Why Leicester’s success spells boredom for Prem fans

Writing this piece just minutes after a turgid encounter between last season’s top-two finishers, it’s difficult to escape the suspicion that this season’s edition of the English Premier League is going to be a tough watch. Continue reading

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Blanc’s Back Three Blunts PSG

Laurent Blanc’s baffling decision to opt for a 3-3-2-2 formation rendered his PSG side impotent going forward, helping Manchester City to secure their debut Champions League semi-final appearance. Continue reading

Leicester City 0-0 Manchester City: Ranieri and Pellegrini Both Spring Tactical Surprises

Leicester City will go into the New Year level on points with Arsenal at the top of the Premier League, after an uneventful – but tactically interesting – scoreless draw against Manchester City. Continue reading

Ireland 2-0 Bosnia: O’Neill persists with diamond formation that sparked Ireland’s dramatic reversal in fortunes

One year and two days ago, the Republic of Ireland lost away to Scotland by a single goal. The nation’s chances of even securing a playoff looked remote at best. Tonight, it won that playoff, comfortably besting a much-fancied Bosnia-Herzigovina side to qualify for Euro 2016. Continue reading

Bosnia 1-1 Ireland: Ireland withstand barrage on left-flank to take the edge

Mehmed Bazdarevic, manager of Bosnia-Herzegovina, had clearly done his homework. Recordings of Ireland’s recent visit to Warsaw would have revealed a fragile Irish left-flank, that crumbled in the face of Polish probing to deny Ireland automatic passage to next summer’s European Championship finals in France.

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Bayern Munich 5-1 Arsenal: Guardiola tactical tweaks lead to Bayern rout

Arsenal’s 2-0 victory at home to Bayern Munich a fortnight ago was built on the foundation of a solid defence, married to a relentless counter-attacking determination to prevail upon the German champions’ poor defensive transitions. Continue reading

Poland 2-1 Ireland: Left-sided defensive weakness and absence of Hoolahan guile condemns Irish to playoff

In a pug-ugly, scrappy game, in which neither nation could seemingly manage to string two passes together, Ireland fell victim to a calamitous performance from the left-side of their defence – and only remained in touch to the end thanks to an extremely fortunate penalty decision in their favour. Continue reading