Chelsea 6-0 Arsenal: Chelsea’s pressing wins the game within 20 minutes

March 25, 2014
Chelsea 6-0 Arsenal: Chelsea’s pressing wins the game within 20 minutes

Jose Mourinho recorded his biggest league victory as Chelsea manager with a crushing win over Arsenal.

Mourinho continued with Samuel Eto’o upfront rather than Fernando Torres – Eto’o only lasted 10 minutes, but scored the opener. In midfield, Mourinho was without Ramires and Willian, both suspended – he left out Frank Lampard and played David Luiz in the centre of midfield alongside Nemanja Matic.

Arsene Wenger named the same side that defeated Tottenham the previous weekend.

This game was done and dusted within the first quarter – Chelsea were 3-0 up, Arsenal were one man down, and the rest of the game was simply a question how how many Chelsea would score. Read more »

Real Madrid 3-4 Barcelona: intelligent players find space in a crazily open match

March 24, 2014
Real Madrid 3-4 Barcelona: intelligent players find space in a crazily open match

Barcelona came out on top in a brilliantly topsy-turvy Clasico.

Carlo Ancelotti named his expected starting XI.

Gerardo Martino selected Neymar rather than Pedro Rodriguez or Alexis Sanchez as his second forward, and continued with Andres Iniesta tucking inside from the left, as he’s often done in big games.

This was the most fast-paced game you’ll see all season, with neither side controlling the game but both attacking relentlessly. Read more »

Manchester United 3-0 Olympiakos: United exploit the space in the inside-right channel

March 19, 2014
Manchester United 3-0 Olympiakos: United exploit the space in the inside-right channel

Manchester United qualified for the European Cup quarter-finals, becoming only the second side to recover from a 2-0 first leg deficit.

David Moyes surprisingly brought Ryan Giggs into the centre of his midfield, used more direct options on the flanks than in the weekend defeat to Liverpool (Juan Mata was cup-tied) and Rio Ferdinand started alongside Phil Jones.

Michel was without Michael Olaitan – who is thankfully OK after collapsing in a recent league game – upfront and therefore played Joel Campbell as the lone striker and used Diego Fuster on the right. Otherwise the side was unchanged from the first leg.

The match itself wasn’t particularly interesting – tension came from the fact Manchester United had lost the first leg 2-0, and a late ‘consolation’ goal (on the night) would have sent Olympiakos through on away goals. But on the night, the reality is that Manchester United were comfortably the better side in a standard 3-0 win. Read more »

Manchester Utd 0-3 Liverpool: Rodgers plays a diamond midfield, Liverpool win easily

March 17, 2014
Manchester Utd 0-3 Liverpool: Rodgers plays a diamond midfield, Liverpool win easily

Liverpool were dominant throughout the match, and could have won by a few more goals.

Chris Smalling was a late withdrawal so Nemanja Vidic returned at the back, but otherwise David Moyes named his expected XI.

Brendan Rodgers replaced Coutinho with Raheem Sterling at the top of the diamond instead, and he switched his full-backs – Glen Johnson returned to the right, Jon Flanagan moved to the left.

Liverpool were in control of possession throughout the game, and gradually forced United mistakes. Read more »