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Euro 2016 – ZM elsewhere

June 10, 2016
Euro 2016 – ZM elsewhere

Groups D-F podcast preview (The Guardian)
The ten most important players (ESPN)
France v Romania preview (Betfair)
Seven big questions (ESPN)

Real Madrid 1-1 Atletico Madrid: Real victorious on penalties

May 30, 2016
Real Madrid 1-1 Atletico Madrid: Real victorious on penalties

Atletico Madrid started poorly – but Diego Simeone’s half-time switch put them in charge.

Zinedine Zidane named his expected starting XI. There were few selection decisions to make – Cristiano Ronaldo was doubtful but assured of his starting place, even if not 100% fit. Indeed, the more the match continued, the more it became obvious Ronaldo wasn’t playing at his physical peak.

Simeone made one selection decision of note, preferring Stefan Savic at centre-back in place of Jose Gimenez. Although Savic has played only half as much as Gimenez this season, he’s generally looked more commanding and authoritative – and, significantly, less error-prone.

Real played roughly as expected, but Atletico were surprisingly sloppy in the early stages. Read more »

Atletico Madrid 2-2 Bayern Munich (agg): Atletico progress on away goals

May 5, 2016
Atletico Madrid 2-2 Bayern Munich (agg): Atletico progress on away goals

Atletico narrowly progressed from a tight and extremely entertaining two-legged tie, as Bayern struggled to find the most suitable system for breaking down their opponents.

First leg

Diego Simeone was without star centre-back Diego Godin at the Vicente Calderon, so Stefan Savic started instead. Fernando Torres returned having served his suspension in the second leg of the quarter-final against Barcelona, and partnered Antoine Griezmann in Atletico’s compact 4-4-2 system.

Pep Guardiola surprisingly omitted Thomas Muller from his starting XI. He fielded two out-and-out wingers, Douglas Costa and Kingsley Coman, on their natural flanks to help Bayern stretch the play. Read more »

Bayern 4-2 Juventus: flexible system puts Juve in charge, but Bayern subs prompt comeback

March 18, 2016
Bayern 4-2 Juventus: flexible system puts Juve in charge, but Bayern subs prompt comeback

Bayern achieved a brilliant comeback in one of the best Champions League knockout games for many years.

Pep Guardiola was without Arjen Robben, so Douglas Costa switched to the right flank with Franck Ribery playing on the left. Xabi Alonso started in the holding role rather than Thiago, while Mehdi Benatia was at centre-back, with David Alaba on the left and Juan Bernat on the bench.

Max Allegri had major injury problems, without Claudio Marchisio and Paulo Dybala from the XI which started the first leg, and Giorgio Chiellini still out too. Alvaro Morata played upfront instead of Dybala, and Hernanes started in place of Marchisio – but the real point of interest was Juve’s overall system.

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