Wednesday, 14 February 2018


the uefa champions league matches are a great audition for the coaches as well as the players . the game between spurs and juventus was an audition for pochettino and his players . over the period of two weeks spurs have played against good opponents notably against liverpool and utd . i watched the game against liverpool and whoever had watched it then they would had found the similarities in terms of the way the game went . spurs dominated the game but were not good in the final third . the same was the story here spurs dominated the proceedings but most of the times they didnt look that threatning and squandered there possession off .
juventus started the game with 4-4-2 formation . higuain was upfront with costa who was preferred in the no.10 role because of his ability to dribble as well as he can exchange positions with manzukic who can come inside and join higuain if costa goes wide and be at the end of the cross from costa . spurs started with 4-2-3-1 formation with dembele and dier in front of the back four . spurs wanted to congest the midfield and have dominance over it . spurs fell back through two early goals because of their defensive lapses . both the goal could had been prevented atleast the second one i mean its a stupidity from the fullback davies . he should had just cleared the ball from direction where it came from instead of trying to clear it to the other side and secondly he should had tried to catch it much higher instead of trying to let it come that much down . 
spurs went two goals down early but credit goes to the coach and the players who didnt let their head go down and instead started to play their game and stamped their authority in the game . while at the same time juventus went into their italian mentality of trying to protect the lead that they had . the initial game plan of trying to close down spurs and try to win the ball high up the pitch and hit them on the fast counter went out of the window . now if you had watched the game between liverpool and spurs and this game then the reason why spurs dominated was because of one player and that is dembele . his ability to get out of the pressure and dominate the game was amazing .he was the main reason why spurs dominated .
spurs dominated the game but i was disappointed in the their offense . liverpool game was repeated here . there are three main zones in football the defense,midfield and offensive third . now spurs were playing out of the back demebele was able to pass that pressure that was exerted to him in the midfield and was able to pass that ball forward in the final third . its the role of the final third that they need to combine and the coach needs to orchestrated the offense as to what happens when the ball comes in this zone or that whoever recives the ball and who makes the makes the run and who takes what position . this is the role of the coach because unlike midfield the opposition is not going to give time and space on the ball in the final third and get themselves murdered . here i was disappointed with delle alli . he plays in the no.10 postion and is supposed to be the main creator in the spurs team but how many times did he squandered the possession in the final third . plus spurs players dont have that sharpness as to whether they have aplayer around or whether they can take a touch or should they just pass back .
i had read somewhere that pep gaurdiola use to discuss the tactics with chess grandmaster's . chess and football are way similar and the grandmasters would had taught him as to how to draw out an opponent or use various positions and how to use them . how do you read your opponent and their game plan and get an upperhand on that . the context of this is that spurs were able to bring the ball upfield but were simply poor in the final third . just as when you press a player and one of the player starts as it is a cue for others to press others . similarly it is on offense when the ball is passed upfield then the other players needs to take the cue and take positions and it needs to be crisp . there is no stopping for crisp passing and only it can be stopped is by fouling the offensive team . i think spurs need to up their game in the final third and be more creative .
juventus took the lead early but then just took their foot off the paddle . first thing if it was an audition for pochettino then similarly allegri's name is being linked to various clubs and would any club like to have a manager who plays defensive football . there is nothing bad in sitting back and hitting back on the counter but when you can read that you need to you have ten players players behind the ball then you need to do level changes( ufc word) like be patient move the ball try to slow the game and then hit them . juventus just played one dimensional football just try to hit spurs on the counter atleast in the last quarter they should had just try to take different approach . juventus were helped by some stupid defending by spurs fullbacks who were just hopeless all night long and there decision making would cost spurs a place in the quarter finals . 

