Daily Archives: April 4, 2013

PSG 2-2 Barcelona: Ancelotti justified in using a brave starting line-up

“Barcelona twice took the lead, PSG twice equalised. Carlo Ancelotti surprisingly named David Beckham as part of a midfield two, with four outright attacking players used in a 4-4-1-1 system. Tito Vilanova played Alexis Sanchez, rather than Cristian Tello, as part of his front three. Barcelona dominated in terms of possession and territory, and there was an element of fortune for both PSG’s goals – but overall Ancelotti’s side defended solidly and counter-attacked effectively.” Zonal Marking

Messi expected to return soon, but Mascherano loss leaves Barca weak
” They say that the secret to great comedy is great timing, so it was hard not to giggle when just after 1pm on Wednesday FC Barcelona announced the launch of a new App called “Barcelona fitness.” Not that Barcelona’s fans would have seen the funny side of course. Not while they anxiously awaited news of Lionel Messi’s injury. Minor scare or total disaster? Muscle tear or muscle pull? Three weeks? Six? Or just ten days? And nor is it just Leo Messi. Soon after he departed, so did Javier Mascherano, the latest victim of a defensive injury crisis. A fitness app? Oh, the irony.” SI

The Question: How is interpretation of the playmaker role changing?

“Perhaps no position is undergoing such evolution so rapidly as the playmaker – or, as it is probably more accurate to call him in his present guise, the creative midfielder. This week, the Champions League quarter-finals seemed almost to showcase the changing interpretations of the position – albeit in the most modern case in unfortunately truncated form.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson

Bayern 2-0 Juve: Bayern’s pressing prevents Juve bringing their strike duo into play

“Bayern take a commanding lead into the second leg, after a dominant first leg performance. Jupp Heynckes named his expected side – Luiz Gustavo came in for the suspended Javi Martinez – although Toni Kroos’ early injury pushed Thomas Muller inside, with Arjen Robben introduced on the right. Despite strong rumours Antonio Conte would select a 3-5-1-1 formation, he went for the usual 3-5-2 with Alessandro Matri and Fabio Quagliarella (his least favoured strike duo this season) upfront. This was all about Bayern – they pressed excellently and Juventus struggled to put together good attacking moves, or bring their strike duo into play.” Zonal Marking

Bayern 2-0 Juventus: Tactical Analysis
“Former champions Juventus traveled to Munich to take on German giants, Bayern Munich at the Allianz arena in the first leg of their Champions League quarter final which eventually finished Bayern 2-0 Juventus. The home side started as expected, with Lahm, van Buyten, Dante and Alaba in defence. Luiz Gustavo played in midfield alongside Bastian Schweinsteiger. The wide areas were patrolled by Ribery and Thomas Muller, while Toni Kroos played behind the lone frontman Mario Mandzukic. The Bianconeri had veteran keeper Buffon in goal, and played their usual 3-5-2 formation. At the back, Chiellini, Barzagli and Bonucci were selected. The midfield trio of Marchisio, Pirlo and Vidal were handed the unenviable task of stopping Bayern’s midfield. Out wide, Lichtsteiner started on the right, and Peluso on the left. The front line consisted of Matri and Quagliarella to start with.” Outside of the Boot

Forward Brazil

“As five-time World Cup champion, the Brazilian national team has become known the world over not just for winning, but for winning with a joyous panache that has become synonymous with the beautiful game. However, behind every one of Ronaldinho’s toothy grins and camouflaged by the color-shocked mohawk clinging to Neymar’s head lies an intensely complicated relationship between nation and sport. Over the course of the 20th century, the average Brazilian’s rabid devotion to football allowed the game to be manipulated – serving as an opiate to anesthetize the Brazilian people toward the actions of their government. This wicked transformation has never been more apparent than during the 1970’s. Then, the military dictatorship under Emílio Médici spared no expense to ensure that its brutal totalitarian measures were shaded by the blinding brilliance of joga bonito.” In Bed With Maradona

Tactical Analysis: How important is the ball-playing centre-back?

“‘In the modern game, you don’t need tacklers the same way you used to. There’s no call for it. It’s about anticipation and reading the game.’ Which moron said that? The most successful manager in the history of English football, that’s who. Sir Alex Ferguson has a point – a well-founded, deep-rooted one. Football is incontrovertibly becoming a more technically-reliant sport. A refined, thinking game.” Think Football

Özil shines for Madrid, while Dortmund does everything but score

“Jose Mourinho managed to neutralize his former players Didier Drogba and Wesley Sneijder as Real Madrid ran out comfortable 3-0 winners over Galatasaray in its Champions League quarterfinal first leg. Meanwhile Borussia Dortmund remains the only unbeaten team left in the competition after drawing 0-0 with Malaga, even though it created more chances. Here is the rundown of tonight’s action…” SI