This was a clash between a fallen giant trying to salvage any chance of Europa League qualification and a team very much at the top of their game, looking to push their lead at the top of Serie A to nine points, albeit temporarily.
This was a match between two teams in similar long term situations but have had very different recent history. Both sides have been trying and failing to achieve European success since Middle-East investment a few years ago. However PSG are a side that have dominated domestically this season, winning the Ligue 1 title early last month while City have been on a dreadful patch of form since announcing that Pep Guardiola this season. With just one point between them and their cross-city rivals in fifth, winning the Champions League may be their only chance of making sure they’re playing in the tournament next season.
Although international friendlies often hold little significance, those in the run-up to a major tournament can often give you an important glimpse into how each team will set up during the tournament itself. Thursday’s friendly was significant as it was between two of the favourites to win the Euros, as well as being a repeat of the final of Euro 2012, a match in which Spain outclassed the Italians. This match, however, was a different story completely and proof of Spain’s decline since the aforementioned victory.
A 2-2 draw in Turin in the first leg set up a decisive second leg between two of the biggest clubs in the history of world football. With Bayern carrying two away goals into the game, Juve chose to play aggressively, offering Bayern something very different from what they face week-to-week in the Bundesliga and resulting in a match that was breathtaking for the spectator and a fascinating for the analyst.
Diego Simeone and his Atletico Madrid side continue to prove that solid defensive organisation and effective transitioning is just as, if not more effective than attacking flair in winning football matches. Simeone has beaten Mourinho, Ancelotti and now Zidane at the Bernabeu in his time as Atletico Madrid manager.
Tottenham have really exceeded expectations this season. With Leicester deservingly taking most of the back page headlines this season, the heroics Mauricio Pochettino and his men have performed so far this season have arguably gone slightly under the radar. They have just come off the back beating 2014/14 champions Manchester City, putting them in second place just two points behind leaders Leicester. Spurs shouldn’t only be given credit for this league position they find themselves in, but also for the style which has delivered them this success.
There was huge excitement as these two teams came off the back of 3-3 draws in midweek to play the biggest derby fixture in the Best League In The World™. Unfortunately it wasn’t the most entertaining of derbies, with both teams recording an xG (expected goals) of under 1 (0.8 and 0.7 respectively). This piece will focus on two of the main issues that have been on the minds of all Premier League fans this season: why are United so rubbish in attack? and why do they concede so few chances. I’ll also have a look at Liverpool’s attacking strategy.
With just 8 goals conceded in 18 La Liga matches this season, Atletico Madrid have conceded the least goals of any team in the ‘big 5’ European leagues this season. They are at the top of the table however unlike their La Liga title rivals, Barcelona and Real Madrid, and the other single-figure conceding teams in Europe this season, PSG and Bayern, Atletico don’t compete to break transfer records every summer. They’ve spent a net £12million in transfers over the last four seasons.
Arsenal beat Manchester City in this potentially title-deciding battle at the Emirates. Wenger’s side were creative and fluid in attack and surprisingly resolute in defence and although they had less possession and fewer shots, were the better side on the night.
Chelsea looked like a different team to that who have been playing in the Premier League recently and put in a solid performance against a Porto side that were far below their usual standards.