Rafa Benítez Blog RSS Rafa Benítez Blog

23
Aug 2013
09:54 Comments (65)
A Football Club's Structure – Rafa Benitez's view

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Rafa Benítez

I have always maintained that those of us who work in football are privileged. And that’s because we get paid for a job we love and are passionate about. And in my case, I have been lucky enough to have worked in different countries, to have observed different cultures and ways of working, to have benefited from those experiences and this gives me, I believe, some idea of being able to analyse things from a different perspective, from the outside...
15
Jul 2013
10:58 Comments (28)
Where are the wingers?

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Rafa Benítez

Why have wingers disappeared? Why has it become fashionable to use fullback-wingers? To understand this we have to know a bit about systems of play...
08
Feb 2013
12:26 Comments (24)
Spain comfortably beat Uruguay in Doha, by Eduardo Parra

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Eduardo Parra

The Spanish National Team beat Uruguay (3-1) in an international friendly last wednesday. Cesc Fabregas and Pedro Rodríguez (twice) both scored for Spain whilst Cristian 'Cebolla' Rodríguez scored for Uruguay.

The international friendly was held in Doha mirroring the match that will take place next summer in Brazil, where the Confederations Cup will be hold...
21
Nov 2012
11:33 Comments (55)
Barcelona, Valencia, Bayern and Shakhtar into the last 16; by Rafa Benítez

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Rafa Benítez

Four home victories, just one draw and three away victories with a total of twenty five goals in eight matches. This was yesterday´s conclusion to the first of two instalments in the fifth week of the UEFA Champions League Group Stages...
08
Nov 2012
12:11 Comments (11)
A night full of goals in Europe, by Rafa Benitez

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Rafa Benítez

Up to 35 goals were scored in the second set of this week´s UEFA Champions League Group Stage games. The number of average goals scored increased to four goals per game. It was a night full of action representative of what we often see in this continental competition with comfortable victories for Bayern over Lille (6-1), Juventus against Nordsjaelland (4-0) and the splendid Valencia in their game against Bate Borisov (4-2). Chelsea beat Shaktar in a game with many alternatives and Benfica beat Spartak Moscow (2-0). The surprise came from Celtic who beat Barcelona (2-1); and this time we also had some away victories with Galatasaray beating FC Cluj and lastly Manchester United beating Braga. It was an interesting night which we will now partially analyse. On with a couple of games...
07
Nov 2012
14:39 Comments (2)
Much equality: five draws; by Rafa Benitez

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Rafa Benítez

The first instalment of the fourth week of the UEFA Champions League Group Stages brings a common denominator: equality. Five of the eight games ended with a draw, three of them with two goals each and none of the teams being able to win at home. Convincing victories by PSG against Dinamo Zagreb and by Olympiakos who beat Montpellier 3-1 and on a lesser note Anderlecht, 1-0 against an unrecognisable Zenit. Then there was a goaless draw between Dynamo Kiev and Porto, a 1-1 draw for AC Milan-Malaga and 2-2 draws in the Real Madrid-Borussia Dortmund game, Manchester City-Ajax and Schalke 04-Arsenal. In total there have been 23 goals with a good average of three goals per game. Let´s now analyse some of the games and reach a few conclusions that can be published on this permanent football forum that is our website...
25
Oct 2012
12:00 Comments (2)
Drawless night, by Rafa Benitez

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Rafa Benítez

Even though on Tuesday we had a few examples, yesterday´s Champions League games clearly showed the importance of victory. There was not one draw in the eight games with an entertaining average of three goals per game. There were 21 goals in total shared by a range of inspired strikers. As usual, Wednesday evening once again brought a lot of action and we will now analyse some of the most intense games...
24
Oct 2012
10:29 Comments (1)
Better late than never, by Rafa Benitez

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Rafa Benítez

The beginning of the third week of the European Champions League (ECL) group stages yesterday evening led to some frightening moments for some of the ‘greats’. However in most cases they responded to neutralise any ‘surprises’. The reactions of Barcelona, Manchester United and in a lesser sense, Juventus and Galatasaray worked to even the playing field in games that began with an uphill struggle. Amongst those games was also Chelsea, who in the end was not able to succeed and was the surprise of the evening. Then Valencia with a definitive win, finally winning away and also wins by Spartak and Bayern. Another interesting detail yesterday was the number of own goals. Interesting mix of scorelines some of which we will analyse next...
04
Oct 2012
16:51 Comments (5)
Promising average scoreline, by Rafa Benitez

