Bordeaux and the Chase for the Champions League

September 28, 2017

“2017-18 in Ligue 1 was never going to be about a title race in France, because that was sewn up the minute PSG bought Neymar from Barcelona (and just to rub it in, they got maybe the best prospect in world football as well). Rather, where the intrigue in Ligue 1 came from was the cluster of six or so teams below PSG fighting for two Champions League spots. At least for this writer, there was a genuine curiosity about how the standings would shake out in positions 2 to 7 considering the massive changes that had gone on. After seven games where are we? Monaco have been fine despite selling the majority of their title winning squad, Lyon have produced attacking numbers that are quite middling compared to the talent at their disposal, while Marcelo Bielsa and Lille are Ligue 1’s travelling circus act. …” Stats Bomb

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Man City Exploit Shakhtar’s Aggression to Claim Hard-Fought 2-0 Victory

September 28, 2017

“Manchester City were strong against Shakhtar Donetsk. They secured a 2-0 win in their Champions League fixture against the Ukrainian side, and while many would’ve predicted that at the outset, especially given the game was played at Etihad Stadium, it was a tricky one for Pep Guardiola’s men. ‘Tonight, we beat an amazing team,’ the Spanish manager asserted. ‘It was an extraordinary performance. They have fantastic players, are well organised and defended really well. A lot of credit to my players because we had to work hard to beat them. It was big result for us and they deserved our respect.’ …” Licence To Roam


Brighton’s Chris Hughton serves up reminder of lost art of defence

September 28, 2017

“Sometimes straightforward virtues are the best. In a Premier League that at times seems to have all but given up anything resembling traditional defending, there was something almost comforting about a clash between two sides who play in such a familiar, unpretentious way. This was a reminder of simpler virtues, a world in which the greatest aspiration is to be compact, and produced a sort of mutually assured self-neutralisation, a game in which flair was all but absent and, where it did exist, confined to a tiny sliver on the flanks. That the one goal came from a set piece was entirely appropriate. …” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson


Tactical Analysis: Nice 4-0 Monaco | Favre’s efficient approach

September 25, 2017

“After interesting transfer windows from both OGC Nice and AS Monaco, the sides would meet in the Ligue 1, with both having been part of the title race the previous season. Lucien Favre and Leonardo Jardim’s 4-4-2 systems, which share many similar traits, would clash in a battle between two teams who will undoubtedly be aiming for some of the highest positions in France’s most prestigious domestic league. A relatively poor start by Nice contrast to their opponent’s Monaco, who have been unstoppable as they have picked up the maximum of twelve points from their four games so far. …” Outside of the Boot


Tactical Analysis: Schalke 0-3 Bayern Munich | Ancelotti’s men secure hard fought win

September 25, 2017

“… Schalke 04 started quite well; the first two lines of their press were coordinated well and managed to force turnovers within FC Bayern’s half. But, as the time went by, slowly but sure, Bayern found the rhythm and gradually dismantled the hosts’ uncoordinated press. James Rodriguez was amazing, but apart from that, particularly in the second half, Schalke were just not good enough to deal with Bayern’s possession play. …” Outside of the Boot


Serie A 2016/2017: Half Season Review

January 19, 2017

“The first match-day of 2017 coincided with the conclusion of the first half of the 2016/2017 Serie A championship. Or, rather, it should have coincided, since the Italian Super Cup and the snow of this cold start of the year, mixed up the schedule with Juventus, AC Milan, Crotone, Bologna, Fiorentina and Pescara played a game less than the others did. The symbolic turning point of the season remains the best moment to make a partial appraisal of the championship and having fun making some predictions about the league outcomes.” Stats Bomb


Everton – Pressure Drop

January 19, 2017

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“Although Everton reached two domestic cup semi-finals in 2015/16 (something the club had not done since 1984), their performances were disappointing in the Premier League, as they finished 11th for the second successive season. As chairman Bill Kenwright observed, ‘Ultimately, our final league positions over the last two seasons were not good enough.’ This culminated in the decision to sack manager Roberto Martinez, replacing him with former Dutch international Ronald Koeman, who was tempted to leave Southampton for the project at Everton.” The Swiss Ramble