Scythe Matters - AFR Voice Ep.37

Well, it’s been an interesting Easter weekend for David Moyes. First he was stared down by the Grim Reaper at Goodison Park, and now his sacking is confirmed. We’ll be taking a look at what’s gone wrong for the Scotsman, and who the Red Devils can turn to next.

Elsewhere in England, it’s been a big weekend for the Liverpool winning machine which took another big step towards the title, beating Norwich as Chelsea lost a home league game under Jose Mourinho for the first time in 77 games. But what will the ramifications of that result be at both the top and bottom of the table?

Then it’s off to the Continent where Chelsea will have to forget about the weekend very quickly, as they take on Atletico Madrid in the Champions League semi-finals. We’ll be previewing this game, as well as another huge one across town when Real Madrid take on Bayern Munich in the other last four tie a day later. Strap yourselves in: it’s definitely business time.

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Bad Kompany - AFR Voice Ep. 36

On this week’s show we’ll be taking a look at what could be a season-defining win for Liverpool, after they came out on top of a 3-2 Anfield thriller against Man City. Can they really win fourteen games in a row and take the league title, should an unfit Vincent Kompany have played, and what will Fergie make of all this as he sits in the Old Trafford Directors’ box?

Then it’s off to the home of this season’s surprise package in Europe – the Vicente Calderón. After booking their place in the Champions League semi-finals at Barcelona’s expense, we’ll be discussing Atlético Madrid’s modestly assembled squad, a manager that is quickly becoming one of the most highly regarded on the continent, and the use of some cutting edge technology on the touchline (although we’re not quite sure what they’re using it for, just yet).

Elsewhere, we jet off to the end of regular season play in A-League, and catch up with good friend of the show Ahmed Yussuf, who unleashes his inner Craig David to fill us in on the runners and riders in the Finals Series playoffs; as well as giving us all a lesson in geography, timezones and logistics by showing a detailed knowledge of how on earth the Asian Champions League actually works.

Then we head over to Brazil, where it’s been a bit of an up and down time for everyone’s favourite left footed powerhouse – Adriano. It looks like even scoring in the Copa Libertadores isn’t quite enough to keep your job these days…

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First Aid Football - AFR Voice Ep. 35

This week, we look at some of the most important medical matters in the game. Ben gets to grips with first aid training specifically for the football environment, and interviews the professional instructor behind a course aimed at grass-roots player. We also report on the latest study that reveals the significant problem of depression and alcohol abuse that torments an increasing proportion of football players, both current and recently retired.

On the pitch itself, we lick our lips at some very enticing Champions League quarter-final ties, asking whether Manchester United’s ‘backs-against-the-wall’ approach plays to David Moyes’ managerial strengths, how Chelsea can replicate their 2012 heroics to stage another miracle recovery, and why two thirds of the pod fancy Atlético Madrid to just edge out Barcelona at the Calderón.

In the domestic leagues we cast our eye over the latest Premier League sacking – that of Chris Hughton at Norwich City. Is the late change fully justified or is simply closing the stable door after the horse has bolted? Meanwhile across the Atlantic, we gawp and gasp at an incredible first instalment of this season’s Cascadia Cup – a chance to admire Clint Dempsey’s goal splurge and - thanks to Eric Beard's #whereisfootball Instagram snap - inadvertently discover some sensational Portland Timbers merch.

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Anfield of Dreams - AFR Voice Ep. 34

The clocks have gone forward in Europe and it can only mean one thing – in leagues across the continent, it’s business time. In England, the surprise package of the season Liverpool are now riding high at the top of the league with goals flying in from all angles, while in Spain Atletico Madrid find themselves in the peculiar position of being third favourites to take the crown despite currently being a point clear at the top of the table.

Elsewhere, MLS is now in full swing. The Honeymoon might just be over for Toronto FC, but it just keeps on going for the Columbus Crew, and there’s also a new franchise owner who’s been trying to lure a certain Brazilian across the pond via a contract clause and… social media.

If you thought things were warming up in Europe, then they’re about to hit boiling point in Australia where the play-offs are almost upon us. We’ll be discussing the possibility of a shootout between two A-League heavyweights – Alessandro Del Piero and Emile Heskey, as well as looking at the career of Harry Kewell, who’s just hung up his boots.

And then there’s the small matter of a brand new European international tournament to fill the void that often appears during a year that ends in an odd number. Could UEFA’s League of Nations be a masterstroke by Michel Platini, or a very complicated way to expel the meaningless friendly from the international arena?

