Friday, 7 July 2017


now this is the last match of the season that i am writing . germany played chile in the finals and even the though the game was exciting in terms of the spectator but in terms of a analyst it was not . i will take into account both the games between these teams in the tournament . before i write about the game i want to say something . if somebody had read my blog carefully then they might had noticed that i give equal importance to observation . let me explain coaches are there are on the sidelines just so that they can observe the game and pass the inputs to players on what they are not doing or where they can explore the opposition and who should take the position where and try to explore which zone and try to carve an opening out of it  . certain coaches do like to sit in the stand so that they can have a bird eye's view of the game and they pass their instructions to their assistants who conveys to the players . i think its a very good move since in many other games like the american football the offensive and the defensive coaches sit up high in the box so that they can have a birds eye view of the game and from there they can have a better reading of the game and can take necessary changes in the game plan . the reason for me write this is because i had been disappointed with the chile coach because when you are on the offense then at that time its is up to you as to how you try to open the opposition . for that you have to take into consideration all the various factors . i once read zlatan praising about jose mouriniho because he had such a good report card about the opposition team and its players that he could plan his tactics according to it . the reason why i am writing this whole para is that there were chances for chile to exploit germany or you can say there were spaces in the german defense that chile should had exploited and made the game more interesting .
chile started the game with their usual 4-3-3 formation with vidal given the free . while germany started the game with 3-6-1 formation with werner retaining his place in the team . the game started the with the usual plot with germany sitting back and chile controlling the tempo of the game . germany were prepared for this that is why they played 3 at the back and whenever they lost the ball the three centre backs would get very narrow and just sit in front of the 18 yard box and defend . i had already written in the previous post that germany like to play out from the back so as to allow the opposition to come and close them down . this would create space and if the ball is moved crisp and properly then you can take advantage of it and punish the opposition just as they did it in the S/F against brazil in the 2014 world cup . timo werner was in the team because of his pace and his ability to make runs . stindl and draxler would join him on the offense and move inside to complement him . chile having moving there fullbacks high up the pitch since they are very mobile and also that germany had kimmich and hector as the fullbacks who would tuck along side the back three so make it a back five so chile's fullbacks could move high up the pitch because germany afforded them the space by playing the formation .
germany like to move the ball from the back but i had said that in the earlier post that they dont have players who can play crisp football plus compared to chilean footballers they are not that comfortable on the ball . rudiger is being linked with a move to chelsea but for me he still looks a little too shaky on the ball and when pressed can make mistakes . even though chile were playing the high line and pressing but when germany could escape that press and move the ball chile would try to cave up and but as much time as they can in a move to get players behind the ball and defend . the game was going with pretty much the same story line untill diaz tried to spend time on the ball and got himself caught on the ball and let the advantage to germany . 
now the why did i write the first para was that germany had the 3-4-3 formation . the reason for writing the first para was that the coaches observe the opposition and try to find out the weakness in the team . they try to find out the weakness in the opposition flank and try to exploit it . first off germany germany were playing on the counter attack but they had to make sure that wener was matched against a guy who he can have some advantage . so werner was moved to the right against medel so that he can have the pace advantage against medel .
chile were controlling the tempo and were bringing the ball from back to front very quickly and were in a hurry to score and i think it was correct since germany were getting players behind the ball very quickly . now this where i think the chile coach should had improvised . first off germany had three in the middle rudy,groetzka and draxler . first off he should had studied as to which centre back was the weakest in the german back three and if he had seen the games then he would had fined that rudiger was the weakest link in the back three compared to the other two . rudiger had no joy against chicharito in the mexico game and had hernandez been smart he would had exploited it  . secondly lowe must had instructed his back three not to come out of their positions and stay compact and maintain there position .  so first thing that the chile coach should had noticed was that there was space between the lines where all the players sanchez,vidal and vargas were getting the time and space on the ball . although they were getting closed down very quickly but they were getting the time where on they were getting the first touch easily and could pass had they had a well orchestrated move . chile should had exploited this space but sadly they dont .
another fault over the course of two games had been with sanchez . first off whoever plays football ( good players ,important ones ) they know that the opposition tries to keep them in leash and make life difficult for them . but at the same time it help to create space for the others . just look at messi when he was on the right it created space for neymar and he had his best season and barcelona won it all . sanchez should had just taken a leaf out of that book and the coach should had instructed to play him that way  . he should had just kept the game flowing instead of trying to create things himself . he should had been just a simple piece in the puzzle and produce the special thing when he would had been given the time and space on the ball .
the goal by germany was like a bullet for chile and it was just an uphill task which they found very difficult . they should had just kept th cool and just played the normal game but the coach went too early in the changes and germany just sat back and soaked up the pressure and just countered when they had the chance and some chances should had been converted . the one thing that chile coach needs to ask is whethere they  can continue playing with this same one tempo football or can they play better and make the necessary changes in the game .

Saturday, 1 July 2017


the semifinals of the con fed cups were completed yesterday with chile and germany reaching the finals . while germany's performance was dominating  . the tactics that were employed in the game between chile vs portugal were totally enigmatic for me . i hope just as the game between chile vs germany was entertaining in the prelims the same way the final will be .
chile vs portugal was the chance for the both teams to show who plays the best football . it was a match which would give bragging rights to the team which won the game . i thought that it would be an interesting with both managers taking into consideration there strong suits and building their team according to it . messi is the best player in the world when he has the ball  at his feet . but the best finisher at this point of time or in the last 5 years had been christiano ronaldo . this man had been the best header of the ball and is a deadly finisher with both the feet and is the most potent striker around the 18 yard box . you can deploy any tactics when you have a deadly finisher like him in an around the box . the real reason why real madrid both this season was ronaldo and his finishing powress .
portugal started the game with 4-4-2 formation with ronaldo and silva starting up front . while chile started the game with 4-3-3 formation with vidal given the free role to drop deep and link up and given the lisence to go into the box . the game was better in the first 15 min with both sides having the chances . ronaldo was playing in the front two but he was shifted on the left side a position where on he starts the game against real madrid while andre silva was the main front man . the best chances came when a direct ball was fed to ronaldo front the back and medel failed to judge the flight of the ball . ronaldo has lost quite a pace or either he was unfit for the game but he fed andre silva who failed to finish. while on the other hand sanchez found the space between the lines and released vargas behind the back four . this was the last time that sanchez had any time and space on the ball because cedric just followed sanchez and clearly kept him in the pocket and this must had been one of the worst performance or we can say that cedric did a very good job . but the trouble is that for the whole 90 min sanchez's position was the same . he should had realized that cedric was following him and he should just altered his game  . for me both the teams were too slow . the fullbacks were having time and space on the ball and were trying to stretch the offense but there was no success for both the teams . first off chile cannot beat portugal's centre backs in header .secondly portugal just werent giving chile time on the ball and pressed them hard when the ball came in their half . while portugal just couldnt find ronaldo in and around the box and there service to the forwards andre silva was poor who was the main man .  the game started to get bored after this . both teams were just cautious but i was greatly by the lack of ingenuity by both the coaches and the lack of plan A .
the real enigma for me was why was ronaldo shifted on the left . he should be just around the 18 yard box or inside it and that invites attention which creates space for the others . his starting position is not a problem but his final position should be in the box just like he does for his team. there is no other lethal finisher in world ( with messi ) like him . portugal's decision to play deep and play on the counter is very correct . they dont have the players who can do the dogged running and chase ball but then on offense just like chile players honding on the ball a bit longer and getting themselves closed down and losing possession or missing the chance to release the pass .
this might be the worst game sanchez had played and his pass completion might be worst in the team . the most surprising thing for me was that sanchez position was the same for the whole match . why didnt the coach wanted to change his position ask him to be smart and change his ways i dont know . chile trouble was that they didnt had the target man around who they could base their offense . most important there were two glaring things that were evident in the match first off there was lack of crisp passing from the chileans around the 18 yard box and portugal's good defending  . but all and all both the teams were just too bad when they had the ball . 
in the second semis mexico played germany who are one of the best organised team under lowe . germany started the game with 3-5-2 but would switch to 5-4-1 when  they loose the ball . even the score does suggest the hammering but i would applaud mexico and had the coach changed some of his personal the game would had been more interesting . both the south andnorth  americans are very comfortable on the ball and are definitely athletic than the europeans . mexico started the game with 4-2-1-3 formation . the trouble with mexico that they could press germany but they should had studied there opponent who could surpass chile's press and score the goal . germans had become very good with the ball at their feet and can play good crisp football . most importantly they make very good decisions on the ball and just dont hurry the moves instead they are patient and are able to bring the ball inside from wide areas and create good chances . mexico's decision to play high line cost them and the other reason was that the marking . they just couldnt sort out the marking as to who was marking whom . the first two goals were scored on counter and the main reason for that was that mexico had two players in the middle but out of which jonathan dos santos was getting high up the pitch and that was leaving only herrera to guard a large space in front of the back four for herrera to guard . the first goal was resultant of that . the second goal was because the back got into confusion as to whether they should step up for hold up their line and shape and let the opposition come onto them . in that confusion they let werner have time and space in the hole and he just could release groetzka behind the back four to score .
the personal that i wanted to change for mexico was chicharito . in that mexico team he is most less technical player in the team . van gal was criticized for his time at utd but i think he was correct to release to chicharito because he wants more from his forwards and after watching chicharito he was right to sell him . had mexico moved jiminez in chicharito's position and let aquino on the pitch with lazano in jimenez's position then we would had a game . the mexican's were good on the ball but the trouble was that they were making mistakes at the crucial moment and most importantly there organisation wasnt good one .
last but not the least chile and germany played in the prelims and they had a very good game ( i was going to write that one but couldnt ) . if germany can just hold off that initial chile's pressure for the first 20 min then i think we have a very good game on out hands and if germany can stop making that initial mistakes when they play out from the back . the trouble with germany is that when they move the ball from back to front they are getting one dimensional and the opposition can read the game and close them down and start the counter very fast . instead when they move the ball they need to keep the opposition guessing and be smart on the ball . 

