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Tactics & Analysis

Premier League helped by early deadline but were teams ready to play?

Tue, 14 Aug 2018 12:13:00 PDT

source url The Exploding Heads are here to tell you that the more changes a new football season brings, the more things stay the same. Paul Mariner defends his selections and omissions in the first team of the weekend of the Premier League season. Former Premier League referee Peter Walton and Stewart Robson discuss the key decisions from the weekend. Former Premier League referee Peter Walton and Stewart Robson discuss the key decisions from the weekend. The 2018-19 Premier League season is well and truly underway and for once, that phrase feels appropriate. The English top-flight always commences in mid-August but, after a significant change to the structure of the transfer window, the new campaign will not feature the disastrous three-week period, in which clubs and media were focused more upon moves than matches. Now deadline day has already passed, the games themselves dominate. In years gone by, the first month has been compromised by numerous...

World Cup's best age-adjusted young stars: Mbappe, Jesus and more

Tue, 19 Jun 2018 09:45:00 PDT

buy erythromycin Episode six of Project Russia takes you through Mexico fans' rollercoaster of emotions before, during and after El Tri's historic win over Germany. The Three Lions test their knowledge of Tunisia, fans share their predictions and mosquitoes take over Volgograd in episode seven of Project Russia. Ronaldo joins episode five of Project Russia to discuss Brazil's World Cup hopes and his ambitions for Neymar. Join ESPN in Russia, as we go on the lookout for one of the World Cup's biggest stars, Cristiano Ronaldo. For countries around the world, getting to the World Cup is half the battle. The same is true for their players. Even before ever suiting up for a match, being named to a 23-man World Cup roster is a remarkable accomplishment and a sign that you've arrived. For young players, it's also a great indicator of stardom to come. Take Ronaldo, for example. While Brazil was winning the World Cup in America during the summer of 1994, a 17-year-old Ronaldo was sitting on scorching-hot benches around the...

World Cup entertainment value could suffer from lack of pressing, diminished field

Tue, 29 May 2018 09:45:00 PDT

http://cherokeestripridingclub.org/contact/ Ian Darke leads an expert panel to assess Spain's World Cup hopes and whether or not Julen Lopetegui will be able to sort out the attack. Twenty-five years ago, when quizzed about the differences between club football and international football, legendary Italian coach Arrigo Sacchi had one simple conclusion. "Football should always be played at the highest possible level," he declared, "and no club will ever reach the level as an international side." That was conventional wisdom back then: International tournaments were considered the pinnacle of football, with clubs playing something of a feeder role. In recent years, however,...

Liverpool fast start, Madrid late pressure can decide UCL final

Fri, 25 May 2018 01:00:00 PDT

As Real Madrid prepare for Kiev we go behind the scenes at the Bernabeu as Ronaldo grabs a lift to training, Zidane speaks about Liverpool and Kroos talks Klopp. As Liverpool head to Kiev, a look behind the scenes at Anfield as Salah meets Lampard, van Djik nutmegs Lovren and ESPN meets Wijnaldum. Saturday's Champions League final offers one of the most fascinating tactical clashes in recent memory: Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool, with their astute, intensive, counter-pressing approach, meet the more laissez-faire style of Zinedine Zidane's Real Madrid, who concentrate upon possession play. It has all the makings of a superb match. Here are four key questions waiting to be answered. 1. What formation will Zidane use? The most remarkable thing about Real Madrid's Champions League record under Zidane...

Carrick is one of Man United, England's most underrated players ever

Fri, 11 May 2018 07:52:00 PDT

apcalis sx 20mg oral jelly Michael Carrick reflects on the evolution of Manchester United's rivalries with Manchester City and Liverpool during his time at Old Trafford. Michael Carrick describes to ESPN FC's Mark Ogden his frustration with his England career and how it affected him at Manchester United. Michael Carrick tells Mark Ogden Man United's win in the 2008 UCL final produced one of the best feelings of his life and one of the worst. As Michael Carrick gets set to retire and join Man United's coaching staff, he shares with Mark Ogden his thoughts on eventually becoming a manager. In an interview with ESPN FC's Mark Ogden, Michael Carrick describes the influence Sir Alex Ferguson had on him at Manchester United. It's the summer of 2006, and Manchester United are in a crisis. This is not the usual football "crisis" -- which increasingly means little more than "they've lost their last two matches" -- but a genuine, wide-ranging, major question about how Manchester United are attempting to achieve success. Chelsea have won the last two Premier League titles. Arsenal have reached the Champions League final and are moving to a new home, while Liverpool have followed European Cup success with FA Cup success...

