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” »
, “Accidental Racist” by Brad Paisley, featuring LL Cool J
In 1989, Pele boldly predicted that an African team would win the World Cup by the year 2000. He was wrong. Since then, the dark continent has seen tremendous growth in terms of exporting players to top European leagues, but no African team has ever reached the World Cup semifinals. Still, every four years, pundits and journalists draw up a list of “dark horse candidates”, ie, countries who may be surprisingly successful. African powers always make the list.
That’s not a surprise. What is surprising in this modern age is the language used to describe the pros and cons of African teams. Continue reading “Every World Cup Article Ever Written…Don’t write off the African Dark Horse!” »
Recently, Manchester City played Chelsea in a battle to top the Premier League and best characterized as a catfight involving Louie V handbags filled with diamonds. Ironically, Jose Mourinho complained that Manchester City were spending loads of money, and then stated that UEFA’s Financial Fair Play just may not dole out severe enough punishments. Two years ago, a handsome young chap who pens posts at unheralded (but award winning) soccer blog Futfanatico said about Financial Fair Play:
There [is one] simple fact: FFP needs teeth.
As FFP begins to take effect, we’ll see just how sharp those teeth can be. I, for one, am cynical. I see three possible outcomes from Financial Fair Play. None of them are pleasant. Continue reading “Financial Fair Play: Blogger Predicted Easily Predictable Outcome” »
A few months ago, I wrote a piece for The Guardian about David Beckham’s interest in (re) starting an MLS franchise in Miami, Florida. I took a close look at Miami’s tortured history with pro soccer (from the Strikers to the Fusion). I also surveyed Miami’s attendance in other pro sports, such as the NHL, NFL, and MLB. I expressed some doubts despite the media buzz, and, since then, little has happened. Why?
Well, Beckham has a reduced MLS franchise fee that sweetens the deal but, a very serious “but”, MLS insists on a soccer-specific stadium. If Orlando can pull off a stadium, then why can’t Miami? The excellent blog “Field of Schemes” gives us a hint. Continue reading “What Possibly Could Hold Back David Beckham FC in Miami? The Public.” »
Remember that lovely soccer magazine you and I Kickstarted not so long ago? Well, gasp, a year has passed. During that time, they, Howler magazine (remember!), have reached 5,000 subscribers and published four glorious issues. One of the best parts of Howler Mag is the timeline, which is a chronology of a major club that is a delicious mix of eccentric and essential facts, cool pictures, and some seriously mad design skillz.
In Issue 4, guess who wrote the Real Madrid timeline? Continue reading “A Howling Good Time” »
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” »