Dortmund 1-2 Schalke: Klopp takes the blame as shift to 3-5-2 backfires

October 22, 2012
Dortmund 1-2 Schalke: Klopp takes the blame as shift to 3-5-2 backfires

Dortmund surprisingly started in a 3-5-2 formation – despite not trying it in training beforehand – and produced a terrible performance.

Jurgen Klopp was without four regulars – Mario Gotze, Ilkay Gundogan, Marcel Schmelzer and Jakub Blaszczykowski – which was one of the reasons for his unusual formation choice.

Huub Stevens had Kyriakos Papadopoulos unavailable at the back, while Ibrahim Afellay started on the left of midfield.

Dortmund started awfully and played poor football throughout the game – the 3-5-2 didn’t last long, but was  a key factor in their poor performance. Read more »

Juventus 2-0 Napoli: substitutes settle a tight encounter

October 22, 2012
Juventus 2-0 Napoli: substitutes settle a tight encounter

First versus second in Serie A – Juventus eventually got the breakthrough, and now lead Napoli by three points.

Antonio Conte’s main decision was about which forward combination to select – he went with Fabio Quagliarella and Sebastian Giovinco, the same duo he selected at Fiorentina, last time ZM covered Juventus. Marco Storari played, as Gigi Buffon was injured.

Walter Mazzarri rarely makes any surprise selection decisions, and his XI was as expected, with Alessandro Gamberini starting on the left of the back three.

Tight, tense and tactical. These sides have played each other so frequently in the past twelve months – with Conte choosing a system that deliberately mirrors Napoli’s – that it rather felt like the sides knew each other too well, and both needed a surprise element. Read more »

Tottenham 2-4 Chelsea: Mata stars in an eventful game

October 22, 2012
Tottenham 2-4 Chelsea: Mata stars in an eventful game

Tottenham had a strong spell either side of half-time, but Chelsea were the better side.

Andre Villas-Boas was unable to select either Moussa Dembele or Gareth Bale, so used Clint Dempsey on the left and Tom Huddlestone came into the centre of midfield. Brad Friedel started, with Hugo Lloris on the bench.

Roberto Di Matteo left Frank Lampard on the bench and persevered with three rotating attackers behind Fernando Torres. John Terry was banned.

This was a strange game – it was open and enjoyable, yet lacked a defining tactical feature. Read more »