Man City's Premier League win: six keys to their stunning success

Thu, 10 May 2018 01:15:00 PDT

Three weeks after sealing the title, Man City players and staff rejoice as they lift the Premier League title at the Etihad. Manchester City's Premier League title success has been so inevitable, and has been achieved so comfortably, that their revolutionary style has almost been overlooked. Pep Guardiola's approach has been overwhelmingly technical, unashamedly possession-based and has featured positional nuances barely witnessed before in English football -- all of it combined with some "throwback" tactical principles borrowed from yesteryear. Here are six key features of City's recipe for success: 1. Possession...

Arsenal's opponents Atletico Madrid provide possible direction for Wenger-less future

Wed, 25 Apr 2018 08:57:00 PDT

ESPN FC's Gab Marcotti delves into the Europa League semifinal matchups as Arsenal take on Atletico Madrid and Marseille square off with Red Bull Salzburg. It would be overly dramatic to suggest that 22 years and over 1,000 matches comes down to a two-legged Europa League tie, but Arsenal's performance over the next week against Atletico Madrid will play a significant role in shaping the mood at the Emirates upon Arsene Wenger's departure. Win, and Arsenal will start the Europa League final as favourites, with an opportunity to claim Wenger's first-ever European trophy and reclaim their position in the Champions League for next season. Lose, and...

Tottenham don't 'need' FA Cup glory but they do deserve it

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 08:18:00 PDT

The further Tottenham progress through this season's FA Cup, the more the debate will continue about whether or not Mauricio Pochettino and the club "need" to win a trophy. "Need" implies that there's some specific reason why a trophy is required and the explanation tends to vary: to keep players, to keep Pochettino, to act as a springboard to further success. You sometimes wonder whether winning trophies these days is actually ever considered a worthwhile achievement in itself or whether it's...

Man United need a big game from Alexis Sanchez vs. Man City

Fri, 6 Apr 2018 10:30:00 PDT

The critics are already out on Man United's latest big money signing Alexis Sanchez, who has struggled as of yet to make a splash at his new club. Alexis Sanchez's January transfer to Manchester United was, on paper, among the most dramatic moves in Premier League history. There were three major factors to it. The first was the novelty of a genuine, real-life swap deal between Arsenal and United, two of the Premier League's biggest clubs. It was exciting simply because for all the tabloid rumours, such exchange deals barely ever actually come to fruition. But this time everything went through, and two high-profile footballers suddenly...

Might Raheem Sterling be the key to Man City vs. Liverpool?

Tue, 3 Apr 2018 11:17:00 PDT

ESPN's Jonathan Smith and Glenn Price discuss whether the atmosphere at Anfield can be the decisive factor in who reaches the Champions League semi-finals. Ordinarily, for a fixture like this week's clash between Manchester City and Liverpool, you want both sides to have full-strength squads, managers able to play their strongest hand and for the game to be influenced by top-class attacking talents. This time around, however, the absence of Sergio Aguero might prompt a more complex, unpredictable game. Aguero remains an exceptional striker, boasting a mixture of acceleration and clinical finishing that few others in Europe can match. But he's...

Sanchez, Kane, De Bruyne, Salah: Top players must have the ball to lose it

Tue, 20 Mar 2018 02:44:00 PDT

Football has always been about statistics. The concept of a top scorer, for example, has been established for decades and yet is essentially a statistical irrelevance, given it almost always has no bearing upon the destination of a league title. That example, though, proves the statistics debate is nuanced. It's not about whether or not you use figures, but about what you record and how you interpret the numbers. Even the now-established idea of the assist was only formally defined in the 1990s...

Mourinho not finished at Man United, but not proven, either

Fri, 16 Mar 2018 12:39:00 PDT

Throughout his first two seasons at Manchester United, Jose Mourinho has regularly faced criticism for being too defensive. Although it's an issue that's dogged him throughout his career, it's arguably only been problematic at two clubs, Real Madrid and Manchester United, whose supporters believe their club boasts a proud tradition of playing attack-minded football. At Porto, Chelsea and Inter, Mourinho often played defensive football without much dissent from fans largely because he led them...

