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Archive for the ‘soccer’


Is The Premier League Getting the Better of Guardiola? 1

Posted on December 16, 2016 by James Thomas
Pep Guardiola

Pep Guardiola

Pep Guardiola is understandably viewed as a footballing purist. Anyone fortunate enough to witness his Barcelona side in full flow, with miniature maestros Xavi and Iniesta dizzying the opposition, softening them up for the slaloming brilliance of Messi, glimpsed a level of football closer to perfection than anything seen before or since.

Guadiola has always maintained, however, that he is against the type of football known as tiki-taka – passing for the sake of passing. The objective for Guardiola has always been to win and he’s been phenomenally successful. He won the first six trophies available to him at Barcelona – an unprecedented sextuple of La Liga, Copa Del Ray, Champions League, European Super Cup, Spanish Super Cup and the Club World Cup – and didn’t do too badly at Bayern Munich either, winning three straight championships by comfortable margins.

Manchester City fans were understandably thrilled at Guardiola’s appointment in the summer. A manager who wins more than anyone else with greater style than anyone else – what’s not to like?

Others, however, predicted a rocky road for Guardiola in England. The phrase “can they do it on a cold Wednesday night in Stoke” was used, albeit often with irony, to question how Messi, Xavi and other tiki-taka purists would cope in the hurly burly of the Premiership. For many, England posed the ultimate test to Guardiola’s style of play: could artistic football survive a close encounter with Ryan Shawcross and managers in the mould of Steve Bruce, who famously said “some would say it wasn’t even a red card” about the tackle from Martin Taylor that shattered Eduardo’s leg?

Those who stick their neck out as football pundits are used to having humble pie thrust towards them and Guadiola’s stellar start with Man City had many eating their words. City won their first ten games in all competitions under Guardiola, including a highly impressive win away at Old Trafford, and the players looked to be adapting to his unique style of play well.

The first blip in City’s season, a 3-3 draw at Celtic, appeared little to worry about, but was followed by a 2-0 defeat away to Spurs. Mauricio Pochettino’s men brought the full force and physicality of the Premier League to bear on Guardiola’s team that day and won comfortably.

City’s run since then hasn’t quite been disastrous but four wins in 15 games is not something Guadiola is used to. A few of the naysayers have raised their heads above the parapet again and wondered whether the physicality of the Premier League is belatedly getting the better of the Spaniard, but the biggest concerns have been raised by Guardiola himself. Read the rest of this entry →

The 5 Most Common Professional Sports Injuries 12

Posted on August 03, 2016 by Kara Masterson

soccer-injuryProfessional athletes are constantly striving for physical perfection and athletic greatness, and that very often means injuring themselves in the pursuit of those goals. Some injuries and maladies are more common than others among professional athletes, regardless of the sport or activity that they participate in. Here are five of the most common professional sports injuries that befall athletes:

Pulled Muscles

Overexertion and rapid acceleration often lead to pulled muscles, which are the bane of any athlete’s existence. The severity of pulled muscle injuries varies widely: athletes who pull their biceps muscle attempting to throw or lift a heavy weight may only be sidelined for a couple of days whereas athletes who pull their hamstrings running may miss several months. The spectra of a pulled muscle can be mostly avoided with proper stretching and warming up, but they can never be completely eradicated from the sports world.

MCL/ACL Tear or Strain

The knee is an amazing joint, but it is also very complex and fragile and therefore susceptible to painful injury. The MCL and ACL ligaments are frequently damaged by quick stops and starts or rapid attempted changes in direction. These injuries can be devastating to an athletic career, and injured parties require surgery and several months of intense physical therapy to fully recover. Read the rest of this entry →

FIFA Fanatic? 4 Iconic Real-World Stadiums You Need to See Before You Die 0

Posted on June 21, 2016 by Emma Sturgis

FIFA1Football (soccer) brings out the passion in fans like no other sport. That’s why it’s called “The Beautiful Game”. However, very few stadiums around the world can match the atmosphere and history these iconic stadiums create. If you consider yourself a football fanatic, it’s REQUIRED that you visit these stadiums before you head to the great stadium in the sky.

Anfield – Liverpool

There’s no other club in the Premier League that can match the passion Liverpool fans have for their club. In recent years, the atmosphere created at the stadium has diminished sharply, but come derby day there’s nothing more chilling to the other side and fans than 40,000+ spectators singing “You’ll Never Walk Alone”. If the Signal Iduna Park can be renowned for its Yellow Wall, let Anfield be remembered for its European nights and Bill Shankly days.

FIFA2Estadio Maracana – Flamengo

On July 16, 1950, over 170,000 fans packed into the Mecca of Football. It was Brazil vs Uruguay for the World Cup trophy. The Brazilians were going into the match as heavy favorites and all they needed to do was not lose to win their first World Cup ever and do it on home soil.

