Earlier in the week FourFourTwo.com was able to exclusively reveal the deciding factor in Fabio CapelloÃ¢ÂÂs decision to include Jimmy Bullard in his squad for SaturdayÃ¢ÂÂs game with Andorra and Wednesday nightÃ¢ÂÂs crucial clash in Croatia.
The traditional late August start to Serie A means that itÃ¢ÂÂs back to the beach as the league closes down for the international break.Well, summer is winding down and with Italy off to Cyprus for what should be a winning start to the defence of their World Cup crown, fans up and down the country are at a loose end.Well, they are going to have to get used to it because the way things are going travelling support will become a thing of the past.Following NapoliÃ¢ÂÂs duel in the sun last Sunday, not only are the fans of the southern club banned from away games for the rest of the season, but when the action resumes next weekend no Fiorentina supporters will be allowed into the San Paolo while their AC Milan counterparts will not grace the streets of Genoa.
Like Ever Banega when his internet connection cuts out just as he has started to get going, as it were, the Spanish football fan has been left limp and lifeless by the underwhelming arrival of another international week. After just one week of thrills and spills, the league has been put on hold for a fortnight as a bunch of other sporting stuff happens elsewhere in the world.
Or, if Roger Federer can stay in good shape for Wimbledon every year, why are so many top footballers missing crucial games because of torn adductor muscles, torn cruciate ligaments or mumps?Or, to put it another way, why havenÃ¢ÂÂt the hordes of sports scientists, nutritionists, fitness gurus, osteopaths and physiotherapists that advise the big clubs, dramatically reduced the level of injuries? In 2002, a UEFA study suggests 29% of the players in Japan/Korea incurred injuries. Others, like Beckham, were struggling for match fitness before the finals started.To take one extreme: a top flight English footballer in the 1980s was notorious for his 39-pint weekends, consumed in three major binges: Saturday night, Sunday lunchtime and Sunday night. As a result, he often missed Monday training and, making up for lost time on Tuesday, often pulled a muscle or three.Today that footballer would simply not be able to function. Yet the revolution in diet and fitness that has swept across English football has not made his successors much more robust. They may, in fact, be the unfittest professional athletes on the planet.If any club has come to epitomise the scientific approach to football in England, it is Arsene WengerÃ¢ÂÂs Arsenal.