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Zonal Marking - Tue Mar 28 10:49 AM
— This is to celebrate the upcoming release of my book, The Mixer. Amazon link — Start a debate about the Premier League’s greatest-ever player, greatest-ever side or greatest-ever season and you’d receive several different answers, but the subject of the Premier League’s greatest-ever game is ve...
Zonal Marking - Tue Jun 2 10:57 AM
Jurgen Klopp waved farewell to Dortmund with a defeat in the German Cup final. Wolfsburg selection There were few surprises in Dieter Hecking’s team selection. Andre Schurrle continues to be left on the bench , with both wide players in good form. Timm Klose has displaced Robin Knoche at the hear...
Zonal Marking - Fri May 1 12:32 PM
Dortmund progressed to the DFB-Pokal final on penalties following a 1-1 draw. Bayern selection Pep Guardiola started with a three-man defence, and surprisingly named Rafinha, traditionally a right-back, as the left-sided centre-back. Further forward, Mitchell Weiser was handed the right-sided mid...
Zonal Marking - Thu Mar 19 2:17 PM
Juventus produced a classic away performance to win this tie comfortably. Dortmund selection Jurgen Klopp named his default 4-2-3-1 formation. Kevin Kampl made his Champions League debut on the right, with Henrikh Mikhitaryan on the left flank – neither are natural wingers, and both prefer to dri...
Zonal Marking - Mon Apr 28 11:02 AM
Chelsea scored breakaway goals in stoppage time at the end of both halves. Brendan Rodgers named an unchanged side from the nervous win at Norwich last week. Jordan Henderson was still suspended, Daniel Sturridge fit only for the bench. Jose Mourinho named a heavily changed side, preserving his b...
Zonal Marking - Mon Apr 14 12:09 AM
Philippe Coutinho’s late goal handed Liverpool a crucial victory in a superb match. Brendan Rodgers named his expected XI, which meant Joe Allen – often an option in big games – only on the bench. Manuel Pellegrini played Gael Clichy ahead of Aleksandar Kolarov because of his his defensive discip...
Zonal Marking - Mon Mar 17 11:35 AM
Liverpool were dominant throughout the match, and could have won by a few more goals. Chris Smalling was a late withdrawal so Nemanja Vidic returned at the back, but otherwise David Moyes named his expected XI. Brendan Rodgers replaced Coutinho with Raheem Sterling at the top of the diamond inste...
Zonal Marking - Tue Feb 18 12:31 PM
Arsenal narrowly won an extremely open cup tie. Arsene Wenger rested various players ahead of the meeting with Bayern on Wednesday. The most interesting inclusion was striker Yaya Sanogo, making his first start. Brendan Rodgers brought back Daniel Agger in place of Kolo Toure, selected Joe Allen...
Zonal Marking - Mon Feb 10 11:56 PM
Liverpool produced the best spell of football the Premier League has seen this season, and recorded a crushing victory over the (former) league leaders. Brendan Rodgers named an unchanged side, despite the option of fit-again Joe Allen. He’s still without four key defenders. Arsene Wenger brought...
Zonal Marking - Wed Jan 29 5:22 PM
Another high-scoring Merseyside derby – but this time, the goals were all at one end. Brendan Rodgers was without Glen Johnson, Daniel Agger, Mamadou Sakho, Jose Enrique, Joe Allen and Lucas Leiva, so had a patched-up back four, with Steven Gerrard in the deepest midfield role. Roberto Martinez w...
Zonal Marking - Mon Dec 16 12:06 PM
Liverpool were completely dominant throughout the 90 minutes in a staggeringly one-sided game. Andre Villas-Boas selected a team very similar to the XI that drew with Manchester United recently, although injury problems at the back forced him to play Etienne Capoue out of position at centre-back,...
Zonal Marking - Tue Dec 10 1:02 PM
Leverkusen moved six points clear of Dortmund with a well-deserved victory. Jurgen Klopp was still without a host of defenders and Ikay Gundogan, and Marco Reus was fit enough only for the bench. Sami Hyypia made one change: Omer Toprak replaced Philipp Wollscheid in the centre of defence. Leverk...
Zonal Marking - Tue Nov 26 12:25 PM
Positive tactics and awful defending combined to create a goalfest at Goodison Park. This is Roberto Martinez’s first-choice XI at the moment, with Leon Osman only on the bench. Brendan Rodgers switched to a cautious 4-3-3 system, with doubts over Daniel Sturridge’s fitness meaning Luis Suarez pl...
Zonal Marking - Thu Nov 7 11:41 AM
Dortmund had significantly more shots, but Arsenal snatched a winner and saw out the game efficiently. Jurgen Klopp was without Mats Hummels and Ilkay Gundogan, so named an unchanged side. Arsene Wenger didn’t have anyone back from injury, so kept the same side that defeated Liverpool. This game...
Zonal Marking - Mon Nov 4 10:52 AM
Arsenal triumphed in a fast-paced and tactically interesting contest. With Jack Wilshere and Mathieu Flamini out, Arsene Wenger had no real selection dilemmas. Brendan Rodgers continued with his 3-5-2 system, although was without both first-choice wing-backs, with Glen Johnson a late withdrawal –...
