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News and links for Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Arsenal Training Session & Press Conference
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Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

I thought Diego Costa was the only player really doing anything over at Chelsea? Ah well. It’s not like I don’t relish any continued suffering of the boys from Stamford Bridge.


Honestly, my two favorite sources for thoughtful, general football writing are These Football Times and Unusual Efforts. Here’s another great one from TFT:

Modern football is so often a race to the bottom. The league table is a final, inescapable judgement, what it presents is indisputable: either you succeeded, or you did not. First is great, last is unacceptable and the shades in between the two distinctions mix with financial investment, tradition and expectation to form a conclusive answer. Coaches are spellbound. Packed with ideas formulated over years of match analysis, training sessions, theory and practise, many stumble and fall when faced with the all-conquering result.

This in turn leads to an inevitable negativity. If results are imperative, then bad ones must be avoided. And if bad results must be avoided, practicality ensues. And so coaches subordinate themselves to the final score, the league table, with a mindset of prevention. The endgame is that even many of football’s most celebrated idealists are laced with an implicit pragmatism, a willingness to conform to the whims of the result.

Zdeněk Zeman doesn’t agree with the result, however. “A 0-0 is boring,” he once proffered. “It’s better to lose 5-4, at least it gives you some excitement.”

It is with this attitude that Zeman earned the moniker ‘Il Boemo’, or The Bohemian. His belief in something other than the scoreline is fairly counter-cultural today; in early-1990s Italy, it was outrageously radical. During this period he coached Foggia, Lazio and Roma, and instituted his ideas of football, ideas that were completely at odds with convention.

Read on at the link above.


This is pretty cool. Way to go, Arsenal!


You’re gonna be disappointed, David Luiz, because Chelsea is going to need a better defender than David Luiz to win the Premier League.


This is just a tweet that made me laugh. Liverpool v Manchester United yesterday was dour. Thanks, Mourinho!


Well, um, yeah, Howard Webb. Of course now you see it.


They like us, they really like us!


...What?