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 .