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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Why ‘Suitcases’ Should be Left on the Plane

By Jake Allingan

The match fixing scandal which has embroiled Italy for years has been well documented – it could be argued that this is the main factor for Serie A’s plummet in reputation. Allegedly, one of the reasons Robin van Persie declined an offer to join Juventus was because of the much maligned saga which has cost teams far more than just money and points.

However, it appears the line between fixing games and offering bonuses has become blurred, with many people feeling they are justified to wade into the treacherous waters which house bribery without facing any consequences; in their opinion, what they are doing breaks no rules, has nothing immoral surrounding it.

Swansea manager Michael Laudrup hit headlines when he said: “If Swansea play the last game against a team and a third team pays Swansea to win the game, I really don’t see anything bad about that.”

What he talks about are known as ‘suitcases’, a payment from a third party which provides an incentive for a team to win a game that would ordinarily be a nothing match to them.

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Hindsight is a wonderful, terrible thing for Villarreal.

By Jake Allingan and Conor Murphy

In the 2010/11 season, Villarreal earned themselves Champions League football, taking their previous ability to move the ball seamlessly to a new degree; it was swiftly shifted from side to side, around many a helpless opposition team. Many looked on and said: ‘this is the team that can break the big two,’ and they were right. But, as is so often is the case in football, things never happen as they should, and Villarreal’s potential to topple the monopoly evaporated in front of our eyes. 

In the 2011/12 season, they earned themselves Segunda Division football. The cruelest part of this broken fairy-tale is that it was all avoidable.

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