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Mou halts Chelsea, Herrera stifles Hazard

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Liverpool's new formation fails to fire

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Hazard exploits City's weak spots

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Arsenal, Man City shortcomings are clear

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Guardiola tweaks get City draw vs. Liverpool

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Burnley frustrate Liverpool with pressing

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Arsene Wenger's Sanchez snub backfires

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 By Michael Cox

Champions League tactical battles: What each team needs to advance

The FC crew preview the second-legs of the UCL quarterfinals, including Juve's stout defence stifling Barcelona.
Massimiliano Allegri reiterated that he won't be playing for a draw in the second leg of his side's quarter final Champions League tie with Barcelona.
The FC panel describe how Barca have come up short in moments that should have been opportune to get momentum rolling.

Michael Cox looks at the key tactical questions facing the Champions League quarterfinalists ahead of the second legs.

Barcelona vs. Juventus: Which system does Luis Enrique use?

Barcelona's formation has been a constant source of debate in recent weeks. With no specialist right-back to call upon -- their former regular Dani Alves now plays for the opposition here -- Luis Enrique has been forced to devise complex systems to get around the problem. This has often involved Barcelona playing...

Jose Mourinho masterclass haunts Chelsea as Herrera stifles Hazard

The ESPN FC crew have all the reaction from Manchester United's win over Chelsea.
The ESPN FC crew have all the reaction from Manchester United's win over Chelsea.
The ESPN FC crew have all the reaction from Manchester United's win over Chelsea.

Jose Mourinho produced a vintage defensive masterclass to guide Manchester United to a 2-0 win over Chelsea at Old Trafford on Sunday.

Shelving his new-found stylistic principles, Mourinho returned to his pragmatic old self against his former club, devising a reactive gameplan designed to nullify Chelsea's 3-4-3, and above all key player Eden Hazard.

The result was a 4-4-2 in which diligent wingers tracked Chelsea's wing-backs, while Ander Herrera man-marked Hazard. Up front, Marcus Rashford worked...

 By Michael Cox

Jose Mourinho must stop Eden Hazard if he is to get his revenge vs. Chelsea

The Exploding Heads preview the Chelsea-Man United clash, as Jose Mourinho again prepares to face his former club.

Jose Mourinho's career is defined by him seeking revenge over adversaries and settling old scores. And while Mourinho surely looks back upon his two periods at Chelsea with some degree of fondness, he'll recall his bitter departure much more strongly. This weekend, he has his third chance to inflict defeat upon his former players -- broadly the same group who won him a third Premier League title, but also those who downed tools last season.

His previous two reunions with Chelsea have ended in defeats...

Liverpool's new formation fails vs. Stoke before half-time tweaks

Steve Nicol says Jurgen Klopp has a "slim to zero" chance of getting the reinforcements Liverpool need this summer.

Liverpool recovered from a stagnant first half to win 2-1 at Stoke on Saturday, in a display affected by numerous absentees and a formation they had reportedly not even used in training.

Beset by injuries, Jurgen Klopp wheeled out a 3-5-1-1 system featuring two teenagers and players fielded out of position. With Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino benched, the visitors lacked flair and cohesion, and created next to nothing before half-time.

The same was not true of Stoke, who opened the scoring...

 By Michael Cox

Stoke lose their identity to become the Premier League's most boring team

Mark Hughes has little qualms with Stoke's performance, but says the lacked that little innovation to see them through.
Sean Dyche has no complaints with Burnley's win against Stoke, but wants more results like this on the road.

For Liverpool, dropping points against unfashionable bottom-half sides has become a familiar problem. Wednesday's 2-2 home draw with Bournemouth wasn't met with howls of astonishment from the Kop, but instead by moans of frustration.

Liverpool have a clear problem: they consistently perform excellently against good sides, then awfully against the rest. The statistics provide unquestionable evidence -- Liverpool have won 2.2 points per game against fellow top seven sides, but just 1.7 points per...

Hazard exploits Manchester City's weakness as Chelsea edge to title

The ESPN FC crew discuss Chelsea, Manchester City and Wednesday's big result at Stamford Bridge.
The ESPN FC crew discuss Chelsea, Manchester City and Wednesday's big result at Stamford Bridge.
The ESPN FC crew discuss Chelsea, Manchester City and Wednesday's big result at Stamford Bridge.

A few days after Arsenal and Manchester City showed their flaws as title challengers, Antonio Conte demonstrated the kind of shrewd game management that will surely help make Chelsea champions by late May.

The Blues wobbled in the first half at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday as David Silva pulled the strings, but, having gone 2-1 up, Conte safeguarded the points by shutting down the second half, repelling City with a solidity and efficiency unrivalled in this league.

That strategy had been made possible...