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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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Three things that went through my mind during Barcelona v. Atletico Madrid September 24, 2011

Posted by Alex Tomchak Scott in Spanish soccer.
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The man's psychic stress is palpable

1. Barcelona is ominously confident.

As the Barcelona team becomes a whirring instrument of bloodless atomization, much of the emotional resonance is sucked out of the actual football. Goals are no longer an emotional release for Barcelona’s players. There’s neither the catharsis of joy one gets from surprising himself by scoring a goal nor the catharsis of relief one gets from scoring a goal to loosen the pressure of expectation. Instead, their faces in the post-goal scenes seem to say, “Look what you’ve gone and done, you scamp.” They score, then they laugh it off.

2. Pep Guardiola’s on his last season, isn’t he?

Guardiola, on the other hand, does not look like he’s having a good time. The pressure must be crushing and the rewards minimal. Last year’s Barcelona team would already probably have been remembered as the greatest of all time if Guardiola had walked away at the end of it. If he wins the European Cup this year, there really will be nothing left for him to prove at Barcelona and no dispute about who is the best team of all time. You can tell it weighs on him. He’s essentially a nice, introspective guy. Jose Mourinho has identified making him miserable as his quickest route to a meaningful trophy. After being pretty much flawless for the last three years, he’s probably beginning to wonder what it even means to win things in soccer anyway. He looks miserable. He needs a break.

3. Dani Alves might have a future as a center-back.

It’s fairly common for players to start out as attacking fullbacks, then move inside as they age. Paolo Maldini and Ruud Krol are the most famous examples, while Carles Puyol was viewed primarily as a fullback in the early part of his career (Billy Costacurta, on the other hand, only appears to have started playing right-back in his forties, or maybe I’m showing my age). Alves has a reputation for being poor defensively and positionally though. I think that’s undeserved; Alves isn’t bad defensively, he just does less defending than most defenders. I think he’s very good at it when he does. Sid Lowe pointed out on the Guardian’s Football Weekly Extra this week that one of the big things Barcelona misses without Gerard Pique is a player who starts moves from the back. Alves is an excellent passer, even more so at center back because he doesn’t have to run 80 yards before receiving the ball, so putting him back there seems like an ingenious solution to this temporary problem at least.

Quick Barcelona-Atletico lineup thoughts September 24, 2011

Posted by Alex Tomchak Scott in Uncategorized.
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It’s strange that Arda Turan isn’t an automatic choice for Atletico. When I’ve seen him, he’s been very good. I have the suspicion Dani Alves might be playing at center-back (or on the right of a back three, which I realize is not the same). Either that or Xavi’s the deepest midfielder. It seems like there will either be a Diego v. Alves matchup or a Diego v. Xavi matchup, which makes a Barcelona fan nervous, although it also means the Barcelona player in the matchup will have time on the ball. If Tiago’s playing on the left, it’s probably to keep Alves quiet.
There’s formation confusion for both teams. Is Barcelona’s 4-3-3 (Valdes; Alves, Mascherano, Sergio, Abidal; Thiago, Xavi, Cesc; Pedro, Messi, Villa) or 3-4-3 (Valdes; Alves, Mascherano, Abidal; Xavi, Sergio, Thiago; Cesc; Pedro, Mess, Villa)? Is Atletico’s 4-2-3-1 (Courtois; Perea, Miranda, Godin, Lopez; Gabi, Suarez; Reyes, Diego, Tiago; Falcao) or 4-3-3?

UEFA Cup observations March 12, 2010

Posted by Alex Tomchak Scott in English soccer, European soccer, French soccer, German soccer, Italian soccer, Portuguese soccer, Spanish soccer.
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I don’t care about the UEFA Cup. I care so little about it that I refuse to acknowledge its nonsensical name-change, which I assume UEFA made because this tournament is such a shameful farce that European soccer’s governing body no longer wanted to be associated with it. The most damning evidence is the recent triumphs from the former Soviet Union, largely a consequence of the fact that nobody good actually cares about this competition, meaning the fittest side (i.e. Ukrainian and Russian teams whose season has historically started about this time of year) often wins.

Because I don’t care about it, I didn’t watch it today, aside from about 10 snooze-inducing minutes of Liverpool vs. Lille I squeezed in before my class. That was definitely the biggest mistake of the day. So here’s 10 half-assed observations:

  • Liverpool is really, really bad. Seriously. Stevie Gerrard is closing on 30 and I think Liverpool may have intentionally signed a clutch of woeful players to disguise the fact that he is now past it. It’s not really anyone’s fault except whoever it is that keeps stopping the club from building a new stadium that can generate the kind of revenue the other big English teams’ arenas do. Oh, also the owners. These factors have colluded to inflict a truly wretched team to watch upon the rest of us.
  • French advertising laws: kind of a good thing. Liverpool has always had to wear special shirts stripped of Carlsberg’s logo for trips to France, because alcoholic beverages can’t be advertised there. As a free-speech fan, I am against this. As someone who thinks uniforms look better with fewer logos, I am for this. Nonetheless, someone in Liverpool’s organization is an idiot for not arranging a separate, incremental sponsorship deal for away games in France.
  • Wait, where did David Navarro come from? I thought the Valencia defender had been exiled to the second division for his behavior against Inter a couple of years ago. Shouldn’t he still be serving a lengthy European ban? I guess not, cause guess who started for los Che against Werder Bremen today. You’d have to think either a.) there’s some happy redemption story in there somewhere; or b.) Valencia’s standards have fallen since the days of Roberto Ayala.
  • Standard Liege: dark horse? I didn’t watch the Belgians play Panathinaikos, but I did see them several times in the Champions League this season, and I like them. Certainly, them winning it would be a lot cooler than anyone else doing so. With all the amazing young players coming out of Flanders, that victory might even be the herald of a new dawning in Belgian soccer, if the country can get its act together.
  • My pre-season UEFA Cup prediction’s not looking so hot. Taking a 1-1 draw into an away leg’s not really good news for any side. I predicted Benfica would win it this year, simply because of a front five too good for the Portuguese league. But the gentleman over at Zonal Marking.net said Benfica’s quality in Portugal stems in part from the namby-pamby style of play in Portugal and I guess coming up against a muscular Marseille wasn’t their cup of tea.
  • Atletico Madrid can’t break down 10 men. I guess they’re just a laughingstock, no?
  • Do the Dutch hate Belgians? Two of Hamburg’s scorers against Anderlecht were Dutch.
  • Fulham’s result is a bad thing. Does Juventus really care about the UEFA Cup? Because Fulham does. Just saying.
  • Where did Grafite go? I’m not bothering to check, but he played against Ireland recently. That meant 89-year-old Obefemi Martins in Wolfsburg’s starting lineup.
  • Unirea Urziceni should be here.