Posts Tagged ‘ Football Fashion ’

SoccerNomad Podcast: EPL 16/17 Kit Preview

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EPL 16/17 Kit Preview

JR Francis (@paynomind) returned to the SoccerNomad podcast to look at the kits for the upcoming EPL season. After we both rant about the Manchester teams, we gave comments on the rest of the league and picked our top 5. Plus there’s some news and notes on the manufacturers.

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Thanks for listening! You can also subscribe via iTunes and please leave a rating and review. Follow me on twitter @austinlong1974.

Manchester United Dollar Date (2015/16 Preview)

Almost 15 years after moving from Adidas to Umbro and then to Nike, Manchester United is back with the three stripes. The £750m deal over 10 years is ridiculous money and will hopefully fuel the club’s return to the top of English and European football.

I started following the club after the Adidas years but the Football Bible captured the previous sets of kits for the club from Adidas during  the 80’s and early 90’s, which provided a nice trip down memory lane and gave some perspective (and possibly a preview) on what the manufacturer will do for the Red Devils in the coming years. Would love to see a re-imagining of the 84/86 set.

In the age of the internet, it’s almost impossible to keep things a secret, so even though fans had to wait until August 1st to see the new United jersey, they had a pretty good idea of what it was going to look like. Adidas did not go crazy with their opening salvo, basing the home kit on the 1982 version that they produced. Using a color called “real red”, the strip is simple, clean and down the middle.

adidas-manchester-united-15-16-home-kit (1)

(Photo courtesy of Footy Headlines)

home herrera

(Photo courtesy of Manchester United)

What really jumped out at me was the black trim edged with red and white on the V neck collar. Seems like a small thing but it really made the collar pop. I’m really glad that Adidas did not use a recent touch of theirs, which is the bracketing of the cuffs and hem. I’ve seen this on a lot of templates and in MLS, and I hate it. Finally, in an interview with the designer, it was revealed that the M used to create the last loved/loathed away kit from Adidas before the switch to Umbro is stitched into the hem of the shirt. The shorts are very simple with just three red stripes and the club crest added, while the socks just have the devil part of the club crest and the Adidas logo and are topped with three stripes.

manchester-united-2015-2016-adidas-away-jersey-3

(Photo courtesy of Football Fashion)

away memphis

(Photo courtesy of Manchester United)

As for the away strip, another homage to the 80’s is made with a nod to the mid-80’s shirt–white with red trim. Again the V neck collar is trimmed and the cuffs are a solid white giving no contrast to the body which works for me. The black shorts have matching red trim from the shirt and red/pinstripe black/red band is added to the white socks, which I really like.

utd 3rd

The third strip is a misfire overall. While I’m usually a big fan of black kits, adidas really cocked this one up. The M accents, or as the Manchester United website notes, “the key graphic taken from the early 1990s shirt famously worn by Ryan Giggs,” are fine. My opinion is that they won’t be visible on TV and are barely noticeable in the flesh. The United website has a different point of view: “the graphic across the front of the shirt standing out brilliantly under the floodlights, which is ideal considering it will be used for the away UEFA Champions League fixtures.”

However the rest of the strip is awful. I don’t like the trim/accent color. According to SoccerBible, the color is neon red but the official website calls it an orange pop. Call it what you will, but A) it looks terrible and B) it clashes with the “real” read that adidas used for the home shirt. The color makes the club badge look garbled. I saw the shirt in the flesh at a recent United Watch Party, and the badge still looks terrible and I’m still undecided on the trim color. It’s not red and it’s not orange. I’ve decided on highlighter red but it can look orange depending on the light.

utd 3rd strip

(Photo courtesy of Football Fashion)

Then there’s the shorts. They look cheap and I’m not sure why the three stripes decided a two tone fade look was a good idea. It makes the shorts look cheap and they have done this with Juventus and Chelsea as well and none of them work for me. Due to the transition on the shorts, the strip is finished off with white socks, which is a miss for me. Bring back the days of the all black kit!!

A better choice for this strip would have been white trim and white monochromatic logo. White socks might have worked with that. Oh well. I’ll just throw this in the trash with the tire track shirt from a couple of years ago.

All in all a good first effort from Adidas. I really liked the use of the trident in the promotional materials. Seems like they don’t do enough with the Red Devil nickname.

Strip Club–Best (and Worst) of 2014/15

Over the last couple of years I have done some sort of post focusing on the best and worst kits for the upcoming season, and this year is no different.  The 2014/15 campaign has started and I’ve tried to cast my net pretty wide, looking at shirts from as many leagues as possible.  Here is a sampling of what I found.

First, the worst.

Porto switched to Warrior for the upcoming season and after horrific designs for Liverpool (and mixed results for Sevilla), my expectations were low.  And Warrior didn’t disappoint.

The Home shirt is fine.  Standard blue and white vertical stripes, featuring 11 subtle sublimation lines that score the bold blue stripes, representing the 11 players on the pitch. These divide the blue stripes in 12, representing the 12th player, FC Porto’s supporters. (Courtesy Football Fashion).

The Away and Third shirts are eye sores.  The Away shirt uses some sort of camoflauge pattern, which has creeped into kit design (Napoli and Everton come to mind).  It’s distracting and takes away from a shade of navy blue.

As for the Third shirt, Warrior went with a pink hue that bolsters the flamboyant footballing style that the two-time European Champions are known for. The firm believes that it has designed a kit that breaks with convention while harnessing FC Porto’s unbridled passion. (Courtesy Football Fashion)

Warrior still has a long way to go, although they are way ahead in the race to push the boundaries.

(Photo courtesy of Footy Headlines)

Pete Nowakowski‎ (@petenowakowski) brought to my attention the set of jerseys that Wolfsburg will be wearing this season.  The European kit is especially atrocious.  Kappa created kits that use a X-shape, which the team states, is meant to represent Wolfsburg’s self-confidence and will to win. (Courtesy Football Fashion)  Have to say go with the obvious and say X does not mark the spot for this kit. (Photo courtesy of Football Fashion)

wolfsburg

Finally there is Blackburn Rovers.  The shirt has come under some criticism because it is not the typical royal blue but instead Nike used a much lighter shade of blue, which is officially called University Blue. Blackburn previously had worn a white / light blue home shirt between 1990-1992 and in the early years of the club. (Courtesy Footy Headlines)  But the real problem with the kit is the commercial used to launch it, #birdysdate.  Beware: it’s awkward and awful.

