. Even after Liverpool’s patchy start to the season, such a thing seemed implausible. After all, United had beaten Liverpool only once in the last 12 league meetings, Liverpool had lost only one game—the Champions League final—all year and United had produced probably its worst performance in half a century at Brentford last Saturday. And yet United was good value for its 2–1 win. …”
SI – Jonathan Wilson
Guardian: Why have Liverpool made such a slow start to the Premier League season?
Liverpool’s Biggest Rival in 2022-23 is Father Time

‘22 Goals’: Kylian Mbappé, 2018 World Cup in Russia

“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 Kylian Mbappé announcing himself as a global superstar at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. …”
The Ringer (Video)

Kjetil Knutsen: Norwegian star manager writing Bodo Glimt’s fairytale…

“In the entire Premier League history, only two Norwegians have managed a team in the English top-flight history, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Egil Roger Olsen. While Solskjaer was sacked last season as Manchester United manager after a string of poor results, Olsen’s one-season tenure in the league led to Wimbledon’s relegation. Now a third Norwegian manager may be on his way to the league. According to reports, several Premier League clubs are looking to sign Kjetil Knutsen. …”
foottheball (Video)

Cox: United played like Solskjaer’s underdogs — but Sancho goal was typical Ten Hag


“They say the form book goes out of the window in big matches like Manchester United versus Liverpool, but if anything, it was Erik ten Hag’s coaching handbook that went out of the window. Last night, we learnt very little about Manchester United’s future direction under the Dutchman but learnt a lot about Ten Hag himself. This was a deeply pragmatic tactical approach from Ten Hag, designed with the opposition and United’s previous performances in mind. Overall statistics can be misleading considering United led from the 16th minute and the onus was on Liverpool to dominate. …”
The Athletic

Football to ‘remind what we are dying for’ as Ukraine’s season kicks off

“… Only last Wednesday did Pavelko feel certain the sport would return on the date, one day before the celebration of Ukrainian independence, he had earmarked. That was when the security protocols were finally signed off after exhaustive conversations that were not always plain sailing. Should fans be allowed in? That question was easy enough to answer during wartime. Ought the precise time and location of games be kept secret? That was up for discussion but ultimately rejected. What will happen if and when air raid sirens interrupt play? Nobody can be entirely sure how that will feel but games may be abandoned if they sound for longer than an hour. Referees will confer with military advisers to make that decision. …”
Guardian

After a terrible season, Lyon now look like the second-best team in Ligue 1

“Rhetoric can be powerful but it also can be a double-edged sword, coming across as bluster if not properly backed up. Lyon chairman Jean-Michel Aulas, who sold a controlling interest in the club to American businessman John Textor this summer, has never been one to mince his words. Having steered the club for 35 years, he has inevitably made the odd misstep, but their run of seven straight Ligue 1 titles in the 2000s and regular appearances in the knockout rounds of European competitions are firm evidence of his acumen. …”
Guardian

‘22 Goals’: Ronaldo, 2002 World Cup Final in Japan


“As the 22nd men’s FIFA World Cup approaches in November 2022, The Ringer introduces 22 Goals, a podcast by Brian Phillips about the most iconic goals scored in the history of the 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 the ‘original’ Ronaldo from the 2002 World Cup in South Korea and Japan. …”
The Ringer (Audio)
The Ringer – ‘22 Goals’: Diego Maradona, 1986 World Cup in Mexico (Audio)

Greek Football Fandom: A Season Preview

“As the football season kicks off around Europe, the Greek Super League may fly under the radar for many fans of the game. We explore the history of Greece’s top teams and interview experts, fans, and writers to determine each side’s chances of success. If you want passion, flairs, a rocking atmosphere, chanting from before to after a match and the occasional law informant intervention look no further than Greek football. The sport in Greece has suffered over the last decade or so, both financially and in its reputation. But one thing that cannot be denied is that the country holds some of the most vocal, passionate and football-crazy supporters in Europe. …”
Football Paradise
W – Greece national football team

