Salah shines as Klopp earns tactical triumph amid his touchline theatrics


“Towards the end of this thrilling, slightly wild afternoon at Anfield, Jürgen Klopp could be seen with his arms outspread, a tableau of pathos, disbelief, astonishment, bewildered to find himself handed a red card by Anthony Taylor and sent from his touchline. As Klopp whirled away, almost sprinting from pitchside, air‑guitaring wildly, still barking and yelping and pointing, it was hard to disagree with his look of stunned surprise. This made no sense at all. How exactly had Klopp managed to last 85 minutes out there? …”
Guardian (Video)
SI: Liverpool Proves It Has Plenty of Fight Left in Drama-Filled Win Over Man City – Jonathan Wilson
BBC – Liverpool 1-0 Man City: ‘Why Liverpool had to wait for Joe Gomez to get back to his best’ – Martin Keown analysis
Liverpool 1-0 Man City: Player ratings as magic Salah fires Reds to win
Liverpool vs. Manchester City score: Mohamed Salah nets winner at Anfield as Jurgen Klopp sees red (Video)
Guardian: Klopp’s reliance on the undroppables reveals Liverpool’s soft underbelly

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Countdown to Qatar: How Prepared Is the USMNT for the World Cup?

“Gregg Berhalter’s World Cup plan exists in many fragments across several mediums. There are whiteboards at the U.S. Soccer Federation headquarters containing tactical outlines and depth charts, as well as spreadsheets with detailed roster breakdowns. An internal database hosts all of the U.S. men’s national team’s logistics, and then there are the details constantly swirling in his own mind. …”
The Ringer

Martín Zubimendi: The Real Sociedad Midfielder Finding Stardom in Simplicity

“… Of course, we all see Busquets when he’s receiving a pass 30 metres from goal with a marker draped on him, before ridding them with a drag back to shift them off balance. What Del Bosque refers to is the 90-minute experience of the lone defensive midfielder, to whom so much of the team’s equilibrium is tied, and whose many acts are almost too subtle to detect in the moment. While the team machine keeps functioning, the pivote can become a hostage to recognition. And when it breaks down, they’re among the first to hear about it. In current times, this process is fresher in the mind of Martín Zubimendi than anyone else in La Liga. …”
The Analyst

Barcelona’s financial mess: Champions League exit, more levers, Coutinho debt


“Around Camp Nou, it was mostly an eerie silence on the final whistle of Barcelona’s 3-3 draw with Inter Milan, as it dawned on the home fans that their club are now almost certainly eliminated from the 2022-23 Champions League already, with two group games still to play. As Inter’s players, coaches and fans celebrated in their small pockets, most of the 92,302 crowd were stunned and exhausted — as were the Barcelona team, their coach Xavi Hernandez and the club’s president Joan Laporta. …”
The Athletic (Video)

Steven Gerrard was a free spirit as a player but his management style is repetitive – it leaves fans cold


“Towards the end of Steven Gerrard’s time at Rangers there was a distinct feeling that things had gone stale. It was the fourth season of playing the same way, with largely the same group of players. They had lost to Malmo in the Champions League qualifiers, the Europa League group was a drag and domestic games had long become like carbon copies of each other, regardless of the opposition. …”
The Athletic (Video)

La Liga Chief’s Feud With P.S.G. President Veers Into Court

“For months, it seemed, the feud between the leader of Spain’s top soccer league and the president of the Qatar-owned French team Paris St.-Germain has played out noisily, and in public. Javier Tebas, the outspoken president of La Liga, would regularly criticize Paris St.-Germain and its Qatari leaders, accusing them of flagrantly breaking European soccer’s financial rules. And occasionally, the P.S.G. president, Nasser al-Khelaifi, would respond to Tebas with his own accusations, questioning the health of Spanish soccer, or trade barbs with him in the news media and in speeches. The more high-stakes fight, it turns out, was taking place behind the scenes. …”
NY Times

Italy: Serie A, 2022-23 season


“The map page has a location-map of 2022-23 Serie A, along with 3 charts. The location-map features each club’s home kit [2022-23]. The map also shows the 20 Regions of Italy. And the map also shows the 11 largest cities in Italy (2020 metropolitan-area figures) {Metropolitan cities of Italy}. The cities’ population figures can be seen at the top of the location-map. Also, the map shows the locations of both the 3 promoted clubs and the 3 relegated clubs from 2022…Promoted to Serie A for 2022-23: Lecce, Cremonese, Monza; relegated to Serie B for 2022-23: Cagliari, Genoa, Venezia. …”
billsportsmaps
Guardian: Milan bounce back against Juventus to give Allegri a slap in the face
The Analyst: Italian Serie A 2022-23 Season Stats

