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  • El Clásico Tactical Analysis: Valverde’s Gaugamela

    Oct. 1, 331 BC. Alexander The Great finalizes his conquest of Darius III’s Persian Archaemenid Empire in the decisive Battle of Gaugamela. Darius’ infantry was more than twice as large as Alexander’s Macedonian cavalry, and Darius had the terrain of the battlefield smoothed so that his chariots could be as effective as possible against the Macedonians.…

  • Italy Have Found Its Identity Under Roberto Mancini

    After some early struggles under new coach Roberto Mancini, Italy seems to have developed a new football identity during the latest international break. The Azzurri drew 1-1 against Ukraine in Genoa in a friendly last Wednesday, and on Sunday, defeated Poland 1-0 away in Chorzow in their UEFA Nations League A Group C encounter. 11…

  • Sampdoria’s High-Flying Start to the Season

    Sampdoria has had a great start to the 2018/19 Serie A campaign and the performances from the Doriani suggest that they will be in contention for a spot in one of Europe’s competitions next season. Marco Giampaolo is in his third season as coach of the Blucerchiati and he has persisted with his attacking philosophy…

  • Float like a Butterfly, Sting like a Hornet

    Every football fan knows how the 2015-16 Premier League season ended. With 5000/1 odds in August to be champions, Leicester City shocked the football world when they clinched the Premier League title. Based on their 2014-15 showing, relegation from the top flight following the 2015-16 season looked more likely than winning it. Nigel Pearson’s men…

  • The Importance of Guardiola’s fullbacks

    If there was one contrast that marked the difference between Pep Guardiola’s underwhelming debut season at Manchester City, and the rip-roaring, 100-point, title-winning sophomore season, it was the difference in fullbacks. In 2016/17, he had four aging full-backs who neither understood the new system nor had the energy to keep up with the technical nature…

  • The Significance of Raphaël Varane and Samuel Umtiti’s Roles in France’s World Cup Wins

    In the 94th minute, deep into added time of France’s encounter with Belgium in the World Cup semi-final, poised 1-0 to France, Kevin de Bruyne launched yet another high ball towards Romelu Lukaku, and the heart of the French defence. Raphaël Varane leaped high into the air and headed the ball clear…for one second. Toby…

  • The Rise of the Centre-Back; from World Cup to Club Season

    The centre-back; often disregarded or underrated in some way or another – despite being one of the, if not the, most important positions in the sport. The centre-back’s duty is typically to sit in the central heart of the defence, usually alongside one or two fellow centre-backs; with a variety of different sub-duties and responsibilities…

  • Best World Cup Matches: Uruguay-Portugal

    With Uruguay breezing through Group A, and with Portugal failing to beat Iran on the final matchday, Uruguay faced off against Portugal in the Round of 16. It was a match of two defensive stalwarts, as Óscar Tabárez’s La Celeste, which had conceded zero goals throughout the entire group stage, took on Fernando Santos’ Portugal, whose…

  • Best World Cup Matches: Portugal-Iran

    With one matchday remaining in Group B, Spain and Portugal had 4 points each, with the Spaniards leading Portugal on goals scored. Trailing the Iberian sides were Iran with 3 points, and Morocco with none. This set up a dramatic final set of games, with Iran probably needing a win to have a chance of…

  • Best World Cup Matches: Switzerland-Serbia

    Despite not containing one of the more popular national teams at the World Cup, Serbia vs. Switzerland in round two of the group stage proved to be a memorable one. The Orlovi had defeated Costa Rica 1-0 in the first round, and after a 1-1 draw between Switzerland and Brazil, a second win would see…