West Ham vs. Crystal Palace: In defense of zonal marking

Saturday saw Sam Allardyce’s West Ham continue a dismal run of form, having won only once in the league in 2015. Alan Pardew’s rejuvenated Crystal Palace secured a comfortable 3-1 away win, with all of their goals coming from set pieces.

Surprisingly (or not), there was no outrage at the man marking system West Ham used. All of the media focus was on the defenders who were responsible for losing their men; Carl Jenkinson, Winston Reid, and James Tomkins. But each goal showed a specific aspect of play that could’ve been avoided with a zonal marking system.

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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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