Coherent, convincing and modern: Gareth Southgate offers touch of hope

May 18, 2018

“Know ye by this press conference that we, the FA, consent to the contracting of World Cup squad-ship between our dearly beloved Gareth and his brave 23-man selection. Although obviously not Jack, Joe, Adam or Jonjo who are on this occasion gutted to miss out, but for whom the door is never closed, and all the lads are still very much in the frame going forwards. …” Guardian (Video)

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Sunderland’s hall of shame: club’s (mostly bad) signings under Short

April 29, 2018


“These are all the transfers/seasons that post-date May 2009 when Ellis Short assumed full control of Sunderland. Short did take a controlling interest in the club in September 2008 but we have not included recruitment between then and summer 2009 as, at that time, he delegated transfer business to Niall Quinn and the Drumaville consortium also still had a limited say.” Guardian


Will Carlo Ancelotti be Italy’s next manager?

April 29, 2018

“The deadline the FIGC gave for the announcement of the new Italy manager is fast approaching. Billy Costacurta, one of commissioner Roberto Fabbricini’s deputies, promised Giampiero Ventura’s permanent successor would be in place by May 20.  His former teammate and manager, Carlo Ancelotti, has always been the frontrunner. The last elected FIGC president, Carlo Tavecchio wanted him in situ immediately after Sweden qualified for this summer’s World Cup at Italy’s expense. …” Investobet


Vulnerable channels and 20 zones: the tactics behind Guardiola’s title win

April 25, 2018

“Ottmar Hitzfeld, the former Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich manager, used to speak of the red zone, a central area of the pitch just outside the penalty box. Control that, he believed, and you controlled the game. If in your half you denied the opposition the ball in that space, they were forced wide and while crosses can be dangerous they are a low percentage route to goal. …” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson (Video)


The best players out of contract: Reina, Robben, Buffon, Can, Ribery, Wilshere

April 25, 2018

“The football season is coming to a close, which can only mean one thing: agents gearing up for business over the summer. The Premier League transfer window doesn’t officially open until 17 May but there are many out-of-contract players ready to pack their bags. Among them could include Jack Wilshere, who has been offered a new deal at Arsenal, serial Bayern Munich winners Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery and Liverpool midfielder Emre Can. But how much do you know about others who have performed well this season, according to the CIES Football Observatory? The research group has compiled a top-50 list based on six different areas for outfield players, including recovery, distribution, chance creation and shooting. …” BBC


Scouting Leon Bailey

April 13, 2018


“Chances are you’ve heard someone wax lyrical about Leon Bailey this season. The 20-year-old winger’s transfer from Genk to Bayer Leverkusen in January of 2017 wasn’t an attention grabber outside of certain circles but, since then, he has certainly gained many new admirers. Through 25 games Bailey has notched 9 goals and 6 assists in 1841 minutes, with solid expected numbers underlying that. He’s established himself as a mainstay in this resurgent and entertaining Leverkusen team. When everything’s clicking the lad is a thrill to watch, turning defenders inside out and causing widespread panic amongst the opposition. There’s still plenty of time for him to grow too. Whether it be this summer or next there’s no doubt the biggest clubs in Europe will be circling around the BayArena soon enough, large briefcases of cash in hand. So let’s take a look at what they’d be getting, shall we? …” Stats Bomb (Video)


Roma send Barcelona out of Champions League: ‘Debacle’, ‘ridicule’, ‘fall of an empire’

April 13, 2018

“There is certainly a consensus among the Spanish media: Barcelona got what they deserved in Rome on Tuesday night, suffering elimination from the Champions League at the quarter-final stage for the third consecutive season after an abject performance. Having a 4-1 first-leg lead overturned by a Roma team 21 points off the pace in Serie A was the last thing Barca expected, and it will take a while for reality to sink in as the Catalan giants come to terms with one of the most shocking results in the club’s recent history. …” BBC