Perspectives 3- for the football Aficionado
Pirlo- rolled back the years once again yesterday with a 30-yard match-winning beauty against Atalanta
He is key to the Biaconeri's success in midweek, against Dortmund in the CL
Juventus were far from impressive in that match and they've shown a tendency to concede from set-pieces in recent times ( they did again yesterday, to allow Atalanta take the lead against the run of play) They are also susceptible during counter-attacks
So, expect Reus and Aubamayang to harrass and harry Pirlo and the CBs, Bonucci and Chiellini
Max Allegri's 4-3-1-2 formation means that Pirlo can easily be the source of their midfield/counter attack vulnerability. Pirlo can also look bad when he has no one to pass to. ( see photo 1)
This is why fans prefer Caceres and Padoin at FBs. They actually play like FBs rather than Lichtsteiner and Evra who think they’re WBs/wide mids and often play the positions too advanced. Not only does this shore up defense but it means the midfielders/Pirlo are not isolated with no one to pass to.
For this formation to be perfect against Dortmund, Pereyra has to play behind the strikers. That way, you get creative attacking width through him because he moves around up there and drifts wide
( to find out why Allegri ditched his predecessor, Conte's 3-5-2 and adopted 4-3-1-2 to accommodate the vital Pirlo, the tactical formation- inclined can check out this article)
Pogba and Tevez have to raise their games too ( they've been lukewarm recently ) and Moratta has to pair Tevez up front ( although Llorente scored ( a scrappy goal) yesterday, he looks like a poor fit up front- that has been the story of his season so far )
Dortmund- it appears as if they have broken through that mental block! They are now 10th after their 3rd consecutive victory. To understand how well they are playing -particularly in attack- check out this Gundogan goal ( their second, in a 3-2 victory against Stuggart yesterday) it's a thing of beauty.
They are still vulnerable in defence though ( Sahin should have been sent off for preventing a clear goal-scoring opportunity. Dortmund conceded the first goal from the resultant penalty though), this is why their match against Juve in Turin, on Tuesday is difficult to call
Hear Gundogan expressing sympathy for the hapless Stuttgart : " we were bottom ourselves a couple of weeks ago. It's not a nice situation. The head is willing but the body doesn't respond" That has to be the quote of the week :D
How do you solve a problem like Xabi
Bayern have been poor travellers of late.
It appears that if you target Xabi Alonso by man-marking him, combining a high press defence while simultaneously maintaining deep structured defensive lines, you neutralise their build-up play and render their attack flaccid ( it worked at Wolfsburg, Schalke and Shakhtar recently) Xabi got sent off in that Shaktar game too! :-(
He is not a very mobile player, hence his game is stifled with this approach and his good passing ability is limited to ineffective sideways and backward passes.
Or perhaps Schweinsteiger just cramps Alonso's style and both shouldn't be playing at the same time. Perhaps it is not a coincidence that Xabi ran the show for the first 3 months in Bayern, but since Schweini came back from injury, Xabi's performance has dipped.
I'm not going to bore you with the news ( maybe I should) that Leo Messi is on course to break his 91 goals a season record set in 2012.
The signs look 'ominous' too!:
1. He has 5 more goals than he did at this stage back then ( 14 vs 9 )
2. He's working hard ( getting back earlier than others to training after a break)
3. CR7 winning his 3rd Ballon D'Or is enough motivation for the vertically-challenged one :-)
4. There is Copa America this summer ( he didn't have this 'luxury' to add to his tally in that record-breaking year!! )
The search for Xavi's replacement
Rakitic has done well, but he's no Xavi. Oliver Torres might be a perfect fit. He is like a Xavi incarnate. Check out this article for more
It was a solid yet oddly uncomfortable win for Real in midweek ( vs Schalke )
It's a step in the right direction though following their recent slump. The real buzz after that game was Lucas Silva's performance in the middle. The young lad was solid -considering this was his first full game. There are already talks that he is an upgrade to Khedira and Illaramendi. Time will tell
For Wilshere to return, Ramsey had to be injured. The two cannot simultaneously play in the centre of midfield. It's Murphy's Law of Averages regarding Injuries in Arsenal's Midfield. :-)
If he plays, ( very likely) will he be disciplined enough to smartly choose his moments to join the attack, and to protect Coquelin in the pivot? This is the big question in Wenger's recent romance with the counter-attacking 4-1-4-1 formation. We might find out soon, starting with Crystal Palace today
LVG's men aren't very good, but at least they're annoying people again.
It's called the Hot Piss Paradox:
The knowledge that your team and, by extension, you have gotten away with it, and everybody is really annoyed with that. It is what Man Utd has been doing all season- the play ain't sh*t but they keep getting decent results.
Why Hot Piss Paradox? 'Cos rolling around in hot piss is literally a terrible idea, but metaphorically great fun, it seems! Ask a tantrum-throwing kid :D
We'll see if this streak continues at Swansea. Both Phil a Jones and RVP are available after short injury lay offs
Much of the talk is whether Bony will make his City debut vs Newcastle this weekend. Toure should start though and I suspect Pellegrini will keep Bony on the subs bench and start with the same line up that will face Barca in midweek- with Silva playing just behind Aguero in a 4-4-1-1 modification of the traditional 4-4-2 set up
Mario Balotelli tweeted about "Penalty-gate" : "Thank you hendo for let me take the penalty. Stop drama now." Apart from the slight grammar challenge, that seems like some pretty good advice. Let’s stop the drama. Now! :D
We are in a unique and enviable position ( and I'm not talking about the all season- long OATT status :P ) when it comes to goalkeepers. Check out this article for what we think about the Courtois/Cech situation
Stan Collymore has been fired from his job as a BT Pundit
It follows his demand that Rangers’ games should not be televised because of sectarian singing by their fans, citing references in songs to "Fenian blood".
(These are "Billy Boys" songs- composed in the 1930s
"Billy Boys" were a Protestant street gang in Glasgow led by Billy Fullerton in the 1920s
Rangers fans adopted their songs when this gang started attending games)
Collymore wrote a series of tweets about the matter. One said: "I can hold my head high and say I did the right thing to challenge hypocrisy amongst Rangers fans"
These songs were eventually banned by the Scottish Govt & the SFA in 2011 'cos of the "Up to our knees in Fenian blood" line in it
Fenian- the Fenian Brotherhood is a fraternal organisation dedicated to the establishment of an independent Irish Republic in the 19th and early 20th century.
These are Catholics. Rangers and its fans are Protestants. I hope you get the vibes now
Collymore chose the wrong medium ( Twitter) in my opinion and BT were within their rights to fire him. Why Twitter? What's the point?
Finally, a word on racism in football:
Andi Thomas makes a lot of sense in this article
"Football in general, and football fans in particular, can't persuade a racist not to be a racist. And a sport, and the people who follow that sport, cannot dismantle a system of discrimination and oppression that has existed for centuries and continues to exist, even though it's no longer acceptable to stand on the terraces and lob darts at the nearest black head. What football and football fans can do, however, is work together to make the game as safe a space as possible for everybody, at the same time as wider society works towards the same ends"
This is the kind of discussion I want to be having on these issues- Racism & Sectarianism- not the ( in my opinion) "your club has more racists than mine" mindless, waste of brain function psychobabble that sometimes happen in some fora
It is what it is