World Cup 2014: England Squad Selector – pick your 23 then compare with our choices

May 6, 2014

“Ever wanted to be Roy Hodgson? It’s a common condition. His is a life of easy charm, muted bookishness and lovely warm coats. But there’s one unenviable task looming for the England manager ahead of Fifa World Cup 2014 in Brazil, and that’s picking 23 men to make up a squad capable of avoiding humiliation. With Hodgson set to announce his provisional list of players on Monday May 12, we’ve cast the net wide for potential England squad members, from the players who are on the plane barring a late metatarsal injury (Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard, Joe Hart), the youngsters who may or may not have done enough to impress (Luke Shaw, Ross Barkley) and the longshots (Rio Ferdinand, John Terry, ideally both at once).” Telegraph – Henry Winter

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Arsène Wenger at Arsenal and Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United prove the value of the ‘manager’

December 22, 2013

“Some self-admiring owners invade the dressing room, diluting the power of the manager, a damaging trend. If Arsène Wenger guides Arsenal to glory in the Premier League it would be a wonderful, well-timed triumph for the managerial profession. Managers are not just for Christmas. Even Wenger’s rivals would surely acknowledge privately the long-term benefit for their industry of the success of a manager who will have been in his job almost 18 years, who alone decides recruitment and loan policy, whose influence is so all-pervading at the Emirates that he even chose the wall colours.” Telegraph – Henry Winter


Burnley manager Sean Dyche eager to take Championship leaders into the Premier League

December 15, 2013

“Sean Dyche strides from Burnley’s training pitch on the banks of the River Calder, having taken his Championship-leading players through a detailed and energetic session in advance of Saturday’s trip to third-placed Leicester City, and marches into a modest building that resembles a Lancashire village hall on the outside but Nasa on the inside. It is all sports science, mission statements on the wall and borrowed hi-tech running machines. It is clear there is far more to Dyche, the 42-year-old former centre-half, than the general perception. His shaven-headed, physically imposing presence belies a sophisticated approach to the game, a hunger for knowledge and a determination to change critical views of English coaches.” Telegraph – Henry Winter


World Cup draw set to reveal unique magic

December 1, 2013

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“Day after day, reports from the land of the next World Cup send shudders through the soul. A collapsing crane claims the lives of two construction workers at the stadium in Sao Paulo. The Brazilian FA, the CBF, makes the sad announcement that the legendary left-back Nilton Santos has passed away after a lung infection. Concerns rise over local companies fleecing visiting fans over accommodation and internal flights. Anger at socio-economic problems is expressed through protests. The 2014 World Cup is currently associated with many issues, few relating to the promise of an on-field spectacle.” Telegraph – Henry Winter (Video)


West Bromwich Albion 2 Aston Villa 2: match report

November 26, 2013

“With one decision, Paul Lambert changed the destiny of this thunderous West Midlands derby. With one bold move, a triple substitution after 57 minutes, Lambert re-energised Aston Villa, seizing the initiative back from a West Bromwich Albion side who had been magnificent until then. Lambert had had to act. Albion were leading 2-0 and should have been over the horizon. Shane Long was so good, almost unplayable at times. He scored two fine goals, the first full of power, the second full of deftness.” Telegraph – Henry Winter


Arsenal 2-0 Napoli: Arsenal win the game early by attacking down the right flank

October 2, 2013

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“Arsene Wenger fielded five natural central midfielders, but Napoli were opened up repeatedly in their left-back zone. Wenger was without a variety of players comfortable in wide roles – Theo Walcott, Santi Cazorla, Lukas Podolski and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – while Jack Wilshere was rested, with Mikel Arteta coming into the side and Arsenal’s three attacking midfielders playing fluid roles. Rafael Benitez was still without Christian Maggio, and also lost Gonzalo Higuain through injury. Arsenal were dominant from the first whistle, and Napoli rarely offered a goal threat.”
Zonal Marking

Arsenal 2 Napoli 0: Mesut Özil sets the tone as Arsene Wenger’s side turn on the style against Napoli
“When Arsenal play with the precision, pace and elegance that spiced some of their mesmerising first-half movement here the feeling grows stronger and stronger that the long, soul-searching, inquisition-scarred wait for a trophy might yet end this season. If it does, the player who should touch the trophy first should be Mesut Özil, who impressed again in a 2-0 victory. The German has strengthened Arsenal psychologically and as an attacking, trophy-threatening force. He has brought belief, assists and now his first goal for the club, a strike that celebrated his sumptuous technique. Özil was almost unplayable at times, gliding hither and thither, twisting away from opponents, the ball merrily snuggling his left foot, leaving Napoli bewildered and bewitched. Telegraph – Henry Winter

 


Manchester City 4 Manchester United 1: match report

September 22, 2013

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“As Manchester City fans staged a party, a search party was scrambled for Manchester United’s defence. The champions were so disorganised and lacking in resilience for 50 minutes as City ripped them apart through swift counters and set-pieces. Sergio Aguero took the headlines with his brace but there were superb performances throughout the City ranks. Samir Nasri, a weak link in previous Derbies, was outstanding here, tracking back, creating and scoring and deservedly being named man of the match. Yaya Toure controlled central midfield, totally eclipsing Marouane Fellaini, and popping up to score at a corner.” Telegraph – Henry Winter

Manchester City 4-1 Manchester United: Tactical Analysis
“The Manchester derby is a game that is always filled with drama and excitement. In recent times owing to City’s new found wealth, it’s become a fixture about more than bragging rights and 3 points alone. With both sides battling it out in the upper echelons of the Premier League, the fixture has taken on even more significance. Both Moyes and Pellegrini experienced their first taste of the rivalry and had an early chance to lay down that much talked about early marker.” Outside of the Boot

Manchester City’s success built on Samir Nasri and Aleksandar Kolarov
“Samir Nasri was the villain in this fixture last season, when his half-hearted attempt at blocking a Robin van Persie free-kick sent the ball spinning past Joe Hart to seal a Manchester United victory, but the Frenchman was one of the key performers in this superb City display. Both sides were not far off playing a simple 4-4-2, but whereas United were rigid and unimaginative throughout Nasri was the only player who varied his positioning intelligently.” Guardian