Some strikers rely on certain attributes for their goals. You are already imagining a big strong target man type in your mind or a little speedster or maybe that magician type that pops into the hole and bends one in. And we like being able to do that put people in a box and categorise them. Mario Gomez is a poacher and thats it, Walcott relies on his speed, Diego Costa needs to be a bully to score the list goes on. The evolution of the game of soccer has meant that such type-casting is becoming more difficult and also allowing yourself to fall into a genre can be pivotal to future failures. How can the likes of a Robbie Keane go to a Liverpool and it just doesn't happen? One could argue Keane needed a ying to his yang or a Quinn for his plan. The modern day striker needs to be more capable in all facets of the game but crucially they need to know what runs to make, how to find space and critically how to use space in a way that results in goals.
'The return' as Sky Sports are billing it will be a game a little more Seria A a little less Premier League. Both managers enjoyed great success in Italy with highly functional teams. This game will be exactly that, functional. One would hope it will entertain more than last Monday's game did but Jose won't care so long as the result is positive. Another 0-0 would suit him fine and considering Chelsea's performance V Leicester coupled with the fact United played on Thursday a draw would be a great result. Below is how we see the teams lining up:
Let's face it, it's a question you have either heard or are going to hear in the next few days. A draw away to Celtic and a loss to Spurs will have the critics, haters, non-believers and doubters out in force. You know the argument, that style is lovely in Germany when you have the best players and it's doable when Messi is in your team. Many believe, even Pep enthusiasts, that his current job is his greatest test. Not least because in the English Premier league, with it's lucrative and fair distribution of TV money allowing practically every team to go and recruit at least one player with an X-factor. In Germany, many teams could hurt you with a counter but the varied threats you encounter week to week is not as big a factor. For example playing West Brom, Bournemouth and Watford in a week, which is a possibility, for Pep the way he prepares his sides this means 3 very different game plans. Yes, the principles of how his teams play will always remain much the same but he tailors each game plan according to the opposition and he cares very deeply about not conceding. The excellent book on Pep, Pep-Confidential by Marti Perarnau gives insight into Guardiola's obsession with preventing counter-attacks from leading to breakaway goals. So knowing as we do that Pep not only works tirelessly on playing out but also very heavily focusing and being set up when possession is lost makes our analysis of the goals conceded by City all the more interesting.
See Below how the excellent Pochettino set up to press City but focus more on the reaction of the City players when possession is lost.
In this era of football fans obsessing about the 21st-century cult figure that is - the football manager. It's hardly surprising that everybody is billing this as Klopp V Mourinho and it's perhaps then less surprising that Liverpool are favourites. Klopp has seduced the Kop with his happy go lucky, honest and hard working approach. Liverpool certainly look like a team that a) know what their manager wants and b) are willing to go out and act out said managers plans. United however, as many observers have noted don't appear to have an M.O., Mourinho hasn't stamped his name across his teams style of play. It's true Mourinho's United are not like Van Gaal's instantly recognisable by certain traits in their game. Perhaps, in this case that is not such a bad thing. At the end of the day, games are decided by the players on the pitch and it is here we look for our evidence.
Much of Klopp's adoration comes from the way his side go out and press, suffocating opponents and quickly sticking the knife in with quick and precise counters. Have a look at our Clip from Liverpool V Chelsea this season and see how we feel the home side might press tonight.
There has been talk in the media recently about Harry Arter switching allegiance to England. There are a few matters within this story that intrigue me. Firstly, it baffles me that the english media only speak of him in these terms after a Jack Wilshere pays him a compliment. Sure, he always got the 'lovely little player' comments but in England one cannot be sure if that's a compliment or a put down, In Spain a 'lovely little player' is a Xavi loved and hailed despite rarely doing anything to get you off your seat. You see on the continent it's respected that every player has a function, you need different types to make a team flourish. But in England it's more about the reputation than functionality, you need only look to putting Scholes out on the left wing. In many respects that sums up the English and by association Irish ethos, which one is less physical, less dynamic, less tall.... Scholes right shove him out on the wing. The finesse that exists within the game can go undetected on these shores. The awareness you gain when your not the quickest or strongest lends itself to people who can cut central figures without physically dominating games. Arter may not win you a game, he will rarely play the defence-splitting pass like a Hoolahan, rarer still will he score you a goal. What he will do, is dictate the play, our analysis concentrates on his moments in possession V Hull recently. We will look at what he brings to the table defensively at a later date.