Breaking Down Madrid’s Goal

Richard Whittall, for newly branded The Score (previously Counter Attack), analyses Real Madrid’s goal against Bayern:

Yet moving the ball up the pitch quickly and accurately every time is much more difficult than it looks. Particularly for Real Madrid, who make scoring on the break look easy. Karim Benzema’s goal in their semi final against Bayern Munich last night, the only goal of the game, provides a good example:

Luka Modric Man of the Match

Jonathan Wilson, for Sports Illustrated, feels Luka Modric was the man of the match in the Real Madrid vs Bayern Munich game:

He filled the space, tracked his runners, doubled up on the wide man, and when he got the ball retained possession superbly. When a team is defending deep, when it yields three-quarters of possession, there is nothing worse than a player who squanders what possession it does have cheaply.

Modric, in a packed midfield, completed a remarkable 97 percent of the passes he attempted. They weren’t just simple sideways balls either; he completed seven of eight long passes, more than anybody on the field but Sergio Ramos: he was a key in initiating the counter. Modric’s display may have been understated, but in a defensive performance it was vital.

Real Madrid 1-0 Bayern Munich

Adam Bate, for Football 365, reporting from the Santiago Bernabeu:

Ronaldo, not fully fit after a three-week absence it should be noted, touched the ball just 16 times in the match – something Bayern’s Toni Kroos had achieved before most of the crowd were settled into their seat. He also attempted just eight passes, completing six. Crucially however, from such limited involvement, Ronaldo still managed three shots on target in his 70-minute appearance. Tellingly, the entire Bayern team had four in the whole match.

Given that Bayern had over 70 percent possession, four shots on target is a crazy low amount of shots on target. A 1-0 win gives Real Madrid the perfect platform to play the exact same strategy in Germany. It’s now up to Guardiola to find a way through the Madrid defence while keeping a clean sheet. That’s no easy task.

One More on Chelsea’s Tactical Setup Against Atlético Madrid

tamojitc at Soccerlens:

As the above snap shows, Chelsea maintained a narrow backline allowing Ramires and Willian to double team with the fullbacks while David Luiz, Lampard and Mikel effectively sat in bank of three. Thus what looked like a 4-3-3 at the beginning turned to a false 6-3-1 while Chelsea were out of possession.

It’s a fine post with images to illustrate Chelsea’s tactical setup.

Not That Interesting

Michael Cox at Zonal Marking, on Chelsea’s approach and the result:

In truth, this wasn’t a particularly interesting game. Defensive, cautious matches can be interesting in a tactical sense – in fact, they can be amongst the most tactical games you see – but they generally need either side to do something particularly interesting, or for there to be one obvious key zone, or for the sides to be completely contrasting in one respect. This was just a defensive game throughout, with no progression.

Atlético Madrid 0-0 Chelsea

Henry Winter, reporting for The Telegraph:

This was another reminder of Jose Mourinho’s knack of strangling the life out of opponents.

The game was not fun for anyone but Chelsea fans.

Dismissed but Classy

David Moyes’s statement, reported in The Independent:

In my short time at the club I have learnt what special places Old Trafford and Carrington are. I would like to thank the United staff for making me feel so welcome and part of the United family from my first day. And of course thank you to those fans who have supported me throughout the season. I wish you and the club all the best for the future.

Moyes’s Reign

Gianni Verschueren, writing for Bleacher Report, on possibly the worst part of Moyes’s legacy at Manchester United:

The seemingly untouchable position the club once held as the shining example of British football will be his biggest victim though, and it is very likely the club’s new standing as one of the top clubs will be reflected in whoever takes over the reigns from Moyes.

Could United realistically have continued with Moyes at the helm? Anything is possible. But looking at the overall decline the club has suffered in his short period in charge, pulling the plug now was the only thing the Glazers could do.

Moyes Let Go Because of Results

Richard Jolly, for ESPN FC, on why Moyes was dismissed:

United were willing to grant Moyes a summer transfer budget of at least 100 million pounds and his dismissal had nothing to do with his transfer-market record, according to reports.

Instead, performances and results, rather than the additions of Marouane Fellaini and Juan Mata, accounted for his dismissal.

Moyes’ capacity to get the most out of his players at Everton formed part of his appeal to United when he was appointed last summer, but influential figures at Old Trafford became convinced he was not having the same effect with a different group of footballers.

David Moyes the Scapegoat

Gary Neville for Sky Sports:

“The players have to take massive responsibility,” he told Sky Sports News.

“They’re the ones out on the football pitch. I never once during my 17, 18 year career at United turned around after a game and thought ‘you lost us that game, boss’. It’s always the players.

“Players have to take responsibility and accountability in football but the fact of the matter is you don’t go and sack 24 players.

“Those players are not as bad as they’ve been showing. They’ve got great care for United, they love the club – the ones I know – they’re desperate to do well for the club but they’ve completely lost confidence and belief. That’s ultimately what’s cost David Moyes.