Posts Tagged ‘ PSG ’

Kit Preview 15/16

Another year, another set of kits. For this year’s edition, I executed a two prong attack—a podcast looking at EPL kits and a few others from around the world, and my usual post grabbing strips for the upcoming season and commenting on them. This is by no means comprehensive and I am looking forward to suggestions and comments from readers. Here we go.

Let’s start in South America. This is a region of the soccer world that I know very little about in terms of history and kit design. Think I might recognize Vasco shirt and of course the iconic Santos home shirt.

This shirt from Nike for Coritiba jumped out at me. With the crest centered in the chest, it reminded me of the US shirts of mid-90’s, plus it has a nice, rich green.

coritiba-2015-nike-home-kit-6

(Courtesy Football Fashion)

Another manufacturer that went with the centered crest and horizontal bands was Under Armour for Sao Paolo. Not sure about the collar but the rest looks good.

sao-paulo-fc-2015-under-armour-jersey-8

(Courtesy Football Fashion)

The Scottish Premier League is another league I don’t follow that much, but I came across these kits when reviewing shirts for the upcoming season. The home shirt of Hearts really caught my attention, with a rich maroon and classy v neck collar, proving that once in a while, Puma gets it right. Love the fact that the away strip is just a reverse of the home kit.

hearts-fc-2015-2016-puma-kit-1

(Courtesy Football Fashion)

Then there’s this. WTF? What’s worse? The shirts and shorts or the player’s haircut? I await your comments.

seoul-e-land-2015-kit-8

(Courtesy Football Fashion)

My favorite SEC team is the Florida Gators and now I can support them with this smart shirt with a vivid orange trimming a rich, deep blue. . . said nobody ever. This is one of the first shirts I saw for the upcoming season and I couldn’t believe it. I need a Dutch footy fan to explain this one to me. The shirt isn’t too bad but I don’t associate this color scheme with Feyenoord and the crest really clashes with the design.

feyenoord-2015-2016-away-kit-10

(Courtesy Football Fashion)

The FCB Centenary shirt is one of my favorite shirts of all time and this shirt for FC Basel has similar elements but for some reason doesn’t work for me. Maybe it’s the black. Maybe it’s the black rib panels. Maybe it’s the hem around the waist. Something is not quite clicking.

basel-15-16-kit-2

(Courtesy Footy Headlines)

German kits for the most part look pretty good for the upcoming season. The set from Hertha Berlin was quite sharp, with a simple vertical blue/white strip with red trim for the home shirt, a navy blue shirt with the blue accents for the away, and a bold red shirt for the third strip.

hertha-bsc-berlin-15-16-home-kit (1)

(Courtesy Footy Headlines)

I also came across the set for Augsburg, where Nike took the narrow pin striping down one side of the jersey and added it to modern shirts.

fc-augsburg-15-16-kits

(Courtesy Footy Headlines)

Over in France, Nike produced a stunning set for PSG. I absolutely love the two tone home jersey, using a dark navy blue for the shoulders and shorts and socks, which goes well with the slightly lighter navy blue body of the shirt. The iconic red vertical strip is narrower than I can remember and creates a wonderful shirt. The all white away strip is quite nice as well as the all black third.

PSG-15-16-Home-Kit (1)

(Courtesy Footy Headlines)

Finally, I love this shirt for Galatasaray. The black shirt, which is a great starting point, has a simple ring collar, no ridiculous bands on the sleeves and is accented with the club colors along the rib and under the arms. The pinstripes are the final touch and make for a fantastic shirt. I give Nike shit all the time but they got this one totally right.

Nike-Galatasaray-15-16-Kit (5)

(Courtesy Footy Headlines)

So those are the ones that caught my eye. If you want to see more, I encourage you to visit the following sites. . .

Football Fashion

Football Kit News

Football Shirt Culture

Footy Headlines

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

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Copa Libation–PSG v Ajax

psg ajax

Drink:  Bailey’s and Coffee

Snack:  Peanut Butter Pie

This match could best be summarized by experience beats youth.

