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Please Read Before Posting / take blame for Swansea’s decline
« on: May 14, 2018, 12:22:22 AM »
As Carlos Carvalhal prepares to clear his desk – the fourth manager to do so at the Liberty Stadium in the space of 19 chaotic months – thoughts turn to identifying his successor and the need to radically overhaul a squad destined for the Championship long before relegation is confirmed on Sunday. The key question is whether Swansea City’s owners can trust their chairman, Huw Jenkins, with either of those tasks.

Jenkins wore a halo during the club’s rise through the leagues, earning plenty of praise for Swansea’s rags-to-riches fairytale. Yet he has badly lost his touch over the last three seasons, making one flawed decision after another and, increasingly, has come across as a man who has forgotten what his club’s philosophy – the Swansea Way – is supposed to represent.
The thinking has become so muddled that Jenkins praised Carvalhal and his players for showing “tremendous patience and character to stick to our gameplan” after a 1-1 draw against West Bromwich Albion last month. Swansea were abysmal that afternoon. They scored with a header from a corner and failed to register a shot on target during 90 minutes of banal and clueless football. It was a “gameplan” that would have made Roberto Martínez and Brendan Rodgers, two pioneers of that Swansea Way, weep.
Rodgers, it is worth remembering, could have been back at Swansea in the summer of 2016 but Jenkins, in a decision met with bemusement throughout the club, gave the job to Francesco Guidolin. It was a grave error of judgment – Jenkins has described it as his biggest regret – and sent Swansea into a tailspin from which they never recovered as they lurched from crisis to crisis, sacking Guidolin, before turning to Bob Bradley, Paul Clement and then Carvalhal, all of whom came in to extinguish fires rather than play tiki‑taka football.
The recruitment strategy, which Jenkins oversees and managers dip in and out of, has been just as shambolic. In a critical game at Bournemouth on Saturday it Carlos Baerga Authentic Jersey said everything that not one of Swansea’s five summer signings (more than £40m in transfer and loan fees) was on the pitch. On top of that, Borja Bastón, the £15m then club-record signing from the previous summer, was on loan in Spain along with Roque Mesa, who cost £12m. Ask Jenkins about Bastón or any of the questionable signings and he will go on the defensive, which is part of the problem.
Even the one new face Chad Bettis Jersey that had fans jumping and down last summer with excitement turned out to be Christopher Tanev Jersey an unmitigated disaster. Renato Sanches, whose loan from Bayern Munich set Swansea back £8.5m including wages, will be remembered in south Wales for that pass to a Carabao advertisement hoarding at Stamford Bridge and a tweet about his new emoji on the day the club were all but relegated. Looking about as comfortable in a Swansea shirt as a Cardiff City supporter, Sanchez wore the expression of a man who thought he should be playing alongside Toni Kroos, not Tom Carroll.
So much of what happens at Swansea makes little sense. From handing out lucrative four-year deals to squad members such as Nathan Dyer, who was on his way out of the club when sent on loan to Leicester the previous summer, to allowing players with a value to run down their contracts, the decision‑making is unfathomable at times.
Who, for example, thought that Swansea could get away with playing Kyle Naughton at right-back without any pressure on his position? Would Wayne Routledge get near any other Premier League squad? Why should anyone have been surprised that Wilfried Bony spent the majority of the season injured when he had not completed 90 minutes at club level for more than a year? And, perhaps more than anything, where on earth did Swansea think the goals were going to come from when that transfer window closed last September? The 27 they have scored in 37 Premier League games is the lowest in the division and, quite frankly, an embarrassment.
Jenkins, in fairness, is far from the only man with his fingerprints on this mess. Steve Kaplan and Jason Levien, Swansea’s majority shareholders, approve what goes on and must take a sizeable share of the blame for what has been a dreadful two years under their watch. The Americans are absentee owners and, if they have learned anything from the past two seasons, it must surely be that running a football club from the other side of the Atlantic will only be successful if the day-to-day control is in expert hands. In other words, they need to show leadership, freshen things up and bring in a sporting or technical director to take charge of the football side. cheap jerseys cheap nfl jerseys cheap jerseys from china wholesale jerseys cheap jerseys wholesale nfl jerseys

Please Read Before Posting / Spurs can say goodbye to Wembley
« on: May 13, 2018, 06:23:32 PM »
Mauricio Pochettino stood on the edge of his technical area, arms folded, waiting, as the clock ticked down. Just get over the line, Tottenham. That had been the order of the night. Securing Champions League football, a precious housewarming present to take back to N17 for next season, was at the forefront of everybody’s mind.

The outpouring of elation at the final whistle was all about that, all about a marker to help Tottenham in this period of seismic change for the club. Champions League qualification is always a boon, but it was especially appreciated when the news was confirmed at Wembley thanks to Chelsea hitting the brakes at Stamford Bridge because it feels like it’s about something bigger than one campaign in everybody’s favourite European competition.
The idea that an elite club’s ambitions live or die by the Champions League is a bit hysterical at a time when the old top four have turned into a high-ambition six who rightly enter each season thinking they ought to be a contender for a Champions League position. But Tottenham’s prospects seem tangled up in the chase more intensely than the others because of their stadium rebuild.
The what-ifs can go away for a while. What if Tottenham didn’t make the Champions League and missed out on both revenue and pull as they begin a new era in a new home? What if Daniel Levy had to consider bids for the most coveted talent mindful of the costs of debt repayment? What if Pochettino found his head could be turned now he is used to an environment where his team can make high-impact memories like beating Real Madrid or drawing at Juventus? Those what-ifs evaporated when Harry Kane found one of his accomplished finishes to decide a tensely fought game where a high-energy Newcastle caused umpteen scares.
For some perspective, in the pre-Pochettino Scott Stevens Jersey era Tottenham had only ever made it to the Champions League once, and at the end of the night they assured themselves a third successive season in the competition. They were desperate not to lose status that had been a long time coming.
Spurs’s form had been fluffy going into this final week of the season, with points frittered away, allowing doubts to gnaw away. Having been in a comfortable top-four position all season, the fear began to take hold. Don’t mess it up. Now is not the time. The noise of crackling urgency shuddered through the home crowd early on as Jonjo Shelvey’s thumping free-kick clipped the outside of a post. The Newcastle midfielder thrust his head in his hands. He knew it was fractions from perfection. Tottenham’s stress began to show.
Some of the twitchiness stemmed from a reorganised midfield, with Moussa Sissoko and Victor Wanyama paired to compensate for the absence of Eric Dier and Mousa Dembélé. Newcastle were boxing clever, a performance with sufficient focus to suggest this team were Mark Herzlich Jersey playing to impress for next season rather than minds wandering to the beach.
Tottenham needed to find some rhythm but it didn’t come easily. Half an hour gone a sign that they Alex Okafor Jersey were off key came when Ben Davies received the ball, looked up to build some kind of a move and just lumped the ball forward to nobody. That was not the style Tottenham aspire to. Kane’s sureness of touch eluded him when he was in for a one-v-one. It was nervy.
Kane rediscovered his touch to unshackle Tottenham from their anxiety in the second half with one of those unerring moments of striking clarity. He sidefooted the ball with crisp curl. The team’s body language changed in that instant. Suddenly they were all calling for the ball, pointing for it, wanting it.
Tottenham will finish as the top London club for the first time in 23 years. The last time they had the capital’s bragging rights dates back to 1994‑95, when they finished seventh (just above QPR and Wimbledon), since the season Blackburn won the title. Modern Tottenham want to continue to look up. Levy has not historically used Champions League qualification as essential to the sums for the season, but there is no doubting how easy it is to get used to all this.

