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Commonplace Book Football/Soccer

Tightly bonded Leeds United

The boisterous knot of away fans, the intense running patterns, the knot of men in coats on the touchline: there is something collegiate and tightly bonded about Leeds, like watching a brilliantly well-planned travelling stag do unfold before your eyes.

Barney Roney describing Bielsa-ball at the Emirates.

From the match report: Bielsa-ball and Leeds run riot for one half before normal service is resumed.

A Barney Ronay match report on Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds?

I’ll take two please.

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amreading Commonplace Book Football/Soccer

Santi Cazorla, clever gerbil


He’s 5ft 6in tall and weighs 10 stone, a healthy height and weight for a well-developed 13-year-old boy. He remains an amiable, slightly goofy figure, resembling in close-up less a hyper-toned modern athlete, more a very clever gerbil with a pocket watch and a tailcoat who knows how to fly an air balloon and drive an old-fashioned car.

Miracle man Cazorla dances on as last of Spain’s pioneer generation. By Barney Ronay, The Guardian.

A perfect description of Spain’s ageless playmaker.

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For-Éver Banega

There is a point to this. Banega is also exactly what United do not have, an element beyond the strangulating Mourinho blueprint, trusted to purr about the pitch seeking the right place to deploy his velvet-pawed touch. Banega might not sprint or leap well at set pieces. But here he ran the game by stealth, an ambling brain in bright orange boots, funnelling possession into difficult areas and digging his fingernails into the back of United’s midfield.

on For-Éver Banega’s classic Old Trafford performance.