Thursday, 26 January 2017


athletic bilbao played ath. madrid at home . the match was played on sunday with aduriz absent for athletic .
athletic started the game with 4-2-3-1 formation with inake williams starting upfront in place of aduriz . athletico madrid started the game with their favourite 4-4-1-1 formation . this game really showed as to why griezman is perfect no.10 . he has the technical ability plus has a great vision to pick out players who are in good position .
the game started with decent tempo with ath. mad sitting back and hitting ath bilbao on the counter attack . compared to bilbao ath.mad play deeper and defend deeper but just as it has its advantages it has its disadvantages too . ath.mad too lead in the 3rd min of the game and this was because of some personal mistakes by the player in the back four . i had said time and again  that playing in the back four is much more difficult than playing upfront . koke has started to play in the middle besided gabi this season but he tends to drop on left side where he had been playing last season . he whipped a cross and goalkeeper got confused and bilbao were behind . this was a mistake by the back four especially laporte who should be running towards the ball because the ball was whipped in his zone . secondly griezman was visible for the left back only so he should had kept pace with him and should had gone on a diagonal run to griezman and should had gone for the ball rather than just keeping up with griezman . 
now madrid took the lead and decided to sit back and defend deep . the trouble with madrid with madrid's tactics that on the counter they have to cover more amount of the grass if the opposition keeps on dropping deep instead of trying to stop them high up the pitch then ath mad can be stopped in the tracks . with madrid's goal bilbao had to respond but the trouble with bilbao was that williams was marked quite tightly by ath.mad and he hasnt got a good back to the goal game so they were finding it difficult to play through him . secondly they want to congest the middle of the park and defend narrow . this startegy made difficult for bilbao to work the ball from wide areas to inside for bilbao . bilbao were forced by ath. mad to throw crosses . now even though ath.mad deal better with crosses but the strategy to defend deep has its drawbacks because one good ball and he has a good header or shot at goal from inside the box so it can backfire that way . meanwhile ath mad were counter attacking but were not able because bilbao had started to drop back with the ball and they were able to read ath. mad attacks because most of them were from left side where carrasco was there . they stopped them in the tracks and for this bilbao's middle two itturaspe and san jose played a big part in that .
bilbao changed their strategy when they put raul garcia upfront in place of inake williams . bilbao could scored the goal because the ball was worked up from back to front quickly like counter attack . bilbao found the space in the hole where ath. mad back four were not ready to step up and deal with it .bilbao took the lead in the second half because as i had described in the earlier para that defending deep too has its drawbacks where on raul garcia produced a peach of the ball to pick out de marcos who's run was not tracked by any ath. mad player and had a free header inside the box . bilbao continued to threaten ath. mad especially down the left flank where Balenziaga and  Lekue were combining beautifully . ath. mad were finding it difficult to control munian who was making so very decent run's and played some good balls to his team mates and especially gabi was finding it difficult . but the trouble was that he was starting from very deep position and secondly he didnt had enough players up ahead to pass to .
i applaud diego simeone because he didnt long enough after he went behind to change the things . first off he bought off gabi who was struggling and was booked so bought him off and bought torres in place of him and have two players upfront in form of gamiero and torres. secondly he bought off carrasco who was not  that effective as he is generally and bought correa who is too is slippery player . secondly he bought gaitan who is a dead ball specialist since fouls tend to mount up in the latter half of the match and the dead ball situation needs a good player to take it . ath mad equalised because in that attack they were patient and both bilbao midfielders instead of closing down griezman stayed in their position as to not to get played around and expecting griezman to pass the ball . griezman showed his class and scored the equalizer .
although the game ended in equal honors ath. mad still dropped two points and i think simeone needs to have a plan B or different style of play when things are not going good for them . i think bilbao if they can cohesion in the front players then i think that they are a team to watch .

