Tactical Analysis: Juventus 2 – 2 Bayern Munich

February 28, 2016

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Juventus’ static 4-4-2 shape vs. Bayern’s dynamic shape.
“Massimiliano Allegri played his 4-4-2 basic formation. As usual, when his side settled into low-block defense, the shape would be transpositioned into a 4-4-1-1 / 4-4-2-0. Early in the first-half, in their initial defensive shape, Juventus tended to let their forward-duo press without always establishing strong support-shape behind them. This pressing, in turn, allowed Bayern to bypass and progress forward. Juve’s zonal marking strongly focused on the central area, which provided space on the flank for Bayern, but Juventus was happy to push Bayern wide and trap them on the flanks.” Bundesliga Fanatic

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Manchester City on verge of first UCL quarterfinal; PSV holds Atletico

February 28, 2016

“Manchester City took a major step towards its first UEFA Champions League quarterfinal with a 3-1 victory away to Dynamo Kyiv in the first leg of its round-of-16 tie. City, much improved after its struggles in recent weeks, took a 2-0 lead in the first half thanks to goals from Sergio Aguero and David Silva. Vitaliy Buyalskyi pulled one back with a deflected shot just before the hour mark, but a superb goal from Yaya Toure–who had earlier missed a golden chance–restored the two-goal margin in the final minute. In Eindhoven, PSV was reduced to 10 men with more than a quarter of the game still to play with a red card to Gaston Pereiro, but the Eredivisie leader held out against Atletico Madrid for a 0-0 draw.” SI – Jonathan Wilson


Cristiano Ronaldo: Real Madrid forward appears unhappy with team-mates

February 28, 2016

“Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo said ‘if we were all at my level maybe we would be leaders’ after his side’s 1-0 derby defeat by Atletico Madrid. A first defeat under Zinedine Zidane leaves Real nine points behind leaders Barcelona, and four below Atletico. Real were missing Gareth Bale and Marcelo through injury, while Karim Benzema was replaced at half-time.” BBC

Zidane Can’t Save Real From Losing Another Madrid Derby
“When Zinedine Zidane was a player, he could raise his game like few other men to breach almost any defense. As a coach, he no longer has that power. And in his own stadium, with a team of players as expensive as any on earth, the futility of that predicament clearly tortures him. Zidane railed to no effect as Real Madrid lost, 1-0, on Saturday to Atlético Madrid in their derby match.” NY Times


Barcelona trio’s selflessness differentiates them from the rest

February 28, 2016

“The turning point of Barcelona’s 2-0 win over Arsenal came in the 70th minute of the match, Suarez to Neymar to Messi and inevitably to the back of the net. A swift move that not only put Barcelona well on their way to yet another quarter-final but showed just how good these front three are and why everybody is raving about them.” backpagefootball


Manchester United and the problem of moving on from an all-powerful leader

February 28, 2016

“The question isn’t even ‘if’. It isn’t even really ‘when’ any longer: it’s who comes next. Perhaps an FA Cup defeat at Shrewsbury on Monday would have ended Louis van Gaal’s reign at Old Trafford this week; perhaps a Europa League exit against Midtjylland on Thursday night will. But nobody really thinks Van Gaal will still be Manchester United manager next season.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson


Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image

February 28, 2016

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“ANDREW BOULTON casts his sceptical gaze towards the heroism, hubris, horror and hilarity of statues in football. Spend any length of time in Nottingham’s Old Market Square and you will see what we will politely refer to as ‘sights’. Teenage skateboarders tumbling churlishly against the concrete, their drastically over-exposed underpants providing little genuine protection against pavement burns and pigeon sick. Maudlin office workers weeping quietly into jacket potatoes so enormous they could briefly be mistaken for human heads. I even once saw a man angrily thrashing a phone box with a fishing pole.” Football Pink


Cubas shows ‘It’s the simple things in life that are the most extraordinary’

February 28, 2016

“While some players take the easy option and go hiding when they chips are down, pint-sized Boca Juniors midfielder Adrian Cubas showed courage beyond his teenage years to do what is expected of him by his team – the simple things. All fans have seen it on a frequent basis – after the team has scored, suddenly it is a different game. The ball is zipping around all over the field, the moves are flowing and suddenly, after seeming a desperately complicated affair before the deadlock was broken, football now looks like a simple game. It is the same players, on the same pitch, in the same game against the same opposition, but the whole atmosphere has changed.” The World Game – Tim Vickery