Tactical Analysis: Barcelona 3-0 Bayern Munich | Pep’s dangerous tactics backfire

May 12, 2015

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“If you’re reading this, you don’t need to be informed of the magnitude of the Barcelona – Bayern Munich Champions League semi-final. There were all kinds of storylines and sub-plots to the actual game. Most of them involved Pep Guardiola. It was Pep versus Messi, Pep versus his old club and his old teammate Luis Enrique, then you had Pep versus the machine he had created and every other storyline in between. That was why it was no suprise that Pep started the game in what might be described as an altenative style of play against a team like Barcelona. Guardiola is considered a visionary and the high intensity press that Bayern started with was emblametic of Pep’s thinking. It didn’t work though.” Outside of the Boot

Guardiola’s gambles put Bayern in hole in nightmare Camp Nou return
“That was what Guardiola had said of Lionel Messi before Wednesday’s Champions League semifinal between Barcelona and Bayern Munich, but to suggest the match simply bore that out would be too simplistic. To begin with, there was that extraordinary first 16 minutes when Guardiola played a man-marking back three against Neymar, Luis Suarez and Messi. It was perhaps the boldest, most startling defensive gambit in the history of the Champions League, and it may have consequences for Guardiola.” SI – Jonathan Wilson


Champions League semis showcase changing role of deep-lying midfielder

May 12, 2015

“This season’s Champions League semifinals don’t feature the four most outstanding goalkeepers, defenders, wingers or strikers in the world, but it’s difficult to argue with the selection of deep-lying midfielders. In Sergio Busquets, Andrea Pirlo, Xabi Alonso and Toni Kroos, we’re being treated to an exhibition of probably the world’s four most revered footballers in that role. Between them, the quartet have won the last three World Cups and seven of the last 12 Champions League titles. More crucially, in different ways, they’ve helped redefine the nature of their position.” ESPN – Michael Cox


Bayern’s Champions’ League dream in tatters after late Barça surge

May 12, 2015

“Three-quarters of the way into the opening leg of their Champions’ League semifinal in Barcelona, FC Bayern looked good to take a decent result with them to Bavaria. All seemed well as Pep Guardiola’s side had kept out everything their opponent could throw at them as the clock ticked past the seventy-five minute mark. Then . . . two crushing blows in the space of three minutes turned the tie on its head, with a crippling – and completely avoidable – third goal coming in injury time. In truth, all three goals were avoidable in a game that had looked so good until the wheels came dramatically spinning off on what was a warm, late-spring evening on the Mediterranean coast.” Bundesliga Fanatic


Talent Radar Player Rankings: Top 10 Young Forwards in 2014/15

May 12, 2015

“In the past two weeks, we’ve updated our Talent Radar player rankings in the Goalkeepers, Defenders and Midfielders section. We’re now left with this season’s final issue of the Forward Rankings. It’s common tendency that players playing up front attract the most attention, from both fans and clubs. Many of the names on this list will be the subject of transfer speculation in the coming months. We’re going to leave any kind of speculation surrounding these players out of this and give you an unbiased judgement of how the players have done this past season to let you know the reason for the hype around them.” Outside of the Boot


Dissecting the Glazers’ decade of decay (and the Manchester United legend who allowed it)

May 12, 2015

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“For almost any other team, the past 10 years would have been considered a period of startling success: five league titles, three League Cups, one Champions League trophy and two other trips to the finals. But while 10 years of the Glazer family at Manchester United have provided some of the finest soccer Old Trafford’s ever seen, they’ve also served up a decade of mismanagement – decline, panic and glory. Taken out of context, those successes ignore the club’s extensive, perhaps more significant failures. For every near miss Manchester United endured, different management could have pushed for another trophy, and while trophies are not the only symbol of merit for a club, they are one of the most important for a club of United’s powers.” Fusion (Video)


5 Premier League Clubs Stuck in Relegation Battle

May 12, 2015

“The moment that Chelsea wrapped up the Premier League title in England, interest switched to the race to the bottom. The grim reality of the world’s richest soccer league is that only Chelsea, Manchester City and possibly Arsenal had the players and the means to win it this season. Two-thirds of the rest of the clubs played in fear of relegation to the Championship, one league below.” NY Times


Holes in Tottenham, Bloody Hull And Don’t Fear the Numbers

May 12, 2015

“It was quite predictable that Stoke, a team with a reputation for tough play, should be able to roll over a typically soft-centered Tottenham side and so they did.  Usually, I might just point out a few issues surrounding the dismal performance and proffer a positive solution but this week happens to coincide with a bit of research I carried out which paints a dismal picture of where Tottenham are with regard their inability to prevent chances.   Amongst analytic types, this is not a new theory, i’m reminded of Colin Trainor and Paul Riley respectively highlighting and dryly remonstrating with Tottenham’s defensive issues.   This plight has been a bit of an elephant in my room: I knew it was there, but tried to ignore it.  Hugo Lloris has had a great season?  Well, you only get that kind of swift analysis when a keeper is busy, and he sure has been.” Stats Bomb


Tactical Analysis of Favre’s Flexible 4-4-2 System against Leverkusen

May 12, 2015

“Around 3-4 years ago, the 4-4-2 system was considered extinct, because of the ease by which this system could be dominated by a system comprising 3 central midfielders (e.g. Mourinho’s 3 midfielder system as a prominent example). However, in last couple seasons, the 4-4-2 formation has had a bit of a renaissance with teams such as Simeone’s Atlético and Schmidt’s Salzburg and Bayer Leverkusen (B04) deploying this formation. Since the 4-4-2 formation heavily emphasizes horizontal compaction, the midfield players rarely lose their battles, while the 4-4-2’s narrow shape means that the midfield can be supported by the attacking line, wide players, and full backs.” Bundesliga Fanatic