ANALYSIS: Pep’s Dutch disciple stymies Spurs

Alan O’Brien 

Accounting for one Pep Guardiola side is a tall order; overcoming two on the trot, however, unsurprisingly looks beyond Mauricio Pochettino’s spent Spurs. Continue reading

ANALYSIS: Lucky Lilywhites have it all to do in Larnaca

Alan O’Brien 

Shorn of five first-teamers, AEK Larnaca still won the tactical battle against hosts Dundalk. Playing with a heavily depleted deck, novice manager Andoni Iraola outmatched Stephen Kenny on his first night in football management. Level ahead of Thursday’s second leg in Cyprus, the Lilywhites will struggle to succeed where Cork City have failed before them. Continue reading

ANALYSIS: Sundgren sunders Bradley’s harmless Hoops

Alan O’Brien 

This was Stephen Bradley’s shot at glory. Despite boasting eight full internationals, AIK arrived in Tallaght with precisely zero interest in controlling proceedings. Shamrock Rovers, therefore, were invited to give the Swedes their best shot. But, alas, their visitors escaped with nary an eyelash out of place. The Hoops, in short, were absolutely harmless here. Continue reading

Madrid punk heavy metal Liverpool after curtailed 25-minute set

Alan O’Brien 

Gegenpressing is the best playmaker there is, according to Jurgen Klopp; heavy metal football, as it were. But what happens if your gegenpressers blow their amps after 25 minutes? In Kiev, on Saturday evening, the one-note German found out. Continue reading

Guardiola and self-doubt: the Klopp effect

Alan O’Brien 

When ideology meets pressure there is usually only one winner. History is littered with raging socialists whose left-wing zeal quickly moderated upon assuming any significant responsibility. In Greece, Alexis Tsipras’ Syriza party stands as the most recent high-profile example. Anti-establishmentarianism quickly morphed into fiscal rectitude when the time came to stick or twist. Continue reading

Analysis: Poch’s players prevail on postage-stamp playing-area

Alan O’Brien 

Tottenham Hotspur exorcised their Wembley demons, and added to Borussia Dortmund’s, by taking full advantage of this thriller’s defining characteristic. Continue reading