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.

Continue reading “The renaissance of the English 4-4-2”

Ballon d’Or: treasured more in South America than Europe?

By Andrew Misra

“Gooooooooooaaaaaallllll”. Not just the introduction to Alan Partridge’s 1994 World Cup Countdown, but a shortened version of a noise regularly heard on South American television, radio and inside bars. Colombian commentator Javier Fernandez Franco, tunefully nicknamed the “Goal Singer”, unleashed a 37-second outcry of this after Carlos Bacca scored in the 2016 Copa America third-place playoff. Bacca’s effort wasn’t extraordinary either, rather it was scruffily turned in, bouncing over the line.

Continue reading “Ballon d’Or: treasured more in South America than Europe?”