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Simeone’s Dream, by Oscar Llorens[[MORE]]
Since walking through the flashes into the press conference at the Vicente Calderon in December 2011, Diego Pablo Simeone has constantly set off fireworks with Atletico Madrid as they began conquering trophies both domestically and on the European stage. This too meant that visits to the Fuente de Neptuno in an open bus with the team became far more frequent than they were before.
This season is Simeone’s first in the Champions League where they now meet AC Milan at the San Siro for the first leg of their last 16 match. How far will their dream take them?
Check out more of Oscar’s work on his Facebook Page or Tumblr. You can also follow him on Twitter @ollorens1. [Posted by Dom]

Simeone’s Dream, by Oscar Llorens

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Man City’s Empire Expands - AFR Voice Ep. 26

With Patrick from AFR Voice currently travelling through Australia, it was only right we paid an in-depth visit to football down under. Featuring an interview with Football Central AU’s Ahmed Yussuf, we discuss Manchester City’s purchase of Melbourne Heart and look at the eye-wateringly difficult group the national side have to navigate in Brazil – Spain, Holland and Chile. Gulp.

The Spanish national team itself also gets covered as we reflect on the passing of Luis Aragones – the founder of ‘tiki-taka’ football and former Spain coach who turned a group of under-achievers into a beautifully ruthless winning machine. Whilst in the Iberian Peninsula we greet the unusual site of Atletico Madrid at the top of the table and cast our eye over revamp design for the Bernabeu – a futuristic world class facility or a big silver Tupperware depending on how you look at it.

All that plus we herald Libya’s fairytale victory in the African Nations Championships and look on at Leeds United with a mixture of bemusement, fear and intrigue as they get set to be purchased by one of the most unpredictable, impatient and eccentric owners in world football.

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AFR Voice Ep. 8 - Hungry Like The Wolf

It may still be a month until Halloween, but there are already plenty of strange things going on in Europe’s top leagues at the moment. We’ll be looking at Atletico Madrid taking 3 points off their cross-town rivals as they gave Gareth Bale a home debut to forget, Man United slumping to defeat at the hands of West Brom, and we’ll discuss how Liverpool’s women’s team, who have managed to string together two wins in the last two seasons, have somehow turned things around and broken Arsenal’s dominance in the English Women’s Super League.

And the theme of early season surprises doesn’t stop there, as this week’s interview sees us chat to senior AFR writer John Ray about Roma, who a few weeks ago didn’t even have the confidence of their own fans, but are now enjoying their best start to a Serie A campaign ever. And we’ll be answering the big question on everybody’s lips – just what did Francesco Totti’s birthday cake look like?

This week’s pod cover art is courtesy of @robdavis, whose photo of the FA Cup third qualifying round tie between Margate and Dulwich Hamlet was our top #whereisfootball photo this week. Keep uploading them to Instagram – next week it could be you.

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We love Falcao, but we also love Atlético Madrid

By Jake Allingan

Prized, lethal and ruthless are three adjectives which spring to mind when asked to describe Falcao. Is he world-class? Absolutely, definitely, positively, ridiculously. Take a look at this stat for this season: he scores with roughly every third shot. Falcao provides so much for Atletico Madrid that Gerard Pique recently described the side as ‘Falcao’s team.’

However, whilst the strength which the Colombian provides his side with cannot be undervalued, it would be unfair - and arguably stupid - to flippantly disregard the talent which resides within the bowels of the Vicente Calderon stadium as nothing more than servants hurrying to meet their striker’s needs.

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Transfer Deadline Day, according to Falcao*

As clubs around Europe neurotically began a 24 hour spurt of panic-buying, Falcao led Atlético Madrid to a 4-1 rout against Chelsea and could only shake his head and laugh at the millions of pounds and euros being thrown around. He also laughed at David Luiz, because David Luiz is hilarious and spent the night doing Macaulay Culkin impressions instead of defending. Then he laughed at Branislav Ivanovic, because despite Branislav’s admirable career he would likely never spend a night with a Colombian woman. Finally, his eyes met Roman Abramovich’s after El Tigre completed his hat-trick in the European Super Cup, piercing any remnants of the oil oligarch’s soul. Roman grew unsettled in his luxury box in Monaco.

It might not be the way to move to a team that actually plays in the Champions League, but it is how to earn a VIP invitation on to the ritziest yacht owned by a Russian on the Mediterranean. Of course, Falcao disappoints Neymar (and Neymar’s yacht dreams), and he declines Roman’s invitation in the form of a silent, blink-less two-minute stare, only to be followed by a bite directly through a medal made of metal.

Don’t let anyone persuade you to think otherwise, casually scoring hat-tricks against the European Champions and smashing the hopes and dreams of oligarchs is the only way to live on transfer deadline day. [*presumably. Imagined by EB. GIFs via Josh.]

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