Leicester City gets a home Champions League match, Spurs head to Russia, and two of the world’s best attacks meet in Germany; Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League slate is pretty tasty.
[ MORE: Allardyce on England hot seat? ]
An out-of-form Cristiano Ronaldo has Real Madrid in a mini-slump, and a trip to Borussia Dortmund isn’t exactly the antidote now, is it? Normally we wouldn’t dial that up, but Ronaldo has a knack for shining brightly when folks question him. We’ve seen this one before. Expect a highlight-reel night from CR7, but perhaps the same from high-flying BVB.
Spurs are buoyed by the news that Harry Kane‘s injury may not be as serious as first thought, but could be sunk back into the depths with a loss at CSKA Moscow on Tuesday. Spurs fell to Monaco, while CSKA scooped up a solid draw at Bayer Leverkusen.
Leicester City is looking to stay perfect after an impressive UCL debut at Club Brugge, and faces a big test in Portugal. Porto does quite well in this tournament almost annually, and won’t be scared by a trip to King Power Stadium. El Tri trio Miguel Layun, Jesus Corona, and captain Hector Herrera join familiar names Iker Casillas, Yacine Brahimi, and Maxi Pereira on the Porto roster.
Tuesday’s UCL matches
all matches at 2:45 p.m. ET
Sporting Lisbon vs. Legia Warsaw
Sevilla vs. Lyon
Dinamo Zagreb vs. Juventus
CSKA Moscow vs. Tottenham Hotspur
Borussia Dortmund vs. Real Madrid
Monaco vs. Bayer Leverkusen
Copenhagen vs. Club Brugge
Leicester City vs. Porto
Kei Kamara couldn’t gather his emotions after his return to Columbus as a member of the New England Revolution.
[ MORE: Harry Kane to return sooner? ]
The reigning MLS joint-top scorer and a member of the 2015 Best XI, Kamara was back at MAPFRE Stadium on Sunday. The Revs fell 2-0, thanks to Columbus’ new Kamara, and Kei was booed.
There was bitter, smarmy Kei (from MLSSoccer.com):
“I was shocked,” he said after the match. “Come on. You make so many sacrifices for an organization to really boost it. But hey, if I can bring some life to the stadium for once in the season, why not?”
And there was also sad, pensive Kei:
“It wasn’t something I asked for, to move,” he said. “I’ve been thinking about it a lot. It’s been tough. It’s been really, really tough. But after today, I got the final answer to everything. It’s time to move on.”
“It’s time to move on. I’m happy where I am now and I wish [Columbus] the best of luck.”
I’ve rarely understood the booing of former players unless that player grievously harmed your club on the way out the door. Here in Buffalo, I’ve seen even the least-celebrated of ex-Sabres get the boo treatment, though, so it’s not uncommon.
As details continue to unfold from the Telegraph’s sting operation that may’ve caught England manager Sam Allardyce in its grasp, the question of whether the ex-Sunderland man could be fired after just months on the job is moving to the forefront.
Allardyce, 61, is on tape talking about third party ownership of players — a big no-no for FIFA — and the words have some alleging that he is giving advice on how to buck the system.
[ MORE: Watford’s Deeney rages after loss]
Given that the manager has only overseen one match for the Three Lions and had been accused, but never charged, with accepting bribes from agents in 2006, some think he may not survive the issue.
Well-connected The Times of London writer Henry Winter says it’s possible.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp spent time on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football set for Burnley’s 2-0 win over Watford, and proffered some fascinating comments.
The ones that had us quite delighted were some dismissive comments aimed at people who like talk about, even lament, the Reds’ “false nines” — boiled to its bone, an advanced attacking mid that assumes the striker’s role.
[ MORE: Allardyce in hot water ]
After all, most times a 4-5-1 and a 4-1-4-1 are essentially the same thing (and perhaps dictated more by how a match plays out). And when Liverpool is using Daniel Sturridge, Roberto Firmino, or Divock Origi, it’s the player that matters as much as the formation (USMNT fans can consider how Bobby Wood and Clint Dempsey rotated around the top of Jurgen Klinsmann’s formation at the Copa America despite having a traditional given position in the Starting XI).
“To be honest, I don’t think about us having now a false nine or no nine or whatever it is. These players are all responsible for being in the opposition box in all situations there can be. “
Right. If an attack is moving ahead with just one man sitting high, that most advanced attacker is a forward. It doesn’t matter if that attacker has drifted out left on defense, or checked deeper into the formation when the other team has the ball. He’s a striker.
“A lot of people have got different views on it. Where’s the difference between 4-1-4-1 and 4-5-1, I don’t see it really.
“4-3-3, it depends on the situation you are in. For example, if you play a 4-3-3 with real wingers, like Holland played a few years ago, then it is different.”
Presumably, Klopp is speaking of the 4-3-3 employed by Louis Van Gaal at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Arjen Robben, Wesley Sneijder, and Robin Van Persie forced defenses to stretch wide as well as long, and that is a genuine 4-3-3. It’s much different than an average formation graphic showing three players high and three players low. The spacing of the opposition and movement of the ball match demands that!
Tactics and techniques are a lot of fun to discuss and debate, but Klopp reminded us a fact that plays out in almost every match. Most times, when the ball is kicked in anger, it’s “about Jims and Joes, not X’s and O’s” as former University at Buffalo and current Canisius College men’s basketball coach Reggie Witherspoon liked to say.