Through Ryu’s Lens - Champions League - Chelsea vs. Valencia, Stamford Bridge

Click pictures to enlarge. Japanese photographer Ryu Voelkel has teamed up with AFR and he will be featuring photos exclusively to our site on a regular basis. Learn about Ryu and his art in our interview with him from last year (embedded below), and be sure to check out his personal website.

You can also follow Ryu on twitter @Toksuede

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What are the Implications of Early La Liga Kickoffs?

By Tanuj Lakhina, writing from Delhi

Real Madrid played Osasuna at 12 pm (Madrid time) last Sunday at the Santiago Bernabeu. It was an easy and convincing win for the Merengues as they beat their opponents 7-1 with Cristiano Ronaldo bagging yet another hat-trick.

The early kickoff is a concept introduced by Liga de Futbol Profesional (LFP) to compete with the English Premier League and gain some more eyeballs in South East Asia and far East Asia, where the Premiership attracts far more attention. Rayo Vallecano played host to Espanyol in the first week at 12 PM, Betis hosted Vallecano at 12 PM the next week, Gijon played Bilbao at 12 PM on 30th October and now one of the big clubs played early on.

While this early kick off may have been a problem for viewers and fans in North America for whom it would have been early morning, it was the perfect setting for fans in countries like Indonesia, China and Japan who otherwise are accustomed to setting alarms for ungodly hours in the middle of the night to see their favourite teams and stars like Andres Iniesta in action.

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A Supportive Saturday Afternoon

The texture of passion often lacks definition. However, when loyalty befriends sheer strength in numbers, clarity arises. 64,121 people showed up to Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts to see the United States Men’s National Team play Spain on Saturday, June 4th. Some supported Spain, some supported the United States. 

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Melbourne Victory vs Celtic x Time Lapse and Tilt Shift Photography

On the 13th of July, photographer Joe Armao and Video journalist Dave Pavlich teamed up to capture the summer friendly between the Melbourne Victory and Celtic at AAMI Park Melbourne. The result is phenomenal. The two blended their respective artistic talents together and, as a result, created some stunning sequences and fascinating shots. Really, what’s not to love?

An(other) enquiry into our ideas of Wenger and his Arsenal

By Darshan Joshi, writing from Sydney

Yet another one of these articles relating to Arsenal – as the very thought of this waltzed into my mind, I recalled the dozens of essays, columns, features pertaining to Arsene Wenger’s seemingly ageless boys. This time though, there’s a wildcard with regards to the looming, possibly illuminating presence of Stan Kroenke. No longer will the self-righteous ‘we-aren’t-owned-by-foreigners’ tune be trumpeted in the faces of the Gunners’ rival fans. Still, though, what would it all actually mean for this side who, for so long now, have found themselves in a sticky quagmire of trophyless mediocrity?

Wenger has always maintained that the availability of funds was never an issue. Or the lack of it, maybe. The future has taken amaranthine precedence over the present; the years go by and yet, by some shamanistic power, Arsenal’s starting XI has its average age spiralling downwards. Blogs, messageboards, Twitter, and the rest of cyberspace has seen fans, speculators and journalists contemplate and ponder over the main issues with Arsene’s model. It’s natural. Humans are an inquisitive race; the desire to know the psychological breakdown of Wenger’s mind and the thought processes that embody his very being hold unequivocally. In the way his accent hasn’t lost its French tincture, his philosophy has been maintained throughout his regime, from Highbury to the Emirates. Arsene Wenger is Arsenal; the squad, the setup. Remove him, and it self-destructs like a supernova.

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