Please Read Before Posting / Harry Kane purges Spurs of Champions
« on: May 10, 2018, 08:02:22 PM »
It was a long way from being the most fluent performance of the Mauricio Pochettino era and there were times, particularly during a fraught first half, when the Tottenham support could imagine the worst-case scenario that their team would contrive to lose their grip on Champions League qualification.

But the mood and the match turned on one swish of Harry Kane’s boot early in the second half and with Chelsea failing to beat Huddersfield Town at Stamford Bridge, it turned into a night of celebration. For the third season in succession Pochettino has led Spurs into Europe’s elite competition and, given the budgets he has had to work with, nobody can say it is not an outstanding achievement.
Happily for all concerned, the club’s new stadium, into which they will move next season, will begin life as a Champions League venue. Spurs will finish as the top team in London for the first time since 1994-95 and they will wrap up third place if they beat Leicester City at Wembley on Sunday.
Pochettino had declared this match to be about the mentality of his players and they found a way to chisel out the result. Newcastle were proactive and they created plenty of opportunities and Rafael Benítez complained about the non-award of two penalties for his team – the biggest shout coming when Hugo Lloris caught Matt Ritchie in the 58th minute.
The Newcastle manager was entitled to say that “100% we deserved something” but, in the end, it was another occasion to illustrate why he wants his board to break the bank for a dead-eyed striker. The chances came and the chances went, with the substitute Jacob Murphy blowing a gilt-edged opportunity on 72 minutes.
Kane has still to rediscover the red-hot form he showed before his ankle injury in March and his air-kick Chris Terry Authentic Jersey for an attempted volley when gloriously placed in the 40th minute summed up both his and the team’s travails before the interval. But he dug deep and found a way to make the difference.
It was an excellent finish, swept high inside Martin Dubravka’s near post after Son Heung-min had drawn three Newcastle defenders to him and popped the ball back to Kane. The England striker now has 28 Premier League goals – three short of Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah. The Golden Boot race could yet go to the wire.
Pochettino was elated and he made the point of thanking his backroom staff for their work. But he also highlighted how Tottenham had made light of their temporary move to Wembley. “People did not realise how tough it was for the players and for the fans too,” he said. “To achieve the top four under this condition – it is a massive achievement.”
Spurs were loose, anxious and too lateral in K'Waun Williams Youth jersey the first half and there were groans of frustration from the home crowd at the end of it, which sounded a lot like boos. With so much at stake, it was also surprising to see so many empty seats. The attendance of 54,923 was the club’s third lowest of the league season.Newcastle called the tune before the interval and they ought to have led. Jonjo Shelvey banged a free-kick from the edge of the area against the outside of a post while Lloris sprang to his right to keep out Jamaal Lascelles’s header. It was a wonderful save. Dwight Gayle headed too high from close-range and the visitors had further flickers.
Pochettino’s team and the home fans refocused during the interval. There was bellowed encouragement upon the restart and, shortly afterwards, Kane fashioned the breakthrough.
Spurs had other moments in front of goal through Jan Vertonghen, Dele Alli and Danny Rose but they could not relax. Ayoze Pérez miskicked after a Newcastle counter and when Lloris left his line to deal with the follow-up, there was contact with Ritchie. The referee, Neil Swarbrick, was unmoved. Benítez also felt Pérez ought to have had a penalty for a pull, although that was harder to see. wholesale nfl jerseys cheap nfl jerseys cheap jerseys china wholesale nfl jerseys

Please Read Before Posting / everything'll be fine in Russia
« on: May 09, 2018, 11:22:56 PM »
How things change. Time was when the name “England football supporter” meant something. Someone who could get completely drunk in a foreign city centre by lunchtime and then spend the afternoon throwing up into a fountain. Someone who could play the opening bars of The Great Escape theme tune on a trumpet for hours on end. Someone who could be guaranteed to terrify the locals wherever he went. Someone who would rip the seat out of any stadium and require a police escort back to the airport. Someone of whom the whole country could be proud.

Now, though, we’re in danger of being completely outclassed by the Russians, whose supporters included robbery and attempted murder on their CVs during the near riot in Marseille after the England v Russia game at the 2016 Euros. The persecutors have become the victims, and the foreign affairs select committee was keen to make sure any English football supporters would be safe during the World Cup in Russia.