Man City chase Premier League record while playing beautiful game

Fri, 2 Mar 2018 12:39:00 PST

When looking at the fixture list in August, this weekend's clash between Manchester City and Chelsea -- the title favourites against the title holders -- appeared crucial in determining the destination of the Premier League trophy. Instead, it's anything but a six-pointer: City are way out in front, while Chelsea are merely chasing Champions League qualification after a wretched couple of months. But also in the sights of Pep Guardiola's side is the Premier League all-time points record, the holders...

Chelsea's struggles at both ends largely due to growing pains of Alvaro Morata, Andreas Christensen

Tue, 27 Feb 2018 10:38:00 PST

It's been a peculiar and somewhat unusual week for Chelsea -- two good performances in tricky contests against Barcelona and Manchester United, but little to show for their efforts. Having opened the scoring in both matches, Antonio Conte's men will feel disappointed not to be taking a first-leg lead to the Nou Camp, and underwhelmed at being defeated 2-1 at Old Trafford. It's rare to be speaking about Chelsea in these terms, because this is a club that has spent much of the last 15 years doing...

Alexis Sanchez looks to buck the trend of big-money failures at Man United

Tue, 23 Jan 2018 11:40:00 PST

With the Alexis Sanchez and Henrikh Mkhitaryan swap confirmed, Craig Burley and Alexis Nunes break down the deal from both sides. Despite their status as the world's richest club, confirmed in the most recent Deloitte figures, successful Manchester United sides throughout the Premier League era have rarely been based around multimillion-pound signings and genuine superstars. In fact, when United have attempted to introduce recognised world-class players, they've often struggled to incorporate them into their tactical system. In 2001, for example, Juan Sebastian Veron was a British record signing, but Sir Alex Ferguson didn't...

Walcott's new start after an Arsenal career that peaked in the middle

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 08:17:00 PST

With Theo Walcott looking set to join Everton, the FC crew examine whether a change of scenery can help the out-of-favour Arsenal forward reach new heights. The careers of many legendary footballers have been effectively defined by World Cup years: Think Pele, Diego Maradona, Ronaldo or Zinedine Zidane. Theo Walcott has not attained the status of the aforementioned quartet, but Everton's new signing is another whose career has worked in this manner. The exception is that the 28-year-old never actually played a minute at the World Cup, yet the key watersheds in his career have nevertheless been 2006, 2010, 2014 and, now, 2018. 2006-10 It goes without...

To beat Man City, you need to press them but it's easier said than done

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 11:06:00 PST

We're 23 games into the 38-game Premier League season and Pep Guardiola's Manchester City have finally been defeated. Sunday's wild 4-3 defeat at Anfield was, in truth, a much tighter game than the scoreline suggests, the goals tally boosted by a couple of defensive errors and some excellent finishing. Nevertheless, Liverpool's approach should be commended: they pressed in advanced positions to force those defensive errors at the start of the second half and City's upcoming opponents will consider...

Sterling's improvement owes much to a new-look Man City

Fri, 12 Jan 2018 01:19:00 PST

Ahead of Raheem Sterling's return to his former club, Liverpool, there will be plenty of debate over the difference between Liverpool-era Sterling and City-era Sterling, along with questions about precisely how he's improved so much. But that's a slightly false debate -- or, at least, it's not the most interesting debate. The key is precisely what has changed between last season and this. After all, Sterling was playing under Pep Guardiola last season, yet his performances were entirely unremarkable...

Can Liverpool succeed where everyone else has failed and beat Man City?

Wed, 10 Jan 2018 12:01:00 PST

With Pep Guardiola continuing to field strong teams in all competitions, the FC guys question if he is putting his star players at risk. It is the dilemma that has confronted every Premier League manager: How do you stop the seemingly unstoppable? Manchester City are unbeaten in 33 games over almost nine months against domestic opponents. They have dropped points against only two teams this season, and on one of those occasions, they played the majority of the match with 10 men. They have scored almost five times as many league goals as they have conceded and could be crowned champions in March. English football's most unsolvable...

Premier League defending isn't worse, as Ferdinand says: it's just evolving

Fri, 5 Jan 2018 08:04:00 PST

It's hardly surprising to discover a former professional footballer suggesting that standards have slipped since his day, but there was plenty of truth in Rio Ferdinand's recent suggestion that centre-backs are no longer as defensively solid. It's a common refrain from both former defenders and former attackers: ex-defenders complain that skills simply aren't valued any more, while former forwards boast that they would score a colossal amount of goals in the modern era with such poor defending....

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