Now for the best

Nike has taken the sash that has been a recent trend in kit design and added it to the Zenit Away kit. The result is a simple shirt with a hint of flair, using something that I have not seen—the two tone sash.   The bottom half is the marine blue of the home kit with the top half a slightly darker blue. These colors are also used in the collar. Football Fashion provided this additional note: According to the club’s website: The new away kit has a contrasting stripe, similar to the belt that decorated the army uniforms of Peter the Great’s army. Overall very sharp.  (Photo courtesy of Footy Headlines)

Adidas is using the sash as well, adding it to the Anderlecht Home shirt. I’m not familiar with Anderlecht kits but know that the rich purple is the one of the main colors of the club. Typically the home shirts are white with purple accenting but for this season, adidas inverted the colors. I think this shirt works with the sash bringing attention to the club badge.  (Photo courtesy of Football Fashion).

Anderlecht-14-15-Home-Kit

The Leeds United kit came to my attention as I read The Damned United again this summer. Their iconic all white home kit, introduced in 1961 by coach Don Revie in hopes of emulating Spanish side Real Madrid, is subtly accented by the yellow and royal blue of the club. What really interested me about this shirt was the collar. Rides slightly high up the neck and is a unique design to me, with a notch at the throat area. Like the look of this shirt and maybe one day this storied club will return to the Premier League.  (Photo courtesy of Footy Headlines)

Feyenoord’s iconic home halved kit gets some nice touches with opposite colored sleeves and black stripes along the shoulders. This shirt gets an updated OPEL logo at the center of the shirt and the color of the logo goes well with the shirt.  (Photo courtesy of Football Headlines)

Feyenoord-14-15-Home-Kit-3

The checkered sleeves of the Fortuna Dusseldorf Home shirt grabbed me and these added an element of style to an otherwise straightforward shirt. What an interesting badge as well. I don’t speak German but the official name of the club is Düsseldorfer Turn-und Sportverein Fortuna 1895. Fortuna was the goddess of fortune and personification of luck in Roman religion. (Thanks Wikipedia!) I might keep an eye out for this one at the end of the season and pick it up on clearance.  (Photo courtesy of Football Fashion)

Fortuna-Dusseldorf-14-15-Home-Kit (1)

The Celtic Away shirts have been not to my liking the last couple of seasons, with the all black strip of 2012/13 being the exception, but this one caught my attention. I usually don’t go for green shirts but the dark, rich green is accented by several different colors. From Football Fashion: The new Bhoys’ away shirt features an enlarged graphic of the Celtic tartan on its front to reflect the club’s Scottish heritage. Gold-infused horizontal and vertical lines from the tartan run through the club crest to replicate the Celtic cross. Gold also appears as trim at the neck and sleeve areas. The entire strip is sharp and might be worth adding to a collection.  (Photo courtesy of Football Fashion)

Celtic-2014-2015-Away-Kit-4

 

Then there’s the Real Madrid Away strip. I don’t know where to put this one. Obviously there is the color of the kit, which Football Fashion called a vibrant pink. Much different than the pink of Palermo and of Juve’s away kit from a couple of years ago. Then there is the collar, which is using the button that seems to be popular at the moment. Footy Headlines called it a classical henley collar. Think I will have to wait to see this in person on TV.  (Photo courtesy Footy Headlines).

Real Madrid 14-15 Away Kit (1)

So that’s a random selection of this year’s shirts for the upcoming season.  There are hundreds of kits from all over the world, but I only have so much time.  Doing research I realized how much access fans have to kits worldwide.  It used to be just a Eurosport magazine, showing uniforms of big European teams.  Now strips from almost every team in at least the top division in the major leagues in Europe can be seen if you look hard enough. These are the ones that jumped out to me.  If you want to see more, visit the following sites.

Football Fashion

Football Kit News

Football Shirt Culture

Footy Headlines

Quality posts, great pictures and a wide selection on offer.

Strip Club–Manchester United 2014/15 Dollar Date

After the last two home kits underwhelmed (although the picnic table cloth of 12/13 did eventually grow on me because the design disappeared on TV), Nike produced a relatively straightforward option for the 2014/15 season. This shirt is a tweak of the 2011/12 version with white cuffs trimmed in black and red.  Chevrolet is the new shirt sponsor and the company’s logo dominates the shirt.  I’m hoping that in time that the word Chevrolet disappears and that the actual logo changes to a monochromatic color, preferably white.  I do like the motto on the inside the entire line of this year’s shirts–Youth, Courage, Greatness–as Louis Van Gaal should be able to restore all three. The shirt is fine enough except the button at the throat of the collar really bothers me.  Last year it was six and this year is one, so Nike is moving in the right direction.  Probably will pass on this one and hope that next year’s shirt is button free.

Photo courtesy of Footy Headlines

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White away shirt. Fine. Chevrolet sponsor logo. Par for the course—see comments about that in the home shirt. Non contrasting cuffs of a suitable width. Great. But the collar is atrocious. Black flaps are marginally acceptable but the button in the middle makes this look like a schoolboy polo shirt that little Johnny has to pull on every day before another six hours of academic torture. Now if you flip up the collar Cantona style, red and white bands appear which make the appearance more tolerable. Definitely not the worst away kit but will be passing on this one.

Photos courtesy of Footy Headlines and Football Fashion

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The third kit took me by surprise as the club unveiled it shortly before the friendly with Inter Milan.  A blue strip has been used off and on through the years, with the club and Umbro introducing a navy blue uniform towards the end of the 20th century.  These kits have been hit and miss and this strip is a recycled version of the 2005-2006 kit with a couple of tweaks.  The blue is a darker shade of royal blue, which is fine.  It’s the introduction of a second, even darker blue tone, almost navy blue on the back of the shirt and shorts that is a step to far.  Add to this salmon colored accenting (think FCB away 2009-2010) and BUTTONS and I’m less than thrilled.  I saw it against Inter and while I didn’t throw up on the TV, I was definitely unimpressed. If the strip had been one or the other it would have passable but the halved kit is a miss.

Photos courtesy of Footy Headlines and Football365.com

Strip Club–Manchester United 2013/14 Dollar Date

The Manchester United kits have been released for the upcoming season, and regardless of design, the Red Devils will be sporting the gold Premier League patch, signifying another championship, which is really all that matters.  Hopefully Moyes can keep things rolling domestically while making a push in Europe.

Manchester United 13-14 Home Kit (5)

The home kit returns to a solid red with no trim whatsoever.  A white Nike swoosh, black devil just under the collar at the back of the neck, and the badge are all that accent the shirt.  Well that and the buttons and the collar. Simply put, too many buttons.  I count six (with one on the back of the neck) and looks kinda grade school. Plus if you button it all the way up, not a good look.