Nine-man Rangers pay for red cards as late Hibs leveller ends 100% start

“Josh Campbell scored a stunning stoppage-time equaliser as Hibernian denied nine-man Rangers victory in a dramatic Premiership showdown at Easter Road. The visitors looked on course to maintain a perfect start to their league campaign as they led 2-1 through goals from James Tavernier and Tom Lawrence. But red cards for both John Lundstram and substitute Alfredo Morelos left Rangers up against it in the closing 15 minutes and Hibs’ pressure eventually paid off at the death as they secured a 2-2 draw. …”
Guardian
BBC: Hibs 2 – 2 Rangers

Premier League at 30: How football has changed


“‘Football didn’t start in 1992.’ It did not, but it did change forever. Next week marks the 30th anniversary of the Premier League replacing the Football League First Division at the top of the English football tree. Here is what has happened in those 30 years and how the Premier League and the world has changed. …”
BBC (Video)

Manchester United – what the rest of football thinks about a club in crisis

“No club in English football sets tongues wagging like Manchester United. Love them or hate them, in good times and bad, they are a source of endless intrigue and debate. As much as that applies to fans of every club, it applies to those who work within the game. For much of the past nine years, the entire industry has looked on with a sense of fascination — at times morbid fascination — as the empire Sir Alex Ferguson built has crumbled. …”
The Athletic (Video)
NY Times: Manchester United Isn’t for Sale, but a Piece of It Might Be

Premier League @30 – how different the world is today

“It wasn’t  just football in Britain that dramatically changed over the past 30 years, the world also shifted and became a far more uncertain, darker place. People lost faith in trusted institutions such as banks, regulators, law firms and political systems and we started to see the creation of digital society. In Britain, indeed much of the world, some of the truly basic requirements of life; our security, our finances and basic healthcare were all severely tested. No longer could we take anything for granted, but football was still there for us in some shape or form. …”
Game of the People

Rating the best and worst of Europe’s 2022-23 kits: From stunners to zany stripes

“We’ve rated the Premier League home kits. We’ve rated the Premier League away kits. So now it’s time to go Euro. It’s a big ask to review the design choices of an entire continent, but The Athletic has broad shoulders and is very happy to take on the job. Someone has to — you may think that this is not something that is absolutely vital for the smooth continuation of public discourse, but unfortunately, we’ve checked, and actually, it is. …”
The Athletic (Video)

2022-23 EFL League One [3rd division]

“… The map here is a new template, one which I will have for the top 4 divisions in England this year. The map is a basic location-map, with inset maps of both Greater London and Greater Manchester. Also shown are small labels which point out the four promoted clubs (Forest Green Rovers, Exeter City, Bristol Rovers, Port Vale). And there is an attendance chart. The attendance chart shows 5 things for each of the 24 current League One clubs. …”
billsportsmaps
Guardian – League One 2022-23 preview: the contenders, hopefuls and strugglers
W – 2022–23 EFL League One

Ukrainian Premier League set to restart: ‘An act of bravery, but I’m worried’

“‘My heart aches when I think of Kharkiv,’ says goalkeeper Denys Sydorenko. ‘A missile hit our training ground – there’s nothing left of where we used to play.’ On 22 February, Sydorenko’s team, Metalist 1925 Kharkiv, were taking part in a regular training session during the Ukrainian Premier League’s winter break. Two days later, everything stopped. Russia had invaded. Now, six months into the war, Ukraine is preparing to resume its domestic football competitions – despite the constant danger the ongoing conflict brings. The decision to cancel the remainder of the 2021-22 football season was finally taken in April. Shakhtar Donetsk were leading by two points with just over half of the matches played. …”
BBC

Exploring Qatar’s eight World Cup 2022 stadiums and what fans can expect in November


“… The World Cup is just months away and the Al Janoub Stadium manager is showing a group of reporters around his pride and joy, the air-conditioned venue that will host seven games, including the holders France’s opening game against Australia on November 22. The Athletic asked the question which, to a Brit visiting Qatar for the first time, feels like the elephant in the room. This tournament has been relentlessly condemned by human rights groups for the circumstances in which these stadiums were built. How do tournament organisers respond to that? It’s not what they want to talk about now the football is about to begin. …”
The Athletic

