It all looked so rosy at Goodison Park back in mid-September.
About Iain Macintosh
This author has yet to write their bio.Meanwhile lets just say that we are proud Iain Macintosh contributed a whooping 27 entries.
Entries by Iain Macintosh
It finally happened. After eleven games and what felt like an eternity of pain and frustration, Sunderland won a game of football.
Leicester City picked up their first away point of the season last weekend and they did it by…
Football is a chaotic game that, in spite of efforts from the richest clubs and certain cowed governing bodies to ensure otherwise …
Poor Francesco Guidolin. The Italian manager saved Swansea from relegation last season (with a bit of help from Alan Curtish while he was fighting off serious illness) but he’s in a lot of trouble now.
By the end of his tenure, Everton were playing such miserable football that sacking Roberto Martinez became the merciful, as well as the necessary, thing to do.
Hull City started the season with 12 fully fit senior players, a caretaker manager, absolutely no votes of confidence from the media, and yet with two wins…
After what was, for the most part, yet another anxious transfer window, Arsenal’s supporters now find themselves in a curious position.
By the standards of this particularly excitable transfer window, Tottenham’s summer captures have been markedly low key. Maurico Pochettino…
You can certainly see why Original Ronaldo (Originaldo, if you will) sees so much of himself in Manchester City’s new signing Gabriel Jesus.
Three weeks have passed now since Iceland beat England in Nice. But was it really as bad a performance as…
The final of the European Championships was, it is fair to say, no classic. But it could have been even worse. It should have been even worse.
Tools like Wyscout can make it easier to at least keep abreast of the important things. And here are four ways it helps me.
It seems strange now to recall Antonio Conte’s gloomy forecasts for his nation this summer. Far from a lone voice, the Italy boss….
So much for the theory that Italy were heading for yet another early tournament exit. Having been knocked out in the group stages of the last two World Cups, the chances are that this will be an altogether more pleasant summer for Italy. Manager Antonio Conte takes tactical preparation very seriously.
When you’re this close to the start of a major international tournament, most avenues have already been explored. We know the favourites: France; Spain and Germany. We know the nations that have it within them to win, but probably won’t: Belgium; Italy and England. We know the dark horses: Austria; Croatia and Poland. We even know the minnows: Albania; Hungary and Northern Ireland. But what about the middle ground? What about the teams with just a puncher’s chance of glory? What about Ukraine?
It has been assumed in some quarters that England have an easy first round group in France. Russia are old, so the argument goes, Wales are too reliant on Gareth Bale and Slovakia are…well…Slovakia.
Romania’s strengths are obvious to anyone who has taken a glance at their qualifying campaign. They finished their group unbeaten, having conceded only two goals in ten games. And when you watch them, it doesn’t take long to see why.
Of all the teams heading to France for the European Championships, Albania have surely the most fascinating back story. They’ve never qualified for a major tournament before. They’ve only ever
qualified for two youth tournaments before.
As title defences go, Portland Timbers effort had thus far fallen into the ‘Chelsea’ category. Victors over Columbus Crew on the opening day of the season (a replay of the 2015 final and with the same score too) gave a false read for the weeks ahead.
For the uninitiated, there is much that separates Major League Soccer from other notable leagues around the world. There is the single entity business structure, the draft system, the designated star player policies. But most of all, in these opening weeks, there is the sense that no team is considerably better than any other. At least, that was the case until this weekend when LA Galaxy faced the undefeated Real Salt Lake and pulled their pants down in front of everyone.
In the first six games of his managerial career, we have seen innovation and ambition from Patrick Vieira. But it’s been five games since we’ve seen a win.
Sometimes we can be a little hysterical about challenges in football. Bound up by tribal loyalties or an earnest sense of protection, we forget that football is intense, physical and occasionally dangerous. Accidents happen and they always look worse in a slow motion replay. But Nigel de Jong’s challenge on Darlington Nagbe was no accident.
“It’s shameful for me,” said New York Red Bulls’ coach Jesse Marsch afterwards. “The game is supposed to have honour.”
It’s a nice thought and in an ideal world, we would all conduct ourselves with grace and nobility. But as Bill Shankly once said, “If you don’t know what to do with the ball, put it in the net and we’ll discuss the options later.” And that’s exactly how New England Revolution won their first game of the season.
Still without a win this season, DC United manager Ben Olsen called for his players to be more clinical in front of goal before their meeting with a depleted FC Dallas. Unfortunately for him, most of his problems came at the other end of the pitch. DC were only missing defender Steve Birnbaum, but what a miss he proved to be. His team started brightly, pinning Dallas into their own half, albeit without really creating anything of note. But that hope was short-lived; quickly snuffed out by DC’s own hapless defenders.
To his eternal credit, Cyle Larin barely celebrates the goal that gives Orlando City victory in New York. But this is not because, as the reigning Rookie of the Year and a man who scored 17 goals last season, he is blasé about the art of scoring. No, it is because the ball has literally landed on his face and gone in.
For European fans, unfamiliar with the vagaries of MLS, the Galaxy are an easy access point: they have a recognisable manager in Bruce Arena, who did so much for the national team between 1998 and 2006. They have a host of recognisable players, led by the likes of Steven Gerrard, Robbie Keane and Nigel de Jong, and they are of course, contrary to Bayern Munich’s nickname, the real FC Hollywood. But are they any good?