Two of Italyâ€™s best teams clashed in a game of contrasting playing styles.
Peter Bosz’ Ajax side hosted Feyenoord in De Klassieker on Sunday afternoon. Ajax came into the clash in 2nd place, 6 points behind Feyenoord, knowing that victory was necessary to keep alive their title hopes with 6 games left afterwards.
Simeone’s Atletico Madrid hosted Sampaoli’s Sevilla side in an eagerly anticipated 3rd vs 4th clash. An uncharacteristic season for the home side had shown signs of improving in recent weeks, whereas Sevilla’s form had been on the wane.
Since returning from the winter break, RB Leipzig have failed to replicate the outstanding performances that had shocked the Bundesliga in the Hinrunde. Looking to remedy their drop-off, HasenhĂĽttl moved away from the customary 4-2-2-2 against Werder Bremen, in favour of a 3-4-2-1. The change certainly didnâ€™t bring about the desired result, but was an interesting one in itself and will be the basis of this analysis.
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.