Sevilla 1-0 Real Madrid: Sevilla score after 2 minutes, then protect the lead for 88

September 16, 2012
Sevilla 1-0 Real Madrid: Sevilla score after 2 minutes, then protect the lead for 88

Sevilla triumphed in a fascinating tactical battle at the Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.

Sevilla coach Michel made an interesting selection decision, introducing Hedwiges Maduro into the midfield triangle. This pushed Piotr Trochowski forward to the left, and meant Manu had to settle for a place on the bench.

Jose Mourinho chose a familiar side, with Luka Modric on the bench. Gonzalo Higuain started ahead of Karim Benzema upfront.

There were two major phases to this game – the first half was about how well Sevilla’s initial gameplan worked, the second half was about how Mourinho adapted, and then the two coaches traded blows with substitutions until the end. Read more »

Inter 1-3 Roma: Zeman collects the first win of his second spell at Roma

September 3, 2012
Inter 1-3 Roma: Zeman collects the first win of his second spell at Roma

An extremely open game finished with Roma on top.

Andrea Stramaccioni surprisingly used new signing Alvaro Pereira on the left of his central midfield three in place of Esteban Cambiasso Рotherwise, the XI was the same as in the 3-0 win over Pescara last week.

Zdenek Zeman gave debuts to Panagiotis Tachtsidis, Alessandro Florenzi and Mattia Destro within his standard attack-minded 4-3-3 system.

As with all games involving a Zeman side, this was very open with space all over the pitch, despite both sides trying to play with a high defensive line. Read more »

Liverpool 0-2 Arsenal: Cazorla stays high up and exploits space between the lines

September 2, 2012
Liverpool 0-2 Arsenal: Cazorla stays high up and exploits space between the lines

Arsenal started nervously but eventually got into their stride to record an impressive win over Liverpool.

Brendan Rodgers brought Daniel Agger straight back into the team after he was suspended for the draw against Manchester City, while Nuri Sahin was given his debut in midfield, in place of the injured Lucas Leiva.

Arsene Wenger kept his back four intact despite the return to fitness of Laurent Koscielny. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain replaced Gervinho on the right.

Liverpool dominated possession – 53% – but Arsenal were more penetrative with their passing, thanks to the positioning and use of the ball by Santi Cazorla between the lines. Read more »