Champions League chalkboards, matchday three

October 21, 2010

A new feature on ZM for Champions League weeks.

This site has long used the Guardian’s excellent Chalkboards facility to illustrate Premier League games. There is now a similar tool for analysing Champions League games, the TotalFootball iPhone app which allows real time analysis.

It also has a more specific range of options – nabling analysis of particular aspects of a game, like the passes received by a certain player, the type and distance of pass played, and passes played within the final third of the pitch.

Using that app, here is a Chalkboard for all sixteen Champions League games played this week.

Group A

Inter v Tottenham:

Gareth Bale’s superb second half hattrick saw three near-identical goals, all hit left-footed from a similar position across Julio Cesar into the far corner. These attempts were also the only three shots Tottenham had on target.

Bremen v Twente:

Almost all Werder Bremen’s crosses into the box came from their right flank, and almost all of them were unsuccessful. The main players responsible were Clemens Fritz and Aaron Hunt.

Group B:

Lyon v Benfica:

How much did Benfica miss Oscar Cardozo? The Paraguayan has nine goals in his last eleven European appearances for Benfica, but was absent for their game at Lyon, where Benfica didn’t manage a single shot on target.

Schalke v Hapoel:

There are no problems with goalscoring when Raul is in your side. He moved ahead of Pippo Inzaghi to become the all-time top scorer in European competition last night. He had four chances, all four were on target, and two ended up in the net.

Group C

Manchester United v Bursaspor:

This Chalkboard shows the passes received by Nani. Although he likes picking up the ball on the right flank around 40 yards from goal, the Chalkboard also shows how much he drifts across the pitch, receiving the ball in a variety of positions.

Rangers v Valencia:

Valencia right-back Bruno is a solid player, but against Rangers he showed a clear lack of attacking ability. Almost all of his passes were backwards or sideways, and all of his crosses were unsuccessful.

Group D

Panathinaikos v Rubin Kazan:

Without Sotoris Ninis, Sidney Govou and Sebastien Leto, Panathinaikos suffered from a lack of creativity. The Chalkboard above shows the passes that were attempted from or received within the final third of the pitch – the central area is a sea of red.

Barcelona v Copenhagen:

Javier Mascherano has had a difficult start to life at the Nou Camp, but this was an easy game for him, faced with little attacking threat from Copenhagen, and given time and space in the centre of the pitch to play passes. 80 from 84 were successful.

Group E

Bayern v Cluj

Another player who ended the night with good passing statistics was Bayern’s central midfielder Andreas Ottl. 117 from 124 was his final total – with Ottl alongside the equally reliable Bastian Schweinsteiger, Bayern completed an incredible 749 passes overall.

Roma v Basel

Basel waited for Roma to come onto them before pouncing – the majority of their interceptions took place in the final third of the pitch.

Group F

Marseille v Zilina:

In contrast, Marseille were proactive at winning the ball back and played higher up the pitch – their interceptions generally took place in the middle third of the pitch.

Spartak v Chelsea:

This chalkboard shows the passes received by Yuri Zhirkov – it is notable that for a player playing as a central midfielder, he frequently picks up the ball on his more natural left wing position.

Group G

Real Madrid v Milan:

Real were far better than Milan without the ball – compare the number of interceptions the two sides made in the central midfield area.

Ajax v Auxerre

Ajax dominated the first half against Auxerre but were second best in the second. This Chalkboard shows how their passing became more wayward.

Group H

Arsenal v Shakhtar:

Alex Song didn’t play as a pure holding player against Shakhtar – he frequently moved forward and let Jack Wilshere become the deepest central midfielder – note how many of Wilshere’s passes are played from a deeper zone than Song’s.

Braga v Partizan Belgrade:

Braga finally got off the mark in the Champions League proper. They stretched the play and played primarily in wide positions, as their passes in the final third demonstrate.

TotalFootball iPhone app

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