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”

We need to talk about Abou: how good was Diaby?

By Andrew Misra

Injured. Probably the word most football fans would use to describe Abou Diaby’s career. He’s now announced his retirement at the age of 32. Diaby made just 198 club appearances in total during a 14-year career, and had been without a club since being released by Marseille in 2017. Continue reading “We need to talk about Abou: how good was Diaby?”

Why women’s football is worth watching: lessons from Bramall Lane

By Andrew Misra

If you’ve spent a large amount of your life playing, watching and generally consuming football then it follows logically that you should know a lot about it. But the sport is so broad, deep and structurally layered that it’s impossible to be on top of it all. Stop a self-confessed football fanatic on the street and ask them who is fourth in the Eredivisie and there’s a good chance that they won’t know (AZ Alkmaar). That same fan, though, can tell you off the top of their head that Emile Heskey scored seven goals in 62 England appearances over an eleven-year international career. Or that a young Dimitar Berbatov came off the Bayer Leverkusen bench in the 39th minute of the 2002 Champions League Final.

Continue reading “Why women’s football is worth watching: lessons from Bramall Lane”

Inside Bloomfield Road: what’s happening with the Blackpool boycotts?

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?”

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 12 – Thierry Henry, the return of the king

By Joe Davies

On the 6th of January 2012, Arsenal’s record top goal scorer returned to North London on loan to cover for Marouane Chamakh and Gervinho who were at the African Cup of Nations. Unable to take his old number 14 shirt, occupied by Theo Walcott since his departure, Thierry Henry opted for the number 12 he had won the 1998 World Cup and 2000 European Championships with for France. Arguably the greatest player to have ever played in the Premier League, TiTi left Arsenal for brighter pastures at Barcelona, but returned a crowd favourite and self-confessed fan of the club.

Continue reading “Advent Day 12 – Thierry Henry, the return of the king”