Monday, 23 January 2017


on saturday city played spurs . the first that i had to say that the result had been very kind with pochettino or else had they been poor then his style and tactics would had been questioned . people never ever question winners tactics because its a result oriented business . nobody questions your tactics till they are getting the result and it doesnt matters as to how you get them . if you had looked at the last two big games for spurs then you would see that they had been very poor . against chelsea they scored two goals and those were the only two shots they  had on goal . even in this game against man city they had been extremly poor and they lacked the clinical finishing that good teams have . the most important stat that needs to shown is the amount of time that or the number of touches that man city had in spurs 18 yards box . gaurdiola rightly said that city didnt deserved to draw this match but having said that you need to finish what you create and not a gift from the opposing goal keepers to make mistakes and give you a gift . how many times sterling and aguero had the chances and they messed up . you are to finish in a match not produce a save from the goal keeper ( i wont comment on the sterling penalty shouts . i think he deserved two . ) .
city started the game with their usual 4-3-3 formation with sane being bought back into the team and gaurdiola  trusting him from the arsenal game . spurs started the game with their 3-4-3 formation a formation which had served them well in the chelsea because even though they had been lucky against chelsea but still they had stopped them . the only time that spurs had the ball in the first half was for the first 5 min and that too with their best player that been this season that is dembele . the spurs formation was a bit of a mess first off the the fullbacks were suppose to be high up the pitch but on the very first counter attack set the tone of the game  . city bought the ball from back to front just like counter attack and the front three made diagonal runs and created the first city chances . i think here gaurdiola released as to what he needs to do and how city should play . first off spurs back three are never ever going to match up against city's front three on the floor . firstly spurs back three dont like to come out of their positions and they like to let the opposition player come out on them and defend rather than coming out of the defense . secondly if the fullbacks play high up the pitch then there is space on the wide which can be exploited by opposition and if the centre backs are too much spacious then the space between them can be exploited ( will explain in the figure ). so compared to last match city's fullbacks were quite disciplined compared to the match against chelsea . the main thing was that city had numerical advantage in the middle of the park . they had three players in the middle of the park compared to spurs two . city just didnt want to get in the midfield battle instead they just fed the ball to the front three and started the attack quickly .
the other fator was that spurs were playing quite a high line trying to congest the play and close  city down but they didnt had the necessary formation . first off the fullbacks were trying to protect the space besides their centre backs which was leaving the too much space open in the middle of the park opened and even though dembele and wanyama are good players but they had too much of space to cover in the middle of the park . pochettino spotted this but for this he took about 30 min and changed the formation . he changed it from 3-4-3 to 4-3-3 when he bought dier in the middle of the park to support wanyama and dembele . the half ended with city having the upperhand but failing to find the net . 
i had earlier said that spurs had  not been able to bring kane into the game or play through him . the trouble in this game was i wasnt able to determine as to what role he had in this game was . he was in the front three but i just couldnt determine his role . the first thing that spurs lacked was they lacked a good no.10 who would link up between  the midfield and front three . the trouble is compared to a 15 or 20 yard pass the 30 or 3 yard pass  comes late and is a bit difficult to pass on one go . the most important thing was that because of this the city's centre backs could close down kane whenever he had the ball . city wanted to stretch the game by playing the 3-4-3 formation but the trouble is that they are not able to bring the ball from wide to centre of the park they are taking the ball wide but are not able to bring it inside . they are just crossing the ball and that's the offense they got . in the second half pochettino bought kim in place of wimmer in trying to have some pace on the outside but spurs just couldnt use him . spurs were good for hardly for 10 min in over 90 min and were lucky to draw the game and to be honest pochettino needs to questioned for his tactics even though when he is having some decent results .

 the difference in between city and spurs can be seen with the amount of interceptions or fouls that were committed against the forwards . they are committed when the opposition tries to close down the player and it show as to how close kane was monitored by city compared to aguero by the opposition defense . the other highlight had also been the number of touches that kane had on the ball these does shows spurs inability to work the ball to him and bring him into play .  i will say again but pochettino will have to go back to drawing board or else the failure might just catch him . 