The return of the collar has been listed as a selling point, harkening back to Cantona’s time at the club in mid-90’s.  The problem is that the design revealed when you flip the collar is awful. United’s offical site tries to put a historical spin on the collar design:  “Underneath the collar is a subtle tonal grey-and black-gingham check, first used on last season’s home shirt. The check represents Manchester’s industrial past, referencing the city’s cotton mills of the 18th century, which once produced the classic check fabric”, but I call bullshit or shenanigans or something.  The kit is completeled by white shorts with the club badge and manufacturer, and black socks with accented stripes around the shins.  In the end, the home shirt is ok but it continues a worrying trend of meh and deterioration from the epic 2007-09 shirt.

manu buttons

As for the away strip, leaks have been out for months.  While the shade of the shirt varied, the design did not—in essence a bluer version of last year’s red home shirt.  The final product is indeed a blue variation of “the iconic gingham check”.  To be honest the red shirt grew on me last year with the pattern fading on TV.  This shirt already looks sharp and the entire kit is fantastic.  I really like the midnight navy blue throughout and the all white crest, and while I won’t buy it, I won’t slag it off like the away kit from two year’s ago.
New-Man-U-Away-Shirt-2013-2014

So Phil Knight’s men did an acceptable job this year.  No #StoptheSleeve madness, which I appreciate, but room for improvement next season.

Strip Club–Best (and Worst) of 2013/14

The new European soccer campaign is almost upon us.  Starting with the final rounds of the 2012/13 season, manufacturers started releasing new strips for the upcoming season.  Due to the commercial pressure to release something new every year, clubs and companies are ever more creative and sometimes even risky.

I’m not really going to go too deep into English or Spanish kits.  Kit Nerd has assembled all kit releases for the English Premier League at his site, for one stop browsing.  I’ve mimicked his idea for the La Liga kits, and will be creating a page that has almost every single kit from the Spanish league for the upcoming season.

Here we go.

Possible the creepiest advertising promotion has to go to Chelsea, who simply teased their home kit, “It’s Blue”.  Then adidas released ads with players interacting with blue paint in weird ways.  It has to be seen to be believed.  Last year Nike brought us Purple Reign Pain (Arsenal and FC Porto) and Stop the Sleeve (almost everyone else).  This year the focus has turned to Warrior, who has produced an epic fail in the Liverpool Away and Third kits and one of the worst advertisements in promotion history with the Glory Hole feature of their newest shoe.

Moving on . . .

Starting with AC Milan.  Adidas and the Rossoneri look to put last year’s pocket disaster behind them and went with an away jersey that still isn’t quite right.  Using the gold trim that has accented recent Real Madrid and Swansea kits was a good thought, but then the three stripes goes and adds thin red and black lines to further clutter the front of the shirt.  These additional element clashes with the gold and makes this a miss.

AC Milan 13/14 Adidas Away Football Shirt

Unfortunately, the pocket has returned, this time as part of a new gold third kit.  The shirt itself is serviceable, more of a training kit look in my opinion, but the pocket downgrades it even further.  Has there ever been a time in kit manufacture where a pocket has been a good idea?

AC Milan 13/14 Adidas Third Football Shirt

Another Italian team has done something rather unique.  AS Roma, due to conflict with Kappa, created a kit that was designed and manufactured by the club.  The kit maintains the typical look of the club but adds a couple of innovations, which the post from Football Fashion explains:

  • The shirt is void of the technical sponsor’s logo since it was produced exclusively by the Club.
  • The serial numbers on each jersey further contribute to its uniqueness.
  • A special message will be entrusted to this jersey that is destined to make history.  “Solo per questa maglia…Unico Grande Amore” is the phrase and the commitment which will be on the interior of each jersey.
  • The roman numerals on the collar represent the Club’s foundation year – 1927 – a style that pays tribute to the tradition: the first jersey that gets inspiration from the early 1900’s ROMAN FC team, one of the three clubs that merged together to give birth to the Associazione Sportiva Roma.

New-Roma-Kit-13-14

I like the collar and the subtle trim around the collar itself and the sleeves.  Nike takes over next year so who knows what will happen.

Moving to Scotland, Celtic had awesome kits last year for their 125th anniversary.  This year, not so much.  The home kit takes one of the club’s nickname, The Hoops, to a new level.  Refashioning Manchester United’s awful away kit (blue base with black tire like tracks) from a couple of seasons ago, there are hoops upon hoops, which based on the post on Football Fashion is because “each of the club’s iconic green hoops is made of up seven smaller hoops, which are inspired by some of the club’s greatest players — such as Jimmy Johnstone and Henrik Larsson, who wore the No. 7 shirt.”

I’m not sold.

celtic-home-shirt-2013-14

One quick comment about an English side.  Everton is going to get some flack this year.  The badge redesign went horribly wrong, causing the club to already backtrack.  Focusing on the home jersey, Nike has seen my Stop the Sleeve aggravation and raised me one.  A second stripe now adorns the sleeve.  For what purpose?  Your guess is as good as mine.

Everton 13/14 Nike Home Football Kit

Over in Portugal, Benfica’s home kit is typically solid, some sort of red with adidas striping. This year they have added a sublimated image of their iconic eagle to enhance the offering.  Really like this one and I like their refashioned badge as well.

benfica

AS Saint-Étienne celebrate their 80th anniversary this season and their kits are kinda cool.  The home kit has “the club’s original crest from 1933 is printed on the shirt’s inside upper back (courtesy Football Fashion).”  The away set grabbed me due to the claw marks.  Haven’t seen this since Cameroon’s unique kit at the turn of the century.  The marks are “in reference to ASSE’s adopted symbol since the 1960s (courtesy Football Fashion).”  The additional sponsor on the pectoral makes the shirt a little busy, but other than, both are decent.

New-ASSE-Maillot-2013-14 St-Etienne-Away-jersey

Off the beaten path a little bit, I came across the European kit for Swedish club Malmo FF.  As readers of my Strip Club posts know, I am a sucker for black kits, and this kit is no exception.  Sky blue and white from the club crest accent this strip, and Puma is using a new collar template for most of their kits, which is kinda meh, but doesn’t detract too much from this shirt.

Malmo-Europa-League-shirt-2014

Speaking of the club badge, it piqued my curiosity.  Further research revealed a couple of interesting tidbits.  According to Wikipedia, the star on top of the crest symbolizes more than 10 league titles, which is similar to Serie A and other leagues.  According to a post on BIGSOCCER.com, here is a possible back story to the Star of David under the club name.

The star beneath the club emblem has nothing at all to do with Judaism nor does the club have any notable Jewish heritage.

The tale of the star is rather simple and goes like this:

Back in the day, Malmö FF:s logo was just the shield with the initials MFF. While MFF was playing some team in another country, legendary MFF chairman Eric Persson (whose nickname was “The Chief”, who held the chairman position from 1937-1975, and who has been described to possess the leadership qualities of an “enlightened despot”) overheard some kid asking his father where the team with the MFF-emblem came from. Eric Persson realized such confusion was unacceptable, and added the “Malmö FF” beneath the shield. And for no reason other than to round off the new logo, he added the star.

Apparently, the star is from the city of Malmö’s old shield. That it happens to be a six-pointed-star rather than a five-pointed one (or seven-pointed, etc) is just happenstance.