Saturday, 30 December 2017


 i was ill that is why i was not able to post and do this game early which i wanted to do so badly . on satuday real madrid played barcelona . for the last 4 or 5 days i had been reading the news, opinions and analysis of many a pundits . first and foremost many a pointed this defeat towards zidane and he is responsible for it . well a coach is defenitely responsible for the result of his team but on the other had let me ask as to which coach will tell his players to play badly or mess up in the game . there are situations where on the decisions making goes wrong and the team pays the price . i dont think that zidane would ever do that . when would a coaches CV or his status gets raised when he does something against great opponents and what better opponents than barcelona to do better .
the most important thing had been which had been missed in this game is that everybody and anybody is criticizing zidane but what about valverde and barcelona . i am want to first one who will criticize his or say question his . if the match had been the mirror image of first half then everybody had been questioning valverde and his tactics . barcelona is said to play the best football in europe and they had been the flag bearers of football tactics for all the teams . under gaurdiola it was intense pressing then came enrique era of quick counter attack and the question mark remains of what of valverde tactics . had the game gone the other way then he would had been questioned and he would had been on the knife's edge .
barcelona started the game with 4-4-2 formation but pauliniho was playing more as a forward rather than a wide man and messi playing as a number 10 . pauliniho started the game because he has the knack of making runs into the box and taking great positions where on his team mates can find him and that helps in offense because it helps to move the ball and helps the team very nicely . real started the game with 4-4-2 formation with ronaldo playing as the wide forward while benzema through the middle . real started to have 4 midfielders in the middle of the park the stratergy being to congest that space and deny barcelona any space in the middle of park . for the first half barcelona were trying to find their identity . what were barcelona trying to achieve was very clear but madrid were prepared for that . first off messi was coming deep and luis suarez was going wide just to create that space between centre backs so that if messi beats his marker he will can either pass that ball to suarez or use that space which suarez created . 
real madrid were prepared for all what barcelona were going to throw at them . first off they didnt gave messi time and space on the ball and this might the first classico when messi had lost possession most amount of time in a half . either kovacic or casmeiro were with him . while barcelona were trying to play a little bit of a dutch game trying to be patient and find the opening in the madrid defense . madrid had their own offense . they had crowded the middle of the park but they had sent their fullbacks high up the pitch and they too wanted to stretch the barca defense . the offense had the correct intent because real had benzema and ronaldo in the middle but at times i think that real crossed the ball with letting ronaldo having the time to come into the box . the other thing was that real could had just tried to have deeper penetration in the box and once they succeded and created the best chance of the game which ronaldo scuffed . now here is the difference between great player  ( bergkamp)and good player ( ronaldo) is that they have the awareness of who and what is around them and whether they can take a touch or take first time show . 
i dont know what happened but zidane tried to change thing in the second half . in the first half kovacic and casmeiro were in the middle of the park and were guarding that space very perfectly . in the second half zidane sent casmeiro against sergio busquetus . if there is a better ball passer in the barcelona team other than messi then its busquestus who is very under appreciated . the second mistake was to play sloppy passes i mean real are trying to play out from the back and if you loose the ball in the middle of the park and too to barcelona then you are inviting trouble . in the analytical pieces being done by various writers they had pointed about the counter counter attack but they failed to point as to why casmeiro ,modric and kross were caught on the wrong side of the ball . kovacic was given the duty to guard messi and he was doing it perfectly . when rakitic intercepted the pass and ran onto the real defense . kovacic was is in two minds as to whether he goes to go against rakitic or keeping on guarding messi and in that they kept on dropping back and they conceded the goal . another such goal with the same mistake with a red card and it ended the game for me .
first off the only thing zidane did wrong was that in the second half he changed the system and instead of trying to improvise what was done in the first half he tried to do different which opened the game for barcelona and real suffered the defeat . i think zidane will learn from that but the question still lingers for me about valverde and if barcelona gets upset in the coming months especially in ucl then i think he is in danger . 

