Wednesday, 28 December 2016


yesterday liverpool played stoke and won . i wanted to see stoke and what better to watch them than play liverpool . but first for the last two seasons stoke have added quite some quality players in their ranks but they have failed add any good decent defensive player in their rank and whatever they have added are not upto the task . stoke are good on one end but the defensive end made them look ordinary plus some tactical mistakes by their manager in trying to accommodate the players and trying to offset the opposition also cost them .
starting formation
liverpool started the game with their regular 4-3-3 formation . while stoke started the game with 4-2-3-1 formation . stoke started on a very positive note by trying to press liverpool  but it was only successful when the ball was in liverpool half . the trouble with stoke is that there front four are good but they are not properly supported by the back four who have severe lack of pace and dont like to come out and close down . this is what let stoke down. initial walter's and diouf were the wide men and crouch the middle man with allen behind him but stoke were not finding any success and every attempt to move ball upfield was failing . crouch could win the first ball but he didnt had anybody to pass the ball beyond him . secondly liverpool contest the ball once it was on grass and were succeding in dispossessing crouch . so stoke didnt had any success . hughes noticed this and changed the formation and switched walters beyond crouch so that crouch can flick the headed balls to him. but in doing so they conceded the left side to liverpool because having moved walters over there they didnt had a natural player over there to occupy or defend that zone. stoke found some good success initially with this switched formation and direct play . the other thing that he changed was that he restricted johsnon's movement and he had a flat back four making it a back three with diouf and pieters as the full backs .  their approach was to play through crouch and he would try to release walters on goal or try to pass the ball to allen who was around him . stoke took the lead because of some stupid defending . in the lead upto the goal neither clyne nor pieter's opposite number mane went with him to close him down. instead he was allowed to cross and walters headed the ball for goal.
formation after hughes changed it . 
the reason why i had criticized stokes defensive players is because of their lack of game reading and doing nothing but standing . as i had stoke had changed the formation midway through the first half but it had adverse affect on them too . first off they didnt had any natural cover for pieter's on the left side to imbula was aked to cover that zone . so imbula had to cover not only central zone but also cover the left side zone which meant that there was considerable space between him and whelan . secondly liverpool move the ball very quick and kloop knows the importance of moving the ball fast because it doesnt let the defense settle and close you down . kloop has made them understand the positional aspect of the game very well and their ball handling . so liverpool bring the ball back to front very quickly and this meant that allen,walter's and crouch were not able to help team on defense . the trouble was that the back four were not ready to come out of defense and close down liverpool players and this allowed the opposition time and space on the ball and they were able to take the ball wide and bring it inside with ease .
if you watched liverpool goal's then you can see stoke's defensive mistake . leading off to the first goal matin's indi played mane onside had he kept the defensive discipline better then he would had caught him offside . he was one of the back three while johnson and shawcross moved up he stayed back and that allowed mane to be in the onside position . secondly he just kept on backing instead of trying to close him down in the movement . the second goal was the classic example as to how stoke got stretched and how the back four just kept their position instead of coming forward to close down the player in space. liverpool moved the ball from flank to flank and stretched stoke . if you watch the goal then you could see the space between whelan and imbula since imbula had to look at the left side as well . thirdly the back four not coming out quick to deal with firmino who was in the hole with time and space on the ball and they got punished . the game was over once liverpool scored second goal .
hughes needs to have some defensive addition into the team . secondly i would had loved whelan being dropped and allen and imbula in front of the back four which would had given them a good mobile and ball playing cover . 

