So the most poorly-timed international break ever has drawn to a close for another year. Every time this happens, I find it incredibly aggravating that we have to halt all of the momentum from the start of the season just so a bunch of national teams that I don't really care about can play games that only occasionally matter. So we'll talk about international football a bit (just a bit!) today and after here it's full speed ahead until the match against Newcastle at the weekend. Have some links!
Jennifer Doyle, best known as @FromALeftWing, is not just an invaluable voice on women's soccer. She has a totally unique perspective, and is more thoughtful than your average "Winners and Losers of the Week" type. This piece, a riff on Audre Lorde's essay "The Master's Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master's House," is a really interesting take on the movement to reform FIFA and what it might require.
Marcus Christenson's profile of Gianluigi Buffon and the challenges he's had to overcome is really moving, since it's all too easy to forget that professional athletes are people that have to deal with a lot of the same stuff that the rest of us humans put up with on a day-to-day basis. Also, he's just a really incredible dude.
StatsBomb is probably my favourite new soccer website, because it's totally unlike every other blog I visit. And for whatever reason, I'm a lot more interested in what they have to say than WhoScored or Squawka or whatever. Anyways, this is only in here because it predicted Small Heath to go down, which is really all you need.