Bayern 1-0 Lyon: Unremarkable game, fair result

April 21, 2010
Bayern 1-0 Lyon: Unremarkable game, fair result

Some unfavourable games for the goal-loving neutral can turn out to be the most interesting for the tactical enthusiast. Sadly, this wasn’t really the case tonight, as a toothless Lyon went down to a relatively subdued Bayern in a muted contest. Read more »

Bayern Munich v Lyon: tactical preview

April 21, 2010
Bayern Munich v Lyon: tactical preview

We haven’t had a German side in the Champions League semi-finalist since 2001/02, we haven’t had a French one since 2003/04. Both Leverkusen and Monaco went onto lose in the final, and it’s fair to say that whoever progresses from this tie will be expected to do the same. Read more »

Inter 3-1 Barcelona: Why did Pep Guardiola play Zlatan Ibrahimovic?

April 20, 2010
Inter 3-1 Barcelona: Why did Pep Guardiola play Zlatan Ibrahimovic?

It’s not often during his two seasons as Barcelona manager that you can conclusively say that Pep Guardiola got his tactics wrong – but tonight that was the case, as Inter take an important two-goal lead to the Nou Camp. Read more »

Inter v Barcelona: passing statistics

April 20, 2010
Inter v Barcelona: passing statistics

Even taking into account the fact that it’s Barcelona we’re dealing with, these passing statistics really are quite incredible. Read more »

Inter v Barcelona: tactical preview

April 19, 2010
Inter v Barcelona: tactical preview

Many have commented that, in an ideal world, this may have been the final of the competition. Barcelona and Inter are generally considered to be the strongest two sides left in the Champions League – and of course, they are also the only two actual champions left. Read more »

Lazio 1-2 Roma: Ranieri gets his starting line-up wrong, but fixes it at half-time

April 19, 2010
Lazio 1-2 Roma: Ranieri gets his starting line-up wrong, but fixes it at half-time

Claudio Ranieri is a manager renowned for his surprise (and slightly baffling substitutions) – even being nicknamed ‘the tinkerman’ as a result. When he gets to the end of his career, however, he may well look at his substitutions in this Rome Derby as the most important of his career. Read more »

Real Madrid 2-0 Valencia: Real win the midfield battle

April 18, 2010
Real Madrid 2-0 Valencia: Real win the midfield battle

In the end, this was a routine win for Real, and the scoreline doesn’t really reflect their dominance.  As if the gap between Spain’s top two and the rest needed to be outlined any further, the difference between Real (2nd) and Valencia (3rd) is now an incredible 24 points. Read more »

Man City 0-1 Man Utd: Paul Scholes – he scores goals

April 17, 2010
Man City 0-1 Man Utd: Paul Scholes – he scores goals

They say that football is great because it is so unpredictable, but there’s little in football more predictable than a stoppage time Manchester United winner in a title run-in. It wouldn’t be a Premiership season without one. Read more »

Tottenham 2-1 Chelsea: Spurs better in defence, midfield and attack

April 17, 2010
Tottenham 2-1 Chelsea: Spurs better in defence, midfield and attack

Sam Allardyce recently said that 4-4-2 is ineffective at at the highest level, and therefore is now irrelevant to the Premiership. The traditionalists will be delighted, therefore, that Tottenham have managed to beat two of the top three sides in the division within four days – by playing a 4-4-2. Read more »

Inter 2-0 Juventus: I Nerazzurri rely on a sending-off and a wonderstrike

April 17, 2010
Inter 2-0 Juventus: I Nerazzurri rely on a sending-off and a wonderstrike

Inter emerge victorious, but it was far from easy. A surprising system from Alberto Zaccheroni flummoxed Inter, and it took a combination of Momo Sissoko’s madness and Maicon’s brilliance to give Inter the crucial three points. Read more »

Zenit 1-0 Lokomotiv: superior wing play proves decisive

April 16, 2010
Zenit 1-0 Lokomotiv: superior wing play proves decisive

A game that was simultaneously open and cagey – the midfields were free to roam in the wide open spaces with both defences playing deep, and yet neither side wanted to take charge of the game. Read more »

