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Page 9 of 18 pages
Rodgers doesn't cast himself as a reactive manager. He demands his side sets the tempo, is in control and imposes their short passing on the game, regardless of the opposition tactics. His influences are Spain and Holland -- proactive, positive footballing philosophies -- and he concentrates firmly upon possession.
Certainly, a coach can simultaneously be a fine tactician and encourage possession football, but Rodgers' Liverpool currently excel at things Rodgers doesn't necessarily want. A few games into the season, it became obvious that Liverpool were more dangerous when attacking with pace and determination, rather than following interminable passing buildups. Now, it seems they're best when Rodgers reacts to opposition tactics, rather than concentrating on their own style.
Whether this should prompt a shift in Rodgers' thinking or is merely a reflection of a squad not fully in tune with their manager's philosophy is up for debate.
Now, Villas-Boas has a problem. Sandro's knee injury against QPR last weekend was more serious than first believed, and after surgery this week, he's expected to be out for the remainder of the season, a significant blow. He was Tottenham's key midfielder, an ever-present player in the centre of the pitch. "He does so much for the team, he works so hard. He's a real fighter," Defoe told the media.
At least Scott Parker has returned from injury to deputise, although he is a more all-action player, less calm and disciplined than Sandro. The Brazilian is a tough competitor, but also intelligent with his positioning and composed with his ball-winning. Parker is classically English, harrying around the pitch and getting stuck in.
With Parker alongside Dembele, Tottenham might concede too much space between the lines for opposition attacking midfielders. The alternative option, Tom Huddlestone, lacks mobility -- and although his long diagonal passes can be outrageously accurate, such moments are too infrequent for Villas-Boas to justify handing him a regular place.
A venture into the transfer market is not unreasonable, although Villas-Boas will surely look to purchase a midfield who can play alongside Sandro when the Brazilian returns, rather than recruiting a direct replacement. A second stab at luring Moutinho is a possibility, and the more adventurous Lewis Holtby will join in the summer.
Until then, it remains to be seen how Parker and Dembele cope against Manchester United this weekend. Having cleverly replaced Tottenham's previous midfield combination with a system that exuded his love of verticality and rotation, Villas-Boas must now construct another partnership from scratch – the problem is, this duo might be too mobile.
Scott Parker is the platonic ideal of English. The man pisses tea and craps biscuits.
Joe Cole (although he was never world-class
This doesn't make much sense at all. They are spinning it as a long-term move. I guess the most charitable interpretation is that they had an opportunity to get a coach they fancy who was unlikely to be available in the summer. In my opinion not worth the risk they are taking in having a change-over now, never mind what a ####### despicable move it is to anyone who cares about fairness, but that excludes every single football executive and owner.
The club had tabled a five-year contract worth a reported £90,000 a week, while Walcott favoured the three-and-a-half-year deal on a salary above £100,000.
But a consensus was reached and the legal formalities - including an agreement on the complex area of image rights - were completed on Friday morning.
The senate is made up largely of men for whom power is their only aphrodisiac...
Taylor Twellman reports Brek Shea to Stoke City for ~$3.5M fee, pending physical. Pulis buys American, once again.
Yeah but I haven't seen them with the words "done deal." The timing is good for both teams, which adds to believably. Of course that cuts both ways.
Are ya'll New Yawkas up for another Kinsale's date on March 3rd? I'll be in the city that weekend and could probably arrange to stick around long enough to catch the NLD on that Sunday. That fixture's just been moved to an 11am EST kickoff on the 3rd.
Aston Villa look like Man U right now. I credit it all to Lichaj finally getting a start. Guzan have another stellar game, too.
Why on Earth are Fiorentina playing Napoli at 6.30 am EST? I'm not sure I'll be up for that one.
Yes, but... This is a new thing.
I'm don't remember 12.30 starts in 2009/10
Supposedly Pep wants Luis Suarez...
Last year the 49ers lost the NFC Championship game and Spurs lost to Arsenal the same day. DO NOT WANT A REPEAT.
3 of the 4 Spurs defenders were black!
That was definitely a different twist on "they all look alike to me".
I'm really coming around on this twitter thing.
To understand Manchester United's cautious strategy at White Hart Lane, think back to their 3-2 defeat by Tottenham at Old Trafford in September. Then Spurs had terrorised the United back four with powerful dribbles from deep positions – Mousa Dembélé provided bursts from central midfield, Jan Vertonghen motored forward to open the scoring but Gareth Bale was inevitably the principal threat with surging runs on the ball. Therefore United's entire approach was intended to prevent André Villas-Boas's side attacking quickly into space.
Whereas Sir Alex Ferguson ordered high pressing against Liverpool last weekend, here they stood off, defending deep and ensuring there was little space in behind their back four. There was little space in front of it either, at least towards Bale's flank. His dribbling ability was the reason for Phil Jones's surprise involvementJones sat patiently in front of the defence, right-of-centre, always in a position to help Rafael da Silva deal with Bale.
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