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Kevin Prince Boateng (KPB), At Nearly 32, The Newest Member of FC Barcelona January 22, 2019

Posted by michaeltomlinson in FC Barcelona, Spanish soccer.
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Apparently Boateng is as surprised as anyone by his return to the La Liga. But it may not be as odd as everyone is making it out to be.

kpb

The departure of Munir, and the ongoing tumultuous stint of Malcom at the Blaugrana has left a hole in the depth up-front at Barca. There had been talks of Carlos Vela leaving the MLS for a La Liga return, but those cooled leading up to this, seemingly out of no-where signing. Boateng joins the Catalan side from mid-table Serie A outfit, Sassoulo where he has netted 4, and assisted 2 in just 11 appearances. By all accounts KPB was as surprised as anyone, admitting he wanted to “run to Barcelona” upon being informed of their interest. That interest seemed to be expressed as late as Saturday, and the loan-to by option was sorted and he was announced by the club Tuesday. Barcelona has the option to buy the 31-year-old attacker after the season for a reasonable $10 million price-tag. These string of roster additions are just what every Barcelona pundit would have predicted for the 2018-19 season, a coming together of Arturo Vidal and Kevin Prince Boateng. Two enigmatic journey-men known for their individual flair and on-field intensity.

KPB was brought in mainly to serve as a back-up to Suarez on the left side of the front line. And while in the past Barcelona has shied away from large on-field personalities in favor of their tactical system driven personnel decisions, you could argue since the addition of Neymar there has been a shift in the front office’s approach. This shift in what some describe as the club’s “ethos,” is often linked to Barcelona’s famed academy, “La Masia” not producing first team players at the same rate that Catalan side is accustomed to.

Regardless of any ideological shifts within Barcelona, as an organization Boateng is still a talented scorer and creative attacker with a lot left in the tank. If he can replicate what Vidal has brought to the side thus far his loan period, and potential singing could be a revelation for both club and player.

Barcelona 8-2 Huesca. How it happened September 7, 2018

Posted by michaeltomlinson in FC Barcelona, Spanish soccer, Tactics.
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How does a 1-0 lead in the 15th minute turn into an 8-2 loss? On Sunday Huesca gave managers, players, and fans alike a crash course on how to make that happen.

Barca’s 8:

  1. They say a first goal is a sign of things to come, in this case, it was a lightly defended Lionel Messi at the top of the box, with just one man to beat. Messi, of course, slalomed past the now stumbling and falling defender and slotted his effort into the bottom left corner, with his wildly inferior right foot.
  2. An abundance of space, not just for Messi, but for everyone in a Blaugrana shirt, and especially down the flanks set up the second. Undone by an own goal, Huesca allowed a Jordi Alba run with plenty of space, but with very few teammates in-tow. So instead, the industrious fullback, from just outside the goalmouth sent a short pass off the foot of Jorge Pulido, and past the keeper.
  3. Same story as the second, far too much space to run into for Jordi Alba. Not to say work didn’t need to be done, but once Coutinho beat three defenders with a perfectly weighted 25-yard ball it was a simple low cross from Alba to a neat and tidy finish from El Pistolero. Suarez’ first goal of the 2018-19 campaign.HALFTIME 3-2 Barcelona (Huesca brought one back right before half)

     

  4. Just seconds being saved by the head of Huesca’s goalkeeper, Werner, on a rocketed volley by Messi from 6 yards out, Huesca was again beaten by the through ball. This time Suarez connected with Dembele straight into the left side of the box where the French international calmly placed his shot far post.
  5. Inventive pass from Messi dinked over the top of 3 defenders just outside the box to an on-coming Rakatic who sent home a picture-perfect half-volley from a tough angle 15 yards out.
  6. Coutinho with a through ball from the defensive half, beating a horrifically positioned Huesca center-back pairing. Messi gathered some 40 yards from goal beats a defender on his hip and slides one past Werner’s left to the bottom right corner.
  7. Did I mention Jordi Alba had a lot of space down the left? Well he did, a simple run past, um no one and a lead pass from Messi led to a tight angled tap past the keeper.
  8. PENALTY! Just what the game needed. Suarez taken down by the goalkeeper, Werner in the corner of the box. Like every Gerard Pique moment later in the game was itching to score, but alas Suarez took his own pen and ended it.

The Guardian’s 736 World Cup Profiles are LITERALLY the best thing ever. June 7, 2018

Posted by michaeltomlinson in Uncategorized, World Cup 2018.
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I WOULD LITERALLY NEVER USE HYPERBOLIC COPY, but on rare occasions I do.

In case you missed it, The Guardian has blessed us with 736 blurbs about every rostered player in this 2018 Russian edition of the World Cup. Admittedly, i’m writing this at work, and I haven’t had a chance to peruse every profile, but below are a couple that caught my eye, and match the aesthetic we’ve worked so hard to create here at The HV.

That Costa Rican – Russian connection that will surely turn into a light chuckle by game-day commentary leads across the world.

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Mandzukic put on blast. I can’t say i’m entirely sure how the awarding process works, but I’m pretty sure this blurb should win a Pulitzer

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Arda Turan throws cleat at a linesman… receives a… Yellow card? January 28, 2015

Posted by michaeltomlinson in European soccer.
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Yes, in the second leg of their Copa Del Rey tie with Barcelona Arda Turan threw his cleat at a referee and missed, and was lucky enough to stay on the field to tell about it.. Somehow the Turk only received a yellow card, which begs the question, how does one GET a red? The blatant throw is seen at the 22 second mark below and then further on in the video.. take a look.

