Showing posts from August, 2012

Michael O'Neill's tactical quandary ahead of trip to Russia

Northern Ireland’s home friendly matches are notoriously boring.  Therefore last night’s 3-3 draw against Finland, which not only saw plenty of goalmouth action but was also played at a reasonable tempo, is attracting descriptions like ‘thriller’ and ‘classic’. 
Hardly - but in new manager Michael O’Neill’s 3rd game, it was nice to see his players finally score some goals.  Their previous two outings were 3-0 and 6-0 defeats against Norway and Holland.
Michael’s positive approach to the game, his openness with the press and his easy manner with players, are a refreshing change from his negative predecessor, Nigel Worthington.  Although O’Neill must already be acutely aware that he faces a difficult task to produce respectable results.  The Northern Ireland team he has inherited is rather short on quality, morale or ideas.
The new young manager wants to implement a fashionable, flexible tactical system nonetheless.  To dip into technical jargon, it is best described as 4-3-3, althoug…

The Rodgers reign will require patience.

Am awful lot has changed since my last post about developments at Anfield. 
Kenny Dalglish joined Daniel Comolli and others in being given the sack by Liverpool’s owners.  It was an unpopular decision with supporters, who were loyal to ‘King Kenny’ to the end.  A tortuous period of rumour and speculation followed, before Brendan Rodgers was prised away from Swansea City, becoming the 2nd youngest manager in Liverpool’s history.
The Carnlough man has impressed with his forthright press statements, and now that the season has officially started, he will get an opportunity to make improvements on the pitch.
It could be a slow process, but Liverpool fans (and the club's owners) must be patient.  Rodgers needs to be given a number of years to implement his system, barring all but the most unforeseeable disasters.
The manager has made two signings over the close season.  First to arrive was the young Italian striker, Fabio Borini.  He marked his competitive debut at Anfield by scorin…

Put Pussy Riot in context

The British press, as a rule, covers Russia badly and the Pussy Riot trial is no exception.  In many of the articles which I’ve read, there is precious little distinction between reporting and comment. 
Now, I would not for a minute suggest that the three young defendants should receive the three year prison sentence which prosecution lawyers are seeking, but the notions that the proceedings constitute a ‘show trial’, represent a return to Stalinism or are purely politically motivated don’t stand up to scrutiny.
Read Mercouris’s carefully researched post which looks at the legal issues and some of the lazy assumptions which have been reported persistently by newspapers in the UK.
The law in a particular country reflects quite properly the values of the society in which it operates.  If a protest were to desecrate a mosque in a devout Muslim country the punishment would most likely be severe.  International opinion would not be appalled.  If an anarchist collective performed a profane so…