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Rafa Benítez

Champions League second week has finished with 8 games that were played yesterday afternoon/evening. If we compare with Tuesday’s games with 24 goals in total, an average of three per game, yesterday’s figure was higher at 26 goals in total. That said, and relating to what was written yesterday in this website, there were three home victories, two draws and three away victories. Now let’s look at these games in more detail...
03
Oct 2012
16:56 Comments (2)
Just two home victories, by Rafa Benitez

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Rafa Benítez

Five away wins, a draw in Turin and just two home wins, both in Group F on Tuesday, the first day of the Champions League second week. Most of the home teams found it hard to get results, just Bate Borisov with a win against Bayern following another win in Lille in the previous week, and Valencia who also beat the French side in Mestalla, were able to win at home. Chelsea had a comfortable win (0-4), Manchester United had a tough game (1-2) and Barcelona paid a price too high to get the 3 points from Benfica (0-2) as Puyol was injured and Sergio Busquets was sent off. Let’s analyse now in more detail all the games of the last night’s European matches...
21
Sep 2012
23:21 Comments (1)
Bundesliga: intensity and emotion, by Edu Parra

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Eduardo Parra

In the last two seasons Borussia Dortmund, under the leadership of Jurgen Klopp, have deservedly won the title and this season’s Bundesliga once again looks to be very interesting thanks to the high expectations of some teams ready to battle for the title until the end...
20
Sep 2012
22:26 Comments (5)
The 'greats' claim their position as favourites, by Rafa Benitez

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Rafa Benítez

At the end of the first group stages of the UEFA Champions League we could start to make some conclusions. In the majority of the games the favourites won albeit some slow starting but showing potential to reach the final in London. Oporto, PSG, Arsenal, Dortmund, Real Madrid confirmed predictions on Tuesday and Shaktar, Bayern, Barcelona did so on Wednesday. A positive surprise for Malaga’s good start although there were also other resounding results. Now, let’s have a look at some of the games, bearing in mind not all games have been analysed as it is impossible to see them all...
10
Sep 2012
17:22 Comments (2)
The start of la Liga has brought some surprises, by Eduardo Parra

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Eduardo Parra

This season, la Liga BBVA brings once again the battle between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid with the unknown chance of Valencia, Atletico or some other team making it difficult for these two clubs that have fought for the title over the last few years. It is a season also marked by a financial situation that has led to there being less movement in the market than in previous years and most of all less investment...
04
Sep 2012
11:21 Comments (2)
Analysis of the Premier League, by Edu Parra

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Eduardo Parra

The first three weeks of the Premier League have now passed and even though it is too soon to reach important conclusions, there are interesting things that can be analysed. Up until now, 29 games have been played, remember Sunderland-Reading was cancelled in the second week due to rain, and according to statistics provided by Opta, 85 goals have been scored, this being the highest average per game in the last few years: 2,93 per game...
28
Jul 2012
19:19 Comments (71)
Quo Vadis EPL?, by Rafa Benitez

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Rafa Benítez

After eight years in England, I am really pleased to see how many teams in the Premier League are little by little changing their style of play. Despite some opinions to the contrary, the arrival of foreign managers has benefited English football. These days not many question, for example, Manchester City’s zonal marking in corners or the necessary rotations carried out this season to ensure that English players could reach the European Cup with fresh legs. Furthermore, as time goes by we can see how the game is starting to be analysed taking into account aspects like team formation instead of just the performance of individual players...
05
Jun 2012
09:24 Comments (12)
An excellent foundation stone, by Rafa Benitez

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Rafa Benítez

Spain had to work hard and be patient in their final preparation match before the Euros. In Seville, in La Cartuja Stadium, they came up against a China team who surprised them and gave them lots to think about for much of the game. But that's exactly what you need in a preparation game. The intensity, organisation and counter attack were the hallmarks of the Chinese side and may have come as a surprise to many people but not to those who know Jose Antonio Camacho...
20
May 2012
11:15 Comments (195)
This time yes, by Rafa Benitez

