Date: 14th October 2012 at 3:25pm
Written by:

Just a collection of thoughts over the past few weeks of footy:

1 – False 9 is here to stay – zonal marking defines the false 9 as:

‘A unconventional lone striker, who drops deep into midfield. Francesco Totti perhaps invented it for Roma in 2006/7, Lionel Messi played here when he swapped positions with Samuel Eto’o for Barcelona in 2008/09, and Robin van Persie played the role for Arsenal at the start of the 2009/10 season.’

Spain just won the Euros this summer with Fabregas leading the line in a similar role. Arsene Wenger has deployed Gervinho in a similar role for Arsenal. Gervinho in the false 9 position has notched up 5 goals and 1 assist for Arsenal in 8 games. Neymar was deployed in the same position against Iraq (I know it’s not a competitive team). He assisted Oscar for his first goal, released the ball to Kaka who assisted Oscar for his second goal and also assisted Lucas for his goal as well.

So in one way or the other like Messi for Barcelona, the False 9 is involved in a significant portion of goals and attack launched by their respective teams. Will the rest of Europe and international footy adopt this in the future?

2 – Manchester Defences: Not sure why people don’t talk about this more often but both United and City’s defences are shambolic. Also very surprising to me is how United (Ferguson especially) has no answer for any team that presses excellently (Spurs first half, Barcelona, Bilbao, or Benfica) as well as Mancini. Klopp and Mourinho have outfoxed Mancini back to back by exploiting City’s flanks and it seems the blueprint to beat them is the same as Man U.

It may be easier said than done, but the blueprint appears to be flood the centre of the pack and press intensely and then hit them through the flanks or middle. Cristiano Ronaldo was the problem against City. Although Reus was the scorer, Mario Gotze worried City a lot in that Dortmund game.

3 – Messi vs. Ronaldo: This debate will go on for so long, but the last El-Clasico proved one thing: Cristiano Ronaldo has stepped up his game so much at Real Madrid that he is likely on par RIGHT NOW with Lionel Messi. This is coming from a Messi fan. I am NO BARCA fan, but in the Messi vs. Ronaldo debate for years, I always chose Messi.

Both players are totally different. Messi is a specialist in what he does which is pretty much everything while Ronaldo is a specialist in his own thing which is scoring. Over the last 3 years, Cristiano has improved at so many levels including, but not limited to:

a.) Scoring in the important games

b.) Improving his finishing ability i.e. %age of his shots which are on target.

This year’s world player will be a tough one. Very tough one and could be marred in controversy. Thank the stars I am not making the decisions.

4 – Falcao Stats that keep impressing me: According to back page football: ‘a combined striking record of 117 goals in 143 games in just over three seasons for Porto and Atlético has meant that Falcao is behind only the un-sellable Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo’.

5 -) FA’s beef with Chelsea: Don’t expect this to end any time soon. Terry and Cole are just the first. Bertrand just joined. I am pretty sure Hazard or RDM will join them soon. Probably after an outburst as a result of the non-penalty calls we don’t get any more in matches.

6 – Slow down with the AVB praises and increase the volume of the RDM praises: AVB wins four games back to back and all of a sudden he is a messiah and better than Harry while RDM is just a coach who benefits from a talented squad. There are also those out there who link RDM’s success to foundations supposedly set by AVB.

There is an article which actually supports such suggestions. You can read it here:

http://www.standard.co.uk/sport/football/stylish-roberto-di-matteo-is-making-the-most-of-andre-villasboass-template-for-success-8195351.html

I only have one word for this: RIDICULOUS!