giovedì 21 novembre 2013
Una volta descritto come il miglior giocatore del campionato brasiliano dalla stampa del Sud America, dopo la vittoria in campionato ottenuta con la Fluminense, Cuenca convinse il Guangzhou a sborsare £8.4milioni al club brasiliano e a fornire al giocatore uno stipendio da £8.7milioni a stagione per portarlo in una lega che avrebbe poi visto gli arrivi anche di due altri calibri come Nicolas Anelka e Didier Drogba. Segnando 33 goals in 65 partite, Cuenca ha dimostrato di meritare la cifra sborsata per il suo cartellino, anche se alcuni atteggiamenti ne hanno condizionato, se non il rendimento, almeno l'immagine. Questo, unito al fatto di giocare in una lega non di primo livello, ha contribuito a fare in modo che l'ex star della Fluminense non abbia ancora mai ricevuto una convocazione nella nazionale. A dicembre il Guangzhou giocherà la Club World Cup dopo la quale Conca lascerà il club.
mercoledì 20 novembre 2013
Player ratings: (0-10)
G Tim Howard, 6 – No much to do about the goal.
D DaMarcus Beasley, 6 – A solid performance defensively.
D John Brooks, 5 – He struggled as centre back. Better in the second half.
D Omar Gonzalez, 5 – Didn't show comfort.
D Geoff Cameron, 6 – Played well defensively and showed that he could go upfield.
M Michael Bradley, 5 – Good with his passing, but suffered defensively.
M Jermaine Jones, 5 – Made some poor choices with the ball, and was ineffective defensively.
M Brek Shea, 5 – A bad performance performance, that's all.
M Aron Johannsson, 5 – It was Johannsson’s second start. He was deployed as attacking-midfielder in the spot occupied by Clint Dempsey. He struggled supporting Jozy Altidore, and had a poor outing.
M Alejandro Bedoya, 5 – No more effective than Shea.
F Jozy Altidore, 6 – The most active forward but he missed the target on a few opportunities he had.
giovedì 14 novembre 2013
Middlesbrough have confirmed the appointment of the former Real Madrid assistant Aitor Karanka as their new head coach on a two-and-a-half-year contract. The 40-year-old Karanka turned down EPL strugglers Crystal Palace to move to Teesside after taking advice from Chelsea boss Mourinho. With Karanka's appointment, it means four English clubs, 3 EPL and 1 Championship, are now managed by former Mourinho's protege. Does he will follow the steps of Andre Villas Boas, Brendan Rodgers and Steve Clarke? Rumors are Mourinho wanted to take Karanka to Chelsea with him but Spaniard as he wanted to become a first-team coach. "I know him very, very well," said Mourinho of his former assistant. "I think the club that gets him, whether in England or another country, will be a lucky club." Middlesbrough chairman Steve Gibson too must think so. He looked for a foreign manager after parting way with three British coaches, in Gareth Southgate, Gordon Strachan and Tony Mowbray since Steve McClaren quit to become England manager in 2006. Southgate left the club in October 2009 while both Gordon Strachan and Tony Mowbray have gone having failed to secure a play-off place during their tenure. Gibson choose footballing philosophy over experience as Karanka's appointment to a first managerial position could be a risk due to his lack of experience as manager and the fact has never worked in England. Gibson could have gone on homegrown and more suited names such as Stuart Pearce, Chris Coleman or Tony Pulis. Former Manchester United striker Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, as well Stuart Pearce are among the alternatives. Instead, he opted for Karanka, a fluent English speaker, a tactical brain and an extremely highly regarded coach in his homeland. The 40-year-old was his country’s Under-16 coach for two seasons from 2008 after a player career during which he won the Champions League three times with Real, as well La Liga in 2001.Karanka's Middlesbrough move shows how much Spanish influence extended to EPL. Spain remains attractive to England owners and Karanka's recruitment was favourited by his knowledge of the Spanish game. Foreign manager does not guarantee success. ANd it is Spaniard’s first step in a management role. Obviously, Karanka prepared himself studying DVDs of all Boro's games. The immediate challenge for Karanka is to re-store Middlesbrough’s fortunes as they are currently struggling in 16th in the Championship. But future tasks are high as Gibson wants his team getting promotion as quickly as possible.
