Arsenal 3-0 Milan: Arsenal press excellently but lack options from the bench to maintain it

March 7, 2012

“Arsenal got very close to the most remarkable two-legged turnaround in Champions League history. Arsene Wenger named the logical side considering his injury problems – Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain played in midfield, Gervinho was on the left, but Wenger didn’t really have other options. Max Allegri attacked, using Robinho and Stephan El Shaarawy in the front three. Djamel Mesbah played at left-back, with Urby Emanuelson ahead of him. So near yet so far – Arsenal defended well throughout, attacked excellently at the start of the game, but fell away badly at the end.” Zonal Marking

Talking Tactics: How Arsenal can turn it round v AC Milan
“Let’s not beat around the bush. It is highly unlikely that Arsenal are to overcome a four goal deficit, despite being at home, when they take on AC Milan in the second leg of their Champions League tie next week. However, that’s not to say Arsenal can’t regain some pride. But if they are to get any joy, they need to follow a two-point plan, based on dealing with Milan’s front three when defending, and breaking down Milan when in attack. Here’s how…” Just Football

Carlos Hernandez and the Intellectual Scalpel

March 7, 2012

“‘Carloooooooooos Herrrrrrrrrrrnandez’. The PR system rung around Melbourne Victory’s AAMI Park as the introduction of Carlos Hernandez was announced to the home faithful in the biggest game of the season, a derby with cross-town rivals Melbourne Heart. The team sheet shocked every supporter who knew Hernandez, as he was left on the bench. Perplexing. Jim Magilton, the former QPR and Ipswich boss, opted instead for Leigh Broxham and Grant Brebner, a Manchester United youth player, in the centre of midfield.” In Bed With Maradina

Liverpool 1 Arsenal 2: In-Depth Tactical Analysis

March 7, 2012

“Six of the last nine Premier League games between Liverpool and Arsenal have ended as draws. There have been six 90th minute or later goals scored in the last six league matches between Liverpool and Arsenal. There have been three own goals and two penalties scored in the last five league meetings between the Reds and the Gunners. There have been three red cards in the last three Premier League games between Arsenal and Liverpool.” Tomkins Times

Villas-Boas’ exit falls in line with Chelsea’s problematic philosophy

March 7, 2012

“‘Rome wasn’t built in a day,’ Brian Clough once said, ‘but then I wasn’t on that particular job.’ It’s a good line, but in terms of his career utterly misleading. Clough never had instant success at any club. In his first seasons at Derby County and at Nottingham Forest, he finished in the bottom half of the second flight. Within five years he’d won the league with Derby; it took three with Forest. Alex Ferguson was in his seventh year at Manchester United when he won the league for the first time. Herbert Chapman was in his sixth at Arsenal. Turning around a ship headed in the wrong direction takes time. Andre Villas-Boas was given eight months by Chelsea.” SI – Jonathan Wilson

Athletic Bilbao will be ready for United

March 7, 2012

“As dusk fell outside the San Mames stadium in Bilbao this past Thursday night, a long snaking queue began to form. Despite the freezing cold of the first day of March in Spain’s Basque country, it soon became clear that more than 2,000 people were willing to camp out and wait in line all night simply to be first to get the chance to buy tickets for this week’s classic tie at Old Trafford when Manchester United hosts Athletic Bilbao in the Europa League on Thursday.” ESPN

Ultra culture: the positive side of Italian support

March 7, 2012

Ultras are woven through Italian football culture, from when the first groups began to emerge in the 1950s to today, with the flare-wielding, flag-bearing maniacs still being found in the curve of nationwide football stadia on a Sunday afternoon.” World Soccer

Aston Villa – Prophets And Losses

March 7, 2012

“It is fair to say that this has not been the most enjoyable of seasons for Aston Villa fans. Their team currently sits in 15th place in the Premier League and was eliminated in the early stages of both cup competitions. Although it is unlikely that they will be dragged into a relegation battle, as there are many teams worse than them in England’s top tier, their form does not inspire total confidence. Their problems are all the more poignant, as 2012 is the 30th anniversary of their memorable victory in the European Cup when a Peter Withe goal was enough to defeat the mighty Bayern Munich.” Swiss Ramble


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