Diamonds are a manager’s best friend: a look at the diamond formation

“They say diamonds aren’t forever, but they certainly are for this manager.”

So go the dulcet tones of Alan Smith on FIFA’s hugely popular football simulation game. Such is the rarity of the 4-3-1-2, 4-1-2-1-2 or 4-4-2 (diamond) formation that it has been gifted its very own Worcestershire cliché when deployed on games consoles across the land. Continue reading “Diamonds are a manager’s best friend: a look at the diamond formation”

Why are two-footed players so rare and does it really matter?

By Andrew Misra

Sports psychology aside, football is a game predominantly played with your feet. Cheers, Geoff. But really, most of the time it’s predominantly played with one foot. Go to the nearest recreational football ground at the weekend and this will become abundantly clear not just visually, but verbally too.

The right-back tracking the tricky opposition left winger will routinely be told to “show them onto their right”. Continue reading “Why are two-footed players so rare and does it really matter?”

Advent Day 3 – Paolo Maldini, the eternal king of calcio

By Lewis Steele 

“There are great players and there are world-class players. Then there are those who manage to go beyond that term. Paolo is the perfect example. He is the symbol of Milan” – Alessandro Del Piero, one of the most decorated icons of calcio history described the great Paolo Maldini as one to fit the bracket above world class.

Continue reading “Advent Day 3 – Paolo Maldini, the eternal king of calcio”

When Kaká was unstoppable and ran past the World

By Andrew Misra

The date is Thursday 8th March 2007. It’s three minutes into extra-time in the second leg of the Champions League last-16 tie at the San Siro after 180 minutes of hard-fought stalemate.

Celtic midfielder Evander Sno squanders possession and the opposition swiftly launch a counter attack.  A 25-year-old Brazilian lurking just inside his own half senses an opportunity. Italian midfielder Massimo Ambrosini dutifully passes the ball towards the number 22 in the famous red and black stripes of the Rossoneri.

The ball bobbles into the playmaker at pace. His first touch cushions the ball into his path, allowing him to swivel and shrug Neil Lennon to the floor as the Northern Irishman forlornly attempts a challenge. A second touch sees the attacker gallop through the centre circle, accelerating in his own inimitable way.

Three more touches see him surge towards the last defender, the fourth takes him one-on-one with the keeper Artur Boruc. Seemingly impassable over the two legs, the Pole is powerless as the final, decisive Continue reading “When Kaká was unstoppable and ran past the World”

Advent Day 2 – Cafu, the man with two hearts

By Andrew Misra

‘Day 2 – Cafu’ has such a nice ring to it doesn’t it? Maybe that’s why he wore the number 2 in the first place…

As is often the case with Brazilian players, Cafu isn’t his real name. Born in 1970 as Marcos Evangelista de Morais in the Itaquaquecetuba municipality in the state of São Paulo, you could forgive him for shortening his name to avoid the kind of tongue-twisting that this sentence has inflicted. The nickname is derived from Cafuringa, a former Brazilian right winger.

Continue reading “Advent Day 2 – Cafu, the man with two hearts”