Monday, 19 December 2016


yesterday man city played arsenal at etihad . now before i write about the game let me say that doesnt matter what formation you play or the way you execute it but atleast on defense the players mental ability and his ability to read the game and take decisions is put to test . those who do it correct are known as great players . if you had looked at the great teams of the past and present then you may had read about the game reading of the back four or one or two stalwarts in the team who would read the game and were able to stop the opposition in the tracks . the coach is important because he teaches you as to how you make decisions and what you should do in those situations . but ultimately it all depends on the player on the field and his ability and mental ability and there is the difference between a good player and great player .
man city started the game with 4-2-3-1 formation with sterling starting as the no.9 .while arsenal started with the same formation of 4-2-3-1 with sanchez in the no.9 position . the game started with arsenal sitting back and trying to soak up city pressure and hit them on the counter . on the very first counter arsenal were ahead and the very reason why arsenal were ahead because otamendi and kolarov . sanchez dropped deep to collect the ball as he does and let ozil,walcott and iwobi  run beyond him and that has been the tailor made counter or way or offense for arsenal . now the reason for writing first para is this . first off otamendi or kolarov should have followed sanchez and shouldnt had given him time on the ball because they didnt had anybody beyond sanchez to worry about whom sanchez could release behind them . now even if they had not followed sanchez then they should had realized that he would try to release walcott who had made the run and they should kept track of him and made sure that the pass cant be played to him . city's defense were just ball watching in that play and were rightly punished . this is where the good players come into play because they can read the game better . reading play means that they can predict what is happening next and take the necessary steps and prevent it .
the goal was scored early in the first half and arsenal were comfortable for the whole half while city were just flat out . city were spending too much time on the ball and were just not crisp on the ball  if you had looked at city's offense then you could see that at time there were only two players involved in the move the on passing and the one receiving and the others were just mannequins .city's offense lacked a clear direction .  there were three or four times when yaya toure tried to release sterling behind the back four . the idea of playing sterling as the no.9 was to use his pace against gabriel and koscielny but city were just too slow in moving the ball . the instinctive changes that gaurdiola makes or the inputs that he provides were completely lacking . city were far too flaccid with toure the most frustrated player because he was slow and coquelin was getting the better off him in the exchanges . gaurdiola didnt seem to have the answer's to arsenal's counter in the first half and the first half ended with arsenal ahead . for the first time i thought that gaurdiola had lost it and had the changes in the second half didnt worked then the thoughts would had been confirmed . 
gaurdiola changed the personal in the seconld half first off he bought de bruyne central and sterling wide and also the other thing that he changed on the defensive front . the time and space that sanchez was getting wasnt there . sanchez was followed up by kolarov and otamendi and was denied time on the ball . the most important change was that they were moving the ball crisply and moving quickly . the change from the first half was that in the first half city were playng the ball more in the wide area's and were unable to bring it inside . sane who was staying wide in the first had  started to make diagonal run's towards the  goal in the second half with de bruyne dropping deep like sanchez to release sterling and sane behind the back four .  city wanted to stretched arsenal although arsenal wanted to be more compact but there was considerable space between the back four and the goal keeper which was there to be exploited .
the reason why arsenal lost there way in the second half was that sanchez wanted to much off the ball . city had changed there mentality and were not going to give sanchez the time on the ball so it would had been better off sanchez to pass the ball quickly and move it crisply and his over insistence on doing things caused arsenal their offense  . arsenal tried to change things by bringing giroud but by that time arsenal had lost the impetus and were merely chasing the game .
ozil was criticized after the game for disappearing during the game but then in the first half the way arsenal are set on the counter he doesnt sees lot of the ball and he dependent on sanchez's service to feed him the ball's as ozil gets into sanchez's position to keep the centre backs occupied . but after giroud was bought about i think ozil should had taken the reins of the game but then he needs somebody to play around him and then he flourishes but he failed to establish that . while criticizing ozil nobody questioned walcott . he might had scored the goal but just look his ability on the ball . he cannot drive the ball . hopeless on the ball . the goal he scored was made by sanchez's work . why wasnt he subbed in the first place is mystery . i think iwobi deserves his minutes . to be honest i was impressed with granite xhaka and coquelin who dominated the arsenal midfield for me .

i really dont like to talk on such subjects but i think the two goals were offside . 