Tottenham 2-1 Arsenal: Spurs defend deep, narrow – and brilliantly

April 15, 2010
Tottenham 2-1 Arsenal: Spurs defend deep, narrow – and brilliantly

Tottenham record their first league win over Arsenal for a decade, and simultaneously rule Arsenal out of the title race. Arsene Wenger’s side have been written off on at least two previous occasions, but this, surely, is the end of the road. Read more »

Benfica 2-0 Sporting: the side who actually tried to score eventually did

April 15, 2010
Benfica 2-0 Sporting: the side who actually tried to score eventually did

For a contest that is often amongst the most exciting derbies in Europe, Sporting and Benfica have produced two really dull games this season. Benfica won this one because they offered some form of attacking threat. Sporting didn’t. Read more »

Fiorentina 0-1 Inter: Eto’o wins the tie, then Inter go ultra-defensive

April 14, 2010
Fiorentina 0-1 Inter: Eto’o wins the tie, then Inter go ultra-defensive

When two teams play each other twice in quick succession, the second game is often boring and predictable – so the fact that there were eleven changes between the sides from the weekend’s line-ups was a welcome surprise. Read more »

Bolton’s only problem against Chelsea – they didn’t test Cech

April 13, 2010
Bolton’s only problem against Chelsea – they didn’t test Cech

A tremendous performance from Bolton tonight at Stamford Bridge in defence and midfield – they kept both Drogba and Anelka largely quiet aside from the goal, and Ricketts and Muamba battled brilliantly in the centre against Lampard and Ballack. Read more »

Leverkusen 1-1 Bayern: The home side dominate, but miss too many chances

April 13, 2010
Leverkusen 1-1 Bayern: The home side dominate, but miss too many chances

An enjoyable game that Leverkusen should have won, and ultimately it was a terrific weekend for Bayern – with Schalke suffering a surprise defeat, Bayern are now two points ahead of Schalke and six ahead of Leverkusen, with four games to play. Read more »

Real Madrid 0-2 Barcelona: Xavi runs the show yet again

April 11, 2010
Real Madrid 0-2 Barcelona: Xavi runs the show yet again

The most eagerly-anticipated league match of the 2009/10 season, and a comprehensive, deserved win for Barcelona, who will now surely go on to win the title for the second consecutive season. Read more »

Fiorentina 2-2 Inter: The same goal three times, and a good result for neither

April 11, 2010
Fiorentina 2-2 Inter: The same goal three times, and a good result for neither

An exciting game that finished with a deserved point for either side, but it is a result that isn’t of much help to either at the moment – Fiorentina’s vague Champions League hopes are almost dead, whilst Inter are off the top of the table for the first time in months. Read more »

Rory Delap – a throw-in taker first, a footballer second

April 11, 2010
Rory Delap – a throw-in taker first, a footballer second

We all know that Rory Delap has a rather long throw, but the statistics from Sunday’s game against Wolves demonstrate quite how much of his game revolves around the taking of throws:
Read more »

Thomas Vermaelen’s poor positioning keeps costing Arsenal cheap goals

April 9, 2010
Thomas Vermaelen’s poor positioning keeps costing Arsenal cheap goals

There’s little doubt that Thomas Vermalen has been a good signing for Arsenal. Lacking a top-class centre-back last year, Arsene Wenger did brilliantly to dispose of Kolo Toure and bring in the Belgian – and made a profit by doing so. Read more »

Manchester United 3-2 Bayern Munich: Arjen Robben does it again

April 7, 2010
Manchester United 3-2 Bayern Munich: Arjen Robben does it again

Bayern do it again. Their victory in the last round against Fiorentina featured a last-minute goal at home to win the first leg 2-1, and then a 2-3 defeat away from home, with a brilliant Arjen Robben ‘winner’ near the end. It seemed inevitable when Bayern pulled a goal back before half-time that the same would happen here. Read more »

