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England

Manchester United 2-1 Liverpool: a contest about the small details

March 21, 2010
Manchester United 2-1 Liverpool: a contest about the small details

No major tactical surprises here, and no surprise outcome either. Ferguson’s default line-up for these ‘big’ games is a flexible 4-5-1 shape (which means no Dimitar Berbatov) whilst Benitez was always going to go with Lucas ahead of Alberto Aquilani for a more solid midfield away at Old Trafford.
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Arsenal 2-0 West Ham: Zola brave for going with a 4-4-2, but foolish for sticking to it

March 20, 2010
Arsenal 2-0 West Ham: Zola brave for going with a 4-4-2, but foolish for sticking to it

You have to admire Gianfranco Zola for going to the Emirates and playing a 4-4-2. Without his two best players, Scott Parker and Carlton Cole, it would have been tempting to do what most sides do when they play Arsenal away – go 4-5-1 and try and hit Arsenal on the counter.
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Arsenal 2-0 Sunderland – an ambitious approach from Steve Bruce that almost came off

February 21, 2010
Arsenal 2-0 Sunderland – an ambitious approach from Steve Bruce that almost came off

An interesting match-up today at the Emirates. Arsenal continue to deploy Cesc Fabregas in a very advanced role behind the frontman, with the wingers slightly deeper than they played in the clear 4-3-3 shape at the start of the campaign. Sunderland came with an extremely adventurous 4-3-3 shape, with three genuine strikers, and with...
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Arsenal 1-0 Liverpool – Wenger’s slight midfield shift wins him the game

February 10, 2010
Arsenal 1-0 Liverpool – Wenger’s slight midfield shift wins him the game

The problem in the first half here was to do with mentality. Both sides were happy with keeping it tight, and in their respective situations it’s not hard to see why. Arsenal, having been thrashed by both Chelsea and Manchester United in their past two games, were content to prevent a whitewash. Liverpool, on...
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Liverpool’s “two banks of four” works well against ten men

February 10, 2010
Liverpool’s “two banks of four” works well against ten men

A couple of weeks ago we detailed how Jose Mourinho’s Inter side played brilliantly after going down to ten men against Milan’s 4-3-3 system, keeping two players upfront but asking them to work the channels, thereby occupying the whole of a four-man defence, matching a three-man midfield, and having a spare man at the...
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