Legia Warsaw and the Champions League: an unexpected success

December 8, 2016

“It couldn’t have started any worse. Legia Warsaw, Poland’s first representative in the Champions League group stage in 20 years, kicked off their grand adventure at home to Borussia Dortmund in mid-September. Instead of a gutsy performance Legia succumbed to a 6-0 thumping in such an embarrassing fashion that they sacked their manager – and the display was so dire that many Polish fans expected to watch further matches behind assembled living-room furniture. On top of the terrible result Legia hooligans made a fool of themselves in the stands, leading to the next home match vs Real Madrid to be played behind closed doors.” Rightbankwarsaw

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Arsenal seal top spot as Spurs head to Europa League – Football Weekly Extra

December 8, 2016

“The award-winning Football Weekly returns to look back on a busy midweek of European action. AC Jimbo’s voice is at around 75% in the seductive stakes, so he’s joined by Barry Glendenning, James Horncastle and Jonathan Wilson on the harmonies. We begin with the Champions League. Arsenal were most un-Arsenal and ended up winning their group, while Spurs were über-Spursy and ended up third and in the Europa League. As for Leicester, well – at least they did the business before heading to Porto.” Guardian (Video)


Greed Is Destroying European Football, but Too Many Don’t See It as a Problem

December 8, 2016

“And so with a weary sigh, the Champions League group stage comes to an end. There have been brilliant goals, lots of them, and a couple of exhilarating games. The clashes between Atletico Madrid and Bayern Munich, between Manchester City and Barcelona, between Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid, had certain self-contained dramas. Ludogorets Razgrad and FC Rostov, here and there, put up encouraging fights. But fundamentally, it all passed with a shrug and a yawn. Those big clashes have essentially ended up being meaningless, as both teams went through.” Bleacher Report (Video)


Tactical Analysis: Arsenal 2-2 PSG | Thrilling night ends in a stalemate

December 1, 2016

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“Despite being a thrilling encounter in terms of its result and implications, the lesson learned from Paris Saint-Germain’s trip to Arsenal should ultimately be one of two limited teams doing battle in a way that did little to inspire confidence. The Gunners were sloppy in possession, unadventurous and limited in wide areas. Paris Saint-Germain, as they have since the departure of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, lacked a reliable focal point in attack, with Edinson Cavani getting only one of eight shots on target. They somewhat surprisingly controlled possession, but with Blaise Matuidi, the nominal left winger, playing in a deeper role than the teamsheet would suggest, there was little venom from the French side.” Outside of the Boot


Tactical Analysis: Borussia Dortmund 8-4 Legia Warsaw | Defence thrown out of the windows

December 1, 2016

“In football, the line between attack and defense is incredibly thin, even non-existent. In a game where there is little set offense or defense, and where the flow of a match is fluid, the best teams master the ability to defend while attacking, and attack while defending. When a great team has the ball, they aren’t just thinking of how to break down the defense. They’re also thinking about how to prevent the opposition, that defense, from winning the ball back and then counter attacking. Like a chess grandmaster, great players, coaches and teams always think 2-3 moves ahead.” Outside of the Boot


Tactical Analysis: Borussia Monchengladbach 1-1 Manchester City | Draw sends unconvincing Man City into the knockouts

December 1, 2016

“After a scintillating display against Barcelona at the Etihad, the sky blues went to Borussia Park to face the Gladbach side who were lacking in confidence from their previous games. City were expected to come out with an easy victory, but what happened there was rather surprising. It was this fixture that kick started the run of Manuel Pellegrini’s men into the semi-finals of last season but this match was not half as lunatic as that game, as Man City showed no intent and lacked energy to kill the game.” Outside of the Boot


The death of possession football

November 18, 2016

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“Former Bayern Munich manager and current Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola, speaking after Bavarian side’s 5-1 triumph over Arsenal last season, was famously said: What I want, my desire, is to have one hundred percent possession. Bayern Munich had enjoyed sixty nine percent of possession in that game as goals from Robert Lewandowki, Thomas Muller, David Alaba and Arjen Robben gave Arsenal nightmares that probably suggested the extent of damage that possession football can usually do.” backpagefootball