Monday, 4 December 2017


juventus played napoli on friday night . the game was significant because it was important for napoli to show that they are the best team in italy and play the best football over there . now before i write about the game as i had written time and again that the coaches try to find out the weak points in the opposition and try to explore it or try to create imbalance and start the offense from there . the coaches game is to think and coach and the players job is to carry it out on the field . the other thing is that as i had written earlier about game reading and that had been in reference to defense but just as game reading is important on defense it similarly important on the offense as well . you have to take into account the defensive formation and players qualities . even the coach had coached them and taught them as to what they need to do but its the players who is playing and has to improvise and read the play . he has to read as to where he can create space which zone he can exploit who to use in the play and take the necessary decision . its just like a chess game out there where on each one is sizing up one another and try to out do each other . if the players are of equal strength then the match will be a draw because both will cancel out each other and that is why the coaches job is to find that extra factor which can be beneficial to his team . napoli are a very good team and play good football but the trouble with napoli is that their game can be read from a distance and unfortunately sarri had not been able to add anything new to the game . napoli's game is forward going game but unfortunately what they lack is flair in that team and they dont have anybody who can attract the defenders and create space for others . 
juventus started the with 4-4-1-1 formation while napoli started the game with their usual 4-3-3 formation . i think allegri was prepared for napoli and they had prepared very well for napoli . the most important  factor when you play a pressing game is that you have to be reletless and press very hard . even though napoli were pressing and their team formation and they were working very well in tandem . while pressing the seem to be somewhat hesitant because first off juventus players possessed a physical and technical advantage over napoli's players ( whether anybody admit that or not ) .   napoli's players were waiting for juventus players to take first action and that allowed juventus players time on the ball were able to play themselves out of the press . napoli's players were circumspect and they wanted juventus players to first move because of the first goal because juventus players could play out of the press and because of the pressing many were caught on the wrong side of the ball and there was a lot of space at the back for costa to explore which led to higuain's goal ( just like last year where on juventus scored the goal and sat back to absorb the napoli's pressure for win.
allegri had prepared juvnetus very well for the napoli's test . he wanted juventus to sit back and hit back on the counter . the most important facet of the game was that he wanted higuain to come off the back four and stay inside so as to disrupt that back two . his plan was that higuain would come inside and costa and dybala to run beyond higuain . juventus had better players who could get out better in one on one situation . napoli were just one dimensional in the first half . both the team were not going to concede space in the middle so there was going to be space on the wings for both the team . as i had said napoli were one dimensional in the first half and most importantly mertens who i consider the best player in that team was just not involved in the offense in the first half . in the first half napoli were just not able to bring the ball inside from the wide areas . mertens wasnt not involved in the offense at all . secondly none napoli players could show their magic and show some skill on the ball to create chances for their team . mertens was left frustrated in the first half because of the lack of touches to the ball as well as his involvement . most of all i was very frustrated with callejon's movement and his positional understanding of the play . hysaz for me has one of the best passer of the ball in tight situations but he was let down by callejon . mario rui who was playing as left back was choosing to cross the ball which is ok considering that atleast they were getting the ball in the box but mertens beating chilleni and benatia is me beating anand in a chess game . 
in the second half sarri made the changes . he must asked his players to play around mertens and mertens to come off the back four and let insigne and others get beyond him but the trouble is that juventus were prepared for all this . secondly the length of pass from where napoli were trying to open up juventus was a bit far ( i would show that in the diagram . the passes were atleast 30-40 yard passes and which should had been further forward  ) . this was allowing buffon and others that necessary time to come off the line or make that necessary interceptions in the play . most of all i think that the mistake that sarri made was that he subbed allan for zalenski . zalenski is a very good player but allan too has a very good underrated game and i think he was realling shining in that game and would had been one of the difference maker  in that game . i thought that callejon would be subbed and he would bring somebody upfront or even just like same allerdyce tried put koulibally upfront and play mertens off him and that would had been hell of a play .

Sunday, 12 November 2017


now when you talk of tactics then the one country that stoods out is italy . they are the pioneer of tactical football . i had been writing in my every post that the coach is to make the changes to the games instantly and constantly if possible and explain his player about that during the training sessions ( that is what they are for ) . but after watching that match against sweden i think i had never watch italy to be so tactically so naive or say that they were just one dimensional or just utterly hopeless . i read the headlines that ventura and others needs to be kicked out of the italian football well if i want to make a statement then i can definitely say that even if they world cup which i find somewhat difficult . if italy were hopeless then i would say that sweden were very well coached . in football just as its important as how you defend but at the same time you need to show the quality when you have the ball . sweden just used the ball very well . the important thing was that they knew next . the only disappoint for me was not having forsberg on the ball and if possible then the coach should just build the offense around him .

