Bayern 4-2 Juventus: flexible system puts Juve in charge, but Bayern subs prompt comeback

March 18, 2016
Bayern 4-2 Juventus: flexible system puts Juve in charge, but Bayern subs prompt comeback

Bayern achieved a brilliant comeback in one of the best Champions League knockout games for many years.

Pep Guardiola was without Arjen Robben, so Douglas Costa switched to the right flank with Franck Ribery playing on the left. Xabi Alonso started in the holding role rather than Thiago, while Mehdi Benatia was at centre-back, with David Alaba on the left and Juan Bernat on the bench.

Max Allegri had major injury problems, without Claudio Marchisio and Paulo Dybala from the XI which started the first leg, and Giorgio Chiellini still out too. Alvaro Morata played upfront instead of Dybala, and Hernanes started in place of Marchisio – but the real point of interest was Juve’s overall system.

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Manchester City 1-3 Leicester: early goal allows Leicester to play on the break

February 10, 2016
Manchester City 1-3 Leicester: early goal allows Leicester to play on the break

Leicester’s incredible season continues – they’re now five points clear at the top of the Premier League after this convincing victory.

Manuel Pellegrini’s most interesting selections were down his left flank. Fabian Delph was fielded in a narrow left-sided role, as he was for the 2-1 defeat to Arsenal shortly before Christmas, while Pellegrini also selected his more attack-minded left-back, Aleksandar Kolarov. This was likely to be a key zone considering Riyad Mahrez plays on that side and Jamie Vardy often drifts towards the inside-right channel. Pablo Zabaleta started over Bacary Sagna on the opposite side.

Claudio Ranieri rarely rotates his side – this was the fourth consecutive game he’d deployed this XI from the start.

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Barcelona 2-1 Atletico Madrid: Busquets drops back to help Barcelona gain control

February 3, 2016
Barcelona 2-1 Atletico Madrid: Busquets drops back to help Barcelona gain control

Atletico started strongly, but a tactical switch helped Barcelona exert their authority.

Luis Enrique named his expected line-up – essentially his strongest starting XI. Arda Turan was on the bench, for his first meeting against his former side.

Diego Simeone named Yannick Carrasco in a support striker role, close to Antoine Griezmann, while Jose Giminez was recalled alongside compatriot Diego Godin. Read more »

Arsenal 2-1 Manchester City: Ozil assists put Arsenal in charge

December 23, 2015
Arsenal 2-1 Manchester City: Ozil assists put Arsenal in charge

Goals from Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud won the game, and Arsenal move four points clear of Manchester City.

Arsene Wenger named an unchanged side, the XI he’s depended upon in recent weeks because of injury problems. Alexis Sanchez wasn’t fit enough to make the squad.

Manuel Pellegrini welcomed back Sergio Aguero from injury – although, as always with the Argentine, he looked badly short of sharpness in his first game back. Pellegrini handed a start to Fabian Delph, who was surprisingly named in a narrow left-sided role, rather than as conventional central midfielder with Yaya Toure pushing forward, as one might have expected. Raheem Sterling was therefore only a substitute.

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