Atletico Madrid 2-2 Bayern Munich (agg): Atletico progress on away goals

May 5, 2016
Atletico Madrid 2-2 Bayern Munich (agg): Atletico progress on away goals

Atletico narrowly progressed from a tight and extremely entertaining two-legged tie, as Bayern struggled to find the most suitable system for breaking down their opponents.

First leg

Diego Simeone was without star centre-back Diego Godin at the Vicente Calderon, so Stefan Savic started instead. Fernando Torres returned having served his suspension in the second leg of the quarter-final against Barcelona, and partnered Antoine Griezmann in Atletico’s compact 4-4-2 system.

Pep Guardiola surprisingly omitted Thomas Muller from his starting XI. He fielded two out-and-out wingers, Douglas Costa and Kingsley Coman, on their natural flanks to help Bayern stretch the play. Read more »

Bayern 4-2 Juventus: flexible system puts Juve in charge, but Bayern subs prompt comeback

March 18, 2016
Bayern 4-2 Juventus: flexible system puts Juve in charge, but Bayern subs prompt comeback

Bayern achieved a brilliant comeback in one of the best Champions League knockout games for many years.

Pep Guardiola was without Arjen Robben, so Douglas Costa switched to the right flank with Franck Ribery playing on the left. Xabi Alonso started in the holding role rather than Thiago, while Mehdi Benatia was at centre-back, with David Alaba on the left and Juan Bernat on the bench.

Max Allegri had major injury problems, without Claudio Marchisio and Paulo Dybala from the XI which started the first leg, and Giorgio Chiellini still out too. Alvaro Morata played upfront instead of Dybala, and Hernanes started in place of Marchisio – but the real point of interest was Juve’s overall system.

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Manchester City 1-3 Leicester: early goal allows Leicester to play on the break

February 10, 2016
Manchester City 1-3 Leicester: early goal allows Leicester to play on the break

Leicester’s incredible season continues – they’re now five points clear at the top of the Premier League after this convincing victory.

Manuel Pellegrini’s most interesting selections were down his left flank. Fabian Delph was fielded in a narrow left-sided role, as he was for the 2-1 defeat to Arsenal shortly before Christmas, while Pellegrini also selected his more attack-minded left-back, Aleksandar Kolarov. This was likely to be a key zone considering Riyad Mahrez plays on that side and Jamie Vardy often drifts towards the inside-right channel. Pablo Zabaleta started over Bacary Sagna on the opposite side.

Claudio Ranieri rarely rotates his side – this was the fourth consecutive game he’d deployed this XI from the start.

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Barcelona 2-1 Atletico Madrid: Busquets drops back to help Barcelona gain control

February 3, 2016
Barcelona 2-1 Atletico Madrid: Busquets drops back to help Barcelona gain control

Atletico started strongly, but a tactical switch helped Barcelona exert their authority.

Luis Enrique named his expected line-up – essentially his strongest starting XI. Arda Turan was on the bench, for his first meeting against his former side.

Diego Simeone named Yannick Carrasco in a support striker role, close to Antoine Griezmann, while Jose Giminez was recalled alongside compatriot Diego Godin. Read more »