Wednesday, 31 May 2017


on saturday arsenal played chelsea in the FA cup final . in this season chelsea had been asked tactical question by two teams one was man utd who starangled chelsea at old trafford and conte was unable to find the solution to the tactical question that was posed to his team . the second one was posed by arsenal and here i wouldnt say he didnt found the answer but was a bit unlucky . although the tactics employed by arsenal and man utd were completely opposite to each other . man utd stopped chelsea in the tracks while arsenal took their chances and they out played chelsea on the offensive front  . i think wenger doesnt like to copy anybody's tactics and wants his team to outplay the opposition and beat them in the purer form of football rather . i think wenger only has the offensive mindset and he takes his chances on the defense . i dont what contemplated him to change his age old formation of 4-3-3 to 3-4-3but perhaps conte's success with that would had changed wenger's mindset to adopt it .
chensea started with their 3-4-3 formation which had won them the EPL while arsenal had started to play 3 at the back for the last month or so . i dont  think arsene wenger thinks much about tactics . instead he want to play beautiful football playing one touch football and believe in players abilities . unlike utd who strangled chelsea with a proper plan arsenal just wanted to play good offense and score more than chelsea . the commentator rightly commented that arseanl's back three would be tested today with their cohesiveness ,shape and discipline on defense . in the very first minute luiz played a ball behind arsenal's back three and pedro who made a diagonal run from right recovered it and i thought that  arsenal were going to have this trouble all match long . but arsenal recovered better to have foothold in the match . 
now chelsea like to play through costa . here costa was marked by mertesacker when he was playing on the shoulders of the last defender while he was followed out by holding when he was coming deep . arsenal atleast had recognised this and were not ready to give his time on  the ball . the interesting thing was that when mertesacker was guarding costa at that time holding was dropping deep to give mertesacker the cover so that if costa was to get the better of mertasacker he would be there . now this is where i find that conte should had spotted this and should had duly passed the note to his players that hazard was free ( how he was free i will show in the diagram ) . first off bellerin was high on the pitch trying to press alonso . secondly when the ball was passed to costa who was trying to stand against mertesacker at that time holding was dropping a little back . so at that time there was no natural opponent against hazard and that thing had to be exploited by conte . now i know that hazard was playing  on the left and the right footed player with the way they stand find it difficult to pass  to the player on the left but then costa is a good enough player and he can adjust to that and had done so rightly this season . hazard for me didnt show that willingness to get on the ball and get involved . he didnt had the touch for the first 10 min . i think costa should had been informed by conte that hazard wasnt having a natural defender against him and that he should try to pick him and hazard being told to use that space and start the offense from there . i wouldnt say that chelsea were poor they just played their game but when you come second best in any  one on one challenge then the opposition tries to exploit it and thats what arsenal tried to do with chamberlain who got the better out of moses and kept pushing chelsea back . 
any tactics are dependent on the players that the coach uses and how they perform . for arsenal danny wellback was leading the line and i am glad to say that for the first time any english player was found reliable enough by alexis sanchez just because let me tell you about good players mentality they dont pass the ball to average players because they are afraid that he wont be able to use that properly and sanchez who was playing behind welback was ready to pass the ball to him shows that sanchez was trusting welback and welback played very well . he made the diagonal runs the back three to stretch the chelsea defense and take the ball deeper and most importantly he kept the ball in tight situations and showed that he is good on ball .
the real chelsea problems were that the back line is not that mobile and especially cahill who doesnt likes to come out of the defense . at the same time credit must be given to wellback whose diagonal runs wasnt allowing the chelsea back three to come out of there positions and because of this time and again players like ramsey and ozil were able to find space between the lines and that was causing chelsea problems . secondly arsenal had three in the middle with ozil dropping back to make it three in the middle while ramsey was given the freedom to bomb forward . but the best player for the match for me was kante even though he didnt had the impact but that one moment in the match summed up his brain . although he is know for his athletic powress but the quality that he showed was second to none . chelsea were on offense and the ball ended in kante's feet . he showed that he was going to take the shot but realised that he would be better scopping the ball to costa and he did that and caught arsenal offguard who were going to get ready for the shot . i think it summed the player he is and the brain that he has got and i was impressed by that .

Saturday, 27 May 2017


man utd won the uefa cup but the media doesnt seems to be happy . although nowadays the media is all biased and i cannot help that but i am not writing this to comment on that . mouriniho was scolded for the type of football that he coaches and the way that man utd won the game. had pep gaurdiola won this competetion then i think the media would have had a different reaction . the reason behind this is that because the kind of football that both football coach . gaurdiola likes to play an aggressive game while mouriniho likes to play passive counter attacking play . everybody likes to see aggresive forward football and defensive one . had these two been in world of chess then i think both would had been very much respected because some may think that defense is very easy and it doesnt requires much effort then i think he doesnt knows football .  somebody whoever knows football then i think he will know that  its much harder to play on the back rather than upfront . on defense you cannot a lapse of concentration or your entire team pays for that . on defense all the footballing attributes are required your concentration ,discipline , shape and cohesion are all tested on defense. not every team can play aggressive football and there is no need to because the coach has to look at all the attributes while putting the team on the grass . he has to look at the players on hand and how he can use them to maximum and get his team a win. it is said that "defense starts from the front" and "offense starts from the back " . if you had looked at the recent barcelona vs juventus games then i think there defenders were the mvp's in those two legs .
now even though i had tried to justify mouriniho's approach in my first para but a big club like man utd cannot be  just a counter attacking and defensive minded team . its is very important that whenever you have the ball you should show that you are good on the ball and should pose the threat that everytime you have the ball you can score . even though man utd won but there are a lot of quetions about this team . man utd started the game with their 4-3-3 formation and i think utd had adopted this formation because pogba was used to play this formation and that way he could get the best out of pogba . ajax played the 4-3-3 formation but the trouble with me is that i know only one or two players in that team or can just track them since i was watching them the first time . man utd like to sit back and hit back on the counter at the start of the game at least they wanted to press ajax and hit the counter . mouriniho is a master at stopping the teams and he identifies the players and the zones where on the opposition can hurt him and he makes necessary changes and stops the opposition . ajax likes to play off dolberg but again its mouriniho who had told his centre back to be tight on him and deny him the time and space on the ball and as i had said all along daley blind is one of the most underrated player that man utd have . he is basically a midfielder who was drafted in the back four because of injuries and because of his performances he made that postion his . for the first 15 min utd were active and pressing but after that they quickly retorted to sit back and hold their shape . only after 15 min could ajax were able to move the ball and could find some space and time on the ball . the trouble as one of the newspapers had rightfully said is that it was boys against men . utd were better physically and were coming up trump in one on one situations and had better defense because of which they won . 
the questions are not about utd's defensive ability but rather about their goal scoring ability and because of this nature that they drew so many matches in the premier league . utd were sitting back and trying to hit back on the counter . the most worrying stat if you had seen the match was the number of times utd tried to release rashford behind ajax's back four . i dont object to utd sitting back and hitting on the counter but the way they try to use the ball when they get is worrying they just try to play it out to the forward whoever is there very quickly which is not needed . second is the time spend on the ball by the utd players which in turn helps the oppostion to press them . if utd are to play the ball to the forward quickly then they need to play it in a way where on the ball can be kept and moved quickly . utd wanted to feed to rashford but i think on the offensive front utd were just one dimensional . rashford was continously trying to take the defenders on instead he should had been taught to read the situation and make better decisions which inturn would had kept the ball and utd would have had better possession and made something out of it . this is the one end that mouriniho has to work if he wants to recognised as a total coach . one who can coach both sides of the game . 

