Sunday, 27 November 2016


yesterday chelsea played spurs at stamford bridge and chelsea have dealt heavy defeat to clubs . it was interesting to watch as to how spurs would stop chelsea . chelsea started the game with their winning 3-4-3 formation while spurs started with their 4-2-3-1 formation.
chelsea's main offense had been diego costa even though hazard and others had been scoring goals but costa is the one who the centre of all that good which chelsea had been doing on their offense . the change in the chelsea team had been that earlier hazard wasnt having that aount of the ball which he is currently having . secondly pedro is there in the front three but he is used  for his running for braking offside traps and making runs and is primarily used to disrupt the defensive structure . hazard is the main playmaker a role which he always wanted . in antonio conte's team  the front two had always played in tandem with each other . just look at eder and pelle in the italian team and here it is costa and hazard with pedro in the side role . the whole offense goes through and if he doesnt plays well then the offense suffers . spurs made sure that they keep tight on him and give him little time and space on the ball . the space he operates is the zone between dier and walker . spurs superiority in the first 30 min can be determined by the touches that costa had . this is because spurs press very hard on chelsea and gave very little time on the ball and that forced chelsea to play direct balls to costa and dier did very good and won the duel . chelsea got the foothold back into the game when they switched hazard from wide to central position behind costa and they started playing ball to costa's feet rather than  in the air and chelsea got the foothold back into the game . they started the moving the ball better and that gave them the advantage . 
the deadlock was broken when eriksen scored and it was because when chelsea have a flat back five there is a lot of space in front of them and there are only two players to guard who are reluctant to leave their zones . if the opposition can just bring the ball from back to front quickly against chelsea then they can catch them . even though spurs scored the goal but the trouble was that they couldnt work the ball through kane . even the earlier games if you had seen that but kane had been isolated and spurs had not been able to give him decent service or that they can involve him better in their offense ( game against arsenal) just as chelsea are able to bring costa and the game flows through him
now in the game reading the play is very important and especially for the defenders and they have to make decesion based on that . spurs lost the game because of two personal mistake by their one player that is dier . in the run up to the first goal pedro crossed the zone and came central. if you could see he wanted the ball to be played to alonso but matic made the smart decision to pass the ball to him as he could see that pedro didnt had any player against him and was having space . here is the mistake and the stupidity by dier and here is what is game reading is all about . dier was concerned that the continues then and come forward then he may leave walker exposed but he didnt realized that walker was against and was more than decent to take him on . secondly he should have come forward and shouted to look for the space behind his back that it didnt get explored . his indecision cost spurs the first goal but i think there are many a factors that are also reponsible for that .
costa's touches in the first half.
first and foremost spurs front three are good on pressing but when required they dont come deep quickly enough to make the numbers and squeeze the space . the second goal for spurs was nothing but stupid game reading lack of understanding of the game and carelessness by the spurs players . if we look at the spurs second goal then dembele lost the ball in the midfield and it was played onto costa who didnt had much joy till that in the game and he decided to take the ball deeper . he was guarded by dembele who had lost  the ball .  dier who was closed to the dembele should had first kept his shape and moved in line with demebele because the only way that ball could had been played was beyond dembele ( i will show in the diagram ) not through him and dembele is good enough in one on one situations . he could have had joind dembele to press costa and try to get the ball the maximum that he would had given away was a corner which is not bad instead of loose ball inside the box . so dier's stupidity meant that the ball could be played across but another players stupidity meant that moses could stride unchallenged in the box and score the ball . as i had said the front three of the spurs players dont like to come deep and defend and that was responsible for the second goal  . son was the man that was the opposite player against moses and he is one that is suppose to guard him when he come on into spurs half . you could see son not interested and jogging as if he had no part in that play and let moses stride into the box and score . the game was just over then and there even though spurs made changes but they were never were able to score against chelsea who made the defensive changes and secured the game .
off the spurs players only dembele seemed to be the man who was really up for the game and all the others were either nervous or were upto the game . pochettino had rightfully said that they need to add quality to the squad if this squad cannot perform . but first he needs to look into himself as to why his offense is not working and how he can involve his forward more into the game . alli is decent player but he need to get his first touch sorted . the difference between a good player and a great player is the first touch on the ball . eriksen is good player but after he scored why was taking shot from anywhere and everywhere while he could have worked the ball and have better chance by taking it deeper .  chelsea passed this test because spurs are always weak in the second half of the game but the big test comes next week when man city will play them and how pep will bind costa . 

