PSG 1-1 Monaco: PSG create better chances

September 26, 2013
PSG 1-1 Monaco: PSG create better chances

Ligue 1’s new ‘big two’ played out a reasonably entertaining 1-1 draw.

Laurent Blanc made three changes – Marquinhos made his first league starts in place of Alex, while in the wide positions Hervin Ongenda and Lucas Moura made way for the returning ex-Napoli duo of Ezequiel Lavezzi and Edinson Cavani.

Claudio Ranieri named an unchanged side – Jeremy Toulalan was still out injured, while James Rodriguez continued on the bench.

The start of this contest was cautious, but as the tempo dropped PSG’s creative players saw more of the ball. Read more »

Man City 4-1 Man United: Nasri’s narrowness and Kolarov’s overlapping put City in charge

September 22, 2013
Man City 4-1 Man United: Nasri’s narrowness and Kolarov’s overlapping put City in charge

Manchester City dominated from the opening moments, and completely outplayed Manchester United..

Manuel Pellegrini named Alvaro Negredo rather than Edin Dzeko upfront, the first time the Spaniard has started alongside Sergio Aguero. Down the left, Gael Clichy and David Silva were out, so Aleksandar Kolarov and Samir Nasri played.

David Moyes was without Robin van Persie, who was out injured with a thigh strain – so Danny Welbeck partnered Wayne Rooney and Ashley Young played on the left.

City played better in almost every respect, but it was down the left where they really excelled and took command of the game. Read more »

Napoli 2-1 Dortmund: Higuain & Insigne exploit Dortmund’s failure to heed their warnings

September 18, 2013
Napoli 2-1 Dortmund: Higuain & Insigne exploit Dortmund’s failure to heed their warnings

Gonzalo Higuain and Lorenzo Insigne scored the goals from set-piece situations – but they had been the most threatening players in open play, too.

Rafael Benitez’s line-up was as expected, with Insigne’s role on the left probably the biggest news on the teamsheet.

Jurgen Klopp is without long-term absentee Lukasz Piszczek at right-back, and the excellent central midfielder Ilkay Gundogan. Kevin Grosskreutz and Nuri Sahin played in those roles, while Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was only on the bench.

The teams were evenly matched for long spells of the first half, but Napoli increasingly threatened in two particular ways – and they proved the game-changing situations. Read more »

Real Sociedad 0-2 Shakhtar Donetsk: Sociedad start excellently but Shakhtar more ruthless

September 17, 2013
Real Sociedad 0-2 Shakhtar Donetsk: Sociedad start excellently but Shakhtar more ruthless

Alex Teixeira was barely noticeable for long periods – but struck twice to give Shakhtar three crucial points in a tough group.

Jagoba Arrasate named Haris Seferovic upfront having used Carlos Vela there at the weekend. The Mexican returned to the right flank, while Imanol Agirretxe – first-choice centre-forward last season – wasn’t yet fit enough to start, but was on the bench. Ruben Pardo and Marek Bergara returned having been rested at the weekend.

Shakhtar are wobbling in the league – three games without a win, having won their opening six. Mircea Lucescu rested his full-backs at the weekend, but named his expected XI here – Tomas Hubschman returned to the side having suffered from сonjunctivitis in recent weeks.

Real Sociedad dominated early on thanks to their energetic pressing, but failed to take advantage of their dominance. Read more »

New managers: Mourinho at Chelsea

September 17, 2013
New managers: Mourinho at Chelsea

Jose Mourinho isn’t so much a ‘new’ manager as a returning manager, following nearly six years away from Chelsea.

The obvious advantage Mourinho has over David Moyes and Manuel Pellegrini, the other two newcomers amongst top Premier League clubs, is that he has experience of competing (and triumphing) in a Premier League title fight. The downside, however, is that opposition coaches are now fully aware of his tricks, both in terms of psychology and tactics. Whether that means they’ll be able to counteract them with an intelligent strategy of their own, however, is a different matter. Chelsea odds to win the league at freebets.org Read more »