Champions League

Powered by article titled “Three lessons for Arsenal before they take on Barcelona” was written by Sid Lowe, for The Guardian on Tuesday 15th February 2011 08.00 UTC

1 Internazionale

Champions League 20 Apr 2010

Much is made of José Mourinho’s ultra-defensive approach to the semi-final second leg against Barcelona last year but Inter did actually lose that game and, but for a poor decision from the referee in the final minute, would have lost the tie. A far better performance came in the first leg at San Siro – the first time Guardiola’s side had been beaten by more than one goal. Mourinho’s team combined tight defending with physical pressure, quick counterattacking and an awareness, above all, of the space behind both Barcelona full-backs. They were helped though by Barcelona’s marathon coach trip to Milan


Internazionale 3 Barcelona 1

2 Sporting Gijón

La Liga 12 Feb 2010

As David Villa put it: “Sporting managed to do to us what no one else has done to us and stop us playing.” “It can be hard,” Pep Guardiola said, “when a team puts nine or ten men behind the ball and denies us space.” Manolo Preciado built two solid lines, close together, ceded territory and possession and funnelled Barcelona into traffic. They had not so much parked the bus, one newspaper noted, as parked the airbus. Sporting got the opener on a swift break from the edge of their area but were pinned back in the second half. Barcelona were also stymied by the absence of Sergio Busquets and, in the first half, Pedro


Sporting Gijón 1 Barcelona 1

3 Real Madrid

La Liga 29 Nov 2010

On the morning of the game at the Camp Nou, Gonzalo Higuaín could be seen hobbling round the team hotel. Most assumed that Mourinho would take the opportunity to replace him with an extra defensive midfielder and play deep. Instead, emboldened by Madrid’s results until that moment, his team played high. But they did so without the pressure that makes that approach work and, once Barça got the first, they were sunk. Lionel Messi sliced them open, finding space behind for David Villa to punish them. Madrid couldn’t get a kick. Of the ball or, even, of their opponents’ legs


Barcelona 5

Real Madrid 0 © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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