Saturday, 13 May 2017


now on tuesday monaco played juventus in the second leg of the ucl . monaco were outplayed in the first leg so it was upto the monaco coach to find some way to counter against juventus . so what do you do when you cannot think of anything well you just copy your opponent and try to play the same way as they play but then there is the difference in the application and the way you execute it . i had said that it time and time that a good coach takes into consideration the players at his disposal and base their tactics around it . monaco tried to match fire with fire but got their hands burned . second thing was that in this game many of the players were playing in the audition and their individual performances were going to evaluated and some just made themselves shine while some need polishing and need to upgrade their game as per the situation and polish themselves more .
 juvnetus had started with their usual 3-5-2 formation and compared to conte's 3-5-2 this one looks very good and  most importantly they seem to know their roles and are able to control the tempo of the game better than the juventus under conte . monaco were outplayed in the first leg when they played 4-4-2 and jardin wasnt able to find the answer so he just copied the system . the reason why he copied he system was that in the first leg the juvnetus fullbacks were getting too much amount of space and they were the reason why jardin wanted somebody to stop them having time and space on the ball . the reason why juvnetus fullbacks were having space and time on the ball is because both lamar and silva has this tendency to move inside the park . there is a reason for that because when you congest the play you can press better but the trouble was that one of the juvnetus fullback didnt had a opposite number to mark and juventus could pass the ball to him and he would had too much of space to dart forward  . the trouble with monaco is that both not both lamar and silva want to track the fullbacks . the most important thing is the application . 
the most notable thing is that while juvnetus centrebacks came out of the defense to press the monaco centre forwards .monaco's centrebacks were not ready to come out of their postions and close down juventus forwards . now the principle of pressing is that you press the first pass and carry on till the danger is averted or you recover possession while reverse of that is when you are pressed is that you try to find a player who has time and space on the ball . the other thing good about juventus is their ability to play out from the back when their midfielders are pressed just look their back three's ability to pick out player from the front line with a pin point pass and it when you can do that you can just turn the defense into attack in an instant . juventus had many weapons first off they were playing on counter at which they are very good . secondly against barca manzukic who was playing as a wide player started as a proper centre forward and this was because compare juventus centre forwards manzukic and higuain's aerial ability and that to monaco's centre backs abilities . allegri must had thought that he definitely had a chance there . the trouble with monaco in the first leg was that their midfield wasnt able to support them properly as they had been against man city . the midfield i think was cautioned by the jardin to not move up the field very quickly and leave the space between them and the back four .
juventus when they loose the ball they just get numbers behind the ball very quickly . plus i had said that previously that they are drilled very nicely to when to step up or hold the shape but their man facet is that their defenders are coming trumps in one on one battles . in the second leg jardin decided to play juventus formation but the trouble is that monaco are not drilled to play beautiful football but instead they are dependent on individual abilities to get better in one on one battle and create things for others . first off when monaco had the ball they just didnt transferred the ball from back to front very quicly and both silva and lamar spend time on the ball and does allow juventus to get players behind the ball and when they do that they will just stop you . if you had seen both the tie's  monaco had the chances when they were able to get mbappe on the ball very quickly and he was able to run on the defense . in the first half he terrorised bonucci . jardin had sensed that and in the second leg even though he played both mbappe and falcao. he positioned mbappe wide so that he would come up against brazagli who is not that good compared to bonucci or chilleni . he wanted mbappe to run on brazagli and try to beat him and create chances for falcao but the trouble with monaco was that silva who was placed behind these two didnt had any joy on the ball . first off juventus didnt allowed him time on the ball and most of all the juventus just got the better of him . most importantly i think silva was poor and he should had understood that juventus players were under instructions to close him down quickly  so he should had played quick one two's and released the ball  early and should had kept the tempo of  the game fast. same can be said about moutiniho . i think this is where jardin didnt prepared very well . just as you have a tailored defense you should try to have a tailed offense and that why you have the training sessions . jardin should had just trained them well which allegri did .

Wednesday, 26 April 2017


now since the el classico had happened everybody is sold to this one pic of messi celebrating winning goal and showing that barcelona t-shirt to the crowd and showing his allegiance to the world . but i have one question is classico about one moment or is it about the quality of football for over 90 min of pure football . to be honest if the former classico's have helped shaped the order of world football then i would say that this classico had been a disappoint for me in terms of the football played . there are several questions that need to answered and one of them is whether zidane is fit enough to continue his carrier as real madrid coach . as i had said that you prove yourself when you play against the best . barcelona even though they had lost against juventus but still are one of the best . for me zidane even though he is in the ucl semi's but his team had never looked convincing . barcelona's tiki taka football and its high pressing and the type of the football that they played which changed the world football landscape was because they could implement against teams like real madrid and other big teams . 
coming to the game now . real madrid started the game with their usual 4-3-3 formation with bale starting the tie . while barcelona started the game with their 4-3-3 formation but to be honest it was 4-4-2 formation with rakitic being the right sided midfielder with messi being the natural number 10 . there some individual battle with modric trying to mark iniesta ,kross on busquestus and casmeiro on messi . i dont know about zidan but didnt he try to watch the juventus game and how they tried to deal with messi and how they kept barca at bay and how they worked with each other to stop barca . football is played by individual's but its a team game and it's take a team effort to score or defend . the other thing had been how prajnic and khedira defended against messi they never tried to disposses and try to double or triple on him . you cannot mark messi singularly . he is too good . as i had said that while doing defense you had to be patient . you are to be like a tiger  waiting to pounce on prey but you for that you have to create the situation and be patient . i think a better one on one practise with casmeiro were needed and better team support .
the game started with real madrid sitting back and trying to hit barca on the counter while barca tried to congest real's play by playing a very high line but kept dropping as the ball was bought forward . in the past barcelona were known for their very intense pressing but as the time has passed the opposition had got better and barcelona players had got old and are not able to play that intense pressing game so even though barca were playing a very high line the pressing was just minimal . even though barca were playing a very high line real were not able to take advantage of that and were not able to release either of the front three behind the back four . the real reason as to why i didnt liked it as a elclassico is because there was no amount of discipline in the game . first off carvajal had the acres of space to move forward just because alcacer who was playing on that side wasnt following him and trying to mark him so carvajal was having a good amount of time and space on the ball .the trouble had been that real didnt a number 10 who would pull the strings . real were able to work the ball quite high near barca's box but were confined to shot from distance and secondly crosses from wide areas but didnt worked enough to bring the ball inside . real's front three were not on the same page bale was clearly off color . when bale went injured assesio was played . to be honest assensio for me is still young and developing he too wasnt that disciplined on the defense and was letting alaba scott free and that created a problem for real madrid . real's front three were never in sync with each other and ronaldo is clearly a selfish player who at times can pass the ball but keeps on shooting the ball rather than passing the ball . secondly when you are playing in the front line people expect you to handle the ball better and have some threat when you are ronaldo instead ronaldo keeps passing the ball back and tries at the end of chances created by others . he is good header and good finisher but at time you are supposed to create and involved in the offense.
even though messi was hero of the game was he the deciding the factor because in the last game against juventus he was trying to pick up players in forward position and here he was trying to take on the whole real defense and that was the only change that was made by enrique. did the game moved around messi i dont think so . for me he saw very less of the ball from which he should see and that the play should revolve around him  .
the trouble with real had been that all the players were playing like individuals and doing their individual jobs instead of playing like a team helping each other that is why there was spaces between the middle line and the back line and the back line and they were never ever in tandem with each other . look at juventus there back line worked in tandem with the middle line stepping up dropping back and helping each other to defend . was the game great no i dont think because of the way the team defended and the lack of concentration and decision making and the lack of manager's changes in the game the didnt provide a great entertainment .

