Cultured Football #131
Are Goalkeepers Undervalued? Cinderella at Stuttgart. Heroes and Humanity. Sports Can't Stop War. Tomorrow's Stars.
By Alex Stewart for Analytics FC
Have you ever heard of David Soria? Unless you follow Getafe, that’s unlikely. Yet, statistically, he is as good as Jan Oblak and Alisson. So why is he still at a mid-table La Liga side?
By Ryan Benson for The Analyst
Speaking of under-rated players, Serhou Guirassy has scored thirteen goals in seven games so far this season, powering Stuttgart up the league table. At 27, he seems to have come out of nowhere to perform at a level higher than even the best strikers in Europe. What is behind this Cinderella story?
Heroes and Humanity
By Michael Calvin for
It is fair to say that, without Bill Shankly, there would be no Liverpool FC as we know it today. Yet, even though he revitalised the club, Shankly was cast aside in his latter years. Michael Calvin, one of the finest football writers out there (or, as I like to think about him, a great writer who happens to write about football), had the opportunity to meet the great man during those years and the memory has stuck with him ever since.
Were you forwarded this mail? Like what you see? Here’s what you should do next:
"Sports can do great things. They have the power to transform athletes' lives, instil discipline and self-confidence, and provide a platform for often-overlooked causes. They can ignite discussions, uncover corruption, and serve as a vehicle for free expression, especially in authoritarian regimes. What it cannot do, however, is change the world."
By Marcus Christenson, Steven Bloor and Garry Blight for The Guardian
If you (like me) thought that Khvicha Kvaratskhelia came out of nowhere when he joined Napoli and promptly fired them to the Serie A title, then you have not been following the Guardian's Next Generation series. Because way back in 2018 they had picked Kvaratskhelia, then still barely 17 and playing for FC Rustavi, as a potential future star. This year they've published the 2023 edition of their list which identifies the world's 60 most promising young players. Players who you won't be aware of but, judging by Kvaratskhelia's example, you'll be hearing of quite soon.
Bonus Pick: Same idea, but picking the best young player from every club in the Premier League.
If you liked any of this week’s picks, why not share Cultured Football with someone else who might like it just as much?
Last Week’s Most Read: ‘Well Done, Boys’
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?'"