Norwich 1-1 Arsenal: Wenger Oversees Classic Arsenal Capitulation After Rampant Opening Half Hour

Although Mesut Ozil’s thirtieth-minute opener arrived with more than a touch of good fortune attached, thanks to the error-prone John Ruddy’s poor clearance, Arsenal’s lead was fully merited to say the least. Up to that point, the Gunners had registered six shots on Ruddy’s goal. Norwich, for their part, had not even managed to create one from their paltry 27% share of the football. Continue reading

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Manchester United 0-0 PSV Eindhoven: Van Gaal Risk Aversion Translates To Another Inglorious Stalemate

Manchester United’s last Champions League outing – a 1-0 home victory against CSKA Moscow – can now be safely filed away in the false dawn folder. That night, as crowd unrest began to build off the back of three consecutive scoreless draws, Louis Van Gaal’s side turned in an anomalous performance. Full-backs were encouraged to overlap and attackers were encouraged to attempt dribbles. The tempo was noticeably higher, the passing significantly more direct. United, in truth, were incredibly unlucky not to win by far more than a single goal. Continue reading

Manchester City 1-4 Liverpool: High-energy Liverpool press Pellegrini into paying the price of complacency

Here was Liverpool’s first truly Klopp-esque performance. Saturday evening’s 4-1 Etihad rout of Manchester City could easily have been even more emphatic, as the German’s charges swamped their hosts with a breathtaking display of relentless pressing and rapier-like counter-attacking. Continue reading

Ireland 2-0 Bosnia: O’Neill persists with diamond formation that sparked Ireland’s dramatic reversal in fortunes

One year and two days ago, the Republic of Ireland lost away to Scotland by a single goal. The nation’s chances of even securing a playoff looked remote at best. Tonight, it won that playoff, comfortably besting a much-fancied Bosnia-Herzigovina side to qualify for Euro 2016. Continue reading

Bosnia 1-1 Ireland: Ireland withstand barrage on left-flank to take the edge

Mehmed Bazdarevic, manager of Bosnia-Herzegovina, had clearly done his homework. Recordings of Ireland’s recent visit to Warsaw would have revealed a fragile Irish left-flank, that crumbled in the face of Polish probing to deny Ireland automatic passage to next summer’s European Championship finals in France.

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Bayern Munich 5-1 Arsenal: Guardiola tactical tweaks lead to Bayern rout

Arsenal’s 2-0 victory at home to Bayern Munich a fortnight ago was built on the foundation of a solid defence, married to a relentless counter-attacking determination to prevail upon the German champions’ poor defensive transitions. Continue reading

Manchester United 1-0 CSKA Moscow: Van Gaal loosens the restraints to end United goal drought

“We are United, we want to attack!” The refrains of the Old Trafford faithful this evening, one minute after Anthony Martial had been removed in favour of Marouane Fellaini – a substitution that was greeted by loud booing from United fans. Continue reading