Barcelona 1-2 Real Madrid: Real on brink of title

April 22, 2012


“Cristiano Ronaldo scored the winner as Real Madrid effectively clinched the title at the Nou Camp. Pep Guardiola made two surprise decisions, playing La Masia products Thiago Alcantara and Cristian Tello – the former in midfield, the latter in a wide-left role. Gerard Pique was omitted again. Jose Mourinho was brave with his starting XI, selecting the same side that had underperformed in Munich in midweek, which meant Fabio Coentrao continuing at left-back.” Zonal Marking

La Liga review: FC Barcelona 1, Real Madrid 2, Or, You Win Some Clásicos, You Lose Some Clásicos
“So, here were are. Two defeats in a row, one in the Champions League semifinals and another that puts the Liga virtually out of our reach and sees our nemesis get a win at the Camp Nou. Disappointing? You bet. Unexpected? No, in spite what some delusional fans (whose memory doesn’t stretch beyond the last three years) thought.” The Offside (YouTube)

Cristiano Ronaldo shocks Barcelona as Real Madrid close on title
“Their hope lasted two minutes and nineteen seconds. Just when Barcelona thought there was a chance they might rescue the La Liga title, just as this stadium erupted into noise, just as the faith that had deserted them flooded back, Cristiano Ronaldo tore it all out of their hands again. Alexis Sánchez had given Barcelona a goal and a lifeline with an equaliser midway through the second half, levelling the scores after Sami Khedira had put Madrid ahead in the first half. But 139 seconds later Ronaldo brilliantly stepped around Víctor Valdés to make the return of the title from the Camp Nou to the Bernabéu all but certain.” Guardian


Tactics and the role played by religion in the shaping of the modern game

April 22, 2012

“After Brazil had won the World Cup in 1958 using a back four, the rest of the world were forced to react. Almost overnight the old-school W-M formation, which dominated tactical thinking almost everywhere else, seemed outmoded and needed revision. As a result, teams essentially took one of two routes – and the route they chose was determined almost entirely on national grounds, with that choice continuing to have an effect on the basic tactical template in those countries today.” World Soccer – Jonathan Wilson


Liverpool 0 – 1 West Bromwich Albion

April 22, 2012

“Roy Hodgson’s West Brom completed the ultimate smash-and-grab raid to record their first win at Anfield for 45 years as Liverpool dominated but dropped yet more points at home. Had the hosts converted all their chances they would probably have made it into double figures but their season-long goalscoring problems cost them dearly once again.” ESPN


Quality lacking in London showdown

April 22, 2012

“The Premier League may still be the most celebrated domestic championship in the world, boasting a mystique that ensures it is one of sport’s most lucrative brands, yet games like this do little to dispel the theory that its standards are on the slide.” ESPN