For those that looking for a little eye candy, take a look at the offering from German sportswear firm Jako for FC Augsburg.  According to Football Fashion, “the club will wear the same white home kit as last season for its upcoming campaign.” However, Augsburg’s 13/14 away and third kits are both new.

Based on the Football Fashion post, “All three kits were modeled by topless soccer babes wearing bodypainted renditions of the shirt during the launch.”

augsburg

I’m particular to the red head.

augsburg redhead

Finally, PSV Eindhoven marks their 100th anniversary this year and has released beautiful home and away kits.

PSV 13/14 Nike Centenary Home Football Shirt

Love the home shirt.  Simple, modern and classic all at the same time.  A couple of key elements about the shirt presented in the Football Shirt Culture post:

  • PSV’s famous red-and-white stripes have been replaced by a solid red shirt that references the colours worn when they won the UEFA Cup in 1978.
  • The red jersey also recalls PSV’s successful 1987-88 campaign in which they won the Dutch league, the Dutch cup, and for the first and only time in their history, the European Cup.
  • Inside the back of the neck on a bonded woven label is an outline of the famous arch from the main gates of Phillips stadium and the motto “Eendracht maakt macht” (“Unity creates strength”).

This is definitely going on the wish list.  Many years ago I had an old PSV shirt, you know made with the hot polyester, the Philips letter peeling off, and the embroidered crest curling, but I loved it.  The jersey finally headed to into the dustbin of history and this is definitely a worthy replacement.

psv 2013 nike centenary away football shirt

The away kit echoes of one of my favorite kits of all time—2000-02 Arsenal Third.  This  jersey is so fantastic, even the thick sleeve hemming can be overlooked.  Thank god it was not a contrasting color, creating a Stop the Sleeve situation.

All in all kudos to the Nike and the club for creating a memorable selection for such an important historical milestone.

So that’s all I got.  There are hundreds of kits from all over the world, but I only have so much time.  These are the ones that jumped out to me.  If you want to see more, visit the following sites.

Football Fashion

Beautiful Gear

Football Kit News

Football Shirt Culture

Kit Nerd

Quality posts, great pictures and a wide selection on offer.

Strip Club–La Liga Kits 2013/14

I have made another attempt to gather all of the La Liga kits into one place.  This season I have modeled my page on Kit Nerd’s posts on EPL and MLS kits.  I have gathered as many images as I could and commented on almost every kit for the upcoming season. There are plenty of great sites that have breakdowns, information and pictures of this season’s kits. Please visit the links for even more info.

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Almería (Courtesy of UD Almeria website)

Home / Away / Third

Almeria-Football-Shirt-13-14

Surprisingly Nike makes the kits of newly promoted Almeria.  Although the club uses templates and previous designs, the range is decent.  The home kit is a very simple shirt of red and white veritcal stripes with a ring collar, red shorts and white socks.  The away kit is almost identical to the Malaga away kit from 2011/12.  The third kit is Nike’s recent V template that began with Manchester United.  A light royal blue is the base of the shirt and socks and is finished off with white shorts.  According to the website this was used last year as well.  Hopefully the rojiblancos stay away from the fuchsia kit as much as possible.

Athletic Bilbao (Courtesy of Football Kit News and Football Fashion)

Home / Away

Bilbao Home Kit 2013 14

Athletic switch to Nike from Umbro this season, and Phil Knight’s men have given Los Leones a nice foundation.  The home strip is relatively standard, with the traditional red and white stripes and black shorts.   The away strip is all royal blue, which I like, but the shirt unfortunately suffers from the Nike sleeve syndrome.

Atlético Madrid (Courtesy of Footy Headlines and Football Fashion)

Home / Away

Atleti head into this campaign with a typical home kit—red and white striped top and blue shorts— with the post from Footy Headlines noting, “The red and the blue are darker than usual to celebrate the Spanish League and Spanish Cup title won in 1965/66.”  As for the away strip, it’s quite different and I’m not familiar with this color palette for Los Colchoneros at all.  Like the pairing of the navy blue and yellow top with the navy blue shorts but not sure how the yellow socks are going to look.

Barcelona (Courtesy of Footy Shirt Culture, Total Barca and Football Fashion)

Home / Away

Barca-kits-2013-14
Quick summary: The Blaugrana and the Swoosh are back on the right track.  The home kit returns to its roots, while the away is a one off historical gesture.  Would have preferred they used the senyera as a third kit, but there’s always next year. Full comments can be found here.

Betis (Courtesy of Football Kit News, Inside Spanish Football and Real Betis Website)

Home / Away / Third

Betiskits

Macron has produced an interesting range of kits for the verdiblancos.  The home shirt is the traditional green and white vertical stripes and removes the solid green block that ran from the chest to shoulders last year.  The away strip swaps white for black and slightly darkens the green, which according to ISF, “is to honour the 100 year anniversary of the club (1914) as we know it today.” The third kit is all sky blue accented by the green and white colors of the club and looks nice.

Celta de Vigo (Courtesy of Footy Headlines and Football Fashion)

Home / AwayThird

adidas - presentacion 01

The Galicians have used a sky blue and black palette to good effect for the upcoming season.  The home shirt is sky blue with black trim along the shoulder and around the neck.  The away top is black with a sky blue design around the neck and shoulders.  Both kits sport a Triskele, which thanks to Wikipedia, I learned is “a motif consisting of three interlocked spirals, or three bent human legs.”  The club also has a third kit that was released early in 2013 which uses the Campeon 13 template by adidas (see Spain’s Confederations Cup shirt).

Elche (Courtesy of Football Kit News and Diario Franjiverde)

Home / Away / Third

elche-cf-2013-2014-kits-9

This team from Valencian Community returns to the top flight for the first time 1988/89.  The kit line is produced by Italian company Acerbis and the range isn’t too bad.  The home kit is very simple white kit trimmed in green.  The away kit uses royal blue and red, which appears to be homage to the team’s badge.  The third kit replaces the white of the home with black and kinda reminds of a Green Lantern uniform.  All of the kits will have a logo at the back of the neck commemorating the club’s 90th anniversary.  Finally, not sure “Have a Nice Day” across the front of your shirt is the way to go.

Espanyol (Courtesy of Football Fashion)

Home / AwayThird

Espanyol 13-14 Kits (2)

The home kit of los pericos is solid, using thicker royal blue and white vertical stripes than usual.  No complaints with this strip.  The other two however are sketchy at best.  The away shirt looks like a t-shirt but creates a nice strip with black shorts and socks.  The third kit almost seems to be trading on the Seattle Sounders designs.  Pics on numerous sites show the entire kit with turquoise shorts, while the socks are turquoise/lime green hooped.  Be interested to see how it translates to HD TV.

