Millions spent on players. A new successful South American coach. A club not far removed from trophy-filled seasons. In 2004, Real Madrid believed they’d found perfect mix and hired the right man, Brazilian Vanderlei Luxemburgo. He arrived with fresh ideas for a talented but aging roster. Among them, the “magical boxes.” After the team’s strong finish to 2004, the team collapsed in the first half of 2005. The tactical revolution was a retrogression. Vanderlei got fired.
Flash forward a decade. A petro-dollar team in the EPL hires a South American coach famous for….magical boxes. In many ways, Pellegrini’s tactical ideas eerily mirror Vanderlei’s tactics at Madrid. Why did one collapse, while the other is thriving?
A close look shows that players can be shifted to fit tactics, but it’s not always for the best. Continue reading “Tactics Talk: Roster and Roles in the 4-2-2-2” »
Today was a day like any other. Jose Mourinho has finally found his starting XI for the Blues, and a powerful and dynamic Chelsea defeated convincingly a mid-table side. For all the trite details, continue reading. Continue reading “Chelsea Comfortably Beats Mid-table Side with Hattrick from Fading, Older Striker” »
Ahh, nothing is more relaxing than aural pleasure, no? Now that I have relocated to a major metropolitan area, each morning and evening I look forward to gridlock, accidents, folks changing lanes without turning on their signals, overturned cars, ambulances, fire trucks, and folks turning on signals and not changing lanes. What could be more blissful?
Luckily, my iPhone is regularly loaded with some lovely podcasts.Here they are: Continue reading “Soccer Lynx: Open the Soccer Pod(Cast) Doors, Hal” »
And on the eighth day the Lord created the internet, and he said that all shall see the Premier League, be it in a slum of Bangkok or a dive bar in Washington, DC.
The world is a confusing mess. Sport is no exception. The internet has brought us closer together and eliminated the clear lines demarcating the nation state. Fans now root for teams in faraway places. Top clubs forget about preseason and instead favor cash-generating Far East tours. American football stadia are packed during the summer for friendlies between Mexican soccer clubs and Italian teams. In sum, fans are everywhere and are fans of anything and everything. We all can lay a claim to a team, regardless of geographic location.
Here’s the big problem: just how are we supposed to feel better than other people?
Continue reading “Evaluating the Authenticity of Your Fandom” »
Spurs got slaughtered by City. And, based on their legal department’s shitty antics, I don’t feel so sorry. What happened, you ask? Well, the Spurs got wind of a 10th tier team with the same name and a similar logo. What did they do? Twist their arm and force the club change their logo (next season).
Why? Well, that’s a good question. I’m afraid Spurs have some answers, but not satisfactory ones Continue reading “The Tottenham Hotspurs’ Stupid Intellectual Property Dispute” »
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” »
During the Everton-Spurs game last weekend, goalie Hugo Lloris suffered a serious blow to the head. However, he stayed on the field, finished the game, and made a few key saves. Was it heroic? Was it stupid? If it was stupid, then who’s to blame: the player for staying? The coach? The trainers? The medical staff?
Predictably, op-eds and finger-pointing have surfaced all around the interwebs. I dive beyond this superficial debate to examine just how our culture and sensitivities create a complex web and relationship between the mind and the brain. Continue reading “The Concussion Headache” »
The blogosphere and mainstream media have an uneasy relationship. On the one hand, many famous writers and bloggers have climbed the ranks by attacking their more popular peers. Bill Simmons entered the ESPN ranks thanks to a scathing critique of the ESPYs. On the other hand, invariably bloggers and mainstream media will write about the same or similar topics. Mainstream media feels the pressure to produce daily doses of news – their model still follows the paper print run cycle, even as technology has evolved. Bloggers can sometimes take a step back and look at the bigger picture.
Often, though, these competing tensions manifest themselves in odd ways. And that’s especially the case for the proverbial “English Player/Coach Said Dumb Things” news cycle. Continue reading “The Ulitmate Non-story: No English Player or Coach Says Anything Stupid!” »
For a sought after manager paid millions per year, Jose Mourinho has a bad rap. In sum: many think he’s a shortsighted taskmaster. They point to Inter Milan’s fall from grace as proof that, despite a treble-winning season, he ran the team into the ground. Some claim he picks a Starting XI, will make good subs, but rails to properly rotate and blood young talent. Of course, another interpretation is that Mou at Inter got the best out of a veteran squad even if his signings (Mancini, Quaresma?) did not blossom. His Chelsea squad also won the EPL title, UEFA Cup and Champions League after he left.
Let’s look closer at Mou and, with this knowledge, reflect upon Real’s current travails. Continue reading “The Dreaded Post-Jose Mourinho Hangover” »