Old Futbol Buffet–Life Beyond the EPL

I skipped the EPL action over the weekend to focus on La Liga.  What a weekend I missed.  Arsenal finally took the gloves off; United smacked four past Wigan; and Liverpool continued to struggle.  Plus Aston Villa won a match and City dropped points again.  Finally, Chelsea broke out the ugly kits in an attempt to deflect from the Terry/Ferdinand brouhaha.

Just a quick link regarding the Manchester United game. The Republik of Mancunia saw another thrashing of Wigan as the Red Devils finally started hitting the back of the net in the second half.  Welbeck struggled but the new signings scored and played well, supplementing the old guard, including Scholes who scored yet again.


Articles and Pods

Michael Cox, better known as Zonal Marking, tipped three possible dark horses to qualify out of Europe for World Cup 2014—Bosnia, Hungary and Belgium.  The Belgians really aren’t a stretch as they have loads of talent but they are in a tricky group with Croatia and Serbia.

In my internet shame spiral, I came across an article about the new general manager of the Professional Referees Organization (PRO), Peter Walton, who was interviewed by Graham Parker for Grantland.  The insight was quite interesting as Walton is charged with improving North American refs by 2022.  (I hope it goes better than Project 2010 or whatever it was called.)  Give it a read.

During the international break I was able to catch up on Beyond the Pitch’s Manchester United show, as Phil and Doron spoke with Brian Greenhoff and Tony Park.  Park knows the youth system inside and out and spoke on several issues facing the club in terms of player development.  Super interesting and informative and well worth the listen.

Beyond the Pitch also looked at the MLS and the USMNT.  Craig Merz was on to talk about the Columbus Crew’s push for the playoffs and the emergence of Federico Higuain.  Good stuff as I hope to see the Crew in a couple of weeks.  Nico and Anto wrapped up talking about the Stars and Stripes down away to Jamaica, a game in which after the first 30 some seconds, nothing went right.

John Pelini broke down both matches between the US and Jamaica, focusing on how the teams set up and their line of confrontation during each game.  Klinsmann got it all wrong away and made the necessary changes in Columbus, while Pelini thought Jamaica could have done a little more in the away match.  He also made a telling comment:

However, the true test for the Klinsmann regime will be to play proactively on the road and in the 2014 World Cup. It is easy for the team to keep the ball with short passes and move it from side to side against a side that are sits deep and concedes possession. The Klinsmann impact will be seen if we can play in this manner against a team that also wants the ball and is willing to pressure to win it back. If the US then resorts to long balls up field then not much has changed from the Bob Bradley days. 

Finally the upcoming Howler magazine published a preview article, which featured Matthew Doyle’s breakdown of US tactics, formation and personnel over the last 22 years.  Tons of info and glimpses into the evolution of “try hard, run fast” to “try hard, run fast” with some organization and better technical ability.  As the Rock says, know your role and shut the hell up.  Maybe the US’s style is counter with athleticism and everyone should stop calling for us to become Spain’s little brother.  Highly recommend this piece.

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