Labour’s Chris Bryant, the MP for Rhondda, was quick to point out he was acting purely out of altruism in this matter as the Welsh had wisely decided not to bother with the World Cup by getting knocked out in the qualifying stages. What steps had been taken to ensure the welfare of England fans abroad?
“We’ve had reassurances from Russia,” said Robert Sullivan of the FA. Deputy chief constable Mark Roberts, who is in charge of policing for the event, agreed. Reassurances had been given. Though there might be one or two recognisable threats, there were none that he and the well-prepared England fan couldn’t cope with. The English might be outnumbered, but we weren’t pushovers. Remember the Battle of Britain.
Bryant wondered whether they weren’t being a wee bit complacent, given both the rising tensions between Russia and the UK and that Vladimir Putin had incited Russian hooligans to get stuck in as a matter of national pride. Not at all, insisted Kevin Miles, the chief executive of the Football Supporters’ Federation. There had been dire warnings of supporters getting topped in the townships of South Africa in 2010 and in the favelas of Brazil in 2014 and everything had turned out OK.
Yes, the Russians had their foibles. Jose Altuve Authentic Jersey Their police liked dressing up as paramilitaries and weren’t all that bothered about taking out innocent people as collateral damage, and their hooligans were sometimes a bit enthusiastic in their use of knives and iron bars, but they basically all had a heart of gold. And in any case, the Russians were keen to put on a good show and it was more likely that the Russian police and hooligans would be fighting amongst themselves than with English supporters.
“We can’t promise it will be OK,” said Miles eventually. But it was best to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. Besides, he had it on good authority that most England fans were more interested in going to the Hermitage and catching a night at the ballet than actually going to a football match.
Bryant wondered how LGBT people should prepare for Russia. Was it safe for them to share a hotel bedroom or to wave the rainbow flag?
“It’s probably best to err on the side of caution,” Miles said, clearly having not previously given the matter much thought.
“What is erring on the side of caution?” asked the committee chair, Tom Tugendhat, quick to spot any sign of weakness.
“Um. Er,” Miles gasped. “We don’t want to be too prescriptive in out advice because it’s sod’s law ... ” His voice tailed off as everyone realised that last sentence could have been better phrased.
The committee moved on to highlight other areas of concern. How much power did the British police have in Russia? “None,” said Miles happily. Everyone should just chill a bit. Everything was going to be fine. Trust Bobby Jenks Jersey him. And if it wasn’t, then it would still be fine. A Womens Denard Span Jersey few minor casualties would be no big deal.
Tugendhat ended by asking what venue preparations had been made for England reaching the knockout stages of the competition. Sullivan, Miles and Roberts turned to one another in disbelief. What kind of idiot question was that? None of course. This was the England team we were talking about.

Please Read Before Posting / Cardiff may not be liked
« on: May 09, 2018, 12:42:41 AM »
A day after Stoke City, a team who used to revel in their status as unpopular underdogs, were relegated from the Premier League, it was fitting that Cardiff City sealed promotion.

Most seasons the Championship throws up an unexpected success story, a team that scraps its way towards the top of the table as everyone waits for the bubble to burst. Last season it was Huddersfield and Reading, the season before that Sheffield Wednesday.
This time it has been Cardiff but, while the teams in previous years have managed to cling on and claim a play-off place, the Bluebirds are up automatically, trailing only the juggernaut of Wolves. A decent season for Cardiff would have been a top-half finish. Top six looked achievable but very ambitious. This has been utterly extraordinary.
And in Womens Tre Boston Jersey a way it is all thanks to the Rotherham chairman, Tony Stewart. Back at the start of 2016 Neil Warnock, his enthusiasm for the game dimmed and mind elsewhere after his wife Sharon was diagnosed with cancer, was not really looking to get back into management. But he was invited to a Rotherham game and eventually persuaded by Stewart to take over and save them from relegation. He duly achieved that but, more importantly for Cardiff, it reignited his taste for management and, more specifically, for an eighth promotion, something no other manager has done.
Cardiff are the fourth club Warnock has taken to the top flight, something no other manager has done. While it is always handy to take what the 69-year-old says with a soupcon of salt, given his team were second-bottom when he took over last season, one can believe it when he says this is his greatest achievement “by an absolute mile”.
They finished the season on 90 points, three more than when they were last promoted in 2013. That year it was enough to win the Championship. It is also their highest tally since three points for a win was introduced in 1981, the second-highest ever if the 1947 Division Three South winners’ total is adjusted accordingly.
It is all the more remarkable considering the teams they have finished above. Middlesbrough, Aston Villa and Fulham all have the financial means to augment their squads with Premier League quality players. Cardiff have spent money – Gary Madine somehow cost them £6m in January – but their success has not been based on it.
Their best performers have essentially been reclamation projects, unpolished gems and those unwanted elsewhere. Junior Hoilett was signed on a free transfer, as was Sol Bamba. Sean Morrison was discarded by Reading four years ago. Nathaniel Mendez-Laing was signed from Rochdale. The goalkeeper Neil Etheridge came in from Walsall. Callum Paterson was bought as a right-back but converted into a midfielder. One could go on.
This has been the source of Warnock’s strength this season and indeed down the years. He excels in bringing together jigsaw pieces that do not fit and making sense of them. It has been one of the most Brendan Shanahan Womens Jersey extraordinary examples in recent years of making a team more than the sum of its parts.
Warnock’s methods are not especially complicated, broadly based on team spirit and bonding, and an underrated aspect of it is how he has managed the expectations placed upon them. When promotion started to look plausible, then likely, with pressure theoretically growing, Warnock emphasised that, even if they had to go through the play-offs, it did not matter too much because they had already had a great season.
Then there is their rather straightforward style of play. What constitutes entertaining football is entirely subjective, and the unattractiveness of Cardiff’s football this season has been exaggerated by some. They do have decent ball-players in their team and will almost certainly buy some more, but this is not a side who will win prizes for aesthetics. wholesale nfl jerseys wholesale nfl jerseys cheap jerseys wholesale nfl jerseys from china

Please Read Before Posting / Arsène Wenger with Burnley thrashing
« on: May 08, 2018, 06:50:39 PM »
Amid the choreography Daniel Alfredsson Womens Jersey and pageantry that marked the big one in terms of Arsène Wenger’s farewell tour there could be a degree of relief at Arsenal. There is a pretty significant difference between finishing sixth and seventh in this season’s Premier League and, had Arsenal slumped here, it would have opened up the possibility that Burnley might pinch sixth spot from them.

