Positioning is Paramount. Pep Guardiola at Bayern Munich


This one is for all you tactics geeks. A list of the six tactical changes Pep Guardiola made during his first 6 months at Bayern Munich.

Pep’s longtime assistant coach, Domènec Torrent explains:

He’s full of re-invention – in six months here Pep has tried more thing than in four years at Barca.

The list highlights how Pep adapted to the counter-attaching style of the Bundesliga. And how he tailored his possession system for his two dominant wingers – Robben and Ribery

For a coach so steadfast in his principles, Pep is open to adapting to the circumstances presented to him.


1: THE DEFENSIVE LINE

Pep has moved it forward from a starting point of 45 metres in front of the keeper. If Bayern are fully on the attack high up the pitch then he wants the two center-halves to take up positions 56 metres ahead of Neuer – in the opposition half.

2: PLAYING AND MOVING FORWARD FROM THE BACK, IN TOTAL UNISON

The team has got this: it’s a journey they must take together. How they play out from the back is of absolute importance to how things then develop in the attacking phase.

3: ORDER IN THE PLAY

The passing sequences need to balance the team’s positioning. If properly effected, from beginning to end it means their attack will be ordered and if the ball is lost it can be won back quickly, with little wasted effort.

4: SUPERIORITY IN MIDFIELD

This is the essence of Pep’s playing philosophy. He always wants his team to have midfield superiority, whether numerical or positional. Achieving this guarantees his team will dominate the game.

5: FALSE ATTACKING MIDFIELDERS

This is the big tactical innovation within Pep’s first season. Given the powerful wing play of Robben and Ribery and also the need to immediately cut off the counter-attacks of opponents high up the pitch, Pep has decided to position his full-backs almost as old-fashioned inside-forwards, right alongside the other attacking midfielders, high up the pitch.

6: PLAYING WITHOUT A FALSE 9

From being the absolute key figure at Barcelona, the false 9 is now just one more potential tactic for Bayern. It will be used sporadically, depending on the specific needs of a particular match or phase within a game.

First Sentences

The prisoner in the photograph is me.

Hole in my life, Jack Gantos

On a sticky August evening two weeks before her due date, Ashima Ganguli stands in the kitchen of a Central Square apartment, combining Rice Krispies and Planters peanuts and chopped red onion in a bowl.

The Namesake, Jhumpa Lahiri

In the land of Ingary, where such things as seven league boots and cloaks of invisibility really exist, it is quite a misfortune to be born the eldest of three.

Howl’s Moving Castle, Diana Wynne Jones

I noticed writing out first sentences is like sliding them under a microscope.

By removing them from their natural habitat – the paragraph they’re resting on, you can see what they’re up too.

See what their hiding.

These three sentences all establish a world. A tone. They all introduce a character and a problem.

Efficient!

Seductive!

Come read more, they beg!

Jack is in prison.

Ashima is pregnant and alone in an apartment that doesn’t feel like home.

And while cloaks of invisibility exist in Ingary, apparently being the oldest of three is a problem.

This makes me think of the first sentences I’ve written.

Did they create the same effect?

Notes from The Natural Way to Draw pt.2 : The Way to Learn to Draw

The way to learn to draw is by drawing. People who make art must not merely know about it. For an artist, the important thing is not how much he knows, but how much he can do. A scientist may know all about aeronautics without being able to handle an airplane. It is only by flying that he can develop the senses for flying. If I were asked what one thing more than any other would teach a student how to draw, I should answer, ‘Drawing – incessantly, furiously, painstakingly drawing.’

The Natural Way to Draw, Nicolaïdes, Kimon

An artist must have skin in the game.

The work, the practice of drawing everyday, is the path to improvement.

Who we all want to be: Our imaginary-self.

Deep roots

We all have that ideal person we want to be.

That imaginary, idealized person who drifts into our daydreams during a Wednesday afternoon budget meeting.

This imaginary-self is usually a mix of various people you admire. And everyone’s imaginary- self is different.

Some are a cross of Conan O’ Brian, Beyoncé and Martha Stewart.