Thursday, 19 January 2017


on sunday man utd played liverpool . mouriniho described the game as at times boring and not entertaining . but then if he making such comment then i think that he is the one to blame . in the first encounter i can understand that he getting the know how of the team and the players but i think that this time its different he now knows the team better with the players and the formation that needs to play . so if he is now getting the best out of his players and he is not able to improvise on his tactics then i think he is the first one who should be criticized . i had already said that jose needs to reinvent himself as an offensive coach who's team terrorise others .
man utd started the game with 4-3-3 formation which they had been using in all the games. while liverpool too play with the same formation . liverpool had a game plan they executed it far too well and it can be summed up by the distance that they covered in the match . they out ran utd by over 10 km and their work rate can be summed up from that . both team like to play on the counter attack but here liverpool were the one who can be said were waiting for utd to come up the pitch and then close them down and hit them on the counter . although on the offensive front liverpool coundnt conjure anything decent but they atleast kept utd at bay who had better players on cards than liverpool on the pitch . 
as i had said in my earlier post that utd's offense is one dimensional . there are three or four ways that utd try to open up opposition defense . they are dependent on matial's ability to run on opposition's fullbacks and try to work from there . secondly is releasing mikhitariyan behind opposition defense through zlatan or using valencia's pace wide on the right flank . the trouble with utd is that other than this they are not able to think anything else . to be honest i was amazed at liverpool's team selection as if they lured utd in a trap and utd just walked into that . liverpool played young arnold against martial and jose thought that martial could just exploit him and he saw most of the ball but liverpool just let him have the ball and then just closed him and bogged utd's offense . liverpool had a good game plan they played a decent high line and whenever they the ball came beyond in their half they just closed down utd and utd too helped them up with certain players like pogba and martial spending too much time on the ball and making it easy for liverpool to close them down and just sabotaging utd's offense.
i was watching the game and ferdinand and michael owen were the expert's and they asking for rashford to be bought on. now ferdinad and owen didnt had the balls that utd should sub ibramovic and bring rashford in his place . utd main offense is try to play through ibramovic but on sunday he was total failure in terms of offense . he kept the centre backs occupied but just like in the reverse fixture he was kept in the pocket by loveren and was kept quite . the trouble with utd's offense is that if ibra is not effective then they are not able to conjure any great offense .
liverpool got in front from a gift by utd's record buy who really lacks complete understanding of the the game . in the second half utd bought rooney on the pitch in place of carrick and changed the formation to 4-2-3-1 but utd failed to break through liverpool's defense . utd's last through of dice is to bring fellaini and hit long balls . kloop had criticized utd's approach but then its a part of the game and we had seen at how effective that was in the everton game when stones couldnt deal lukaku . so kloop criticizing it is not that correct . to be honest liverpool were better team on the pitch for the whole 90 min because they could move the better .they worked hard they had a better game plan and executed it very well .
as i had said that both owen and ferdinand didnt had the balls to say that jose should sub zlatan . utd like to play though him and look at the number of touches that he made and times they were effective plus the movement that he had done over the pitch . look at the touches that he has made and the distance that he has covered . even in the first game he wasnt that effective and should had been subbed . the opposition can play a high line if zlatan plays upfront because he hasnt got the no more to run behind them . i think jose is here to blame for the way he would had instructed zlatan because had he told him to go wide and run channels and stretch the back four and try create space in the middle . jose had to go to plan B if the plan A is not working the opposition will always try to stop him and its your job to outdo them .
the other aspect of utd's attack is the positioning of martial .just look the touches that he had made and his starting position . yes he is stretching the offense and he likes to have a start just like messi to get into full flow . the point is that i want him to recieve the ball 10 to 15 yards high up the pitch and then try to run on the defenders this way he has the option to cross as well as run on the defenders which makes his more lethal .
i had once read a line about steven gerrard by arrigo sacchi and i think it perfectly fits to pogba. he said that gerrard is player with tremendous technical ability but very little tactical know how of the game and game reading . after watching pogba i think it fits perfectly well to him . for him mouriniho has changed the system he has given him more freedom to go forward but had shown little sense of the game . with a big price tag it doesnt means that you need to get past your opposite number or try to spend time on the ball . look at the number times he was stripped of possession . he needs to understand as to where and against who he really should try to go into a duel or play simple and keep the move going and try to take the ball upfield . i think more than anything mouriniho needs to have special sessions with him on and off the pitch and make him understand his role .

