Category: Latest

Swansea City’s Great Managerial Gamble

So, farewell then, Michael Laudrup. It would be easy to spin the story of his departure from the Liberty Stadium yesterday as being just another case of the insanity of the world of football management in the twenty-first century. True enough, the Swans are just two points from the relegation places in the Premier League, but the bottom half of the table is awfully congested at the moment and it is, of course, equally true to say that Swansea City will go into this weekend’s Premier League matches in twelfth place in the table. It has been clear from...

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Bundesliga Round Up – Week 19: Let’s Talk Tactics

I’m aware that posts about tactics can be something of a turn off in these web pages but you may be interested to learn about the possible start of a rethink regarding formations in the German club football. As in most senior European leagues, Bundesliga coaches tend to use a five man midfield with a single striker up front. Sometimes that striker has been replaced with a false nine who is more like an attacking midfielder. Think Mario Götze at Bayern Munich. However, both Stuttgart coach, Thomas Schneider and new Hannover 96 coach Tayfun Korkut have started playing with two strikers up front in  a formation which looks closer to an orthodox 4-4-2. Of course and perhaps inevitably there is something of a twist on this formation as both teams press the opposition very hard when they don’t have the ball so it’s not quite the free flowing retro football of Tim Sherwood’s Spurs which we all enjoy for various reasons but it is an interesting move by two young coaches who took their coaching badges together. In Stuttgart’s case the performances have been positive but the results fruitless. They nearly took a point of Bayern last Wednesday by taking a one goal lead only to succumb to a Claudio Pizarro equaliser and an injury time winner from Thiago Alcântara which is already a YouTube classic. Stuttgart’s defeat was the second straight...

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We Need To Talk About Financial Fair Play… Again

Was it just a matter of striking coincidence or was there something more in the timing of a story in the Daily Mail which stated confidently that “Rivals” are “ganging up to ban City” with a challenge over the blue half of Manchester’s attempts to comply with regulations meant to limit the extent to which sheikhs, oligarchs and other ne’er do wells have started to pour money into some football clubs? After all, as these words are being written, the expensively assembled teams of Manchester City and Chelsea are preparing to take to the pitch at The City of Manchester Stadium for yet another testosterone-soaked Premier League “showdown.” The eyes of the world will be watching this evening – aren’t they always nowadays? – but the eyes of some will be focusing on annual accounts of Manchester City and how these tie in with UEFA’s much-vaunted (but seldom so far tested) Financial Fair Play Regulations. On Saturday evening, Jose Mourinho added his voice to a powerful – if not necessarily particularly numerous – choir of voices within the game of the opinion that UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules aren’t treated with the respect that they deserve. We have to remember, of course, that this is Jose Mourinho we’re talking about here, and that there is probably no level of eyeball-rolling irony that the Chelsea manager wouldn’t apply in the...

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The Madness Of Leeds United Takes Several New Twists

Well, at least the supporters of Leeds United can take a crumb of comfort from the fact that, after twenty-four hours that has been their club become the laughing stock of the entire Football League, they have a team and a support of which they can till be proud. At Elland Road this afternoon, a crowd of more than 31,000 people saw Leeds put Huddersfield Town to the swird by five goals to one, a first league win since the middle of December and one which keeps the team on the fringes of the pack chasing for a place...

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Referee! You Got It Wrong… Again!

A couple of recent refereeing decisions have attracted Mark Murphy’s attention and, spotting an opportunity to have a gratuitous dig or two at Sam Allardyce and others, he thought he’d attract your attention too. The Dick Emery Show was a staple diet of my early 1970s TV viewing and amongst the Emery characters which proves that the past truly is a foreign country was an improbably-named skinhead called Gaylord, whose catchphrase was “Daaad, I fink I got it wrong again.” Gaylord’s voice has been my personal soundtrack to two particularly “alternative” pieces of recent refereeing. This week’s Stamford Bridge shenanigans involving referee Neil Swarbrick, West Ham goalkeeper Adrian and Chelsea striker Samuel Eto’o. And, as I’m sure you feared, one involving my team Kingstonian. And, yes, we were the ‘victims.’ Chelsea supremo Jose Mourinho’s post-match comments about West Ham’s “19th-century” football attracted bigger headlines (although a blanket defence like West Ham’s seems sooo 21st-century – even if manager Sam Allardyce evokes more pre-historic times). But the instant reaction on BBC Radio 5 Live offered a rare moment in broadcasting history – Robbie Savage making the most sense. To briefly recap, Adrian saved a stoppage-time Eden Hazard shot and lay on the floor, ball held tight to his chest, as Chelsea’s Demba Ba chased a potential rebound. In the BBC studio, pundits and presenters agreed that Adrian wouldn’t be “getting...

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