Leicester City’s Riyad Mahrez (left) and Jamie Vardy are leading their team to unprecedented heights. (Getty Images)
Evan Sally was joined by Hard Foul Sports soccer correspondent Stefan Hanley to talk English Premier League. Stefan called in from Scotland to talk about the big surprises like Leicester City, Tottenham and West Ham, the disappointments of Arsenal and Man City and the bigger disappointment of Chelsea. They also talked about the state of the US Men’s National Team and what to expect from the Champions League going forward. It was a really fun conversation that we hope you enjoy.
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After scoring in a record setting 11 straight games, Jamie Vardy is on top of the English soccer world. (Getty Images)
– Stefan Hanley
In mid-2013, Jamie Vardy was on the verge of walking away from soccer. In December 2015, he’s a Premier League record holder, England international, and this season’s top scorer.
Based on current form, you’d be forgiven for doubting there was ever a time when Vardy wasn’t on top of the world. Every game is met with grit and effort, every goal with jubilation. But it wasn’t always so. Before he broke Ruud Van Nistelrooy’s streak of 10 consecutive games with a goal, he was edging ever closer to joining a club no one wants to be in – the almost made its.
– Stefan Hanley
Chelsea’s disappointing start is one of the biggest stories of the first part of the season (ESPNFC.com)
It’s the October international break, and while all international breaks suck, this one has been particularly rotten for me. Why? Oh, just Scotland finding another innovative way of not qualifying for a major tournament. You know, the usual story.
On a happier note, the Premier League has shaken off its summer layer of dust, and the season is in full swing. To stave off the misery that comes with almost two weeks of dull, international fixtures, here’s an early grade for each BPL team, based on their season so far. Continue reading
New soccer writer Stefan Hanley will be writing about all parts of The Beautiful Game from team and player profiles to on field play and tactics. Here’s his first piece for Hard Foul Sports on how the game is changing tactically.
Lionel Messi is the perfect example of the inverted winger (Getty Images)
Soccer has changed more in the last decade than in the four that preceded it. With growing importance placed on athleticism, and the lucrative rewards that come with European qualification, the stakes have never been higher for players, coaches, owners, and of course, fans.
Gone are the days of throwing your best eleven out there and trying to score one more than the opponent. Match film, massive scouting networks, and superior tactical awareness have all contributed to a game that’s far more cerebral than it used to be. That’s a tough pill to swallow for a lot of ex-players and pundits, particularly in England, some of whom just cannot seem to accept that their coaching methods and philosophies are outdated, and in every sense, outstripped by the Continental method (which the US is beginning to implement at a grass roots level). Of course, the reaction from these dinosaurs is not to adapt, but to automatically revert to the “everyone else must be wrong” ideology.