Experience and youth helping Borussia Dortmund create early-season waves

“As one of only two sides with a 100 per cent record in this season’s Bundesliga, Borussia Dortmund’s start to 2022/23 also includes an impressive DFB Cup first round win – and with Edin Terzic’s title hopefuls boasting a crucial mix of youth and experience, the omens look good for the Black-and-Yellows for the months ahead. …”
Bundesliga

The Luis Suarez 8

“In 2013/14 Liverpool and Brendan Rodgers created a team that would come close to winning the Premier League. Luis Suarez was their star. When he was sold for over €80million to Barcelona Liverpool had a rebuilding job. Who did they sign? How did they do? Where are they now? Written by Seb Stafford-Bloor, illustrated by Philippe Fenner.”
YouTube

Manchester United fallout: Running, strained relations and Ten Hag changing mind on Ronaldo


“On Wednesday morning, Manchester United’s players reported for training and began work on a tactical plan devised by manager Erik ten Hag for the weekend trip to Brentford. Ten Hag’s first fixture in charge, a 2-1 home defeat by Brighton the previous Sunday, had constituted a major setback and he informed his players of two substantial tweaks to his line-up. The first was to restore ageing superstar Cristiano Ronaldo to the starting line-up after only being on the bench against Brighton, which in turn facilitated the second alteration, which would see new signing Christian Eriksen end his brief, befuddling spell as a false nine and instead operate far deeper as a defensive midfielder. As such, two positions were tweaked but only one player dropped out of the side beaten at Old Trafford — midfielder Scott McTominay. …”
The Athletic (Video)

The Evolution of Goalkeeper Passing in 30 Years of the Premier League

“The Premier League kicked off 30 years ago today and Manchester United’s only goal in their infamous 2-1 defeat to Sheffield United was assisted by goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel. The iconic Dane would end that season having created as many goals as Ian Rush and Paul Ince, and in the first top-flight season to contain the new back-pass rule, nearly every goalkeeper concentrated his efforts on getting rid of the ball as hard and fast as possible; the nation echoed to the sound of pumped and thumped Mitre Deltas. 30 years on and David De Gea’s ongoing issues with playing short passes to his defenders was one of the main factors behind Manchester United suffering a humiliating 4-0 defeat to Brentford on Saturday. No position has evolved more than the goalkeeper in these transformative three decades and here are some illustrations to show how. …”
The Analyst

Premier League: 10 talking points from the weekend’s action

“… 3) Hammers looking to find rhythm. David Moyes was in no mood to deliberate after West Ham slipped to a second successive defeat, though it was not for the want of trying at Nottingham Forest; they had a goal disallowed, twice hit the underside of the crossbar and Declan Rice saw a penalty saved. Moyes said he hopes their Europa Conference League playoff first leg at home to Viborg on Thursday will help them establish some rhythm after a disappointing start. …”
Guardian

Chelsea 2-2 Tottenham: Spurs’ problem zone, James’ key role, and a controversial arm wrestle

Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur shared the points in the first meeting of two of the Premier League’s Big Six this season. A spectacular first-half volley from summer-signing centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly gave Thomas Tuchel’s side the lead on 19 minutes, as Chelsea completely dominated the first half at a sun-soaked Stamford Bridge. Tottenham fought their way back into the match in the second half, equalising through Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, only for Reece James to put Chelsea back in front with 13 minutes of normal time left. Just when it looked like Chelsea had held on for the win, Harry Kane flicked home a corner deep in added time to secure a point for the visitors. …”
The Athletic (Video)