It Is What It Is: How the Oxford English Dictionary parked the bus against the language of football

“Welcome to the latest instalment of It Is What It Is, the sister column to Adam Hurrey’s Football Cliches podcast, a parallel mission into the heart of the tiny things in football you never thought really mattered… until you were offered a closer look. The dictionary supremos finally open their footballing floodgates. There are some cast-iron guarantees in the annual UK news cycle, the hardy slow-news-day perennials that keep the wheel turning. … See also: some words that will infuriate your parents, let alone your grandparents, have made their way into the Oxford English Dictionary. …”
The Athletic

Business decisions that changed Football forever

Football today is big business. Not only do the best teams have to be great on the pitch, but they have to be great in the board room too. But what makes a great decision in the football business? And what are the best decisions ever made in football? From player transfers, to sponsorship deals, to club structure, Abhishek Raj writes about some of the best decisions, Philippe Fenner illustrates.
YouTube

Children went to a football match and didn’t come home. The story of the Kanjuruhan Stadium tragedy


“Enshrined behind the gates that claimed so many lives at the Kanjuruhan Stadium is a chilling sight. Once they catch your eye, everything changes. The shoes, left by the dead. They sit alongside the twisted, contorted blue iron railings which have been forced from their concrete mountings. Walking in those shoes — the Adidas trainer, the flip-flop, the child’s red Croc — during those final moments came with fear, indescribable pain and, for so many, no way out. …”
The Athletic (Video)

Julen Lopetegui’s Golden Era at Sevilla is Over

“Julen Lopetegui’s golden era at Sevilla is over. The man who took the club into the Champions League knockout stage and won a Europa League title, beating Manchester United and Inter Milan along the way, has been relieved of his duties. For a brief, wonderful moment, Lopetegui let the Sevilla fans dream of a LaLiga title challenge. His sacking shouldn’t be viewed as a failure though. Sevilla flew too close to the sun under Lopetegui and given their strict economic policy and wage structure, they have to retreat now and think about the longer term future of the club. …”
The Analyst

Manchester United top the table (in paying off departed managers)

“The relentless pursuit of success comes at a cost. For Manchester United, the cost is an estimated £60million spent on sacking managers and their backroom staff since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in May 2013. David Moyes, Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick all received compensation. This financial outlay is more than Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur have spent changing their manager in the same 10-year timeframe. …”
The Athletic

Read this if you want to understand the Trent Alexander-Arnold Liverpool v England ‘debate’


“Whenever there’s an England squad, especially with the World Cup on the horizon, the eternal debate rises: should Trent Alexander-Arnold start for England? Critics will point out his defensive frailties, others will argue that Alexander-Arnold’s game shouldn’t be judged on those weaknesses and Jurgen Klopp will explain why his No 66 is so vital to Liverpool. And round we go again. But what if everyone is right? And what if that is OK? …”
The Athletic
Guardian: Faltering Liverpool are at a crossroads and Klopp is hard-pressed to find answers – Jonathan Wilson

Newcastle United’s transfer, stadium and investment plans one year after takeover


“This is the first of three articles this week to mark the one-year anniversary of Newcastle United’s controversial takeover by a Saudi-backed consortium. Today George Caulkin and Chris Waugh explain how the club has changed in 12 months. Tomorrow Oliver Kay visits Saudi Arabia to ask questions about how the takeover is perceived there, football’s role in the country and allegations of sportswashing. On Friday Matt Slater examines the degree of Saudi involvement and influence at the Premier League club. …”
The Athletic , Newcastle’s takeover: In Saudi Arabia, exploring how the club fits a country’s vision, Newcastle United’s takeover: How strong is Saudi Arabia’s influence one year on?

Manchester United’s flawed press made life far too easy for City

Manchester City were irresistible in attack throughout their 6-3 victory over Manchester United on Sunday afternoon. They constantly showcased the patterns we’ve come to expect: Kevin De Bruyne overlapping and then crossing, Bernardo Silva dropping deep in midfield and then pushing into the channel, Phil Foden drifting inside from the right, Jack Grealish storming forward from the left, and Erling Haaland banging in the goals. When City work the ball into the final third, they sometimes feel unstoppable. …”
The Athletic – Michael Cox

Ex-footballer survey: Retirement struggles, relationship break-ups, finding a new career

