Champions League

Champions League

Barcelona 4-0 Stuttgart: Guardiola’s alternative shape proves successful for the second time in four days

March 17, 2010
Barcelona 4-0 Stuttgart: Guardiola’s alternative shape proves successful for the second time in four days

Fascinating that Pep Guardiola continued to use Barcelona’s ‘alternative’ system – the 4-2-4ish formation they played in the second half against Valencia at the weekend – to great effect. Zlatan Ibramimovic (banned for the weekend game) was available again, but Guardiola opted for Thierry Henry instead.
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Chelsea 0-1 Inter – a classic Mourinho victory, but no blame attached to Ancelotti

March 16, 2010
Chelsea 0-1 Inter – a classic Mourinho victory, but no blame attached to Ancelotti

This is what Jose Mourinho does. Not the prettiest victory you’ll see in this season’s Champions League, but incredibly effective. Inter reduced the game to a scrappy, stop-start battle, defended brilliantly from the front, and then pounced when Chelsea started to push forward.
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Manchester United 4-0 Milan – an efficient and comprehensive victory for Ferguson

March 10, 2010
Manchester United 4-0 Milan – an efficient and comprehensive victory for Ferguson

Another game where Sir Alex Ferguson got things spot on. To run out 7-2 winners against any side in the latter stages of the Champions League is impressive, but to do it against Milan is quite remarkable.
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Fiorentina 3-2 Bayern – Viola deal well with the wide threat, but leave themselves exposed in the centre

March 10, 2010
Fiorentina 3-2 Bayern – Viola deal well with the wide threat, but leave themselves exposed in the centre

Fiorentina are out of the competition despite Cesare Prandelli getting his tactics spot on both home and away. Bayern progress thanks to some highly questionable refereeing decisions in the first leg, and two excellent strikes in the second leg – their first defeat in 18 games.
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Arsenal 5-0 Porto – an open game favours the better side

March 9, 2010
Arsenal 5-0 Porto – an open game favours the better side

It’s difficult to summarise a match tactically when one side wins by five goals. On one hand, assessing every aspect of the game points to Arsenal getting it tactically spot on, on the other you’re left to conclude that a five-goal win comes from a superiority in pure footballing terms, not the nitty-gritty of...
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