Following a prolonged period of mediocre form, including a defeat to Leicester City on Monday night, Kloppâ€™s Liverpool returned to Anfield to face an Arsenal side who have been on an equally poor run, losing their last three Premier League games.
In-form Borussia Dortmund faced not-so in-form Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday. Schmidtâ€™s team were coming on the back of two consecutive losses to Mainz and Atletico, while his hosts had finally overcomeÂ their goal-scoring problems with wins over Wolfsburg and Freiburg.
Pressing, counterpressing, and counterattacking are three very popular concepts that are associated with the most exciting and dominant teams in modern football. Pressing and counterattacking are perhaps the more â€śclassicâ€ť ideas in football tactics, while counterpressing is a buzzword which has become quite popular over the last five to six years â€“ despite having existed for decades. But what do these terms really mean and why are they so important to modern football?
In the beginning of Tuchelâ€™s tenure as head coach in Dortmund a special product developed on the field due to the interaction of the style of play from the previous coach and his own. The team was in a transition phase where they were moving from Jurgen Klopp who was known for his intense, compact, and dynamic style of play both in and out of possession, to former Mainz coach Thomas Tuchel.
Allegri’s Juventus hosted Sarri’s Napoli in the first leg of the Coppa Italia semi-final on Tuesday night. With both sides and coaches being amongst the strongest in Europe tactically, the clash was eagerly anticipated. What followed was a high class encounter, in keeping with the clashes between the teams over the last two seasons.
Mourinho’s United and Puel’s Southampton met at Wembley for the EFL CupÂ final on Sunday evening. Cup victory would be significant for either side, it would offer Europa League qualification for Southampton and a chance for Mourinho to be the first United manager to win a trophy in their first season.
Atalanta continued their excellent season last night with a surprise win over Napoli. Their pressing was key in restricting their hosts’Â excellent left side, which helped to reduce the dynamic of their attacks.
Leonardo Jardim brought his potent Monaco attack to the Etihad last night, ensuing what was one of the most entertaining clashes of the season so far.
Luis Enrique’s Barcelona side made the enviable trip to Paris on Valentine’s day for a last-16 first leg clash with Paris Saint-Germain. Both sides are experiencing average domestic campaigns by their lofty recent standards and the Champions League thus takes on great significance as an alternative way of enjoying a successful season.
Klopp’s Liverpool hosted high-flying Tottenham on Saturday evening still looking for their first league win of 2017, with a poor run of form that saw them drop from 2nd to 6th, albeit temporarily. Pochettino’s men however were unbeaten in their last 9 league games, winning 7 and earning the title of Chelsea’s main “challengers”. The clash between both sides’ high intensity approach was an element that added further intrigue to a tie which already had the league’s attention.