Tuesday, 22 December 2015


now yesterday arsenal played city at emirates and executed their tactics brilliantly . first i would like to congragulate arsene wenger for drilling the team perfectly and executing the tactics on the pitch . i had criticized arsene wenger in the past for being tactically discreet but yesterday he did showed that he had a game plan and he is very tactically astute .
arsenal started the game with 4-4-1-1 . some people will say that it is 4-2-3-1 but let me tell you the tactics matter most on the defense than on offense .giroud was uptop alone with ozil behind him . walcott and campbell on the wings while flamini and ramsey sat in front of the back four . bellerin,mertasaker,koscielny and monreal were the back four for arsenal . while city had the same formation . they had aguero upfront with silva behind him . de bruyne and delph on the wings while toure and fernandiniho sitting in middle in front of the back four .sagna,otamendi,mangala and kolarov were the back four .
the game had a very good pace to it . both the team were playing deep and there was a reason to it . arsenal have weakness with mertasacker while city's back  two too lack pace and giroud is know to be a good supplier where he can lay ball in the path of walcott and campbell. the other reason that both teams wanted to stretch the game and get time to bring players back to have numbers behind the ball . now the game started the game at a decent pace with city sitting back and the hitting arsenal on the counter attack . now why i said that wenger was very good tactically was because first off he nullified the threats that city have on the pitch . first off he asked flamini to mark silva whenever he comes into arsenal half and close him down whenever he has the ball and deny him time on the ball . now the thing is that anything and everthing that city create or flow it goes through silva and he is the orchestrator and anchor for city . so arsenal made a point of stopping silva in the tracks and flamini stuck to his job . he folowed silva in his half and denied him time and space on the ball . so job one is complete for arsenal and  they were able to frustrate silva who would pick a yellow because he would want to give flamini back what flamini was doing with him . the second was to stop aguero for that wenger choose koscielny to do the job . first arsenal playing deep means that there was very little space for aguero to run behind the back four . secondly koscielny marked him very well . he came out of the defense to mark aguero and even come into mertasacker's zone to close down aguero . against aguero arsenal had a clear plan that koscielny would come out of the defense and mertasacker sit back and provide the cover . while monreal too tried to close down de bruyne but de bruyne chance in the first half made monreal to sit back and let de bruyne come onto him rather than go out and close him down . for the first time city could get behind arsenal's back four because arsenal tried to get too tight to them and it nearly cost them . it made arsenal to pull monreal back and be more patient and told him to hold off his position rather than go out chasing . PRESSING
now in the first half the game was evenly poised out and even though arsenal were doing the above things city were comfortable. in the intial exchanges they were the better team and there was a reason for that . toure was playing in the middle town but he had the lisence to go forward . the reason being that delph would come inside and cover for toure and which inturn allowed two things . first off toure could move forward and second kolarov had the space to bomb forward . city played decent football and they seem to carve out a chance when delph found toure in the box but arsenal averted the danger . now aguero playing upfront has its own drawbacks as well . first off the aerial route gets close down because aguero is no match for any centre back pairing where on he will win header against them . but city did make amends for this they crossed low so that aguero can have a chance but couldnt penetrate arsenal back four . untill 25 min city were playing on the counter but after that arsenal sat deep and asked city to open them and countered . now the before the arsenal's first goal there were signs of what could happen and there was a reason for that . even city tried to play long balls to aguero behind the  defense but mertasacker already had a yard or two on the goal side of aguero . secondly these long balls can be intercepted and needs to be precise which didnt frutify for city .
now as i had said earlier that flamini was marking silva i didnt found that with fernandiniho doing the same with ozil who has the similar role with arsenal as does silva has with city . first off city midline was considerable higher than necessary . secondly ozil was constantly finding space between line and even before the first goal he had created a chance for walcott who missed . giroud was constantly getting wide and trying to release walcott and cambell but was not finding success . arsenal were never going to get beyond city back four since they were sitting deep so walcott just used sagna as wall and found the wide corner . sagna was misfooted because he thought that walcott will go in his natural path down the line and cross inside . instead he scored a goal . the second goal was nothing that both teams were trying to do . they were trying to break each other in the  middle of the park and launch counter and on one such counter arsenal scored at the end of the first half . again ozil getting the space . the worst thing is otamendi losing the foot race against giroud which is hopeless for a 35 mil dollar player . ARSENAL ON OFFENSE
in the second half arsenal were going to sit deep and then hit on the counter . they did exactly that and were  hopeless not to finish the game by scoring the third goal . aguero playing atop was not working for city so pellegrini tried to change it by bringing in bony for aguero . by bringing in bony city could have somebody who could compete for the aerial crosses in the box and even though bony is not given that much credit and city never play on his strengths but bony is a very good assist or say he can lay off balls  in the path of players . city can play through and around him but never do that . secondly they tried to bring in navas for silva and give de bruyne the no. 10 role . toure was given the lisence to go forward and join the attack . but arsenal were content by sitting back and they brought all players behind the balls and defended with numbers . toure scored a very good goal but other than that they didnt had anything to show for their effort . 
last but not the least ramsey is a good player but spends too much time on the ball and has too many touches which slows down the game and most importantly it give the opposition the time to close him down and arsenal nearly paid for his mistake in the first half . he needs to get his head up quickly and find the pass and make his mind quickly . secondly he needs to make better choices on the ball . at time the players he passed the ball were under pressure already where on he could had choose to pass somebody other . plus if possible try to be more stronger cause it still boys against men with ramsey . 

