Liverpool 1-1 Man City: a point apiece

November 28, 2011

Confirmation of St Stephan, Vittore Carpaccio
“A good game, but not a particularly fascinating tactical battle. Kenny Dalglish brought Stewart Downing in for Maxi Rodriguez, whilst Craig Bellamy was excused for personal reasons, with Jordan Henderson coming in – although with Kenny Dalglish wanting to be solid in midfield and after Henderson’s fine substitute appearance at Chelsea last week, this switch might have been made anyway. Roberto Mancini left out Edin Dzeko and Mario Balotelli, with Sergio Aguero and Samir Nasri coming into the side. City started well, the middle of the game was evenly-balanced, then Liverpool dominated late on (especially after Balotelli’s red card), but both sides will be happy enough with a point.” Zonal Marking

Liverpool 1 – 1 Manchester City
“Ten-man Manchester City survived a serious examination of their title credentials to extend their unbeaten Premier League record to 13 matches at Anfield. Had it not been for goalkeeper Joe Hart the visitors may have tasted a league defeat for the first time since May 7. They barely had time to celebrate Vincent Kompany’s 31st-minute opener before Charlie Adam’s shot was deflected in by Joleon Lescott.” ESPN

City survive deserving Red threat
“Unbeaten but not unbeatable, depleted but not defeated, Manchester City experienced a novel situation. Hanging on for a draw has not been a feature of their superlative start to the Premier League season. A battling point had a rarity value as well as an importance.” ESPN

Joleon Lescott own goal gifts Liverpool a draw against Manchester City
“The quest for the Premier League title is as much a trial as an adventure. Even Manchester City, with fathomless means, know there will be days such as this when they are reduced to an almost impoverished condition. Energy reserves among the outfield had been exhausted before the close, but the goalkeeper, Joe Hart, had the spring to pull off a superb save from a header by the substitute Andy Carroll in stoppage time.” Guardian

Tactics: the genius of El Loco

November 28, 2011

“Marcelo Bielsa might be known as ‘El Loco’ but he is far from stupid, and his decision to turn down Internazionale in the summer was rooted in the most worldly of considerations. And as Gian Piero Gasperini’s ill-fated five games in the San Siro hot seat demonstrated, the grandees of the game simply don’t have time for radicalism – particularly with Inter’s ageing, slow squad simply unsuited to the sort of hard-pressing game favoured by both Bielsa and Gasperini. Instead of Italy, Bielsa went to Spain, where he joined Athletic Bilbao, a club almost as idiosyncratic as he is.” World Soccer – Jonathan Wilson

Milan 2-3 Barcelona: Xavi gets the winner

November 28, 2011

“An interesting battle between formations and an excellent match ended with a narrow Barcelona win. Max Allegri went for his usual system, Kevin-Prince Boateng shuttling from midfield to link up with the front two, with Robinho starting rather than Pato. Alberto Aquilani started on the right of midfield. Pep Guardiola was without a host of players including both Dani Alves and Adriano, and went for his system featuring a back three, and a diamond in midfield. Barcelona had more of the ball (of course) and created more goalscoring opportunities, but were never completely in control of the game.” Zonal Marking

Eight points on Lazio 0-1 Juventus

November 28, 2011

“Another important, impressive victory for Juventus over a fellow title challenger. Here are eight observations on the game. 1. In the first half, much of the action came down Juventus’ right, the area of the pitch with more energetic, forward-thinking players. Like against Inter, Stephane Lichsteiner was a huge attacking threat, and his surges forward often led to Senad Lulic coming out to meet him – in turn leaving Arturo Vidal free. Lichsteiner, Vidal and Simone Pepe often overloaded Lulic and Stephan Radu down that flank, and there were four very good Juventus chances before Pepe’s goal that came from working the ball down that side. On the other flank, Giorgio Chiellini was more cautious and Juve’s left was more static.” Zonal Marking