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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Manchester United 0-0 Manchester City: Van Gaal Conservatism Contributes To Dour Stalemate

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

CSKA Moscow 1-1 Manchester United: Van Gaal risk-aversion almost costs United again

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