Friday, 21 April 2017


yesterday barcelona played juventus at the nou camp and hoped that they could do the same as they did against PSG . the trouble was that they came against a very good defensive and very organised and disciplined who executed the plan very correctly but more worriedly luis enrique tactics were just ordinary . for me barca's attack were just one dimensional and lacked any incision . most importantly i felt that barca this year has moved from the barca that had been playing till recently and the trouble had been that barca hadnt been able to mix things . the most important facet had been that most of the teams everywhere had learned to cope with the intense pressing and had prepared themselves well in one on one situations as well as passing the ball crisply to get out of the press and get themselves time on the ball . 
barca started the game with their all capturing 4-3-3 formation but the change from this formation had been that messi who was playing right had moved into right  central position and rakitic who is central moves to the right or even you can say that rakitic was on the right while messi was on the left would be central . while juventus started with the same formation and the same players with 4-2-3-1 formation with dybala trying to drop on busquestus .
the thing is that on which ever side messi is on the opposition likes to have that many players on that side trying to stop messi because stopping messi by a single player is nearly impossible he is that good . when barcaleno won the ucl at that time barca were playing totally different first off . messi was playing wide on the right and that was creating space for others because the opposition was getting stretched over and the opposition was in two minds whether messi was coming inside or staying wide . the biggest benefator with that move was neymar who had a very good year and who was at the end of several messi's balls . the trouble this season had been that messi may not had wanted to stay wide or that enrique wanted to do things different . the second thing about which barcelona had been known for had been their tiki taka ( one touch passing ) but this season it had been very different . we can say that it had been different from 2 seasons before but then when you are winning nobody questions you but when you loose at that time everybody starts to question you .
juventus had a 3-0 lead from the first leg .so they were going to just sit back and hit on the counter . juventus played the same formation that they had used in the first leg and were confident of playing the same football . busquestus returned into the side in place of mascherano and alaba in place of mathieu so they provide better movement of the ball and mobility . juventus tried to mark busquestus with dybala but busquestus is good a player and can deal with that . now barcelona's attack play is concentrated around two players and the system had been changed and these two players sharing  the ball and starting the offense and one of these two players drop deep to help move the ball upfield in a bid to stretch the defense and create the space between the lines so that it can be exploited . juve were not going to buy this .they were ready from the first leg itself  where they were sitting deep and compact and deal with the pressure . barca plan was so poor and more so that they didnt just had a plan b . even though luis enrique changes the personal but still he kept the same shape for the last 15 minutes he sent pique but untill that the game had gone out of hands and most importantly barcelona were  happy shooting beyond the box rather than trying to work it inside the box or trying some low crosses to suarez who could be at the end of it . 
there were two important things in the match that were notable first off whenever barca could put together more that three passess together they were able to create problem for juve and had a shot at goal . at the same time when one of their star players just wanted to driblle the ball and take on the defense themselves they were stopped in the tracks .  barca's offense as i had said is based around two players messi and neymar . messi had dropped deep and his role was a little bit restricted with players like iniesta and rakitic told to run beyond him and that messi should try to find them with the pass . juventus were going to play compact and the job by their two lines defense was very excellent . whenever the first lines goes to press the second lines comes up compress him and help the first line and stop the attack . the trouble with barca was that they were not able to bring suarez that much into the game . first off they were not able to feed him with balls and secondly they were not able to play through him . messi playing central was boon in disguise for juventus rather than for barcelona  . neymar who wrecked munier of PSG in the second leg just couldnt had the same joy against dani alves . the thing was not that he couldnt beat alves but that alves was perfectly helped by the players around him so that even if he beats alves they were ready to close down neymar so that he cannot cause problems . barcelona were just on dimensional in their offense . they had all the width but the trouble is that they were not able to bring the ball inside but then credit does has to go to juventus who prevented . 
as i had applauded juventus midfielders for the great hard work they had done in the earlier post i think in this post both bonucci and chilleni deserve the applause as they had been rock solid and supported their midfield very nicely by stepping at the right time and closing down players . their timing sense and their positional sense was just superb . even though juve sat back and played on the counter they were team who were more threatning and passed the ball better and had better chances than barcelona . this game too showed that luis enrique wasnt tactically that fluid as he should had been and should had asked more of the team .

Monday, 17 April 2017


yesterday man united played chelsea at old trafford and defeated them . although many are saying that this is one of the finest man utd perfromance this season under jose mouriniho but to be honest the tactics were the same as it was in the FA cup tie but  just look at the change what a player makes to the situation . we had already read that gaurdiola had talked about tactics with the chess grandmasters and i think compared to gaurdiola mouriniho doesnt gets the kind of admaration that gaurdiola gets . your are lauded for your tactics when you are successful not when you are not . but when you try something different and ask questions to the opposition at that time you can really see what the opposition is made of and how does it react . man utd asked questions in the FA cup tie and they had the answer . the only thing was that there they were  successful because of some help from some stupid official . coming to tactics and talk about grandmaster jose stopped chelsea in the tracks and i cannot help compare him although it may be bit farsical but with the great TIGRAN "THE TIGER " PETROSIAN " . pertrosian was known for his great prophylactic game where on he would stop the opponent in his tracks and then pounce upon his mistake . i had already said in my earlier posts  where on i had that chelsea play through three players and if you stop them then  you can contain them . well teams had already tried this .spurs had tried this first but in the first attempt they fail but in the second attempt they did stopped them and stopped chelsea's juggernaught .
whenever coaches select the team they have  a plan b in mind and selecting zouma was a part of the plan B where on conte must had known that ibramovic will be coming on for utd doesnt matters what . although gary neville had said that alonso was missed by chelsea but i dont think so . if you looked in the earlier games then most of the opposition's offense against chelsea was from left side where on alonso and cahill are there . conte too had known about this problem so in this fixture he played moses there who is much more mobile compared to alonso and can cover more grass and is better on the counter than him .
mouriniho's work was seen in the last game only in the FA cup where on he used phil jones but change that to ander herrera and you get a very different result because not only is herrera is better mobile but also makes better decisions . the game had two phases to it  . first off till lingard on the field because till that utd played a very good forward game and pressed chelsea and caused them to make mistakes and had better possession off the ball and controlled tempo of the game . after lindgaard went off utd sat back and soaked up chelsea's attack and saw off the match .
utd had rightly judged that if you stop chelsea trio then you stop chelsea . i think mouriniho too special sessions for this first off  united were very alert whenever they lost the ball . atleast herrera and darmian and one of two centre backs in whoever's zone costa was . just as utd loose the ball these playes would marking these three players on the goal side and tracking their runs . first off utd didnt gave costa any time and space on the ball and one of the centre backs came out of the defense to mark him . secondly in the FA cup tie there was a considerable space between the jones and smalling for hazard to twist and turn and wiggle jones off his back . in this fixture utd just closed the spaces and till lindgarrd was on the field they pressed chelsea heavily and came away with the ball most of the times . mouriniho played with two striker's and he prefferred to have pace rather than a big striker and work rate of both these players was very excellent .  
conte had taken away the responsibility for this defeat and he is correct about that . chelsea are playing through plan A but what about plan B . when the plan A was failing at the same time he should have had something up in te sleeve to surprise utd but he had nothing . he had tied matic and he doesnt lets him get off inside the box . there are no midfield runners from chelsea who would get beyond costa or that he would control tempo of the game when they have the ball . for the first half he was just thinking and should had just prepared for it and he was more dependent on hazard's quality rather than planning tactics accordingly .
the only player i was disappointed in the united lineup was pogba . big players come in big games and here he had the chance to show his quality accordingly and he should had controlled the game better and should had shown his worth . i was especially disappointed with him when lindgard was substituted and he was given the chance to go and join ibra on the offense . even though man united won but still they are far from concincing to be a good team and a lot of there is to be desired .

