so much to read. so many games to watch. not enough time to read, watch and post.
i organize the stories i find interesting on sticky notes on my desktop. in a typical week, i’ll collect fifteen which i whittle down to my top five (sometimes six). this week, there are at least 40. this list is overwhelming. i’ve got maybe ten links on my shortlist this week that are approaching a month old, and i’m adding two or three daily.
needless to say, it’s getting out of hand and my ADD is at full strength.
i’m not going to lie: i’m pretty curious to see how this round up turns out…
the question: why is pressing so crucial in the modern game – guardian.co.uk
as much as i would prefer to not speak about last saturday’s horrendous el clásico result, barcelona have certainly earned their praise this season. i mean, real madrid have spent the equivalent of building a space station, and they still can’t shut down barcelona’s homegrown, well tuned machine. arsenal are often considered the only team to play somewhat like the catalunyans, but barça clearly demonstrated why they’re still the masters at playing a truly beautiful game.
so how are they doing it? this link answers that question, as the author brilliantly breaks down why barcelona are destroying everyone’s hopes and dreams. this is the best article i’ve read this year. hands down.
are cska sofia the most dysfunctional team in europe? – thespoiler.co.uk
i know i’ve brought up the horrid british soap opera dreamteam on the blog before, and that i’ve said that liverpool were the closest thing to the show in real life. but i think i’m going to have to revoke the title from the merrysiders, as a bulgarian side clearly deserves it. i won’t spoil the article for you by giving away the list of drama that this club has gone through recently, bu i will tell you that it contains at least the following: their stadium has been condemned, their fans stormed the pitch and earned the club a stadium ban, and a kidnapping involving a celebrity. yep, a real life kidnapping. awesome. and just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, i’ll blow your mind a little more. all of the nonsense happened within a week. sorry liverpool, another title of yours is gone.
the firesale at chelsea must include drogba, ballack and deco – thetimes.co.uk
personally, this link comes off as a little crazy. one might think that just by looking at the title, and i wouldn’t fault them for that. why would anyone sell drogba or ballack? just like deco, the crazed east german and the oft-enraged ivorian are on the dark side of 30. their playing on borrowed time, and the future will be bleak if the blues don’t get any value out of them before they retire. since that’s obviously the reason why i feel like the title isn’t the crazy part, let me explain to you what it is.
it’s the author’s crazed replacement plans that have my head spinning. replace drogba with fernando torres (if he goes anywhere else in england, it’s either chelsea or city as they’re the only ones who will fork up the needed moneys). deco out, everton’s mikel arteta in (brilliant move that wouldn’t cost chelsea too much). and ballack can be replaced by another toffee, steven pienaar (a personal favorite, but there’s an impending bidding war for his services). could this newly constructed team, full of the arrival of fresh blood funded by the sales of chelsea stars of yesteryear, actually win them the league? i just don’t see that happening, mostly due to the nature of these arrivals making too much sense.
messi has few fans in argentina – guardian.co.uk
ok, my apologies for pulling out the crazy link card on the last story because this one should surely take that by title alone, right? in my opinion, no… not really.
messi, despite his obvious, jaw-dropping abilities, hasn’t played a bit of professional club football in his homeland. he left for greener pastures (and growth hormone therapy because he is a midget) at the age of 13, landing at barcelona’s youth academy. and to the typical argentinian fan, you have to prove your loyalty and worth before they will call you the next savior. tévez, riquelme, and that one dude maradona all earned their stripes at boca juniors. crespo, saviola, and aimar all at river plate.
you can then couple messi’s unearned respect with his relatively tame performances with the national team (probably more due to coaching and deployment), and you can begin to understand why he may not be the average argentinian fan’s favorite player. but still, for a country that’s constantly looking for the next maradona to simply overlook the most similar player to maradona they will ever get because he hasn’t won their hearts yet… i will definitely call that crazy.
european fields: the landscape of lower league football – hansvandermeer.nl
i don’t know about you, but sometimes i’m a sucker for good works for art. combine football with art, and now you’ve really got me hooked. well this dutch photographer (hans van der meer) has done just that. but instead of traversing europe taking fancy pictures of big time clubs, hans decided he would capture scenes from sunday league and pub teams. and all i can say is, playing amateur men’s in ohio sucks when compared to most of the places my european counterparts get to play.