Football Weekly: Hungary qualify for Euro 2016 as England’s friendly with France goes ahead

November 18, 2015

“The podders reflect on the Euro 2016 playoffs and the rest of the international friendlies. Plus, Raúl retires, Paul Lambert heads to Blackburn Rovers and Jimmy Floyd Hasslebaink remains in high demand. On today’s Football Weekly, AC Jimbo is joined by Jacob Steinberg, Michael Cox and John Ashdown to look back on the Euro 2016 qualifiers, with a bit of help from Jonathan Wilson, who was in Bosnia to see (or not) Ireland’s 1-1 draw with Dzecko and co in the fog, and then in Budapest to witness Hungary qualifying for their first major tournament in 30 years, and is now en route to Slovenia. Because that’s the sort of thing he does.” Guardian – Michael Cox, Jonathan Wilson, etc. (Video)

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Mauricio Pochettino is building Spurs from the back, the opposite of Arsenal

November 10, 2015

“Once upon a time, pundits said that great teams were ‘built from the back.’ Concentrating on defence before attack was considered the optimum way to create a winning machine, but this has proved trickier in an era when almost every fan base is determined for their side to play ‘good football’ and managers aren’t given much time to impress. Besides, whereas great defending was once considered the domain of the back four, and maybe a screening midfield player too, it’s now a collective effort. Can great teams be built from the back if the defending starts from the front?” ESPN – Michael Cox


Premier League’s limitations shown by dull Manchester derby draw

October 28, 2015

“Everyone who watched Sunday’s Manchester derby agreed it was a largely terrible game of football. Well, almost everyone. The counter argument was launched by Gary Neville, Britain’s finest television pundit, who has genuinely helped change perceptions of football through his brilliant Monday Night Football slot. Neville was a fine defender during his playing days, the type of footballer who became top-class because his intelligence was built upon experience, rather than through incredible natural talent. It’s not surprising, therefore, that he’s a fine commentator and marvels at good defensive organisation.” ESPN – Michael Cox


Crystal Palace, Leicester, West Ham using counter-attack to great effect

September 27, 2015

“Manchester City and Manchester United are occupying the top two positions in the Premier League table, but the real story is the over-achievement of some exciting underdogs. West Ham United, Leicester City and Crystal Palace have been among the most impressive teams in the division and are all sitting pretty towards the top. Interestingly, the trio have something very obvious in common: they’ve all been excellent on the counter-attack. The statistics summarise the situation. These three sides are among the worst teams in terms of possession: West Ham with 45 percent, Crystal Palace and Leicester with 44. Only Tony Pulis’ West Brom (42 percent) are beneath them.” ESPN – Michael Cox


Alexis Sanchez could be the forward Arsenal have been searching for

September 10, 2015

“The revelation that Danny Welbeck will miss half the season — days after the summer transfer window ended without Arsene Wenger’s buying a single senior outfielder — prompted anger from Arsenal fans frustrated by the lack of a superstar striker. Olivier Giroud has improved since joining in 2012, but he is unlikely to hit 20 league goals, while Theo Walcott still doesn’t look like a reliable out-and-out striker.” ESPN – Michael Cox


Tactical dilemmas for Pellegrini and Mourinho before Man City vs. Chelsea

August 14, 2015

“Manchester City vs. Chelsea might be a title decider if it were played on the second-to-last weekend of the season, rather than the second overall. It’s highly unusual to encounter such an important match so early in the new campaign and this is a meeting between the past two Premier League champions, who happen to be the two favourites to win it again.” ESPN – Michael Cox


Samir Nasri talks to ESPN FC about Man City, Manuel Pellegrini, Marseille

July 27, 2015

“Manchester City’s Samir Nasri is highly unusual among modern footballers, for two very different reasons. First, he’s forthcoming with opinions. This is a player who, for example, who was confronted by paparazzi while on holiday in Los Angeles this summer and ended up having a discussion about the FIFA crisis, one in which he welcomed FBI intervention. Few other footballers dared utter a word about the saga. Second, Nasri is a relentless football watcher. One of the notable things about professional footballers is how few enjoy watching the game; they love playing, they love the dressing room banter, some enjoy the fame, but in general, they’re not great spectators. Nasri, however, spends most of his free time watching football.” ESPN – Michael Cox