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Open Thread: May 30, 2021

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Our Sunday issue of the Daily Merengue.

Manchester City v Paris Saint-Germain - UEFA Champions League Semi Final: Leg Two Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

The Open Thread/Daily Merengue is a place where you can discuss anything and everything related to football. Feel free to discuss the topics presented here, or start your very own discussions! The Open thread will be posted every day by one of the mods: Valyrian Steel, Felipejack, YoSnail, Ezek Ix or NeRObutBlanco.

Congratulations to Chelsea FC and to Mateo Kovačić on the UCL victory

They were clearly the better team today. It’s quite impressive what Thomas Tuchel has accomplished, particularly given that Chelsea started the season under Frank Lampard.

N’Golo Kanté was the best player on the pitch:

This defeat must be anguish for Pep Guardiola, looking at the cost of his starting lineup:

The latest on Madrid’s new manager

Via Infinite Madrid:

From Madrid Xtra.:

Managing Madrid reading recommendation

With the subject of the sporting director role coming to the fore lately, it seems worthwhile to check out a book about the inner workings of the club that has been recommended by former Managing Madrid editor Gabe Lezra and by our own Kiyan Sobhani. This post is from 2016 but the subject matter remains relevant.

The Real Madrid Way: How Values Created the Most Successful Sports Team on the Planet

Statistics are kept on injuries. Soccer has a relatively high injury incidence (seventeen to twenty-four injuries per 1,000 playing hours) compared with many other sports.177 According to the UEFA Elite Club Injury Study 2013–14 season report examining twenty-nine teams: on average, teams had 213 training sessions (19.7 per month) and fifty-nine games (5.5 per month) over an almost eleven-month season, and “on average, across all clubs, each player missed 2.2 training sessions and 0.6 matches each month because of injury.”178 Professors Nader Rahnama, Thomas Reilly, and Adrian Lees published a paper in February 2002 in the British Journal of Sports Medicine that analyzed the injury risk associated with soccer games from the English Premier League from 1999–2000. They concluded that “playing actions with high injury risk were linked to contesting possession. Injury risk was highest in the first and last fifteen minutes of the game, reflecting the intense engagements in the opening period and the possible effect of fatigue in the closing period. Injury risk was concentrated in the areas of the pitch where possession of the ball is most vigorously contested, which were specific attacking and defending zones close to the goal.”179 The highest risk of injury is in the second half and in the last fifteen minutes of the game. This is most likely why some coaches prefer to substitute players at the end of games when leading. However, the Real Madrid community typically doesn’t like to see substitutions of star players.

Despite widespread belief that Real Madrid has more than its share of injuries, according to official reports, over the last few seasons the club is generally average with top contenders for the Champions League trophy in the main injury parameters, namely incidence, burden, and players’ availability. Obviously, it is not just the number of injuries that matters but which player(s) and the quality and availability of the replacement(s) that also matter. This is particularly true if a team doesn’t rely on a consistent system that players are familiar with and instead relies more on improvisation required with familiarity of the other players, which is mostly true for Real Madrid.

Any other football book recommendations — better still ones relating to Real Madrid — would be welcome.