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Adriano in doubt for derby October 30, 2013

Posted by michaeltomlinson in Spanish soccer.
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As reported by the Barcelona website, Adriano is doubtful against Espanyol… This will likely force Montoya into the LB role with Alba out…. In a shocking twist Barcelona is having trouble staying healthy in defense. No one saw this coming, When asked how Carles Puyol felt about all the piling up injuries he replied, “shocked.”… Probably…

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Transfer deadline extravaganza!!! September 2, 2013

Posted by michaeltomlinson in Dutch soccer, English soccer, European soccer, French soccer, German soccer, Italian soccer, Spanish soccer, Transfer news.
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The unofficial FIFA Transfer deadline day thread, unofficially endorsed by Sepp Blatter’s jowls!

– Mesut Ozil just needs to pass a physical in Munich and he is set for a $42 million dollar move to Arsenal. It is said the he is set to make 6 million a year under the terms of his new contract with the North London club.                                                                                                         —          UPDATE 1: Check out Real Madrid fan’s chanting “Don’t sell Ozil as Perez announces Bale. What is his reaction you ask? To “Shhhhh” them of course. This is a must watch!


 

– Everton head man, Roberto Martinez isn’t ruling out keeping Belgian midfielder Marouane Fellaini amidst multiple reports Manchester United are keen on signing him. If this is true there reports this could free up $15 million necessary for the Toffees to bring Porto man, Fernando to the Merseyside.

– UNIMPRESSIVE MANCHESTER CITY NEWS!
Manchester City’s 20-year-old striker Harry Bunn joins Sheffield United on a month’s loan, according to the Premier League club’s Twitter feed. (external) In addition, 21-year-old midfielder Mohammed Abu joins Denmark’s Aarhus until the end of December.

– Liverpool has seemingly lost out to Atletico Madrid for the services of Ajax defender Toby Alderweireld. The talented 24 year old Belgian centerback spurned offers from many English sides to join Atletico for an undisclosed fee.

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Madrid’s latest Bale offer 93 million… Pounds, wait POUNDS? August 20, 2013

Posted by michaeltomlinson in English soccer, European soccer, Media, Spanish soccer.
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Yes, for us red meat eating, God fearing, likely obese Americans that comes out to around 145 million USD.. Or roughly the asking price of the Columbus Blue Jackets hockey franchise. Hell I could nearly buy an island the size of Great Britain for that much. That, or a fancy footballer from the most inconsequential country within it’s border. This news comes from a reliable source known as “twitter,” which is a large social networking site known for making it’s users be concise. When asked about it’s credibility Wikipedia responded, “Looks legit.” You heard it here first…………

Neymar signs for… Oregon State University? May 31, 2013

Posted by michaeltomlinson in Brazilian soccer, MLS, Spanish soccer.
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The Brazilian starlet was all but destined to be Barcelona’s next great South American star. Instead, Neymar has decided to take his talent South beac… Err Corvallis, Oregon! As pictured below the 21-year-old striker has closely monitored the progression of Portland Timbers GREAT Ryan Johnson and has decided to take on 4 years of eligibility, just like former OSU stand-out, Johnson. This of course makes a lot of sense due to a recent independent study which I just made up that says  U.S. soccer players have a 74% chance to be more successful in the pro ranks if they opt for the college route. A couple more interesting statistics, Neymar is now 69% more likely to puke immediately following a beer bong attempt gone wrong, but is also 93% less likely to contract gonorrhea after a transexual orgy… We all have our vices.

Is winning with proactive soccer a bigger accomplishment than winning by counterattacking? December 10, 2011

Posted by Alex Tomchak Scott in Chilean soccer, Spanish soccer, Tactics.
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I got to thinking about this after reading the final paragraphs of Nicholas Rosano’s excellent article about Universidad de Chile and its coach Jorge Sampaoli on SB Nation.

(Counter-attacking) has proven the recipe for teams outside of Argentina and Brazil to compete for the big boys in South America’s premier competition, but Sampaoli’s team seem intent on trying something different.

