Matchday four in the UEFA Champions League is the start of the home straight towards qualification. A strong run of form from earlier in the group can now be rewarded with an early progression. Great for the side’s who are mounting a domestic challenge who can use the spare games to rotate their squad, safe in the knowledge of their guaranteed passage. Those with a disappointing start enter into the now-or-never phase, where tricky away fixtures must be turned into three points in order to stay in the challenge for a top-spot or face slumping out of the competition before the real fun starts.
In this tactical analysis, we look at how Juventus sealed their qualification despite looking unconvincing in their tactics. We also provide an analysis of how a lively Lokomotiv Moscow side nearly shocked the Italian giants on home soil.
The hosts started in a 4-4-1-1 system, deploying Aleksey Miranchuk in the ’10’ role, starting slightly behind Eder. His duty out of possession was to drop into midfield to make up a narrow, congested midfield that sought to block the passing lanes from a contained lower block. In transition, the Russian used his speed to break away from a slowly retreating Juventus defensive unit.
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