Friday, August 30, 2013

Guardiola Conquers UEFA Super Cup With Bayern

As the bustling transfer window nears its closing, the first European clash of titans has entertained and ended in favor of Josep Guardiola's Bayern Munich. A deserved victory for the Bavarian side which beat Chelsea on penalties after extra time had finished 2-2. While there were two brilliant sets of players on either side the entire match seemed to revolve around the two coaches, both with weighty expectations on their shoulders for the upcoming season. 

From the start of the match it was evident that the two teams had the very distinctive marks of their coach. Bayern were spreading themselves out, keeping possession, and attacking with a speed and beauty that Guardiola's tactics are defined by. On the other hand, Chelsea were always compact, defending tightly while waiting for the chance to punish with the lightning quick transition typical of Jose Mourinho's teams. It was in fact one of those quick counterattacks led by Hazard, the Frenchman distributed the ball to Schurrle who crossed for Torres to cleanly finish in the 8th minute. It was everything you'd expect from Mourinho's side: clinical play using their first chance to score, but they were also helped by the poor marking ("poor" as in the general lack of marking) on Torres.

From there it was Bayern who with continuous possession attempted to slip through the Chelsea defence. It took until the start of the second half, when Ribery rifled a shot past Cech (who probably could have done better) and then sprinted off towards Guardiola to celebrate with his Spanish coach. Bayern definitely deserved the equalizer as did Ribery, who had been the most dangerous Bayern player for the German side.

As Chelsea were forced to attack, the match became much more open with plenty of chances for either side. The most notable was caused by Dante's slip, giving the ball away to Schurrle who fed it to Oscar clean in front of Neuer, but the young Brazilian wasn't able to capitalize as Neuer swatted his effort away. Guardiola decided to change things up putting in Javi Martinez for Rafinha, which pushed the makeshift midfielder Lahm back to his more natural position of right back. Gotze replaced Muller, and it was the young substitute who in the 85th helped turn the tides of the match, Ramires crashed into him (after getting the ball) and earned his second yellow of the match. 

But Chelsea would not give up, and in the first minutes of extra time Eden Hazard squirmed through Bayern's defence to fire a low shot underneath Neuer. As Bayern continued to pressure, Chelsea continued to hold, until an injury time equalizer by Javi Martinez. The very substitute who almost left the field in the second half because of a nasty ankle twist, Guardiola's fellow Spaniard had extended the match to penalties. From there, the German side was as clinical as history has defined them to be, and Chelsea substitute Romelu Lukaku had his poor effort saved. 

While Mourinho complains about a UEFA conspiracy against him, Guardiola celebrates. Two different coaches both extremely successful in their own style crafted the spectacle that was the UEFA Super Cup with their tactics. Both sides played a fantastic match, which ended with the more deserving team victorious. Considering this first European clash is a taste of the action to come this season, I absolutely cannot wait for the Champions League to get rolling.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Return of SWU

After having spending quite a bit of time in which I didn't update SWU or write about soccer/football anywhere, I've decided to start back up again. As you can see, I've lightened things up a bit removing a lot of general clutter from the blog's template, and I'll begin writing my opinions and analysis about the beautiful game at least once a week.

I apologize to everyone about the long break, especially all of those who emailed me (I'm slowly working my way through all of them and replying to everyone). Hopefully, in time I'll be able to get this blog going again, and I can't wait to see all the surprises this new season has in store for us!


Related Posts with Thumbnails