Will CR change their shape? They have to become more clinical in attack, but they are leaving themselves open to counters and Russia look very assured on the break.

First 15 minutes of 2nd half is critical. If Russia can survive, then the CR will attack more and Russia will kill them off with 1 or 2 more goals.

If CR score in 1st 15 minutes, Russia may go into their shell and become too defensive, thereby possibly letting in a tying goal.

Here you can see the formations of both teams – 4-2-3-1 of CR and 4-3-3 of Russia.


My prediction 3-0 Russia.


Will be interesting to see 4-2-3-1 of Czech against 4-3-3 of Russia.

Czech Republic starting lineup

Russia starting lineup

#2 Selassie looks good overlapping RB.

#15 Baros lots of good movement

Russia struggling to keep possession.

Game set up for Russian counter.

15′ Russia goal!

19′ another Russian counter and chance!

Russia starting to find space between the lines.

CR look dangerous from set plays. Organized.

24′ Russia look dangerous on break.
Russia 2-0!!!

30′ CR get free kick on right. Needless foul by Arshavin.

Russia target player is reference point for Russia attack and bringing in wide players.

Russia old squad. Won’t be inexperienced in lead. Fitness?

Half time.

Cissé 1-1!! Lescott what have you done???? had to be a horror show for QPR to score.

Will QPR go back to their defensive formation?

Can Lescott make up for mistake by scoring from a corner?

Barton makes a stupid decision – this could actually make it more of a Chelsea-Barca situation? Now QPR will not come out.

OMG, QPR 2-1!!! 3 attacks 2 goals!

So much for my first prediction of this blog!

Situation made for Ballotelli and Lescott. Worst away record vs. Best home record. Who would have thunk it? Mancini is going to have a coronary.

75 minutes in – Balotelli on. Bothroyd on for Zamora.

Now Stoke 2 Bolton 2. More reason for QPR not to attack even if City equalize.

81′ – City are losing heart – need to keep moving. Get the center backs up and attack! Forwards are panicking and snatching at the ball.

79 mins. Can City and Sunderland equalize to give championship to City??

85′ quality of crossing is poor. Need to get to goal line and cut ball back. Early crosses are food and drink to Ferdinand.

87′ City devoid of ideas. Mancini is going ape.

City look tired. can’t get ball off QPR. QPR winning every header. Forwards too static.

92′ Dzeko. 2-2!

94′ Aguero 3-2!!!!

Told you at half time City would score 3!!!!

Last 5 minutes of 2011-12 EPL season

Looks very windy in Manchester. Makes it harder for the team that has possession most.

QPR sitting VERY deep when they lose possession. Can they do a Chelsea? Probably not.

Will Bolton going down 0-1 affect the way that QPR play?

QPR trying to make the game as short as possible by keeping it 0-0. The longer a game stays 0-0, the more chance there is of an upset.

Will Man. Utd. going ahead 1-0 add to the pressure?

22 minutes in and Man City need to move the ball quicker, switch the play more (make QPR move side to side more) and be more aggressive in 1v1 situations.

City’s best chance is to allow QPR to attack and the counter on QPR – once QPR get back, tough to break them down. If QPR try and dribble out of defense and lose the ball they could be in trouble.

De Jong warming up – need to get Yaya further forward? (or get him to make late runs into box).

Keep getting ball into feet of forwards in the box = chances of penalties.

Is Yaya injured? Yaya at 75% better than the other options? Situation made for Ballotelli!!!

Dzeko could be a good shout – many crosses are going unchallenged…

— NOTE — I am now watching this game 30 minutes behind schedule because of Mother’s Day celebrations 🙂

Zabaleta has just scored!!! 1-0. This just reinforces my point about the unpredictability of the game!

And Bolon have scored and  they’re winning 2-1 – this will have major impact on the way QPR approach 2nd half.


This is where the coach makes his money! Toure is off and DeJong has replaced him. Not such a big deal now that City are up 1-0. This may have an effect if QPR equalize however.

QPR will have to commit more players forward in order to get an equalizer. Not necessarily immediately however. They may keep an eye on the Bolton game, keep it at 0-1 and then attack the last  15 minutes.

MCFC offense strategy needed to get QPR defense turned around.

City will be able to attack on the counter and take advantage of pace of Aguero up top. City more conventional 4-4-2 in 2nd half?

QPR will not score. City will be able to counter. Final 3-0. Balotelli will score if he comes on as sub.

Which game to watch today? All Premier League games are being shown live on American TV. I have decided to go with the most pressurized game of all: where one team could win its first championships for 44 years and the other can get relegated. Not to mention the personal drama of Mark Hughes returning to the club that, according to Sir Alex, “unethically” fired him. And Onuoha, Barton and Wright-Phillips returning to their former club.


Let’s assume that Manchester United will beat Sunderland at least 8-0. As coach of Manchester City, you have to assume that! That means that Manchester City MUST win. Mancini’s lineup reflects that:

Manchester City: Hart; Zabaleta, Kompany, Lescott, Clichy; Barry, Yaya; Silva, Nasri, Aguero; Tevez. Subs: Pantilimon, Richards, Milner, Dzeko, De Jong, Kolarov, Balotelli

Manchester United are looking focused and determined as they walk out at the Stadium of Light. Man. City look nervous walking out at Maine Road  the Etihad Stadium.

I have also been a professional head coach for 23 years. 


I watch a lot of games on TV. Too many in fact. Things have conspired to work in my favor in this regard. 

I now coach early in the morning Central Standard Time (Texas in USA), coming home shortly after lunch. Because of the time difference, evening European games during the week are shown here at about 2 p.m. 

I watch games for enjoyment and relaxation, but I also try and watch with a critical eye to help me in my profession. 

I enjoy websites like Michael Cox’s Zonalmarking.net, Zach Slaton’s A Beautiful Numbers Game and am interested in some South American sites like santapelota or snapkakapop

One of the annoyances of these blogs is that it is easy to second guess tactics after the fact. One can say that Coach X’s tactical move created the opportunity for Player Y to score. Of course, Coach Z on the other side of the technical area made his tactical changes too, but his did not work out. 

The crux is being able to see the flow of the game, and predict what will happen. 

As an exercise in creative thinking and in order to force myself to watch games with a more critical eye, I have decided to try and ANTICIPATE what will happen in the second half, based on what has happened in the first half. 

I will analyze what has happened and then based on my own view of the game and my own experiences, predict what will happen, or what would work better for one of the teams, or both teams. 

This means that I will have to get my prediction out and on the web as the second half is starting. No more sitting around drinking tea at half time. 

Given the randomness of the game, and the fact that the likes of Chelsea can beat Barcelona, I expect to be wrong more times than I am right. 

Sid Lowe CAVEAT: There are some games that I watch later on DVR, and obviously for these games you will just have to trust me that I don’t know the result of the game before I write my piece. But anyway, I am not doing this for you, it is more for me and my development as a coach. 

If you do enjoy my posts, please follow me on twitter @nickcowell