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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 »

Arsenal 1-1 Everton: Everton passing impresses but Arsenal offer more pentration

December 9, 2013
Arsenal 1-1 Everton: Everton passing impresses but Arsenal offer more pentration

Arsenal extended their lead at the top, while Everton extended the Premier League’s longest unbeaten run. Arsene Wenger was still without Bacary Sagna, so Carl Jenkinson played instead, while Theo Walcott was still on the bench. Roberto Martinez named an unchanged XI from the side that recorded a famous victory at Old Trafford in midweek. Everton were...
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Posted in England | 36 Comments »