Champions League Chalkboards, matchday four

November 5, 2010

This week’s analysis of all 16 Champions League games, courtesy of the excellent TotalFootball iPhone app.

Group A

Tottenham 3-1 Inter

No question of the main story in Spurs’ 3-1 win over the European Champions. Gareth Bale destroyed Maicon, causing havoc all night and providing two assists in the second. The Chalkboard demonstrates both Maicon’s torrid evening – one out of seven tackles successful, and the similarity of Bale’s two assists, one for Peter Crouch and one for Roman Pavlyuchenko.

Werder Bremen 0-2 Twente

There was an interesting pattern to Bremen’s crossing in this game – the left-wing crosses all arrived from deep positions, whilst right-wing crosses were played in from level with the penalty box.

Group B

Benfica 4-3 Lyon

Carlos Martins was not guaranteed of a place in the Benfica side last season, but the departure of Angel Di Maria and Ramires, and the slow start of Silvio and Nicolas Gaitan have helped him become a key figure in the side. His performance against Lyon was incredible, assisting all four goals to put Benfica 4-0 up. The late collapse occurred after he had departed.

Hapoel Tel-Aviv 0-0 Schakle

The Chalkboard here shows how reliant Schalke are on their right side for balls into the box, with the midfielders playing the ball out towards Jefferson Farfan at every opportunity. 17 of the 22 crosses were played from the right.

Group C

Valencia 3-0 Rangers

Rangers were always going to see less of the ball at the Mestalla, but they weren’t good enough when not in possession. They completed just 11 of 33 attempted tackles in their own half.

Bursaspor 0-3 Manchester United

The Turkish Champions were guilty of trying too much in this defeat, which confirmed their exit from the competition. Too often they tried dribbles in the opposition half and gave the ball away – only 6 from 19 were successful.

Group D

Copenhagen 1-1 Barcelona

Barcelona may have failed to win in Denmark, but Xavi’s passing Chalkboard is still a thing of beauty. 98 from 103 passes completed – the only time he plays an unsuccessful pass is when trying to play the killer ball in the final third.

Rubin Kazan 0-0 Panathinaikos

A second goalless draw between these sides was characterized by poor final balls. Rubin left-back Cristian Ansaldi was one of the guilty players – being unsuccessful with every difficult pass he attempted in the final third.

Group E

Basel 2-3 Roma

A strange contrast in the shooting between these two sides – Roma triumphed despite having 20 fewer shots.

Cluj 0-4 Bayern

Mario Gomez recorded a hattrick in Bayern’s impressive win. He had four chances, put all four on target, and found the net with three.

Group F

Chelsea 4-1 Spartak

Chelsea took a while to get going in this fixture – without Florent Malouda and Frank Lampard they missed a link between midfield and attack. A lot of long balls were hit towards Didier Drogba – the Chalkboard of his received passes demonstrates how many were longer passes. One of these resulted in Drogba going into the box and winning a penalty which he converted.

Zilina 0-7 Marseille

A crazy scoreline and a crazy shooting Chalkboard. Zilina failed to get a single shot on target from 12 attempts, whilst Marseille had eleven shots on target, and seven goals.

Group G

Auxerre 2-1 Ajax

Auxerre kept their Champions League campaign alive with a crucial win over Ajax. The French side lack real technical quality in the final third, but they are one of the most disciplined teams in the competition. This shows how organised their defensive performance was, with almost all the interceptions midway in their own half, 25-35 yards from goal.

Milan 2-2 Real Madrid

The battle of the World Cup-winning deep-lying playmakers, Andrea Pirlo v Xabi Alonso. Real used Mesut Oezil to track Pirlo, whilst Milan didn’t have a central attacking midfielder, giving Alonso time and space on the ball. Consequently, Alonso completed over twice as many passes as Pirlo, and Real had the better of the game.

Group H

Braga 1-0 Partizan Belgrade

After seeming one of the weakest sides in the competition after two games, two wins from the subsequent two means Braga now have a chance of qualification. Their defensive display and 1-0 win was more reminiscent of last season’s form when they took the league to the final day – 14 out of 17 attempted tackles were successful.

Shakhtar 2-1 Arsenal

Andriy Pyatov was forced into seven saves after Theo Walcott’s opener, but Arsenal made life easy for him – all of the seven shots were straight at the Shakhtar goalkeeper.

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