Friday, February 4, 2011

Opposition Opinion:Do not underestimate Steve Clarke’s influence at Liverpool

Many of the opposition fans will be gloating at Liverpool losing Fernando Torres, their string of poor results and spending 35 mil on Andy Carroll.

But for me, the most significant signing is actually Steve Clarke

Steve Clarke was on the coaching staff at Chelsea since their reign under Mourinho. He is very popular among Chelsea fans and not underrated because a lot of people saw how important he is.

When he left Chelsea for West Ham, it seems that Chelsea’s record also got worse.

Steve Clarke’s last seventeen league games at Chelsea
Wins: 11
Draws: 6
Losses: 0
Points per game: 2.29

The seventeen league games since Steve Clarke left
Wins: 9
Draws: 5
Losses: 3
Points per game: 1.88

This might or might not be attributed to him. Under West Ham he has a mixed record. But one of the first few people Dalglish got on board was Clarke.

In their recent game where they won 2-0 vs Stoke (Zonal Marking tactical coverage here), there is a major change in formation to accommodate the opposition.

To me, this is very radical especially for a team trying to find form and settle down.

I think for Manchester United to beat them again, they have to be wary about this coach.

Gary Neville:Industrious, Determined Passionate and Cross Master!

Gary Neville will retire from Football this week at the age of 35. What do I remember best about this fullback:


Who can forget that celebration in a classic match against an intense opponent.

Gary Neville for me is one of the most effective defenders. He is never a flair player. Can’t beat his man for shitz, but he just hones his fundamentals

  1. Reading of the game
  2. Timing the tackles
  3. Choosing to attack and defend at the right time
  4. Optimizing his fitness
  5. Changing his game
  6. Working on his devastating range of crosses

On the last point, take a look at how much width Manchester United gets from his range of crosses. Knowing the man that he is, some of his crosses were switch to his weaker left foot!

People say that David Beckham is a great crosser but I think that Gary Neville have learnt the art of crossing from his good friend as well.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Nani is morphing into Ronaldo’s Free Role

Nani is turning out to be one of Manchester United’s player of the season and this match against Aston Villa show that what Alex Ferguson sees him as more of a free player rather than an orthodox winger.

The Stretty Rant has a nice take no this:

One feature of Nani’s game that can infuriate is his inconsistency when shooting. Recently he’s been having efforts on goal but getting few on target. His poor shooting was at it’s worst against Birmingham recently when 6 out of 8 efforts were off target. Last night however Nani was much less wasteful in front of goal. Despite not scoring he made Brad Freidel pull off a few very good saves. Here’s Nani’s improvement in front of goal in his last four league appearances (NB Spurs isn’t included as he didn’t have a single shot in the game):

Nani shots on goal

The area of Nani’s game that was impressive last night was his movement. Nani likes to cut inside but he’s also disciplined at sticking wide when he needs to. He combined an all-area performance with accurate passing – only 5 of his 48 passes were unsuccessful (see diagram below).

What’s intriguing is that 43% of Nani’s play last night was in the centre of the pitch. Ronaldo was famously released by Ferguson with a free role to roam the centre of the pitch as well as the wings and this brought out the best in him. Is it possible that this could bring out the best in Nani? We’ve certainly seen signs of it this season.