Tottenham’s staying power in question as economic gravity pulls hard

December 14, 2017

“Gravity can be annoyingly persistent. Mauricio Pochettino, as so often, said all the right things after Tottenham Hotspur’s 2-0 win against Brighton & Hove Albion on Wednesday. He is looking forward to the challenge of taking on Manchester City. He is ‘positive’. He promised Tottenham will ‘enjoy it’. They will go to the Etihad Stadium to win. Which is all well and good. Perhaps Tottenham will end both Manchester City’s run of 15 successive league wins and their own miserable record in away games against other top-six sides. Perhaps they will, at least temporarily, return a flicker of excitement to a title race that seems all but run. However, there is a lurking sense that none of it really matters. …” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson

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Season of instability will tell us a lot more about Zinedine Zidane

December 14, 2017

“Going into Saturday’s clash with Sevilla, Real Madrid had been experiencing their worst La Liga start since 2008. Questions were being asked of Zinedine Zidane. Despite his incredible European and domestic success in the last two years, there are still those who doubt him. And while the 5-0 thrashing dished out to their hapless weekend visitors was a timely reminder of their capabilities, questions remain about the champions and their manager. …” Backpage Football


Tactical Analysis: Arsenal 1-3 Manchester United | Heavy man orientation and poor spacing

December 6, 2017

“The Gunners vs The Reds. A fixture once regarded as the pinnacle of English football in the mid to late 90s has been relegated to second rate status. The teams were the dominant Premier League sides around the turn of the century but both have dropped off in the last few years. Arsenal started as expected with their now customary 3-4-3 system with Lacazette starting (in a big game finally). Arsenal’s game plan was to play a cautious possession game where they got men forward in limited numbers and hoped to score. …” Outside of the Boot


Nigel Pearson interview: On the challenge at Belgian club OH Leuven

December 6, 2017

“Nigel Pearson is back. On a cold, overcast December morning he supervises OH Leuven’s practice session at a modest training complex enclosed by woodland. The canteen has received a lick of paint and Pearson selects a few photos to dress up this home from home for the manager and his players. A small group of journalists quiz the former Leicester coach about his move to Belgium. He looks content and relaxed, even when the questions become repetitive. Leuven is a provincial town, home to one of Europe’s oldest universities and, perhaps more famously, Stella Artois. …” The Set Pieces


Liga NOS Talents: Beyond The Big Three

December 6, 2017

“When most people think of the Portuguese league, they think about youngsters and exciting, creative players. Overall, I think they’re right: wingers and attacking midfielders are our thing and, whether they are Portuguese or foreigners who came to make the jump, this is very much a hunting ground for the European elite. …”” StatsBomb


Identifying Ligue 1’s Next Breakout Talent: Houssem Aouar

December 3, 2017

“The summer of 2017 was when big named players from Olympique Lyonnais left for greener pastures. Alexandre Lacazette finally made his long-awaited move to Arsenal, Corentin Tolisso left for Bayern Munich, Maxime Gonalons took his talents to Italy and signed for Roma. Even Rachid Ghezzal, a player who was equally as frustrating as he was brilliant, left for Monaco on a free transfer. While it might be a bit much to claim that this was going to be a new era, it was clear that there was a distinctly youthful approach occurring, with the club once again tapping into its famous academy along with the youthful players they bought as replacements for the departed. …” Stats Bomb (Video)


Copa Libertadores 2017: Classy Gremio Worthy Winners

December 3, 2017

“With the first half of the decisive Libertadores final second leg drawing to a close, Gremio’s excellent Luan produced a moment worth of winning any competition. The 24-year-old support striker found space on the left and drifted in-field towards a retreating and uncharacteristically ragged Lanus backline, before effortlessly waltzing past a couple of defenders and exquisitely dinking the ball over Esteban Andrada to make it 2-0 on the night and three ahead on aggregate. …” Outside of the Boot