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Domestic

Benfica 2-0 Porto: good midfield pressure and quick attacking from the home side

January 17, 2014
Benfica 2-0 Porto: good midfield pressure and quick attacking from the home side

Benfica went top of the league with a controlled, confident victory at the Estadio da Luz. Jorge Jesus played his usual outfield players, although in goal Artur Moraes was unavailable so back-up Jan Oblak played instead. This was Nemanja Matic’s final game before his return to Chelsea. Paolo Fonseca played Carlos Eduardo at the head of...
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Posted in Portugal | 4 Comments »

Atletico Madrid 0-0 Barcelona: different styles but similar lack of invention upfront

January 12, 2014
Atletico Madrid 0-0 Barcelona: different styles but similar lack of invention upfront

La Liga’s top of the table clash was intense and intriguing, but ultimately goalless. Diego Simeone named his expected side, with right-back Juanfran available after his suspension was overturned. Despite Lionel Messi’s return in midweek against Getafe, he wasn’t risked from the start – he joined Neymar on the bench, and Cesc Fabregas played as the...
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Posted in Spain | 24 Comments »

Juventus 3-0 Roma: Juventus sit extremely deep to prevent Roma counter-attacking

January 6, 2014
Juventus 3-0 Roma: Juventus sit extremely deep to prevent Roma counter-attacking

Juventus took a big step towards a third consecutive title with a convincing victory over their closest challengers. Antonio Conte welcomed back Andrea Pirlo in the deep playmaking position, and was able to select his first-choice starting XI. Rudi Garcia had Francesco Totti back after injury, and opted for Adem Ljajic rather than Mattia Destro in...
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Posted in Italy | 26 Comments »

Tottenham 0-5 Liverpool: Villas-Boas’ return to a high line results in him losing his job

December 16, 2013
Tottenham 0-5 Liverpool: Villas-Boas’ return to a high line results in him losing his job

Liverpool were completely dominant throughout the 90 minutes in a staggeringly one-sided game. Andre Villas-Boas selected a team very similar to the XI that drew with Manchester United recently, although injury problems at the back forced him to play Etienne Capoue out of position at centre-back, and Kyle Naughton at left-back. Brendan Rodgers named his expected...
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Posted in England | 38 Comments »

Dortmund 0-1 Leverkusen: unusual shape allows Leverkusen to dominate the centre and attack in behind

December 10, 2013
Dortmund 0-1 Leverkusen: unusual shape allows Leverkusen to dominate the centre and attack in behind

Leverkusen moved six points clear of Dortmund with a well-deserved victory. Jurgen Klopp was still without a host of defenders and Ikay Gundogan, and Marco Reus was fit enough only for the bench. Sami Hyypia made one change: Omer Toprak replaced Philipp Wollscheid in the centre of defence. Leverkusen were the better side here – more assured...
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Posted in Germany | 4 Comments »