Manchester United are a mess. It’s not new, but it is deeply shocking


“… Yes, we know, Cristiano Ronaldo’s most recent episodes of self-importance have left everyone suspecting that he would rather be just about anywhere else than wearing the lime green cocktail number that qualifies as United’s new away kit. Yes, we know, Donny van de Beek only appears from the United substitute bench after the clock has passed the 80-minute mark. So, yes, we know it all. We have heard it all. We have seen it all. And yet, somehow, each week manages to conjure a new sense of stupefying shock. At half-time, Brentford, who had not beaten Manchester United since 1938, led their opponents. And this was more than a lead. This was 4-0 and deservedly so. And there was, in the press box, almost a numbing madness to it all. Brentford’s supporters, too, stared at one another, open-mouthed. …”
The Athletic (Video)
BBC – Brentford 4-0 Manchester United: ‘A joke’, ‘bullied’ & ‘rotten’ – are Man Utd at rock bottom? (Video)
Guardian: Erik ten Hag says Manchester United players put tactical plan ‘in the bin’ (Video)

Has Nottingham Forest’s sudden ascent led to too many changes?

“When was it that alarm bells began to ring? Was it when Omar Richards arrived from Bayern Munich for £8.5m to become Nottingham Forest’s sixth summer signing? Was it Lewis O’Brien’s £6m switch from Huddersfield? Or perhaps Remo Freuler, signed this past week from Atalanta for £7.6m, was one signing too many – and that was before a £20m fee was agreed for Emmanuel Dennis. …”
Guardian – Jonathan Wilson

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)

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

What you may have missed on the Premier League’s opening weekend


“The Premier League is back — and it was a dramatic opening weekend with promoted Fulham holding would-be champions Liverpool to a draw, Erling Haaland scoring two goals on debut for Manchester City and Manchester United losing at home, with Cristiano Ronaldo starting the visit of Brighton on the bench. But away from the main talking points, our The Athletic staff have picked out some of things you may have missed from the first round of 10 matches. Let us know what you spotted in the comments section below. …”
The Athletic

Derby County: How one of England’s historic clubs was saved from a wild ride to ruin

“Looking back, football finance expert Dr Rob Wilson knew exactly what he was talking about. ‘This is last roll of the dice sort of stuff,’ he told BBC Sport before the 2019 Championship play-off final between Aston Villa and Derby County. ‘It’s winner takes all and loser loses pretty much everything.’ Villa won that day at Wembley. Three years on, they spent pre-season on tour in Australia, preparing for a new Premier League campaign with Brazil star Philippe Coutinho in their ranks. Derby have just begun their first third-tier campaign since 1986, and only the fifth in their history, after local businessman and lifelong supporter David Clowes stepped in to save the club. …”
BBC

The Adrien Rabiot paradox: What exactly would Manchester United be getting?

“Veronique Rabiot believed her son, Adrien, would have made a fine fencer. It’s a discipline the French have a strong tradition in, going back to the 1896 Athens Olympics, and it’s not too much of a stretch of the imagination to see a tall white-jacketed figure advancing up the piste, a balestra here, a fleche there, ready to pull off his mask at the end of a bout to reveal Adrien and those long, wavy locks. Unfortunately for sabre-rattlers, he chose football instead. …”
The Athletic

Haaland made clever runs but Nunez gave lesson in how to attack space in behind


“… Pep Guardiola was not concerned about the chances new Manchester City signing Erling Haaland missed, but was instead glad with the positions he occupied in the first place. Missing big chances on his debut in the Community Shield put Haaland in the spotlight. Yet there’s more to dissect in Haaland’s performance against Liverpool than those spurned opportunities. Guardiola was right about Haaland being there, but sometimes the service on Saturday from his City teammates was poor. Such as this moment below when Haaland bends his body to maintain an onside position, waiting for a pass from Kevin De Bruyne that does not come. …”
The Athletic

How Manchester City used their narrow full-backs to control midfield against West Ham

“‘They were so good. Tactically, they completely outdid us today.’ West Ham United manager David Moyes was so impressed with Manchester City’s performance against his club yesterday that he spent half of his post-match press conference talking about Pep Guardiola’s side. Specifically, their narrow full-backs. …”
The Athletic

What’s the best Premier League transfer?

