Category: Latest

Derby County, Sheffield United & All The Fun Of The Merry-Go-Round

It was all over within the space of three minutes at Bramall Lane on Sunday afternoon, as two goals from Ryan Flynn and the spectactularly bearded John Brayford – with more than a little assistance from a deflection – were enough to send the League One club through to an FA Cup Semi-Final match to be played against Hull City of the Premier League at Wembley next month. There is little about Sheffield United’s run to this stage of the competition that doesn’t impress. Every match the team has played from the Third Round on has been against opposition from a higher division, with Aston Villa, Fulham, Nottingham Forest and Charlton Athletic now having been seen off, and the nature of the team’s performances have been those of a group of players riding the crest of a wave following a quite dreadful start to the season. Furthermore, the team’s progress in the competition can hardly be considered to have been at the expense of league form. Since winning at Aston Villa in the Third Round in January, the team has won nine, drawn two and lost two of its matches in League One, a run that has lifted the team from the relegation places at the bottom of the table to eleventh position. Indeed, they have now not even conceded a goal in their last six matches, and this...

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Bundesliga round up – Week 24: Stuttgart Sack Schneider for Stevens

After last week’s defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt, VfB Stuttgart elected to keep their coach Thomas Schneider for another game despite their perilous position in fourth from bottom of the Bundesliga. On Saturday they faced the bottom side Eintracht Braunschweig at home. It was a Wikipedia definition of a must win game. Jan Hochscheidt took the lead for Braunschweig but Stuttgart hit back with two goals from Alexandru Maxim and Martin Harnik. The home side played well enough but missed a chance to finish the game off when Christian Gentner missed a penalty. Inevitably, Braunschweig equalised on 83 minutes through...

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The Tactics Tank: England vs Denmark, Exfoliated

With just a matter of days, weeks, months and minutes until England fly out to Brazil before flying back again either having done well or not so well at the FIFA World Cup, Wednesday’s friendly fixture against Denmark afforded boss Roy Hodgson the ideal opportunity to not only evaluate potential candidates for places in the squad, but also test and tweak the tactics with which he will either baffle or amuse the world. Hodgson, of course, has long been derided as a kind of football conservative, the entrenched view of many being that he is to football tactics what Michael Gove is to education – namely a universally loathed, luddite Puritan mired in dark age thinking and possessed of a face that resembles an animal. While Hodgson’s failure at Liverpool hardly helps the cause of mainstream supporters prepared to defend him against his more vociferous detractors, his tenure as England manager – and particularly his record in recent games – has provided a more positive visualisation of what may lay ahead in Brazil. Born in 1947, Hodgson’s has certainly been around the block a few times. His managerial career has been wildly varied, taking in domestic titans and smaller, obscure clubs, as well as a storied international career spanning several decades. This poses a big problem for soccer academics and tactical analysts trying to establish his heritage as a...

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Turning The Tide On 3g Pitches

It may be coincidence or it may not be, but at the end of a winter that has decimated the non-league football calendar it has hardly felt like much of a great surprise that the cold winds of financial difficulty have been blowing through the bank accounts of some semi-professional clubs of late. We have already lost Eastwood Town of the Northern Premier League, and recent troubling rumours have also been emanating from Bashley and Corby Town of the Southern League along with the announcement of Conference North side Vauxhall Motors that they will be resigning their league place...

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The Madness Of Queens Park Rangers’ Annual Accounts

Well, at least we now have a fuller picture of exactly why the club is understood to be so steadfastly against the notion of Financial Fair Play. It had been expected that the release of Queens Park Rangers’ annual accounts for their 2012/13 financial year would not make for particularly appetising reading for the club’s supporters, but to suggest that at least they weren’t even worse than had been expected surely carries a hint of disingenuity about it. Over the course of the club’s last season in the Premier League, the club contrived to find a way to lose...

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