Wednesday, 12 April 2017


on tueday juventus played barcelona in the first leg of the ucl tie with juventus . i think barcelona had developed the habit of conceding goals in the first leg and the tie is far from over . we all know that barcelona start very slow and they are prone to mistakes in the first few minutes and this had been the case under gaurdiola too . every other team that play they try to press at the start of the match because the energy levels are high and as the match progresses team sends to sit back and soak the pressure . the one thing that i would write is that messi being criticized about his performance i think its foolish to criticize him . if there is one player because of whom the tie is still alive it is messi and even in this match he was the best player on the pitch and he was the one who had created the most number of chances . juventus were lucky that the chances that barca created were not able to put it beyond the line . but then barcelona cannot espace the criticism since they were not able to finish what they created or were not able to create enough to put a threat in juve's mind . but the one thing that they forget is that unlike PSG here juventus can be  man enough to can stop barca at nou camp . the one player that i want to really applaud is sami khadeira who had been a rock not only on defense but also on 
barcelona started the game with 4-3-3 formation with mascherano starting in place of busquestus . juventus started with their new 4-6-0 formation with manzukic starting to play as a winger . as i said that barca are vulnereable at the start and teams try to test them up . when you play a player in a certain position then he starts to develop mentality regarding that position and thats what had happened with maschrano with that first goal and it was bad game reading on the part of barcelona which contributed to that goal . first off there are only three juventus players in an around the box so various factors had to be taken into consideration as to whom he can pass where he can pass . barcelona's problem had been that even in the PSG match was that the defensive midfielder has to cover a lot of space in front of the back four and he gets no support from the others . secondly when the ball was passed to dybala mascherano should had gone and just on and closed him down . instead he was ball watching and that led to the goal . juventus we know were going to play on the counter and here i want to applaud the performances of two juve midfielders who had been very good on both ends and they are the real man of the match for me . they covered a lot of distance and supported their front line very well and complemented very well with each other . in the first half they were the one who were driving juve forward and it was their energy which was very necesarry for juve .
barcelona's attack start with either messi or neymar and juve had studied that so either of the full backs were not ready to give messi and neymar time and space on the ball and they were ready to come out of the defense to close them down . no team in this world likes messi to have time on the ball and give him a head start and just like all other teams they closed him with two or three players just because it is not easy to close down messi with one player and chilleni found it the hard way and they were not fortunate not to be made paid by suarez .  after the early exchanges just as the game settled down juve had all the players behind the ball especially they were defending with two ranks of four with ready to concede space in the wide areas and remaining very tight since they know that barcelona and messi are able to explore little amount of space behind and between . i would really term this match as men versus boys because juve drew barca in the physical battle and won that . messi might not had played a better fullback than sandro who was very good against messi and  for the first time he got toe to toe with messi which is very hard since he can turn both ways and is just superb on the ball . neymar didnt had a great joy but at times you need help from the coach where on your A game just doesnt work and you have to switch to game B and sadly enrique hasnt figuered this out .
in the second half enrique went to his plan B where on he subbed mathieu and bought gomes in his place and switched the system to 3-4-3 with rakitic and neymar in the fullback postion . juventus already had the two goal lead from the first half and werer going to sit back and just try to play on the counter . juventus scored the third goal on the corner and mascherano will be blamed but it should be on the team coach who put maschrano against chilleni when had given him warning in the very first minutes . juve just congested the centre of the park  and just were decent in the one on one exchanges to deny barcelona and that is one of the facet that led to the first leg victory .
now it is very easy to criticize anybody and after the game messi and neymar were criticized for their performances . now first off whoever understands football wont do that . to criticize messi is a stupidity because whatever chances barcelona created they were by messi . first off to hold the ball under pressure and then pass it threading the defense pinpointly requires a great quality and messi did that . now both neymar and messi drop deep so that the defense stretches and they can have time and space on the ball but at the same time when they drop deep their positions which are empty needs to be filled and the coach should try to explore that options and should ask other players to do that and combine to form move . either neymar or messi should start high up the pitch and stay high but then the other players are not able to work the ball to them to put them in a situation where on they can work their magic . if they drop deep their positions should be filled by other players . you cannot blame on these two players the others needs to do the job well and as i had said that the coach needs to switch plan B or plan C . if he is not getting successful against a certain player change his position or try something different  . we had seen both the fullbacks were coming out of the defense to close down messi and neymar so why not try to exploit that space which was left by them and try to pull opposition's defense out of shape and try different .  yes both neymar and messi are good players but to blame them solely for the defeat is stupidity beyond any doubt . 

Monday, 10 April 2017


on saturday two big matches were there . but first off let me talk about thomas touches i mean there wouldnt had been more easy win for munich than this one against dortmund . even if the score line is not that big but the way munich dominated the game but most importantly how bad and hopeless dortmund were . the players didnt had the clues as to what they had to do when they have the ball . the defense was abysmal . the formation had no sense plus there was general confusion amongst players about their roles but last and the most important one was touchel having no clue about the game and him making no improvisation and give his players any tips which are very important . how come touchel be linked to a big job when his team is playing one of the worst football . he has one of the best young team in the world with so many good playes and he should be relishing the chance to manage such players instead he is wasting each and every player in that team . he may claim that dembele had been very good for him and abumeyang had been scoring goals but questions are still about the way team plays not about the players . we all know they are good . i simply dont see touchel in dortmund dugout next season. if there is one statistics that needs to be introduced when football statistics are done is the time on ball spent by the player and the touches that he made during that . cant they understand the game and its little things . how come touchel be silent and not ask the players not to spent time on the ball and start playing crisp put some passes together . to be honest touchel has downed his reputation with this game . every  coach wants to play big games just so that they can show their tactical awareness plus how they had build the team and its discipline but touchel had nothing to show yesterday he wasnt helping any players as to what they need to do . i think i need to tell one little incident over here . once few of my friends were playing a chess competition and one of the friends was playing a very high rated chess player and it was in 4th or 5th where on you start to wear out because people may not realise but chess takes a very hard mental and  physical toll on your body . so after the game was finished my friend and the others with the opponent were speaking and analysing the game my friend said that after 10 or 15 moves he was getting confused as to on which side he was playing . i think touchel was experiencing that yesterday he was hopeless .
bayern started the game with their 4-2-1-3 formation with thiago as the no.10 with ribery and robben on wings . while dortmund started with 3-5-2 formation with abumeyang with dembele . the trouble with dortmund is that every players that has the ball tries to a diego maradona or messi and goes on dribbling ball and beating each and every one and ultimately losing the possession . if it had been an english game then they would had called it a man vs boys match and you can guess the teams . how can i write about the tactics when the opposition is just not offering anything .dortmund start to play a high line but keep on dropping as soon as the ball is brought upfield . even the closing down is half hearted because they just go and stand in front of the player and make no effort to close him down . there is no cohesion is their team either in offense or defense for which good coaches are known and touchel is none of that . this was a masterclass as to how a game must be played by every munich player . 
the earlier game that was played was a madrid derby . madrid started with their 4-3-3 system while ath mad started with famous 4-4-2 or 4-6-0 formation . we all know as to how ath mad like to play they like to play with deep back line and then trying to play on the counter . i think simoene believes and his game plan is to win game in the second half more than the first half and there is a reason to what which i will try to explain . first off ath mad like to play very deep back line . they try to press when the ball is in opposition's half but as soon as the ball is bought beyond half line they drop deep . the reason being that they dont want to give space behind the back four or stretch the opposition who themselves gets stretched in process . now when you play deep line you ultimately concede afair amount of territory to the opponent so you now he just has to breach your back line or just use the back line as a wall and take the shot . plus real madrid have the best headers off the ball in the world with ronaldo and bale so they dont have to work to bring the ball inside . instead they can just cross the ball which is double headache for the opposition because they will be kept guessing as to whether they are just bringing the ball in or crossing . in the first half madrid had the chance because they had the energy to close ath down and stop their counters and hit them again quickly . the energy levels are very good in the first half and i think that they should had taken their chances in the first half but ath survived that and they knew that they have a chance in the second half . the one thing with zidane is that he wants ronaldo more over the ball to attract the defense towards him and create space for others . i think from the start zidane had made the attempt to make ronaldo more involved into the offense and take responsibility in the game on offense . 
in the second half the energy level drop and the closing down is not that quick so ath mad can just the pass the ball better and with simeone who is good at making tactical changes brought correa as the no.10 and sent griezman upfront which created chance for madrid . it was alike a ufc match where on the first round went to real madrid while the second round was for ath mad and that is why it was a draw .