PSG were already through to the Champions Leageue Knockout Round and went with first choice players up top (Ibra, Lavezzi and Cavani) and in the back (Sirigu, Van Der Wiel, Marquinhos, David Luiz and Maxwell).  Lucas Moura started on the bench, which was disappointing for me because I love his pace and directness, and he eventually came on as a sub, but Pastore more than made up for it.  He was really in the mood with some deft and clever touches throughout. Ibra reminded of Cantona.  The big Swede did what he wanted, strutting around the field, picking out teammates, making rash challenges.  He set up the opening goal as PSG took advantage of an Ajax turnover.  He played in Lavezzi, who laid off for Skeletor.  Ibra then scored a fantastic goal after controlling with his chest and firing into the far post. Another player that caught my attention was the French youngster Rabiot, who is only 19 and anchored the middle for the hosts.

Ajax needed a win to make sure of progression to the Europa League and put out a very young line up.  Both teams pressed early and made possession out of the back uncomfortable and the result was a lot of long balls not much in the attacking third.  After about twenty minutes the Dutch got their collective foot on the ball and knocked it around for several minutes but couldn’t muster a shot.  During this period of dominance they made the mistake (turnover in midfield) which led to the first goal.  They got back into the game in the second half as all the passing was finally finished up with an end product.  Kishna received the ball in left hand channel after a long series of passes and spotted the run of Klassen, and his diving header found the back of the net.  Unfortunately the visitors made another mistake which put the match beyond reach.  Zimling, on for Serero, made a horrible pass back to the keeper, and Cavani jumped on it, rounded Cillessen and made it 3-1.  Thought Serero did well holding down the middle and loved the aggressive play of Kishna on the left side of the visitors.

The two iconic kits looked very sharp and provided a nice contrast for the viewer.  It was the contrast of youth and experience that eventually showed itself.  As the commentator mentioned several times, Ajax dominated possession but could not create enough chances as PSG sat in and picked them off. Although PSG have struggled in the league to this point, with Marseille has coming back to the pack in recent weeks, I have felt that they are not far away from an European challenge after the progress made over the last couple of seasons. Ajax return home with only two points in the Champions League, but they are second in the Eredivisie and looking for fifth league title in a row.  Much room for improvement but promising signs from the Dutch side.

Old Futbol Buffet–Food Coma

My Saturday began with a dodgeball tournament, and for some reason I blocked off several hours in my calendar.  Turns out it doesn’t take that long, especially when you’re not very good.  Started the competition at 11am, eliminated by 11:45 and off to the bar for the 12:30 kickoff of Manchester City v Swansea City.

The match wasn’t that great.  Swansea barely saw the ball, although when they did in the first half, they were quite dangerous with Luke Skywalker (I mean Michu) leading the line and Ashley Williams causing problems on the left hand side for the Swans.  Second half, not so much, and I never felt they were getting back in to the game.

The Citizens won the game on the moment of brilliance from Tevez.  Simple as that.  The hosts had very limited moments of fluidity and by the end I was trying to figure what Mancini was trying to accomplish with Tevez, Aguero and Balotelli upfront.  Felt Kolarov (substituted at halftime) was completely nondescript, which is fine, but you are playing with 11 players not 10.

Taking the big picture, Simon Curtis wrote this on the Manchester City blog for ESPN FC:

Mancini’s insistence on result over performance is logical, especially during a phase where performance is not up to last season’s high standards. There have been very few sightings of the slick, incessant passing, the overwhelming possession, the lung-busting powerplay that marked so many of City’s games during 2011-12. As in Amsterdam, it was again conspicuous by its absence, but the sight of City in second place in the table with nine games played, despite not yet having hit anything approaching their stride must be a sobering one for the rest of the top six.

