Barcelona 1-1 Atletico: a predictable pattern, and two great goals

April 5, 2014
Barcelona 1-1 Atletico: a predictable pattern, and two great goals

Atletico and Barcelona played out their fourth draw of the 2013/14 campaign – with two crucial meetings still to come…

Tato Martino selected his expected side for this match: his ‘big game’ shape with Cesc Fabregas in midfield, Andres Iniesta out on the left and Neymar on the right. Gerard Pique didn’t last the first half, and was replaced by Marc Bartra.

Diego Simeone also named his expected side, and Atletico also suffered from an injury. Diego Costa was doubtful before the game and pulled up midway through the first half. He was replaced by Brazilian playmaker Diego, who played behind David Villa.

The first half was slow and cautious, the second much more intense – but the overriding feeling was that these two sides knew each other too well, and the tactical battle was rather familiar. It was more notable for minor points of interest, rather than the overall pattern – which was entirely as expected. Read more »

Manchester United 1-1 Bayern Munich: Welbeck causes problems upfront but Bayern attack down the right

April 4, 2014
Manchester United 1-1 Bayern Munich: Welbeck causes problems upfront but Bayern attack down the right

Bayern started as overwhelming favourites and dominated for the majority of the game, but Manchester United caused problems and weren’t flattered by a draw.

David Moyes had both first-choice full-backs out, so Phil Jones and Alexander Buttner played in those positions. Further forward, Moyes picked Ryan Giggs after his excellent game against Olympiakos in the previous round. Juan Mata is cup-tied.

Pep Guardiola was without Dante so Javi Martinez played at the back. Mario Gotze was only on the bench, as was Mario Mandzukic – Thomas Muller led the line.

Bayern had lots of possession, but didn’t create better goalscoring opportunities than Manchester United. Read more »

Arsenal 1-1 Manchester City: all the attacking down the same flank

April 1, 2014
Arsenal 1-1 Manchester City: all the attacking down the same flank

Arsenal and Manchester City played out an enjoyable 1-1 draw.

Arsene Wenger was still without Laurent Koscielny and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain had a knock, so Thomas Vermaelen continued at the back and Lukas Podolski returned to the side.

Manuel Pellegrini’s Manchester City side were unchanged from the side that won convincingly at Old Trafford in midweek.

City started well and took the game to Arsenal, but the home side responded and looked more likely to score at 1-1. Read more »

Manchester United 0-3 Manchester City: United forced to change shape within ten minutes

March 26, 2014
Manchester United 0-3 Manchester City: United forced to change shape within ten minutes

Manchester City recorded a comfortable victory over Manchester United at Old Trafford.

David Moyes named Marouane Fellaini, Michael Carrick and Tom Cleverley in the same team for the first time, with Danny Welbeck returning to the side. Rio Ferdinand was fit enough to return at the back.

Manuel Pellegrini went for Edin Dzeko ahead of Alvaro Negredo, and Gael Clichy ahead of Aleksandar Kolarov.

City started brilliantly, and probably should have won the game within the first 25 minutes. Read more »