“David Ginola once described retiring from football as ‘a little death’. For many players, that may not be an overstatement. Stepping away from a job which has defined a huge part of your life is a challenge for most people; but what happens when you are at an age which would be considered relatively young by normal standards? Life after football — in terms of self-esteem, relationships and financial stability — is one of the main themes in The Athletic’s ex-footballer survey, where 111 former professional players have responded to a series of questions about retirement and its impact. …”
The Athletic (Video)

Manchester City played digital football. United are a dial-up version


“… With 44 minutes gone at the Etihad Stadium Manchester City scored a goal that brought the usual cheers and roars, but also something else, the urge to laugh. City had already spent the first half playing football that seemed to have benefited from an operating system upgrade, demonstrating the latest miracle processor against a batch of red-shirted patsies. The move to make it 4-0 was a moment of super-compression, lines cut in a perfect zigzag from outside City’s penalty area to the far left-hand corner of the Manchester United goal without friction or drag or loss of scale. …”
Guardian (Video)
NY Times: How Do You Stop Erling Haaland? You Don’t. (Video)
The Athletic (Video)

The Crisis Clubs: a Weekly Guide to Premier League Turmoil

“In case you hadn’t noticed, each week the Premier League has a specific team in crisis. Bad form, shock results, poor management, unforced errors; some or all of these factors can plunge one of the division’s 20 sides into momentary turmoil, transforming them into the main character in Premier League narrative for that week. More often than not the crisis club will be a member of the Big Six but not always and, no matter who it is, the next set of fixtures will invariably throw up a new team to take up the crisis mantle, and the nation’s attention will pivot instantly to the league’s new whipping boys for the week. Here, then, is an ongoing guide to the Premier League’s crisis clubs in 2022-23. …”
The Analyst

Mexico’s worrying injuries, ‘public enemy No. 1’ manager and low expectations

“Mexico lost to Colombia 3-2 in their second of two World Cup friendlies during the September FIFA window. Injuries to several key starters and the continued embattlement of manager Gerardo Martino dominated the headlines in Mexico. The Mexicans have one final World Cup tune-up against Sweden in Girona, Spain on November 16 before their opening match of the tournament against Poland. But this window left plenty to analyze. …”
The Athletic

Juventus Learns That Progress Requires a Plan


“The fairest way, perhaps, is simply to recount the story as Massimiliano Allegri told it, stripped of all interpretation and emphasis. It is not a long one. Earlier this month, a few minutes after Benfica had beaten his Juventus team in the Champions League, Allegri ran into Rui Costa — the Portuguese team’s president — in the corridors of the Allianz Stadium in Turin. …”
NY Times

From Podcast to Promised Land? Could Open Goal Replicate Its Studio Success on the Pitch and Progress through Scotland’s Footballing Pyramid?

“Scottish football has never been in short supply of intrigue or unpredictability. Counter to claims south of the border, the game in Scotland is alive and well and arguably far more blockbuster than its English cousin. Many outsiders harness their views on Scottish football exclusively through the exploits of its two famous Glasgow clubs, who have indeed historically cast a dominant shadow over the country. True, the almost soap-style drama of Celtic and Rangers’ ferocious rivalry certainly contributes heavily to Scotland’s footballing dynamic and, by extension, embeds itself into the very fabric of native society. However, those invested in the narrative of the Scottish game would swiftly point to a myriad of other tasty plotlines. …”
Football Paradise

How to take notes when watching football

“Trying to capture everything imaginable when watching a football match remains an impossible endeavour. But simultaneously, trying to capture absolutely nothing beyond the first glance won’t necessarily yield great results in your task to remember important information and events. You’ve probably heard it before as professors lamented your lack of note taking in university, but you are far more likely to remember information if you take the time to write it down. Your distracted brain already has a million other things to focus on, and if you don’t take the time to write down your thoughts, the chances of allowing a thought to go from short-term to long-term memory becomes less by the second. …”
The Mastermindsite (Audio)

Active vs passive centre-backs: What the data tells us about different roles


“For those coming to this article to discover who is the ‘best’ Premier League centre-back statistically, you are going to be disappointed. The truth is, evaluating any defender based on the data will rarely show one is better than another, but will instead give you an indication of a player’s — or team’s — style. We could compare players in high-pressing sides with those in low-pressing ones; we could contrast ball-playing defenders with those who have a more no-nonsense approach; we could even identify centre-back partnerships by cat or dog-like behaviours. On this occasion, we ask: What does the data tell us about active and passive centre-backs in the league? …”
The Athletic (Video)

Juventus and Allegri struggles go on as Spalletti and Gasperini take centre stage


