Manchester Utd 0-3 Liverpool: Rodgers plays a diamond midfield, Liverpool win easily

March 17, 2014

“Liverpool were dominant throughout the match, and could have won by a few more goals. Chris Smalling was a late withdrawal so Nemanja Vidic returned at the back, but otherwise David Moyes named his expected XI. Brendan Rodgers replaced Coutinho with Raheem Sterling at the top of the diamond instead, and he switched his full-backs – Glen Johnson returned to the right, Jon Flanagan moved to the left. Liverpool were in control of possession throughout the game, and gradually forced United mistakes.” Zonal Marking

Manchester United 0-3 Liverpool: Tactical Analysis
“The biggest rivalry in English football took place at Old Trafford; two of England’s most successful football clubs locked horns. But while the 80s showed both the sides at the height of their powers, the past decade or two has seen United leapfrog their rivals and take control of English football. This season however, and this game in particular, was a rather rare setting with Liverpool well ahead of the defending champions in the league table and two contrasting objectives for the remainder of the campaign.” Outside of the Boot

Twenty Times Better: Liverpool 3 United 0
“‘Twenty times’ sang United fans at the end, perhaps referring to how much better Liverpool were than their team, on a day when even Gary Neville felt the visitors should have had five penalties. (While we’re at it United fans, that’s five times.) United fans are sticking by their manager, and I do respect that, but it’s like they’re trying to show how good they are as fans, rather than face the reality of a decent – but at this top level, distinctly mediocre – manager taking a successful bunch of players (plus £70m spent) and turning them into his own image. Maybe Moyes will come good, but to be honest, with every passing week he just looks worse. He looks archaic; not so much out of his depth as out of his time. It’s not 1993 anymore.”
Tomkins Times

A pall is cast over a milestone victory for Bayern Munich

March 17, 2014

“Two goals in eight minutes either side of halftime, the first from Mario Mandzukic, the second from Bastian Schweinsteiger, were enough for Bayern Munich. This wasn’t one of its romps, when it seems it could put four or five past any opposition, but it was good enough to beat Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 and so extend Bayern’s unbeaten league run to an extraordinary 50 games.” SI – Jonathan Wilson

Tottenham 0-1 Arsenal: Arsenal grind out a win

March 17, 2014

“Arsenal went ahead within two minutes, then sat uncharacteristically deep for the remainder of the game. Tim Sherwood made four changes from the side that lost to Benfica, with Nacer Chadli in the number ten role and Nabil Bentaleb returning to the side. Arsene Wenger named his expecting starting XI, in a 4-3-3 shape with Mikel Arteta as the holding midfielder. Spurs had plenty of possession, but failed to find an equaliser.” Zonal Marking

Portugal’s Everlasting Striker Dilema

March 17, 2014

“The announcement that we are less than 100 days away from the start of the World Cup usually marks the beginning of endless heated discussions and arguments about team selection- who deserves to be on the plane and who is left in the departure lounge, doomed to wait another four years for the chance to realise their World Cup dream.” backpagefootball

Mattia De Sciglio: Scout Report

March 17, 2014

“A.C. Milan is historically one of the most decorated football clubs. Now, they are struggling to find balance in the team and the situation at the club is undesirable for their fans to say the least. They have been confronted with failure and thus started a new chapter with their legendary player, Clarence Seedorf. New names, new staff members even maybe a new board will arrive but success at Milan, at least in the short term seems increasingly unlikely.” Outside of the Boot

Ireland: Group D pits neighbours in close quarter combat

March 17, 2014

“The Republic of Ireland face familiar foes on the road to France 2016, with Germany, Poland, Georgia and Scotland providing stern opposition for Martin O’Neill’s men. The Green Army’s first outing is a tricky away tie against Georgia on September 7th, previous opponents in two failed qualifying campaigns, Portugal 2004 and South Africa 2010. Ireland secured victory on each occasion, eking out vital away wins on a 2-1 score line.” backpagefootball