Getafe (Courtesy of Football Fashion, Football Kit News and Getafe CF)

Home / Away / Third

New Getafe Kit 13 14

Spanish manufacturer Joma provides the kits for Getafe, who are celebrating ten years in the top flight.  Gone is the Burger King sponsorship in the middle of the shirt, which is sadly missed.  The home and away kits are understated, with a light royal being used for the home uniform and a deep red for the away kit and each shirt is trimmed in gold.  The third strip is a lime green which does not work for me.

Granada (Courtesy of Football Kit News)

Home / Away / Third

Equipacion Granada CF 2014

The Granada kits are made by Spanish sportwear company Luanvi, which I know nothing about.  The range of kits is relatively simple and straightforward, with the home kit using horizontal red and white stripes and blue shorts.  A Spanish club equivalent of the Where’s Waldo USMNT jerseys.  I really like the away kit, which is all white with red and green accents.  The third strip is just ok for me, using a metallic blue with black.  Maybe up close it will appeal to me more.  The goalkeepers have a choice of four different kits, which seems excessive to me.

Got some exclusive content from Heath Chesters who is the Community Manager for club and runs their English twitter account:

The club chose to go for more classic designs this season, hence the simplicity of the styles. More akin to the simple horizontal hoops of the 70’s & 80’s, which is more popular with the fans, than the “barcode” design of last season.

Along with a return to classic design, the club also wanted to recognise the city itself. The white away kit features a green & red trim, which are the colours of the city flag of Granada, whilst the Alhambra stencil on the upper chest is a nice touch, with Granada’s most famous landmark.

The third kit is something a little different for Granada in terms of the choice of colours, but a nice alternative I think.

Finally, I often see a lot of comments regarding Granada having a choice of four goalkeeper kits. Principally it’s to offer the goalkeepers themselves the choice of colours they like. 1st team keeper Roberto traditionally plays in pink, whilst the other three match the preferences of the backup & B team keepers, plus the women’s team keeper.

The women’s team gained promotion to the Primera last season. Their kits are the same design overall, but the shirts are made to fit the female form better, which is another nice feature from Luanvi.

Levante (Courtesy of Football Shirts)

Home / Away / Third

levante

Kelme has released kits for Levante’s upcoming campaign, buidling on last year’s set of kits, and has promoted them using some sort of superhero motif.  Weird but ok. The home kit is screaming Barcelona, even down to the huge bands at the edge of the sleeves, and if it wasn’t for the collar accent, you would be hard pressed to tell the difference.  It does look sharp though. The away kit is black with alternating black and grey vertical stripes.  Really like this shirt and it is enhanced by the club crest all in white. The third kit uses a couple of greens going horizontally, with the club colors of red and blue trimming the sleeves.  Again a crest in white accents the kit. I like all three selections and hopefully Los Granotes can bounce back after a disappointing finish last season.

Málaga (Courtesy of Football Kit News and Football Fashion)

Home / Away / Third

malaga

Málaga had a mixed 2012/13 on and off of the field.  Quarter Finalists in the Champions League and a sixth place finish in La Liga, but with players leaving and suspended from Europe for the upcoming season, things are uncertain at best.  However, their kit selection is solid, so they’ve got that going for them.  Navy blue is introduced to the home shirt and is an attractive change and accents the sponsor nicely.  I love the away shirt.  Much like Sevilla’s third kit last year, the navy blue is super sharp and there are almost no distractions.  Nike is providing Los Boquerones with an orange third kit, which is a pleasant choice, better than the lime green of a couple of seasons ago, but the sleeves are a let down in typical Nike style. The post at Football Fashion has the layout of the full kit plus this little tidbit of info:

According to English language website: Málaga Club de Fútbol has chosen an exclusive design by NIKE, coaching sponsor of the Club, with the colours, light blue, navy and white, which will fill every part of La Rosaleda stadium. A new addition this season, is the slogan ‘Coraje y Corazón’ or ‘Courage and Heart’ printed on the back of the shirts, along with the flags of Spain and Andalucía.

Osasuna (Courtesy of Football Shirts, Football Kit News and Footy Headlines)

Home / Away

Osasuna switches to adidas for the upcoming season and the offering from the brand with the three stripes feels very MLS-ish.  The shirt uses the traditional red but the blue trim and collar create a jersey that is right off of the American rack.  It’s fine but the cow part of the sponsor is a little unsettling.  The away strip is some sort of neon green.  The pic in the hallway pregame doesn’t look that great but I found a team pic pregame and the strip looks great in the sunlight, with a bold shirt and black shorts and socks.

Rayo Vallecano (Courtesy of Football Fashion and Football Kit News)

Home / Away / Third

Rayo Away Kit 2013-14

The Rayo Vallecano home shirt is iconic and standard–white base with red sash runninng from right to left.  This year’s is no different, although I feel the diagonal is slightly wider.  The away kit reverses out the white for black and looks sharp as well.  The third strip is awful.  Taking a page from the Norwich City palette, using predominately yellow with neon yellow highlights, and the socks must surely glow in the dark.

Real Madrid (Courtesy of Football Fashion and Real Madrid Shop)

Home / Away / ThirdGK

real madrid h
Adidas introduced orange onto the white shirt of Real Madrid.  Interesting for sure and looks good, especially combined with the charcoal trim.  There are also horizontal pinstripes, which, Football Fashion notes, “presents a pattern of horizontal block building, giving the shirt a different texture and very attractive depending on how the light given.”  Not sure that was necessary but we’ll see. Retro is the theme of the away kit, using an all royal blue strip.  The orange trim is used on this shirt as well.  Found it interesting that Morata was used in the advertising pictures.  Liked his brief appearances last year and hope he gets more of a run this year. The third kit is an “energetic” orange. Could be nice if it comes across on the TV.  Maybe a contrasting short would make strip not so sherbert-ish.  The home goalkeeping kit uses the historical purple to create a dynamic look for Saint Iker (or whoever Carlo decides to play in goal).

Real Sociedad (Courtesy of Football Kit News)

Home / Away

New Real Sociedad Kit 13 14

Real Sociedad surprised many people with a surprise fourth place finish last year.  Their kit launch featured kits with the Champions League logo, even though they will still need to qualify.  Could get awkward if they fall at that important hurdle. For the jerseys themselves, the home kit is tried and true, sky blue and white vertical stripes.  Nike didn’t do anything extravagant here.  The away kit is almost all black.  The top just has the crest and Nike swoosh and what appears to be the Basque flag at the back of the neck.  The shorts have white trim just above the hem on backside.  The socks are topped in white with an angled white design.  Both kits are uncomplicated, which is a minor shock from Nike.  The goalkeeper kit though.  Yeesh.  Some sort of electric pink from head to toe.  Poor guy.