For others it’s a mix of Joe Rogan, Bill Gates and Morgan Freeman.

And for others it’s part Frank Lloyd Wright, part Tony Bennett and part Jane Austin.

But my imaginary, idealized person? My imaginary-self?

A bear.

Robert Macfarlane describes him with incredible detail in his book Underland: A Deep Time Journey

There is something of the polar bear to Bjørnar: there in his powerful physique, his heftedness to the north, those white eyes, and of course in his name: Bjørnar, the Bear, from the Old Norse bjørn. He is an intense, intelligent presence; a person you would want fighting for you and would dread as an enemy. He is not without self-regard, but I do not begrudge him that.

There is also a strong mystical streak to Bjørnar: unexpected perhaps, in a man whose working life compels him daily to such pragmatism and self-reliance. But – as I will learn – Bjørnar looks often through things: hard into them and right through them with those pale eyes of his. He looks through people, through bullshit, and the through the surface of the sea.

Robert Macfarlane, Underland: A Deep Time Journey, pg 292-293, Chapter: The Edge.

A heftedness to the north.

A powerful physique.

The ability to look through the surface of the sea.

Add relentless, creative, box-to-box midfielder to the list and my imaginary-self’s profile is complete.

What traits does your imaginary-self possess?

And now some:

Wordsmithing –

Heft - n. chiefly N. Amer. 1 weight. 2 Ability or influence. 
Origin ME: prob. from HEAVE , on the pattern of words such as cleft and weft.

John Porcellino’s time machine: From Lone Mountain

This collection of King-Cat comics is a time machine. Not a whirling pod that splits atoms and breaks open new dimensions, but instead a glimpse of John Porcellino’s life in the early 2000s.

As I read each page over and over, I found myself playing this game. I call it: Where was I when?

Here’s how it goes. At the bottom of a comic it may read MARCH 2005.

From there I light a swisher sweet, jog with my memory, imagine, and ask the question, where was I in March 2005?

Was I failing college algebra again?

Was Episode One still the dopest movie ever?

What were my go-to pair of Nikes?

It’s a fun game. Try it at home. But it does make me wish I kept record of those days. A journal, a heart and key locked diary, or, then it’s it heyday, a blog.

We can’t change the past, but we can revisit it. Even if it’s a bit blurry.

Buy your very own time machine here!

The Manual for Civilization: a curation of books for our future

The Long Now Foundation has scrambled up the the idea of a reading list.

Instead of the typical what we’re reading now list. Or, our favorite summer reads list. They’ve asked us to imagine reading beyond our lifetimes by posing the question:

What Books Would You Choose to Restart Civilization?

With the the goal of:

Gathering essential books and democratizing human knowledge for future generations.

It’s ambitious. It’s thoughtful. It’s called:

The Manual For Civilization.

There have been 11 contributors to date, but Kevin Kelly’s list via Medium introduced me to the project.

Kevin, the author of the Inevitable, and host of the stupid-dope-fresh podcast Cool Tools, assembled a list of nearly 200 tomes.

Below are three titles from Kevin’s list that piqued my immediate interest.

The Manual for Civilization has me meditating on this idea of a reading list for the future. I’m asking myself:

What books would I select, and why? 
Which books would a scholar or intellectual from an eastern culture select?
Which books would you select?

Check out Kevin’s list in full here, and the rest of the contributors here.

Lost on the shelf. The power of an unread book.

The Story of Astronomy has lingered in my library, unopened, for years.

Not a crease across the spine. Not a dog ear between the pages.

I pulled it down from the shelf, hoping it would inspire a poem.

My hope was mislead. But I did learn the sky has a remarkable influence on the Muslim faith:

Allah had put these signs in the sky for a purpose. The stars helped Muslims to work out the direction to Mecca; while the Sun indicated the five times of day when they must pray. The first appearance of the crescent Moon marked the beginning of a new Islamic month. And – by investigating the heavens – Muslim scholars would literally get closer to knowing the mind of God.

Faith and science speaking with each other.

Rare.

Keep those unread books close. Someday they’ll reveal a new truth.