After watching the longest game in Premier League history, we switched to the second half of Nancy v PSG.  The game was disconcerting on several levels.  Couldn’t tell if Nancy’s field was the latest in artificial grass technology or the finest pitch every created.  (Confirmed the former by Cedrick Heraux, renowned Ligue Un expert living in Lansing, MI.)  The lighting was weird, creating an unnatural sheen on the grass and every close up showed a perfectly level surface with no cut ups.  Then there was PSG wearing the short sleeves with gloves.  Not a big fan.  Either go long sleeve or lose the mittens.  The quality of the game was AWFUL.  Menez was a turnover machine. He would not pass, would not shoot, would not do anything until he gave the other team the ball.  Pastore was barely involved and Ibra was Ibra.  Like the City game, one player won the match with a sick finish, stunning in its power and accuracy to take PSG to the top of the table.  Jonathon Johnson on the PSG blog for ESPN FC heaped praise on Blaise Matuidi for his performance for the visitors.  Didn’t pick up on it at all, probably because I don’t know very much about PSG and I was too distracted by the loose passes and crunching tackles.

The last game of the day for me was Rayo Vallecano v FCB.  David Villa opened the scoring for the visitors and after a tightly contest affair of about an hour, the Blaugrana took absolute control, eventually winning 5-0.  The hosts went down and responded by pushing forward which left them more and more exposed.  Have to admire the fact that they did go for it but it was all for naught.  Leo Baptistao was starved of service and I didn’t see much in the attack.  As for FCB, I am really starting to wonder about Song and Sanchez.  Song was moved into central midfield to support Cesc and Xavi and seemed to be well placed but I don’t know.  Something is still missing.  As for Sanchez, he is channeling his inner Bojan and trying so hard and not getting the results.  On as a sub to grab an easy goal or two and build his confidence, he went the other direction, making things worse, constantly straying offside needlessly and usually picking the wrong pass or not delivering the correct one.  Aggravating to watch.

——

Sunday I headed to the bar to meet with up the guys from Mid-Michigan United not knowing what awaited me over the next four hours—nine goals (that counted), too many talking points to mention, and unbelievable drama.

Everton 2  Liverpool 2

Suarez was immense.  An absolute terror for the Toffees in the first half, he was, in the modern parlance, unplayable.  Everton got back in the game and managed to equalize before halftime, which brought a sensational first period in the pouring rain to a close.  End to end, tons of chances, and meaty challenges.  Fantastic atmosphere.

What Liverpool did tactically in the second is beyond me.  I’m thinking Coates for Sahin with Sterling an advanced forward, was part of a 3-5-2.  The youngster was able to stretch the hosts’ rearguard with Suarez active underneath.  Johnjo was brought in to for bite, but it almost seemed there were too many cooks in the Liverpool midfield kitchen.

The game could only end one way: Suarez, the current villain, for the win. As the headline and journalists were about to hit enter, the AR raised his flag.  At first we thought it was for offside but there were some reports on twitter that the infringement was on Coates for climbing up the back of his marker.  Regardless, the goal was chalked off, and the two city rivals shared the points.

Chelsea 2  Manchester United 3

Having seen the Reds and Blues of Liverpool put on a show, the Reds of Manchester and the Blues of London saw the controversy, comebacks and goals of the Merseyside Derby and raised it.  United, similar to their explosive start against Newcastle, overran Chelsea in the opening 20 minutes or so, went 2-0 up and looked set to blow the title race wide open.  And then the new Chelsea took over, aided by United’s lack of drive.

RvP had the goals but it was Mata that was on fire in the match.  His free kick was truly special and it gave the Blues the platform from which to salvage something in the second half.  Truth be told, once Ramires nodded home from close range there was only one team winning the game.  Until Clattenberg intervened.  Young’s run on Ivanovic was clever and put the Serbian defender under pressure.  The Chelsea defender did nick him and deserved a card but not to be sent off.  United still could not break down the Blues and Mata continued to look dangerous.  And then Torres saw red.  I felt it was a dive from the off.  I guess Evans claimed later that he did touch him but I don’t know.  As one of the fans at the game said afterwards, the ref has got to realize the context of the game.  You can’t send Torres off there.

