Managers tend to think in “group think.” Substitutions must be made at the optimal times – 60th minute, 70/75 minutes, and depending on the situation in the 80th or later. Rarely does a manager make a first half substitution except for injury, even if a player is rubbish. In this case Mitrovic was rubbish and in danger of seeing red. Yet Benitez gambled by keeping him on and holding out until halftime, when he could substitute him, if not later.
Read more here about the match.
This is the problem, however. If Arsenal hired Allegri, they’d replace a manager known for his intellect and player-friendly style with a similar style of manager. The biggest difference is Allegri can adjust his tactics and style to react to situations but this would not be the drastically different style that Arsenal need. The players are too comfortable and simply swapping positions or starting formations would not be enough. Allegri has not faced this type of locker room in his career.
Read more here of my Arsenal Insider debut.
Stefan Pioli had a good problem on his hands. His Inter club was in form. The doldrums of earlier in the season were gone and the Nerazzurri had climbed to within points of a Champions League place. Standing in their way to reclaiming their usual spot as a scudetto contender was their nemesis Juventus. This chapter of the Derby d’Italia would impact the title race, although Juventus entered the match simply seeking to maintain their lead in first. It also had an element of revenge, since Inter had won the first match-up in September.
Read more about Inter’s strategy and why it didn’t work (but almost did) here.
I will be talking U.S. Men’s National Team and their match tonight against Jamaica on Daniel Feuerstein’s soccer show beginning around 9 PM. This will be the first USMNT match played in Chattanooga, and the second of Bruce Arena 2.0. I am sure there will be MUCH to discuss!
I am pleased to share that starting, well, this week I will have a new column on the great soccer website By Far The Greatest Team. My column, entitled From the Touchline, takes different games from around Europe and analyzes the coaching decisions made in the game. Going beyond just the knee-jerk analysis of what worked and what didn’t, each column will try to go into the manager’s mind to see why (rightly or wrongly) he thought the way he did.
First up was a tough one for me as an Arsenal supporter. Watford played a masterful match on Tuesday that combined great team play with a perfect game plan. My first column examines Walter Mazzarri, always one of my favorites, and how he used circumstance to craft the perfect strategic plan to defeat a heavily favored Arsenal team.
I look forward to sharing this column each week.