Tottenham 0-1 Arsenal: Arsenal grind out a win

March 17, 2014
Tottenham 0-1 Arsenal: Arsenal grind out a win

Arsenal went ahead within two minutes, then sat uncharacteristically deep for the remainder of the game.

Tim Sherwood made four changes from the side that lost to Benfica, with Nacer Chadli in the number ten role and Nabil Bentaleb returning to the side.

Arsene Wenger named his expecting starting XI, in a 4-3-3 shape with Mikel Arteta as the holding midfielder.

Spurs had plenty of possession, but failed to find an equaliser. Read more »

Milan 0-2 Juventus: Milan play well, but Juventus show ruthlessness upfront

March 7, 2014
Milan 0-2 Juventus: Milan play well, but Juventus show ruthlessness upfront

Clarence Seedorf’s Milan played extremely well – but couldn’t translate their dominance into goals.

Seedorf changed no fewer than six players, despite winning 2-0 at Sampdoria last time out. Mario Balotelli was still unavailable.

Juventus were without Arturo Vidal through suspension and Giorgio Chiellini was only fit enough for the bench, but otherwise Antonio Conte’s line-ups was as expected.

Milan were superior for long periods, but lacked combination play and reliable finishing upfront – in stark contrast to Juventus, Read more »

Atletico Madrid 2-2 Real Madrid: Atleti’s energy dominates midfield, but proves unsustainable

March 6, 2014
Atletico Madrid 2-2 Real Madrid: Atleti’s energy dominates midfield, but proves unsustainable

Despite Real’s early lead, Atletico dominated the first half – but tiredness caught up with them.

Diego Simeone decided to leave David Villa on the bench, using Raul Garcia as a number ten.

Carlo Ancelotti continued with the midfield and defence that had thrashed Schalke, but went for cautious options at full-back.

This was a standard Madrid derby: high-tempo and scrappy. Karim Benzema put Real into an early lead following a set-piece, but from then Atletico dominated. Real remain the title favourites – see online betting.

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Manchester City 3-1 Sunderland: City win the cup despite a fine Sunderland display

March 3, 2014
Manchester City 3-1 Sunderland: City win the cup despite a fine Sunderland display

Two superb goals saved the day for City, after they’d struggled to break down a well-drilled Sunderland side.

Manuel Pellegrini welcomed back Sergio Aguero, who partnered Edin Dzeko upfront. Samir Nasri was selected on the right, with Aleksandar Kolarov at left-back. Costel Pantilimon continued as the ‘cup’ goalkeeper.

Gustavo Poyet dropped striker Jozy Altidore from the squad and pushed Fabio Borini upfront, with Sebastian Larsson coming into the side, while Wes Brown returned after suspension and Lee Cattermole replaced the cup-tied Liam Bridcutt.

Sunderland’s starting approach worked nicely and they responded impressively after going 2-1 down – tactically, they deserve great credit for this performance. Read more »

Galatasaray 1-1 Chelsea: Mancini takes early action to correct his initial error

February 27, 2014
Galatasaray 1-1 Chelsea: Mancini takes early action to correct his initial error

Chelsea were completely dominant for the first half hour, but Roberto Mancini’s early substitution meant the game became more even.

Mancini surprisingly named a 4-4-2 system from the start, with Izet Hajrovic on the right flank, and Wesley Sneijder tucking inside from the left.

Jose Mourinho used Willian in the centre, two direct wide options down the flanks, and a mobile central midfield zone in the absence of cup-tied Nemanja Matic.

Chelsea should have won the game in the opening half hour, but Galatasaray fought back commendably. Read more »