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Rafa Benítez

This time, no, this time the UEFA Champions League did pass by, and the prized trophy went to Chelsea on penalties to wipe out any bad memories. They had to wait for the last kick in the final round of spot-kicks and it was converted by Didier Drogba to give Roman Abramovich his dream Champions League trophy and it also qualifies them for next season’s competition...
18
May 2012
18:40 Comments (162)
"D" Day, by Rafa Benitez

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Rafa Benítez

If this was WWII we would be getting ready for the “D” Day and waiting for the “H” hour. The new Allianz Arena, home of Bayern Munich, hosts its very first UEFA Champions League Final despite another three finals taking place in the city in the past: in 1979 Nottingham Forest were the victors against Malmoe, in 1993 it was the turn of Olympique Marseille vs AC Milan and in 1997 Borussia Dortmund lifted the Cup after winning to Juventus...
10
May 2012
15:14 Comments (77)
Falcao lights the fireworks, by Rafa Benítez

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Rafa Benítez

Just as I was about to start watching last night’s final in Bucharest, I had a load of stats on my desk which OPTA always send me and which I always look through carefully when preparing to write about the matches for this forum. There are those who say that stats are just that, stats, and they can’t tell you much. But they can at least throw up some curious coincidences or some interesting things...
08
May 2012
14:18 Comments (15)
Analytical Preview of the Europa League Final between Atletico Madrid and Athletic Bilbao, by Rafa Benítez

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Rafa Benítez

The UEFA Europa League Final is nearly upon us and it will feature two Spanish teams who will looking to redress the fact that no La Liga team, against all the forecasts, will be taking part in the Champions League Final in spite of both Barcelona and Real Madrid being favourites to be there...
30
Apr 2012
20:36 Comments (19)
Lille threaten PSG, by Rafa Benitez

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Rafa Benítez

Yesterday, Sunday, we had the opportunity to attend a more than interesting clash which could be decisive in the French league title. Lille OSC, third in the table, hosted Paris Saint Germain CF, second in the table and 5 points off the top team Montpellier Herault SC who had won on Friday against Toulouse FC (0-1). A Lille win, managed by Rudi Garcia, would put them just one point behind PSG, giving them a chance to finish top if they had good results in the last 4 matches...
26
Apr 2012
11:19 Comments (31)
Bayern are paired with Chelsea, by Rafa Benitez

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Rafa Benítez

If Chelsea had beaten all the odds the day before by getting to the final in Munich on May 19, last night we witnessed a similar feat by Bayern, although maybe forecasts weren’t quite as clear after the first leg. Barcelona and Real Madrid have crashed out and the Munich and London teams will contest the title. Once again football showed what it can do and brought us all back to reality instead of trying to bet on the outcome...
25
Apr 2012
10:40 Comments (48)
That's Football, by Rafa Benitez

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Rafa Benítez

‘That’s football’ said Vujadin Boskov when he was asked about the game at a press conference. With his limited Spanish, the former coach of Real Madrid and the old Yugoslavia national team amongst others, couldn’t find a better, more graphic, way to explain why a team could win a game from a very difficult situation against all the odds. But Chelsea did exactly that last night in the UEFA Champions League Semi-Final. With ten men for a large part of the match, they were able to score two goals against the champions and thus prevent, for at least another year, a team from winning the Champions League title two years running...
19
Apr 2012
13:59 Comments (26)
Another tie must wait for the 2nd leg, by Rafa Benítez

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Rafa Benítez

The second match in the first legs for the teams looking to get to the UEFA Champions League Final in Munich also did not disappoint. As happened 24 hours earlier, last night’s match in London was hard-fought, tremendously disputed, with one very dominant but with only one winner. And it at least showed there is truth in the maxim that a victory has to be worked for. Chelsea won because they converted one of the few chances they had. And Barca lost for precisely the opposite, because they couldn’t score from one of the many chances they created. That’s football. Let’s see what happened...
18
Apr 2012
12:29 Comments (11)
The Bernabéu will decide the outcome, by Rafa Benítez

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Rafa Benítez

We have had the first installment of the series of the four matches which make up the semifinals of the UEFA Champions League and which will decide the two teams that will contest the final in May, and last night the first of them was held in the same stadium where the final of the most prestigious tournament will take place...
16
Apr 2012
17:52 Comments (13)
Rafa Benitez analyses another MLS match

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Rafa Benítez

Week 6 of the MLS season and LA Galaxy stop their recent run of poor results.

