The False Nine’s editor column returns as James Dutton assesses the true value of Sergio Aguero, and looks back at a fascinating international break…
The Premier League has undoubtedly lost a little of its stardust over the last two seasons. The departures of Gareth Bale and Luis Suarez to La Liga have shorn the country’s greatest export of its two most globally acclaimed star players.
The summer arrivals of Angel di Maria, Radamel Falcao and Alexis Sanchez were welcome steps in the right direction for a league which prides itself on being The Best In The World™. But perhaps the league’s shining light was already staring us in the face?
Is it time to recognise that Sergio Aguero is the best footballer in the Premier League? This is not just in response to the four goal burst on Saturday that blew away Tottenham Hotspur away from home yet again. The regularity of injuries that curse the Argentine striker mean it is very easy to overlook his outstanding ability. Continue reading
TFN’s resident academic John Guillem dissects Roy Hodgson’s England. Set your brows to high!
The accelerated qualities of the contemporary mediascape make international football something of an oddity. The cliché runs that international football, in spite of the best efforts of FIFA to reduce it to the same robotic fare as club football, remains something of a bastion for the core values of the game: passion, unpredictability, honour; a certain sense of pride connecting to the sport’s working class roots.
FIFA are obviously reprehensible types of the most reptilian of bents, but in spite of the unsavoury commerciality of the World Cup and other tournaments1 some of the above rings true, if only incidentally. The relative lack of cohesion and preparation compared to club football lends the scrappier proceedings a romantic aura, whilst the lower quantity of games (particularly when you factor in the fact that there are many fans who only show an interest in tournament, playoff and crunch qualifying games) means that upsets appear to possess greater magnitude and resonance than a domestic cup upset. Continue reading
Patrick Fletcher shares some thoughts on the FA’s reaction to the recent Euro 2016 draw…
Maybe the Gods were looking down on Greg Dyke as he brought his finger across his throat to indicate his despair at England’s nightmare World Cup draw in December. Maybe they took pity on the hardships he faced that day, and maybe they contrived to right those wrongs on Sunday and give England what could hardly be a more straightforward qualifying group for Euro 2016.
Their work will be no more appreciated, though, and this time Dyke will be turning his throat-slitting gesture away from himself and towards the heavens. Indeed, the draw was seen as too straightforward by FA representatives in Nice, who sat stone-faced as images of empty Wembley seats set alarm bells ringing. Their fear is that the clashes thrown up, against the likes of San Marino and Estonia, will not be enticing enough to fill the £757m stadium, on which £277m is still owed. If the concern pre-draw had been ‘go easy on us this time’, the sentiment afterwards was no doubt: ‘not that easy’. Continue reading
Michel Platini courts controversy with every whimsical decision he makes.
In the wake of the controversy that surrounded UEFA’s decision to hold the European Championships of 2020 across the continent, The False Nine’s Joe Bookbinder, Hugo Greenhalgh and James Dutton discuss why it’s not such a bad idea after all…
Could anyone imagine the final of the European Championships taking place along the coast of the Caspian Sea, directly north of Iraq and north-east of Iran and Syria, in the Azerbaijani capital of Baku? As far-fetched, phantasmagorical and downright ludicrous as it may sound it could so easily have been reality – until the intervention of one man. A Frenchman. Continue reading