Hello again, dearest, beloved querido reader. Remember a few months ago this steamy post where I used the second person to include you in on some scintillating writing about root-and-branch analyses? English clubs were stinking up the Champions League, so you and I, hands firmly clasped, strolled about and ruminated (hint hint) as to why that was. We embraced, our breaths so close as to become one, and concluded the problem was the root which needed to be changed.
Now, I’m happy to say, I’m back for sloppy seconds. Why? Because a new soccer analytic has totally gotten the soccer world all steamy: “team touch zones.” Continue reading “SoccErotica: the Rise and Hot Heat of “Team Touch Zones”” »
In case you hadn’t noticed, I’ve been pretty busy. I have a wife and two kids. I have a full time job. Thus, due to time constraints, Futfanatico is now officially a once-a-week blog. I say this because I hate it when a blog or site just disappears with no explanation. I also refuse to alter the long-ish style and oddness of my posts here – I could try and write two-paragraph, snappy, sarcastic responses to the daily news, but that’s what Dirty Tackle is for. Another pet peeve for me is when a crazy good site just turns into a link mini-post mill. Thus, for the record, I will be writing here once a week original posts not found elsewhere.
However, the biggest factor in my drop in time is that I have been writing elsewhere. Therefore, about once a month, I will post links to that writing. If you want to know about my writing elsewhere a bit quicker, follow me on twitter. Continue reading “Find my writing at these great sites……” »
It’s easy to view modern footballers as soulless mercenaries, to assume they feel no emotion whatsoever for a club or the fans. But we don’t really know any and all footballers. What if they just crush a lot? What if they are merely Don Juans, men with feelings who just happen to fall head over heels for the newest club and immediately forget the prior one? That may cheapen their prior feelings, but it doesn’t deny they existed.
Thus, in that respect, I’ve penned a look at some bandits with the nerve to kiss our badge and then never look back. Continue reading “A Look at Some Badge-Kissing Bandits Who Broke Your Heart” »
Fandom is such a fickle business. The EPL season rages on after a month of action, so we’ve read yet another glut of “Pick your team” stories and podcast anecdotes. Some say follow your heart. Others say pick a winner. Yet, of course, fans find ways to put other fans down. If you’re from the US or another non-England country, then that’s a knock against you. Why? Geography. If you’ve been a fan less than a decade, that’s another knock. Why? History.
Yet a glance at major US sports leagues shows the same story, but inverted (or reverted). Continue reading “What if we “picked” EPL clubs like American ones?” »
Lots of big media outlets have written about the transatlantic pollination of the English language. Thanks to the pace, passion, and commercial power of the Premier League, the US and UK have gotten over that whole “tea party” stuff and the free flow of individuals and ideas has accelerated. In no particular order, I thank you, British Isles, for Monty Python, Fredorrarci, the Office, James Joyce, and tea (I am including former England colonies as well).
However, in terms of adjectives for passes in soccer, I’m afraid both the US and UK have fallen into a rut. Things have grown stale. The banter is too banterfully lukewarm. Luckily, easy solutions abound. Continue reading “Soccer Pass Adjectives I Detest & Adore” »
Bobby Kohn was a champion darts player. You wouldn’t know it, even if you asked him. The crowning achievement of his life was an Ivy League degree that collected dust in a box in his parent’s basement on Long Island. Since graduating from Brown, he’d couch-surfed and freelanced in Brooklyn and Manhattan. After several months, he landed some stable advertising gig, rented a brownstone he couldn’t afford with friends in Bed-Stuy, and his credit card debt tripled in the span of six months.
And he was a Spurs fan. Continue reading “The Season Also Starts” »
After the recent 6-0 loss to Chelsea, Arsenal fans feel even more stung by Mou’s earlier claims that Wenger was a “specialist at failure.” Luckily, Gunners fun and excellent blogger Miriti Murungi, of the soon to be reborn Nutmeg Radio, has provided a listicle of non-failure areas where Wenger also specializes and excels.
They are numerous, so cheer up! Continue reading “Top 11 Things Arsene Wenger Is an Expert At In Addition to Failure” »
The Arsenal has played the Manchester United. The game hath ended. In a tense game with end-to-end action, United won 1-0 off a header from a corner kick. All sportswriters will boldly proclaim something about a title race and spin the same story: Arsenal has only succeeded because they have played lesser teams. Of course, consistently beating lesser teams is, like, the recipe for winning a league.
Arguments aside, I don’t care to talk about “title chances” in November. Rather, I prefer to look closely at just why Arsenal has started off so well and why United has come around. Let’s take a gander. Continue reading “United vs. Arsenal: Pretenders, Contenders & Offenders” »
You follow the news. You know that somebody took a picture of Jack Wilshere holding a cigarette outside a nightclub. I won’t bore you with the trite “Athletes are role models/I like to watch cocky, irresponsible assholes” debate. We lampooned it before. Rather, another angle to the Wilshere story caught my eye.
In response to Wenger’s criticisms, Jack Wilshere’s representative claimed that he was holding the cigarette as part of a prank and did not in fact smoke. Presumably, his representative said this because Jack couldn’t say such bs with a straight-face during a presser. Aside from being a lie, this excuse tramples over the intellectual property of former US President Bill Clinton, who famously “put a joint to this lips but didn’t inhale.”
Yawn. Here are some much better excuses Wilshere’s rep could have cooked up. Continue reading “Arsenal Player Jack Wilshere Steals Page from Bill Clinton Playbook” »
For the last nine years, I’ve admired Arsenal from afar for both aesthetic and analytic reasons. Aesthetically, they were the Platonic ideal of beauty in football. The defenders and goalkeeper passed, the midfielders played sideways passes, and the forwards couldn’t be bothered to press off the ball. They didn’t win a trophy and that was the point: this was a team beyond results. Silverware would only soil the ideal. You can only stand so much success before you start to feel dirty.
Analytically, each season they raised the same argument to explain a lack of titles: basically, financial prudence today, future success tomorrow. Any close student of politics will know how unsuccessful this argument normally is: you are better off supplying a dose of instant gratification to the masses if you want to stay in power (at least for the short-term). That’s why Arsenal’s argument, their recurrent story of an ant amassing food while grasshoppers squandered the summer away, impressed me. Are people really buying this, I thought?
Even smart Arsenal fans started to get fed up (especially after they unexpectedly sold Song). You can only promise the future so many times. I anticipated two hysterical (if cynical) ends to the Arsene era: the club fails to qualify for the Champions League and their financial house of cards falls to pieces, or Arsene coyly waits for the last year of his contract before demanding a transfer to Barcelona.
In that vain, last season I made the obligatory “top of the (preseason) table” Arsenal joke. This season, though, an odd thing has occurred. We are now entering October and….Arsenal is top of the table. How has this happened? And what does it mean for Platonic ideals? Continue reading “Arsenal & Arsene: Laughing in our Faces, At Least for Now” »