This year’s Champions League culminated in Cardiff, as Juventus aimed to stop Real Madrid winning the trophy for the third time in four years. PR, JD and EA give their thoughts on how the game unfolded.
David Moyes and his struggling Sunderland side hosted Arsenal in the early Saturday kick-off. Billy Jones returned to the starting XI in place of Javi Manquillo, with Adnan Januzaj kept on the bench. Despite returning to fitness, there was no starting place for Olivier Giroud as Wenger opted to stick with Alexis Sanchez as his centre forward.
Pep Guardiola finally completed his first match in the Premier League, with a narrow win over David Moyes’ Sunderland team. The managerial merry-go-round was struck into full swing when Sam Allardyce replaced Roy Hodgson as England manager, leaving David Moyes to take up the vacant Sunderland managerial role. With only a few weeks of pre-season preparation, expectations were not high against the favourites for the title.
The final day of the 2014-15 season saw Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool side get thrashed 6-1 by a mediocre Stoke team. After challenging for the title in the previous season, the transfer of Luis Suarez and poor health of Daniel Sturridge created big issues and performance dropped off a cliff. Whilst Rodgers was previously able to rely on his talented personnel, he struggled to implement a consistent strategy from this point onwards. He was granted the start of the 2015-16 season to rectify the issues, but was unable to do so. He was sacked after a 1-1 draw with Everton in October. A few days later, Jurgen Klopp was hired.
Wales met Portugal in the first semi-final of Euro 2016, as Real Madrid teammates Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo went head to head for the first time at international level. With both teams landing on the more favourable side of the knockout draw, each had the opportunity to make an unexpected finals appearance.
The Republic of Ireland booked themselves a place in the first knockout round of Euro 2016 with Robbie Brady’s last-gasp winner against Italy. Despite unimpressive displays from hosts France during the group stages, the Irish were still heavy underdogs to progress to the next round.
Switzerland and Poland clashed in the first knockout round of Euro 2016, with neither team making any dramatic changes to their starting line-up or system.
In one of the most well-anticipated matches of the European Championships so far, England took on Wales in a pivotal Group B clash.
One of the most important principles of football is moving the ball forward. As an invasion sport, the eventual aim of any play is to reach the opposition’s end of the pitch and score. With the rise of ever more advanced pressing and counterpressing schemes, it is increasingly difficult to do this.
Following a turbulent win over Dortmund in the previous round, Liverpool came into the next round as favourites for the competition. But the underrated Villarreal had no intention of rolling over, and provided a typically strong defensive performance to take a narrow 1-0 win after a last-minute winner from Adrian Lopez.