Ally Moncrief returns to The False Nine with an appreciation of headed goals…
Growing up in a part of the country where people take genuine pleasure in fighting, in the spirit of self-preservation you learn to recognise a few things and one of the earliest lessons is to avoid at all costs the lad that likes to stick the nut in (that means headbutting in case you didn’t know). Where a punch can be evaded and swiftly recovered from, a well-timed headbutt is going to hurt and continue to hurt. Now whilst violence is clearly not to be encouraged there is something awe-inspiring about these dispensers of broken noses, there is something unnatural and wild about a headbutt, it is out of the ordinary and is impossible to defend against.
The same can be said of football’s version of the headbutt, the slightly less violent, header.
Headers can be both brutal and beautiful, used as a means of attack or defense and are the great leveller of football. They are also sadly unfashionable these days, unloved and unadmired. Often referred to as ‘aerial duels’ in these days of Americanised phrases, that moniker may seem degrading to such a majestic act but in fact merely serves to reassert it’s greatness. The key word is ‘duel’ for there is nothing in football apart from a penalty where the game is reduced, however fleetingly, to a straight fight between two participants. One will win and one will lose, the very essence of the sport. Continue reading →
With the World Cup less than a month away the excitement is palpable. We at The False Nine have put together our own predictions for how the tournament will pan out with an almost universal consensus that Spain will complete an unprecedented quadruple and retain their crown…
In the autumn of 2011 David Silva was regarded as the best footballer in the Premier League. James Dutton asks why the stall in his career since has gone largely unnoticed…
Cast your minds back to October 2011 and Manchester City’s 6-1 drubbing of Manchester United; a result that looks less era-defining now, 20 months on, but which momentarily confirmed City’s unrivaled ascendance in English football.
The performance was as virtuoso as the result was seismic; central to it all was the dynamism of David Silva. It confirmed his status, in autumn 2011, as the best player in the Premier League.
The Spaniard was instrumental in the first two goals, scored by Mario Balotelli, combining with James Milner to devastating effect, and struck late on himself. He wove a tapestry across the Old Trafford pitch with every swish of his magical left boot, constantly twisting and turning, drifting into space and always with an innate awareness of those around him.
He provided City’s coup de grace for the final goal; an instinctive, 40-yard volleyed through-ball from inside his own half to set Edin Dzeko racing clear. It remains one of the greatest assists in Premier League history. Continue reading →
Guest writer Rob Brown looks at what happened to David Villa, as El Guaje enters a career crossroads…
The date is November 29, 2010. Camp Nou is full to capacity and Barcelona lead Real Madrid by three goals to nil. Nearly 100,000 Culés plus a global audience of millions are enthralled by one of the greatest team displays ever.
David Villa, assister of Barça’s second goal and scorer of their third, stands in front of his team’s left-back, Éric Abidal, as Madrid keep the ball on the opposite flank and try desperately to find a way back into the game. Possession eventually turns over and Villa begins to run forward.
On the opposite side of the pitch, Lionel Messi receives the ball from Sergio Busquets. He immediately turns and drives at Ricardo Carvalho and Sami Khedira. As Messi reaches them he darts to his left, skipping past the German midfielder, and Villa sprints through the blind spot of the Madrid right-back, Sergio Ramos.
Right on cue, Messi pings a perfect diagonal through-ball between Pepe and Ramos, leaving El Guaje one-on-one with Iker Casillas for the second time in three minutes. He lets the ball roll for what seems like a millisecond too many and then stabs it under the onrushing Casillas for 4-0. Continue reading →
After the colossal mis-match that was Spain 10-0 Tahiti, David Wild pays tribute to the Pacific Islanders who gave their all…
“Boldly they rode and well, Into the jaws of Death, Into the mouth of Hell, Rode the six hundred.”– Alfred, Lord Tennyson
One of football’s most timeless and appealing virtues is its egalitarian nature; its ability to give the underdog their own glorious day in the sun. USA 1-0 England World cup 1950. Wimbledon’s 1988 FA cup final victory, North Korea’s glorious late consolation against Brazil in World Cup 2010. To the delight of fans worldwide history is replete with the unexpected upsetting of the odds.
Last night in the Confederations Cup the World Cup winners and European champions Spain, their sparkling contingent laden with universal honours, accolades and a perception of true sporting greatness lining up against a team with one professional player, and of whom nine are technically unemployed; Tahiti. Continue reading →
Joe Bookbinder brings us a Hypothetical XI comprised of Premier League Spaniards…
There is nothing new in the fact that this generation of Spanish footballers represents a decent bunch of players. In fact, some may go as far as to argue they are a “Golden generation”. Best in Europe? Yes. Best in the World? Probably. The general rule, tried, tested and accepted is that if you do not play for Barcelona or Real Madrid you have very little chance of representing your country. If you play outside of Spain altogether your chances are further diminished.
So spare a thought for the just-above-average motley crew of Spanish players who lighten up the Premier League every weekend. Playing the in vogue 4-2-3-1 this team would a force to be reckoned with come every other June/July. Continue reading →
The False Nine debutant, Nathan Carr, takes a look at some of the emerging talents in La Liga…
Many are firmly aware of La Liga’s never-ending conveyor-belt of scintillating talent – but while the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, inevitably, continue to enliven Spanish football we mustn’t forget those youthful, fresh-faced folk who are waiting to set the stage alight. Here are three emerging talents from Spain’s top-flight. Continue reading →