Columnist

Vitor Sobral

Vitor commentates for SBS and works as a presenter for The World Game. His passion for European football resonates through his blogs. Follow @Vitor_TWG on Twitter.

183blog entries

Europe's two best teams right now

Chelsea and Bayern Munich are the only two teams to have so far gone undefeated in Europe’s top leagues and their impressive performances have made them the prime candidates to dethrone Real Madrid as European champion.
It is no coincidence that these two sides are led by two of football's most exquisite minds. But, like John Maynard Keynes and Friedrich von Hayek, Jose Mourinho and Josep Guardiola have differing approaches on how to achieve success....

Socceroos paying for a lack of forward planning

A glance at the history of the world's most winning football nations reveals a startling amount of astute forward planning, not to mention a fair dose of risk, is required to achieve success at the top level.
Achieving success at national team level is an immensely difficult task for any federation. Vying against scores of other nations for a continental or world title every few years means only a select few can reach the zenith of winning a major tro...

Howe at the forefront of England's football evolution

Bournemouth's ascent to the top of the Championship is proof that the winds of change are starting to blow through England's football system, thanks largely to the importation of knowledge from southern Europe.
Germany's 2014 FIFA World Cup triumph was another sign of the shifting balance of power in European football. Led by Spain, the southern part of the continent had been the dominant force at national team and club level in the past decade. The eco...

The genius of Ancelotti knows no bounds

Carlo Ancelotti may not be as audacious as some of his contemporaries but the man did deliver a master stroke that sent the football world into a spin more than a decade ago - and he continues to set the standard today.
In mid September, only a few rounds into the new season, some Real Madrid fans may have wondered if the club was heading for a repeat of the post 2002 UEFA Champions League triumph slump that engulfed the club....

Arsenal must take risks to keep up with the best

Sound economic strategy has earned Arsenal stability and admirers the world over, but for the club to maximise its potential value, it must take some greater risks in the increasingly over-inflated player market.
In a recent interview with The Guardian, the man who made sabermetrics and economic efficiency famous in baseball, Billy Beane, revealed his love for football and in particular Arsenal.  The Oakland Athletics general manager who is a master of ge...

How Manchester United is getting its groove back

Despite the defensive blunders, a shellacking to Leicester and an injury toll to rival a hospital's emergency department, Manchester United is starting to show signs the Louis van Gaal revolution is taking effect.
By round seven last season Manchester United was only a point worse-off than it is under Louis van Gaal, but the performances of the Red Devils so far this campaign are a world apart from what they produced in the David Moyes era....

The key to successful A-League expansion

Football Federation Australia chief David Gallop is right to an extent in claiming that only cities with a population of more than one million people can sustain an expansion club, but the A-League has also shown that any club wishing to be part...
A-League expansion – it is inevitable and indeed required for football in Australia and the competition to prosper in the future. In Gallop's recent 'State of the Game' speech he reiterated its importance. [sbsondemand video="330509379908"] "We o...

The malaise that is ruining Newcastle United

In recent times, football clubs with the most money to spend on players are usually those that are most successful but that rule of thumb does not equate at Newcastle United - one of the most consistent and expensive failures in top flight football.
When the authors of Soccernomics Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski analysed the correlation between the wage budgets of English Premier clubs and where they finished on the table, the results were on the whole what they expected....

Portugal teetering on the brink

A lack of long term planning has Portugal at risk of being left behind Europe's rapidly evolving top football nations.
A national team transition is a tricky course to navigate for any coach and federation. Do you take it slow bringing in the next generation and risk them not having the required international experience when the time comes? If you decide to go fo...

Swans boss Monk shedding 'ugly duckling' reputation

Gary Monk talked the talk when he was sensationally picked to replace the sacked Michael Laudrup as Swansea manager late last season. Now his undefeated team is walking the walk.
The day Swansea City made the shock announcement that highly likeable Danish manager Michael Laudrup was sacked and replaced by the inexperienced Garry Monk, many, including myself, feared the Welsh club was abandoning its philosophy....