“A different coach has won Serie A in each of the past four years. A different team has been crowned champions in each of the past three seasons. On the one hand, this serves as a reminder of Italy’s strength in depth in the technical area. On the other, it highlights a renewed domestic competitiveness. Serie A went down to the final day in May and looking at the table now I can’t be the only one scratching my head, musing on who will be celebrating the Scudetto come June. …”
The Athletic

Bruno Fernandes exclusive: Manchester United’s ‘ghosts of the past’ and marking the referee

“Thirty-five minutes into the second assignment of the Premier League season and the scoreboard reads Brentford 4-0 Manchester United. An optimistic pre-season tour under new manager Erik ten Hag has given way to a season-opening defeat by Brighton at Old Trafford and then comes United’s most dismal half of football in recent memory in west London. …”
The Athletic (Video)
W – Bruno Fernandes

Kalvin Phillips’ rare skill set means his shoulder injury is a big problem for England


“Before every World Cup, we are struck with the unfortunate news of an injury to an important player. In 2018, it was Dani Alves for Brazil. Four years before that, it was the unlucky Marco Reus, who this weekend was stretched off against Schalke, with fears that he may also miss the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. And in 2010, it was Michael Ballack who sustained an ankle injury in the FA Cup final against Portsmouth. …”
The Athletic (Video)

The crisis baton passes to Leicester City and Brendan Rodgers


“LEICESTER CITY’s latest defeat, at Tottenham Hotspur by six goals to two, underlines the crisis that is unfolding at the club. It also highlights the plight of their manager, Brendan Rodgers, who will be only too aware that he has a big hole to quickly dig himself out of. In the Premier League, there is always a ‘crisis club’ and this season, the baton has passed from Manchester United to Liverpool to Chelsea to Leicester City. The moment a club dips into the crisis zone, they are rarely left alone to work themselves out. …”
Game of the People

Using StatsBomb 360 Data As A Performance Analyst

“Ever since the release of StatsBomb 360, we’ve shown how this new dataset is the ultimate upgrade on traditional event data. 360 allows you to detect deeper insights, such as players who receive the ball in space, the positioning of defenders around each event, whether a pass was line-breaking and how many defenders it bypassed, and plenty more. On top of this, we’ve shown you practical use cases for the data in finding new insights into football and creating bespoke visualisations which display this. …”
Stats Bomb

England squad: Toney selected on form but others rely on Southgate’s loyalty


Marcus Rashford has not kicked a ball for England since that fateful penalty shootout in the European Championship final against Italy last July. Jadon Sancho has appeared just once. And after being left out of Gareth Southgate’s latest squad today (Thursday), the Manchester United duo really are running out of time to force their way into his World Cup plans. …”
The Athletic (Video)

How to win the World Cup – Chris Evans (2022)


The art of international football management – by those who’ve done it: “The pinnacle of the game. A job reserved only for the very best. That was how an international manager’s role was viewed for decades. The World Cup was where the globe’s top coaches would meet in the dugout, just as the best players were doing so on the pitch. While the growing importance of domestic leagues and the Champions League has curbed international football’s reputation in the 21st century, there remains a special enchantment to leading a national team to glory. No other job in football gives a manager the chance to bring such unbridled joy to so many people. …”
Guardian
amazon

Analysing Bayern Munich 2 Barcelona 0: Xavi’s Alonso gamble, misfiring Lewandowski and ruthless Sane


“A ruthless 10-minute spell immediately after half-time helped Bayern Munich beat Barcelona at the Allianz Arena, with goals from Lucas Hernandez and Leroy Sane sealing three points for Julian Nagelsmann’s side. Barcelona dominated the first half but Robert Lewandowski failed to make Bayern pay on his return to Munich. Whatever the Bayern head coach Nagelsmann said at the break did the trick — by the 54th minute they were two goals ahead, first a header by Hernandez and then a neat finish from Sane. …”
The Athletic

The transfer window stories we heard but could not report Illustration of an agent on the phone


“The transfer window is a weird and wonderful place. … So much that happens during the window, which was officially open for 83 days between June 10 and September 1 in England but in reality is an ongoing conversation throughout the year, can’t always be written down. The majority of the activity involving agents, players, managers, sporting directors, recruitment staff and owners exists in the margins. It’s neither official nor unofficial, but somewhere in between. The task of journalists is to try to pull information from these grey areas, comprehensively source it and ‘stand it up’, to get to the point of being able to press publish. …”
The Athletic

