Know Your Enemy: Ghana’s Kwadwo Asamoah

April 11, 2014

Kwadwo Asamoah
“In the career of Kwadwo Asamoah is written a parable of the tactical history of African football. When he emerged, making his international debut in 2006 when he was just 17, he was hailed as the first great Ghanaian playmaker since Abedi Pele. Until a decade or so ago, West Africa specialized in technically gifted attacking midfielders or second strikers – as well as Pele, there were the likes of Ni’i Lamptey, Theophile Abega, Jay-Jay Okocha and Kanu, players who dropped deep from the front line and had the patience and skill to hold the ball up, wait for a runner and deliver the pass.” SI – Jonathan Wilson (Video)


You Shall Not Pass: Atletico Madrid Suffocate Barcelona, Just Like They Planned

April 11, 2014

“Atletico Madrid’s triumph over Barcelona (2-1, on aggregate) might seem like a Champions League Cinderella story. But is it really a Cinderella story when a team does exactly what it was designed to do? What Diego Simeone’s side accomplished against the Catalan giants was hardly the stuff of scrappy underdogs; this was about the imposition of a defense perfectly constructed to neutralize Barcelona’s possession-based attack. And that’s what Atletico did.” Grantland


Bayern Munich 3-1 Manchester United: Guardiola uses his full-backs in midfield, but Bayern better with a standard system

April 11, 2014

“Pep Guardiola played an unusual system, but it didn’t help Bayern break down Manchester United. Guardiola fielded Toni Kroos in the pivot role, with Thomas Muller in midfield and Mario Mandzukic returning upfront. David Moyes brought Shinji Kagawa and Darren Fletcher into his midfield, and recalled Patrice Evra and Chris Smalling at the back. The pattern of the game wasn’t significantly different from the first leg, and the major talking point was Guardiola’s use of his two full-backs.” Zonal Marking

Bayern Munich 3-1 Manchester United: Tactical Analysis | Guardiola’s smart use of Lahm & Alaba
“Bayern Munich came into the game at Allianz Arena as clear favourites having been slightly disappointed with just a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford. A 0-0 would have been enough, but certainly Bayern Munich were always going to go for the win. Man United knew they had to score atleast once to stand a chance of progressing, a task in itself. Despite a dominating performance from Bayern, the sides went in 0-0 at half time. Patrice Evra gave United a surprise lead early in the second half, only for it to be tied again 22 seconds later as Mandzukic equalised. Goals from Muller and Robben saw Bayern comfortably through to the semi-finals with the final score being Bayern Munich 3-1 Manchester United.” Outside of the Boot


Borussia Dortmund 2-0 Real Madrid: Tactical Analysis | Klopp’s men work harder, but fall short

April 11, 2014

“Borussia Dortmund came into the game knowing that they had to pull off nothing short of a miracle to stand any chance of getting past Real Madrid in the Champions League quarter-finals. They knew that even a repeat of their 4-1 triumph last season at home, wouldn’t be enough. Jurgen Klopp had to go for the win, while a Ronaldo-less Real Madrid knew that even one goal would be enough. It was vital then that Dortmund came out the stronger attacking side, they needed the victory more than their opponents and were ensuring that they controlled the game. When Madrid received a penalty, it seemed like ‘game-over’ but the save from Weidenfeller spurred the side on. Two quick goals by Reus before half-time changed the complexion of the game, and if it wasn’t for some poor Mkhitaryan finishing, Dortmund would have (at the very least) ensured extra time.” Outside of the Boot


Baby Turtles on Fire

April 11, 2014

man-city-sl-features
“It was a goal, one of many. Vincent Kompany took the ball out of the center circle. Jesus Navas was loitering ahead on the right wing, totally unmarked. No man is an island, John Donne says, but Donne never saw Navas play against Southampton. Kompany rolled the ball up to his Spanish teammate, not with any real urgency — their Manchester City side was already up 3-1 at home, with 10 minutes left in the match — but just, you felt, to get his winger re-involved with mankind. Navas ran onto the pass and flicked a casual cross into the area. The ball did that juddering scythe thing it does sometimes, skipping ahead of three defenders by a few inches each. Southampton’s goalkeeper, Paulo Gazzaniga, tried to fall on it and failed. So it dropped at the feet of City’s Stevan Jovetic, who dinged it into the empty net. 4-1. From the center circle to the goal, the ball was touched three times. Ask not for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for midtable Premier League defenses.” Grantland – Brian Phillips (Video)


The Reds Have Bought Success? No Chance

April 11, 2014

“… Liverpool have of course spent some money to get into the hunt, but nothing compared with that spent by Chelsea, Man United and City in winning their titles of the past decade, during which time football became about billionaires and even trillionaires. Liverpool have five huge games left, but if they win the title it would make them the ‘cheapest’ champions in many a blue moon.” Tomkins Times


Champions League semi-finals: how last four teams compare

April 11, 2014

“Can Atlético Madrid last the pace? Will Pep Guardiola’s tinkering harm Bayern Munich’s hopes? Does José Mourinho have the right gameplan and will Real Madrid’s forward line be too strong for everyone? Here we analyse all four teams” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson