The False Nine podcast enters 2014 with a bumper array of guests, including Awate, Joe Devine, Hari Sethi and Sam Diss, who join host Greg and regular James to dissect the recent goings on in the Premier League, Manchester United, West Ham United, and much more.
Dave Wild reflects on the world of partnerships in football…
“Perfect partners don’t exist. Perfect conditions exist for a limited time in which partnerships express themselves best.” – Wayne RooneyIt’s not often that you have the chance to start an article with a quote from Croxteth’s least heralded philosopher. Yet to hear the Manchester United striker’s words turns the mind to an interesting dynamic in football. The chemistry of a good partnership; a whole greater than the sum of its parts.
The debate on the virtues of individuality versus those of teamwork was nicely summarised in October 2013’s Premier League goal of the month competition. Would it be Arsenal’s intricate clockwork machination of one touch teamwork finish rounded off by Jack Wilshere or the explosive individual brilliance of Pajtim Kasami’s wonder strike? The public overwhelmingly voted in favour of Arsenal’s irresistible metronomic goal, perhaps explaining where our idolatry of the footballing partnership lies. We love to see a team working together. Continue reading →
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 →
As the third series of Game of Thrones draws to a close, James Dutton and David Wild imagine the parallels between the worlds of Westeros and the Premier League…
As the Premier League continues to enthral millions across the world, so HBO’s serialisation of George R. R. Martin’s ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ has captivated a loyal, steadfast and ever-growing audience. Here, The False Nine draws analogies between the two worlds; from the intimidating Britannia Stadium to the formidable Iron Islands, no stone is left unturned. Who will win in the Premier League Game of Thrones?
Finally the Premier League has put us out of our misery and decided to end the season. There’s been little excitement and little to remember, James Dutton wonders what the hell happened, and whether anyone can be happy about this…
The 2012-13 Premier League season has undoubtedly been a damp squib.
The exceptional events of a year ago seem to have hoarded all the drama and intrigue the Premier League can provide.
For the first time since 2006 there was nothing meaningful to decide at either end of the table – save another “epic” battle between Tottenham and Arsenal for fourth, with the wretched Reading and QPR the worst of a particularly sorry bunch of bottom-half sides this year.
It’s been a season defined by regression; the first time since 1996 there has been no English team in the quarter finals of the Champions League, an artificially dramatic “Fight for Fourth” and a title race that was, for all intents and purposes, sewn up before Christmas.
Misery reigns from top to bottom.
Are there any teams in the Premier League that can argue to have had a good season, be content with what they have achieved, or how far they have progressed, since August? Continue reading →
Simon Smith looks at West Ham’s move to the Olympic Stadium, and asks whether it will prove a watershed moment in English football…
Everyone seems to have something to say about West Ham’s acquisition of the Olympic Stadium as their ground, and not a lot of it positive. The huge flaws in the plan, ranging from the enormous amount of work needed before the new ground is fit for purpose to the difficulty the club is likely to have in filling the seats, are still not quite daunting enough to have convinced Karen Brady and co that it isn’t a brilliant idea and for that I think West Ham deserve a little credit for their ambition. What’s really interesting about the move is that it bucks the English trend a little for stadia ownership. West Ham own the much loved Boleyn Ground, and here they are moving to a lease bought from the government. Continue reading →
The False Nine’sJoe Bookbinder is being won over by the Pozzos’s running of Watford and believes, under Gianfranco Zola, the Golden Boys are in safe hands…
When the Pozzo family bought Watford last summer there was an air of excited anticipation, twined with slight trepidation. The Udinese and Granada owners brought financial security, at least in the short term, to a club who have had to make do with a very tight budget. And make do they have. Continue reading →