Monday, 16 January 2017


yesterday man city played everton . everton defeated city and man city's title charge is over . this is the team which is gaurdiola is making looking ordinary . to be honest some of his body postures and the him not having answers is seriously denting his image as the best coach . while i am saying this but at the same time i am saying this that the tactics that he deployed had worked very nicely for them and they were not lucky not to put the ball in the back of the net . he showed his innovation by playing zabaleta in the middle of the park with toure and silva but at the same time he should had shown heavy hand and removed stones and bought somebody who could have atleast contested with lukaku . a coach can only do is teach you in the practise but its the players who had to improvise on the field and i feel that stones in particular let him down . stones didnt had to win against him but atleast should had shown the willingness to contest with him . he should had been toe to toe with him . stones is a central defender and his balls playing capability is an asset but his main job is to defend . just look at man utd's phil jones yesterday all he was doing was keep passing the ball back to de gea and showed little ball playing ability but at the same time defensively he was solid and did his job perfectly well so the coach has no reason to  drop him for the next match . stones should had aleast contested the ball with lukaku but he kept dropping back and at times didnt even contested . secondly when you play at the back your other aim is to organise the team and i think stones too failed in that respect he failed in reading the game and also in dealing with his opposite number.
everton started the game with 3-5-2 formation while city started the game with 4-3-3 formation . the notable changes for for everton were that jagielka was dropped and holgate was played in his place while young davies was playing alongside barry . man city started the game with 4-3-3 formation with zabaleta starting alongside toure . everton had a very simple game plan it was to sit back congest the middle of the park and then hit long balls to lukaku and try to play on the counter through him . now even though city are criticized for the result for the first half they were very good . everton were always going to congest the middle of the park and not give space over there but at the same time they were playing three at the back and there fullbacks were playing high up the pitch so city were trying to exploit that space that was left by the fullback . even though everton had so many players in the park they were not that properly organised and if koeman does looks at this match and views it throughly then he would look at the mistakes that his players had committed . first off in the first half there was considerable space between everton's centre half . city were moving the ball in the space between fullbacks and centre backs and one of the centre backs was getting dragged on that side but the other two were not moving and were sticking to their position and if you looked at the match then city were guilty of not exploiting that space . city moved the ball very well . the crosses that they made were low and it troubled everton and they just barely cleared it . everton had their fullbacks high up the pitch and the three centre backs had the field day in the first half . city's passing was crisp they moved the ball from back to front very quickly and even though they went down with one goal their play was better till the end of the first half .
man city finding space in everton's half . 
everton's offense was very clear they were trying to hit long balls to lukaku and he would try to hold the ball and bring others in play . even though koeman is the dutch coach but he had been the best exponent of the english system . lukaku had barkeley and mirallas along side behind him who would try to run beyond him . in the first half everton at times were trying to hit long balls to lukaku more too often when they could just pass the ball and keep the move the going and then bring him in play . the first goal was a good thinking by the kid davies untill that all the everton's players were guilty of passing the ball to lukaku too quickly while they could had kept the move th going by passing it around . davies won the ball and fed it mirallas instead of lukaku and here city were poor . there was only lukaku in the box while city had two . city should had made the proper game reading and adjusted themselves with the play and would had averted the goal . city's weak link was stones and koeman had very finely noted it and he put lukaku against him and stones instead of contesting just backed off and that resulted into city's debacle .
in the second half just as everton went 2 up they just closed the game with proper substitutions and city too lacked the impetus with players spending too much time on the ball and lacking ideas . here gaurdiola needed to put his chin up and needed to be behind his players and his players needed their coach behind them . he should had rallied them just as jose did with man utd yesterday .
in the first half city moved the ball very well they did every thing right except for putting the ball back in the net . secondly the kid davies was selected for his ball playing ability but the position that he plays he needs to protect his back four and there were a couple of times when he was caught on the wrong side of the player and he commited the foul and he needs to learn the positional aspects of the game as to when  does he needs to come out of the defense and the defensive side of the game but he was selected for his ball playing ability and he showed that with the first goal when he could had passed the ball to lukaku and messed the chance but he showed maturity by passing it mirallas as well as with the third goal . 