Monday, 14 December 2015


yesterday napoli played roma at home . this is one of the most boring and drab game that i am having my take on . it was slow boring and too many touches by players spending too much time on the ball making it slow .
napoli started the game with a 4-3-3 formation with reina in the goal . hysaj ,albiol ,Koulibaly and ghoulam as the back four . Jorginho and allan played in front of the back four in the middle of the park giving protection to the back four with hamsik  . while Insigne,higuain,callejon made the front three .while roma started with the 4-2-1-3 formation with Szczesny in the goal . forenzi,rudiger,manolas and digne in the back four .while Nainggolan  and de rossi were in middle in front of the back four .  Pjanic played behind salah,dzeko and falque . 
the game started with both teams trying to press each other and trying to play a very high line . the game was scrappy with so many touches . now dzeko and higuain are two different players with dzeko more comfortable in the physical game . he likes to play with his back to the goal . higuain on the other hand like to have through balls and is more comfortable on the floor than in air . both teams were trying to play high line but roma quickly realised that it would play in napoli's hand since both its centrebacks lack of pace could cause them trouble . so after 20 roma settle deep and tried to absorb napoli's attack and hit them on the counter . after 20 min roma started to hold shape and let napoli come on them rather than committing themsleves and getting exposed . roma played very narrow and rudiger and manolas stayed very tight on higuain .
now in the beginning i said that it was a boring game because both of the teams were one dimensional and lacked a proper edge on offense . napoli's offense depended on insigne . a couple of weeks ago i did a game between munich and gladbach . then munich were one dimensional where on the attacks would just drift towards coman similarly here the attacks drifted towards insigne . napoli had a plan but they never executed it properly nor did they tried to improvise it  . hamsik was playing in the  middle three but was drifting towards the left side and trying to overload the left flank . but just as munich napoli kept on throwing crosses in the box in a bid that one of them will end on higuain or callejon's head but manolas and rudiger were very tight to higuain . they were good in the air and cleared every ball that came in their way . the only balls that caused for them was the crosses from ghoulam who would stride forward and crossed low which caused problems and on one such cross in the second half higuain failed to connect . the trouble with napoli's offense was that they didnt had a proper no.10 who would play behind higuain or who would go beyond higuain and cause problems for roma . secondly there was no second line of offense on the crosses it was only higuain and callejon in the box there was nobody other who would join them in the box . thirdly hamsik dropped on the left and even higuain did tried to join them and worked the zone but the inexperience and selfishness of insigne needs to stop and he needs to make better decisions . hamsik needs to read the situations better he was put on the goal in the second half and he could had take the ball a bit further and taken the shot but took a shot from the distance . he should had known that he had a yard on the defender and he had a better pace than the defender . last but not the least but the attack needs to spread even where callejon was just trying to be at the end of the crosses from insigine with little contribution in the offense and having fewest touches in the match .
roma had tried to play out from the back but good pressing from napoli meant that they had to retort to the direct route of  the english football . the reason being that not only was napoli pressing well but roma's players did actually knew as what they need to do on offense . their passing was very poor had too many touches and losing the individual battles . one of the key reason's why roma couldnot play out from the back was that allan was doing a successful pressing on Nainggolan . in roma's offense de rossi sits in front of the back four and doesnt like to come out too much from his position leaving the back four exposed so Nainggolan is given the lisence to go forward but allan's pressing meant that roma just couldnt play through him and it left a big hole in the middle with no support for the middle . the second biggest reason why roma were not able to play well was the inability of pjanic to control the game and with little imagination . he was another player who was tightly marked by napoli with jorginho dropping tight on pjanic . they were these individuals battle all over the pitch but the trouble was pjanic wasnt that disciplined on the defense as jorginho was . the third and the most important reason why roma were hopeless was that napoli's pressing meant that roma had to go direct to dzeko but the trouble with dzeko was that he didnt had a single player to who he could pass the second touch . napoli's centre backs were already tight on him so it was necessary to have players around him but roma failed to provide any support for dzeko and continously lost possession . roma just couldnt play proper they were very poorer compared to napoli and the coach needs to sort things out .