Soccer blog respect soccer blog: Football crests with tacos January 8, 2015

Posted by michaeltomlinson in Uncategorized.
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Seriously, someone had the industrious foresight and unique angle on modern style and pop culture to come out with a blog that truly transcends, time, space, and buns. Thy people like their food, and football wrapped in a shell, no matter if you prefer the hard or soft variety. This is what football, and specifically our favorite team’s crests have always needed, but weren’t aware they even wanted. footballcrestswithtacos.tumblr/ has put together an All Star cast of Taco Football Clubs. From the Mighty “Manchester City Football Taco, to the lesser “Yoevil Town Football Taco.” While I am in love with these crests (and some of my favorites are featured at the bottom), I’d say you could have some fun play on words while your at it, just a few suggestions.

Athletaco Madrid, EH EH? EHHHH

Fiorentortilla? ITS LIKE that purple footballing club from Italy, but, but with Tortilla in it! 😉

And, can’t we just call it what it is… Doritos Locos Millwall? Thats a fresh, vibrant, latin spin on a team, that well has literally nothing fresh, or remotely vibrant about their current makeup. I’m talking to you Millwall execs, this guy/gal is on to something and I think my touch of flare to their already fabulous crest is a great beginning to a new chapter of Doritos Locos Millwall, certainly to be all the rage with the kids.

Derby County Football Taco.

Chelsea Football Taco.

Real Sociedad de Táco.

For our Namesake: A Beautiful Half Volley January 15, 2014

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If you were wondering where all of our hot Nepali footballing action was, then today is YOUR day! Straight outta the Himalayas Peter Segun with a stunning strike from the center circle

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…

Diego Valeri with another wonder goal. October 28, 2013

Posted by michaeltomlinson in MLS, U.S. soccer.
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The little known footballing nation above Mexico produced a great goal this weekend. The Portland Timbers are tops of the west and headed to the playoffs? Yep, that’s how that works over here.. But before they get set to meet Colorado or Seattle the Timbers cemented their place in the standings with a 5-0 thrashing of Chivas USA.  Here is one of those goals, it’s a chip, its beautiful.

Cheers!

What is an Adnan Januzaj? October 10, 2013

Posted by michaeltomlinson in English soccer, European soccer, Turkish soccer.
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No, not a fancy marble lined over-sized bathtub, though that does sound quite luxurious. Adnan Januzaj is actually an 18 year old winger who may have saved the job of David Moyes and the sanity of millions of Manchester United Fans across the globe last Saturday. With a second half brace, the teenager rescued the Red Devils from a 1-0 halftime deficit at the hands of Sunderland. The Black Cats are currently the blazing dumpster fire of the Premiership, a team that has secured only a single point in 7 matches and thought hiring an angry fascist sounded like a good idea, only to have it inevitably blow up in their face. All things considered, this was no résumé builder for England’s most illustrious football club.

On the flip-side there was the emergence of a bright, ambiguously ethnic, hard to pronounce star. Adnan Januzaj put on a spectacular display from the left-wing, a place where Ashley Young usually stands around and you know, does stuff, presumably.

Adnan earning a delicious soda-pop for his efforts

Even before he bagged the first premier league goals of his career he seemed to be the only positive talking point of the first half for United. His interplay with the midfield and especially Evra down the left-side was top class. Coupled with his ability to draw -in defenders and release the ball to a bevy of open teammates showcased his stellar technical ability.

The way he moved about the pitch in the second half was that of player entrusted by his coach to be more than a winger, but a creator. He popped up all over and eventually scored his first goal on a run through the center of the box on a first touch from a low cross, there wasn’t a defender within 3 yards. The hardest thing to teach in any sport is spatial awareness, and Adnan Januzaj seemingly has a great understanding even at his young age. To cap off his brace he produced a beautiful cross-post volley on his better left foot, though it’s evident he is very much a two footed player. Again the play saw him wander away from defenders to the left side of the box only to be on the receiving end of a great cross, which he buried. To be fair, the space he had on the pitch could have been due to his relatively unknown status, but regardless the game became a dream -start to any career.

So who is he? For Starters Jack Wilshere certainly thinks he isn’t English. He was born in Brussels Belgium but recently declined a call-up to their senior side. The collective backgrounds of his parents also make him eligible to play for Albania, Serbia, Turkey, and Kosovo (Though they are not recognized by FIFA) and apparently Croatia… So says Croatia, not that they have any actual proof. It is amazing what platform like Manchester United can do for a player and with his national allegiance uncertain he is certainly going to be a hot soccer commodity. But, lest we forget in times like these, the magical career of Federico Macheda. A one-time United starlet that has since faded into not just relative obscurity, but I’m pretty sure just literal, uninhibited obscurity.

Nicklas Bendtner just wasn’t strange enough already October 7, 2013

Posted by michaeltomlinson in English soccer, European soccer, Hair.
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I’m not sure how it took us weeks, let-alone days or even minutes to mention whatever the hell is going on with Nicklas Bendtner’s general head region. The silly beard is enough to question the man’s cleanliness but the hair takes it over-the-top with a samurai doo that is poorly executed, at best. I wasn’t aware they sent him out on loan to medieval Japan for the past two seasons. Let’s just hope when he inevitably misses a simple chance he doesn’t disembowel himself right on the touch line.