Thursday, 5 January 2017


yesterday spurs played chelsea at white hart lane . spurs won the match and ended chelsea's winning run . the first thing i want to write is that some reporters think that the people watching the game are stupid and just dont understand it and they are fools . if they are asked about to explain the game and the tactics then they will have no answer and will just talk about formations and statistics .
spurs started with the 3-5-2 formation to try to counter chelsea's 3-4-3 formation which had been successful for them for the last 13 games .to be honest to write about tactics in an english game is absurd because the pace of the game is so fast that most of the times it just goes out of the window and the ones who take their opportunities and finish it are the ones who come out of the top.
spurs started the game with the 3-5-2 formation and if you had see the last between these two then spurs had played the same formation back then also but pochettino made some adjustments to the formation and the they are going to set up. last time wimmer and dier both were playing in front of vertroghen rather than playing as a flat three which chelsea do . just like in the last game both dembele and wanyama were instructed to press matic and kante and deny them time on the ball and make chelsea from the back or pass it quick so that spurs could press them .
 both rose and walker were given the freedom to bomb forward because spurs had three at the back but to honest them going forward didnt cause any trouble to chelsea as spurs were not able to bring the ball inward or work that zone to cause chelsea that problem . rose and walker were used just to push back pedro and hazard backward but they were picked up by chelsea's wing back and spurs inability to work the ball from the wide areas just couldnt use them better . to be honest even though spurs won and the press may be lauding  them i think there offense was lacking direction and it didnt had a particular theme about it as to what they want to do when they had the ball . the major problem with spurs had been building offense around kane . they bring the ball up but after bringing it up in the final third  they just dont know as to what they need to do and how they are going to open the opposition . 
spurs scored two the goals came from same flank or in the same way . i had been saying that if chelsea are going to get troubled them it from their left side because alonso is that express and secondly cahill prone to make mistakes and thirdly hazard doesnt like to stride back and do the defensive job . walker was high up the pitch so alonso was concerned about him since he had already shown the inclination to come inside and try to score . cahill doesnt likes to come out of the defense but stood there just in case eriksen wants to come inside so to stop him . kane was marked by luiz and azipilicueta  so it left alli at the back post with moses more keen on marking rose rather than taking his natural position besides azipilicueta . both the goals came from the same position with same type of cross and from same players . the goals were not that they were carved up but because a good player could spot the chance and produce good cross . to be honest besides these two goals there were no occasion when spurs troubled chelsea .
whoever thought that chelsea were poor then they should rethink again . but one thing was certain that chelsea will have to have plan B and when there plan A doesnt work they will have go to that track quickly . chelsea like to play on the counter attack and their attack is simple with costa dropping deep to collect the possession and he and hazard like to combine together with pedro running beyond the back four . in the earlier game costa was man marked out in the first half . in this game it was not so Alderweireld wasnt coming out of the defense to close him down because he was aware of the danger of pedro's diagonal runs . the first thing that spurs did was that they kept on dropping deep to make chelsea more of the grass . secondly they made sure that chelsea passed the ball back and for that they pressed hard  . the back three were much compact and most importantly spurs fullback had better defensive discipline than chelsea which saved them .
the  trouble with both teams is that both teams forward are just not playing as the pure no.9 who are goal poachers and who are ready to pounce on the every  ball that is crossed in the box . both costa and kane drop deep and allow runners to go beyond them and at times when it is wanted of them to be in the box at the end of the cross they are just not there . it was evident when  vertonghen came forward in the 3rd min and kane just didnt sprint up in the box to make himself available for the cross . same can be said about costa who didnt sprint for alonso's cross . another thing is the spat between costa and pedro . i think costa had all the right to feel aggrieved about pedro because it his role to make diagonal run and try to get the move going and make things happen . its not expected of him to hold his run and wait for the cross . i think costa was correct to feel aggrieved and conte explainng pedro his role better .
chelsea may have lost but still they got a valuable lesson and should make them better and spurs even though won i think pochettino still needs to go to the drawing board and work on his offense and get kane to be involved better . 

