The renaissance of the English 4-4-2

By Joe Davies

English football was once a game of partnerships. Big man, little man – one guy to hold it up, one to work the channels and play on the shoulder – was the dominant strike pairing across all British sides. Managers lined their teams up with two pacy, outside wingers, and two box-to-box midfielders in the middle, with one going while the other stayed and vice versa. In defence, you would have two imposing centre-halves, one covering while the other marked tight, and full-backs would adopt a similar strategy to the central midfielders in order to make sure there were always three staying back in possession. This is the way all English school kids grew up playing football on the weekend, and is still the dominant shape in Sunday-league football today. Football was simple.

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Advent Day 14 – Guti, the underrated Galáctico

By Jack Heale

José María Gutiérrez Hernández, more commonly known as Guti, epitomised the saying ‘what could have been’ regarding a footballer. When he was at his best, he was unplayable, but likewise, when he was not up to standard, the Real Madrid faithful made sure he knew. The two contrasts seemingly encapsulate his 15-year-long professional career. Continue reading “Advent Day 14 – Guti, the underrated Galáctico”

Advent Day 6 – Xavi Hernandez, the greatest midfielder of his generation

By Lewis Steele

To find answers you have to ask a question, obviously. So, I pose two questions: one – who is the best club team of the 21st century? Two – who is the best international team of the 21st century? There is a bit of debate to be had and there are teams that could pose a serious case for being the answer, but there are only really two logical answers – Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona side, and the treble winning Spain side of 2008-2012.

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Advent Day 5 – Zinedine Zidane, Zou Bissou Zizou

By Joe Davies

Mad Men’s fifth season premiere ended with an iconic performance of the French song ‘Zou Bissou Bissou’, sung by Don Draper’s French-Canadian wife to him on his birthday. Don shifted in his seat uncomfortably as Meghan sung the song roughly translated as ‘Oh! Kiss Kiss’, reflecting the generational gap between the two, as Meghan Draper bared the couple’s intimate relationship for all his coworkers to see. Much like Don, one could imagine Zinedine Zidane would likewise be uncomfortable with the adoration he receives from French football fans, as well as that from across the border in Madrid; much like Draper, Zizou is a reserved, strong and silent type, and has a similar identity problem, albeit down to his Algerian roots rather than stealing the name of his officer in command during the war.

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