Barcelona 1-1 PSG: Ancelotti replicates first leg tactics, but Messi fit enough to have an impact

April 11, 2013
Barcelona 1-1 PSG: Ancelotti replicates first leg tactics, but Messi fit enough to have an impact

PSG were elimintated on the away goals rule following a good counter-attacking display.

Tito Vilanova named Lionel Messi on the bench, with Cesc Fabregas deployed upfront after his weekend hattrick. Adriano played alongside Gerard Pique at the back.

Carlo Ancelotti was without the suspended Blaise Matudi, so used Marco Verratti alongside Thiago Motta, with David Beckham on the bench.

This was similar to the first leg – both sides used broadly the same strategy, and while Barcelona dominated possession, PSG threatened on the break. Read more »

Galatasaray 3-2 Real Madrid: Terim’s half-time switch gives Galatasaray hope

April 10, 2013
Galatasaray 3-2 Real Madrid: Terim’s half-time switch gives Galatasaray hope

Cristiano Ronaldo’s early strike left Galatasaray needing five – and they created enough chances to give Real a fright.

Without Burak Yilmaz, Fatih Terim brought in Umut Bulut and stuck to his diamond system, rather than switching to a 4-4-1-1, as rumoured.

Jose Mourinho was without Xabi Alonso and Sergio Ramos – he named the expected outfield side with Gonzalo Higuain upfront. Diego Lopez continued in goal.

Real’s early goal suggested the tie was over – but Galatasaray stormed back. Read more »

Dortmund 3-2 Malaga: Pellegrini’s side defend well, but are unable to cope with late pressure

April 10, 2013
Dortmund 3-2 Malaga: Pellegrini’s side defend well, but are unable to cope with late pressure

An astonishing stoppage time turnaround means Dortmund to progress to the semi-finals.

Jurgen Klopp used Jakub Blaszczykowski as his winger, rather than left-sided Kevin Grosskreutz, so Marco Reus started from the left. Sven Bender returned, but Mats Hummels was only on the bench.

With a couple of suspensions to cope with, Manuel Pellegrini brought in Sergio Sanchez and Ignacio Camacho. He pushed Julio Baptista upfront, dropping Javier Saviola, with Duda coming into the side.

Malaga coped well for most of the game – and two goals should have been enough to see them through. Read more »

Manchester United 1-2 Manchester City: City’s attackers combine well throughout

April 8, 2013
Manchester United 1-2 Manchester City: City’s attackers combine well throughout

Manchester City produced a fine performance to record a rare victory at Old Trafford.

Sir Alex Ferguson played two attack-minded wide players, with Ryan Giggs in the centre and Tom Cleverley only on the bench. Phil Jones continued alongside Rio Ferdinand in the centre of defence.

Roberto Mancini left out Sergio Aguero, favouring Carlos Tevez as a lone striker with David Silva just behind.

City were significantly better here – they dominated the first half, took the lead in the second, and Mancini used his bench better too. Read more »

Tottenham 2-2 Everton: Spurs go ahead very early, then equalise very late

April 8, 2013
Tottenham 2-2 Everton: Spurs go ahead very early, then equalise very late

An interesting battle between two sides both without their key attacking player.

Gareth Bale was injured – as were Jermain Defoe and Aaron Lennon. Andre Villas-Boas was forced to select a ‘mezzala’ on either side – Clint Dempsey and Gylfi Sigurdsson – in the absence of natural wide players. Jan Vertonghen was at left-back.

David Moyes was without Steven Pienaar and Marouane Fellaini. He handed a rare start to Ross Barkley, and used Leon Osman behind Victor Anichebe, rather than selecting two strikers.

This was an interesting but disjointed game, where both sides had spells of dominance. There were lots of small tactical features, rather than a clear overall pattern. Read more »

Fiorentina 2-2 Milan: Montella reacts calmly to Fiorentina’s first-half setbacks

April 8, 2013
Fiorentina 2-2 Milan: Montella reacts calmly to Fiorentina’s first-half setbacks

Despite a numerical disadvantage and two men injured early on, Fiorentina came back from 2-0 down to keep their Champions League hopes alive.

Vincenzo Montella was surprisingly able to call upon Stevan Jovetic – although he didn’t look 100% fit, and didn’t make it to the second half. Gonzalo Rodriguez was unavailable, so Nenad Tomovic started at the back.

Max Allegri used Riccardo Montolivo in the deep-lying role against his old club, while Cristian Zapata returned in place of Daniele Bonera.

Milan took control in the first hour, but the way Fiorentina responded was highly impressive. Read more »