Sunday, 1 January 2017


yesterday man city played liverpool at anfield . in the last game against arsenal man city untill half time were clearly outplayed and they got lucky in the second half and clawed there way back into the game and came up with a win . when you select the team and hatch a game plan then you expect your team to execute it and the team that executes that properly generally comes out at the top . yesterday kloop got his selection correct and his game plan was executed properly . while kloop got his selection correct gaurdiola just didnt had any answer to the things that were happening in the middle and to be honest i think gaurdiola just couldnt change the things or make the necessary changes that would had affected the game . yesterday's game was a stark reflection of what gaurdiola was lacking and what changes he needs to make and how many players he needs . to be honest for me gaurdiola lacked the creative mind that i had seen in carlos queiroz and he was just one dimensional in this loss.this loss would had shown as to how much gaurdiola's team lacked in pace but at the same i would say that gaurdiola tactically was hopeless and there are better things expected of him .

liverpool started the game with their regular 4-3-3 formation. while city started the game with 4-2-1-3 formation . liverpool had a very good game . you can realize with a look at their team . the middle three have very little space in between them . they stay very compact and hunt in a pack. liverpoo's game plan was to sit back and press when the ball comes into the midfield and then hit on the counter . you could see the number of touches that stones and otamendi had in the entire match . liverpool let them have the ball and didnt went to overpress and expose themselves and let man city have too much space to play around them . instead they waited patiently for toure and fernandiniho had the ball and press . the difference was the mobility of the liverpool's middle three compared to city's middle three or even you could say that the mobility and the ball handling skills of the liverpool's player were better compared to man city's . emre can and winjnaldum did a very good job on toure and fernandiniho and not giving them time on the ball and pressing them very swiftly. they were ably supported by the entire team .liverpool started with a high line but they started to drop deep once the ball would come into their half since they were aware of the quality silva and other man city player's  possess  . while on the defense liverpool press their offense is also very laudable and the players ability to run off each other and make themselves available in the play is very good . kloop has certainly improved  the players ability on the ball and that inturn helps in the overall play .

to be honest i was disappointed with man city and their tactics. first off liverpool were pressing and it is their style so man city should had moved the ball faster and played quick and try to catch liverpool . instead had there been a statistics and the amount of touches ( not in the match but when the ball is passed to when he passes the ball ) that the player makes then man city player were very lazy on the ball . first off they made more than two touches on the ball which helped the liverpool players because it game then the time to close them down and limit their offense .  the time you spend on the ball allows the opposition player to close you down . gaurdiola should had asked his players to move the ball crisply . secondly he wasnt able to bring de bruyne in the game who slipped henderson twice in the first half . the second problem was that for city was that they were taking the ball wide but they were not able to work the ball inside which liverpool were able to do with ease. the problem with this is that city had aguero upfront so he cannot win headers against lovren and kavlan . the crosses had to be on the floor but man city were just putting aerial crossess . man city's problem was that they just couldnt work the ball from wide areas and cause liverpool problem . liverpool made them cross the ball instead letting them pass the ball and bringing it in .
man city in the first half tried to play some long ball's to aguero to release him behind lovren and kavlan but then that's what the opposition wants because they could defend that pretty easily since they could see the ball coming but ball's being played in close quarters are harder . in the second half he changed the things by moving silva in the middle and de bruyne wide . he could have done that even in the first half when he could see that they were not able to get the ball to de bruyne and de bruyne not able to take proper positions to make himself available for the pass . i think he had instructed de bruyne to play high up the pitch just off aguero but never saw de bruyne go beyond aguero .

liverpool's pressing had dropped and the intensity that was in the first half wasnt there and city were finding spaces to work the ball and they were moving the ball better in the second half with not many touches on the ball . but city were not able to penetrate liverpool's defense and the problem continued till the end.
 to be honest silva has better game head than any other players in the team ( on 53rd min when sterling had taken the ball wide and deep and his only option was to cross it silva was the only player who making darting run the box while it should had been agauero . secondly i didnt expected gaurdiola to take so much time to change things . second thing is that why wasnt he asking his players to move the ball faster in the first half .other thing is that there no great movement from his players . man city severly lacked pace and gaurdiola would had noticed it with fernandiniho and toure coming off second best in one on one exchanges. liverpool play the same formation but just look at their offense . whenever firminho drops deep there is mane or lallana who would take his position offering themselves as the outlet and a threat who can be released on the goal . i never saw this in the city offense . gaurdiola has to look at the offense and this game but he has been made to look like an ordinary coach and his image taking a hit .