UEFA Champions League- Quarter/Semi Finals

bosox4283

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Also I'm an unabashed Pep fanboy but this lineup tonight was an incredibly strange one. Impossible to know what little injuries exist but with him the tinkering is usually tactical and to say it has left me scared would be an understatement. Mahrez has been a complete bust at City it's absolutely astounding that he's selected in this match. Delph starts out of nowhere, Bernardo Silva has been probably our most consistent great player all year and he's not selected...it's a complete mess
I don't watch any City so I'm curious: why is Mahrez a bust?
 

teddykgb

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Spurs spent most of the half diving at any and all contact and turned it into a really cagey affair. Good tactics as it's put City well off of their game and they've drawn a fair few cards and bad reactions as well. This is certainly not the kind of match City want to play.

It makes more sense with Bernardo injured (thanks i have to watch on mute) but i still don't understand the tactical plan. With no speed to get behind Spurs City are playing in a very congested midfield and haven't been able to reliably get out of the back. Looking very frustrated and mostly bereft of ideas aside from a few good counter attacks
 

teddykgb

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I don't watch any City so I'm curious: why is Mahrez a bust?
He's got an incredible touch but has proven to be really one dimensional. Pep's system often tries to isolate wingers onto a shuffling defense after a diagonal but Mahrez can really only cut in to his preferred left foot which brings him right back into the defense. He's got step overs but he can't seem to beat a man so at best he can cut inside and try to get a shot through traffic. It's just such a different thing to attack packed defenses the way City need to versus playing on the counter and he just hasn't shown that he has the necessary ability. I would have bet quite a bit on him being really good in this team but as it is now he basically gets it wide and either does 2 step overs and recycles possession or cuts inside and tries to curl one far post. Creatively he's essentially a dead outlet and everyone seems to know to just show him the outside and let him slow play down
 

InstaFace

MDLzera
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so now that we're 90 minutes into the tie, how does the Spurs-City return leg come out?
 

Kliq

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I had very low expectations for today’s game so a 1-0 win is great.

Kane limping down the tunnel with another ankle injury is...not great.
 

McBride11

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Son with a great goal to take the W at home.

Spurs controlled the first 55-60ish minutes of play. Kane went off (god I hope that isn't too bad, but early reports are "rest of season"?!) then City looked very dangerous. Spurs forwards were dropping to 20 yards out to help on D. Then a great counter and Son has a great finish.

Too bad the Spurs didn't one earlier with their control of play. City's D looked like a playoff hockey team with all the blocked shots at one point
 

DJnVa

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so now that we're 90 minutes into the tie, how does the Spurs-City return leg come out?
Park the bus and see if you can keep them off the scoreboard, which I doubt happens. Best, most realistic case for Spurs I think is maybe a 2-1 loss, but grabbing an away goal to advance.
 

Dernells Casket n Flagon

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Park the bus and see if you can keep them off the scoreboard, which I doubt happens. Best, most realistic case for Spurs I think is maybe a 2-1 loss, but grabbing an away goal to advance.
Parking the bus seems like the wrong strategy to me against City, especially since that's not really Spurs game anyway. I think they need to take advantage of not allowing an away goal and see if they can put one in at The Etihad to really make things tough for City.
 

Zososoxfan

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There's almost no way Spurs advance without scoring a goal. Without Kane though, the strategy is probably about trying to get in behind with Son and Moura with Eriksen and Dele in support. I would play Moura very wide on the wing of the MANC FB more likely to push up (Walker?). Let Son occupy the CBs and let Dele try and beat a man and get a shot off. I trust in Son and Dele's finishing, but Moura can't finish anything. He would be best deployed exploiting space vacated by a FB and trying to find one of the others on a cross. If KDB and/or Bernando are fit, the return will be much more challenging. I was shocked at how ineffective MANC were in the middle of the park.
 

Zososoxfan

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In Barca-MANU, I feel pretty damn confident of a mismatch on paper. However, Barca do struggle in QF away legs. Nevertheless, I don't see much of a path to victory for MANU. Martial and Rashford have the speed to exploit the Pique-Roberto side of the D, but that assumes Roberto starts over the speedier Semedo (my choice for today). Lenglet and Alba are pretty much shut down on the other side and Rakitic/Sergio are brilliant at covering for Alba when he gets forward. Lukaku can be a load, but Pique and Lenglet are a formidable CB pair.

I don't see any combination of MF MANU could deploy that will trouble Barca's trio of Sergio-Rak-Arthur. MANU could and likely should try to jam up the midfield and play a 4-5-1 of sorts, but I don't know if they have the players or practice to pull it off. It would make sense for Lingaard or Rashford to harass Sergio all match and force Rakitic to be the motor. Then have Matic and/or Herrera to follow Arthur around a bit. That leaves Pogba matched up on Rakitic and I think that benefits MANU in that he can cover him and it will put him in good positions transitioning to attack. Both are huge workrate players.

At the back doesn't look much better for MANU. Ashley Young can handle Coutinho fine on his own, but I think Suarez eats any pair of United CBs alive. United doesn't have a single defender that can trouble Messi although Ashley's physical play is probably best, but he's on the wrong side. In any event, I think it's a case of pick your poison for United and I would cheat off of Coutinho and to a lesser extent Suarez and make those guys beat you. One thing to watch is for a late Malcom sub around 70'. Malcom has been playing slightly more lately and he has looked great. He has blazing speed and gives Barca another dimension that Coutinho doesn't offer.
 

