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 .