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
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.
Manchester City returned to the Premier League summit this afternoon, after a dour scoreless draw against rivals Manchester United – in which both sides’ only effort on target arrived in the final ten minutes. Continue reading
Arsene Wenger deservedly received plaudits here and elsewhere in midweek for taking a pragmatic approach to his pre-match preparations for Bayern Munich.
A lot has been written about Louis Van Gaal’s obsession with control. Since his Ajax days, the Dutch coach has espoused a brand of football that seeks to minimise risk – the risk of losing the ball. His is a brand of football where dominating possession is an end in itself, not merely the means to an end. Continue reading