Champions League Favourites: Juventus 95/96

1996; the last time Juventus won the UEFA Champions League. 22 years, it is a long time for a club of such repute and since then they have lost five successive finals. We should however, not dwell on past failures but venerate the successes. In 1996 Juve won their second Champions League title and also contributed to a hugely entertaining Serie A campaign. Continue reading “Champions League Favourites: Juventus 95/96”

Are Goalkeepers Overprotected?

In light of the recent fixture between England and Spain at Wembley, there have been continued questions regarding the levels of protection goalkeepers are afforded in the modern game, more specifically when it comes to coming and claiming crosses and catches. This is a debate that has rumbled on for many years, one that appears to have no imminent conclusion. In the 97th minute of the opening game in the UEFA Nations League clash, a ball into the box was sliced up into the air by Spanish centre back Sergio Ramos, landing around the edge of the 6-yard box. Danny Welbeck was challenging for the ball and David De Gea fumbled the looping clearance, dropping the ball on his way down to the floor and leaving Welbeck with a swivel and tap in to draw the game level. That was until the referee intervened, ruling the goal out for a foul on the Spanish keeper and allowing La Furia Roja to take all three points. This incident led me to question whether goalkeepers are given far too much protection or whether they should be on a similar footing to other players on the pitch.   Continue reading “Are Goalkeepers Overprotected?”

Champions League Favourites: AS Monaco 03/04

As Kylian Mbappe’s strike from distance sailed beyond the reaches of a helpless Daniel Subasic, Didier Deschamps was vindicated. For all of the complaints regarding his style of play and squad selection, he managed to secure France’s second ever World Cup after captaining them to their first twenty years ago. This also was the first trophy he has won with the national team having come close in The Euros. Two years ago favorites France lost the final to an average Portugal team after a winner from Eder in extra time. While this loss threatened to shatter his work with the national team, the first big stage final he lost at club level defined his managerial career. Continue reading “Champions League Favourites: AS Monaco 03/04”

RowZ Scouting: Frenkie de Jong

Frenkie de Jong: Every football fan has heard of him. He’s been linked to FC Barcelona all summer and the young midfielder could still move to arguably the biggest club in the world at some point in his career. Ajax have shown great determination to retain his services for another season but knowing that Frenkie only wants his current club or Barca, it’s pretty clear which his next club will be. In my opinion Frenkie could be one of the world’s best midfielders in years to come but it would be better for him, Ajax and FC Barcelona if he continues his development in Amsterdam. Continue reading “RowZ Scouting: Frenkie de Jong”

Paul Gascoigne at Rangers: Life in the Cabaret

IT was a bolt out of the blue. One day in June 1995, with no prior warning, Walter Smith asked his assistant Archie Knox a simple question: “Should I sign Paul Gascoigne?”

At that point, Gazza was out of favour in Rome having weight issues and personality issues with the dogmatic Zdenek Zeman. Knox started by reeling off all of the reasons that it would be a bad idea and Smith cut him off by repeating the question. Continue reading “Paul Gascoigne at Rangers: Life in the Cabaret”

Prime Time: Amazon’s portrayal of the centurions

In this day and age, Amazon’s recent release as a fly-on-the-wall series inside Manchester City’s inner workings was likely to be considered ground-breaking and insightful. For a team such as Manchester City to give such a level of access, and in the year they smashed Premier League records no less adds an extra dimension to the documentary series. For all the Guardiolistas such as myself out there and even non Guardiolistas, it was always going to prove extremely popular.  Continue reading “Prime Time: Amazon’s portrayal of the centurions”