italy started the game with their usual 3-5-2 formation while sweden started the game with 4-6-0 formation ( i am saying this because they were trying to get every player behind the ball .the reason why i called italy to be very hopeless was because they were just so one dimensional . the ball would either end up at the feet of candreva and darmian who would just cross the ball in the box . i had never seen such hopeless team at what they were doing with the ball . italy had two of the best midfielders in the world with one very good forward in the form of belotti . but all these players and their quality were in vain . sweden definitely had the physical advantage over italy atleast upfront and at the back . italy's game plan was to take the ball and cross . sweden were going to play deep because they were conerned about immoble's running behind the back four . they were going to play narrow knowing that italy even they dont have flair have quality in the ranks . i really dont understand as to why they were hurrying with the ball . they had the plan a with the cross in the box but now ventura needs to improvise once sweden were set themselves on defense for the cross and this is where he failed . he just continued with the plan A for the entire match . he should had tried to bring the ball inside . there was no hard pressing from the swdish and ventura should had tried that . secondly one of the key features of antonio conte's side was the cohesion between his two front players here i didnt saw any . once in the match belotti and immoble combining and sweden were scrambling . i think belotti must had been one of the most frustrated players in the italian team . they dont play around him . they just want him to head the ball if it can reach him .
i say sweden are a very well coached team because they know what to do when they have the ball . they had the phyical advantage upfront with berg and taivonen . sweden knew what  they had they do when they had the ball . they had to take ball upfield as early as possible and they tried to play through their front players . the good thing was that if the front players were not winning the first ball then they were contesting for the second ball . this is good coaching because if you cannot win the first ball then you can definitely contest for the second one till it gets on the floor . sweden were able to find space between the lines because even though italy were 3-2 against sweden at the back italian defenders made some very basic mistakes to hand over the advantage to sweden . even though italy had 3-2 advantage over sweden even in the midfield but svenson and ekdal were able to move the ball easily and were very good on the ball . sweden what sweden had to and if this theme continues then i think they deserve to be in the WC finals than italy .

Friday, 27 October 2017


now there are two to three good happened at the weekend so instead of writing them separately i would try to summarize them in one post . i would cover these games and will take into consideration the games that had happened last week ( the game between man utd vs liverpool ) .
the first big game was between napoli vs inter . napoli had done very well in serie A and are at the top . while inter too had been playing some very decent football . spaletti had organised them well . while napoli's sarri had been getting all the praise because of the playing style . there is no doubt that napoli are playing well .they pass the ball well but the football is a constantly evolving game and i think that napoli are just stuck in that one gear from which they need to get out . let me tell you even last year napoli were playing this good and against juventus but came undone . why did i say that they are playing in same gear is because their offense can be readed . they pass of very good and that is their style but their offense can be read . first off for me mertens had been one of the revelations for me but for me he is not used that much . he is used the same way as gaurdiola uses jesus in man city to keep the back two occupied . so that it creats the space for insigne who tries to take on the fullback . second is that insigne comes deep inside and he tries to release callejon or mertens behind the back four .
about the game first spaletti had the chance that his team is ready to play a top notch opposition and he preapred for that . he tried to match napoli by pressing them high up the field but as soon as the ball was brought upfield he would retreat the team in a two banks of four and make them compact . inter played deep because they knew that little space behind the back four can be exploited by napoli . why do i say that napoli are stuck in one gear is because first off they just play in one gear or forward positive football but while doing that they are not making enough passes in the final third to pull the opposition out of shape or bambozzle them with their movement and passing . even in the game against juventus last season they dominated the possession but they couldnt find a way to put the ball in the back of the net . they need to change gears and need to vary their offense and open up opposition .
spaletti had organised inter very well . they just sat back and hit on the counter trying to exploit napoli and the spaces that are left being . now when you play on the counter attack you need your centre forward to hold the ball and release ball to runners that are going beyond him . his role is very important . in this match either icardi didnt do very well . first off he wasnt used much in the attack because whenever the ball was passed to him he passed well . inter failed to use icardi as well as valero and these two need to combine well if inter need to have more potency on counter . or that they can use somebody other in big games to have more pace upfront who could provide more movement . i just marcotti statement as to whether inter or napoli can be genuine contenders . well they can be if they cant loose against lesser teams and that juventus doesnt make that late surge as they did in the first season of allegri .
liverpool played against utd and spurs in two consequitive games . what can a coach do if the defenders makes mistakes . yes he choose him but then his faith is not repaid by the player who he trusted if they keep on making amateurish mistakes . liverpool rely more on counter or on mistakes by the opposition . they try to press and counter very quickly . lets see how liverpool faired against spurs . 
spurs started the game with 5-3-2 formation with tippier and aurier as the fullbacks . aurier was shifted on the left side to counter salah's pace . while liverpool started with usual 4-3-3 formation . spurs had a very good game plan first off they played a bit high line and to counter so that they dont expose with run behind the back they played a back five so that they would have players to track diagonal run made by liverpool players . the second thing that why spurs played a bit high line was because that they know about coutiniho's quality . if you drop too deep and doesnt matters whether you man mark coutiniho he is good dribbler and he will find a little bit of space and has a good shot from beyond the box so dropping too deep would had been risky . spurs wanted to congested the middle because they know that liverpool can explore that little bit of space in that region . there are times when i do question opposition managers tactical acumen and here i have to question about kloop's . spurs played five at the back and three in the middle . spurs played the flat back five so both the full backs tucked besides their centre backs so opposition fullback had a  decent amount of space to play . now here is the question liverpool fullbacks had decent amout of space to go upfield secondly they were not man marked unless they came near the box . thidly why didnt kloop spotted this that his fullbacks were getting the space and then start the offense from there . spurs had laid a trap for liverpool by playing a high line but at the same time taken the precaution of playing 5 at the back and playing tighter . liverpool dont have proper number nine and their offense relies on the movement of the players but mane and wijnauldum injured and can had to play in the back four liverpool midfield didnt had the quality to support liverpool's front line and that hampered liverpool's offense . kane played very well against liverpool and his link up play is just getting better .
last but not the least but utd lost to huddersfield and drew against liverpool . utd offense is based around lukaku and for that his passing and vision needs to be very good . he has runner like mikhitariyan , rashford and martial who run beyond him . in the game against liverpool he was just awful with his first touch . he needs to keep the ball to get them high up the pitch . the defenders are going to be tight on you and they are not going to give you any space and time on the ball and that is when you need to show your quality on the ball . against huddersfield he was very poor and casual one thing that he needs to avoid if needs to be taken seriously as a good striker . why dont mouriniho wants to get him lean . he already has the height . if he gets lean then he can have a little pace in his legs and that will help with his movement . against huddersfield united were very poor . the opposition could just read the script as to what was going to happen when the ball was brough around the box . utd need to keep the ball more around the box and need to pass the ball more around the box instead of just crossing it in . they need to have a little bit patient with their offense and hold the ball more . i think jose needs to have more one on one sessions with him and needs to have that offense tweaked more to be more effective against good teams .