If Universidad de Chile can take down the big sides in Argentina and Brazil in both the Copa Sudamericana and Copa Libertadores while playing (proactive soccer), it will be a fantastic accomplishment.

I suppose it is; I certainly accepted it automatically on reading that, but then I got to struggling for a reason.

Attacking soccer is harder to pull off. It mostly centers around ball possession, and when you think about it, ball possession requires not only skill and tremendous teamwork, but also morale. You need to have confidence in your own ability and the ability of the teammate you’re passing to in order to play possession football successfully. So a coach needs to:

  1. Excavate players who are technically proficient enough to keep control of the ball
  2. Create an environment in which those players are familiar enough with their teammates’ movement to anticipate where they should pass the ball on the field.
  3. Devise a system that allows those players to exploit their talents.
  4. Inspire those players to belief in not only themselves, but also their teammates and the system they’re playing.
  5. Do this better than his opponent.

This is enough to make you wonder why people do it at all, but the answer is easy: proactive football played well enough is more effective. It also might explain why Barcelona is so successful: players who have grown up together or in the same system will more readily anticipate their teammates’ movement, and the shared experience will make it easier to motivate them. That very upbringing also emphasizes technique. When you throw in a coach who also has the same background, you’ve got far readier ground for a world-beating side. At almost any other club, you’d need to start pretty much where Barcelona was at the beginning of the 1990s to get where Barcelona is today.

EURO 2012 Preview #4: Del Bosque tries to add even more central midfielders November 16, 2011

Posted by Alex Tomchak Scott in Euro 2012, Spanish soccer.
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Spain is a team for purists. I’m not having this participation by the likes of Sergio Ramos and David Villa. Look it up: they are not central midfielders. For the pure expression of Spain’s style, you need more than they’ve been playing. Pep Guardiola’s experiments with six central midfielders are brave, but they’re not enough. Spain needs more. Vicente Del Bosque knows this. This is what he has in store:

(more…)

So Newcastle United’s success is just a shadowy conspiracy to shift tracksuits. November 12, 2011

Posted by Alex Tomchak Scott in English soccer, European soccer, French soccer, Spanish soccer.
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This may look like an urbane midfield prompter, but actually it is a tracksuit billboard.

Daniel Harris on FCF proffered this explanation for Newcastle’s recent French signings:

Mike Ashley owns Sports Direct, whose main European competitor is Decathlon, a French company. Thus Newcastle buy French players, who can then be marketed in France as “Sports Direct”, wearing the tat and speaking in French, allowing Ashley to sell more towelling socks and tracksuits.

Plausible enough, if a bit too tidy:

Also true:

  • Venezuela uses no Qatari oil for some reason. The emirate’s sheikhs are desperate to break into the South American country’s market, so desperate they’ll try anything. Including a multi-million euro takeover of the club that happens to employ the country’s star striker Salomon Rondon, Malaga. Step one: buy Malaga. Step two: capture baseball-mad Venezuela’s imagination with Rondon’s endorsement. Step three: every hip young kid in Caracas is sporting Qatari oil.
  • Like many people, Suleyman Kerimov may one day need to flee Vladimir Putin’s wrath. What’s a Dagestani billionaire to do? Well, maybe pay a king’s ransom to bring Cameroon’s biggest soccer superstar to his personal top-division football club, Anzhi Makachkala. That way, when Putin’s goons come knocking, he’ll have a sunny, reasonably stable African state willing to welcome him with open arms. Goodbye freezing Dagestan, hello sunny Limbe Beach, Douala, Cameroon! Thank you, Samuel Eto’o.
  • Bill Kenwright actually has loads of money stashed away, waiting to invest it in Everton. But the theater producer has a love of the dramatic and, what’s more, his nephew Gus would do an amazing job in the role of David Moyes. The lower the club gets, the better the story. Twenty years down the line, he’ll make it into the biggest play Merseyside has ever known!

Just think of how good Barcelona and Real Madrid might be without messed-up internal politics. October 20, 2011

Posted by Alex Tomchak Scott in Spanish soccer.
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Gonzalo Higuain (center) suffers because he is associated with former Madrid president Ramon Calderon. Probably his association with Alfredo Di Stefano is not a problem.

