Atletico Madrid 0-0 Chelsea: Atletico unable to successfully adapt against defensive opposition

April 23, 2014
Atletico Madrid 0-0 Chelsea: Atletico unable to successfully adapt against defensive opposition

Atletico Madrid and Chelsea played out a very cautious first leg.

Arda Turan was only fit enough for the bench, while Diego Simeone chose Diego rather than David Villa as Diego Costa’s partner.

Jose Mourinho selected a defensive-minded 4-1-4-1 system. Branislav Ivanovic was suspended, so Cesar Azpilicueta switched flanks and Ashley Cole made a rare start at left-back.

Chelsea’s defensive approach was obvious from the outset, and Atletico dominated possession. There were few genuinely interesting features of the game and no real progression to the tactical battle. Read more »

Real Madrid 2-1 Barcelona: Bale shines in Ancelotti’s counter-attacking 4-4-2

April 17, 2014
Real Madrid 2-1 Barcelona: Bale shines in Ancelotti’s counter-attacking 4-4-2

Gareth Bale scored a sublime late winner to win the Copa del Rey.

Carlo Ancelotti was without Cristiano Ronaldo, which meant Isco coming into the side. He also used Iker Casillas, his cup goalkeeper.

Tata Martino returned to the system he favoured in the Champions League matches against Atletico, with Andres Iniesta on the left and Cesc Fabregas in midfield. Neymar was given another chance.

Real played an extremely reactive, counter-attacking system, and were forced to withstand long periods of pressure – but they created better chances on the break. Read more »

Liverpool 3-2 Manchester City: Liverpool start superbly, City respond after the break

April 14, 2014
Liverpool 3-2 Manchester City: Liverpool start superbly, City respond after the break

Philippe Coutinho’s late goal handed Liverpool a crucial victory in a superb match.

Brendan Rodgers named his expected XI, which meant Joe Allen – often an option in big games – only on the bench.

Manuel Pellegrini played Gael Clichy ahead of Aleksandar Kolarov because of his his defensive discipline, and decided Sergio Aguero wasn’t fit enough to start the game, so continued with a 4-2-3-1 and Edin Dzeko upfront alone.

This was the classic game of two halves – Liverpool were dominant in the first period, Manchester City were superior after the break. Read more »