This weekend was week 6 of the MLS season and LA Galaxy were welcoming Portland Timbers to the Home Depot Center with both teams ruefully looking at the Western Conference table as they occupied the bottom two places. Both teams needed the win to kick-start the season but once again Portland were unable to hold on to a lead as had happened too often recently. Galaxy left it late to get the winning goals but will be happy that the poor run has been halted. We were able to watch the game and analyse the key points which we can share with you to debate...
12
Apr 2012
21:47 Comments (22)
Rafa Benitez analyses Dortmund and Bayern at last night’s crucial title match

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Rafa Benítez

There was a fantastic atmosphere in and around the stadium an hour and a half before the match I attended last night in Dortmund, where Bayern were the visitors for a crucial match in the race for the Bundesliga title...
05
Apr 2012
12:14 Comments (16)
Real Madrid and Chelsea complete the picture, by Rafa Benitez

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Rafa Benítez

The second day of second legs of the quarterfinals of the Champions League Europe turned out similar to the first. You could say that yesterday also met the forecasts in that the two teams that had controlled their respective first legs eventually qualified. But as always there are nuances of difference. Because the outcome can be the same but the means can be very different, you have to analyse it objectively. Anyway, however much time and space is devoted to any analysis, what is clear is that it is now confirmed that Real Madrid will face Bayern Munich for a place in the final and Chelsea will be FC Barcelona’s opponent to get there. Now for the matches and the debate...
04
Apr 2012
15:02 Comments (18)
Barcelona and Bayern through to the Semi-finals, by Rafa Benitez

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Rafa Benítez

Forecasts were met on the first day of the second leg of quarterfinals of the UEFA Champions League. The situations were different though, as it is not the same playing against a French team as it is against an Italian one, Bayern Munich did not disappoint against Olympique Marseille and neither did FC Barcelona against AC Milan. Both are waiting to see who their opponent is in the semifinals, but they will have to wait for the results of today's ties, though in the Real Madrid-Apoel match it seems clear that Real Madrid will go through and they will be the ones to play Munich and in the Chelsea-Benfica tie, it also seems clear that the Londoners are the favourites to meet Barça. However, what we can do now is assess what happened in another intense night of football yesterday evening. And, if you want, we can discuss it. So let's start...
02
Apr 2012
09:16 Comments (5)
MLS analysis by Rafa Benítez

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Rafa Benítez

Week 4 of the MLS season is underway and only one team, Toronto, is still without a point on the board. LA Galaxy have had a slow start as Champions and featured in one of the matches we have analysed. In the Western Conference there are two teams on 9 points, Real Salt Lake and San Jose whilst Kansas have 9 points in the East and they play tomorrow. We have looked at two matches this week and some observations of both matches follow for your interest...
01
Apr 2012
19:15 Comments (8)
Borussia Dortmund 4 - Stuttgart 4, by Rafa Benítez

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Rafa Benítez

We had the opportunity to witness a great game of football last Friday, the kind that makes us love this sport. An alternating game that took swung different ways, which could have been won by either team and finished with a share of the points and goals. Eight goals in total, four per side, and so many chances to win or lose a game full of events. So if you want, let\'s try to clear our heads and debate what happened...
29
Mar 2012
13:37 Comments (19)
Champions League Quarter Finals, first legs, by Rafa Benítez

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Rafa Benítez

The first legs of the quarterfinals of this year's Champions League have now been concluded and no home team came out as winners. There was one draw, which featured AC Milan against FC Barcelona, and which, since the draw was made, appeared to be the most evenly matched tie, while the others were more predictable in this round and they gave Chelsea a win in Lisbon, Bayern a win at Marseille and Real Madrid a win in Nicosia. While purists may disagree, with the exception of the evenly contested game in Lombardy, you could say that the rest of the results were predictable. But as we have done for every round of this exciting competition, we will look at the games as we saw them...
19
Mar 2012
09:49 Comments (14)
Observations on the Champions League draw by Rafa Benitez

