By Wepea Buntugu
When Chelsea bought Jorginho from Napoli in the summer, it could be said that they were sending a message to the rest of the league. This message was furthered with the appointment of former Napoli boss Maurizio Sarri as head coach. The Stamford Bridge side were committing to a new style of football, away from Conte’s 3-4-3 formation, and recruited the best duo in Naples to help usher in this new-look Chelsea.
Continue reading “Jorginho: Sarri’s brain on the pitch, the underrated herald of a new era at Stamford Bridge”
“Goalkeepers need an element of insanity.”
These words from former goalkeeper Oliver Kahn, one of the most successful German players in recent history, have been repeated many times over the years.
As someone who has played in goal I can understand that sentiment. You’re expected to be alert every second of every game, make the important saves, constantly talk to your defenders and be prepared to throw yourself in front of anything. As Peter Cech found out in 2006, that last one can sometimes be painful.
Continue reading “The ancient phrase of ‘catch the ball, boot it up’ and the evolving art of the goalkeeper in the modern game”
By Andrew Misra
The giant, round Champions League flag ripples between its legion of bearers in the centre circle just as the excitement does amongst the crowd of 35,472 fans. The familiar anthem by Tony Britten begins and the breaths of many around the world habitually grow slower and deeper just for a second. Then the heart rates raise as the shiny metallic Handel inspired majesty builds purposefully towards its crescendo. And then they raise.
Die Meister. Die Besten. Les grandes équipes. The champions.
Continue reading “Apprentice beats master: when Cesc humiliated Vieira at Highbury”
When you think of Asian club football, you could be forgiven if you presumed that it is contested by a huge majority of Asian-born players. When Saudi Arabia announced their squad for the 2018 World Cup, every single player was domestic-based, with the majority being players of Al Ahli or Al Hilal.
The precedent is fairly similar across the continent, so when a European pitches up in the kit of his team, eyebrows are raised. That happened in Tehran, when Éamon Zayed became the most unlikely continental hero in a match between Tehran clubs Esteghal and Persepolis in 2012…
Continue reading “An Irishman in Iran: the bizarre tales of when Éamon Zayed wrote football history in Tehran”
By Kieran Ahuja
The nearly century-old Boro Match, Bengali for ‘Big Match’, regularly attracts attendances of nearly 100,000.
On December 29th, 49,863 people, mostly comprised of enthusiastic Glaswegians, turned out at Ibrox to watch the Old Firm Derby, a rivalry between Celtic and Rangers that is deeply ingrained in Scottish culture. It’s an incendiary match marked by passionate sectarianism, fierce rivalries and a delicate sense of pride; it’s the sound of tens of thousands of Scottish fans roaring until their voices crack as 22 players (often less by the end) push, shove and barge each other whilst vaguely adhering to the rules of football.
Continue reading “The Kolkata Derby, Asia’s Old Firm rivalry”
By Gerra Deegan
Perhaps one Friday afternoon, a decade from now, when you’re sitting in your office bored and wishfully counting down the clock on your computer screen until it’s time to go home for the weekend, you decide to take one of the many thousands of quizzes on Sporcle. The question reads: ‘Name the South American Player who played for these clubs; Lazio, Paris Saint-Germain, Barcelona, River Plate, and Juventus?’
Continue reading “The forgotten greatness of Juan Pablo Sorin – skilfully versatile, eccentric and so stereotypically Argentinian”
By Joe Davies
It is a rare thing in football that an away support outnumbers the home fans in a stadium. As I failed to establish the chant ‘Woah Lacazette-y, Aubameyang’ (to the tune of Black Betty), it occurred to me that without a home chorus to contend with the incentive for away fans to stand up and sing is dampened somewhat. While Gooners have been criticised for their lack of home atmosphere since the ‘Highbury Library’ days, you really could hear your own voice echo as Arsenal beat Blackpool 3-0 at Bloomfield Road. The magic of the FA Cup this was not.
Continue reading “Inside Bloomfield Road: what’s happening with the Blackpool boycotts?”