Roberto Pereyra Premier League

Premier League Team of Week 1: Pereyra’s buzzing for Hornets

Three hundred and sixty players were named in match day squads this weekend. Two hundred and seventy-nine of them saw some action (with David Wagner the only manager who didn’t use all three available substitutions), but who made it into our inaugural team of the week?

At this point we could just throw up an image of the top 11 players on this week’s leader board and have done with it. But of course they don’t make a ‘team’ in the conventional sense. Granted, nine of the top ten performers do fit into a recognisable formation and feature here, but the best rated goalkeeper is at number 39, and there’s no right-back in the top 50.

It’s not easy to pick a formation for this team either. According to football-lineups.com, nine different tactical set ups were deployed in the Premier League this weekend. I’ve gone for a 4-3-3, as it seems to work best with the players available. Read More

Liverpool

Liverpool vs. West Ham United Preview: Naby Keita key for Klopp

Liverpool go into the season as second favourites to win the 2018/19 Premier League title. If they are to make their supporters’ long standing dream a reality, they will need to be stronger at home. They may have gone unbeaten at Anfield for only the seventh time in their top flight history in 2017/18, but they also only won 12 times; the Reds only won fewer in nine of the preceding 25 Premier League seasons.

In fairness to Jürgen Klopp, five of their seven draws were against teams who finished in the top eight, and it looks unlikely West Ham will do that well this season. Or won’t they? After all, with four days to go in the transfer window, the Hammers were the second top net spenders behind Liverpool.

The east Londoners also have a new manager in the shape of Manuel Pellegrini, which makes it tricky to know how they’ll play at Anfield on Sunday. The Chilean has employed a 4-2-3-1 formation in five of their six pre-season matches, but the combination of Slaven Bilic and David Moyes only used that system five times in the league last season. The Hammers picked up just one point from those games, so hopefully their new signings perform better than the players they have replaced. Read More

The top five player performances at the 2018 World Cup

World Cup Eden Hazard Harry Kane Cristiano Ronaldo Toni Kroos Luka ModricConsidering the whole basis of Twelve’s world is an algorithm, it may seem odd to say we’re not obsessed with the numbers. But it’s the truth; we want fans to write what they think about a match, player or team, and then see what our statistics say, not the other way round. We had numerous excellent articles during the World Cup which did exactly that.

But then again, when you’re generating player scores based on millions of data points, it seems a shame not to see who the top five in a tournament were. After all, who doesn’t love a list they can argue with? If you want to see how a certain player scored in a particular World Cup match, we have a spreadsheet containing links to every game’s leader board, so you’ve got no excuse not to have a look for yourself. Without further ado, here are Twelve’s top five performances at the 2018 World Cup. Read More

Belgium 2-0 England: Quality Beats Quantity

England Belgium World CupFor the second time in this World Cup, Belgium beat England in a match which didn’t matter a huge amount to anybody. Unlike in the first meeting, the Three Lions had more shots and more on target than their opponents in St. Petersburg on Saturday, but it was Roberto Martinez’ side who amassed more expected goals both times.

And when it comes to chances, quality is always more valuable than quantity. Still, England did at least muster five shots on target in open play, which was significantly better than they managed to in their first six matches in Russia.

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World Cup 2018, Last 16 Review

While we had been producing daily reviews during the group stage, in the first knock-out round we had writers covering every match so it wasn’t necessary. You can find our ‘Round of 16’ collection here, and we’ll just take a quick look at some of the overall top performers here.

The Sergios dominated at the top of the charts; Ramos of Spain earned the most points in total, whereas Aguero of Argentina topped the points per minute ladder.

Eagle-eyed readers will have noticed something in Ramos’ dashboard – namely a penalty scored in the shootout. These go into the players’ tallies, so anyone whose side didn’t settle their tie in 120 minutes can have a bit of an advantage here.

Unless they miss that is. Right, Jordan?

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World Cup 2018, Day 14 Review: Deutschland viertes? Mein Gott!

Hmm, where shall we start today? How about with Germany’s worst World Cup performance since 1938, would that interest you?

Before we look at today’s game specifically, consider this: Germany’s expected goal difference in their three games (in order) has been +0.51, +0.80 and a remarkable +1.91 today. Three games is a small sample, and clearly finishing has torpedoed Germany here. Never has that been reflected more than in their game with Korea Republic.

Our man of the match for the game was Mats Hummels, and that feels a choice which passes the eye test. However, the biggest portion of his points tally came from shots.

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World Cup 2018, Day 13 Review: Rojo saves the day

There were four more games at the World Cup today, and some of them even had something happen in them. Denmark vs France, however, was not one of them. The Danes had just four shots, with none in the box, and Didier Deschamps’ side’s three shots on target were all from over the hill and far away (or outside the penalty area, in other words).

Raphael Varane was the man of the match, but he did that with the second lowest points tally of an ‘MOTM’ at the tournament so far. While France had already qualified, they still put out a strong XI, but it made little difference.

The likes of Griezmann and Giroud picked up fewer attacking points than Kasper Schmeichel, which probably says a lot. As does the fact that none of the top 11 performers in the match picked up any points for shots.

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World Cup 2018, Day 12 Review: Saudi Arabia’s unlikely star

 

While eight teams were playing today, only one was starting outside the top two in their group but still able to qualify: Iran. We’ll have a full article looking at Portugal’s performance, but let’s take a quick look at the Iranians. Their top player saved a penalty, the runner-up scored one, but the third placed man could’ve sent Iran through and put Portugal out.

Mehdi Tahremi is a wide midfielder, yet as you can see his main contributions were defensive. His injury time shot went the wrong side of the post, but had it gone in, you’d still be feeling the reverberations around the world now.

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World Cup 2018, Day 11 Review: Defenders lead the way

Day 11 saw the second round of group games draw to a close, and it did so with a bevy of goals. The top points scorer on the day was England’s hat-trick hero, Harry Kane. Yet as he scored two goals from the penalty spot and knew nothing about his third, it doesn’t feel right to overly highlight his contribution here.

The next in line was also an Englishman though: John Stones.

As well as scoring two goals from set-plays, Stones also won a penalty (though it could’ve been given for fouls on him or Kane, in truth), and he also made a ‘spine’ of important defensive contributions as we can see in the chart. Read More