90 minutes later, what was once a loud and boisterous crowd was silenced as Uruguay ran home with the trophy, 2-1 winners on the day in a game etched into the minds of Brazilians to this day as a national tragedy, forever known as the “Maracanazo”.

Read the rest of this entry →

Spain Looking to Create History in Euro 2016 6

Posted on June 08, 2016 by John Harris
In 2012 Spain became the first team to repeat as Euro Champions. They will be looking for three in a row in 2016.

In 2012 Spain became the first team to repeat as Euro Champions. They will be looking for three in a row in 2016.

Europe’s top football (soccer) players are heading to France for the 15th edition of the UEFA European Championships. Held every four years since 1960, the 51 game tournament provides European bragging rights for the next four years making every game competitive and hard fought.

The month-long tournament will be played at 10 venues across the country. Play begins on June 10th and the championship game will be played at the 81,000 seat Saint-Denis Stadium near Paris on July 10th.

When the tournament began in 1960, there were eight spots in the field. It was expanded to 16 in 1996 and the 2016 tournament sees another expansion to 24 teams.

In 2012, Spain became the first team to win back-to-back titles and if they can make it three in a row they would pass Germany for the most titles in tournament history with four. As the top team in Group D, Spain will compete with the Czech Republic, Croatia and Turkey for two guaranteed spots in the knockout round. Spain is currently ranked 5th in the World Football Elo rankings.

According to Titanbet.co.uk, the hosts from France are the tournament favorites, with Germany close behind and Spain third. The longest odds belong to Albania and Northern Ireland. Both of those teams are making their first-ever appearance in the tournament, as are Iceland, Slovakia and Wales.

Germany is making their record 12th appearance in the tournament and will be looking to claim the championship for the first time in 20 years. As the defending World Cup Champions, Germany was number one in the Elo rankings before being recently overtaken by Argentina, who of course is not competing in this tournament. Read the rest of this entry →

Examples in Excellence: Most Inspiring Coaches of the Last Decade 4

Posted on July 24, 2015 by Brooke Chaplan
Jill Ellis has been successful building the U.S. Women's Soccer Team into a team of stars.

Jill Ellis has been successful building the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team into a team where everyone plays their role.

The greatest sports coaches have the power to inspire their athletes to be better than they’ve ever been and change the whole dynamic of a team. We’ve all seen what an amazing leader can do for an otherwise scrappy team, and here are just a few of the most remarkable examples of the last decade.

Build Teams with Great Players, Not One Great Player
Jill Ellis experienced incredible training as a young coach at UCLA when she was mentored by John Wooden. Now she is the manager of the U.S. Women’s Soccer team.

Ellis creates a clear team concept and teaches each player their role within it. At her father’s suggestion, she learned communication outside her sport. For a while, she was a technical writer. Now she can explain her team vision and help her players to be their best within it. Her background was able to prepare her for seeing a big picture and what each part needs to do to organize a working machine.

Leadership by Listening
Steve Kerr was the first rookie head coach in the NBA to win the championship since 1982. The Golden State Warriors were a team of current and future all-stars, but they needed someone who could pull all the pieces together.

Kerr created a system based on the strengths of his players to maximize the team’s performance. He also empowered his coaching staff to share their ideas and listened to everyone. Most significantly, in the NBA Finals, an assistant coach wanted to change the starting line-up to help them deal with the previously unstoppable LeBron James. Kerr accepted and implemented the idea. Not only did it work, Kerr publicly identified his assistant as the source of the idea. This is one example out of dozens of Kerr giving credit to others for the team’s success.
Read the rest of this entry →

Introducing the EPL’s Newly Promoted Clubs 0

Posted on July 20, 2015 by Amelia Rose

A new Premier League season is nearly upon us, as three new clubs look to take their place among the elite of the national game. Many will be looking to follow the example of Leicester City, who combined shrewd investment with an attacking philosophy to survive their first season in the EPL. This was despite the club being rooted to the bottom of the Premier League for most of the season, and there is no doubt that the newly promoted clubs will be in for a roller-coaster experience.

So who are these newly promoted teams, and what should we expect from them in the next nine months.

Bournemouth

Bournemouth

Bournemouth recently announced a sponsorship deal with Mansion casino, and the club has been engulfed in a genuine sense of optimism since its promotion. This is despite persistent rumours that Aston Villa have targeted the club’s star striker Callum Wilson as a replacement for the departing Christian Benteke and a significant lack of spending to date. Manager Eddie Howe is a positive and charismatic leader, however, while his teams attacking style may just be enough to ensure the Cherries survival this term. Read the rest of this entry →

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