Sevilla (Courtesy of Footy Headlines and Football Fashion)

Home / Away

sevilla-fc-warrior-2013-14-kits-

Warrior enters the La Liga fray this season as Sevilla switches from Umbro to a brand doing almost everything it can to ruin soccer kits (see Liverpool away and third strips for 2013/14). The home shirt is tame, using a white base with red trim and an intriguing collar.  The only really standout item is the diagonal pattern across the chest.  Combine this with a crest referencing the original badge of the team and the strip is actually quite decent. The away kit takes a page from the Liverpool away shirt from 12/13, using some sort of accent that drapes down the neck and shoulders.  The strip is tolerable and definitely not the eye sore associated with the brand.

Valencia (Courtesy of Football Shirt Culture and Football Fashion)

Home / Away / GK

valencia
Football Shirt Culture put together great posts which have pictures showing the dynamic details for Valencia’s home and away kits. The home is the standard white with black and orange accents.  I really like the thin orange collar and narrow bands on the sleeves, but what really sets this shirt apart is the crest.  Similar to what Manchester United did on their away kit last year, the logo removes the senyera colors and all items are laid out in black and white.  The Comunitat Valenciana senyera does make an appearance on the back of the neck.  Combined with black shorts and white socks, this strip is a real winner. As for the away offering, using an orange base, the kit uses black and white accents to great effect.  The collar is half each color, very subtle (similar to Holland’s home kit for World Cup 2010), and a half and half diagonal band across the chest.  Again the regional senyera is at the back of the neck. Would be difficult to go wrong with either of these.

Valladolid (Courtesy of Football Headlines)

Home / Away / GK

Hummel took over the design and production of Valladolid kits for the upcoming season. The home uses very thick purple and white stripes, similar to last year’s offering from Kappa, using a white collar instead of purple.  This is a sharp kit and I really like it due to the different color scheme than most teams. The away kit touches a nerve for me, expanding on the Purple Reign Pain offerings from Nike last year for Porto and Arsenal.  I can’t tell if I like the white trim and accents.  This one may grow on me though. I really wish the goalkeeping shirt was the third shirt because it uses a nice royal blue with white and black accents that really take a plain jersey and make it stand out.  Would have gone with white or matching blue socks rather than the black though.

Villarreal (Courtesy of Football Kit News)

Home / Away

Villarreal Kit 2013 14

The Yellow Submarine return to the top flight and also celebrating their 90th anniversary.  The kits are made by Chinese company Xtep, another company I am not familiar with, and no chances are taken.  The home strip is the standard all yellow with a big collar and some sort of sublmation across the chest.  The away kit uses royal blue from head to toe and looks sharp.  The goalkeeping kits are fine, with green and gray being used.  Hopefully Villarreal can consolidate their place, move up the table and possibly move on to a bigger manufacturer.

Morbo Minute–Back to Work

La Liga returned from the Winter Break and the goals were plentiful. Again no scoreless draws, with a crazy game at the Bernabeu, a thrashing at the Nou Camp, a dramatic turnaround at Los Carmenes (Granada) and three points for Depor under new manager Domingos Paciencia.

After Round 18’s results, a greater net has been cast around relegation candidates as six teams are within four points of each other at the bottom.  This aspect of the league will probably be the story of the season along Levante’s quest to return to Europe.

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FC Barcelona 4  Espanyol 0

Before we get talking about the game, (not much to say), glad to see that Alves and Alba found their razors over the festive period.  Cesc, however, was still doing the quasi-beard thing and I’m still looking for confirmation that he got a new tattoo on his elbow.

The first half was a feast of attacking play as Barca put their city rivals to the sword in under 30 minutes.  Los Pericos came out in a narrow 4-1-4-1 with Forlin shielding the backline.  The visitors conceded width allowing Iniesta to hang on Barca’s left hand fringe ready to attack.  Espanyol’s central players switched off and allowed Xavi to walk in and turn in Iniesta’s cross to open the game. From there, Pedro scored two (hopefully getting him back on track) before Messi converted a dodgy penalty.

After that, tactics and the result went out the window.  Espanyol had very little to offer and FCB tried for 40+ minutes to get Pedro his hat trick, which went unfulfilled due to two very tight offside calls.  The defeat was Aguirre’s first in charge of Espanyol and keeps them firmly in the relegation battle.  As for the Blaugrana, they continue their record setting season thus far.  Dropped points are on the horizon but for now they are out of sight.

Kxevin of Barcelona Football Blog worried about this match, identifying the possible ingredients for failure: holiday break, resurgent opponent with something to play for, rust.  In the end Barca overwhelmed their opponents, putting them under pressure from the first moment to the last.  The second half, as he rightly noted, was a testament to this team’s hunger and desire.  With the match all but over, every turnover was immediately challenged, Valdes kept a clean sheet with a big save and the search for another goal continued.  Kxevin encourages everyone to keep watching, to keep admiring, to keep appreciating.

Chalk on the Boots focused on the passing of Busquets and the movement of the Barca players in the demolition of Espanyol.  Iniesta and Fabregas interchanged on the left, supported by Alba, while Pedro cut in from the right, all the while Messi drifted around the field.  At its peak, the dynamism was breathtaking.  Add to this a poor effort from the opponent, which he also touched on, and you get Sunday’s scoreline.

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Podcast, Articles, and Kits

Inside Spanish Football produced a winter break podcast, which broke down the season month by month.  Then the panel shared their moments of the season thus far.  Definitely worth a listen as it put the opening months in perspective and set the stage for the rest of the season.

Phil Ball returned to Spain just in time to stop by the pub for Real Sociedad’s visit to the Bernabeu.  Mourinho went with Adan again only for the young keeper to be sent off and replaced by Saint Iker.  Prieto’s hat-trick was not enough as the hosts survived with a makeshift defense (Arbeloa, Varane, Carvalho and Essien) and playing with 10 men for 80+ minutes.

I was able to catch the last nine minutes plus injury time so I missed all off the goals.  Prieto’s finishes were nice but a lot of attention was given to Ronaldo’s free kick.  It was well struck but the goalkeeper really should have done better.  Any touch by Bravo and the shot would have been saved.

Los Merengues gained two points on Atleti to cut the gap to five, but alarm bells must be going off in the defense.  Real Madrid has given up 20 goals this season, conceding 10 in last four games.  They now turn their focus to the return Copa match against Celta.  Down 2-1, Real Madrid will need to put their internal conflicts behind them in order to progress.

Sid Lowe also examined the Real Madrid/Real Sociedad game for his weekly column, noting the special circumstances with which Iker Casillas arrived on the scene over 10 years ago: coming on as substitute in the European Cup Final and taking over for Canizares before the World Cup after the Valencia keeper injured himself just before the tournament.  Since then Saint Iker has been an institution and Mourinho has been playing with fire by demoting him to the bench, and the Special One looks to burn all of his bridges before exiting the capital.

Kaushik took over for Madridista Mac at Real Madrid Football Blog, lauding the midfield performance of Alonso and Khedira and giving special praise to CR7, who was captain for the match.  This game also saw the return of Higuain, giving Los Blancos much need depth as they fight on three fronts.