Chelsea down to nine men hung on bravely before conceding the winner in debatable circumstances.  Cech took the sting out of RvP’s shot and then a gang of Chelsea defenders beat Chicharito to the goal line to clear.  Rafael instantly fired back into the goal box and the Little Pea was first to react.  Cries of offside are still being claimed, and based on the replay maybe he was.  Here’s my take.  Complete pandemonium, players reacting in split seconds, the critical moment, all lead to the time for a decision.  How is a human supposed to keep track of all that?  On another day he’s offside and each side leaves with a point.

My biggest concern is that United has already used up a ton of luck, karma, and get out of jail cards.  Comebacks against Southampton and Stoke; absolute screw jobs against Liverpool and Chelsea.  We are only a quarter of the way through the season, and the Red Devils may lack the rub of the green later in the season when the title hangs in the balance.

Chelsea are the real deal.  I fear them above City because once they started moving through the gears, the results were stunning.  There is a concern that they may fade after the break, which RdM needs to start addressing.  More Sturridge.  More Betrand.  More guy with the unpronounceable name.  He knows his best eleven and has a group that can bring the title back to London, but he needs to save it for the key games and not burn it out in November.  A three horse race in May?  Could happen in the season of the weird.

Scott the Red tried to keep things in perspective after United’s controversial win at Stamford Bridge.  Any of the calls could have gone a different way, but the Reds got the breaks and broke a 10 year streak without a win at Chelsea.  While Rooney dominated the first half hour, RvP was called out for special praise and De Gea is his #1 choice in goal.  United are back in the hunt and there is still a lot of the season ahead of us.

Karan at the Chelsea SB Nation blog took the long view in his post, noting that Chelsea are actually surpassing expectations this season and have now been given chip on their shoulder for the upcoming fixtures.  I have watched the Blues twice this season, away at Arsenal and at home against Manchester United.  The match against the Gunners was a classic counterpuncher’s effort while the United game saw them lose the opening rounds, completely take over the fight, only to have the judges steal it from them at the end.  This team can win the league.  There’s not doubt in my mind now.

Zonal Marking analyzed the match on his website.  He saw United’s 4-4-2 morph into a 4-1-4-1 once the lead had been established while Chelsea came back into the game but were not able to unlock United from open play.  I agree with him that it would have been interested to see how the game would have played out at 10 v 11.  I imagine it would have been similar to the Chelsea/FCB Champions League semi.

All in all, a fantastic weekend of footy.  This weekend was a glimpse into what life would be like without a wife and kid, sitting on barstools, drinking, yelling, absorbed by men kicking a ball made of space age polymers.

Old Futbol Buffet–Champions Again and Again and Again

Once again, for person who prides himself on organization and planning, I got it all horribly wrong.

What a week.  The majority of the week was spent preparing and executing the Annual Franchise Meeting for BIGGBY COFFEE, which is a lot of work and quite exhausting.  So what did I follow it up with?  A weekend of relaxation?  A massage and pedi?  Hell no.  Onwards and upwards.

Friday night I hosted a poker party that went until 2am.  I lost most of my money, as usual, but it was still a great time.  After a couple of hours sleep, cleaned up the mess that was made, then got ready for our latest community event, which entailed setting up hundreds of feet of hose and two ginormous tarps.  Following an afternoon of splashes and laughs, took a deserved nap and then woke up with literally nothing to do.  I went up to Claddagh’s and watched the first half of the United/Fulham game before switching to Real Betis v Rayo Vallecano.

RvP and Kagawa opened their United accounts and the finished product that was lacking against Everton arrived.  Truly dominating 45 minutes and with Rooney out for a month, the future of United could develop before our eyes.

Sunday was supposed to be an epic day of footy.  11am Liverpool/City then walk over for the MSU men against New Hampshire to be followed by my over 30 game, a tension filled clash against old rivals for the league championship.

And then the starting time of church got changed and everything started to unravel.

I missed the double header, which was disappointing on several levels.  I was involved in the planning and the event was the culmination of several months of hard work and could provide the launching off point for Lansing soccer culture.  But what are you going to do.  I did get to see the second half of the Barcelona game.