It would have meant Arsenal beginning next season under their new manager in the second qualifying round of the Europa League on 26 July while Burnley went straight into the group stage of Europe’s second-tier competition. Arsenal are scheduled to face Atlético Madrid on that date in a pre-season friendly in Singapore. They would have had to have cancelled their tour.
Arsenal’s final two matches of the season are at Leicester City and Huddersfield Town and, given their dismal away form in 2018 – they have yet to pick up a point – there could be no guarantee of any rewards. Yet they spared themselves the potentially awkward situation with a comprehensive dismantling of Burnley, who played nothing more than a ceremonial role here.
It says plenty about how far Arsenal have fallen under Wenger this season that the merits of coming in ahead of Burnley in sixth were even up for discussion. But this, at least, was a day in which everything went right, when the supporters could cheer Wenger to the rafters as he entered through a guard of honour and departed with a clutch of mementos, and the team clicked in fine style.
There was even a 13-minute substitute’s cameo for Per Mertesacker, who will retire at the end of the season to take over as the head of the club’s academy, and it threatened to bring the house down. Petr Cech ran from his goal to embrace Mertesacker and the big German’s every touch was cheered.
Stan Kroenke, the majority shareholder, was in attendance and he listened to songs in praise of Wenger throughout. For one sunny afternoon the angst of so much of the season could be forgotten. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored twice to take his tally for the club to eight in 12 appearances while Alexandre Lacazette, Sead Kolasinac and Alex Iwobi got the others.
Arsenal took charge early on and the breakthrough goal owed everything to Lacazette’s vision and incision. He played a give-and-go with Iwobi, which allowed him to slice into the area, and his driven cross was made to measure for Aubameyang who poked home. It is clear that Aubameyang’s relationship with Lacazette and Henrikh Mkhitaryan will be key to the club in the post-Wenger era.
The fourth member of the LMAO strike-force was absent and it had to be said that Mesut Özil’s back injury was the least surprising feature of the day. The World Cup is looming for the Germany maestro. It is unclear whether he will play against Leicester or Huddersfield.
Lacazette was lively from the first whistle and he got his reward in first-half stoppage time. Iwobi played the pass before the assist and Héctor Bellerín did well to cut back Glen Rice Womens Jersey his cross. Lacazette steered a volley inside Nick Pope’s near post.
Arsenal had other flickers through the dangerous Mkhitaryan while they shouted loudly but in vain for a penalty when Kolasinac’s cross hit Matthew Lowton’s hand. Burnley lost Ashley Barnes to a shoulder injury on 20 minutes. The first half passed them by; the second period even more so.
Wenger omitted Shkodran Mustafi, Nacho Monreal and Aaron Ramsey from his starting line-up and there was another opportunity for the 20-year-old Greek centre-half, Konstantinos Mavropanos, who took no prisoners. Twice he cleaned out Barnes’s replacement, Sam Vokes, to the delight of the home crowd, who have missed a bit of Martin Keown-style violence in their team. After Mavropanos’s first challenge on Vokes the fans around the press box chanted Keown’s name. Keown, who was on punditry duty, smiled.

Please Read Before Posting / Chelsea breathe life into their
« on: May 07, 2018, 08:43:50 PM »
There have been plenty of occasions this season when Chelsea have appeared broken beyond repair. Their title defence fizzled out early but points had been frittered away before the onset of spring as the campaign degenerated into an apparently hopeless pursuit of Champions League qualification. But in the final week they have given themselves a chance and are on the top four’s shoulder once again.

By defeating third-placed Liverpool here courtesy of Olivier Womens Nick Ritchie Jersey Giroud’s first‑half goal, a header guided into the corner as the visitors switched off for Victor Womens Serge Savard Jersey Moses’s cross, their chase is prolonged. All Antonio Conte and his players can do is ensure Huddersfield and Newcastle are beaten in the last five days and then pray , somehow, Tottenham Hotspur or the Champions League finalists slip up in their own appealing home fixtures.

Success remains a long shot but, as Conte admitted, Chelsea would have considered such a target “impossible” only a month ago. Four wins on the trot have fired hope.
The late rally is tinged with regret. Those horribly damaging defeats to Bournemouth and Watford spring to mind when reflecting on a turbulent season, but so might the flurry of draws at the turn of the year or, even, the wasteful 1-1 draw with West Ham only a month ago. When they lost at home to Spurs at the beginning of April, the chasm to fourth had gaped at eight points. “Now we are getting three points in every game and our opponents are dropping points,” Conte said. “Our future is not in our hands but we have to try to put pressure on the teams ahead of us.”
Giroud’s goal, cushioned into the corner as he leapt between Virgil van Dijk and Dejan Christian McCaffrey Youth jersey Lovren, and some feverish defending, secured this latest win. Thibaut Courtois was authoritative and imposing. Gary Cahill, rejuvenated over recent weeks, relished the scrap of it all with César Azpilicueta and the excellent Antonio Rüdiger flinging themselves into blocks and challenges at his side.
Rüdiger had played with Mohamed Salah at Roma and was instrumental in blunting the footballer of the year. The Egyptian’s frustration saw him booked for a dive over Cahill’s first‑half tackle. For once, he actually seemed rattled.
Sadio Mané, in particular, and the substitute Dominic Solanke still threatened to restore parity, Colin Miller Youth jersey but Chelsea would not be breached. Their former academy player twice nodded over the bar near the end, straining but failing to keep his headers down. His time will come. “He’s a hard-working boy,” said Jürgen Klopp, who had clearly sensed the potential theatre of flinging the 20-year-old into the fray against his former club. “He will be fine in the future.”
Klopp will be irritated his team’s final domestic game, against Brighton, may no longer be irrelevant given he would have preferred to rest personnel before the European Cup final in Kiev. Liverpool had required a result on the final day of last season, in a home game against relegated Middlesbrough, to qualify and may now have to repeat that trick.
“That’s my life, always going to the last day,” Klopp said. “But I saw Brighton against Manchester United on Friday and they don’t look like an easy game. They were really good that day. But it’s football. If you want guarantees, do something different. The boys have shown me they will try and try and try.”
His players certainly did not seem spent after their exertions in Rome in midweek and monopolised the ball for long periods, though they ran aground too often on the clutter in Chelsea’s penalty area. It only took them being marginally off their effervescent best to offer the home side their chance. wholesale nfl jerseys wholesale jerseys wholesale jerseys cheap jerseys cheap jerseys cheap jerseys from china wholesale nfl jerseys from china

Please Read Before Posting / Steven Gerrard going to Rangers
« on: May 07, 2018, 12:20:46 AM »
It does not generally take much to render Rangers supporters excitable. Vehement defence of Dan Hamhuis Authentic Jersey custodians of their club, although natural, has not proved particularly valid in recent times. Which did not stop it existing.

A year ago the early stages of Pedro Caixinha’s tenure were triggering alarm bells which were largely ignored until European humiliation at the hands of opponents from Luxembourg kicked off a new season. Caixinha, whose critics were labelled xenophobic, limped on until October.

