Fascinating that Pep Guardiola continued to use Barcelona’s ‘alternative’ system – the 4-2-4ish formation they played in the second half against Valencia at the weekend – to great effect. Zlatan Ibramimovic (banned for the weekend game) was available again, but Guardiola opted for Thierry Henry instead. Read more »
Barcelona 4-0 Stuttgart: Guardiola’s alternative shape proves successful for the second time in four days
This is what Jose Mourinho does. Not the prettiest victory you’ll see in this season’s Champions League, but incredibly effective. Inter reduced the game to a scrappy, stop-start battle, defended brilliantly from the front, and then pounced when Chelsea started to push forward. Read more »
A fascinating game in terms of tactics here, because Barcelona were awful in the first half. With Zlatan Ibrahimovic suspended and Thierry Henry on the bench, the Messi-Bojan-Pedro trio looked too lightweight and one-dimensional to cause Valencia’s backline significant problems. It took a dramatic half-time change from Guardiola to turn things around.
Two successive late victories away from home against Arsenal, both against scrappy Northern sides – Stoke and Hull – who had been reduced to ten men. They haven’t showed their best football, but the old adage that “A good side is one that wins without playing well” appears to – for once – be applicable to Arsene Wenger’s side. Read more »
To look at the result of yesterday’s game at the Reebok Stadium – Bolton 4-0 Wigan – you’d assume that it was a thrashing. And in terms of the scoreline, it certainly was. But it doesn’t reflect the balance of play. Wigan had more attempts than Bolton during the game – and the same number on target. The main difference was that whilst Jussi Jaaskelainen saved five out of five shots, Chris Kirkland let in four out of five, underlining the importance of a top-class goalkeeper for bottom-half clubs. Read more »
The key feature of Tottenham’s 3-1 win over Blackburn today was the number of times they looked to quickly switch the ball to Gareth Bale, who had the beating of Michael Salgado every time he got the ball. Bale claimed an assist, should have had two penalties, and was Spurs’ main attacking outlet throughout the game.
Movement is not a new thing in football – as outlined by Jonathan Wilson in Inverting The Pyramid, the hallmark of the legendary Hungary side which famously beat England 6-3 in 1953 was their players’ tendency to drift out of their natural position and switch with teammates, thereby confusing the opposition about who they were supposed to be marking. Read more »
An exciting first half hour was brought to a close with the dismissal of Grimi, who was joined for an early bath by Tonel late on. Sporting got men behind the ball, and Atletico struggled to create chances. Read more »
Another game where Sir Alex Ferguson got things spot on. To run out 7-2 winners against any side in the latter stages of the Champions League is impressive, but to do it against Milan is quite remarkable. Read more »
Fiorentina 3-2 Bayern – Viola deal well with the wide threat, but leave themselves exposed in the centre
Fiorentina are out of the competition despite Cesare Prandelli getting his tactics spot on both home and away. Bayern progress thanks to some highly questionable refereeing decisions in the first leg, and two excellent strikes in the second leg – their first defeat in 18 games. Read more »