Monday, 21 November 2016


utd started the game with 4-3-3 formation while arsenals started with their 4-2-3-1 formation . utd tried to man mark arsenal's midfielders basically they were set up to stop arsenal whenever they come just into utd's half . the mismatch was on the right side of utd where ramsey was marked by valencia while mata was marked by monreal . in each case the fullbacks were going to come on top .
utd tried to play through rashford and they tried to explore his pace by trying to play direct balls to him and try to get him in one on one with koscielny but to be honest there are may be very few players in this world who would beat koscielny in the foot race . while utd were trying to do that arsenal's offense is dependent on sanchez . all the arsenal's midfielders were man marked by utd so they were not finding any space so it was sanchez's duty to come and relieve pressure on his players by providing option for an extra body to pass . whenever sanchez comes deep ozil feels the role by making runs behind the back four or going uptop but yesterday ozil wasnt on song in the first half and utd were able to stop there combination . there were two mistmatches on right side of utd . first off in no world ramsey was going to get better of valencia while the same could be said about mata against monreal .
here i want to present my take on the game now . first off rashford was playing upfront . just as i said earlier utd were trying to get him in the foot race with koscielny why not try that on the other side with mustafi and test him out . now mata always comes inside and tries to play the no.10 role and because of this valencia gets the space to run on opposition defense . while this is true but at the same time the right sided attack gets hampered because of the lack of natural width with mata not staying wide and utd cannot work that zone because of the lack of players in that zone and utd have to cross that ball which is easy to deal that ball worked just like for the first utd goal and a 10-15 yard ground pass . martial was staying out wide and trying to stretch the defense . instead why not put him in tandem with rashford and try to switch between those two . mouriniho's plan was to test jenkinson but to be honest jenkinson is quite a decent defender and  he did well . instead why not start martial just off rashford and see . even though mata scored the goal and he will be lauded but to be honest he lost possession twice by over staying on the ball while he could have had released the very quickly and kept the move going . utd  were trying to play through rashford but why not let him hold the ball and let others come into play . there is always that element of him leaving the defender leaving empty if he tries to be too cute . 
i read jamie redknapp criticizing rashford for the equalizer that utd conceded but to honest he should look at the play and the player. first off he was against a player who was fresh off from the bench and rashford had just had a complete game . seconldy just look at the play . utd players were all inside the box expecting for a ground pass being made or that if the ball is worked up in the zone just as arsenal do there would no space for them to work with . so i wont criticize rashford . but the player that i would cricize would be pogba . in the first half just as mouriniho planned to stop arsenal's midfielders and have them time on the ball they too returned the favour and in the first half coquelin did a very good job on pogba and it could be said that he was in his pocket . he robbed him of possession twice and was quite good with his job . to he honest just because you are the world's most expensive players doesnt means that you have to dribble everybody and spend time on the ball . pogba had been at times guilty of spending time on the ball . the game didnt had too much of a great tactical side to it . 
bayern played dortmund in another big game and to be honest it was one of the boringest match between the big clubs that i had seen about whom i am writing . there are all sort of statistics that are available but the one that need to be there and that should be is the time that players spend on the ball and make it slow and allow the defense to organise itself to stop the offense .
bayern started the game with their usual 4-3-3 formation while dortmund started the game with 3-5-2 formation . touchel had used this formation in the draw in march. dortmund took the lead through abumeyang goal . the reason being that ancelotti wants his fullbacks high up the pitch and his zone is protected by the midfielder but if you can work that ball beyond him then there is a lot of space on either side of the centrebacks which can be exploited . even though bayern played a bit deeper compared to dortmund they still were comfortably high on the pitch. just look at alaba's positioning and he was caught high on the pitch and couldnt get into his natural position . dortmund played a very high line but the offside trap was broken times and again and as there was considerable space between the back three and they were not flat instead baratra and ginter were bit higher than sokratis . time and again both lewandowski and muller broke the offside trap and but were unable to use those opportunities . bayern played like a english team last season under gaurdiola last term but this term under ancelotti they look to spend more time on the ball and dont look to be that crisp as they looked under gaurdiola . every players tends to make atlest three touches and at times it seems as to that they dont have a game plan as to how they are going to open up dortmund's defense. they could work up the ball deep into dortmunds half but just couldnt score a goal . bayern bug seemed to be caught with dortmund because as the game went on they seemed to be spending more time on the ball and conceding possession to bayern . under ancelotti bayern doesnt seems to be that threatning as they were earlier . 

