giovedì 20 settembre 2012

Kagawa left Galatasaray exposed in the midle

A boring match, but tactically interesting, defined by an early goal set the first match between Galatasaray and Manchester Utd.  Alex Ferguson named veteran Paul Scholes as his playmaker, pairing him alongside Michael Carrick, and started with Shinji Kagawa as attacking midfielder behind Robin van Persie. Fatih Terim opted to stay with his classic 4-4-2 formation featuring Felipe Melo in the middle paired with Inan Selcuk while Hamit Altintop and Nordin Amrabat stayed on the flanks. Match started with Galatasaray pressing high up, in the way to ruin Manchester Utd's build up. The English side played in a kind of 4-2-2-1-1, with Kagawa and van Persie playing as attacking midfielders/forwards, switching their position up front. It was a classic matchup between a five men midfield against a four men midfield. During the first half, Turkish side wasn't particularly good to prevent Kagawa from getting space between the lines, neither to prevent Scholes from play a lot of balls. Manchester's central midfielder was the playmaker, suited to change the front of attacks with long and accurate balls. Galatasaray never pressed him adequately, leaving the 38-years old midfielder free to play unmarked in the build up. Terim's side wasn't able to pick Kagawa with its midfielders neither with the defenders: one of the Turkish forward would have sit deep chasing Scholes while a central midfielder would have closed the zone between the midfield and the centre-backs, covering Japanese attacking forward. The key to Manchester Utd’s first half performance was the freedom that both Scholes and Kagawa had. And the goal came after a perfect 1-2 punch made by Kagawa and van Persie. Things wasn't better with John Elmander inside: the Swedish forward chased Scholes more then Umut Bulut and Burak Yilmaz did but not enough to prevent him from play clean passes. On the flanks, Valencia had the edge on the right but he's not accurate enough to exploit those 1 vs 1 situations against Hakan Balta, with left wing Umrabat that didn't help him. While Galatasaray's full-backs was going up and down the line, Manchester's full-backs rarely went over the middle line, so Alex Ferguson's side looked as a 6-4 team offensively, with a bank of four, two central midfielder and four offensive men up. Defensively, all the flankers and Kagawa helped the defense so Machester Utd built two bank of four very strict and compact. Second half started in a bad shape with so many fouls and referee's whistles that we have no play in the opening 15 minutes. Elmander's work on Scholes raised up in the second 45minutes but, above all, Galatasaray nullified the disadvantage on the middle by keeping the ball although it didin't translate into scoring chances. In fact, with Manchester Utd sitting deep, Turkish had no clear scoring opportunities while the English was much dangerous when they had the ball or during quick fast-breaks. Terim's changes don't affect the game as neither Emre Colak and Aydin Yilmaz found spaces to open the two banks of four Manchester Utd build in their own half of the pitch. The only real chance for Galatasaray came from a counter-attack when Manchester Utd were unbalanced going forward. Had the referee allowed an early penalty kick to Galatasaray, the game could have gone another way. But Galatasaray can build from this game if they can resolve the basic problem of how to play against a three-men midfield and how to create scoring chances against a close defense.

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