Cultured Football #130
Steve Cooper. Refs. TAA. Crisis at United. Pedro Neto.
By Jonathan Wilson for The Guardian
It is hard not to appreciate what Steve Cooper has managed to achieve. Not just that he’s had to work extremely hard to get where he is, slowly making his way through the various levels of youth football, but also because he seems to be underestimated at every turn. Swansea, whom he had gotten to massively overperform and pushed close to a getting a Premier League spot, felt that they could do better than him whilst even at Forest whom he miraculously got promoted it was fan support that saved him after a tricky start to the top fight. Whatever is thrown at him, Cooper manages to make the most of it, overperforming and lifting everyone around. Something that bigger clubs should be appreciating.
By Rory Smith for On Soccer
“Decisions are imposed without adequate explanation by an officiating body that has issued 14 formal apologies since the start of last season but seems still, for some reason, convinced of its infallibility.”
Bonus pick: “When somebody's half a millimeter offside, they don't get any playing advantage at all. You don't want to be ruling a goal out when a player has got the goal but without any playing advantage -- when he hasn't been cheating...You don't need to draw all these lines. You just need to say, 'OK, has the offside player gained an advantage here?'"
Trent Alexander-Arnold exclusive interview: Liverpool star on the challenge of 'dictating the tempo' in midfield
By Adam Bate for Sky Sports
At 25, Trent Alexander-Arnold has already won all that there is to win in club football yet he remains somewhat of a divisive figure; a right back who can create more chances than most midfielders but who is constantly being challenged for his perceived defensive failings. Yet he also keeps on evolving the role now adding moving inside to better control the game. To see just how drastic that shift has been on his game, just check out the change in heat maps.
Bonus Pick: On inverted full-backs and how they can limit the way a team plays.
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The unexpected midweek home defeat to Galatasaray signaled another low point to Manchester United’s dismal start to the new season. Whilst there is enough talent there for them to bounce back, it is hard fans to look to the future with any kind of positivity knowing that not much can change where it truly matters.
By Ryan Benson for The Analyst
Pedro Neto has been one of the few bright spots to Wolves’ start to the season. Ironically, he only remained at the club because a long term injury meant that there weren’t too many willing to take chance on him. Which, if he continues playing as he has, won’t stay that way for long.
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Last Week’s Most Read: Innovative defensive techniques in the modern game challenging conventional wisdom
By Kevin Martin by Total Football Analysis
Some tactical changes tend to be easy to pick up, others more subtle. This falls into the latter; the way that defenders position themselves when they are facing shots from outside the penalty area. A bit academic but fascinating insight that will have you watching games differently.
Bonus pick: Paris St Germain lost Lionel Messi and Neymar in the summer yet they have not been impacted negatively. If anything, things are getting better. Why?