The scenario is now entirely different, whereby Ibrox fervour is entirely justified. A rudderless seven months have been forgotten. Rangers followers may be in danger of being seduced by a name but it is quite the name to be seduced by. One of Scottish football’s boldest, most headline-grabbing moves in decades has turned heads way beyond Govan and a club currently playing a distant second to its city rivals.
Legitimate scepticism surrounding Steven Gerrard’s choice of employer can, for now, be cast to one side. After all, it does not really matter; the key opinion, that of Gerrard, is that managing Rangers is a smart move. Gerrard clearly has the courage of his convictions, in ignoring warnings to take on a club which really does not allow free hits. His every move is about to be cross-examined as never before.
Others are being afforded a box office seat, from Pittodrie to Rugby Park, as an individual renowned the world over seeks to make managerial inroads. Even for cynics, this is an engaging prospect. Pressure instantly lands at the feet of the Rangers board with regard to keeping to the promises which encouraged Gerrard to leave one of precious few comfortable environments in football.
There must be a hope that Scottish football, too, will seize the opportunity as provided by wider profile. How Gerrard performs as the Rangers manager will inevitably dictate the extent to which people elsewhere are intrigued but that the Liverpool icon has opted for Glasgow as his first posting – he spurned numerous earlier overtures – can hardly be anything other than a benefit to a game subject to routine kicking. Rather than an isolated case, Gerrard’s arrival is part of a wider picture which shows shoots of recovery for a national sport reduced to irrelevance for too long.
This is not a worn-out professional seeking a final pay day; Gerrard is at the beginning of a journey which he logically hopes will lead him back to Liverpool, as the manager, one day. The 37-year-old Gerrard will rightly cite Rangers, the institution, as the key attraction but, if the Scottish game were in as dismal a state as many insist, a lower-league job in England would have been far more appealing. Rangers, not awash with resources, caught Gerrard’s imagination more than Rotherham ever would. There is something admirable, perhaps old-fashioned, about that.
Gerrard was not even put off by the Rangers horror show at Celtic Park last Sunday, where the hosts were 5-0 victors. That illustrates a level of self-confidence which is to be admired. Gerrard will need that in abundance; reputation counts for nothing should Old Firm managers wobble.
The subplots are numerous. Nothing at the Old Firm appears to occur without impact on a city rival. That Brendan Rodgers, Gerrard’s former manager at Liverpool, is in charge of all-conquering Celtic leaps out from any analysis sheet. Rodgers regards Early Wynn Authentic Jersey himself as an elite coach, which in turn means a desire at some stage to return to an elite league. In the meantime the prospect of demonstrating his level of experience – and superiority – over his one-time pupil will enthuse the Northern Irishman. The pair know each other well enough Yasiel Puig Authentic Jersey for buttons to be pressed should Celtic and Rangers find themselves meaningfully competing with one another. “Welcome to the land of no sleep,” said Rodgers, with a smile, on Friday when Gerrard’s switch was confirmed. For all their troubles, Rangers now have a manager who will know more about Orlando Cepeda Authentic Jersey Rodgers than anyone else in Scotland. cheap jerseys wholesale jerseys cheap jerseys china cheap jerseys wholesale jerseys cheap jerseys wholesale jerseys cheap jerseys china

Please Read Before Posting / it comes to managing expectations
« on: May 06, 2018, 06:10:06 PM »
According to José Mourinho, it took him “20 years to become an overnight success”. Having spent a few days this week on the final part of my Uefa pro licence coaching course, I am beginning to appreciate what he meant when he said that. Hours in the classroom and on the pitch, as well as giving presentations to fellow students, has made me more appreciative of the hard work that goes into qualifying to be able to do a job that I don’t even know if I will one day be lucky enough to get.

Studying also gives an insight into the commitment, passion and application which someone like Mourinho has had to put into football in order to achieve the level of success he has. In a week when the world has been praising the courageous and attacking football which has taken Liverpool to the Champions League final, I have to say that I have just as much admiration and respect for the Manchester United manager as I have for Jürgen Klopp.
Mourinho brings his team to the Amex Stadium on Friday evening for a match which is significant for both sides as we aim to secure our Premier League status and United attempt to finish the season in second place, with the added incentive of preparing for an FA Cup final against Chelsea just a couple of weeks away. Mourinho has proved himself a master of winning games in cup competitions and it’s no wonder, given his pragmatic approach to preparing for every game in a specific way.
There have been a few times this season when he has been hammered for playing so-called negative football – his tactics at Liverpool were a case in point – but criticising a coach for selecting a team and forming a gameplan to counter an opponent’s strengths is like using a mallet to crack an egg.
Every coach will have Authentic Matt Stajan Jersey his own beliefs about how the game should be played and that philosophy will be borne out by the way his team carry out instructions, but it is a very narrow mind which contests that one Authentic Nate Hairston Jersey way is definitively better than another. Like everything else in the world, football undergoes cycles and you cannot tell me the high-scoring, attacking football of this season’s Champions League is not an antidote or a reaction to the more defensive and cautious football which had been prevalent in the past 10 years or so.
The foundation for change in the game is a difference in style of coaches. Mourinho is unlike Pep Guardiola or Klopp in his philosophy, but his adaptability and core values are proven to achieve success against the very best.
You may remember that it was Mourinho’s Real Madrid side who won La Liga in 2011-12 against arguably the greatest club side of all time in Guardiola’s Barcelona. Real did not beat or even challenge Barça at their own game because Mourinho believed he knew how to get the better of them and they achieved that courtesy of his forensic attention to detail in preparations for a match. The modus operandi is to ensure the players are ready for the battle with their direct opponent and that they are drilled to react to any scenario – from conceding a goal to finding your team reduced to 10 men.
Players who have won major trophies in Mourinho teams, such as Frank Lampard at Chelsea or Internazionale’s Marco Materazzi, have spoken about his attention to detail and how that inspires confidence in his players and while Mourinho may have a mixed persona in public, one certainty is that the majority of his players love him and would run through brick walls for him.
However, it’s not that simple. Arsène Wenger has correctly been praised for revolutionising English football in the late 90s with his introduction of sports science and diet changes, among other things, at Arsenal. It seems as if he could not or would not evolve with other changes in the game, though, and that’s where the chameleon-like Mourinho may have the edge as he has incorporated the best of the rest into the running of the teams he has managed and then added his skill-set to succeed.
United have come up against a phenomenal Manchester City side who are very worthy champions this season, but in the same time frame as Guardiola has been manager at the Etihad Stadium, Mourinho has won the Europa League and League Cup, and could still add an FA Cup. wholesale nfl jerseys cheap jerseys wholesale nfl jerseys from china wholesale nfl jerseys

Please Read Before Posting / in the gender-equity fight
« on: May 04, 2018, 07:25:51 PM »
When I saw Tuesday’s official launch of the SheIs initiative – a group of eight professional women’s sports leagues coming together to increase resources, viewership and attendance – I thought to myself: That’s sweet.