Friday, 7 April 2017


chelsea played man city on wednesday night . man city had played the big 4 in the last 3 weeks . they played liverpool ,arsenal and chelsea . i will write about arsenal vs man city at the end but first i would love write about  chelsea vs man city and i would try to compare tactics deployed by two set of managers with man utd having played chelsea in the FA cup in between.
we all know how chelsea like to play the front three of chelsea combine very well with each other . antoni conte has realised the importance of pedro to his side and just as hazard is important pedro extends and stretches the offense and complements very well with hazard and costa who combine very well a trait of antonio conte's team . man city played a different formation with gaurdiola opting to play 4-2-1-3 instead of his usual 4-3-3 formation . may be he wanted to give cover to fernandiniho who getting exposed on the counter since he had to cover a lot of space in front of the back four . now both the team are very different in terms of offense . first off man city like to keep the ball and open the opposition and press while chelsea on the other hand like to play on the counter .
before this match chelsea played man utd in the FA cup and jose mouriniho as we all know is defense master and even though his team are struggling on the offensive front but he has a good defensive brain and he had rightly noted that chelsea play through costa and hazard so he set out to man mark these players and stop chelsea . although to man mark a player like hazard it takes a better brain and how they should press and when they should let him and apply first press and when to back off . the second thing that man utd failed was that smalling was getting too much sucked up towards costa which was creating too much of space in between which man were not able to fill and hazard was able to explore it ( i will try to show that in the figure ) . for me man utd did a decent job till refree john oliver tried to make rules of his own and change game . 
now players like hazard,messi and sanchez like space to start . they like space to explore and they drop into pockets where on they can get a start on the ball to dribble and when they do they become unstoppable . hazard had been offered more freedom but the important facet had been that conte must had worked sessions with him to more develop his one on one skills because he seems to turning on both sides plus he is able to judge the players weaker side and work that side . this season conte had offered freedom for the front three and had explained them their roles plus he must had take special sessions on how they would work the ball and how they would move the ball and when should they pass or work the same zone . if the front two combine in one zone the other one stretches it by remaining wide and makes it easy for them to stretch the offense and allows other players to come into play . the front three are allowed to change zones and had been given the freedom and their movement and it is very well complemented by other team members .
as i had said that mouriniho had rightfully judge that stopping hazard and costa will rightfully stop chelsea but here against man city i didnt found any effort by  gaurdiola to stop these players . the second thing was that we all know that costa likes to drop deep but then chelsea have players who run beyond him but then man city played a deep line and neither stones or kompany wanted to come out of the defense to close him down and it was  setting chelsea free . the other thing is that navas was playing in the right back but he was continously pushing up in a bid to push hazard back but the trouble is that hazard will drop till one point and will switch his roles with others . man city were giving a lot of space for hazard to run ( i will show that in the diagram ) . the space on the left and right of fernandiniho and delph since the front three and were pushing up with one full back and it was creating a lot of space in between for players like hazard and pedro to explore although man city did stop them and limited costa which limited chelsea's offense but the number of times they got through they made man city pay . 
the trouble with man city is that they had aguero up front so height is the problem and him beating luiz or cahill in the air is not a chance . plus the trouble with man city was that for me man city were moving the ball slowly and it was as if they were trying to find what was next and their moves were not that orchestrated . this slow buildup was helping chelsea to get players behid the ball and help close the gap . man city were able to cause trouble to chelsea only when  aguero could drop deep in between the link and pretty well with silva . man city didnt played that crisp enough for me and letting hazard that much space were the things that handed them the defeat .

Saturday, 18 March 2017


on wednesday night man city played monaco in their home . man city had a two goal lead and it was supposed that they would be able to protect it . now before i write about the game let me say as i had said in my previous post that even though a manager lays out the tactics to his team but ultimately it is upto the players to execute it and improvise it on the field . the other thing is that it is very bad of the manager to ultimately chastasize his player after the defeat . it shows that the manager didnt prepared throughly or he had undermined the opponent . gaurdiola criticizing his players that either he made a bad selection or that he didnt prepared very well for the game . when he had criticized his front players at that time he is the one who had devised their role and their movement and their starting position and their defensive responsibilites and their movement .  you must have heard about the term zonal marking well it is that the coach wants to have  players in maximum zones which is of importance and move into the ones as they move the play . just as an offensive players tries to make a run just to at the end of a cross the defensive players too has to do that infact he has a dual job first off he has to cut the supply of the ball to the player in the box with his positioning and secondly try to be first at the end of the cross and clear it . it is very easy to play in the offense but very hard to play in defense because one small mistake from the defender and the whole team pays .   it is very unfortunate of him to criticize his players and most importantly he is now talking of the clearout but i would say that working with special players doesnt makes you a special manager but achieving something with medicore players is a good manager . last season it was claudio ranieri and this season it had been antonio conte who would had been written off after first 6 game but rised like a phoenix to claim the top spot and he had done with the same squad that he had inherited from mouriniho .
monaco started the game with their usual 4-4-2 offense with germain in place of falcao while jemerson came in place of glik who was poor in the first leg . the first half was the one which saw man city giving up their 2 goal lead away . man city knew that monaco would try to hard press them high up the pitch and it seems that they were prepared for that and they wanted to draw out monaco so that they could have spaces behind the back four to work and exploit that space . the trouble was that man city dont have that good a players who are very comfortable on the ball and are good in one on one situations compared to monaco . man city played fernandiniho because he is good underrated  player on the ball . monaco didnt had anybody initially who was marking him and he was able to get the ball moving for man city out of the press . the trouble with man city was that in the first leg glik wasnt coming out of the defense out of the defense to mark aguero but here raggi was doing that and wasnt giving aguero anytime on the ball . but for me man city were very one dimensional . i didnt see any diagonal runs by the wingers nor did i saw any long balls played behind the monaco defense just to push them back just to give the the warning .
man city were trying to play out of the back but the trouble was that in doing that they were getting stretched and made themselves vulnerable for counter . monaco were trying to exploit that . they were pressing hard and then they were trying to get the ball  from back to front very quickly and exploit man city. man city hadnt learned from the first leg and still wanted to try that .
the object of writng the first para is this when the first goal was scored . just watch the second  goal and look at the positioning of fernandiniho and other man city players . the back four was lined up very properly but fernandiniho needs to be in front of the back four and he should realize that there is an empty space and the opposition can score from there . when on the defense the players ability to read the game and try to nullify is tested . that is why there is an importance in the defensive minded midfielders in the game . for the second goal i think gaurdiola needs to be criticized because he should had asked more from his players he should had instructed his players to take what positions when the ball is out wide and occupy them so as that the oppostion doesnt have that much open space in the box .
just like in the second leg monaco's tempo dropped in the second half and they started to sit back and absorb man city's pressure and the other tactical change that gaurdiola made was to bring de bruyne in the middle just so that they can move the ball easily because fernandiniho was getting closed down by germain when monaco had realized that he was the one was dictating the play for man city . man city got back into the game with sane's goal . the trouble was that this awakened monaco and their main player for the night has to thomas lamar who is think is more influential than mbappe or even bernerdo silva .
the trouble with man city was the height and monaco exploited that on the setpiece . when upfront gaurdiola could had made the changes and bought toure for the last 20 min and may had secured the passage but adamance paid the price and man city were out of the ucl .

