The basis and main principle of Liverpool’s 4-3-3 pressing system is to keep the ball at the central zones, therefore preventing the be moved by horizontal circulation, which usually -if done well- stretches the defensive structure both in the vertical and horizontal axis.
City definitely didn’t have good memories about the Selhurst Park, since this is where their 18 games winning streak ended last season, in a thrilling 0-0 game, where Milivojevic had the chance to win it for Palace, but missed a penalty in the 90th minute. Now City “only” had an 8 games winning streak, although this game’s importance was higher as a win would put Liverpool under pressure before their crucial afternoon game against Chelsea.
In the 1st leg both team selected a more conventional strategy, which ended up in a pretty slow-paced game, resulting a narrow 1-0 victory for Spurs thanks to a late Son goal. It will be interesting to see how the teams will adjust for 2nd leg, as City has to find how to attack effectively without losing the control the game, whilst Spurs must find the optimal approach and structure to avoid being overly-defensive in protecting their lead.
Bayern gains advantage in the title race after a surprisingly easy victory over Dortmund in the Allianz Arena, thanks to a dominant 4-0 1st half, where Bayern dominated due to their effective high pressing and in-possession strategy.
On Sunday a key game has been played between Liverpool and Tottenham for the title race, with Liverpool grabbing a late win on the game of contrary halves. This win put Liverpool back to the 1st position, leading the table by 2 points over Manchester City, although City can take their position back, if they beat Cardiff in the midweek round -to match the equal number of games played. Spurs meanwhile continued their not-so-impressive form, winning only 1 from their last 6 games in the league, and with Arsenal’s victory on Monday night Spurs dropped to 4th position.
Scoring 10 goals in the first 2 games, with convincing overall display, system flexibility, whilst using several newbies in the starting line-ups are all definite factors that makes these 2 wins even more impressive.
Even after harder 1st half, Belgium eventually found a way through Panama’s organized and deep defensive structure, which in the end became a really dominant performance for Martinez’s side.
Belgium with their so-called “golden generation” could be a real challenger for this World Cup, since their overall quality puts them among the best national teams. Although their individual quality doesn’t mean anything, if the players are not being put into a functioning structure. Marc Wilmots’ tenure showed us the negative side of that, therefore it was necessary to hire a coach who is able to solve this problem both from a strategic and from a tactical perspective. After his first 3 games Roberto Martinez found a solution, implying a 3-2-4-1 system, which looks to be the most optimal choice the Belgians could use.
The first season in Manchester under Pep Guardiola has been a little inconsistent, although the clear signs of improvements are steadily visible. With the arrival of Guardiola a whole adaptation process started for the team, which was basically and most importantly the presentation and implementation of the Positional Play. Here TP in August has already previewed the issues City has had in the previous season, and the possible changes that Guardiola may bring to Manchester City.