So why exactly do Manchester United appear such a different outfit under Solskjaer already? Why have they scored five goals in a match for the first time since the Ferguson era? Is it as simple as escaping the authoritarian clutches of evil dictator Jose and bounding into the warm loving embrace of a smiling Ole? Is it because they have played three teams that wouldn’t be out of place in the Championship? In all likelihood, it’s a combination of several factors – ‘the new manager bounce’ most definitely has a part to play. But there are already specific differences in United’s style of play and tactics that have become evident in the small sample of games we have seen so far. There seem to have been three key changes… Continue reading “Why are Manchester United already unrecognisable under Solskjaer?”
By Jack Perry
The search for a cultured, ball playing centre-back has reached fever pitch in England. Pep Guardiola’s demand for even his goalkeeper to be able to use the ball effectively has been part of larger trend of modern defenders becoming better with the ball at their feet. Chris Smalling was left out of Gareth’s Southgate’s England plans for his lack of composure on the ball. Continue reading “Advent Day 15: Nemanja Vidic, the Serbian warrior”
By Jack Perry
Pavel Nedved won the Ballon D’or. Pavel Nedved had the most glorious, thick, flowing blonde bob football has ever seen. When was the last time he was mentioned in a pub debate? Not recently enough is the answer.
Appearances may not directly impact a player’s ability but they can certainly dictate how a performance is received. Maroune Fellaini rarely escapes an underwhelming performance without criticism, partly no doubt, due to the fact his mistakes will never be attributed to another 6ft 5ins centre midfielder sporting an afro – perhaps this is the real motivation behind his recent trim. Similarly, when Nedved collected the ball, twisted and turned before firing an obscenely clean strike into the top corner, his blonde locks would bounce delicately and unmistakably behind him. However, when struggling, the Czech midfielder suffered the wrath of the Italian press who produced such inventive headlines along the lines of ‘All hair, no skill’ during difficult spells. Though he never shied from spotlight that was fixed on him whenever the ball was at feet. There was never a moment’s doubt as to who had effortlessly glided past another defender and played a cutting a final ball – it was the man with floating blonde curls. He could not easily fade into a sea of 22 men nor would he ever have wanted to. Nedved sought out the action and grabbed games by the scruff of the neck whenever necessary.