Here at Across the Park, we pride ourselves on bringing you some of the best football content on the web. But just occasionally someone beats us to the punch, or finds a more interesting story, or just does something a bit better than us. And we’re not bitter about that. In fact, here is the best of what we’ve been reading this week, so you can enjoy it too.
FA Cup Preview (by @FACupFactfile)
Now, we love the FA Cup here at ATP. We have our #RoadtoWembley, and we have reporters our and about seeing as many games as possible. But we might not quite love it as much as FA Cup Factfile, who has produced a tie-by-tie preview of the Preliminary Round. This is the kind of dedication to a single competition that deserves applause. And the preview is entertaining and informative. Did you know Grays haven’t been knocked out this early in 38 years? We did know that Hanwell Town had their best cup run two years ago though, as we were there.
Find the preview, and all manner of assorted FA Cup stuff, on the FA Cup Factfile blog.
The Ebony Shoe and the Belgian Lion (@BewareFlyingFB)
Belgian players are setting the world of football alight, whether it be Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard here, Dries Mertens in Italy, Thorgan Hazard (by the Hammer of Thor!) in Germany or Youri Tielemans’ recent move to France. But Belgium has a diverse population within its own borders, and has awards to recognise that. The Ebony Shoe and the Belgian Lion are given to players at the end of each season, who hail from more diverse backgrounds. Vincent Kompany, Romelu Lukaku and Marouane Fellaini have all won one of them.
Read about the awards on the Beware Flying Footballs blog.
FM17 Arsenal Challenge (@TheSetPieces)
We’ve all enjoyed the various Football Manager series on The Set Pieces. Anyone who isn’t aware of them should definitely check them out. They have inspired many to pursue their own management stories – including our new one here! This week saw the penultimate episode as Iain Macintosh chases a Premier League and Champions League double. He has cleared out the deadwood, he has bought wisely, and he is two games from the title. I don’t want to give anything away, but it is Arsenal, and it is Macintosh, so you can probably guess what happens.
Check out the action at the excellent The Set Pieces.
The Premier League’s Poor Defences (@guardian_sport)
When it comes to tactical understanding, there are few better than Jonathan Wilson – so who better than to explain the glut of goals we’ve been seeing in the Premier League. Whether it’s zonal marking, the offside law, or just better strikers, this will have you covered. Maybe a couple of Premier League managers should give it a read, if they want to do well in the Champions League (or maybe Gareth Southgate in preparation for Russia 2018). If you enjoy it, you should also check out Wilson’s book, Inverting the Pyramid (and the other books he has written).
Read the analysis on The Guardian website.
We’re the C**** in your Jungle (@KingstonRoadEnd)
From the Premier League to non-league (as is the ATP way), we drop all the way down to Step 3, where big spending Billericay Town (and controversial owner/manager Glenn Tamplin) took on Kingstonian in Essex. Tamplin has attracted ridicule with his team talks on twitter, his changing room murals and his outspoken attitude, but he has also attracted a handful of ex-Premier League stars. His first act as owner was to sack respected manager Craig Edwards, who has found his way into the Kingstonian dugout, just to give this a little added spice. It’s an entertaining read.
Get into the Billericay jungle at the Kingston Road End blog.