Jack Wilshere: Facing Crucial Decisions in his Career Defining Summer

Jack Wilshere: Facing Crucial Decisions in his Career Defining Summer

In February of 2011 Arsenal defied the odds to beat Europe’s greatest - Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona – 2-1 at the Emirates in the Champions League. That night the pitch was laden with midfield maestros; the likes of Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta and Cesc Fabregas to name a few. But the name which dominated the back pages the morning after was none of the above, instead it was a 19-year-old by the name of Jack Wilshere. With a passing accuracy of …
Pep Guardiola to Manchester City - it's Official

Pep Guardiola to Manchester City - it's Official

Pep Guardiola to Manchester City - it's Official. The rumours began to gather pace in Germany back in December that Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola was to leave the German champions when his contract expires at the end of the season and that Manchester City were to be his next destination. Last month, Guardiola officially confirmed at a press conference that he would be leaving Bayern when his contract ends and also stressed his intention to move to the Premier …
Football's One Club Men

Football's One Club Men

Ronaldo made a comment in his Jonathan Ross interview (plugging his film) that "he would have more dignity than end his career in the U.S. or the Middle East." Even players you would once have considered stalwart, one-club men like Steven Gerrard (504 appearances for Liverpool) and Raul (550 appearances for Real Madrid) are ending their careers in this way; either as a last pay off or for the love of playing on. Their motives may be mixed. Iker Cassillas …
Spain vs Holland Match Preview | FIFA World Cup 2014 | Group B

Spain vs Holland Match Preview | FIFA World Cup 2014 | Group B

Group B is a hotly anticipated group and it's easy to see why with the opening match being a repeat of the 2010 final. Of course Spain won on that occasion and they've gone from strength to strength since, winning their last three major tournaments, while Holland have struggled recently as they try and bring through a new generation of Dutch footballers. Both will be worrying about their group as they also have to face the much fancied Chile side, …
Systems Football: The Basics - Tiki-Taka / Totaal-Voetball

Systems Football: The Basics - Tiki-Taka / Totaal-Voetball

INTRODUCTION: the foundations (part 1/5) This is a five-part series of articles that aims to introduce football coaches and fanatics to basic concepts in a systems football approach (such as tiki-taka). The systems approach to football is founded upon a system of complexity and unity On a daily basis I get emails asking questions about ‘tiki-taka’ football: What age would you recommend to start implementing tiki-taka? Aren’t all the restrictions and duties hindering potential player development? It’s all well and …
The Italy v Spain or Xavi Vs Pirlo Euro 2012 Final Preview

The Italy v Spain or Xavi Vs Pirlo Euro 2012 Final Preview

We'll begin with a quick review of the Euro 2012 Semi Final Result:
Italy 2 Germany 1...and ‘It could have been four, or five’. 
  This was the night that Balotelli finally came of age; where Pirlo was involved with 34% of the Azzurri’s play (received or played a pass) and boasted a 92% pass rate. Cesare Prandelli set his team up in his favoured 4-3-1-2 formation for the third game in succession after beginning the tournament with the controversial …
Spain 1 - 1 Italy | Statistical look at Spain's passing game.

Spain 1 - 1 Italy | Statistical look at Spain's passing game.

If you haven't read the review of Italy's game, you should do it here.  «The kings of two footballing philosophies locked horns in the opening Group C game of Euro 2012: Catenaccio and Tiki-Taka; Italy and Spain.» According to Opta, this was the first time Spain started without a typical striker. They actually came out in a 4-6-0, with Fabregas as their front man, but he was not a striker. How I saw their line-up: As you can see from the picture above; it …
Italy 1 Spain 1 | Review & Statistically Proving - Were Italy Lucky?

Italy 1 Spain 1 | Review & Statistically Proving - Were Italy Lucky?

The kings of two footballing philosophies locked horns in the opening Group C game of Euro 2012: Catenaccio and Tiki-Taka; Italy and Spain. The Catenaccio philosophy is one associated with a highly organised and effective defensive tactic that focuses on taming the opponent’s attacks and in turn preventing any credible goal scoring opportunities. In Catenaccio, it is typical that the role of a sweeper, libero or verrouilleur is given a pivotal role in both defensive organisation and playing the ball …