Fixture fatigue: What happens to players when the games pile up

“… It was early August when Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp revealed his concern over the potential impact this winter’s World Cup could have on international players. Fixture congestion is nothing new (nor are managers’ complaints about it) but adding a major tournament into the mix mid-season, with only brief pauses before and after it, certainly is. ‘… Clubs competing in Europe have no free midweek until the turn of the year, so this round of fixtures will likely be added to the list for early 2023, further complicating life for teams who progress in cup competitions domestically and in Europe. …”
The Athletic

Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea sacking – the inside story told from both sides


“Chelsea’s sombre players shunned most of their non-mandatory media duties as they made their way out of Stadion Maksimir after Champions League humiliation at the hands of Dinamo Zagreb on Tuesday evening, only to find their discomfort was far from over. Boarding the plane that would take them back to England from the Croatian capital meant filing awkwardly past the front rows of seats containing head coach Thomas Tuchel and his staff, as well as co-owners Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali. …”
The Athletic
Guardian – Style, central midfield and strikers: Potter’s key Chelsea issues to tackle

Why Leroy Sane’s late runs into the Inter box were so crucial for Bayern Munich

“On Tuesday evening, an Italian side playing 3-5-2 were defeated by the runs of a speedy attacker — starting deeper and narrower than you’d expect, but going in behind. Kylian Mbappe scored the opener for Paris Saint-Germain against Juventus and got the second goal, too. On Wednesday evening, an Italian side playing 3-5-2 were defeated by the runs of a speedy attacker — starting deeper and narrower than you’d expect, but going in behind. Leroy Sane scored the opener for Bayern Munich against Inter Milan and forced the own goal that was their second. …”
The Athletic – Michael Cox

This Shoe Changed Football Forever

The Adidas Predator, one of the most iconic football boots in the game. Worn by true legends, Zinedine Zidane, David Beckham, Xavi Hernandez. But before it became popular it was regarded as controversial. This is the story of how an Australian footballer had an idea, stuck some rubber to an old boot, and convinced one of the biggest sportswear brands in the world to make his boot. Written by Seb Stafford-Bloor, illustrated by Craig Silcock.
YouTube

How Sandro Tonali’s shifting roles helped decide a rollercoaster Milan derby


“If you are riding a rollercoaster, there are always ups and downs. And that was certainly the case in this weekend’s Derby della Madonnina between AC Milan and Inter Milan. Inter took the lead, Milan equalised, then dominated and scored twice to go 3-1 ahead. Then Inter hit back and, but for some miraculous goalkeeping by Mike Maignan and a tactical tweak by Stefano Pioli, could well have salvaged a point. … In this piece, The Athletic breaks down the key tactical battles from the game…”
The Athletic

Lee Mason not selected as VAR for this weekend’s Premier League fixtures

“Lee Mason has not been selected as a video assistant referee for any Premier League match at the weekend, following a controversial disallowed goal for Newcastle against Crystal Palace on Saturday. Mason, who became a dedicated VAR at the start of last season after retiring as an on-field referee, was in the booth for the match. The on-field referee, Michael Salisbury, initially awarded an own goal by Tyrick Mitchell but was recommended to review the incident by Mason. …”
Guardian

Manchester United showed why passing backwards to go forwards is so valuable

Manchester United’s opening goal against Arsenal was a thing of beauty. It wasn’t simply that the goal featured all 11 players, or the fact United cut through Arsenal’s lines smoothly. It was about how they created the situation — playing four backwards passes and going from level with the opposition penalty area right back to their goalkeeper. It was a perfect demonstration of the value of going backwards. …”
The Athletic: Michael Cox

The backpass rule changed 30 years ago. Is it time to look at going to the corner?

“I was watching old football matches on YouTube the other day, and a striker was standing in front of the opposing goalkeeper and waving his arms. The goalkeeper had calmly taken a pass from a teammate on the halfway line and then carried it around for 20 seconds. I know, of course, that this was allowed in the past, but at first I was irritated. The sight was so unfamiliar. …”
Guardian

Tata Martino on ‘pessimism’ surrounding Mexico national team before World Cup


“At club level, Martino is revered in Atlanta, the city where he led Atlanta United to an MLS Cup championship in 2018. But on Wednesday night, wearing a red Adidas Mexico national team tracksuit, Martino was booed and jeered by the over 50,000 Mexican supporters that attended El Tri’s friendly against Paraguay at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, where the Fuera Tata chant was heard throughout the match. Mexico lost 1-0 in a non-FIFA sanctioned scrimmage that featured only Liga MX-based players, but even a loss in the low stake games are enough to rankle Mexico’s rabid fanbase. …”
The Athletic
W – Gerardo Martino

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

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

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

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

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)

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

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

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

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

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)

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