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Manchester City 1-3 Leicester: early goal allows Leicester to play on the break

February 10, 2016
Manchester City 1-3 Leicester: early goal allows Leicester to play on the break

Leicester’s incredible season continues – they’re now five points clear at the top of the Premier League after this convincing victory.

Manuel Pellegrini’s most interesting selections were down his left flank. Fabian Delph was fielded in a narrow left-sided role, as he was for the 2-1 defeat to Arsenal shortly before Christmas, while Pellegrini also selected his more attack-minded left-back, Aleksandar Kolarov. This was likely to be a key zone considering Riyad Mahrez plays on that side and Jamie Vardy often drifts towards the inside-right channel. Pablo Zabaleta started over Bacary Sagna on the opposite side.

Claudio Ranieri rarely rotates his side – this was the fourth consecutive game he’d deployed this XI from the start.

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Barcelona 2-1 Atletico Madrid: Busquets drops back to help Barcelona gain control

February 3, 2016
Barcelona 2-1 Atletico Madrid: Busquets drops back to help Barcelona gain control

Atletico started strongly, but a tactical switch helped Barcelona exert their authority.

Luis Enrique named his expected line-up – essentially his strongest starting XI. Arda Turan was on the bench, for his first meeting against his former side.

Diego Simeone named Yannick Carrasco in a support striker role, close to Antoine Griezmann, while Jose Giminez was recalled alongside compatriot Diego Godin. Read more »

Arsenal 2-1 Manchester City: Ozil assists put Arsenal in charge

December 23, 2015
Arsenal 2-1 Manchester City: Ozil assists put Arsenal in charge

Goals from Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud won the game, and Arsenal move four points clear of Manchester City.

Arsene Wenger named an unchanged side, the XI he’s depended upon in recent weeks because of injury problems. Alexis Sanchez wasn’t fit enough to make the squad.

Manuel Pellegrini welcomed back Sergio Aguero from injury – although, as always with the Argentine, he looked badly short of sharpness in his first game back. Pellegrini handed a start to Fabian Delph, who was surprisingly named in a narrow left-sided role, rather than as conventional central midfielder with Yaya Toure pushing forward, as one might have expected. Raheem Sterling was therefore only a substitute.

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Real Madrid 0-4 Barcelona: Real disorganisation allows Barca to run riot

November 24, 2015
Real Madrid 0-4 Barcelona: Real disorganisation allows Barca to run riot

Barcelona recorded an absurdly comprehensive victory at the Bernabeu, outplaying Real in midfield and cutting through their defence regularly.

Rafael Benitez chose a 4-2-3-1 system rather than the 4-3-3 he’s played in recent weeks, effectively omitting holding midfielder Casemeiro in order to accommodate his star attacking players. At the back, Raphael Varane and Marcelo returned in place of Pepe and Nacho.

Luis Enrique had fitness doubts over two players – Ivan Rakitic and Lionel Messi. Rakitic was declared fit to start, but Messi’s return from injury had to wait – he was a substitute, with Sergi Roberto starting on the right instead. Javier Mascherano started alongside Gerard Pique but limped off midway through the first half, replaced by Jeremy Mathieu.

Real started this game reasonably well and arguably dominated the first 10 minutes. Once Barcelona took the lead, however, it was one-way traffic.

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