Monthly Archives: June 2017

Watch his feet – John Terry’s first game of 2016/17

The Wall Street Journal’s Sam Walker has a theory, in his book The Captain Class, that the truly dominant teams of sport all have one thing in common – their captain. World class stars, one-of-a-kind managers, and bags of money come and go, but in all of the truly Greatest Of All Time teams their period of dominance (he says) coincides with the presence of a particular captain’s time with the side.

Whether you believe that or not, captains are generally thought to be emblematic of their team, a representative in sporting achievement as well as spirit. John Terry is Mr Chelsea, and the defensive pragmatism of their twenty-first century successes matches up well with his image as a player.

The pendulum can swing both ways though. Chelsea started the 2016/17 season limping, struggling through games in what looked to be performances which were below their true powers. And Terry looked much the same.

Watching their first game of the season, at home against West Ham on the 15th of August, hindsight plays on the mind as Terry jogs across the screen. Is there anything there which would indicate why he would never fight his way into the side following his injury in September, relegated in the pecking order behind Cesar Azpilicueta, David Luiz, and Gary Cahill? Continue reading

Patreon – just launched

So, I’ve set up a Patreon. What that means is that you can contribute a small amount per month and get some exclusive juicy content, as well as generally helping me out. I’ll copy and paste the ‘About’ section of my Patreon page below:

“If you’re on this page then you probably know that centre-backs, and telling people what those centre-backs are actually good at, is kinda my thing.

With Every Team Needs A Ron, I care about three things:

  1. 1. Quality analysis
  2. 2. Making sure fans get this quality analysis in a way they can enjoy
  3. 3. Making sure I’m able to *provide* this quality analysis

This last one means getting some money out of it, because quality takes man-hours.  From just 2 dollars a month (that’s only $0.50 a week), patrons will get *exclusive* thoughts on goings on centre-backs and other footballing things, AND EVEN MORE depending on what reward tier you choose.

Huge thanks to anyone that pledges and, to steal a line from Juan Mata, hugs. If you appreciate my work or find it interesting or valuable, I’d be truly touched if you contribute something towards it.”


Why am I doing this? This stuff costs time and most people have grown up with the expectation that everything on the internet is free. But, as we can see from journalism, that isn’t a good model. An awful lot of time is put into work that people (not just me) do, and as cringe-inducing as it is to use this phrase, ‘time is money’.

To be honest, this is also something of a test run for others in the vague circle of the football community who may be thinking of doing something like this. I’m aware that a fair number of writers and YouTubers already have Patreons, but this doesn’t seem to have crossed over much into the football domain. It makes sense, I think, to set something up for myself rather than to try and create a website which pays writers – I can bear paying myself £1 per hour’s work of Patreon backed money if the campaign doesn’t get off the ground to any great extent, but I couldn’t allow myself to do that to other writers.

Anyway, if you enjoy what I do, please shove in a couple of whatever currency you use if you can spare it. The lowest tier is just a handful of pence a week, so it isn’t too much. If you don’t, or can’t, back monetarily, then please share the Patreon page around. Eternal thanks and may love(ren) be with you, Mark.

Virgil van Dijk – a write up

Virgil van Dijk is a wanted man. Liverpool tapped dat (up) and then got punished for it, and Chelsea are circling around him as well, although there’s a sense that he’s a bit of a fall-back option in case they fail to coax Leonardo Bonucci to their boudoir.

Why is he so wanted? Back in January, I made a video about him (-> here <-), but some people prefer the written word to a six-minute montage of moving pictures.  This is largely a written version of the video – the conclusions are the same at least – but I expand on some things here and there.


Southampton – A cause for caution Continue reading

Michael Keane 3 minutes, 3 games Video report: The Bonus Features

If you haven’t seen the video, here it is.

Michael Keane – 3 minutes, 3 games Video Report from EveryTeamNeedsARon on Vimeo.

I should stress that these conclusions are based on these 3 games. If I’ve happened to pick 3 games where Keane didn’t exhibit Hummels-esque passing ability or Riise-esque shots from distance, then I can only shrug and apologise for not spending more of my free-time watching Burnley.

What I wanted to focus on in this, the Bonus Features, is something which relates to the Ray Wilkins clip which did the rounds a few days or so ago. Ray “when they come from Europe the fee always starts with a 3, or a 4, or a 5” Wilkins said on Sky Sports that Manchester United choosing Victor Lindelöf over Michael Keane was silly, as the former had done nothing and the latter was proven Premier League talent. United would know what they were getting.

But the truth is that – and it’s why I put that block of text into the video – they wouldn’t. Continue reading

Andreas Christensen – 3 minute 3 game video report: The article

Games watched:

  • ‘Gladbach vs Barcelona: 28 September 2016
  • Fiorentina vs ‘Gladbach: 23 February 2017
  • ‘Gladbach vs Schalke: 16 March 2017

If you’re reading this then you probably watched the video put together on Andreas Christensen, so I won’t go over much of the ground covered in that in detail. This is intended to be a supplementary article, because you can’t talk about everything in a 3-minute vid. If you haven’t seen it, here it is:

Andreas Christensen – 3 game, 3 minute video report from EveryTeamNeedsARon on Vimeo.

The video opens with a mention that Christensen looks pretty good in the middle of a 3, but his weaknesses are a little more exposed in a centre-back duo, which is to be expected. The middle role in a 3 can be pretty forgiving for a centre-back as you’re both a sweeper and a reference point for the wider centre-backs. Back 3s, the ones I’ve seen anyway for Chelsea, Tottenham, and bits of Mönchengladbach now, have also all been pretty deep defensive lines, which can also shelter a centre-back and make them look better than they are, or probably more accurately cover for their deficiencies. Continue reading

Egg on their face – Huevo de Posicion: Leicester City vs Manchester City, 10 December 2016

The end of the season is a grand old time to revisit key matches of the past year, and a match which featured two of the stories of the season were Leicester’s Claudio-culling tumble down the table, and Pep Guardiola’s struggles at Manchester City. Pep’s face on the side-line was usually of a man who’d just come out of the Total Perspective Vortex and seen his own, miniscule place in the universe. With the hype he’s received for over a decade, it must have been a real shock to him.

Leicester scored twice in 5 minutes. In one sense, it was unfortunate that they conceded twice from the first two chances of the game. On the other, John Stones didn’t seem to realise that allowing passes past oneself as a central defender is a bad thing; Claudio Bravo was so reminiscent of a hologram that he may actually have been played by Andy Serkis; and City apparently hadn’t been aware of a throw-in routine which Leicester had been executing throughout their whole title-winning season.

Still, they were playing Pablo Zabaleta as a false full-back on the right, so what could go wrong? Continue reading

France Under 20s vs Italy Under 20s: Turn it off and turn it on again (in about an hour) – Redo

There are, often, inevitabilties in life. Currently, the Golden State Warriors are leading the Cleveland Cavaliers 75-60 in the first game of the NBA Finals. They will win this match. There is a crushing, rolling, onward dawning sense of inevitability that they will smash the series and maybe even sweep it 4-0.

There is a point in one-day cricket matches, when batsmen are in their groove and the recent run-rate is nearing 10 an over, when it feels inevitable that the next ball – whatever trickery the bowler puts on it – will be slogged away for a boundary.

There is an inevitability, which is slowly being realised as intense pressing becomes more and more common, that football matches which start as physically or mentally intense tactical stalemates will become actually watchable in the last twenty minutes.

In the France Under 20s versus Italy Under 20s game, this moment actually came with a full half hour left to go, although, inevitably, this just left more room for the tired reluctance of two teams who’ve given it all but still have time on the clock left to fill. Continue reading