Zososoxfan

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Barca not wasting any time. Beautiful combo to get Suarez open for a tight angle header. Not sure if Coutinho needed to touch it in, but he was there.
 

Zososoxfan

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Sergio is drunk. Barca look a little too comfortable at the moment. Keep up the intensity and this tie can be put to bed within 45 minutes.
 

thehitcat

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This Juve team really doesn't look like they like playing with each other. also I'm already tired of them going down like they've been shot contact or no and it's not yet 28 minutes in. I am worried Ajax will run out of ideas but they've looked the better side so far by a good margin going forward and they're inviting Juve to try to play out of the back and so far Juve can't.
 

Zomp

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Hell of a save by De Gea. United had a nice spell of possession for a few minutes and Barca despite being up have not looked that sharp.

Pogba looks up for it. Sergio needs to be careful.
 

thehitcat

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And Ronaldo scores on a beautiful 2 on 5 give and go break. He is incredible, just outran everyone after the initial pass off the steal like 8 seconds before the halftime whistle Ajax 0 - Juve 1.
 

Zososoxfan

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After a bright first 15 minutes, Barca looked far too casual and United grew into the match. I know the forwards have been starved of service, but I have to think United have a better option that Lukaku at this point. Martial, Lingard, or even Mata would be more positive. Lukaku would've been a nice sub to wrestle with the backline after an hour, but he is just too limited for a match like this. Without any changes, I'm not sure where United will find offense.

On the Barca side, it would be unconventional but I would consider subbing Roberto or Vidal for Sergio at the moment. Sergio's head is not in the match and he has given away 3 terrible and dangerous passes. Coutinho has been playing well and he and Alba seem to have found some chemistry, but he should bust his ass for another 15' then come off for a MF or Malcom. United got on their front foot a bit more as the half wore on, but that also left them exposed.
 

thehitcat

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And NERES for AJAX 33 seconds after half time what an answer. 1-1 as the fans were still singing Bob Marley. Amazing
 

Zososoxfan

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So Ernie's big curveball was going to a high pressing 4-4-2 and possession-oriented 3-4-3 in attack. Not the greatest, but it's been effective. Roberto shows just how important it is for Messi to have fast teammates in attack. Malcom >>> Coutinho.
 

Kliq

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Man U’s strategy of only trying to score via crosses into the box, and also never having Pogba in the box and yanking Lukaku from the game, really wasted most of their possession.
 

Zososoxfan

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The loss of Herrera and Matic really hamstrung United today. United had no midfield and while Young got forward a bit, Barca had a straightforward setup that stymied United. Rak and Busi sat narrow and deep while Coutinho and Arthur played higher and wider. There was a lot of pressure on Semedo and he had a terrific match. Same can be said for Pique and Lenglet. Sergio was horrid and Rak covered for him several times. Alba also seemed off, but not nearly as much. The tactical switch worked well overall and definitely in possession, but the flat midfield between Vidal-Busi-Rak got pierced a couple of times. It freed up Roberto to bomb down the right and he and Semedo really should've converted at least one chance they created over the last 20 or so minutes.

I have been hoping for a breakthrough for Coutinho, but he is really not fitting into this team at the moment. Alena, Roberto, or Malcom would all provide a better outlet. However, I'd rest Messi and start him again this weekend and see if he can do better as the focal point. He was brought in as a Messi "replacement" and that's how he should probably be used down the stretch. The other place he might play is the top of a middle 4 diamond. Basically, where Arthur plays offensively, but with 3 mids who actually defend behind him.
 

InstaFace

MDLzera
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Both Vidal and Lingard got yellows on total stone flops by the opponent, a stomp that hit nothing but grass drawing an operatic fling to the ground. Just embarrassing, cynical plays. I wonder if they'll get retracted on review or something. Justice would be awarding a yellow for simulation to the opposing numbers.

What good is VAR if the replay official isn't looking at some of those during downtime?
 

Dernells Casket n Flagon

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Should be great matches today, wish they weren't being run concurrently.

Barcelona up 1-0 at home vs ManU on TNT at 3PM
Juventus at home vs Ajax level at 1-1 at 3PM on Galavision, FuboTV, B/R Live or your favorite reddit stream...
 

Zomp

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I know I'm not going out on a limb but I'd expect both home teams to just overpower the opposition.

For United, Luke Shaw and Ander Herrera out hurts. I'll predict the lineup as DDG-Young-Smalling-Lindelof-Dalot-Mctominay-Fred-Pogba-Lingard-Rashford-Martial
 

Dernells Casket n Flagon

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I think Ajax is going to be the surprise of the round. I'm not quite sure they'll pull off the upset, but I think it will go right down to the end. I think that City will be on all cylinders tomorrow and stomp a Spurs team without Kane and Dele.
 

SocrManiac

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Chiellini is a big miss for Juventus. Normally Mandžukić would be as well, but his form has been off this year. I'm nervous, but I still have difficulty seeing Ajax pulling off the upset. This is why they play, right?
 

bosox4283

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Chiellini is a big miss for Juventus. Normally Mandžukić would be as well, but his form has been off this year. I'm nervous, but I still have difficulty seeing Ajax pulling off the upset. This is why they play, right?
I have to think that Ajax will learn from Atletico's shit-show of a performance and know that you cannot give Juventus and Ronaldo the momentum at home. Once Ronaldo is locked in with the home crowd behind him, Juvenus has another gear.