I finished the day playing in my over 30 game.  The weather was quite hot and after a week of meetings, drinking and stressing, I was not in the best shape.  I had not touched a ball or done any fitness since the previous week’s game so I was not sure what my contribution would be.  Our team started fast but couldn’t capitalize and as our opponents came into the game, the sense of dread began to build.  Halftime arrived with the match scoreless although we two chances on the goal line.

The second half started with us on top but again no goals.  The post was hit, the ball bounced around the goal, shots went wide; everything but in the goal.  Then it happened.  One of our attacks was cleared to the outside, their midfielder bent a ball around our defense, and their forward ran onto it and put it away.  We were down 1-0 and a loss would see the title go to the Arsenal.

We ramped up the pressure and again no dice.  Finally, one of our corner kicks was cleared to the top of the area and our center back smashed a shot through the crowd and into the back of the net.  1-1, a draw was good enough due to our superior goal differential.  So back to back league titles and on to the playoffs.

Now it’s back to work.  With Labor Day ahead of us and no plans, should have time to watch plenty of games, which will be nice.

——

Other Stuff

Off the Ball had Philippe AuClair on last Thursday (8/23) to discuss PSG, where the recipe is not going quite to plan.

Roger Bennett’s latest column for Soccernet echoed the dilemma I was faced with this summer—the nature of the soccer/football fan.  Are true fans the ones at the ground week in or week out or can fandom reach across an ocean due to the wonders of the internet and cable/satellite television?

Old Futbol Buffet–Dog Days of Summer

Roger Bennett examined MLS’ campaign to gain national exposure during his latest column on Soccernet.  As he explains, teams have been able build soccer specific stadia that create a homebase for the club and fans, plus they have been able to partner with vocal and passionate supporters groups that create a buzz and atmosphere around games.  The result has been pockets of excitement but very little in the way of national prominence or attention for teams other that the ones supporters already follow.  There are several hurdles, and if the MLS is willing to take it slow and focus on its strengths then they may build an identity in the American sports culture.

Staying with MLS, the panel on the SI Soccer Roundtable (July 13) looked back at the first half of the season, focusing on the incredible goal tally of Chris Wondoloski, the surprise package of the San Jose Earthquakes and the turnaround at DC United.  They also looked ahead to the playoff race that will heat up after the All Star break.

Along the same lines, Ives Galarcep talked to the guys on Beyond the Pitch about his thoughts on the MLS season thus far.  Besides breaking down teams and looking at recent coaching changes, Ives commented on the possibility of the New York Cosmos being the 20th MLS team, having recently joined the NASL to start playing competitive matches.  Lots of info and well worth the listen.

Looking to Europe, Ben Lyttleton reviewed the earth shattering transfers of Ibra and Thiago Silva to PSG, as they look to take over Ligue Un and compete in the Champions League.

Anto held court on Beyond the Pitch about his beloved Milan, and really brought it.  He gave an impassioned and logical view on the path the Rossoneri are on as the Italian giants finally begin the rebuilding process that has been needed for years.  Listening to this pod got me excited about the upcoming Serie A season and how Milan can push Juventus and bring the league back into the spotlight.

Speaking of Juventus, the gang at Juventiknows.com looked back at their first year while looking ahead to next season, including possible transfer targets and expectations in the Champions League.

Finally, a little closer to home, Andrew Lewellen wrote a piece about Detroit City Football Club’s first season, focusing on the management team and the outstanding support Le Rouge received this year.  Hopefully this is just the beginning as everyone is looking to bring Major League Soccer to the Metro Detroit area.

Old Futbol Buffet–Paris $aint-£ermain kicks off

So it was a Saturday in early August and my desire for footy, not satisfied by pre-season friendlies and testimonials, took hold of me. I checked the match program for the day to see what was on offer. PSG (4th last season) versus Lorient (11th) from Ligue 1 jumped out at me due to PSG splashing the cash this summer, so off to the bar I went.

I usually avoid French football. Nothing against them, but for the dozen or so games I’ve watched, start to finish, over the last two or three seasons, I can count the total number of goals on one hand and have fingers left over. But I wanted to see the new look PSG and see what their Qatari money had bought them.