Sunday, 6 December 2015


now yesterday bayern munich played gladbach at their home and got beaten . many of them were amazed at the result but then bayern were too be caught and they were caught by a good gladbach team who when they had the ball moved it brilliantly and most importantly they were able to find their players and most importantly they knew where there players were . they made good decisions on the ball ,they moved it well .
gladbach started with their prevailing 4-4-2 formation although the commentrators were saying that there were 5 at the back . i always found them in the 4-4-2 formation with stindl and raffael upfront while johnson and although wendnt is a defender but he played quite upfront and was played quite up on the left side . xhaka and dahoud played in front of the defense which consisted of christensen,Nordtveit,Korb and Elvedi. while bayern started with 4-3-3 formation with lewandowski upfront with muller on right and coman on the left . while alonso stayed in the front the back four the front three were supported by martinez and vidal . the back four consisted of lahm,boetang,benatia and rafiniha . now martinez played in behind the front three . the reason being that gladback had conceded most number of goals in the bundesliga on setpieces and the had the lisence to go and join lewandowski in the box on the crosses .
bayern started the game with good pressing but they were monotonous on their offense . it was very much choreographed as to what bayern were going to do on their offense and gladbach could just read it perfectly and clear whatever ball was crossed in the box . the game started with both team trying to play out of the back with gladbach sitting deeper compared to bayern who played quite a high line and it let to their third goal . so both teams were trying to play out of the back both teams were pressing each other high up . for the first time i would say that i had seen some team who was able to content bayern with their pressing and actually trouble them up . gladbach were a very disciplined team they pressed better than most of the team in the bundesliga but also when the ball was passed in the final third they congested the box . there was no space between the lines in the gladbach defense .
now bayern had been playing monotonous against most of the teams this term and had got away . they had been playing like an english team who take the ball wide and whip it in the box . they were playing different than the earlier gaurdiola team and had been much direct this term . earlier gaurdialo teams will take ball wide but wont just whip it in the box . they would work that zone and actually try to work the space the have got by stretching the opposition defense but here they were very direct unlike gaurdila teams of the past who would test with their possession and movement . here in the whole match the patter was the same with the ball ending at coman's feet and he crossing the ball in the box . there were only two instances in the match when bayern played a former gaurdiola team when they combined very well and pryed open gladback . it was lewandowski attempt and the gladbach goalkeeper making a fine save  in the first half . the second one was the only bayern goal which they scored through ribery . the trouble with bayern was that they didnt had a proper no. 10 . they were relying on the physical aspect of the game where on they though that they could beat gladbach in the air since gladbach had conceded so many on set pieces but gladbach defended quite decently with xhaka at times dropping in the back four to make it five and narrowing the space between players .
most importantly what i found in this bayern loss was that gaurdiola was adamant and wasnt ready to change his tactics he didnt ask coman to keep hold of the ball and work that zone and or try to have a better penetration . the other aspect was the number of spillled balls by bayern . their first touch in the match was the worst that i had seen by any gaurdiola team . what gladbach's pressing meant that bayern had to make 40 to 50 yard passes from back to front . now the ball comes at a very high speed and a player snapping at your back it becomes very hard to control and then pass it . bayern were not their best when it came to their passing . i think this game will give gaurdiola some thought to rework his tactics and the shock came at the right time .
to be honest i couldnt complete the post without the mention of this player who was amazing to me and his performance was the highlight to me . mahmoud dahoud was just quite amazing to me . he was partnering xhaka in the middle of the defense helping stop bayern's offense and then joining on the counter .his passing was precise always made very good decisions on the ball. he was very energetic on the pressing and was one of the reason why gladbach pressed very successfully . he is player to watch for the future for me .