Promoted sides playing their way is refreshing, but could it prove costly?

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Liverpool’s match against Norwich City kicked off the 2019-20 Premier League season. The home side beat the newly promoted outfit convincingly 4-1. And although the scoreline is befitting of how dominant Liverpool were, Norwich displayed some bits of attacking play that may provide necessary optimism going into the new season.

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Andrei Kanchelskis epitomised United’s tactics in the early years of the Premier League

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Signed in 1991 from Shakthar Donetsk for a fee worth £650,000, Andrei Kanchelskis was Manchester United’s first out and out right-winger since Steve Coppell who had retired eight-years earlier; Gordan Strachan, for example, was more so a wide midfielder who drifted into the centre, whilst under Sir Alex Ferguson, Mike Phelan was a midfielder sometimes deployed out wide to provide balance; Phelan started on the right of midfield in United’s Cup Winners Cup victory in 1991 against Barcelona to offer positional cover for Brian McClair.

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Mahmoud Dahoud helped connect defence to attack against Denmark

Germany began the defence of their Euro Under-21 Championship crown with an assured 3-1 win against Denmark. Left-winger Marco Richter scored two great goals and was the encounter’s star man, but the performance of Mahmoud Dahoud, who was key in Germany’s tournament win last time around two-years ago was also interesting and important.

The Borussia Dortmund midfielder, who only qualified for participation by a day, having been born on 1/1/96, was important in connecting defence to attack and in doing so was excellent in dropping into deeper areas to help in build-up and moving into and across space in behind the forwards.

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Portugal 1-0 Netherlands: Defensive set-up and attacking combinations inspire inaugural victory

Portugal became the first winners of the UEFA Nations League finals after defeating The Netherlands in an eventually close but deserved 1-0 victory.

The hosts came into the final off of the back of a 3-1 win against Switzerland, whilst The Netherlands defeated England 3-1.

Fernando Santos’ Portugal started with what on paper looked like a 4-3-3, with Cristiano Ronaldo sided by Bernardo Silva and Goncalo Guedes who started in place of Benfica’s Joao Felix. But Ronaldo did not stay particularly central and tended to drift wide left and Portugal switched up their shape when the away side had the ball.

The Netherlands fielded their expected 4-2-3-1 with Gini Wijnaldum playing as the most advanced midfielder in behind Memphis Depay. Frenkie de Jong was responsible for connecting defence to midfield and would some times drop to form a back three when Netherlands had the ball.

Portugal Netherlands shapes
Starting XIs and general shapes.

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Ji-Sung Park: A big-game player

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Never a certified starter during a 7-year long stint with Manchester United, Ji-Sung Park did however make a name for himself by being a go-to man in the so called “big” games, with Park playing a key part in how Sir Alex Ferguson set-up his sides in key clashes.

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The Netherlands 2-3 Germany: Two halves of contrast following Dutch formation switch

Going into this important Euro 2020 qualifier, looking at the starting XIs you would have certainly felt there was so much more coherency and balance to The Netherlands’ side, and both they and Germany have gone under massive squad overhauls in recent times.

The Netherlands started the match with their typical 4-3-3 formation, with Frenkie De Jong at the base of midfield, and both wingers – Quincy Promes and Ryan Babel interchanging between flanks.

Germany set-up in a 3-5-2/3-4-1-2, depending on the positioning of Leon Goretzka. And although an unorthodox set-up from the Germans, a centre-forward pairing of Leroy Sane and Serge Gnabry up front was very interesting.

Netherlands Germany Germany in possession during the first-half

Germany’s 3-4-1-2 in possession against the Dutch. Schulz at wing-back made some excellent runs from the left-side. The movement of the centre-forwards was also good in evading The Dutch’s high defensive line

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Charlton 2-1 Sunderland: A game truly dominated by neither and decided by a late winner

Charlton secured their place in the Championship for the first time in four seasons against a Sunderland side who lost at Wembley for the second time this season.

Charlton started the match with a 3-5-2 formation, with Joe Aribo being the most advance of the three midfielders, looking to move into spaces closer to the two centre-forwards.

Sunderland on the other hand opted for an expected 4-2-3-1 shape when with the ball, and what seemed like a 4-3-3 more so without the ball.

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