Friday, 20 October 2017


chelsea played roma on wednesday night . over the years chelsea had tried to sign managers whom they want to play flowing and pressing football . last year chelsea just wanted to win something because in the last two years the club had not won anything . another thing was that last year nobody noticed chelsea's style of play because last year they were down and suddenly they blitzed everyone to win the title . another thing that i dont understand is this before the game dzeko was criticized for not running much in the game and in this game he just wanted to move but why do players and coaches take the tv pundit's and journalists criticism in consideration . they might had played the game but then playing the game and managing the team and making tactics are two different things .they should never ever try to listen to this criticism unless it is making sense which on numerous occasion doesnt makes any sense for me because they just focus on current things rather than taking into consideration the overall picture . 
chelsea started the 5-3-2 formation . while roma started with the 4-3-3 formation . as i had said that chelsea wanted to play flowing football but here they are just sitting back and are playing on the counter . another factor that had been one of the reasons that they were successful last season had been pedro who didnt start this game . now i dont criticize coaches who want to sit deep and defend back with numbers because it is never bad to defensive because at times defense is the best offense . chelsea were sitting back and defending with numbers and then hitting roma on the counter attack . although chelsea were playing on the counter attack but they were one dimensional ( even though they scored two goals in the first half ) . the first trouble was that there were not enough players for moratta and hazard to pass since the fullbacks were tucked up alongside the centre backs to make it a back five . it is important to show quality when you have the ball instead chelsea were just one dimensional they were just taking the ball forward instead of keeping the ball and be patient at times .
as i had said that players shouldnt mind criticsm . they criticized him for covering enough ground . now his game is not about moving instead he is more of a power forward around whom the offense revolves and he is there to be at the end of crosses and if he comes deep then players get beyond him ( footballers will understand ) . roma were playing 4-3-3 with manolans in front of the back four and naingolan and strootman either side of him . now for the first 40 min even though roma had the majority of the possession they were just not threatning . first off roma coach had correctly noted that there would no space in the middle of the park .roma wanted to stretch chelsea to create space so they moved the from wing to wing to stretch them but chelsea had numbers behind the ball .
as i had said that dzeko wanted to prove a point to his doubters that he does moves so he wanted to be invoved in the build up and he was coming i deep to help move the ball . but when your forward is coming is deep inside you want your wingers or the midfielders to run beyond him and exploit that space .instead gerson and pelotti stayed wide and strootman and naingonal didnt tried to bomb forward . roma kept the ball moving but they didnt had anybody in the box ( except for once ) . chelsea were happy to let the ball  roma move the ball because there was no threat . for me roma needs to work out there offense around the box as to what are they going to do when the ball comes around the box . they need to work on their final third tactis which are very important because team bring the ball upfield but after that they just seem to have lack of plan . 
in this match all the goals were scored because of the defensive  or individual mistakes . first two chelsea goals were conceded because roma lost the ball in their own half and on the first goal jesus tried to too cool rather than just punt the ball upfield . kolarov scored first goal for roma and here christensen made the mistake of not switching up when azpilicueta moved close to zapacosta to help him deal with kolarov and close the space . kolarov just exploited the space between azipilicueata and christensen and scored . i think at times defenders are just getting presumptious about players certain players cannot score with headers and they made a mistake with hazard and paid the price .
chelsea will work to do and i think conte needs to get the team playing because his teams performance in the ucl is not encouraging because under conte juventus won the league but never a european giant which they are under allegri . 