Friday, 10 March 2017


on wednesday barcelona played PSG at nou camp . this is game which will be remembered for a long time for its epic comeback . before i write about the game let me talk about the tactics . even though each and every team game has its roots in chess about stratergy and planning but there is much difference between chess and the other team games and it is that in chess the pieces are controlled by the player . it doesnt happens in chess that one piece goes on beating two pieces in a single move or most importantly the human element that is involved in the game and that is why even when football is a team game there are heroes and there are superstars of the game who can change the game single handedly ( i hope my point is understood ) . in football a coach can only prepare and plan but the execution is out of his hands . doesnt matters as to how much he prepare but if the player losses his concentration or tries to smart as it had happened in this match then the team pays for it and that is what had happened . blaming emery for the result will be stupidity because his team had gifted goals to the opposition because of their arrogance when they could had kept things simple .
barcelona started with a suprising 3-5-1-1 formation with neymar and rafiniha as the wingbacks while mascherano returned as one of the centre backs . while psg started the game with 4-3-3 or 4-5-1 with lucas in place of di maria who wasnt fit to start and thiago silva coming back to the line up . it was a very unique formation by luis enrique but then he had a plan . while PSG were there to conserve their lead and just defend and hit back on the counter . 
barca were playing two wing backs they were trying to stretch PSG and create gaps in the defense so that messi and suarez can explore it . neymar and rafiniha were trying to stretch the defense which was sitting deep in their half and trying to hit on the counter . most of the barcelona's attack was starting from neymar just like in the first leg where on he was trying to run on munier . in this leg he made the correction that he didnt tried to take munier just from his own half ( although munier and other fullback rarely came out of their own half on offense ( just once when he beat neymar and cavani hit on the crossbar on his cross ) but his starting point was way deeper in PSG's half . the middle of barca three where just behind suarez to explore any gaps if they appear in PSG's defense . while PSG were getting all the players behind the ball trying to defend and narrow the space for barcelona to explore . 
there were two intriguing things that were in the game . yes the offense was starting from neymar but messi wasnt that involved in the buildup or that the offense wasnt revolving around him . you need the offense to be based around the world's best player doesnt matter where on the offense starts but messi is the best finisher, passer  and creator . psg were trying to cramp messi they were not allowing him to have any time on the ball and as soon he has the ball they were trying to double or triple him up but then adjustments can be made to his game where he keeps the ball rolling and exploit the defense where they come to close him down . messi is beautiful one touch passer and he can suarez plus neymar can combine very beautifully and open opposition defenses . even though barcelona scored in the first 3 minutes still psg were able to keep them away
psg were trying to sit back and hit back on the counter but the trouble was that cavani is not very good on holding the ball and most importantly credit had to given to barcelona who pressed very crisply to deny players like veratti and matuidi time on the ball to create any problem .
the last but the most important thing as to why i had written this post . barcelona's attack were starting from neymar and rafiniha . now both munier and kuruzawa were coming out of the defense and stretching the defense . while both thiago and marquinihos were not ready to come out of their positions and cover munier . instead they were staying in their position because they feared that if they leave their position then it may be exploited by barcelona because messi was there in the centre and he can exploit that plus suarez who may not have the height but takes very good positions to create chances for himself in the box . munier was getting out of the defense so that neymar should get a hearstart and he come running on him and that would be difficult to stop . instead why not stay in the back four and stay compact and here what i am suggesting . psg should had just stayed compact and let barcelona have that space on the flank and instead ask them to open you up . had munier stayed just little bit deep then marquinihos could had been able to cover him up and neymar wouldnt had the space to run on him and cause that havoc that he was able . i dont think suarez was going to beat thiago or marquinihos in the air for more that once .
another thing is that whoever plays football knows that any player when he coming dribbiling on you you can show which way you want him to go so that the defense can dictate the terms . the player who is dribbining the ball for him it is very difficult to change the space in mid term and can loose the possession easily . munier should had just invited neymar to come on him . neymar was going to beat in the pace and trickery and that was evident and so defenders who knows these they invite the player to come and dribble him our rather than just get into foot war with him . the second thing that would had happened is that barca would had little space to explore and they would had got more frustrated which would had created problem for them instead for PSG . i wished PSG should had just parked the bust just like chelsea did against barca in 2012 when they won the european championship and hit barca when the pressing just becomes slow in the second half . i am trying to explain this in the figures as to how had munier and kuruzawa had dropped a little bit deeper allowing barca space on the flank but at the same time denying them space between them and centre backs which was getting exploited time and time again by neymar in the match . ( please look at  the graphics in which i had tried to explain ) . 
even though barcelona had made the comeback but the question still remains about barcelona's offense for me and messi's role in that and if you had read my post on ath mad  match then i had said the same and enrique needs to sort things out to get the best out of the season .

Monday, 27 February 2017


yesterday ath mad played barcelona at vicente calderon . the first thing that you notice is that something is not correct with barcelona . you can see by the body sign that and the most important thing is that you have the best player in the world but you are not able to bring him in the game let alone play around him or base the offense around him . for the first time in my life from the days i had seen messi playing i saw that he wasnt that interested or that something was wrong with him . if you had looked at the PSG game then you would had noticed that messi is the one who took the blame for the PSG game but then it should had been luis enrique who should had been questioned and if you are barcelona then you primary aim is the UCL and if this is the kind of football they are playing then i dont see any reason that they can come back in the second leg . if i was to speculate then i would say that messi may be playing somewhere else next season .
ath mad started with a 4-3-3 formation they had the same personal but they changed it from 4-4-2 to 4-3-3 and bought saul and koke in the middle of the park to support gabi . while barcelona started with a 4-3-3 formation but in actual they were playing a 3-5-1-1 formation with messi behind suarez . luis enrique may have tried to bought  a page from gaurdiola's tactical formation but to execute is another thing . i dont know what he wanted to on the right hand side by bringing sergio roberto in the middle of the park and having rafiniha wide . even in the PSG the whole offense was based around neymar and the ball was finding way to his feet to start the move .
we all know how athletico like to play they like to sit back tight get players behind the ball and the hit on the counter . ath mad took the game to barca with trying to press high up the pitch and hit them on the counter . there were two things that bugged me first thing for barca . barca were suppose to start their offense through neymar who was wide on the left flank in a bid trying to stretch the offense and then work things from there . his positioning was that off a fullback who was high up the pitch . secondly if we take that positioning in to reference that he was trying to draw out vrisalko from his position and then  suarez using that space but then the ball had to be moved quick . secondly why does neymar start dribbling ball from such deep positions . instead first off his starting position should be way up ahead and if he is receiving the pass deeper then he should just pass the ball around and take it upfield and then start dribbling . the trouble with barca was that they didnt had a player around whom neymar can play or i think barca wanted to create space for neymar to dribble but ath mad play very compact and enrique should have understand the situation and made the necessary changes . in the entire first half only once did suarez made the run in the space left by vrisalka and created the chance for messi . even though barca had the lion share of possession as shown by the stats but they were never comfortable and the attack looked one dimensional and if you cannot bring the best player in the world in the game then the attack has no sense .
ath mad like to play on the counter and they like to take the ball from back to front very quickly . but the trouble is that at time they just simply give the ball away in trying to take the ball away from back to front . they have got good ball players in the team and at times they can just keep the ball and pass the ball around and be patient . they are good at moving the ball and playing out of the pressing . in this match if you had looked then you would had seen that when they were patient and moved the ball they were far more effective and were able to create chances and were able to put barcelona in trouble .
one more important thing about barcelona is that when barca are on defense and i had said this thing in my take in the game versus PSG . both iniesta and rafiniha are high up the pitch but both lack the positional discipline when they are playing in the middle of the park that is needed . if you look closely then they dont get along busquestus and many a time there is a space besides busquestus which can be exploited and iniesta lack the positional discipline that is needed .
messi may had scored the winner but he looks far from happy in this game . the trouble with barca is that messi is not the man making decisions but he is the one who is taking the blame and criticized for the defeats . i think pogba's transfer fee will be peanuts in front of messi's which can happen if the things continue in the same way .