But it didn’t move me. It’s not because I’m in disagreement with the movement. I’m all for women supporting other women. It’s needed and in step with the trend. I mean, girl power is everywhere, and we’ve somehow ended up with the terms “Shero” (get it? It’s hero, but with a she!) and She-EO (like CEO, but again with a she!)
Now, in a less punny attempt to help advance gender equity in sports, women’s leagues are taking it upon themselves to attempt to bridge the gap. As a sports writer who often focuses on pay disparity, I welcome solutions that will help women find equal footing.
However, I don’t believe this initiative will make much a difference. Why? Because women’s sports won’t grow without the men’s leagues supporting them and, secondly, the lack of exposure that women have had to sports is going to be tough to make up for to gain traction with an older female audience.
The eight organizations involved in the SheIs initiative include the WNBA, US Tennis Association, National Pro Fastpitch, Canadian Women’s Hockey, the Women’s Professional Lacrosse League, Lorenzen Wright Jersey Canada Basketball, the National Women’s Hockey League and the Ontario Women’s Hockey Association.
“This collective sports voice has never been heard,” says Canadian Women’s Hockey League commissioner Brenda Andress, who first spearheaded the initiative. “I wanted to create some type of program or challenge to bring women together that was born out of positivity. So I thought of SheIs. When I thought of myself, she is a grandmother with young kids. She is a commissioner. She is a hockey player. She is anything she wants to be. That’s where SheIs came from.”
These are great sentiments. And the goal to attract more women to female sports events is one I broadly support.
But no matter how much kumbaya takes place among these leagues, it simply won’t drum up enough interest among women who are working full-time and who already have other hobbies and interests to suddenly start caring about women’s sports.
Consider espnW, the worldwide leader’s women’s sports portal. (Full disclosure: I am a contributing writer there.) Only 28% of espnW’s audience is female according to a 2017 comScore report. While it was created with the intention of serving a female readership, it continues to struggles to connect with J.J. Wilcox Jersey them. Why? Because they’re targeting the wrong audience. Trying to reach women who don’t play sports and who weren’t given equal opportunity to play sports growing up is a misguided strategy.
Title IX, which was passed in 1972, mandated that girls would be given equal access to sports in federally funded schools in the US. Before Title IX, one in 27 girls played sports. Now, two of five girls play sports. That means close to 20 million girls in the United States under the age of 18 are active athletes. That is your market: not the women who didn’t play sports growing up. Get those 20m girls to women’s sports events and you’ll have an audience who will become lifelong fans, because loyalty to a sports team is about engendering a connection early on.
Secondly, we need men’s sports leagues to support women’s sports. Can you imagine if the NBA devoted the same amount of money into marketing the WNBA as it does the NBA? When NBA commissioner Adam Silver said part of the WNBA’s problem is that not enough young women support the league, Washington Mystics star Elena Delle Donne fired back a perfect response: “We absolutely do not get promoted as our counterparts do. When you put millions of dollars into marketing athletes and allow fans to get to know players on the court they develop a connection ... How is anyone going to get to know me or any of my colleagues if we aren’t marketed nearly as much?” cheap jerseys free shipping wholesale nfl jerseys cheap jerseys cheap jerseys

Please Read Before Posting / Premier League fight to survive
« on: May 03, 2018, 11:11:31 PM »
The splendid job Roy Hodgson has done at Crystal Palace was emphasised by the five-goal rout of demoralised Leicester at the weekend, though it was merely the culmination of an impressive sequence of six games in which the only defeat came at the hands of Liverpool and Palace managed to either beat or share points with four of their relegation rivals.

In the process Palace have climbed above Brighton, Bournemouth and Watford, all clubs who were considered to be having decent seasons, and probably made themselves safe. Hodgson has said he does not like hearing about mathematical possibilities and only described his team as being on the verge of safety with 38 points, though he also said he would have been reasonably happy with 36 points and a superior goal average.

This season 38 points Alex Lewis Jersey will most likely be enough (Brighton are on 37 and entertain Manchester United on Friday), so Bournemouth and Watford can also consider most of the work done, even if they might need a couple more Jack Eichel Jersey points or a favourable result elsewhere to properly relax.
There are six teams below that quartet, and some have to play each other. Neither of the two teams at the bottom, Stoke and West Bromwich, can possibly reach 38 points because they only have two games left. Southampton could theoretically reach 39 points, though if they do it will involve not only a win at Everton on Saturday but taking three points from a visit to Swansea on Tuesday, which would impact the Welsh side’s hopes of survival.
At the moment, although Carlos Carvalhal’s team are only a point above the bottom three on 33 points, they must quietly fancy their chances because they have three games left and they are all against sides in the bottom half of the table: Bournemouth, Southampton and Stoke.
The complication there is that two of those sides are in the bottom three and fighting for their lives – witness Southampton’s overdue victory against Bournemouth on Saturday and Stoke’s creditable draw at Anfield – and at this stage of the season practically any result is possible, though it should also be said that by the time Stoke arrive in south Wales for what has long looked a final-day decider one or both of the teams could have no hope left.
The best hope for the three teams above West Brom is that one or both of West Ham and Huddersfield could still drop into the equation, with the Yorkshire side looking most in danger. Both teams are level on 35 points, but whereas West Ham could start to climb with a visit to out-of-sorts Leicester this weekend, Huddersfield have to endure the title party at Manchester City. The Terriers then complete a difficult run-in with a trip to Chelsea followed by the visit of Arsenal on the last day, so it is possible, without wishing to put any sort of hex on David Wagner and his players, that 35 points is where Huddersfield will stay.
West Ham have Manchester United away and Everton at home as their last two games, two sets of opponents that David Moyes knows particularly well. Moyes also has more Premier League experience than Wagner, as do his players, and though there has been much more turbulence in and around the London Stadium this season than in West Yorkshire one would have to say that the respective run-ins give Antonio Garcia Jersey the Irons a slightly better chance of picking up points. One or two may be all it takes.
Yet before too much time is wasted on unnecessary extrapolation there are this weekend’s fixtures to consider. By close of Branden Oliver Jersey play on Saturday West Brom and Stoke could be down, or Swansea and Southampton in more trouble than they anticipated.

Please Read Before Posting / Roy Keane walks out on Ireland
« on: May 03, 2018, 01:02:39 AM »
He came. He saw. He went home.” So ran the tag-line of the Irish box office smash hit comedy I, Keano, an epic musical melodrama about a Roman legion preparing for war. It was inspired by a real-life melodrama of even more epic proportions: arguably the most fractious falling-out in the history of Irish sport, a gripping and often amusing controversy prompted by Roy Keane’s contentious departure from the Republic of Ireland World Cup squad in 2002.

