Friday, 25 February 2011

Champions League Round of 16 - Brief Analysis Part 2

The second set of Champions League Round of 16 first legs took place this week. This week's entertainment level may have dropped, with only 5 goals being scored as opposed to 11 last week.

Below, I take a look at some points of interest with the aid of the excellent Total Football - Champions League iPhone app.

Impact Substitution
Jose Mourinho has shown this season that he doesn't necessarily trust Karim Benzema at the top end of his team. Emmanuel Adebayor has been brought in on loan from Manchester City, and on Tuesday night he started the match away at Lyon. To say that the ex-Arsenal striker was rather ineffective would be an understatement. Within 40 seconds of coming on as Adebayor's replacement, Karim Benzema grabbed the opening goal against his old side. A great goal after a mazy dribble across the opposition penalty area gave Madrid a crucial away goal to take back to the Bernabeu.

Firing Blanks
Marseille v Manchester United was not the most exciting game. Both sides seemed to be overly cautious, and although Marseille will consider a 0-0 draw a good result, they still have a difficult task of getting a score draw or better at Old Trafford. Manchester United were especially poor going forward, having only 2 shots on target in the match. Their 8 shots at goal was the lowest total of all the 16 teams that played over the last two weeks.

Torres bedding in
Chelsea got a comfortable 2-0 win at Copenhagen on Tuesday night, and look set to make the Quarter Finals with relative ease. They started the game with new signing Fernando Torres partnering Nicolas Anelka up front. The duo managed 13 shots between them and were far too much for Copenhagen to contain. Although Torres did not get a goal, his movement was excellent throughout the game and he got into numerous goalscoring positions. It shouldn't be long before the Spanish striker nets his first goal for his new club.

Bayern show their class
Louis van Gaal's Bayern Munich recorded a fantastic 1-0 away win in their first leg with Internazionale on Wednesday. Inter did have chances of their own, with Samuel Eto'o coming close on a few occasions, but Bayern were bright and bold throughout, and got the winner in the 90th minute through Mario Gomez. Arjen Robben created the goal when he cut in from the right wing and had a shot which was parried by Julio Cesar. Robben tried this all evening, often picking the ball up in a very wide position. The Inter defenders doubled up on him well for most of the match in order to stop him cutting inside, but they ultimately failed.

Bastian Schweinsteiger also had an excellent game, controlling the midfield and dictating Bayern's play throughout. Schweinsteiger attempted and completed the most passes of any player on the pitch. As can be seen on the chalkboard below, the German midfielder concentrated the majority of his balls out wide, looking for the consistently dangerous Robben and Ribery.

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