Thursday, 23 February 2017


both team lineups
man city played monaco in the first leg of the champions league tie at etihad . the showed gaurdiola's thinking hat and his ability to move his pieces around but its not about him but i was disappointed with the monaco coach and his tactical noviceness to read the game and make the suitable changes to the game just as gaurdiola did when he wanted to do something . i was expecting him to make changes and close the game when his team was forward because the way man city was playing he needed to switch things and make it difficult for city to move the ball . the other thing is that aguero is lauded in this game but to be honest had it been a better coach and realised that aguero was getting all the space in the hole and none of the monaco centre backs were coming out to challenge him or close him down which made his game easy . i hope he resurrect that mistake in the second leg and make it more interesting .
mancity started the game with 4-3-3 formation with fernandiniho starting as the left back and i suppose it was because silva was playing on that side and he wanted to have a better defender who wouldnt getted mugged by silva . monaco started with a 4-4-2 formation . monaco started the game on a very positive note by pressing city high up the pitch and as the game progressed they started to sit back and hit man city on the counter which proved a better option . man city had the 4-3-3 formation and their objective was to explore the space between the fullbacks and centre backs . monaco on the other had were trying to get all their players behind the ball and one of the centre backs either of falcoa or Mbappé was trying to drop on toure and close him down so that he should have less influece on the game and make man city play long passes to the mancity front line ( i wouldnt go in detail about the defense having the advantage on such passes ) . the warning signs were already there for man city when falcao or mabappe would come on man city defense at pace and were able to turn on man city's centre backs with ease .
how man city could pass the ball from back to front by bringing their fullbacks inside .
man city were forced to play directly to agureo with others being marked tightly by monaco . while monaco were threatening man city too were threatening by their offense . the thing about man city's offense was that they were trying to explore that space between centre backs and fullbacks .now monaco never made any attempt to stop that move or that they cant be explored in that zone . man city were not able to move the ball through toure so gaurdiola made some changes first he bought fernandiniho besides toure to have more bodies in the middle of the park and make it easy to move the ball . man city were forced to pass the ball directly to aguero and i felt that he needed a player around him from the start so that it would be easy to pass the ball to him and play one two with him and open defenses . monaco were playing a high line trying to press man city and city wanted to have that because they could move the ball faster and explore that space behind the back four and trouble monaco .
the turning point of the match was when glik got carded in the first half and before that he was coming out of the defense to close aguero but he got carded in the 8 min of the match and he was afraid of aguero turning on him . the biggest drawback in the monaco's team was the centre backs who were not confident enough and were not given enough protection by the fullbacks and the midfield . aguero was getting all the space in between the lines and because of him man city were able to avert the press . man city's offense is very well know they try to exploit one flank and then use diagonal runs by their wingers to good effect . aguero's role was very crucial in the game he was keeping the two centre backs busy and that was creating spaces for others .
the big trouble with monaco was their midfield even though they are good ball players they were not able to protect the back four . lemar, fabiniho and Bakayoko were not able to protect the back four . gaurdiola showed some of his typical tactical acumen in the first half . he bought the fullbacks in the middle of the park so that the back line could pass the ball directly to the front three ( i will try to show in the figure) and get the ball back to front as quickly as possible and exploit that space behind the back four . the trouble with monaco was that there midfielders were not able to protect the back four and they didnt had a clear tactical plan as to how they were going to stop man city on offense they tried to press high but once the ball was bought in their half they just didnt had the plan as to how they were going to defend and they sixes and sevens . they tried to have three in the middle of the park by switching lemar in the middle with fabiniho and Bakayoko but man city had free radical in  form of aguero who couldnt be contained by raggi and glik and it was letting down monaco .
the tie is obviously not over and with the threat of falcao and mbappe it can never be but jardin needs to change his centre back pairing or atleast give them a better protection or have them told to defend better against aguero because they were just poor in the first leg . jardin does had to get his defensive tactics right and even though monaco got three they were overrun by man city in terms of shot on target and the way they were able to create chances . the midfielders were far too much away from the back line and both lacked game reading to deal with the situation and stamp their authority on the game. 

Wednesday, 15 February 2017


yesterday barcelona played PSG in their home and had one of their worst defeat in the modern era . in football not only are the tactics  important but also executing it properly requires the coach making the playes understand their role plus there are many a small detail that go into executing the tactics correctly . for e.g lets take messi for  instance in yesterday's game . when pressed messi would like to get the better of the opposition player pressing and show his superiority in one on one situation . unay emre had deduced this and he just had a plan to nullify messi . he would ask one of his players to press messi who would definitely come out of top against him but the trouble is that the ball is knocked slightly away which gives chance to another player who is just behind the first to sweep and take away the possession ( i will try to explain it in the figure. ) . whoever plays football does knows this . another thing is that in football your athletic ability and physicality . i read sergio busquestus saying that psg were physically better than them but then havent barcelona played better physical team than them in the past and giving such a reason doesnt show very good for busquetus .
psg started the game with 4-3-3 formation even though it was shown that psg were playing with 4-2-3-1 formation but it was the former . while barcelona played with a 4-4-1-1 formation where on messi started behind suarez in the middle and they had ditched the 4-3-3 which made them successful 2 years before . for the first time in his life i think iniesta played in the middle two with busquetus as his partner . barcelona were trying to stretch psg so that messi can find spaces in the centre to work his magic  or vice versa . the trouble was that psg have players who are better athletes and can cover more grass than barca players who are still sticking with some old players who have past their prime and that is seen in their game . psg's game plan was simple they were trying to work a zone and trying to overload it and it can seen in number of times draxler playing a pass inside the box and missing it . unay emrey had arrived this summer and has brought the spanish mentality with him of pressing high and trying to win the possession and how to do the pressing properly . earlier it was only pressing but in these days the opposition are prepared for that and they play the ball crisply and get out of it . teams like to play out of the back because it stretches the game . the reason being that it stretches the game. secondly when the opposition come out to press you it leaves gaps in their defense too which can be exploited if you can move the ball quickly from back to front . 
the tactics were very clear from psg that they were going to press but with a plan they would wait for the ball to come into the midfield and then press and then go all out . the good thing about psg is that they had better athletes than barcelona on the field and could press better and emery had got them a plan as to how they are going to do that properly . the trouble with barcelona was that they had only two in the midfield and they were getting them outnumbered so messi decided to drop deep and help the middle two to move the ball . but as i had said that psg had the plan for him and they executed perfectly on him . psg's plan was perfectly clear they were going to sit back and hit barcelona on the counter and exploit the spaces that were left . i think they bought a page from jupp heynecks tactics book who would like to have his wide players cross into others zone just to overload that zone and take the ball deeper into oppositions half . you could see di maria and draxler making diagonal runs and trying to overload the zones and take the ball deeper . the most important facet was that psg players were better in one on one exchanges and that tells all .
now both matuidi and rabiot had a very good game with di maria also scoring two goals but the pick of the bunch for me who really conducted the game and really showed a midfield masterclass for me was veratti and really showed as to how good no.6 should be . look at the number of times he intercepted the ball but the most important facet of his game is the number of times he was able to pick out a player between the lines with di maria especially who would drift inside and verattti was able to pick him with accuracy . the best thing about him was that he was able to disguise his passes and the opposition just  couldnt read his game . he was the best of the lot for me in this game .
barcelona tried to change the things in the second half when they bought gomes inside to make the midfield three and tried to compete with psg but the psg team was just better in all respect to barcelona . they iniesta is passes his prime and it can be seen in the third goal which di maria scored when he should had strided back to help his defense when di maria was trying to explore his zone . iniesta was just couldnt handle the pace of the game and seemed too slow for it .
i watched the game till veratti was on the field and then i slept .