Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Bayern's Missed Opportunity and Chelsea's Chances

Bayern Munich – Real Madrid

A front 4 of Ozil, Ronaldo, Di Maria and Benzema, with 65 goals and 36 assists between them in 112 La Liga appearances this season, is terrifying. Despite this, Bayern managed 54% possession and managed 10 shots to Real’s 9 while restricting Ronaldo to 5 shots, and 58% pass accuracy, a significant decrease of his season average (for further comparison against top sides he still managed 7 in the 3:1 defeat at the Bernabeu earlier this season in which Barcelona had 62% possession).

On twitter there were a lot of people questioning how quiet Ronaldo was and this definitely represents a success for Bayern. However, it came at a price. Real looked disorganised, undermanned in midfield and, as noted in a few other places, Alonso looked tired. Munich could have scored more, in fact Gomez perhaps should have done on a couple of occasions before he finally did. This presents a missed opportunity for Bayern as they conceded an away goal so a 1-0 win at the Bernabeu would see Madrid through to the final whereas capitalising on Real’s weaknesses may have put them in a much stronger position.

The Coentrao-Robben Factor
Coentrao started at left back and, despite Robben receiving criticism for being ineffective or uninvolved, also managed to have a poor game by most accounts. This is an area that Bayern could have looked to exploit and yet the average player positions show that Toni Kroos (No. 39 in the picture below) was very close to Ribery (No. 7) for large periods rather than moving from side to side and assisting Robben as well. 

This is shown in the stats for passes received and passes made for the 2 players with Ribery receiving 32 and making 48 compared to 23 and 32 for Robben. Additionally 11 of Robben’s passes came from Lahm, the right back, which insinuates a large proportion of them will have come from behind him rather than from alongside him in order to help him get in behind Coentrao. This is an area Kroos (who provided and received a combined 21 passes from/with Ribery compared to 11 with Robben) definitely could have provided support and later even Thomas Mueller, while providing more of an attacking threat, played quite centrally rather than looking to exploit Real’s weakness at Left Back.

It’s not all about the passing though, Robben was clearly keen to take on Coentrao, completing 4 dribbles which was the highest of any player on the pitch, however the absence of support alongside him meant Coentrao could focus solely upon stopping Robben rather than having his focus diverted by the movement of Kroos.

Chelsea – Barcelona

I haven’t yet seen this game so there may be something more on it tomorrow but, as great a result as it is for Chelsea and as much as I want to see them succeed (not only as a British side, but also as I’m a little tired of Barcelona and because more games for Chelsea means a more tired side for Liverpool to face in the FA Cup final), I don’t think this result changes much. Barcelona have only failed to win at home by 2 goals or more at home in the Champions League twice in the last 2 seasons in the Champions League (1-1 against Real Madrid last season in the second leg of the Semi Final and 2-2 vs AC Milan in the group stage this year) and only twice in 16 home games in La Liga this season. This does not bode well for Chelsea’s slender advantage.

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