Friday, 11 November 2016


today brazil played argentina in world cup qualifier . the match might have just confirmed brazil's qualification for the world cup while argentina's world cup hopes lie in balance . the way brazil played and the way they used the field and kept argentina  at bay was commendable . the most important factor in this game was the mobility of the players and their speed and brazil had that and they used it to maximum . had agrentina did one thing correct then this humiliation would had been avoided and that is that both neymar and coutiniho exploit or are dangerous from one zone ( i will show that in the lineups ) from where coutiniho scored . had argentina just closed that zone then i think that they would had atleast half stopped brazil because jesus wouldnt had been able to beat otamendi and mori in the air and had they played deep then there would had been little space to exploit behind the back four .
brazil started the game with 4-3-3 formation with fernandiniho sitting in front of the back four while he was partenered by renato sanches and pauliniho . argentina started the game with 4-2-1-3 formation. the formation was a bit odd because argentina had three in the middle with mascherano,perez and biglia in the middle . of the three in the middle perez or biglia would try to fill up the space on the right of argentina . they didnt had a fixed right sided player . brazil knew that if they stop messi and stop him from getting time and space on the ball then would have stopped half of argentina's offense . so brazil didnt man mark messi instead they just let him take the position and the player that was occupying that position would try to close down messi . the second thing that brazil did right was that they played deep compared to argentina who tried to play a bit high even though they had problems the back four . the most important facet of the game was the mobility of the players or atleast the mobility of the back four and the front players and the cohesion between them .
the first thing correct that brazil did was that they played and this stretched the game and argentina didnt want the brazilians to have the ball so in trying to do that they tried play a high line and tried to close down brazil since they knew that the brazil players given time on the ball would hurt them . brazil played their tactics beautifully by playing deep but initially they were just trying to soak up argentina's pressure and they were trying to stop messi . there was audition for man city forward role for gabriel jesus and the did it perfectly well . his job was to play high on the shoulders of mori and otamendi  and keep stretching the game and keep mori and otamendi occupied which he did . argentina were worried about his pace . now neymar's movement was unpredictable . untill the first goal brazil were flat but coutiniho changed his zone for the first goal and linked with neymar. mas couldnt come out of the back four since renato sanches would fill coutiniho's position and exploit that space . coutiniho got the space in the hole and he is one of the best shot taker beyond the box . brazil's first goal was a combination of various factors and coutniho excelllence over the ball . the other two goal were nothing excellent counters by brazil and argentina's inability to deal with it .
the trouble with argentina is not the defense but the offense . i had said that in my previous articles that if you have good offense then teams dont commit too many players forward and are afraid to come upfront because they can be exploited of the space that they will leave . argentina were very bad in their offense  . they rely heavily and his ability to open opposition up . first off i dont understand his plan to play three defensive minded players . even though brazil did the same but then you can understand that because they had messi to contain . but at the same time brazil's middle three are more mobile than argentina's middle three . now the thing is that when he played them he compromised the right sided offense although perez or biglia dropped there and tried to occupy the zone and work but brazil were able to always contain them . seconldy there is poor link up play between messi ,higuain and di maria . for me di maria was poor . firstly he started out wide trying to stretch the defense was always solo in his effort .
the most important factor in nullifying argentina was to just stop higuain . he was man marked by marquinihos and miranda . most importantly marquinihos who is quite mobile . the thing is that higuain cannot beat miranda and marquinihos in the air . seconldy brazil played narrow and deep  to allow argentina any space behind the back four to exploit so that balls could be played in the space . the other wrong thing is that after the first goal argentina got rattled and messi started to drop deeper to get the ball upfield and this where i think argentina and bouza got it wrong . he should have kept messi upfield because who has the more fear factor than messi when he has the ball near the box . messi coming from the deep allowed brazil to close him down or foul him or bring numbers behind the ball and crunching the space . i think villanova was correct in playing upfont on his own which created space for the entire team to play although messi may not have that much off the ball that he desires . in the second half he bought aguero but by then the contest was over and argentina were overwhelmed by brazil's counters .
i think argentina genuinely missed banega or lamela who would take that right side and is good dribbler . banega is the same he would had linked better with higuain . i dont know as to why bouza didnt changed things after first goal . why not ask messi to drop on right side where on he plays for his club and try to stretch brazil and try to test one of their fullbacks . messi upfield would had always created chances . secondly why didnt they tried to drop deep with the play and let brazil cover more of the grass and try to get more players behind the ball . i think bouza's job would be on the line if he cannot get them to play more efficiently in the next match against columbia and all marks to tite for getting things right .
lastly i think in the form of jesus man city are going to get an upgrade of aguero and gaurdiola would love it . 

