Real Madrid 1-3 Barcelona: Real press early on, but tactical switch gives Barca the upper hand

“Jose Mourinho surprised many with his team selection, but Pep Guardiola adapted to guide Barcelona to victory. The surprise was with the use of Mesut Ozil, who most expected to be omitted in favour of an extra defensive midfielder. In fact, it was Real’s usual front four in a 4-2-3-1 system. Lassana Diarra did start, but in place of Khedira, whilst Fabio Coentrao played at right-back.” Zonal Marking

Guardiola’s tactical switch swings clásico in favor of Barcelona
“There are still those, remarkably, who ask whether tactics really matter, still those who persist with the Luddite insistence that the best players will win out come what may. No matter that Lionel Messi never produces his Barcelona form for Argentina or that Dani Alves regularly flounders for Brazil, Barcelona, these flat-earthers keep saying, win because they have the best players.” SI – Jonathan Wilson

5 Things We Learnt From Real Madrid vs Barcelona
“1) There is a reason why Valdes is Spain’s number three… It’s not rocket science, for the first 15 minutes of any big game the number one rule is do not take any risks, if your unsure always do the simple thing. Somebody forgot to inform Victor Valdes of this. 22 seconds had elapsed when the keeper was far too casual and gifted the ball to Real and Benzema punished him with a nicely taken vollied finish.” Sabotage Times

Bewitched, bothered and bewildered
“There are several ways of saying ‘bewitched’, or ‘under the spell’ in Spanish. I particularly like the words hechizado and embrujado. These words form part of the reason Real Madrid seem unable to function when they come to play Barcelona. Bewitched, bothered and bewildered.” ESPN

Barca ends Real’s winning streak
“Barcelona defeated Real Madrid 3-1 to move into a tie (on points) atop the league standings, although Madrid does have a game in hand. Barcelona is now undefeated (6-0-1) in seven straight league meetings with Madrid, including three in a row at the Bernabeu. Here are five more notes on Saturday’s Clasico — which marked an end to Real’s run of 10 straight victories in La Liga.” Five Aside (Video)

Real Madrid 1 – 3 Barcelona
“Barcelona recovered from conceding the quickest El Clasico goal in history to end Real Madrid’s 15-match winning run and strike a potentially decisive blow in the race for the Primera Division title. Despite having lifted the trophy for three years in a row and enjoying both domestic and European dominance over Madrid over recent times, Pep Guardiola’s men went into tonight’s match as the underdogs, trailing the capital club by three points and having played a game more.” ESPN

Capital punishment for Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid as Barcelona show they aren’t ready to be dethroned just yet
“Pep Guardiola remains unbeaten as a coach at the Bernabeu as the Catalans recorded what could turn out to be a hugely significant victory over their arch rivals in El Gran Clasico” Goal


France, the Front Liberation Nationale and Football

“In April 1958, Rachid Mekhloufi stood on the brink of international superstardom. Having scored 25 goals in thirty games to help AS Saint-Étienne win their first Championnat the year before, Mekhloufi was about to win his fifth France cap in a friendly against Switzerland, with coach Paul Nicolas including him in the forty-man pre-selection for Les Bleus’ highly fancied World Cup squad.” In Bed With Maradona

Universidad de Chile target Barca showdown

“Crunch time is approaching for this year’s two outstanding South American clubs.
Over the next few days both Santos of Brazil and Universidad de Chile are seeking to scale new heights. The Chileans, ‘la U’ for short, extended their unbeaten run to 34 games on Sunday, brushing aside Union Espanola to book their place in the semi-finals of the local championship. This, though, is hardly the priority. They already have 14 Chilean titles to their name, including the first of the two played this year.” BBC – Tim Vickery

Liverpool 1 QPR 0: In-Depth Tactical Analysis

“Queens Park Rangers had won just one of their previous 20 league games at Anfiled, and have won only one Premier League match at all against Liverpool. Liverpool themselves may have felt like they were due some luck having hit the woodwork 12 times this season – more than anyone else.” Tomkins Times

Liverpool 1 – 0 Queens Park Rangers
“Liverpool striker Luis Suarez showed just why he is prized and feared in equal amounts with an impressive all-round performance as he guided the Reds to a home victory over QPR. The Uruguay international, who has been in the headlines for the wrong reasons during a two-month lean spell in front of goal, was at his threatening best as he scored his first goal in the Premier League since October 1.” ESPN

Drawing Lodz

“‘Ella, Ella, Under my Umbrella’….just five days prior to our arrival in Poland’s third biggest city, those words has reverberated across the Stadion ŁKS as one of the most famous and sought after artists in the world, Rhianna played in front of a sell out crowd in the adjacent Atlas Area. One hundred and fifteen hours later, Danny Last and I were wrapped up like Michelin men outside the football stadium, huddled under a canopy, waiting to pick up our press passes from ŁKS Łódź . Now don’t get me wrong, I love Danny Last but he’s no Rhianna and so when he uttered the chorus line for the umpteenth time I told him exactly where he could stick his bloody ‘Ella’ and I wandered off in a huff to find some football socks for my collection.” The Ball is Round