Reading Sid Lowe’s most recent Sports Illustrated column about the debate over whether G0nzalo Higuain or Karim Benzema should start for Real Madrid, I was struck by what seems like a fundamental institutional weakness at that club: politics can play itself out in team selection.

It shouldn’t be that the identity of the president that purchased a player dictates whether he’s selected. If that even becomes a shadow of a consideration, the team is poorer for it.

I’m a Barcelona fan, though, so I would say that, but it’s supposedly happened at Barcelona too. Joan Laporta was chiefly responsible for bringing Samuel Eto’o to Barcelona; his political rival Sandro Rossell was instrumental in persuading Ronaldinho to sign. In Ronaldinho’s best years, he was surrounded by fellow Brazilians — Edmilson, Thiago Motta, Juliano Belletti, Sylvinho and the Brazilian-born Deco. In two years, Barcelona sold every one of Ronaldinho’s compatriots and brought in a group of players who, like Eto’o, spoke French — Thierry Henry, Yaya Toure, Eric Abidal and Seydou Keita (plus Lilian Thuram, who was already at the club). The rumor is that this was an intentional move to weaken Rossell and strengthen Laporta. The year when it began, 2007-8, was also Barcelona’s least successful under Frank Rijkaard.

It’s a wonder these clubs ever win anything.

Capdevila no longer fit? When did this happen? October 16, 2011

Posted by Alex Tomchak Scott in Portuguese soccer, Spanish soccer.
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I was alarmed to discover that Joan Capdevila’s nosedive in fortunes has evidently been brought on not just by a loss of form but also by a “lack of fitness” in Sid Lowe’s Sports Illustrated column from Wednesday.

Evidently “Benfica coach Jorge Jesus is not a fan of Capdevila.” Why did he buy him then?

Before Euro 2008, I thought Capdevila was a pretty poor player, but he’s kind of won me over. I like watching him. I hope he can make a move that will get him going again. Juventus and Napoli, the teams seemingly linked most closely with him, don’t seem promising. If he wants a chance to go to Euro 2012, he needs to get back to Spain.

Lowe also appears to think Valencia midfielder Jordi Alba’s performance at left-back for Spain against Scotland has pretty much ensured he’ll be at Euro 2012 if fit.

Seems like a risky move, considering it will mean Spain has no natural left-back in its squad (Alba’s cover is likely to be Real Madrid right-back Alvaro Arbeloa). Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque would be crazy not to give Liverpool’s Jose Enrique at least a look.

Three thoughts on Sporting Gijon v. Barcelona October 2, 2011

Posted by Alex Tomchak Scott in Spanish soccer.
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1. Could Alberto Botia become the next Cesc Fabregas (in transfer terms)? — Like Fabregas and Gerard Pique, the Gijon center-back left Barcelona very young, although on otherwise very different circumstances. Botia looked good against Barcelona, and indeed whenever I’ve seen him, he’s looked like the real deal. Considering that Barcelona only has two oft-injured senior center backs in its squad, it doesn’t seem inconceivable that Botia return.

2. Was that a 3-3-4? It appeared that Barcelona used Adriano, Lionel Messi, Pedro and David Villa in forward roles, although you might argue that Pedro was actually playing Cesc Fabregas’ do-whatever-you-want role. The game did not suggest that, whatever the formation, it was tremendously effective — Pedro is, after all, a very different player from Fabregas. It’s also interesting that Adriano is now part of the attacking rotation.

3. Is Dani Alves the boy that cried wolf? In the second half, David Barral punched Barcelona’s Brazilian right back across the face in midair. It was emblematic of Sporting’s especially violent approach to dealing with Barcelona — they seemed particularly keen to give an extra kick to players who were already going down. This violence seemed to target specifically Alves and Sergio Busquets, men who have a reputation for exaggeration. When the referee deemed disinclined to take Alves reaction to Barral’s fist seriously, that made sense: Alves and Busquets fake injury all the time, so you can probably get away with more violence against them.