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Rafa Benítez

Having reached this point in the most important European competition and having seen the draw for the UEFA Champions League, it is a good time to to have a closer look at the clubs that are in the quarter finals and how they have set up in previous ties on the way to the final in May at the Allianz Arena in Munich. So, if you would like, let's have a look at the teams and how they square up in the quarter finals...
16
Mar 2012
14:42 Comments (7)
First Kick Weekend – MLS Analysis, by Rafa Benítez

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Rafa Benítez

This week has not only seen the quarter-finalists of the Champions League revealed, we should not forget that it has also been the first week of the new MLS season or First Kick Weekend as it is sometimes known. Not surprisingly, the match between LA Galaxy and Real Salt Lake drew a lot of the attention as these two had been great rivals last season. It was a first round of matches which again showed the strength of the Western Conference over the East with 5 wins to 1. We were able to view two well contested matches and analyse the games between LA Galaxy and Real Salt Lake and Portland Timbers v Philadelphia Union...
15
Mar 2012
13:19 Comments (5)
Champions League, 13 and 14 March, by Rafa Benítez

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Rafa Benítez

After the second legs of the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League, we now have the names of the clubs that make up the select group who will contest the quarter-finals. After the two matches on Tuesday and the other two played yesterday, we now know who will accompany Milan, Apoel Nicosia, Barcelona and Benfica in the draw which will take place tomorrow and decide the clashes in the search of the final two who will play at the Allianz Arena in Munich next May. And as there was a lot to debate, we will have a look at the highlights...
08
Mar 2012
15:04 Comments (11)
Champions League 6 and 7th March, by Rafa Benitez

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Rafa Benítez

We now know the first of the teams to go in to the hat for the quarter final draw of this year’s UEFA Champions League. With a surprise included, and another possible, as well as a feast of goals and one player scoring 5 goals in a match, we have our main talking points. Let’s get started...
23
Feb 2012
19:05 Comments (7)
Champions League, 21 and 22 February, by Rafa Benítez

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Rafa Benítez

Second week of the first legs in the last 16 of the Champions League. A lot of things to mull over and some surprises in these latest games. So let's begin with the game in Moscow between CSKA and Real Madrid
16
Feb 2012
16:23 Comments (13)
Champions League analysis, 14-15/02/12, by Rafa Benítez

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Rafa Benítez

The first week of the Champions League knock-out stages has begun. As usual lots of things to discuss from the matches. So let's first look at the game in Germany between Leverkusen and Barça...
23
Jan 2012
22:22 Comments (29)
Blending Traditions and Trends, by Rafa Benítez

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Rafa Benítez

Just a couple of hours ago I finished a talk, a discussion, in front of a mixture of candidates for the UEFA Pro Licence and a refresher course for the same licence organized by the FA. And I would like to take the opportunity to share with you here some of the ideas discussed...
27
Dec 2011
19:52 Comments (29)
Rafa Benitez analyses the top 5 European leagues and the MLS

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Rafa Benítez

At this time of year, towards the end of December, it is usually time to reflect, to analyse what has happened during the year. So I don't think we should miss the chance to analyse the data in different big leagues in the world...
18
Dec 2011
16:04 Comments (10)
A much superior Barca win easily in Yokohama

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Rafa Benítez

Another trophy for the well-oiled Barcelona machine. Another irrefutable victory due to their superiority and competitiveness. Pep Guardiola and his lads again imposed themselves against a good team, whatever the scoreline says, in the final of the Club World Cup...
16
Dec 2011
16:41 Comments (11)
The Club World Cup according to Rafa Benitez

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Rafa Benítez

Before I write anything on the Club World Cup and above all else, I want to send my best wishes to David Villa after the serious injury he sustained in Barcelona’s first match of the tournament. David has shown to me that, on a personal level, as well as being a great footballer, he is a good human being, always willing to support good causes as shown by his selfless and kind involvement with the Montse Benitez Foundation (MBF)...
08
Dec 2011
17:19 Comments (16)
Rafa Benitez analyses the 6th Matchday of the Champions League

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Rafa Benítez

We went in to the final matchday of the group phase with many things still to be decided in some groups and therefore some anxious games to be disputed, and the first we will look at is Chelsea and Valencia...
07
Dec 2011
14:04 Comments (10)
What Istanbul Laid to Rest