The captain’s headline-grabbing exit from the squad briefly transformed the tiny western Pacific island of Saipan into the most famous places on Earth. It made a cute and goofy Labrador puppy named Triggs into a household name. It was the source of more pompous pontification in the bars of the British Isles than any number of budgets, general elections and scandals. It practically sundered a nation, driving it to the brink of something approaching civil war and prompted the Taoiseach (prime minister) of the day to offer his services as a mediator. It became the subject of more hand-wringing sanctimony and general tomfoolery than almost any incident before or since in modern Irish life. It was all about standards. Roy’s standards. Depending on your point of view they were either too high or not high enough. Was Roy the perfectionist who wanted the best for his country or the traitor who abandoned it? In Ireland, 16 years on, the jury remains out.
Everybody and nobody seems to know exactly what happened. The definitive version remains unconfirmed and even now, those who were privy to events as they unravelled remain understandably reluctant to talk about them in too much depth. Keane’s detractors claim he walked. His supporters insist he was sent home. The truth seems to lie somewhere in between: he made his position untenable and forced his manager’s hand.
This much we know: Ireland’s captain, then a 30-year-old volatile driving force who had almost single-handedly dragged his country through qualification for Japan and South Korea 2002 out of a group containing Portugal and Holland, decided to leave the camp out of frustration at poor preparation but then changed his mind. However, a newspaper interview he’d given to the Irish Times rolled off the presses like a grenade and exploded, prompting the famous showdown at which Keane embarked on a character assassination of his manager, Mick McCarthy, that was so brutal, the object of his scorn felt compelled to say he could no longer work with his captain.
In a chat with me for the Irish magazine Hot Press a few months after the event, the former Republic of Ireland international Niall Quinn insisted that “Roy walked out”. Later in the same interview he Marcus Cooper Youth jersey stressed that Keane had walked out “twice in three days”. He could not have been more clear: “You must remember that,” he said. “We’re not talking about a happy bunny here, who suddenly said the wrong things for a few seconds. I think it built up and up in him. While the rest of us were prepared to Gerardo Parra Youth jersey get on with things, knowing how ramshackle things are, he allowed it to get in the way of his World Cup.”
Keane tells it differently, stating in his autobiography that having originally become so exasperated by a rock-hard training pitch, the FAI’s failure to get their squad’s training kit to Saipan and a row about five-a-side goalkeeping arrangements, he decided to throw his hat at the whole jamboree and go home. A short time later, having been given time to cool down and review his position, he subsequently changed his mind only to be, in his opinion, ambushed at a team meeting called by McCarthy, who accused him of having faked an injury to avoid having to play the second leg of Ireland’s successful qualifying play-off against Iran. That, according to Keane, was the straw that broke the camel’s back and the cue for his outburst, which Quinn described as “the most surgical slaughtering anyone has ever got”.
“You’re a fucking wanker. I didn’t rate you as a player, I don’t rate you as a manager and I don’t rate you as a person. You’re a fucking wanker and you can stick your World Cup up your arse. I’ve got no respect for you. The only reason I have any dealings with you is that somehow you are the manager of my country! You can stick it up your bollocks.”
“Humiliation in front of the whole party was the result he was seeking,” wrote Keane of McCarthy in his autobiography, stating that the meeting had been a set-up. Not too long after that, Keane received a phone call from his representative, the Irish solicitor Michael Kennedy. “You’ve been kicked out,” he was told. At 6pm the next day, with the rest Ronald Darby Youth jersey of the Republic of Ireland squad en route to Japan, Keane was on the next plane home. How had it come to this? cheap jerseys wholesale jerseys from china cheap jerseys cheap nfl jerseys wholesale nfl jerseys wholesale nfl jerseys

Please Read Before Posting / FA promises £600m Wembley windfall
« on: May 02, 2018, 06:51:01 PM »
The Football Association has issued a guarantee that all proceeds of the pending £600m sale of Wembley to Shahid Khan will be used to fund DeMario Davis Jersey grassroots football.

The FA chairman, Greg Clarke, sent a letter to members of the FA Council to reassure them the money would be funnelled back into the Fred Biletnikoff Jersey sport at participation level, including the purchase of an estimated 1,500 new pitches, improved drainage systems and floodlights. A source close to the FA told the Guardian a public commitment to investing such a massive sum of money in grassroots Wendell Smallwood Jersey sport was “unprecedented and a potential game-changer for football in this country”.

Khan told the Guardian he hoped to have the sale completed in two to three months. The Fulham owner has been in serious discussions with the governing body since meeting the FA chief executive, Martin Glenn, at the Superbowl in the United States last year.
As Charles Clay Authentic Jersey part of the negotiation and due diligence process the FA is seeking assurances from Khan, who also owns the NFL team Jacksonville Jaguars, about his long-term plans for the national stadium and particularly what would happen if he were to sell on in the future. Khan, who amassed a £5.2bn fortune from a car parts business, has been at pains to stress the stadium will remain the home of the England football team. The FA would retain the estimated £300m revenue from the Club Wembley hospitality and debenture business. England would be forced to go on the road for their autumn internationals between September and December but the FA Cup final, the Football League play-off finals and rugby league’s Challenge Cup final would remain at Wembley.
However, the FA is understandably concerned about the potential threat to those agreements if Khan were to sell on to a third party in the future. A source at the FA said: “Those of course are questions that need to be asked at this stage, the selling-on clauses are all part of the negotiation process.”
The governing body is concurrently holding talks with Sport England in an effort to persuade the board to release the £113m debt owed from the redevelopment of the stadium in the early part of the century. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Sport England and the Greater London Authority combined to contribute £161m to the construction of the £757m stadium in north-west London, which reopened in 2006. It is understood that debt cannot be wiped entirely but could be reassigned to developing football at grassroots level.
It is thought Sport England would be amenable to such a deal. Clarke wrote to the FA Council members to outline plans for a trust to manage the proceeds of the potential sale. “Should the board agree to proceed with a sale of Wembley, it is our intention that all proceeds would be placed in trust by the FA with governance approved by football stakeholders, government and Sport England to ensure they are allocated to closing the facilities gap and building community assets up and down England,” Clarke wrote. “The process to evaluate the feasibility of selling Wembley Stadium to fund our national facilities deficit has been developed thoroughly over several months by the executive with the help of a major city adviser.”
Khan, the 217th richest person in the world according to the 2018 Forbes rich list, has stated he intends for only two Jaguars games to be held each season initially and that he considers the Wembley name to be sacrosanct. But the news of his bid was nevertheless viewed suspiciously in some quarters.
The former Chelsea and Leeds owner Ken Bates, a key figure in the stadium’s troubled redevelopment, said he felt the deal was being performed in an underhand manner. “The ground does not belong to the directors of the FA; they are custodians. It belongs to the English fans and their children, their grandchildren and great-grandchildren.”
Among current Premier League managers the reaction to the possible sale of the stadium was largely positive. Everton’s Sam Allardyce, who managed England for one match, welcomed the news providing the stadium could still be used for football. “The FA went through a hugely difficult period to build that stadium, so to lose it and not play there would be a no from me,” he said. “There would have to be a certain contract that makes sure Wembley is still Wembley and cup finals and some international games are still played there. But travelling across the country with England would balance that off very well. With the extra money coming into the FA – spent in the right way on development, grass roots and football in general – that would be a very good thing.” cheap jerseys cheap jerseys cheap nfl jerseys cheap jerseys wholesale nfl jerseys cheap jerseys free shipping wholesale nfl jerseys

Please Read Before Posting / Ally Hogg’s late show for Newcastle
« on: May 01, 2018, 09:46:01 PM »
Leicester’s love affair with the play-offs looked to have come to an acrimonious end last night when Newcastle scored a disputed try by their No 8, Ally Hogg, with the final play of a game Lauri Markkanen Womens Jersey the Tigers had largely dominated.

