That Racing Club de Strasbourg Alsace could appoint a coach of Julian Stéphan’s calibre was, in itself, an indication of the extent to which the side from eastern France have grown increasingly comfortable with their rediscovered Ligue 1 status. Stéphan, son of Guy, replaced the outgoing Thierry Laurey in May. The change felt decidedly timely … Continue reading Derby win provides Racing Club de Strasbourg Alsace and Julian Stéphan with nascent vindication
Back-to-back defeats prompted a wrong turn down memory lane for Juventus supporters. In Naples, they had been completely outfought, outthought and outmanoeuvred after they lost 2-1 to Luciano Spalletti’s resurgent Napoli. It triggered a stark warning from Leonardo Bonucci in their press conference prior to the midweek trip at Malmö. Bonucci told the Italian media, … Continue reading Allegri’s limp return is a health warning for the Old Lady
Twisting and turning, aching and groaning, knees burning; Atlético de Madrid finally came round the ultimate bend in last season’s title race with nothing more to give. Every last life had been used, every slice of fortune pawned away and all of their reserves exhausted. Even while toting a double-digit lead earlier in the season, … Continue reading Atlético de Madrid’s evolving place at LaLiga’s top table
Imagine this: you have a football competition that is beloved by millions, it brings in lots of fans and the competition provides moments that live long in the memory. Everything seems to be going well. But then a small group of teams see that they could make more money by breaking away and forming an … Continue reading A Fight for the Soul of Football
There aren’t many individuals in history that can say they inspired a generation. Even fewer who can say they inspired multiple. Late on Wednesday afternoon news started to trickle in that perhaps the greatest footballer in the history of the sport, Diego Armando Maradona, had passed away. For some, an inconceivable notion that an immortal … Continue reading The Everlasting Legacy of Diego Armando Maradona
To follow on from the first #EuropeanFitbaw podcast of this 2020/21 season we're having a continental period at Pure Fitbaw. Colin Cunningham kicked us off with a data scouting article that unearthed some unheralded attackers, Byron Hutchison put the spotlight on players to watch in the Bundesliga and we're in France for the next selection; my five from Ligue 1.
Even though it feels like last season just ended - because it did - a new Bundesliga season is already underway. Without the blinding lights emitted by stars such as Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, Phillippe Coutinho and alike to draw attention to the league, I’ve been tasked with identifying five interesting Bundesliga players to watch this season. Of course, there are obvious ones and by all means you should tune-in and enjoy Jadon Sancho, Erling Haaland and the best striker in world football Robert Lewandowski do their thing. But, aside from one very obvious inclusion, I’ve opted for a few, slightly, under-the-radar players that are worth keeping your eye on over the next eight months or so.
With the data explosion in football it has never been easier to find good players. Free sources like FBref and Understat allow even casual observers to sort players on various useful metrics –anyone can quickly find that Sergio Aguero had the best expected goals per 90 in the Premier League in 19/20 or that nobody completed more dribbles per match than Adama Traore. And this is before we even consider paid subscriptions for industry-leading software such as Opta and Statsbomb. However, most clubs do not have the finances to just filter on certain stats and look to sign whoever shows up in top 10 results because they are likely already at an elite club or on the radar of one. I’ve had a look at a number of techniques that can give us an alternative view of players that may be of interest.
Leading up to when it all kicks off in Lisbon (go here when it is sensible to travel again btw) an interesting note about each of the twelve teams in the Champions League. Today the four possible teams for the first quarter final.