Barcelona 4-1 Arsenal: Messi dominates the game, but Arsenal let him

April 6, 2010
Barcelona 4-1 Arsenal: Messi dominates the game, but Arsenal let him

If there was any remaining doubt that Lionel Messi is the greatest football player of his generation, they were erased tonight, as Barcelona got the better of Arsenal in the much-hyped battle of the teams playing football ‘the right way’. Arsenal didn’t lose this match tactically, but they didn’t help themselves. Read more »

Barcelona v Arsenal: passing statistics

April 6, 2010
Barcelona v Arsenal: passing statistics

No surprises for guessing that Barcelona again saw more of the ball in the game at the Nou Camp – it’s doubtful any side will visit there this season and see more possession. Read more »

Schalke 1-2 Bayern Munich – visitors triumph despite early dismissal

April 5, 2010
Schalke 1-2 Bayern Munich – visitors triumph despite early dismissal

A game as tight, tense and nervy as you’d expect from a 1st v 2nd clash – Bayern emerge from it on top, despite playing for 50 minutes with ten men after having Hamit Altintop dismissed. Read more »

Manchester United 1-2 Chelsea: Ancelotti gets it right with his strikers

April 3, 2010
Manchester United 1-2 Chelsea: Ancelotti gets it right with his strikers

A tight game that was won the better side. United looked tired after their midweek game in Munich – Chelsea were fresher, brighter and created more goalscoring opportunities. They are now in the driving seat. Read more »

Chelsea’s victory over Manchester United – Chalkboard analysis

April 3, 2010

An exciting, crucial game at Old Trafford resulted in a deserved 1-2 win for Chelsea. The tactical battle throughout the game was quite subdued – both sides set up as expected once we had the team sheets, and the only real change was when United pushed forward late on. Read more »

Benfica 2-1 Liverpool: Benfica scrap to a victory, but it should have been more resounding

April 2, 2010
Benfica 2-1 Liverpool: Benfica scrap to a victory, but it should have been more resounding

A decent game for the neutral tonight, but fairly underwhelming from a tactical point of view. Both sides played as expected, the result was no surprise, and all the goals came from defensive mistakes rather than attacking brilliance. Read more »

Arsenal 2-2 Barcelona: Wenger’s side utterly outclassed, but rescue a draw

March 31, 2010
Arsenal 2-2 Barcelona: Wenger’s side utterly outclassed, but rescue a draw

A crazy game of football to watch, a difficult one to analyse. Two open, attacking sides produced a wonderful game for the neutral, but one that will probably leave both managers absolutely fuming – Wenger because his side were awful and conceded poor goals, Guardiola because his side threw away a 0-2 lead. Read more »

Arsenal v Barcelona: passing statistics

March 31, 2010
Arsenal v Barcelona: passing statistics

We were told constantly before the game that Arsenal against Barcelona was a clash of two sides who play football ‘the right way’ – short, quick passes from excellent technical players comfortable in possession. And that proved to be correct, although this graph shows a stark contrast between the sides. Read more »

Bayern 2-1 Manchester Utd: Ferguson loses the game with a strange substitution

March 30, 2010
Bayern 2-1 Manchester Utd: Ferguson loses the game with a strange substitution

How on earth did Manchester United manage to lose this game? On top after twenty seconds of playing time, Rooney causing the Bayern centre-backs no end of trouble, and a spare man in the centre of the pitch, it really is quite remarkable that Bayern will go to Old Trafford with the advantage. Sir Alex Ferguson has been constantly praised on ZM for his tactics so far this season, but he might have to take the blame here. Read more »

Teams of the Decade #1: Greece, Euro 2004

March 29, 2010
Teams of the Decade #1: Greece, Euro 2004

This Greek side achieved perhaps the most astonishing thing in the history of international football. There have been one-off shocks, games that went against the favourites because of a particular set of circumstances. USA 1-0 England in 1950. Senegal 1-0 France in 2002. But those things can happen; shocks in football happen because it’s such a low-scoring game, and dominance doesn’t always equal goals. Read more »