Fred – Shakhtar Donetsk’s unsung hero

December 22, 2016

“Shakhtar Donetsk’s defensive midfielder Frederico Rodrigues Santos, better known as Fred, has been very much the unsung hero of a stellar side this season. We have featured a vast array of Shakhtar Donetsk players of late, but with Paulo Fonseca leading his side to a 13-point lead over rivals Dynamo Kyiv, and with winning six out of six games in the Europa League, it is not difficult to praise the work done at Shakhtar Donetsk this season.” futbolgrad

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Global Series | Top 10 European Players of 2015: Busquets, Kane and De Bruyne feature

December 19, 2016

“… 2. IVAN RAKITIC Rakitic 2016The Croatian superstar has had a super debut season at the Camp Nou. During his initial days, there was a bit of disbelief that confronted the notion that either Xavi or Iniesta would have to sit out matches to accommodate Rakitic. All of this died down very soon, as Rakitic let his feet do the talking. While he isn’t the most prolific in front of goal, he doesn’t really need to be, and he does the job of keeping the likes of Messi, Neymar and Suarez well fed very efficiently.” Outside of the Boot


Ukrainian Premier League Roundup – Ukrainian Derby Special

December 15, 2016

“Shakhtar’s entertaining 4-3 victory over Dynamo Kyiv in Monday’s Ukrainian Derby had it all—the fastest goal ever in a meeting between the two sides, two own goals from Dynamo defender Yevhen Khacheridi, and two comebacks from Shakhtar to claim the three points and effectively clinch the title, and, of course, a fight that led to a sending off for Dynamo striker Júnior Moraes. The intense rivalry between the two sides has so often reached a boiling point that Ukrainian website Tribuna published a list of the five ‘best’ fights to take place during their matches.” Futbolgrad


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


Tactical Analysis: Borussia Dortmund 8-4 Legia Warsaw | Defence thrown out of the windows

December 1, 2016

“In football, the line between attack and defense is incredibly thin, even non-existent. In a game where there is little set offense or defense, and where the flow of a match is fluid, the best teams master the ability to defend while attacking, and attack while defending. When a great team has the ball, they aren’t just thinking of how to break down the defense. They’re also thinking about how to prevent the opposition, that defense, from winning the ball back and then counter attacking. Like a chess grandmaster, great players, coaches and teams always think 2-3 moves ahead.” Outside of the Boot


The death of possession football

November 18, 2016

guardiola
“Former Bayern Munich manager and current Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola, speaking after Bavarian side’s 5-1 triumph over Arsenal last season, was famously said: What I want, my desire, is to have one hundred percent possession. Bayern Munich had enjoyed sixty nine percent of possession in that game as goals from Robert Lewandowki, Thomas Muller, David Alaba and Arjen Robben gave Arsenal nightmares that probably suggested the extent of damage that possession football can usually do.” backpagefootball


Ante Ćorić – Between the Dream and the Reality

October 27, 2016

WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 10: Ante Coric of Croatia shoots past Liam Moore of England during the UEFA U21 Championship Playoff First Leg match between England and Croatia at Molineux on October 10, 2014 in Wolverhampton, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
“The scoreboard at the Maksimir stadium indicated 94:45 minutes during the mid-September Champions League game between Dinamo Zagreb and Arsenal. In the fifth minute of extra-time, Arsenal urgently searched for late equalizer but the match ended with a historic 2-1 Dinamo victory. But the score could have been even more decisive for Dinamo.” Futbolgrad (Video)