“Quantifying the Premier League’s greatest transfer can be difficult. But we’ve given it a go. There are many factors to consider, including but not limited to, sell-on profit, impact on the squad, or likelihood of winning a trophy. Abhishek Raj, has defined what a ‘good transfer’ should look like, and has decided the best transfer in Premier League history. Illustrated by Craig Silcock.”
YouTube

‘Free eights’, ‘low blocks’ and ‘pockets’: Your Premier League glossary for the new season


“The new Premier League season is fast approaching and for those who follow it, this will mean once again being exposed to a language that can at times feel daunting. There are so many terms and expressions used in commentary, analysis and tactical talks by managers, players, pundits and journalists, some of which we nod dutifully along with even though we don’t really know what they mean. Here, The Athletic explains some of these words and phrases, and offers examples of how they can be correctly used. This is our 2022-23 Premier League glossary. …”
The Athletic (Video)

New era dawns but Bayern should still be too good for Bundesliga rivals

“Is this finally it? Before the start of every season we’re looking for a reason why Bayern Munich might not win the Bundesliga, and it has begun to feel like a vain hope for genuine title competition. In May Bayern were crowned champions for the 10th campaign in a row, and the Rekordmeister have been run to such an exemplary standard that few can see an imminent end to the medley.  …”
Guardian

A Different Kind of Moneyball: Newcastle United Is Finding Out What Winning in the Premier League Really Costs

Last November, on an early-morning train from London to Newcastle, in the north of England, I saw a drunk fellow in a white robe. The outfit, I knew, was supposed to simulate the attire of a traditional Saudi Arabian man. It was not a breathable material, this cheap polyester ordered off the internet. It was absolutely roasting him. He was red-faced with the booze and the shame, but mostly the booze. His friends, all around him, were exuding the very specific aura generated by drinking bottles of Stella plucked out of plastic takeaway bags. They called him by his nickname, which also happened to be the name of a classic Disney character. Let’s say Cinderella. …”
The Ringer (Video)

The Ted Lasso fan’s guide to the Premier League: Your starting point for the 2022-23 season


“We’re not sure when Ted Lasso’s third and (maybe) final season will drop, but it’s never too early to start preparing for how you’ll fill the void once it ends — and this week provides the perfect opportunity. AFC Richmond won promotion back up to the Premier League at the end of the show’s second season, but the real thing kicks off on Friday for another year with plenty of comedy and drama of its own. So if you’re one of the many Ted Lasso fans who haven’t gotten invested in the real-life Premier League just yet, now’s the time to dive in — if only so you’ll be prepared for all the new details sure to be included in season three. Ted Lasso’s landmark licensing deal with the Premier League means lines between the two will be blurred more than ever when it does return. …”
The Athletic (Video)
BBC – Premier League 2022-23: Everything you need to know as new season starts (Video)
NY Times: They Got to the Premier League. Staying? That’s the Hard Part.

Ligue 1 intrigue surrounds France’s ‘other 19’ with PSG still worlds apart

“Since the takeover of Paris Saint-Germain by the Qatari government’s investment fund in 2011, the club have failed to win the Ligue 1 title only three times. The first was in their maiden season under their new ownership, when a dogged Montpellier took advantage of the tumult caused by the mid-season dismissal of Antoine Kombouaré to bring home an unlikely first top-flight title. Monaco in 2017 and Lille in 2021 similarly seemed to catch lightning in a bottle, riding the play of clever experienced strikers (Radamel Falcao, Burak Yilmaz) working in tandem with unheralded youngsters (Kylian Mbappé, Jonathan David) to edge their more moneyed competitors. …”
Guardian

Did Qatar build a whole city for the World Cup?

“A little over 10 years ago, 10 miles north of Qatar would have been a sleepy fishing village, and not much else. This place would become the location for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Fast forward to today and a futuristic metropolis filled with the latest technology and engineering practices is nearing completion. Did Qatar build this city just for a World Cup? David Goldblatt reveals what this new city will be like. Illustrated by Philippe Fenner.”
YouTube