Monthly Archives: June 2016

  1. Henrikh Mkhitaryan - The Cerebral Assassin Heading to Manchester United

    29th June 2016. By Ryan Baldi.
    Henrikh Mkhitaryan, according to wide-spread media reports, is on the verge of a headline-grabbing switch to Manchester United. The Borussia Dortmund playmaker has one year remaining on his contract with the Bundesliga club and, via his agent Mino Raiola, has agitated for his "dream move" to the 20-time Henrikh Mkhitaryan Borussia Dortmundchampions of England.

    For those who are not avid viewers of German football, the 59-cap Armenian international may be somewhat of an unknown quantity.

    But if Mkhitaryan does indeed make the switch to the Theatre of Dreams, he will soon become a household name albeit one that many will struggle to pronounce and fewer still will be able to spell.

    Mkhitaryan joined Dortmund
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  2. Gerard Pique Defends On and Off the Football Field

    27th June 2016. By Edward Stratmann. 
    For almost a year now, Gerard Pique has been a heavily derided figure by many fans of the Spanish national team, with a section of supporters dedicating themselves to incessantly booing, jeering and whistling at him. This is, of course, due to their belief that the Barcelona stopper holds anti-Real Madrid and pro-Catalan independence views.

    Pique's outstanding performances against the Czech Republic and Turkey to start the tournament, with Gerrard Pique Defends On and Off the Football Field Spainthe highpoint being the dramatic late winner he scored against the Czechs, had, however, helped unite the fans and managed to stem the negative treatment directed towards him.

    When speaking prior t
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  3. Andrés Iniesta: The silent leader and all-time great

    24th June 2016. By Ryan Baldi.
    He's not a shouter; he doesn't scream at his colleagues like Roy Keane used to. He's not a gesticulator; he doesn't point and orchestrate his team's positioning as the likes of Bastian Schweinsteiger and John Terry do. But Andrés Iniesta is a leader.

    That might come across as an obvious statement, considering that Iniesta is captain of FC Barcelona, one of the biggest clubs in the world. But the 32-year-old midfielder's leadership style is less than obvious it is subtle, yet ever-present.

    Andre?s Iniesta- The silent leader Barca captainIt would be an over-simplification to suggest that Iniesta merely leads by example, his influence on those around him stretches far beyond monkey-see-monkey-do. The Barça mid
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  4. Switzerland's wildly gifted 19-year-old sensation, Breel Embolo

    22nd June 2016. By Edward Stratmann.
    After making a real impression off the bench in Switzerland's opening two fixtures, against Albania and Romania, Switzerland coach, Vladimir Petkovic, rightly rewarded Breel Embolo with a start against France.

    Replacing Haris Seferovic, who was underwhelming in those aforementioned matches, the 19-year-old Breel Embolo Switzerlandsensation put in an admirable shift against the experienced, battle hardened French backline. While France's two centre-backs, Adil Rami and Laurent Koscielny, did their utmost to make life as difficult as possible for him, Embolo stuck to his task manfully and enjoyed plenty of promising moments himself.

    Testing himself against such elite players undoubtedly served as a brilliant yet challenging
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  5. Holding Midfielder Eric Dier: A Vital Component of the England Squad

    20th June 2016. By Edward Stratmann.
    Heading into England's monumental contest with Wales, much of the talk centred around whether the Three Lions could stop Gareth Bale.

    Having scored or assisted 10 of the 13 goals scored by the Welsh in qualifying, England definitely needed Holding Midfielder Eric Dier Scores V Russiato pay close attention to the Real Madrid star if they were to give themselves the best chance of winning. Keeping the most expensive player in history quiet is, however, something that's obviously easier said than done.

    Thankfully for England, though, courtesy in large part to their one and only holding midfielder, Eric Dier, they did a fantastic job of limiting Bale's impact.

    Dier followed on beautifully from
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  6. Nicolas Gaitan: An Inspiring Copa America Performance Ensures Summer Transfer Options.

