I was recently contacted by CDS regarding an exciting football (soccer) summit for coaching development that will take place on June 14, 2019, in New York. You can find more information on their website. Continue reading
For sure, the current style of play within football has extremely transformed compared to what it used to be over five to ten years ago, where many teams would place the aim of winning a game and play attacking football at the same time. Being a passionate fan of the sport, you’d like to see your own beloved football club going out for the much needed three points rather than seeing them defend their own lines for majority of the game.
On the other hand, many football supporters of the beautiful game will argue that the narrow-minded coaches such as Diego Simeone and Max Allegri have changed the sport as a whole, as they have played an incredible role on those sides that go on to have a pragmatic approach ahead of the fixture by nullifying the opposition instead of playing to the squad’s strengths.
Here are the three European teams that have been a pleasure to watch during the 2018-19 campaign…
Bundesliga – RB Leipzig
RB Leipziga are still the most hated team within German football, due to the fact that the club went through a massive revolution by having energy drink company, Red Bull, as their new owners and have also gone against the tradition of the league by making a mockery to the cherished “50+1” rule. Meanwhile, in the new era of the club, they are starting to be known for their dominant and thrilling football on the pitch, especially with the current group of talented players that are available to new manager Ralf Rangnick.
With the likes of Ibrahima Konate, Marcel Sabitzer, Timo Werner and Yussef Poulsen regularly running the show, Leipzig have the chance to finish in the Champions League spots before the season comes to an end. The side carry out their work within an insane 4-2-2-2 setup, with their principles being; to complete gegenpressing from the first minute till the end and to play direct counterattacking football at the highest level.
La Liga – Real Betis
Without a shadow of doubt, the heart of La Liga will always be seen witon the familiar clubs such as Atletico Madrid, Barcelona and Real Madrid. However, the time has come where a mid-table side like Real Betis get the attention that they truly deserve, who are definitely one of the most exciting teams to watch in Spain this campaign. Whether they see themselves as a liability defensively due to their attacking approach or not, it has not stopped the boss, Quique Setien, from implementing a simple yet effective possession-based style of play.
The 60-year-old Spaniard is one of the few coaches left that lives for total football, one that looks after the young players and gives them first-team opportunities time after time as well as being a devoted manager that sticks to his philosophy no matter who is side comes up against. Despite conceding a lot of goals compared to the top teams, Real Betis have come up with vital wins at home to Atleticlo Madrid and away at Barcelona, which currently leaves them in seventh place and just three points away from the Champions League spots.
Serie A – Atalanta
The current focus in the top-tier of Italian football is on Juventus running away with the league title, with Carlo Ancelotti’s Napoli sitting comfortably in second place whilst both Milan clubs are aiming to claim bragging rights by finishing in third place come the end of the season. Meanwhile, the main story the moment has been Gian Piero Gasperini working his magic on the touchline at Atalanta, who are the only club along with Juventus to have scored over 50 league goals so far this campaign and are also in the Coppa Italia semi-final.
In the first half of the 2018-19 season, I Nerazzurri struggled on both areas of the pitch due to the lack of rotation and ability to find game changers from the bench, preventing them from picking up many positive results in the first few months of the season. Now, with the summer signing in Duvan Zapata being in fine form and Gasperini showing his tactical flexibility, the side are producing dominant and energetic performances as they now have a balanced and fluid midfield, allowing them to actually play their best football in recent years.
The third round overall of domestic football of the new season takes place this weekend, with the French Ligue 1 playing their third games while the Premier League goes through its second set of fixtures. We also have two more leagues kicking off, with the German Bundesliga getting things underway on Friday evening and the Spanish La Liga beginning the following day.
Focusing our attentions on France first, then, and Friday evening brings Evian Thonon Gaillard welcoming Paris St-Germain to Parc des Sports. Evian have really struggled in their first couple of games, and rest bottom of the table with two defeats from their first two games, and a goal difference of -7. PSG, meanwhile, have four points from their first six, and sit third – but what we really want to know surely is how the players on the pitch have fared by way of fantasy points earned thus far, so let’s take a quick look.
It’s a bit disheartening for Evian fans unfortunately – their highest scorer in fantasy points is striker Gianni Bruno, who costs €2.00m – and he has earned 10. Defender Daniel Wass is the only other player at the club with a positive points tally on 5, while all the others are on 0 or worse – goalkeeper Jesper Hansen is on -70, so perhaps stay away from including him in your fantasy squad for now. Things look a bit brighter for the guests, however, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic on 30 points and Javier Pastore on 20 – but that’s about it. The points totals are considerably higher, but PSG surprisingly also only have two on positive tallies so far – it seems more likely that will change for the guests than the hosts in the short-term, though.
In the Premier League, arguably the biggest game of the weekend sees Everton playing hosts to Arsenal, while fellow title chasers Chelsea welcome newly promoted Leicester to Stamford Bridge on Saturday afternoon too. New Blues striker Diego Costa got his west London career off to a great start against Burnley on Monday night, and will be hoping he can build on that against another side experiencing their first season in this stint of top flight football. He grabbed 15 points from his competitive Blues debut, and while players may have earned more it’s certainly a solid beginning to life under Jose Mourinho.
Across the border in Germany, the Bundesliga kicks off on Friday evening when champions Bayern Munich host Wolfsburg, but on Saturday one of the tastier fixtures sees last year’s runners-up Borussia Dortmund do battle at home with Bayer Leverkusen, and with second and fourth placed finishes last season respectively this seems like a very early season top match. Dortmund keeper Roman Weidenfeller will be looking to keep Stefan Kießling and co at bay, and fortunately for him Leverkusen were actually the lowest scorers out of the teams in the top five places last season, with 60 goals. That still averages approaching two goals per game, though, so there is much for Weidenfeller and his defenders to do.
With Spain still reeling from their poor showing at the World Cup, La Liga also kicks off and comes as a means of escape from a poor summer for Spanish fans across the world. Last year, three sides were able to win the title going into the final round of games, with Atletico Madrid ultimately triumphing over city rivals Real and Barcelona to win their 10th Spanish title. The two Madrid sides kick off their campaigns on Monday evening, while Barcelona get their season underway the day before when Elche arrive at the Camp Nou having narrowly avoided relegation in May. This is a game that Barcelona will be looking to win – and comfortably too – so expect Messi and co. to really turn things up on Saturday and send out an early warning shot to their rivals that they are in it to regain the title.