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Author Archive for Jonathan Wilson

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France v Croatia: four areas where the World Cup final can be won and lost | Jonathan Wilson

Kylian Mbappé and Mario Mandzukic offer very individual forward threats but the clash of two midfields boasting energy in abundance could be mesmerisingGiven how Croatia struggled to deal with the pace of Raheem Sterling in the first half against Engla…

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World Cup’s lack of goals is down to issues that stretch back decades

Low strike rate has its roots in the bunker mentality created by the growing gulf between rich and poor and the lack of time more talented teams have to develop attacking tacticsIt did not take long – it never does – for all the pre?tournament hype to …

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Shambolic, frenzied, anarchic – and Argentina crisis has Messi at its heart

He did not cause the defensive collapse against Croatia but the team’s dependence on Lionel Messi makes them predictable and when his country looked to him, he wasn’t thereIt was in 1913 that Racing became the first non-Anglo side to win the Argentinia…

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Shambolic, frenzied, anarchic – and Argentina crisis has Messi at its heart

He did not cause the defensive collapse against Croatia but the team’s dependence on Lionel Messi makes them predictable and when his country looked to him, he wasn’t thereIt was in 1913 that Racing became the first non-Anglo side to win the Argentinia…

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How a stepladder, Liverpool and Man City helped educate Juan Carlos Osorio

The Mexico coach has always forged his own path. And that includes his time in England’s north-west building the foundations of his knowledgeEarlier this month, as the final whistle blew at the Azteca, the boos rangout. Mexico had beaten Scotland 1-0 i…

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Liverpool face key call over how to use Mohamed Salah against Real Madrid

Jürgen Klopp can ask Salah to drop and help Trent Alexander-Arnold or concentrate on exploiting the space behind Marcelo and the Brazilian’s defensive weaknessesNothing, perhaps, should give Liverpool such heart ahead of Saturday’s Champions League fin…

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Forget artist v mechanic: Mourinho and Conte’s midfield duel holds key | Jonathan Wilson

José Mourinho’s dig at Antonio Conte has diverted attention from the FA Cup final’s pivotal confrontation in which Chelsea’s midfield could be overrun by Manchester United“I’m not,” José Mourinho said after Manchester United’s home win over Liverpool i…

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Marseille’s misfits shape up in the face of Atlético and a Europa League final | Jonathan Wilson

Modern economics decree that the 1993 European champions are serious underdogs for a challenge they face against Diego Simeone’s highly efficient Madrid sideOne photograph encapsulated Florian Thauvin’s time at Newcastle. It captures him, cheeks plump …

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Premier League 2017-18 review: what we learned tactically from the season | Jonathan Wilson

As the gulf grows between rich and poor clubs so, too, does a culture in which some teams enter games accepting the only way they can compete is by not competingTactics are always contingent, never discreet. No manager can ever casually decide how he w…

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Only one thing seems certain for Real Madrid v Liverpool – it will be chaos | Jonathan Wilson

There is a sense Real Madrid could be sleepwalking towards a hammering in the Champions League final but Liverpool showed against Roma they cannot be trusted eitherThere was a point on Tuesday night when the thought occurred that this Real Madrid are l…

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Roma must avoid slipping into bunker mentality in face of Liverpool storm | Jonathan Wilson

Liverpool’s physicality and ferocious pressing mean the tactics that served Roma against Barcelona will have to be redesigned for the Champions League semi-final first legTwo problems dominate all others before Tuesday’s Champions League semi-final at …

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Sunderland’s feckless decline was coming. At least fans have a parrot

The club’s drop to the third tier is far worse than that of 1987 and for many locals it got to the point where staying in the pub become more appealing than going to the Stadium of LightThe King’s Arms perches on the south bank of the Wear behind the w…

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Vulnerable channels and 20 zones: the tactics behind Guardiola’s title win

Manchester City have exploited the area between the opposition centre-back and full-back and the roles of Fernandinho and Ederson have been crucial tooOttmar Hitzfeld, the former Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich coach, used to speak of the red zone,…

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Manchester City have stirred hearts to earn a place in pantheon of great sides | Jonathan Wilson

Comparing title-winning sides from different eras is always tricky but Pep Guardiola’s champions will go down in history as one of the best to grace English footballThe statistics offer some measure of Manchester City’s greatness. They have won the tit…

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Rafael Benítez shows his class as Arsenal fail to learn their lesson | Jonathan Wilson

Arsène Wenger’s lively forwards were undermined by shoddy defending on a day when Newcastle all but secured safetyThe quest for meaning, the need to form the unbearably random constituents of our existence into some kind of order, to create a narrative…

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Barcelona showed they cannot really defend – but can anyone? | Jonathan Wilson

The Champions League is full of sides losing by three goals or more – and that includes the latter stages. Even domestically dominant sides can be found wantingExplain this: Juventus, top of Serie A, having kept clean sheets in 21 of their previous 25 …

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Pep Guardiola’s tactical gamble with Raheem Sterling goes belly-up | Jonathan Wilson

Manchester City manager’s attempt to calm Liverpool’s fury by starting with Ilkay Gündo?an contributed to his Champions League first-leg downfall at AnfieldThirteen games played, seven won, one drawn. No other manager has a record against Pep Guardiola…

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Pep Guardiola’s tactical gamble with Raheem Sterling goes belly-up | Jonathan Wilson

Manchester City manager’s attempt to calm Liverpool’s fury by starting with Ilkay Gündo?an contributed to his Champions League first-leg downfall at AnfieldThirteen games played, seven won, one drawn. No other manager has a record against Pep Guardiola…

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Pochettino used to bow to Chelsea but now Tottenham dictate the terms | Jonathan Wilson

The Spurs manager has in the past changed tactics to take account of Chelsea’s gameplan but a shifting balance of power was shown by his refusal to do so on Sunday – and winningProgress is never an easy thing to chart in football. To speak of points or…

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Tottenham’s quiet evolution slowly nears endgame under Pochettino

A win at Chelsea would go a long way to shutting next season’s Champions League door on London’s hitherto top clubOn 24 February 2008 Tottenham came from behind to beat Chelsea 2-1 in the League Cup final. Since then, they have sacked Juande Ramos, enj…