Chelsea vs Manchester City premier League Preview

Chelsea vs Manchester City Preview: Stop Jorginho, stop Chelsea?

“English football has an exceptional holding midfielder,” said Pep Guardiola in August. If he had got his way, that outstanding anchorman would be a Manchester City player. Instead a player Guardiola was confident of signing will face them. Jorginho was reunited instead with Maurizio Sarri at Chelsea. Rather than building a side around the Italy international, the Catalan will instead attempt to stop him constructing attacks in Chelsea vs Manchester City on Saturday.

Guardiola’s argument that Jorginho is outstanding is indisputable in one respect: the former Napoli man stands out in the statistics, topping the charts for touches and passes this season. He broke the Premier League record for most passes attempted against West Ham, attempting 180 in a performance that earned him 3,086 points on Twelve’s system. Look at Twelve’s diagram of his display that day (and untick ‘only important actions’ to see everything he did) and it indicates how pivotal he was. Read More

Manchester City vs Manchester United Premier League Preview

Manchester City vs Manchester United Preview: Key men to the left?

Go back seven months to the last Manchester derby and Manchester United ruined Manchester City’s coronation. Pep Guardiola’s side were 2-0 up at half-time, set to be crowned champions in front of their neighbours. What followed was irrelevant in one respect – they clinched the Premier League title the following weekend – but not in others. If it spared United the ignominy of seeing City celebrate and got Jose Mourinho a rare win over Guardiola, it also showed Paul Pogba’s catalytic impact.

The Frenchman scored twice in United’s comeback that day. If his performances this season have attracted decidedly mixed reviews, the numbers offer another picture. Pogba ranks second in Twelve’s Premier League leader board for the season, behind only Leicester’s Harry Maguire.

Examine the different coloured bars and it shows how his contribution stretches across the pitch, underlying his abilities as a box-to-box midfielder. It suggests he is the best all-round player in the division (at least while City’s Kevin de Bruyne is injured). If he does not have as many attacking points as City’s David Silva, he has delivered more in defence and off the ball. Read More

Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester City Premier League Preview

Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester City Preview: Keep Kev Quiet

Trips to Tottenham’s various grounds have had a significance in Pep Guardiola’s reign as Manchester City manager. His first defeat came at White Hart Lane in October 2016. In April, his side responded to three consecutive losses to Liverpool and Manchester United by winning 3-1 at Wembley, a result which meant they became champions when West Bromwich Albion won at Old Trafford the following day.

A bogey team became victims. After taking just one point from a possible six in 2016-17 against Mauricio Pochettino’s team, City secured the maximum six last season. A major reason was Kevin de Bruyne, who produced an outstanding performance in the 4-1 victory at the Etihad Stadium and excelled again in the spring rematch.

Now the Belgian should make a belated first league start of the season. Rather than examining his cameos, before and after injury, against Arsenal and Burnley, it is worth revisiting his display against Tottenham last December to see just how influential he can be. Read More

Liverpool vs Manchester City Preview: Is Salah vs Laporte the key clash?

Mohamed Salah was the scourge of Manchester City last season. Sadly for the champions, if they were savouring reports of his decline, those may have been exaggerated.

Jürgen Klopp has substituted last season’s 44-goal top scorer when Liverpool required a goal against both Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea and admitted the obvious, that the Egyptian is not at the peak of his form. Yet Twelve Football’s leader board still shows Salah as the sixth most effective player in the Premier League so far this season.

Liverpool vs Manchester City Premier League Preview

The numbers are, in part, a sign of prominence and persistence. Salah has the highest expected goals total in the Premier League (5.14) and the third most shots this season, behind only Aleksandr Mitrovic and Sergio Aguero. Read More