Sunday, 15 October 2017


for the last two weeks there were world cup qualification games and messi was involved in all of them . i would try to establish a relationship between argentina's game and barcelona's last night game against ath madrid . this season the game seems to be more revolved towards messi than in his time at barcelona and agrentina . the tactics are made that suit him or the way that he wants to play or move and that all the other players get around him . but in doing this there is something missing and that is that the teams cohesion is getting hampered . there is lack of game plan and going forward they just dont as to what when the ball is in the final third and there is a clear lack of plan when the ball is in the final third and it was obvious in the argentina's game and the ath mad game . just like argentina barcelona clearly seems to be at loss when they take the ball forward and this was evident in the argentina game as well . first off messi wants to do everything and anything with the ball . he wants to be the creator and finisher himself . there is a clear lack of cohesion between him and the other players and with the coach preferring him to be the main man the players are always searching him to pass the ball but that makes it difficult for the team because they have lost the direction on offense . 
ath mad started the game with their usual 4-4-2 formation while barcelona started with the same formation . we all know as to how ath mad play they just defend deep and try to hit on the counter . as  i had said earlier it was evident to find out as how barcelona try to tackle ath madrid . they can be pressed since they drop so deep and have to take the ball from one end to other but i was clearly searching for barcelona's game plan and i didnt found any . barcelona were taking the ball forward and clearly they just seem to be lost . while ath mad may have found a very good gem in form of correria and he was bit off color yesterday where on he gave away ball one too many times but his ability to turn and drift pass players created the first chance or griezman . while griezman and corriea were working in tandem i didnt saw that relationship between messi and suarez . this was even evident in the argentina's game as well where on he didnt have a partnership with benedetto . in the final third they dint know as to what they should do with the ball  where on they should take the ball wide and bring it in or should they cross the ball from the wide areas . at times when barcelona crossed the ball i dindnt think even suarez was expecting the ball to be crossed . they were just doing it because there didnt seem to no other option or that they wanted to try something different rather than just keep on passing the ball .
the game started to change in the second half because barcelona made the changes and they introduced delefou who is an out and out winger who will stay wide and try to stay wide and take on the wide player and send in the crosses from the wide areas and that gets starts the plan and from there barcelona can improvise and on one such play sergio roberto spotted luiz suarez and got the equaliser . barcelona needed to find the plan a and they found it in the last 15 mins of the game . this should had been earlier and i hope that valverde does works on the offense .
another game that was going on was between roma and napoli was also very interesting . napoli play a very fluid game but roma too put napoli on backfoot but the trouble was that they were taking the ball wide and putting crosses which were very well dealt by napoli and roma failed to bring the ball in and secondly they played one dimensional in that game . they just tried to take the ball wide and whip it in the box . they just dint tried anything different and it is something that their new coach needs to look at .