Real Madrid 3-1 Barcelona: Old vulnerabilities to set-pieces and counter-attacks cost Barca again

Real or Atletico?

Real Madrid employed a strategy very much akin to that of their city neighbours this evening. As at Anfield in midweek, they went with a 4-4-2, with both wide midfielders James and Isco tucked in very tightly alongside Kroos and Modric. This midfield four sat just in front of an equally narrow back four – a formation that had the dual effects of both preventing Barcelona from finding space in midfield and from threading through balls into the channels. The away side ended the game with zero successful through passes, as compared to an average of five per game this season. Continue reading

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Manchester City 4-1 Tottenham Hotspur: Both sides press high but Spurs’ defence lets them down

High pressing

This game was a Premier League rarity – one in which both sides came to play with a high block; holding a high defensive line and attempting to close down the opposition in their own half. Manchester City attempted 16 tackles in Spurs’ half, completing 9 of them. Spurs attempted 10, completing 6.

Both sides’ opening goals came from this avenue. Aguero’s opener stemmed from Erik Lamela losing possession to Bacary Sagna in the final third. Similarly, Eriksen’s equaliser arrived as a result of Fernando losing possession at the hands of Ryan Mason in front of his defence. Continue reading