It took five minutes to review, with questions about the grounding, a double movement and whether the whistle had blown before the Scotland forward got the ball down, but the referee, Luke Pearce, was not swayed by the home crowd and awarded the try that lifted the Falcons to third and on course for a first Premiership semi-final.
It was Leicester’s fifth home league defeat of the season, their highest in the Premiership era, and Newcastle’s seventh win on the road, more than any other club. To compound the Tigers’ woe, two of their alumni contributed to their downfall, the wing Vereniki Goneva, who scored two tries, and Dean Richards, the Falcons’ director of rugby.
Richards side started the evening fourth in the table, two points above the Tigers, but 11 minutes from the end trailed 23-13 having lost three players to injury in the opening 24 minutes.
They took the lead after 74 seconds when Goneva took possession from the base of a ruck, dummied the prop Dan Cole and sprinted 40 metres to the line, and the wing salvaged a game that was slipping away when he stepped inside two defenders before flattening George Ford on 69 minutes. The Tigers by then were nursing their lead and were unable to recapture their early momentum. Defeat at Sale next weekend could dump them out of the top six and into the Challenge Cup for the first time, their faint hope of finishing fourth resting on Wasps blowing up.
Leicester dominated the set pieces but in possession they were a mixture of the slick and the slack, a break and deft off-load too often followed by a knock-on. Newcastle spent most of the match seeking the sanctuary of the ropes but Cedric Ogbuehi Womens Jersey they were never put down and nothing, not even injuries, a mounting penalty count or the increasingly heavy rain could dampen their resolve.
Leicester responded quickly to Goneva’s first try by working space for Jonny May and took the lead when Ford replied to Joel Hodgson’s penalty with two from close range. Hodgson followed the prop Scott Wilson and the second-row Sean Robinson into the dressing room, leaving Newcastle without a specialist outside-half or goal-kicker.
Ellis Genge was causing havoc in the scrums but Leicester failed to make possession and territory count and Newcastle went into the interval level when Juan Pablo Socino kicked a penalty in front of the posts. The Tigers wasted a driving maul at the start of the second period and then had a Ben Youngs ‘try’ ruled out for a knock-on.
That did not seem to matter when Mike Fitzgerald scored from close range and Ford kicked his third penalty, but as Leicester made changes from the bench, Teuvo Teravainen Womens Jersey some enforced, their dominance waned and Newcastle seized the moment. Goneva scored from a rare attack to reduce the home side’s lead to five points and the Falcons were not content with a bonus point.
When Sione Kalamafoni was sent to the sin-bin three minutes from the end for lurking in an offside position and getting in the way, Newcastle launched a series of drives that ended with Hogg touching down on 80 minutes.

Please Read Before Posting / Pep Guardiola’s full-back plan
« on: April 27, 2018, 11:17:27 PM »
According to some people, any club who can afford to spend £50m on a full-back should be champions. I have lost count of the amount of times this line has been used as a reason why Manchester City deservedly won the Premier League title, which has effectively been theirs since December. The references to the purchases of Kyle Walker and Benjamin Mendy are demeaning – implying the least important position on the pitch in today’s game is full-back.

The more discerning football supporter would have watched the Champions League semi-finals and appreciated both matches were determined by the positioning and performances of the players in a position which I believe is the least-promoted and most undervalued in the sport.
Take Liverpool’s attacking exploits against Roma on Tuesday, when the Italian side set up without full-backs in a back three so Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané were able to run riot behind a defence who were either three against three in transitional play or attempting to defend in a block and struggling to contain the penetrating runs of Liverpool’s wide men.
It meant Salah and Mané were able to operate in space and run at pace against taller, less agile centre-halves, which has been their speciality in an outstanding run in the competition. Both of Roma’s late away goals were scored after Salah was withdrawn. By then Roma had reverted to a back four with full-backs who were in much better starting positions to deal with Liverpool’s direct play from wide areas. This gave them a platform to attack for the first time and the momentum swung in their favour in the final 15 minutes.
Then there was Bayern Munich against Real Madrid on Wednesday, and again players in the defensive positions were key to the outcome. The goal by Bayern’s Joshua Kimmich was a perfect example of the full-back’s role in the modern game – having the stamina and quality to run 80 yards to score, utilising the space vacated by, yes, you guessed it, Marcelo, who had not recovered to his defensive left-back position quickly enough. And then Marcelo atoned for his defensive error by scoring a technically fantastic equaliser at a time when Bayern looked capable of Womens Nikita Kucherov Jersey adding to their lead. His tactical position to pick up the loose ball was absolutely perfect.
Factor in that Lucas Vázquez became Real’s most important player in the final 30 minutes – dealing with Franck Ribéry’s outstanding play from the left wing Womens Peter Budaj Jersey – and you have an excellent example of how important attacking and defensive full-back play is to a team’s performance and the result. This opens the debate that we Steven Souza Jersey need to see the bigger picture in a more interconnected way, rather than a sport where any one position is more important or valuable in determining the result of a match.
Throughout my career the significance of excellent full-backs to the functionality of a team, especially at the highest level, has been undervalued in comparison with other areas of the pitch. We always hear about the importance of “the spine of the team” or the “need for a goalscorer”, which is understandable, but is there another position where a player needs to have long-distance stamina, explosive power in one-v-one situations, sound defensive and tactical awareness, and also to be technically proficient enough to provide decent service to attacking colleagues with crosses and assists?
A major component of Manchester City’s dominance this season has been Pep Guardiola’s positional use of his full-backs in the half-space in order to overload the middle of the pitch and overwhelm teams both in possession and in transition. Without the outstanding play of Kyle Walker and the development of Fabian Delph on a technical and tactical level, there is no way City would be the force they are. If Guardiola did not value the importance of the position, moreover, he would not set his team up in the way that he does, spend the money he has on full-backs, and set such high physical, technical and tactical demands for them.

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