Tuesday, 13 December 2016


yesterday utd played spurs and it was the first win for utd after 4 games in the league but even in the win i think utd are one dimensional the attack lacks innovation . they are still playing on the counter offense and they still dont look like the team who when they have the ball look to be dangerous . the only positive thing has been mikhitariyan's performance . but the utd win would had been better had some players made better decisions on the ball .
utd started the game with 4-3-3 formation . this formation does gives freedom to both herrera and poga who can go forward that they have carrick behind their back to look after defense. spurs have their standard formation of 4-2-3-1 . spurs started the game with utd sitting back and soaking the attack and trying to hit on the counter . the trouble with utd that spurs were pressing them and the problem with utd is that they cannot play out from the back while both spurs centre backs are good ball players and comfortable with ball on the feet . utd have good defenders but their ability on the ball is not that good and when pressed they tend to punt the ball upfield to ibramovic . utd's main offense has been to play around ibramovic . the offense seems to work well with mikhitariyan given the lisence to leave his zone and go in the playmaker role while martial keeps stretching the defense by remaining wide . the trouble with utd is that there offense is one dimensional . ball is played to ibramovic and then in turn he tries to release mikhitariyan or martial behind the defense. other is that when they get congested in one zone they pass the ball to opposite flank and try to stretch the game and use the space that is left on . the trouble is that they are not moving the ball quickly or crisply . secondly they are not keeping the ball and i havent seen them working  a move and then open the opposition . everytime its on counter and utd should try to hold the ball more move i, work a zone ,try to take it deeper and then take the shot . to be honest there are some best long distance shot takers in the utd team in the form of ibramovic and pogba and even mikhitariyan but i havent seen them taking shots beyond the box . with ability like that utd can be deadly from far more distance and that in turn stretches the defense . when utd are on offense balls were directly played to ibramovic  but at the same time i didnt see a player around ibramovic to whom he can pass the ball quickly . just look at the time he had to hold of the ball  and it does gives the time for the opposition to claw back . just look at the way hazard is stationed closed to costa in the chelsea and just look the rewards they are reaping with that partnership . it would be better to post pogba or mikhitariyan close to ibramovic since both are very good ball players and are two of the best ball players in the world and their weight on the pass is terrific . i want carrick to play more quickly i think that he spent a bit more time on the ball than required and if he can release the ball more early then the play would start the offense more quickly .for the first 20 min spurs dominated the possession and there was a reason because their front players are more mobile than man utd's . i wanted the reciprocation by utd . they have ibra upfront who is not that mobile but he could had been asked to track on  one midfielders and then ask the herrera ,mikhitariyan to close the front players and try to give them the same medicine .
spurs had been struggling to get kane into their offense and this had been their biggest drawback . spurs have good ball players all over the pitch but the trouble is that they are not able to play through kane they dominated the game . the game plan was very correct they played compact and had more passes than utd in the game . they closed down utd very quickly and made them play the ball quickly which made them concede the possession . for the first 20 min i think that spurs played very well and had they been able to get their offense going then we would have had a good game . even in the last game against chelsea they were not able to give any service to kane and that had made him a frustrated player . pochettino is good coach but how come he not able to see this problem and tackle it is beyond me . to be honest delle alli is played in the no.10 role but he hasnt got the first touch that is needed to be a no.10 and the creative mind to be play in that position and it would be better if dembele is promoted in that position who can go past players with ease and is better in every aspect than alli . 
in the game the players are the one who have to take the decisions . it doesnt matters what they coaches teaches you on the training field but ultimately its the players who are playing and the ones taking decisions on the field . there were two incidents in the play that really were the highlight and i think i have to write . first off martial was released by ibramovic on 24nd min behind the defense but the ball wasnt in total control but martial was one on one with the goal keeper had he controlled the ball better and shielded it and made sure that he stood between the ball and the player .just look at the way mikhitairyan did it and he just scored .  had he been able to done that then he could had prevented walker from making the clearance and that should had been his first priority . yes he wanted to take the shot but when the ball is upfield your first priority should be to protect it and then take the shot  . the second one was on the 50th min when pogba ,ibra and somebody like mikhitariyan  were on the counter with three against three . pogba had the ball and ibra was on the left and herrera or mikhitariyan on his right . pogba was not under any pressure when he switched the ball to ibra . there two better options were to keep the ball and take it further forward or pass it right who was in decent space and space to run into or make something of it . pogba passed the ball early to which ibramovic was closed down and lost the possession and utd lost the chance . i think that mouriniho needs to show that to his players and get them to make better decision .
the only player that i was impressed was the substitute eric bailly and the reason being that he is not supposed to pass the ball but just punt it upfield and clear it but instead he played the ball very coolly and passed it under pressure and that too very nicely so if i was the coach then i would see that he continues that education and keeps playing that way because you may never now that we may have to use him as that .