For the other side of the capital, Martin Rosenow recapped the game for Atletico Fans and saw Los Colchoneros give up a late equalizer away to Mallorca.  The visitors were without Miranda, Turan and Falcao, and manager Diego Simeone was pleased with his team’s performance, which including fine efforts from Diego Costa, Koke, Tiago and goalscorer Raul Garcia.  Atleti should progress in the Copa and then get back at it against Zaragoza on the weekend.

Tim Stannard commented on the return of La Liga for Football365.  Besides Barca’s destruction and Real’s crazy victory, he looked at Atleti’s possible prospects next season without Falcao and Turan and Betis’ continued success before concluding with Depor’s vital three points.

Garreth Nunn did a La Liga Top 11 for 2012 for Forza Futbol, with one small tweak—no Real Madrid or FC Barcelona players.  He has a much better grasp of the league than I do, so his picks made sense to me.  Imagine his proposed midfield—Joaquin, Isco, Benat and Turan. Wow!  I would have gone with Leo Baptistao up top instead of Vela but not sure how the young Brazilian striker did in the second of half of the 2011/12 campaign.

Peter Alegi turned me on to Spanish Football Tales, a blog that looks at snippets from the history of the Spanish league.  I read a post called the Tenerife Leagues, which saw Real Madrid surrender the league title to FC Barcelona two seasons (91/92 and 92/93) in a row against Tenerife in the most dramatic circumstances.  Nice slice of history and shows how narrow the margins of victory were for Cruyff’s Dream Team.

A Football Report released their best of football writing of 2012, broken into the following categories: Most Compelling, Most Creative, Best Research, and Best Storytelling.  The list is overwhelming and not sure when I’ll find time to go through it, but I clicked on Brian Phillips’ eulogy for Pep Guardiola from last spring as he examined the “cocoon of silence” created in a world of noise and hype and tension.  Not only did Pep fashion a team that was pleasing to the eye, but the players performed with a joy and a spirit that was captivating.  Eventually Mourinho came in and upset the balance, yet for a short period the Blaugrana were the greatest show on Earth and under Tito Vilanova they are returning to those levels.

Many times I have stressed that this cycle will end and hopefully everyone can enjoy this moment now instead of waiting for time to pass and being forced to remember, to put it back together.  It’s happening, right now. We are in the midst of a glorious epoch in footballing history.  Take a second to let it wash over you because it will be gone soon enough.

Couple of kit related items:

Tom Conn reported on Inside Spanish Football that Atletico have finally secured a shirt sponsor—Chinese communications brand, Huawei.  The company has partnered with the club in the past but now look to go full time.  Currently Los Colchoneros have Azerbaijan: Land of Fire across their chest.

According to Football Fashion, Celta Vigo will be changing kit manufacturer’s next season, switching from Li-Ning to adidas.  The brand with the three stripes is already getting a jump on proceedings and released a special kit that the club will wear against Real Madrid during the second leg of the Copa del Rey.

Morbo Minute-And Then There Were Two

Round 13 saw FCB and Atleti win again, Real Madrid fall out of the title chase, Malaga consolidate their credentials for fourth and Sevilla crash back to earth; while at the bottom, all three teams lost.

Saturday I crammed in a lot of La Liga action.  I have given beIN Sport a lot of grief for their crappy internet site, crazy programming schedule and highlights hosts, but I will give them credit for two things: an amazing HD picture and their 90 in 30 show.  I was able to catch the end of Rayo Vallecano/Mallorca show before watching the condensed version of Real Valladolid against Granada.  All of this was in preparation for the Real Betis/Real Madrid and Malaga/Valencia double header.

Leo Bapistao had a fantastic last five minutes for Rayo.  He scored the opening goal with a fine finish from the corner of the area and absolutely skinned the Mallorca defender before setting up Delibasic for the second.  In the other game, Valladolid put plenty of pressure on Granada before the visitors rebounded.  Unfortunately Granada were blunt in attack throughout the game, and a powerful goal from Manucho for the hosts settled the proceedings.

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Malaga 4  Valencia 0

Despite my best efforts, I knew the score of the match before the TV replay kicked off.  As I didn’t know the details, I anticipated Los Boquerneros putting the visitors to the sword with slick passing and crisp finishes, but the longer game went, I wondered when the goals would happen.  It was 1-0 (8th minute goal from Portillo) for over 70 minutes before the hosts put three past Diego Alves in the last quarter of an hour.

Couple of initial thoughts as the match kicked off.  Why didn’t Soldado start for Los Che?  (Per Club Valencia, Ruiz and Soldado were suspended; Pererira, Mathieuand Canales were all injured.)  Valdez is a totally different proposition, and not a good one.  Another thing that I (and everyone else) notice was that the pitch at La Rosaleda was in horrible condition.  Too many games?  Weather related?  Groundskeeper asleep at the wheel?  Finally, Valencia wore their new third kit, which looked pretty sharp, sort of a Valencian twist on the Ajax kit, with a black top accented by a horizontal orange stripe, orange shorts and black socks.

For the match itself, neither team was particularly sharp going forward or energetic around the pitch.  Both squads had tough Champions League matched midweek, so that wasn’t really too much of a surprise.  Valencia were just disappointing as a whole.  Guardado continues to underwhelm.  Maybe he’s having an off day every time I watch but this isn’t the same player I see for Mexico or watched for Depor a couple of years ago.  Malaga had the upper hand for the most the match and should have ended it much earlier.  Playing more of a 4-4-2 than I had seen previously, they constantly pinned back the visitors and deserved the three points.  Didn’t feel Isco was not up to his usual high standards this season (others disagreed), but his goal was well struck.

Chalk on the Boots produced an extensive and informative breakdown of the match.  Both teams started nominally in a 4-4-2 with a support striker (Joaquin for Malaga and Banega for Valencia).  While the Spaniard moved wide and allowed others to fill the space, the Argentinean dropped off into midfield which isolated an ineffective Valdez.  Moving on, Malaga were organized all over the field and only poor finishing kept Los Che in the game.  This was contrasted by Valencia’s lack of cohesion throughout the pitch.  Other points were addressed but I wanted to make one final note.  He mentioned that Valencia had not won an away league match since March 2012.  I double checked and confirmed that.  Ouch.

Zonal Marking praised Isco’s performance, noting his position of “central winger”, which allowed him to combine and overlap the defenders of Valencia.  He disagreed with Pellegrino’s choice of Banega instead of Jonas to support Valdez and the visitors never got in rhythm.  He also stated that the game should have been over as a contest in the first half, but the end result reflected the difference in the two teams.

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Real Betis 1  Real Madrid 0

Once again, the champions went to Seville and lost 1-0.  Earlier this season, an early goal and a valiant performance from Sevilla saw Los Merengues fall.  This round, Benat fizzed in a shot on 16’ and the visitors could not find the equalizer.

