Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Man and Ball: Individual Piece

My piece: "No Club Left Behind - East German football since reunification" in Issue One of Man and Ball magazine is now available for free individual download - http://www.manandball.com/#/individual-pieces/4555936051

Monday, 24 October 2011

Brighton 0-1 West Ham – Tactics and Analysis

An entertaining match, and a fascinating tactical battle between two sides with contrasting styles, West Ham narrowly beat Brighton to go 2nd in the Championship.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Hundert Pro: The story of Germany's perfect qualification for Euro 2012

Germany rounded off a 100% record in qualification for the European Championships in Poland and the Ukraine on Tuesday with a convincing 3-1 victory over Belgium. With ten wins out of ten, this side have built on their impressive showing at last summer’s World Cup to become one of the big favourites for next summer’s tournament.

To start recounting Germany’s journey into Euro 2012, we should cast our minds back to before qualification began, and the night of July 7th 2010: the World Cup semi-final against Spain in Durban. Germany were second-best, and missed a creative spark in the absence of star-performer Thomas Müller, a gap which replacement Piotr Trochowski could not quite make up for. And there was also the hint that the game represented a step too far for other young star Mesut Özil. But by the end of the qualification campaign for Euro 2012, Germany would have one of the strongest and deepest squads in Europe.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

US Open Preview: Top two fitness could open the door to a new winner

After Novak Djokovic retired during the second set of his Cincinnati final against Andy Murray last week, he was technically handed only his second defeat of the entire year, taking his 2011 record to a still superhuman 57 victories to just two losses. 

Before labelling Djokovic as almost unbeatable at present, we must remember that nobody can play at such a standard he has in every single match over a full season. After he finally lost his first match of the year to Roger Federer at Roland Garros, the Serb had commented that “you do feel a relief when you finish a tournament. If you finish victorious it’s much better than finishing with a loss”. In defeat, it seemed as though not only had a huge burden of pressure and expectation been lifted from his shoulders, after the intense media coverage of his record run; but also that he was in a way glad, due to fatigue, not to have to play another match, even if that match was a French Open final. After his rest, Djokovic went on to claim the Wimbledon trophy and has kept on winning since, making his defeat to Federer seem a mere anomaly. While he’s gotten more used to the pressure and expectation, the fatigue side of things may still come back to hinder his chances of US Open glory.

Friday, 26 August 2011

The Cahill offer: Is Wenger a victim of the rapidly changing English market?

The transfer talk of the day is Arsenal’s reported £6 million plus add-ons offer for Bolton defender Gary Cahill. The sum has been lambasted in media circles. “The word derisory doesn’t even cover it”, Bolton boss Owen Coyle has said of Arsenal’s proposal, “an insult to Bolton and Cahill” added BBC website chief sports writer Phil McNulty on Twitter. The offer is not an insult to Bolton and Cahill. 

Bolton’s valuation of the 25-year-old has little to do with the player’s ability. The only reason Cahill’s offer can be seen as insulting or derisory is when compared to some of the eye-watering fees circulating the English market.

Friday, 29 July 2011

Tell me what you've been doing, busy little bee

I've not posted for a couple of weeks, but here are links to a couple of articles I've written for other websites. With the new season around the corner, I've been doing a couple of previews:

Read my Premier League preview of Fulham for Back Page Football here

And one for Bundesliga Fanatic previewing Borussia Mönchengladbach here

See also:

Back Page Football

Bundesliga Fanatic

Friday, 15 July 2011

Some thoughts on Energie Cottbus vs Dynamo Dresden (Bundesliga II)

Just 53 days after winning promotion to the second tier of German football, eastern club Dynamo Dresden kicked off the new season in the Bundesliga II with a 2-1 away defeat against Energie Cottbus. But Dynamo will have every reason to be encouraged with their performance.

Tipped by many to struggle at the bottom of the table this season, the first match against fellow eastern outfit Cottbus, sixth last season, was always going to be tough. In particular, having lost three of the key-players in their promotion charge, with top-scorer from last term Alexander Esswein signing for Bundesliga side FC Nürnberg, Dani Schahin, who scored eight in twelve in the league during his loan spell, returning to parent club Greuther Fürth, and influential midfielder Timo Röttger signing for RB Leipzig; “Die SG”, not one of German football’s richer outfits, are expected to face a tough season.