    17th June 2016. By Edward Stratmann.
    Ahead of Argentina's mouthwatering Copa America opener with Chile, their manager, Gerardo Martino, was confronted with a crunch decision as to who should replace the injured Lionel Messi.

    His answer didn't require much thought, however, with Martino making the easy choice of selecting Nicolas Gaitan Benficagifted Benfica star Nicolas Gaitan to fill in for the Barcelona magician.

    "I don't expect him to do anything like Leo," Martino explained.

    "I want him to be himself more than ever because he has a very good condition, and he can do it. He is fast, he passes the ball very well, he dribbles very well. He's a very complete player."

    Martino's words made perfect sense, for it's impossible to replace
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  7. Dani Alves a Pioneer of Right Side Defensive Football

    15th June 2016. By Ryan Baldi.
    Brazilian full-back Dani Alves will leave FC Barcelona this summer to join Juventus. After eight years at the Camp Nou, Alves will depart with the respect and appreciation of Barça fans. But do they, and indeed the wider footballing audience, really appreciate Alves for what he truly is, and has been? Alves should be recognised as the greatest full-back of the last two decades.

    Dani Alves a Pioneer of Right Side Defensive Football 2003 WCThe 2003 FIFA under-20 World Cup was held in the United Arab Emirates during winter. While England with a side that included James Milner, Steven Taylor and Michael Chopra -- finished bottom of their group without scoring a single goal, many of the established football n
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  8. Mexico's multifaceted midfield dynamo, Hector Herrera

    13th June 2016. By Edward Stratmann.
    Mexico's multifaceted midfield dynamo, Hector Herrera, went into his side's colossal Copa America opener against Uruguay with rumours rife about his future at club level.

    If reports are to be believed, Liverpool, Napoli and Valencia have all recently shown a keen interest in FC midfield dynamo, Hector Herrera FC PortoPorto's prized asset, who the Dragoes value at a cool €20m million, with Liverpool apparently just ceding Napoli in the race for his signature.

    Judging on his exceptional performance in Mexico's entrancing victory over La Celeste, Herrera was clearly unaffected by all the talk surrounding him. Instead, he just went about his work in customarily tireless and robust fashion, in a performance
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  9. Marcus Rashford: The perfect Euro 2016 wildcard for England

    10th June 2016. By Ryan Baldi.
    In the build-up to a major international tournament, the impact of injuries is often felt, when it comes to squad preparation. This summer's European Championship in France has been no different, with high-profile names such as Germany's Marco Reus and Ilkay Gündo?an, and France's Raphaël Varane and Lassana Diarra, all ruled out through injury.

    And over the years, England too have been hampered by some of their top men being hurt. In 2002 the Three Lions lost Gary Neville to injury, while his Manchester United colleague David Beckham faced a race against time to overcome a fractured metatarsal. At the 2006 World Cup in Germany, Wayne Rooney's recovery from his own metatarsal break meant that he wasn't able to play from the start of a match until England's third group game against Sweden.

    The same injury had put paid to Rooney's breakout Euro 200

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  10. James Rodríguez A Key Cog in Columbia's Copa America Centenario Squad

    8th June 2016. By Edward Stratmann,
    While winning the Champions League with Real Madrid did go some way to papering over the cracks of James Rodriguez's torrid second season at the club, it did, however, provide the perfect segue for him to enter the Copa America on something resembling a high.

    James Rodríguez A Key Cog ColombiaAs one of Colombia's undisputed stars in their quest to take out the 100th edition of the tournament, it was overwhelmingly positive for Los Cafeteros that he put in a shift full of upside to kickoff the campaign.

    Playing in his favoured no10 position, a luxury he was rarely afforded at Madrid due to their tactical setup predominantly excluding a playmaker, he was afforded the ideal platform to show off his superlative skillset. And although James wasn't at his all conquering b

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