giovedì 7 novembre 2013
Sunderland imploded with two straight red cards in a five minute period just before half-time in the game against Hull City. One of them was awarded to Lee Cattermole. The midfielder is shown red by referee Andre Marriner during the Mackems 1-0 defeat to Hull City. Cattermole was sent off for the sixth time in his Black Cats career. At just 25, Cattermole has the second highest amount of red cards in Premier League history, averaging a sending off every 26 games. Once looked like a rising star and a future England international, linked with several big name clubs, Cattermole showed a lack of discipline that affected his career. Former Sunderland boss Paolo Di Canio signed a lot of midfielders last summer trying to get rid of former Wigan player. New manager Gus Poyet reinstated him into the first team but Cattermole’s aggressive approach risks to damage the team more than help it. He isn't just a victim of his reputation. He also needs to cut his attitude. He often made tackles he doesn’t need to make. The midfielder will now miss the next three games. It leads questions whether Cattermole still has a future in EPL. Cattermole got the skills to become a good central midfielder and a key part of the technical midfield Poyet would like to build around him, Emanuele Giaccherini and Ki Sung-Yeung. Cattermole averaged 80% of pass accuracy since returned to Sunderland and his defensive stats of 2.5 of tackles and 2 interceptions per game is impressive. But his lack of composure made him an easy target for officials. He needs to improve and to made his mark on pivotal games as that against Hull. In matches like those, Cattermole needs to step up to prove he’s a reliable midfielder and no more an undisciplined Championship player, good enough just for a low table team.
sabato 2 novembre 2013
Football managers are usually to keep a team shape when it works. It doesn't happen ever. Sometimes, winning managers too are ready to change their team's pattern according to opponents' formation. They become more flexible when it comes to formations. Does it work? What is the impact of changing team's shape? It's in modern football an reasonable idea? Last week, Carlo Ancelotti took off Karim Benzema and lined up Gareth Bale as ‘false nine’. Daniel Carvajal started at right-back, while he utilized two centre-backs in Pepe, and Raphael Varane adding a third, Sergio Ramos, in the midfield. The selection of Ramos was a surprise: rather than playing as a right-back, he spent the game like an additional central midfielder. Acting in a central position in the holding role, he was involved in direct battles against Cesc Fabregas and Lionel Messi. That was Anceloitti’s idea. Ancelotti surprisingly omitted Benzema upfront but doesn’t employed Ronaldo into a centre-forward position. Instead he insert Bale into this spot. So we have Ronaldo spending most time on the left flank while Bale was interchanging his position with Di Maria while he was also trying to chase Sergio Busquets. This was an area of weakness for Real Madrid. Real suffered offensive problems with this pattern. While Ronaldo didn’t have his traditional partner in Benzema, Bale experienced a positional uncertainty. The result was that Real barely managed to construct offensively. But more interesting decision from Ancelotti was to employ Ramos as defensive anchor in front of the back four. Deploy a centre-back in the holding role is far from a news for Real Madrid, with Mourinho regularly lining up a defender in that role during a series of 2011 clashes against Barcelona. But the surprising move was that Ancelotti omitted the most obvious option, i.e. Pepe, deciding instead to utilize Ramos there. This wasn’t a successful move: Ramos wasn’t suited to play here and he also handicapped his game with an early booking and an overall troubled performances which convinced Ancelotti to take him off. Ramos wasn’t brilliant as passer - and he clearly couldn’t - but he was supposed almost to be able protecting the centre-backs. Instead, he didn’t and the movement of Messi and Fabregas was effective. Another example came from Manuel Pellegrini during last game between Manchester City and Chelsea. It was a match between two contrasting style. Manchester City likes to play a ball retention game while Mourinho's side is devastating playing counterattack. To face Chelsea’s offensive trio of Eden Hazard, Oscar and André Schürrle, Chilean manager Pellegrini made the decision to change his pattern switching away from his classic 4-4-2 to add an extra man in the middle of the pitch utilizing three central midfielders. With Fernandinho playing as central midfielder, Pellegrini moved up Yaya Touré in an attacking midfielder spot, inserting Javi García as a holding midfielder. This was a line-up selected to retain the ball control but also to prevent Chelsea from playing through breaks. The difference between it and a classic Pellegrini’s side was high when you think he never fielded Javi Garcia, Fernandinho and Toure together. It was the right move? Although the Fernandinho-Toure duo looked weak against counter-attacks, as neither is a natural holding midfielder, this was a big move away from Pellegrini’s classic 4-4-2. Team seemed not comfortable changing its shape. There remain significant questions about how and when change a team’s standard formation to employ a different approach. Changing a formation considering opponent’s strengths probably made sense overall but there are clear problems and counterindications. For example, a manager take the risk to send his players a message of weakness not insisting upon his team’s classic approach. Any change may come as an instability factor. Adapting to rivals by changing the shape still can produce but can also risk to generate confusion on my own team.