Roma 2-1 Fiorentina: everything down the wings

December 9, 2013

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“Roma ended a run of four draws with a victory over Fiorentina in a highly entertaining match. Rudi Garcia’s side was as expected – Adem Ljajic continued to play the Francesco Totti role against his former side, while Dodo was still at left-back in place of Federico Balzaretti. Vincenzo Montella moved Juan Vargas forward to the left flank having excelled at left-back against Verona in midweek. Manuel Pasqual returned at left-back, with Joaquin making way and Juan Cuadrado switching flanks. Alberto Aquilani returned in place of Matias Vecino in midfield, while David Pizarro was only fit enough for the bench. This game was most interesting for its overall pattern, rather than for the specifics of either side’s play.” Zonal Marking


Manchester United 0-1 Newcastle United: Pardew beefs up his midfield and Newcastle dominate possession

December 9, 2013

“Manchester United lost their second consecutive home league match for the first time over a decade. David Moyes made seven changes from the side that lost to Everton in midweek. Wayne Rooney was suspended and Michael Carrick was still injured, but Robin van Persie returned. Alan Pardew moved away from the 4-4-2 system that had beaten Chelsea and Tottenham in recent weeks, bringing Vurnon Anita into the midfield and leaving Loic Remy alone upfront. Moyes’ side had been a touch unfortunate against Everton in midweek, but here they were simply outplayed by a superior unit.” Zonal Marking

Tactics Board: van Persie lost in the deep
“There was a time, not many years ago, when many were not convinced that Robin van Persie was a sole, or main, striker. Now it feels a little strange when he is deployed in a deeper position.” ESPN (Video)

Manchester United 0-1 Newcastle United: Tactical Analysis | Newcastle’s organized display piles on the misery for Moyes
“Both sides came into the game on the back of disappointing losses in mid-week and Saturday’s early kick off gave them a chance for quick retribution. For the home side, the performance against Everton wasn’t the worst of the season but for a variety of reasons (tactical analysis here) they came up short. For Newcastle, their impressive renaissance and charge up the table was halted midweek by Swansea and in normal circumstances, a trip to Old Trafford on the back of a 3-0 loss should be a daunting prospect. However, Old Trafford hasn’t been the stronghold that Manchester United fans have been used to and Newcastle proved just that.” Outside of the Boot


Arsenal 1-1 Everton: Everton passing impresses but Arsenal offer more pentration

December 9, 2013

“Arsenal extended their lead at the top, while Everton extended the Premier League’s longest unbeaten run. Arsene Wenger was still without Bacary Sagna, so Carl Jenkinson played instead, while Theo Walcott was still on the bench. Roberto Martinez named an unchanged XI from the side that recorded a famous victory at Old Trafford in midweek. Everton were highly impressive throughout the first half, although ended up searching for a late equaliser.” Zonal Marking

Arsenal 1-1 Everton: Tactical Analysis | The Pressing Game
“With some of the title contenders like Chelsea, City and Manchester United dropping points the previous day, Arsenal had the chance to extend their lead at the top to 7 points, a truly remarkable figure in a season that’s supposed to be the tightest in a while. It wasn’t going to be easy pickings though for the Gunners, as their opponents were the in form Everton.” Outside of the Boot


Top 50 Players in the World 2013: Part 1 – 50-41

December 9, 2013

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41 Gerard Pique (▼ 40th)
“We’ve tallied the votes and taken opinions on board so now it’s time to reveal the Top 50 Players in the World for 2013! In the first part of this year’s countdown there are six new entries; players who showed a dramatic improvement over the course of the past 12 months.” backpage football


Borussia Dortmund 0-1 Bayer Leverkusen: Leverkusen Blunt Dortmund attack to take crucial points

December 9, 2013

“With Bayern Munich predictably marching ahead in the title race, the chasing pack had a very important match on Saturday night. Leverkusen travelled to the Signal Iduna Park to face the third placed side, Borussia Dortmund.” Outside of the Boot

Five talking points from Matchday 15
“In yet another goals-galore Bundesliga weekend, Bayern Munich finally satisfied the expectations of a free-scoring victory with a ruthless display at helpless Werder Bremen. Bayer Leverkusen continued to follow the footsteps of the Bavarians as they secured their most impressive win of the season to slump Borussia Dortmund to their second home defeat in a row. Borussia Mönchengladbach leveled their namesake on points after former Königsblauen midfielder Raffael’s sensational goal helped them to a comeback victory against fellow European football seekers, Schalke. The Brazilian wasn’t the only one to score against his former club, as Konstantin Rausch’s first goal for Stuttgart ensured that his former employers, Hannover, are still chasing their first point away from home.” Bundesliga Fanatic


Celtic suspend fans after damage to Motherwell’s Fir Park

December 9, 2013

“Celtic have suspended 128 fans from their matches and relocated 250 season-ticket holders following damage caused to Motherwell’s Fir Park on Friday. Seats in the South Stand were damaged while smoke bombs and flares were also thrown during Celtic’s 5-0 win. The Green Brigade group of fans on Sunday said it regretted the scenes and admitted that it should have better policed its section of supporters.” BBC