Champions League Final Tactical Analysis: Barcelona vs. Juventus

Both Barcelona and Juventus used expected starting lineups for the Champions League final. Once Giorgio Chiellini was ruled out through injury, Bonucci and Barzagli were the natural pairing. This ruled out the possibility of the back three for Juventus, but given the difficulties Guardiola’s back three faced in the semi-final, this always seemed an unlikely option.

The game unfolded in three segments. Barcelona were on top for the majority, but Juventus had a twenty-minute spell after half-time where they were the more threatening team.

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Analysis of Manchester City’s Defensive Structure vs. Barcelona

Tuesday night saw a repeat of last season’s Champions League as Manchester City hosted Spanish giants Barcelona. Manuel Pellegrini opted for a surprising team selection, with James Milner playing in central midfield — a role he had last assumed in the FA Cup defeat to Middlesbrough. Luis Enrique went as expected, with Lionel Messi starting on the right of a 4-3-3.

Barcelona were on top from the first whistle, creating a number of goal-scoring chances and City would’ve been pleased to be only two goals down at the break. They came back into the tie in the second half, but such a first half performance is unforgivable in elite European competition. A number of factors contributed towards such a disappointing performance.

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Diego Simeone’s Atletico: Corner Analysis

For years the casual English football fan has berated La Liga for its lack of competitiveness, with the duopoly of Barcelona & Real Madrid often winning the league. But every decade or so, a challenger emerges from the midst of obscurity. The early ’00s saw Deportivo La Coruña & Valencia appear as competitors for the league, winning three titles in five years between them. Barcelona & Real Madrid then regained control, with nine titles in nine years. The pair had built themselves around two of the greatest goalscorers to ever play the game; Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, and the title looked all set to be a tug of war between them for another decade. But a contender had emerged; Diego Simeone’s Atlético Madrid.

His team were able to do the seemingly impossible, claiming La Liga. Simeone was rightly applauded; winning the league on a comparatively tiny budget represented one of the most incredible managerial feats of all-time. His team brought a unique blend of aggression and intensity, technical and tactical ability. But when a club overachieves, the vultures circle, and Atlético lost three of their most important players; Filipe Luís, Diego Costa and Thibaut Courtois, all to Chelsea.

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