Gareth Southgate's England Team

Twelve’s algorithm selects Gareth Southgate’s England team

England had a strange World Cup. They lost three matches yet returned as heroes, but also didn’t lose any game which really mattered inside 90 minutes. It was certainly a successful tournament from a PR perspective, as the England team reconnected with a fan base which had grown increasingly disconnected. The real question is whether or not they can sustain the love-in for a couple of years until the next European Championships.

Gareth Southgate’s first chance to uphold his newly found superstar status comes over the next week, when England take on Spain in UEFA’s gleaming new Nations League competition, then play a friendly against Switzerland. He has selected his squad, so at Twelve we thought it’d be interesting to pick the best team based on the players’ performance this season.

Read More

Romelu Lukaku Premier League Team Of The Week

Premier League Team of Week 4: Lukaku Bullied Burnley

Romelu Lukaku Premier League Team Of The WeekIt had to happen eventually: James Tarkowski‘s reign of terror is over. In fact, he didn’t even make the top 50 players this week, and in light of the name of the article, you can probably guess why. Still, the Burnley defender remains the only player in the Premier League with three team of the week appearances this season, so he shouldn’t be too disheartened. We do have a player from last week returning to join Alli and Pogba on two caps though, and we begin our round up with a stunning goalkeeping performance.

Read More

Premier League Team of Week 3: Harry Maguire’s Game

Harry Maguire Premier League Team Of The Week

James Tarkwoski and Paul Pogba were both in our teams of weeks one and two, but did either or both of them make it a hat-trick? One thing is for sure, there were a lot of excellent performances by centre-backs this week, so we’ve naturally switched to a back three to accommodate them. Oh, and if you want to share a dashboard, click on the player’s name in the text above it, and it’ll take you straight there. On with the show… Read More

Liverpool vs Brighton Preview: Battle of big chance creators

Liverpool vs Brighton was the final league match of 2017/18 for these sides, and little has changed in the three months since. The Seagulls began this season with an away defeat at Watford, maintaining their record of being the worst team on the road in the Premier League since their promotion. But they followed that with a win over Manchester United, to keep up their excellent home record. Only the big six and Everton were better than Brighton in front of their own fans last term.

As for Liverpool, they have beaten West Ham at home and Palace away, just as they did last season. They even scored the same number of goals as in those matches, but in 2018/19 they kept clean sheets rather than conceding one. As Brighton have scored just ten goals in their 20 away matches in the Premier League, is there any hope for them on Saturday evening? Read More

Premier League Team of Week 2: Aguero puts Terriers down

Aguero

Another weekend of pulsating Premier League action is done. Cardiff vs Newcastle happened too. But who made it into Twelve’s team of the week? Two players who were included last week made it in again, even though their teams lost. As a wise sage once opined, ‘it’s a funny old game.’

But of course we’re focusing on player performances here, and not team ones. It’s not Paul Pogba’s fault he plays for Manchester United, is it? Anyway, after matching four of Garth Crooks’ selections last week, we have just two in common this time around. Sorry, Garth.

Read More

Crystal Palace vs Liverpool preview

Crystal Palace vs Liverpool Preview: Flight of the full-backs

Crystal Palace vs Liverpool always sees goals. The Reds have travelled to Selhurst Park six times in league and cup since Palace returned to the top flight in 2013, and every match has seen both teams score and at least three goals in total. Liverpool have conceded first but gone on to win nine league games under Jürgen Klopp, with two of them being at Palace. Expect drama, expect goals, and expect the full-backs to be heavily involved.

Last weekend was a remarkable one for wide defenders. No, not you, Ruddock, I’m talking about full-backs. Of the 18 players credited with an assist on the opening match week of the new Premier League season, six were full-backs. Not only that, but the only two players to set up two goals were left-backs. Neither Benjamin Mendy nor José Holebas will feature here, but plenty of talented, pacy and creative players will. Read More

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.

Read More