Four times Pep Guardiola mentioned Manchester City’s poor build up in the post match press conference following the draw against Southampton.

A question about fans? Poor build up mentioned.

A question about Raheem Sterling’s performance through the middle? Poor build up mentioned.

A question about the lack of a center forward? Poor build up mentioned.

The last question was about the lack of imagination on the ball in terms of the final third and Pep answered quickly. “No. This isn’t the reason why. The reason why (was that) our build up wasn’t good.”

Pep was right, the build up wasn’t…


The Battle of Thermopylae, in which an alliance of Ancient Greek city-states led by king Leonidas I of Sparta managed to hold the Persian invasion for seven days, has been used by ancient and modern writers as an example of the power of a patriotic army defending its native soil.

Differences in numbers between the Greeks and the Persians were diminished by the good use of terrain from the Greeks and their advanced training. Overcoming that deficit in numbers by using strategical and technical variables is often referred to as force multiplication in military science.

The unequal playing field in…


In February of last season, Manchester United travelled to Stamford Bridge aiming to defeat Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea for the first time in the Premier League since the German’s arrival.

In their search of a win they implemented a curious pressing scheme, using one of the wide players to press Chelsea’s double pivot alongside Bruno Fernandes. It only worked for one half until Mason Mount dropped deep to support the build up.

For Chelsea’s opponents, the variables have changed this season. …


Another trip to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, another goalless loss for Manchester City.

Like an Ostinato repeating itself throughout a melody, Manchester City missed their chances, Spurs’ defensive unit minimized the threat and the pace of the Spurs attackers caught City on the break.

Going into Sunday’s game the main talking point was Harry Kane and his absence, but in that, Spurs managed to field a pacey front three in Lucas Moura, Heung-min Son and Steven Bergwijn. In addition to the characteristics of those players, it was also their positioning out of possession that made them dangerous on the counter.


Post-traumatic stress disorder is a mental disorder that is often developed after facing severe trauma, or in other words England at international tournaments.

The events at the Luzhniki Stadium in the semi-final of the World Cup sparked again in the minds of the English fans, when England were losing their spark as the minutes went by against Scotland.

An inability to make effective in-game changes from Gareth Southgate kept England on the back foot, lacking the necessary means to break down Steve Clark’s Scotland.

In Moscow, England could have gotten the better of Croatia before Zlatko Dalic’s side adjusted their…


Flames erupt in the Circus Maximus. Rome’s largest sporting venue forms a mile-long track of timber, and its seats provide the ultimate fuel. Within minutes, flames spread the entire length of the Circus.

Two thirds of Rome was destroyed after the nine day fire in July, 64 AD. So were the Italians after the 0–0 with Sweden in November 2017. Missing the World Cup in Russia felt odd as Italy hadn’t failed to qualify for the World Cup since 1958.

Reconstruction was needed and it was already in the making way before that damned night in Milan. A new breed…


It’s an hour before kick-off and you are just wondering what is Pep Guardiola doing. It’s a normal Premier League Saturday and everyone is trying to predict how will Manchester City play in possession, out of possession and during the transitions.

During these games, what the Spaniard has in mind may work and it may not. He may adjust it and he may not. You’ll only know after the final whistle.

Prior to kick-off on Saturday night against Chelsea all the fuss was about the absence of Fernandinho and Rodri from the starting eleven. Playing Ilkay Gundogan as the sole…


Manchester City have hypnotized viewers with their scintillating football, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer guided Manchester United to probably their best season since 2013, West Ham went all the way from a relegation battle last season to the Europa League, Leeds were all ponytail and pressing, and Sam Allardyce got his first ever relegation from the Premier League. The season is coming to an end.

Before the curtain call, there are still European places to fight for. Chelsea, Liverpool and Leicester City are battling it out for two Champions League spots. …


Thomas Tuchel’s previous attempt at Champions League glory was empowered by Paris Saint-Germain’s pressing schemes against RB Leipzig and Bayern Munich. At Chelsea, and despite the lack of a pre-season, Tuchel significantly improved the team’s ability to press and counter-press.

Not only that, the German coach has also improved Chelsea in the four phases of play, taking them from 10th spot in the league to 4th and a place in the FA Cup and Champions League finals.

Yet, this can all crumble. Liverpool’s rise since the return of Fabinho and the fact that Chelsea have to host Leicester City at…


In gaming, a scrim is when a pro or competitive team decides it’s time to get out of public matches and head into a true competitive setting against another pro or competitive team to practice.

Before any major domestic or global tournament, most of the teams scrim against their opponents or even opponents similar in style to the one they’ll face, to try out new strategies — basically to test the water.

That’s exactly how it felt on Saturday as Manchester City hosted Chelsea at the Etihad. A win for the blue side of Manchester would have granted them their…

Ahmed Walid

English Football. United

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