Monday, 7 November 2016


yesterday arsenal played spurs in the north london derby . the game wasnt that glorius to the eyes and this was another spurs performance where they had been poor but still came out with a point in the contest . they had been poor against liverpool and the same was against arsenal . to be honest midway through the first half to the end of the game i never saw a game plan from spurs they passing the ball but what were they supposed to do when they had the ball was always a question . the problem with spurs was that they could take the ball till 20 yard from the box but from there what they need to do and who will do what was always a question . the trouble with spurs is that harry kane like to play forward but at the same time he like to drop deep and wants somebody to run beyond him . he is not a complete no.9 around whom you can play . he like to get more involved in the play and the player that was most missed yesterday was lamela who like to go beyond kane and take that position in the box which kane should be occupying . in this game spurs shape was ripped apart by arsenal . it would be better explained in the diagram .
the game started with arsenal playing their usual 4-2-3-1 lineup with alexis preffered to lead the line . spurs started the game with unusual 3-4-1-2 formation  . just like most english game the game has a good pace with arsenal sitting back and hitting spurs trying to build a good offense . the only good thing about spurs was the return of dembele who is very good on the ball . spurs played three at the back with wimmer trying to cover for vertroghen and dier . even though both team tried to play a high line and congest the play but both teams kept the forward in front of their back four and kept a 2 to 3 yard distance between them to have a head start .
arsenal for the first time too the novel approach of sitting back and hitting spurs on the counter attack .even though spurs had three at the back the trouble with spurs was that the three were not flat instead dier and vertroghen were a bit high trying to deal with iwobi and walcott . arsenal have worked out their offense what they do is that alexis like to drop on the left and bring and try to hold the ball and then develop the offense from there . so when alexis drops on the left walcott will do a diagonal run in the box and try to get at the end of passess  created by alexis and ozil . the good thing about arsenal is the way iwobi had been able to get himself in the mix with ozil and sanchez . he keeps things very simple and has a very good sense of positioning and very good decision making on the ball . the trouble with spurs was that there was considerable space between the back three and sanchez could work the space and make a run behind the dier to recive the ball and start the offense . the trouble with arsenal is that they just try to score perfect goal if they just try to take some shot from the edge of the box that will make them more potent .
spurs tried the 3-4-1-2 formation in this game and even though they had 5 at the back they were not flat . instead the fullbacks never ever tucked up alongside the centrebacks but were high up the pitch and were trying to man mark their opposite number . as i had said before that spurs missed lamela in this game who complements kane very nicely . the trouble with kane is that even  though he is good player his positional sense is not that good . this could be seen when on the play when son would be bringing the ball upfield then he could not make the decision as to whethere  he would try to get in front of the defender for the cross or pull away from him . the other trouble was the lack of bodies for spurs in the box . eriksen wasnt trying to go beyond kane instead he likes to pass and cross  the ball and create chances from the edge of the box . the trouble with spurs was that they wanted to stretch the game with wingbacks but the trouble was that there was decision making trouble with whether they should try to bring the ball or whether they should cross the ball . spurs thinking was that playing fullbacks high up the pitch with the thought that they would be able to push back arsenal's wingers but it back fired on them . on the counter they got exposed and it can be shown in the figure . the fullbacks have to cover length on the counter than the wingers once they loose the ball and they get caught out of position . the only good thing about spurs was dembele's quality on the ball but his movement was restricted because he had  couldnt leave wanyama exposed . arsenal knew quality of dembele and they tried to man mark him with ozil which shows his importance . they didnt tried to mark wanyama .  i think pochettino needs to get back to the drawing board . yesterday he wanted to pull arsenal in their own game but got backfired .