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Domestic

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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Posted in England | 34 Comments »

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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Posted in England | 6 Comments »

Barcelona 3-0 Valencia – a Messi masterclass, but credit to Guardiola and Henry

March 14, 2010
Barcelona 3-0 Valencia – a Messi masterclass, but credit to Guardiola and Henry

A fascinating game in terms of tactics here, because Barcelona were awful in the first half. With Zlatan Ibrahimovic suspended and Thierry Henry on the bench, the Messi-Bojan-Pedro trio looked too lightweight and one-dimensional to cause Valencia’s backline significant problems. It took a dramatic half-time change from Guardiola to turn things around.
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Posted in Spain | 34 Comments »

Roma 0-0 Milan – a lack of invention, or quality defending?

March 6, 2010
Roma 0-0 Milan – a lack of invention, or quality defending?

A frustrating game, this one. Not merely because it finished 0-0, but because it was a game where a draw was the least exciting outcome as far as the title race is concerned. Second versus third, and the big winners at the the end of the game were the leaders, Inter.
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Posted in Italy | 3 Comments »

Atletico Madrid 4-1 Valencia – Atletico eventually tire nine-man Valencia

March 1, 2010
Atletico Madrid 4-1 Valencia – Atletico eventually tire nine-man Valencia

A strange game. Atletico dominated it from the outset and yet still went behind, to a classic rapid Valencia counter-attack. They equalised through a Forlan penalty, an incident in which Marchena was dismissed, and then Atletico had an hour of football with an extra man, and yet only went ahead within the last 15...
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