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Juanma Morán

As everyone well knows, Liverpool FC is a club scarred by two tragedies, Heysel and Hillsborough. Even though the former was in football terms a bit pointless, we have to discuss it to understand why Liverpool fans are so grateful to Rafa Benitez...
02
Dec 2011
17:06 Comments (10)
Christmas – a crucial time in domestic competition

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Rafa Benítez

How important is the Christmas period in the league season? It was a question always asked in press conferences around Christmastime and it was always the same response. It is a very important phase in the league because you play so many games in a short space of time, a lot of points up for grabs with lots of decisions to be made in a few days whatever your objective...
30
Nov 2011
14:14 Comments (8)
By the skin of their teeth

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Juanma Morán

Cristiano Ronaldo, Carlos Tevez and Wayne Rooney. With nobody at the controls, how could we stay at the top. Let’s have a look because it’s easier said than done. These players all played together in the Manchester United attack for a while. I wondered then and I am still wondering. Can you compete against such a talented and attacking squad?...
24
Nov 2011
15:44 Comments (7)
Champions League Week 5

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Rafa Benítez

Matchday 5 of the group stage of the Champions League began with the match between CSKA Moscow and Lille. It was a relatively easy encounter for the French side, much better technically as well as tactically...
11
Nov 2011
11:06 Comments (34)
The European and World Champions at Wembley

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Rafa Benítez

Tomorrow, Saturday 12 November, the Spanish National Football Team will play against England in London. Spain are coming as Champions, having won the two biggest trophies in the last few years, continuing to beat all records and respected and admired throughout the football world...
10
Nov 2011
09:02 Comments (8)
Cleaning football's face

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Antonio Losada

I attended a Catholic elementary school in the late sixties and early seventies in Madrid, Spain. We all received a citizenship grade; and another grade for dedication to our studies; that is, how well we applied ourselves. The citizenship grade carried a moral value that unconsciously weighed heavily in our minds. In the classroom the line between correct and inappropriate behavior seemed to be well defined but in the courtyard and on the sport fields the line became blurred and even disappeared...
07
Nov 2011
01:27 Comments (11)
The pose of Buddah

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Juanma Morán

The story of the European encounters between Liverpool and Chelsea can be told in many different ways, although most ardent fans would surely mention the famous Luis Garcia 'goal',,,,
03
Nov 2011
13:19 Comments (5)
Matchday 4 of the Champions League Group Stage

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Rafa Benítez

We have just had a new week of Champions League football and as usual it threw up some interesting points to discuss. So, without further ado, we will look at the subjects that caught our attention...
30
Oct 2011
22:41 Comments (18)
Tactics, Emotion and Tears

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Rafa Benítez

For all those fans who are interested in the Audience, this is the last article which we will publish from the subjects covered that night...
28
Oct 2011
10:18 Comments (0)
About Figures and Statistics

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Dave McDonough

Having worked for several years as the analyst on Rafa Benitez’s technical staff, and as my expertise is specifically analysing statistics, data and matches to give Rafa the necessary information to improve team performance, I believe that I have some authority to comment on recent events having benefited from working so closely with him...
23
Oct 2011
17:49 Comments (1)
12 January 1921

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Juanma Morán

When Manchester United visited Anfield in February 2006 for the 5th Round of the FA Cup, the home fans were a bit pessimistic about the team’s prospects of going further. Their reasons were pretty obvious and no less conclusive. The 12 January 1921 had been the last time that the neighbours had gone home beaten down the M62 after a cup game on the banks of the Mersey. Over 80 years ago. So no hope. Fate was decided. Out of the competition at the first hurdle against their greatest rivals and just another statistic to add. Or maybe not...
21
Oct 2011
00:56 Comments (32)
The truth about marking at Set Pieces

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rafabenitez.com

At the Audience with Rafa Benitez last Sunday in Liverpool, some fans wanted to know the true data about marking at set pieces whether the marking is zonal or man to man or a mixture...
20
Oct 2011
11:47 Comments (5)
Champions league, 18/19-10-2011

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Rafa Benítez

We have had a new Matchday in the group phase, the third, in the Champions League and two days of intense football with some surprises and lots of things to comment on. Let’s start with what happened on Tuesday...
11
Oct 2011
17:04 Comments (2)
Rafa in the pub...