The match was not easy on the eye.  I’m sure the fans were looking for a response after last week’s 5-1 loss in the derby, and Pepe Mel and his squad provided one.  The Verdiblancos were organized in defense and deliberate in attack and were able to take all three points from the Evil Empire.  Benat and Canas shielded the back four, who were able to keep Real Madrid offside all evening.  Going forward, the hosts settled for the long diagonal ball to Salvador Agra and Juan Carlos.  Although this resulted in turnover after turnover, it kept the ball from central areas were the Madrid center mids could get on the ball.  The front three rarely got involved and the goal came from a poor clearance from Di Maria after a throw in.  He lumped the ball into the middle, Benat glided past Khedira and found the back of the net.

As for Los Blancos, one word poor.  The visitors had problems moving through the gears, a combination of Betis’ efforts and a lack of urgency from the Real Madrid.  Ozil got off to a great start, moving laterally to open space for other players, in particular for Khedira, who made late runs to unbalance the Betis defense, but after that Ozil was off the pace and was replaced at halftime.  In the second half Kaka and Modric were introduced, as well as Callejon for Di Maria.  Eventually Mourinho went with three in the back, moving Sergio Ramos up front, and their strategy devolved into Coentrao launching balls from the left center back spot into the penalty area.  The champions started with a full strength eleven, and maybe it was post Champions League fatigue, but maybe Mourinho should have freshened things up to match the energy of the hosts.

Pepe Mel did not turn away from the fan disappointment throughout the week, saying that he and players needed to “endure the downpour” from the fans, which Olly Dawes talked about for Football Espana.  A brilliant, if fortunate, result will hopefully get the fans back onside as Betis pushes on for a European place.

Adam of Forever Betis dismissed the vocal minority who were displeased heading in to the game and complimented Pepe Mel for getting his team to produce an effort that was praised by Mourhino.  He was also glad to see the goalkeeper Adrian bounce back after a poor performance last week.  Finally he acknowledged the efforts of the make shift center back paring of Amaya and Dorado, who gave their all in keeping a clean sheet for the hosts.

Tim Stannard wanted the Real Betis fans to get some perspective.  Yes the team played poorly against Sevilla but look at their standing in the league.  Far from the expected relegation battle (only promoted last season), the Verdiblancos are challenging for Europe and play some attractive stuff.  He wonders if the same fans who verbally abused the players last week will cheer them after the brave victory against the champions.  Doubt it.

Madridista Mac took some time to decompress after Real’s poor performance at the Benito Villamarín before posting on the Real Madrid Football Blog.  He had many of the same comments as I did about the team’s performance in general (lackluster, not good enough) and some of the players specifically (Ozil and Di Maria).  He also addressed Mourinho’s comments but felt that the manager was merely speaking the truth.  Should be an interesting derby.

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Articles

Sid Lowe made an interesting point about how opponents set up against Real Madrid in his weekly column for the Guardian. As teams do against FCB, Real Betis gave the Evil Empire possession and did not allow them to counter.  Their Formula One football (credit Real Madrid Football Blog) can be frustrated against banks of defenders and attackers who are very conservative.  Doctor Sid also talked about the huge task ahead of the champions if they want to overhaul the Blaugrana as well as Malaga’s fine performance against Valencia and Falcao amongst the goals again.

Phil Ball discussed La Liga’s recent TV schedule wrinkle as Round 13 kicked off with Real Sociedad hosting Osasuna on Friday night.  This led into a response to Mourinho’s comments for the fixture list for this round, with Real Madrid having to play Wednesday/Sunday while FCB played Tuesday/Sunday. Finally he praised Isco’s performance against Valencia and wonders where the midfielder will be playing next year.

Gareth Nunn laid out some interesting thoughts for Forza Futbol concerning the presentation of the La Liga product.  The scattergun TV schedule (Friday through Monday); late kickoffs (9,10, 11pm); and the state of the playing surfaces are all factors contributing to fans staying away and TV viewers being less than impressed.

Barcelona Football Blog’s review was provided by Levon who saw Levante hang on for a half before conceding to a Blaugrana onslaught.  FCB, fielding a team of all La Masia products, put four past the hosts and kept their three point lead over Atleti while increasing the gap to eleven over Real Madrid.  Iniesta was the star of the match, scoring once and providing three more.  Levon also acknowledged the influence of Cruyff over the years, with his arrival in 1973 paving the way for future glory and Sunday’s historic teamsheet.

Graham Hunter took things one step further.  In his wonderful post for ESPN FC, he used the results from the Barcelona and Real Madrid games and wove a compelling argument that a single philosophy is the way forward for sporting institutions.  Using FCB’s playing style as his paradigm, he briefly traced the steps from Cruyff to Van Gaal to Vilanova.  Reminding readers that Van Gaal promoted some of the core group despite results, the club has now reached a point where they can play eleven former students from La Masia and win.  Then he holds the mirror up to Real Madrid.  Mourinho, on staff at Barca under Van Gaal, has a system but that system isn’t working this year.  (Tangent: it could be argued that Mourinho is fixer rather than a philosopher.  His time at Chelsea and Inter as well as his time at the Bernabeu inidicate that he can come, forge a fighting spirit, but eventually he wears out his welcome with the club, players and fans and moves on.)  Los Blancos have regressed lately and have had differing approaches to team building over the years.  Hunter challenges the club to reevaluate their operations and look at instituted a unifying system that will pay off in the long run.  Fascinating article and well worth the read.

Finally, Mauricio Pochettino was the first manager to be fired this season.  Mando made the case at the Ball is Flat that although the club has had troubles both on and off the field, the manager was also responsible for the team’s performance and finally had to go.  He’s a big Espanyol fan so it was interesting to get his take.

Strip Club–Manchester United 2012/13 Dollar Date

A picnic cloth draped across the chests of professional athletes was my initial response. The post at Beautiful Gear used the word “lumberjack”, and my gag reflex depended on the quality of the images I found on the internet.  The tartan is actually understated in stills from this summer’s preseason tour, and watching highlights, I actually find it growing on me.  I will reserve final judgment until I see it live and in HD.

Manchester_United home 12 13

As for the away kit (courtesy of Football Fashion), I love it.  It’s one of the best away jerseys in years, and the long sleeve is very elegant and it is definitely going on the wish list.

Man-Utd-Away-Jersey-2013A couple of notes from the author of the post:

The stand out feature on the new shirt is the Henley Crew collar with a red detail and a button closure; this style of course being part of the heritage of the club but also a nod to the current youth style in Manchester.  The shirt also has a black monochromatic crest to compliment the design.

The shorts are a black tonal Gingham print in line with the new home shirt design.

Makes you wonder why NIKE can put narrow trim on these sleeves but butcher another dozen kits?  I’m not crazy about the shorts but the print will fade on TV and you won’t even be able to tell.  No way that I’m buying them though.