Tactical Analysis: France 1-3 Brazil | Brazil reverts to a familiar formation, France’s midfield dip and more

March 28, 2015

France-1-3-Brazil
“While it is foolish to read too much into friendly results, especially with both sides missing key players, Brazil’s visit to the Stade de France last night provided for some compelling viewing and should give both managers much to think about. With the hosts missing Paul Pogba, Yohan Cabaye and Hugo Lloris, as well as Mathieu Debuchy, and Brazil without the Paris Saint-Germain trio of David Luiz, Marquinhos and Lucas Moura, injuries limited both teams’ overall effectiveness, even as both Dunga and Didier Deschamps sought to achieve continuity by using their preferred formations. France, as hosts of Euro 2016, won’t play a competitive match until next year, and while Brazil do have the Copa America in a few months, the bottom line from this encounter seemed to be to encourage familiarity, trying out different players in a fixed system, as no changes were made until deep into the second half, Brazil already 3-1 up.” Outside of the Boot


France 1 Brazil 3

March 27, 2015

“Brazil recorded their seventh successive victory since their 2014 World Cup humiliation as they came from behind to beat France in Paris. Raphael Varane powerfully headed in Mathieu Valbuena’s left-wing corner to put the French ahead. But Oscar equalised when he linked up with Roberto Firmino and poked the ball past France goalkeeper Steve Mandanda. Neymar made it 2-1 as he collected Willian’s pass and shot past Mandanda before Luiz Gustavo headed in a third.” BBC


Tactical Analysis : Marseille 0-0 Lyon | Tactical variety on display in captivating draw

March 19, 2015

“Despite being marred by crowd trouble and a fair bit of controversy surrounding several key refereeing decisions, Sunday’s scoreless draw between Olympique de Marseille and Olympique Lyonnais may be even more important for what it can tell us about each squad’s approach. Billed as one of a pair of massive matches on the weekend, the other being Paris Saint-Germain’s visit to Bordeaux, the stakes were raised considerably when Les Girondins managed to scrape a 3-2 win in a match similarly marred by poor refereeing. A win by the home side would move them ahead of PSG, only one point behind their rivals, while a victory for Les Gones would see them seven clear of Marseille with just nine matches to play. Coupled with Lyon’s vastly superior goal difference, a loss would see Marseille all but eliminated from the title race. Thus, the stakes were high, and, buoyed by a record crowd at the Stade Velodrome, we were treated to a deliciously feisty encounter.” Outside of the Boot


Chelsea 2-2 PSG (aet): Blanc continues with starting approach despite early red card

March 16, 2015

“Paris Saint-Germain adapted excellently after Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s dismissal, and progressed on away goals courtesy of two headed goals from their centre-backs. The most surprising name on the Chelsea teamsheet was Oscar, who was preferred over his fellow Brazilian Willian. This hinted at Jose Mourinho’s preferred midfield format. In defence, Gary Cahill was selected instead of Kurt Zouma, who has recently impressed both in defence and midfield. Nemanja Matic was fit to return in the holding role.” Zonal Marking


Champions League: Chelsea lose ugly against Paris St-Germain

March 13, 2015

Chelsea v Paris St Germain - UEFA Champions League Second Round Second Leg
“Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has turned the trick of winning ugly into an art form – but there is no merit in losing ugly and that is exactly what his side did as Paris St-Germain deservedly dismissed them from the Champions League. As the cards stacked up against PSG, the need for an away goal piled on top of the harsh first-half dismissal of talisman Zlatan Ibrahimovic, it was the Premier League leaders who cracked under pressure, a fact acknowledged by a despairing Mourinho in the aftermath. In a last-16 second leg that was dramatic and dreadful in equal measure, Chelsea made an undignified exit on away goals after a 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge and a 3-3 aggregate result. It was an eyesore of a performance that also demonstrated the dark side of a fine team’s personality.” BBC

Lunacy in London: PSG Go Full OMG and Knock Chelsea Out of the Champions League
“Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain came into yesterday’s Round of 16 match notched at 1-all, with the London club holding the away-goals tiebreaker after the first leg. Thirty-one minutes into the game, PSG’s Swedish superhero, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, was given a questionable red card, and then Chelsea, propped up by a one-man advantage, strolled … into a thunderdome filled with UFC-level off-ball high jinks and Brazilian center backs with plutonium foreheads. The match went off the rails again and again and again, ultimately ending in a 2-2 extra-time draw, which sent the Parisians on to the next round. We’ve rounded up the most madcap moments from the midweek mania — but before we get to them, a quick word from Zlatan.” Grantland (Video)

Chelsea set a standard PSG’s still trying to achieve
“When, in 2011, Paris Saint-Germain became another club to win the lottery, there were a few examples to use as an indicator of its future. Manchester City, bought in 2008 by the Abu Dhabi United Group, has won two English Premier League titles, while Málaga, purchased by Abdulla Al Thani in 2010, had its ascent tempered by a near implosion. But it’s Chelsea, the first to undergo a similar overhaul, that has become the most powerful of them. One of the first clubs since the turn of the millennium to be bought by natural resources, Chelsea’s won Champions League, Europa, and England (three times) since Roman Abramovich became the club’s avatar. Chelsea and PSG might go into Wednesday’s Champions League tie with the scores level, but in other respects, Chelsea lead the French side by some distance.” Soccer Gods

Jose Mourinho: Chelsea will win Premier League title
“Chelsea will win the Premier League title this season, manager Jose Mourinho has predicted. The Blues were knocked out of the Champions League by Paris St-Germain in midweek but lead the top flight by five points with 11 games remaining.” BBC (Video)

UEFA: Chelsea 3-3 Paris St-Germain


Lille: Tactical Negativity and a View of the Future

March 11, 2015

Girard
“Despite the money spent at Monaco and Paris Saint-Germain last season, the story of the season at the winter break in Ligue 1 last year was surely Lille, who had conceded only eight goals to that point, buoyed by a remarkable run of eleven games without conceding. That run had come to an end in a Week 17 loss to Bordeaux, as an unlucky deflection found the back of Vincent Enyeama’s net and Les Dogues stumbled to a 1-0 defeat on the road.  Quickly righting the ship, a win against Bastia and a more than creditable draw at PSG left the northern side only a point behind Monaco and four behind the leaders at the break, a fine achievement in Rene Girard’s first few months in charge, especially considering the team had been stripped of much of its offensively minded talent in the summer, with the departures of Dimitri Payet, Florian Thauvin and Lucas Digne.” Outside of the Boot


Ranking the Top 10 Young Midfielders so far in 2014-15: Sterling moves up as Liverpool begin late season resurgence

March 6, 2015

Raheem-Sterling-e1353655434188
“After another minor break, the Talent Radar Player Rankings return, with the men in the middle of the park the focus of our attentions. A lot has changed since the last time the rankings were out, Borussia Dortmund’s fall was only just starting, Liverpool were still in the Champions League and the Italian Serie A race actually looked interesting. While the rankings itself saw Marco Verratti on top, with a couple of challengers looking to dethrone him. Here’s who continue to impress us as we move into the business end of the football season.” Outside of the Boot


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