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Juanma Morán

One of the many routines I have as a fan in the days before a big Liverpool game is to have long debates with a good friend about all the news surrounding the team in the lead up to the match...
07
Oct 2011
10:05 Comments (4)
This is how it all began...

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Juanma Morán

A lot of people have referred to Rafa Benitez’s first match in charge of Liverpool as the first league game of the 2004-5 season, although his official debut was actually a few days earlier. It was really the qualification round of the Champions League which pitted him against the Austrians Sturm Graz. Apart from being a significant moment in the coach’s career, that game also has another particularly memorable significance. Whilst Steven Gerrard was giving the opposition a hard time with 2 sensational goals, Michael Owen was watching the match from the subs bench...
29
Sep 2011
16:28 Comments (17)
Champions League analysis 27-28/09/11

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Rafa Benítez

We’ve had another Champions League round of games and as usual it gave us some interesting things to debate, analyse and consider.
16
Sep 2011
11:28 Comments (11)
Champions League at Anfield

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Xavi Valero

We all have played on many football pitches in our lives. Neighbourhood football pitches, muddy pitches, pitches we only dreamt about, pitches which took us a step forward, pitches to forget and pitches of hope and many more...Stadiums full of history and stories, filled with failures and legends, which have moulded our careers and have propelled us forward, sometimes without direction. Football offers no truce. It devours and forgets only to reinvent itself and start again.
16
Sep 2011
11:08 Comments (13)
The bloke with 3 surprises

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Juanma Morán

The first time I saw Rafa Benítez in person was during an informal chat immediately after a game with a few fans of a group I was running at the time. The truth is none of the organisers of that meeting would have bet a penny that the coach would actually turn up. And not because, according to football practice, a person of his standing (he had been for some time one of the best coaches in the world) is usually inaccessible to the general public. No. He would have nothing to do with elitism. It was because he was known for never taking a break from work. And of course, straight after the match, it was understood that the first thing someone like him would do is go over the notes he had made during the 90 minutes, and the last thing he would do was to meet a group of over-enthusiastic interlopers. Therefore it was a surprise to see him appear at the agreed place and time.
15
Sep 2011
11:35 Comments (25)
Can you play 3-4-3 in the Premier league?

General Articles

Rafa Benítez

Today I would like to talk a bit about the game I was at last night, Manchester City against Napoli and thanks to my technical staff and the TV we can also make a few comments about the other matches that completed the first week of the Champions League.
14
Sep 2011
12:47 Comments (6)
Premier League vs Bundesliga

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Rafa Benítez

For some time I have been looking at the growth of the Bundesliga. These first few matches of the Champions League Group Stage, where English and German teams have played each other, have given me a chance to begin an analysis which I would like to continue.
12
Sep 2011
19:30 Comments (17)
Stats and data

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Rafa Benítez

First of all, thanks for all the contributions you have made. Some of you have brought up some very interesting points for discussion and I am thinking of writing some articles to give my opinion on the subjects.
07
Sep 2011
11:45 Comments (95)
Is La Liga better than the Premier League?

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Rafa Benítez

My first impression, and whenever I have been asked this question I have been convinced of this, is that the Premier League is quicker and has bigger physical demands than the Spanish championship, and that La Liga is more technical and tactical.
07
Sep 2011
11:15 Comments (6)
Balance wins

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Mauricio Pellegrino

The success of Uruguay in the recent Copa America was, in my opinion, a triumph of collective quality over the individual, where the whole was once again better than the sum of the parts. At the moment this has given us Argentinians a lesson. Try to be better as a group, leaving aside some of me for the common good. It sounds easy but it is difficult to achieve.
07
Sep 2011
11:00 Comments (20)
Analysis of the Champions League Final

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Rafa Benítez

Barcelona v Manchester United, 3-1 Saturday 28.05.11

There was a lot of talk for days before this massive game played in London as is usual with such a big final. The styles were compared of Manchester United, much stronger physically and a more English style, and of Barcelona, with a pass and move style, as in the Spanish national team, which has as its spine the Barcelona players.