Here’s a list of their 2011 summer signings:

Malian midfielder Mohamed Sissoko from Juventus for a fee of €7m (not fit)  YEAH!!! Juve finally got rid of him
Italian goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu from Palermo for a fee of €3.5m (played)
Midfielder Blaise Matuidi from Saint-Etienne for a fee of €10m (played)
Midfielder Jeremy Menez from Roma for a fee of €8m (played)  Imagine if Dr. House and Clint Dempsey had a kid.
Serbian defender Milan Bisevac from Valenciennes for a fee of €3.5m (played)
Forward Kevin Gameiro from Lorient for a fee of €11m (played)
Goalkeeper Nicolas Douchez on a free transfer from Rennes (injured)

Plus Javier Pastore from Palermo, which was finalized over the weekend.

In doing a little research for the game, Lorient was busy too this summer, adding . . .

Argentinean defender Lucas Mareque on a free transfer from Independiente
Forward Jeremie Aliadiere on a free transfer (substitue)  remember him, EPL fans?
Forward Tristan Do on a free transfer from Strasbourg
Midfielder Kevin Monnet-Paquet from Lens for a fee of €3m (played)
Malian midfielder Adama Toure on a free transfer from Paris St. Germain
Midfielder Julien Quercia on a free transfer from Auxerre (played)
Midfielder Mathieu Coutadeur from Monaco for a fee of €2m (played)
Portuguese defender Pedrinho on a free transfer from Coimbra (played)
Goalkeeper Florent Chaigneau on a free transfer from Le Poire sur Vie

The match kicked off to a fast and frenetic start with both teams in high gear on a slippery surface. The first half was end to end stuff with Lorient having a little better of the play, and they were rewarded in the 28th minute. PSG captain Sakho, who had a terrible first half (and game to be honest), committed an unnecessary foul in the right hand channel outside the box. Jouffre whipped in a cross and the PSG rearguard fell asleep, allowing Quercia—who was very active in the opening period, causing a lot of problems—to score. Nene had a chance to equalize but put his chip over the bar. The first half petered out with the visitors on top.

PSG took the game to Lorient right from the second half whistle. However their energy and intensity produced very little in the final third, with poor crossing and the attackers not in sync. Striker Gameiro did very little against the club he left this summer. Lorient actually had a chance to double their lead when Mvuemba hit the crossbar. With 15 minutes to go, the hosts squared the ball across the net but no one was home. Quercia was a total nonfactor in the second half, barely touching the ball and was finally subbed with 13 minutes to go. PSG continued to huff and puff, but the final whistle blew and the PSQatar era started with a loss.

If I’m the PSG coaching staff, I’m working on three things: set pieces (service rarely beat the first defender), getting the attackers on the same page, and finding a replacement for Sakho. The team from the capital have Olympiacos Volou FC in the Europa League playoff round between upcoming fixtures against Rennes and Valenciennes

After the French game I flipped over to the second half of FC Barcelona against Club America at Cowboy Stadium. I had read on my twitter feed that the Blaugrana had started with a strong lineup (basically all the starters except Messi) and that Villa had scored. When I tuned in, the first thing I saw was that Glenn Davis was doing the game and I’m glad the TV at the bar was on mute. Really dislike him as a commentator. Xavi went out at halftime and Barca were below their usual high standards, knocking the ball around but sloppily and had very little of the flow we are accustomed to seeing. Thiago had a ridiculous back pass that almost led to Club America scoring and then Valdez had to do a karate kick to save Barcelona moments later.

I was not being entertained so I left with 20 minutes to go, and I read later that Keita sealed the game. I know these games are just friendlies, but based on them (playing well but getting beaten by United; getting thrashed by Chivas; really not playing well against Club America) I am getting a little worried about the Super Cup and the start of the season.

As for Sunday, I might try to catch a replay of the Community Shield but I’m not going to lose sleep if don’t. The transfer rumors continue to swirl, particularly around Fabregas, Sneijder, Tevez and Adebayor, plus Lukaku is moving to Chelsea. But the most important thing of the weekend is that competitive football is being played.

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