Eduardo – Arsenal’s Crocked Crozilian


Michael Keshani looks back at Brazilian born Croatian Eduardo’s time at the Emirates…

Eduardo Da Silva’s Arsenal career is a constant reminder of a time I generally refuse to talk about, even 5 years after it happened. As much as it would be nice to remember his short time here for other things, it will always be overshadowed by the leg break at Martin Taylor’s hand. It began the unravelling of a phenomenal young side’s title ambitions and had huge ramafications on Eduardo’s own career.

He actually had some small marks on English football, and specifically Arsenal, before he had even signed: he became the first player to score a European goal at the new Emirates Stadium, when Dinamo Zagreb took the lead in their Champions League qualifying round. Later in that year he scored the first goal, a header, in England’s 2-0 loss to Croatia in 2006 (a game more famous for Paul Robinson’s hilarious mis-kick).

Players like Eduardo have grown steadily less and less popular since around the time of his return from the injury. He was and is a sensational finisher of any fathomable type of goal within 20 yards of the net; he isn’t particularly tall but is excellent in the air, while wonderfully calm and assured in front of goal, usually on his favoured left foot. He could never really hold the ball up and his lacking back to goal work was his true downfall at Arsenal, but his height belies his strength and enables his agility. Continue reading

Jo – Man City’s Brazilian bad memory

Manchester City FC unveil new signing, Brazilian striker Jo, City of Manchester Stadium, Britain - 02 Jul 2008

Rob Pollard, editor of Typical City, painfully recalls Jo’s time at Manchester City…

On the day Jo completed his £18 million move to Manchester City in 2008, Mark Hughes said: “He’s a big guy, in stature and ability, so I think everybody will enjoy watching him play. I think it’s a real coup that we’ve been able to bring him to the club.”

Hughes has concocted some rubbish in his time but that’s up there with his very best.

Jo was an unmitigated disaster. He scored just three goals in 18 appearances for the club – two of which came against Omonia Nicosia in a UEFA Cup match – before being loaned to Everton seven months after signing. Few players have looked quite so out of place in a Blue shirt. Continue reading

Geovanni – City’s Underused Samba Super Sub

geovanni alt

Manchester City ManC Magazine contributor Dan Morehead looks back on Geovanni’s time in a sky blue shirt…

The Brazilian era at Manchester City fizzled out rather unspectacularly, a damp squib of an ending for a controversial clique. Some would argue that both Mark Hughes and Roberto Mancini mismanaged the mercurial talents of Elano and Robinho, while those on the other side put it forward that the commitment to the cause simply was not present, allowing the likes of hardworking, but technically inferior players to cement positions in the team.

Just Like Watching Brazil

‘Geo’ was the first. The excitement amongst City fans was palpable; we had a Brazilian – they’re meant to be pretty good at football, aren’t they?! Geovanni signed for the Blues on a free transfer on a one-year contract on 17 July 2007. For a lot of fans, the knowledge of Geovanni was limited to a vague recollection of him playing for Barcelona a couple of times in the early 2000s.

The fact that a Club such as Barcelona paid €20 million to secure his signature was reason enough for excitement; the fact that he had once helped knock the Reds from across the road out of Europe with a Champions League goal during his time at Benfica didn’t harm his credentials either. A few weeks later and fellow Brazilian Elano joined Geovanni at Eastlands for the Thaksin Shinawatra funded revolution. Continue reading

How I Stopped Worrying and Learned To Love San Marino

TFN regular David Wild finds some solace in the the spirit of San Marino…

“Serious sport has nothing to do with fair play. It is bound up with hatred, jealousy, boastfulness, disregard of all rules and sadistic pleasure in witnessing violence: in other words it is war minus the shooting” – George Orwell – The Sporting Spirit, 1945

As England held their breath last week and the spheres of World Cup Qualification began to move in the favour of Heavyweights and Underdogs alike, another, less heralded game was being played out, miles away from the oceans of expectancy. Despite the lack of TV camera focus and fanfare this was a match that would answer another burning question in the footballing world.

Would this be San Marino’s worst round of major tournament qualifiers ever?

20:00 GMT- 15/10/13 – San Marino lined up against Ukraine having conceded an average of 5 goals per game in World Cup 2014 qualifying, roughly one goal every 1080 seconds. Euro 2012 tournament qualifiers had seen them concede 53 goals without reply, their worst figures to date. La Serenissima faced up this time against the impending yellow threat determined to stand strong.

They lasted 13 minutes before conceding, then shipped another 7 that night. As can be seen in the figures below, this meant that the worrying upward trend of goals conceded per game in tournament qualifiers continued to haunt the ‘whipping boys’ of European football. Continue reading

Bonus podcast: Iceland, Ibrahimovic, Europe’s World Cup playoff draw and who will win Brazil 2014

What do you do when your podcasting cup runneth over with topics to discuss? You upload a bonus road of chatter focusing on Monday’s European World Cup playoff draw of course.

The panel from the pod’s second episode, with Greg, James, Hugo, Francis, Simon and Michael, talk at length about who deserves to secure safe passage to Brazil in the summer.

Whether you’re gunning for Iceland to make history, or willing the best teams and players to disregard romance in the name of quality and standards, there’s plenty to chew over as the panel delve into the potential winners and dark horses for Brazil 2014.

Have a listen via the Soundcloud widget below or download the mini-podcast to listen to later on-the-go!

Podcast: Reviewing the Premier League, previewing the Champions League and a look at Cypriot football

Episode 2 of The False Nine’s new podcast is now live and available to listen to and download from Soundcloud, entitled The Ghost of Michael Essien.

Greg Johnson chairs the panel which features TFN regulars James Dutton, Hugo Greenhalgh, John “Francis” Guillem, Simon Smith and Michael David, with special guest and Cypriot football expert, Nassos Stylianou.

This week, the pod review the weekend’s Premier League action, preview the choice ties of the week’s Champions League fixtures, and consider the state of Cypriot football at home and abroad.

Have a listen and let us know what you think:

Tactickle Your Fancy: Strikerless sides of a different kind


The False Nine’s tactics aficionado Simon Smith discusses the varying uses of strikerless formations…

Watching AS Roma destroy Internazionale last week was one of my highlights of the season, because it felt like a win for the underdog. I’m not saying that I prefer the Romans to Inter, or even that I wanted them to win, but seeing a team who sold their best defender and forward reborn through a collective strategy is hard not to enjoy. If the experiment with Zemen ended in tears, Garcia has been refreshingly simplistic in the way he makes attacking football look natural, instead of requiring a season long revolution. The most obvious change to the attack has been the reintroduction of Totti to centre forward after a season as the trequartista.

Just two days earlier, Sam Allerdici grabbed the headlines by adopting a similar strategy to demolish hot favourites Tottenham Hotspur 3-0.  Are we to believe that this is because he was influenced by Serie A, or is the more cynical view that this was a desperate throw of the dice born out of Andy Carroll’s injury more accurate? Increasingly, and perhaps unsurprisingly following Barcelona’s success, the false nine is being used to describe systems in football matches in all the major European leagues. The real question is whether this is because the formation is more commonly used, or whether the term is: and to answer this, we need to look at strikerless formations in the pre Guardiola world. Continue reading