Zonal Marking - Sun Sep 1 11:23 PM
(First things first: all the other big games (Bayern v Chelsea, Man Utd v Chelsea, Man Utd v Liverpool, Barca v Valencia, Barca v Atletico etc) will be included in the ‘new managers’ series which will start this next week. And will hopefully be worth the wait. If that excludes some teams in those...
Zonal Marking - Thu Apr 25 12:34 AM
Robert Lewandowski scored all four goals as Dortmund thrashed Real Madrid. Jurgen Klopp used right-winger Jakub Blaszczykowski rather than left-winger Kevin Grosskreutz, so Marco Reus started from the left. Jose Mourinho decided to play Luka Modric, with Angel Di Maria on the bench. The birth of...
Zonal Marking - Mon Apr 22 5:07 PM
Liverpool trailed for long periods, but Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez combined very effectively in the second half. Brendan Rodgers left out Sturridge, favouring Stewart Downing in the only change from last week’s 0-0 draw at Reading. Rafael Benitez’s side was fairly predictable, although he s...
Zonal Marking - Wed Apr 10 12:24 PM
An astonishing stoppage time turnaround means Dortmund to progress to the semi-finals. Jurgen Klopp used Jakub Blaszczykowski as his winger, rather than left-sided Kevin Grosskreutz, so Marco Reus started from the left. Sven Bender returned, but Mats Hummels was only on the bench. With a couple o...
Zonal Marking - Wed Mar 6 12:47 PM
After a 2-2 first leg draw, Dortmund performed excellently to qualify for the quarter-finals with surprising ease. Jurgen Klopp was still without Mats Hummels, so Felipe Santana and Neven Subotic continued at the back. Otherwise, the side was as expected, and played in the traditional 4-2-3-1, ra...
Zonal Marking - Mon Feb 4 12:22 PM
Liverpool produced an impressive performance, but were denied a win by Sergio Aguero’s superb finish. Roberto Mancini was without both Vincent Kompany and Yaya Toure. In defence, he chose left-footers Matija Nastasic and Joleon Lescott together, something he’s tried to avoid this season. Edin Dze...
Zonal Marking - Mon Jan 14 12:47 AM
Manchester United dominated the first hour, then hung on in the final stages. Sir Alex Ferguson named Danny Welbeck in his starting XI, with the out-of-form Antonio Valencia on the bench. Jonny Evans was out injured, so Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic played at the back. Brendan Rodgers kept Dani...
Zonal Marking - Mon Nov 12 6:57 PM
Brendan Rodgers started with three centre-backs, but switched to a back four during the second half. Roberto Di Matteo used his expected front four, but surprisingly used Cesar Azpilicueta at right-back, presumably because he wanted pace and/or attacking drive. Branislav Ivanovic shifted into the...
Zonal Marking - Mon Oct 29 9:57 AM
A frantic first half, followed by a more subdued second half. David Moyes was without Steven Pienaar so used Kevin Mirallas on the left, where he was the first half’s brightest player. Steven Naismith started on the right, while Marouane Fellaini returned behind the main striker. In the absence o...
Zonal Marking - Sun Sep 23 8:55 PM
Liverpool started stronger, but Manchester United gained control of the game after Jonjo Shelvey’s dismissal. Brendan Rodgers used Shelvey as the highest player in his midfield triangle, and Glen Johnson continued at left-back. Sir Alex Ferguson rested Nemanja Vidic, and played Ryan Giggs, rather...
Zonal Marking - Sun Sep 2 5:58 PM
Arsenal started nervously but eventually got into their stride to record an impressive win over Liverpool. Brendan Rodgers brought Daniel Agger straight back into the team after he was suspended for the draw against Manchester City, while Nuri Sahin was given his debut in midfield, in place of th...
Zonal Marking - Sat Sep 1 9:54 PM
This game’s main story was always going to involve the debut of Andy Carroll. 24 hours after confirmation of his loan from Liverpool, he went straight into Sam Allardyce’s first XI. That came as little surprise – new signings often need time to settle in, but any doubt about his tactical role was...
Zonal Marking - Sun Aug 26 10:06 PM
Liverpool scored from two dead ball situations, Manchester City scored after some poor defending. Brendan Rodgers gave a full league debut to Raheem Sterling on the left wing, and played Sebastian Coates rather than Jamie Carragher at the back. Lucas Leiva started in midfield despite getting inju...
Zonal Marking - Wed Jun 20 12:29 AM
Wayne Rooney returned to head in a simple goal, and England finish top of Group D. Roy Hodgson dropped Andy Carroll to bring in Rooney, so Danny Welbeck returned to his position as the primary centre-forward. Oleh Blokhin made various changes – Andriy Shevchenko wasn’t fit enough to start, and An...
Zonal Marking - Sat May 5 10:12 PM
Chelsea won their fourth FA Cup in the last six years. Roberto Di Matteo went for his usual 4-2-3-1 system with no real surprises – Didier Drogba was upfront and Saloman Kalou got the nod on the left. Kenny Dalglish left out Andy Carroll and went for a 4-3-3 system with Luis Suarez upfront alone....