champions league football has understandably dominated the presses lately, even though the premier league is currently the most drama fueled competition on the planet. and as is usually the case when european competition rears its head, i’m feeling a little overwhelmed with all of these different story lines to attempt to follow.
with that in mind, be prepared for today’s edition of the round-up to include a smattering of topics from all over the place.
the sinister ones – therunofplay.com
without a doubt, the title of this article makes me like myself better. a southpaw myself, i feel like we’re not respected enough as a breed. the always excellent bloggers at the run of play, however, do have a load of respect for us lefties. so what if we sit on the same side of the lord as the devil, especially if it makes us more valuable on the pitch.
while we’re on the topic of left footed players, i’d like to also make note of the rise of my kind showing up more frequently on the right side of the pitch. as briefly mentioned in the linked post, the rise to prominence of players like arjen robben, adam johnson, and angel di maria –all lefties that ply their trades on the right wing– is a growing tactical trend in the game. however, i never once considered that something like muscle memory would be the basis for this type of player’s success rates.
javier hernandez: why he’s the joker in ferguson’s pack – soccerlens.com
thank you crashbang at soccer lens for analyzing and answering a question that has been driving me crazy all year: why is chicharito doing so damn good? i have been scratching my head all season trying to figure out just how the young mexican sensation has so quickly adapted to the premier league. he’s obviously a fantastic poacher, clearly from the michael owen vein. but i wondered just why he was so effective at puting notches on the score sheet when he is clearly the antithesis of the average premier league striker. and as it turns out, it’s his not being a prototypical premier league striker that makes him such a lethal force.
where the dream of soccer lives on – soccernet.com
as i tweeted the other day, i’m really trying to get into MLS this season. while i’m always at least aware of what’s going on in the league, i wouldn’t have ever been able to tell you who the leading MVP candidates are (umm… donovan?), or who the hottest sides in the league are, etc. i wouldn’t really be supporting the game if i wasn’t supporting my own country’s domestic league, would i?
so in the spirit of getting geared up for the MLS season, i highly recommend reading jeff carlisle’s fantastic piece on the culture surrounding the expansion portland timbers. while i was aware of the fervent support for the game in the pacific northwest, i wasn’t aware of how much the grassroots support of the timbers was in the club earning it’s expansion slot. nor was i in the know about the clubs awesome ties to the local microbrew culture… which, if for no other reason, is a great reason to get behind your local team.
pep guardiola the purist and pragmatist oiling barcelona’s machine – guardian.co.uk
another early entry for article of the year, this time from the magificent sid lowe, which details the intricacies of what makes pep such a fantastic manager. nothing in the article is earth shattering or undiscussed, but what it does better than any article about guardiola (that i’ve ever read at least), is paint the complete picture of why he is so great.
though not directly mentioned so much as insinuated in the article, pep has a near-unrivaled ability to be able to strategically shift the attention on or off his squad… much like but in a slightly different way than mourinho. if barça have a negative result, he places all of the blame on himself (where fergie or jose might blame the referees). if the blaugrana win, he heaps all of the praise on the players. compliment this strategy with a club that has fully bought in on his philosophy, not to mention homegrown and collected talent that few clubs can rival, and you have an extremely lethal set of tools to work with. either way you look at it though, guardiola is central to the barcelona’s recent successes.
the slow death of english football – inbedwithmaradona.com
slowly becoming a new favorite blog of mine, IBWM drops another historical analyzation piece that appears to be their bread-and-butter subject matter. while the author perfectly illustrates the history of how professional football has become the ugly, money-hungry beast that it is today, he also foreshadows how this pursuit of profit will eventually be the cause of the league’s demise.
but before we go all platini and curse the premier league for all of the evils it creates in world football, remember that england isn’t the only country with football debt spiraling out of control. yes, england are the flag bearers of this group. but countries like spain, scotland and italy also have storied clubs teetering on the edge of extinction due to debt-leveraged glory chasing.
as much as i despise platini’s self-righteous, double-standard policies, regulating the upcoming financial fair play rules is paramount to the long-term vitality of european professional football. taking further measures will also be necessary, such as forcing the broadcasters to broadcast a more fair percentage of all teams’ games to ensure a more even spread of television revenues. this is a very real threat to every club out there, your’s and mine.
charlie davies emotional postgame interview – theoriginalwinger.com
i’m not going to say much about the video, because i can’t find the words to describe the emotion cd9 shows. the kid has truly been humbled from the hard lessons he has had to learn over the last year and a half , and you can’t help but feel good for him after a night like this. congrats charlie, that night will forever be yours.