General

Jose Mourinho and his hold over the footballing public 0

Jose Mourinho is one of the most thorough tacticians the game has ever seen.  Beyond all the bluster and the press-conference baiting, he is a remarkably astute manager whose record in the game illustrates not only his footballing acumen, but also his hold over the players he manages. There’s no disputing any of that. The(…)

Tottenham still glow in the Wembley half-light 4

Losing final performances and cold-hearted analysis don’t go together particularly well. In games of less significance, it’s far easier to distance yourself and evaluate a team’s performance without the weight of context. You can write about a game’s passing-triangles, pressing patterns and conversion statistics when the result is incidental, but not when you’re emotionally invested.(…)

The Sam Allardyce straw man argument. 0

Here’s an opinion West Ham fans are used to hearing: “Dislike of Sam Allardyce is based purely on the style of football with which he’s erroneously associated.” Without naming the authors, that seems to have been a popular theme over the past few weeks.  Typically, these articles start by debunking the theory that Allardyce only(…)

The Premier League’s knockout culture is undermining English clubs in Europe 2

This has been a really difficult week for English clubs in Europe, there’s no point in denying that.  Arsenal, Liverpool, Tottenham and Manchester City all fell rather limply to Spanish, Italian, French and Turkish opponents and, as is now the tradition, that will lead to an evaluation of the Premier League’s place in the continental(…)

This Arsenal side has reached the end of its cycle 4

You can’t really talk about Arsenal without involving yourself in the debate surrounding Arsene Wenger.  Any criticism of a side’s performance - or long-term habits - is naturally associated with its manager and so detaching the two is impossible. But let’s do that for a minute. Quite evidently, Arsenal were shockingly naive against Monaco and(…)

Broaden retrospective punishment at this time of refereeing need 3

People who talk incessantly about refereeing performances are dull.  In fact, the broadcast media’s tendency to focus on officiating controversy at the expense of actual game analysis is very tiresome.  Endless slow motion replays of potential handballs, the continuous ‘I think this, I think that’ of whichever ex-player pundit happens to be in the studio(…)

Muting football managers for the sake of purity 0

Allow me to daydream briefly. Completely unrealistic though it may be, imagine a football world with silent managers. Press-conferences, outbursts and refereeing truthing have become such staples of the game, that it’s impossible to conceive of a world without them.  Because football is the dominant sport in England, a lot of the content which fills(…)

The dying art of football commentary 3

“One nil…” Sometimes the less a commentator says, the more memorable his contribution to a game can be.  That’s why David Coleman and his famous goal-call are still revered well into his retirement.  It was a signature, but it was also very organic. On any given weekend, there are dozens of different football matches broadcasted(…)

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