Man City 2 Liverpool 1: In-Depth Tactical Analysis

December 29, 2013

“As anticipated Pellegrini solidified his midfield by both switching to a 4-2-3-1 formation and having Silva as the third midfielder behind Negredo. This meant Nasri was placed on the left, adding another midfield body by drifting infield. With Zabaleta fit to start the home team re-established his fearsome wide partnership on the right with Navas. Rodgers continued with the same 4-1-2-3 formation as has been the case lately. The only change was due to Flanagan’s injury, he was replaced by Cissokho. However, in contrast to the recent games, Coutinho played closer to the touchline and only occasionally venturing infield.” Tomkins Times

Manchester City 2-1 Liverpool: Tactical Analysis | City keep Suarez quiet
“The festive season is loved in England because of the flood of matches that it brings, and the competitive spirit that the games are played in. Santa’s present to the football world this year was a terrific top of the table clash between Liverpool and Manchester City at the Etihad, as the Christmas leaders attempted to achieve the impossible; return from the Etihad with points.” Outside of the Boot


Tactical review of 2013: Strike partners in crime are bad news for defenders

December 29, 2013

“The return of the strike partnership. For a decade or so, it seemed inconceivable that a top team could play with a pair of forwards and still prosper. Operate with two forwards, the logic ran, and you surrender control of the midfield. International football always lags behind club football when it comes to innovation, but even there, by Euro 2008, 4-2-3-1 had become the default. Yet this season, front pairings seem to have returned to fashion. When Manchester City pair Álvaro Negredo and Sergio Agüero, that is a strike duo: it’s true that they may not play exactly alongside each other at all times, but neither can it be argued that one is operating in an attacking midfield role, as would be required legitimately to describe the formation as 4-2-3-1. Liverpool, similarly, have used Luis Suárez and Daniel Sturridge to great effect. At Atlético Madrid, Diego Costa and David Villa have thrived, while the Paris Saint-Germain pair Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Edinson Cavani. Fernando Llorente and Carlos Tevez are working well as a pairing for Juventus – although in a system that uses a back three rather than a back four.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson

With fatigue affecting Giroud, is it time for Wenger to spend?

December 29, 2013

“The period leading up to the January transfer window was supposed to be the time when Olivier Giroud proved that Arsenal didn’t need another centre-forward. Instead, the Frenchman is currently going through his leanest goalscoring form — seven starts — since joining the club in the summer of 2012. Giroud’s all-round game continues to impress, and Arsenal have learnt to make the most of his excellent link-up play, which he demonstrated when setting up Lukas Podolski’s fine strike against West Ham.” ESPN – Michael Cox (Video)

The 54 Club – Italy

December 29, 2013

“As usual my parents escaped England for Christmas, thus shirking any festive responsibilities, and 2012 saw them wintering in Rome. Taking up their kind offer to join them I deliberately arrived late in December with the aim of fulfilling the dream of every child who grew up watching James Richardson sip coffee and hold the Gazetta Dello Sport aloft outside the Pantheon, watching some live calcio. With the winter break arriving I expected my options to be limited and would have been quite content to seeing one of the Roman teams play a basement dweller but luck was on my side and Roma had a home fixture against my childhood sweetheart, AC Milan.” Back Page Football

What has caused Borussia Dortmund’s disappointing form?

December 29, 2013

“Going into the winter break Borussia Dortmund sit fourth in the Bundesliga standings after collecting 32 points from the first 17 games. They are twelve points adrift of the defending champions Bayern Munich who have a game in hand. Even at just the halfway mark of the season, the title race appears over with the runaway leaders Bayern Munich seven points clear of Bayer Leverkusen having played a match less. Even with a managerial change, Bayern have simply continued from where they left last season.” Outside of the Boot

Russia and Ukraine merged league a small part of a bigger play

December 29, 2013

“In Soviet times a creeping network of veins and arteries kept the footballing and state machines in the eastern bloc beating together as one like some great socio-vascular monolith. Owned and run by government branches, clubs’ fortunes peaked and dipped contingent upon their utility to the Nomenklatura. In Bulgaria the military team CSKA were richly resourced from above whilst rivals Levski, historically synonymous with social resistance, were manipulated by the Interior Ministry to render them forever runners-up. Elsewhere Kaparty Lviv, a beacon for Ukrainian nationalism at a time when communism was creaking under the weight of its own bureaucratic waste, were shut down by the party leadership in 1981, seven years before state-favourites Dynamo Kiev were given permission to privatise and further entrench their legend as Ukraine’s famously immoveable object. Ask not what your country can do for you, and all that.” World Soccer

Liverpool’s midfield to thrive in absence of Steven Gerrard?

December 26, 2013

“At the age of 33, Steven Gerrard remains an integral part of the Liverpool team. So far this season, he has recorded six assists (joint second in the league) and averaged 2.7 key passes per game – third highest after the unstoppable Luis Suarez and the pass master Mesut Ozil. These qualities of the England skipper are hardly a revelation to anyone with an interest in LFC news. The question is – how do Liverpool perform in games of high intensity with Gerrard in the side? How do they deal with opponents pressing them high up? And equally as important, do Liverpool themselves press effectively enough with Gerrard at the heart of midfield?” Backpage Football