Huddersfield vs Liverpool Premier League Preview

Huddersfield vs Liverpool Preview: Will the Reds’ front three finally fire?

Liverpool’s season is at something of an interesting crossroads. On the one hand, they’ve had their hardest start to a campaign in 25 years. The Reds have got through it largely unscathed, all things considered, and have 20 points after eight league matches for only the third time in the Premier League era.

But the goals and great results have also dried up recently. Liverpool haven’t won any of their last four games in all competitions, scoring just twice along the way. When the opposition reads Chelsea (twice), Napoli and Manchester City, the sky isn’t exactly falling in. What is concerning Kopites, though, is the lack of goals from their fabled front three.

Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mané and Mohamed Salah have nine league goals between them. This is the same tally as they had after eight games of 2017/18, so it’s far too soon to be overly worried. However, Mané hasn’t scored in his last seven starts, and Salah only has one goal in his. The Reds’ four game win-less run is comprised of their only matches this season where none of their first choice front trio has found the net.

Will they find their feet now their fixture list softens over the next few weeks? Or are they genuinely out of form? Read More

Chelsea

The changing impact of the Chelsea midfield under Sarri

We always talk about changing ways in which a team play their game when there is a switch in manager. This was not really the case when Chelsea replaced Jose Mourinho with Antonio Conte. The Italian was akin to the Portuguese in a way that defence-first was the order of the day for both. It rather agitated the Blues’ fans as teams began to work that tactic out, and the football became boring.

So making a progress in the style of play was in need before the start of this season. The board responded by hiring ex-Napoli manager Maurizio Sarri. A banker by trade, Sarri did not play football professionally. He took part in amateur games as a central defender and coached a few youth teams while performing his day job.

From Empoli to Naples, the 59-year-old created his reputation as an attack-minded coach. It was contrasting to what we generally hear about Italian born coaches, who put emphasis on being defensively solid.

Sarri’s philosophy mirrors high-intensity football with passing patterns and pressing of the highest order. A high-line defence and a narrow front-line to create space for fullbacks are the key denotations. The midfield is something which should be closely looked at, especially when we compare his system to that of Conte at Chelsea. Read More

Premier League Fantasy Football Picks: Week Nine

Premier League Fantasy Football Picks: Week Nine

After our winning effort in week seven, we came crashing down to earth last time out. Callum Wilson may have picked up 20.5 points on Draft Kings’ game, but Joe Hart and Harry Maguire scored zilch, zip, zero. With four other players posting single figure points scores, our team fell well short of the cash prizes.

There’s always next week, though, and these are the matches in the selection pool for week nine.

Premier League Fantasy Football Picks: Week Nine

We’ve run the numbers on these 14 teams, resulting in this leader board. Our first piece of advice? Ignore the player at the top of the tree. Read More

Liverpool 0-0 Manchester City

View From The Press Box: City Used Napoli’s Sky-Blueprint To Tame Reds

Liverpool versus Manchester City was one of the most entertaining battles witnessed last season, both in terms of tactics and as a spectacle.

Jürgen Klopp’s side were the team which ended the eventual Premier League champions’ unbeaten run in January, and also knocked them out of the Champions League at the quarter-final stage.

Pep Guardiola has had plenty of time to apply his meticulous research and preparation methods to this particular opposition, and even though Liverpool aren’t firing on all cylinders at the moment, he was able to make noticeable progress at Anfield, where Manchester City haven’t won since 2003.

When the lineups were released the unexpected change came in the Liverpool side. Dejan Lovren replaced Trent Alexander-Arnold meaning Joe Gomez would be shifted across to right back.

This suggested that Klopp might be going with a shape similar to the one they faced at Napoli in midweek, when Carlo Ancelotti used Nikola Maksimović as the right centre-back of a three when attacking and as a right-back in a four when defending. 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

Manchester United vs Newcastle Premier League Preview

Manchester United vs Newcastle Preview: Not easy for Red Devils

Manchester United missed a chance to get a morale-boosting win as they drew 0-0 at home in the Champions League on Tuesday night. Not that they were the better side, but a win against Valencia would have dragged them from the toxic vortex in which they have been floundering for some time.

Though both teams responded well from their previous domestic clashes, the match ended goalless. United put in a better performance than in their 3-1 defeat against West Ham United, but the problems for Jose Mourinho’s men remain the same. Everything in the red half of Manchester seems irreparable.

The Portuguese coach is constantly under fire from various directions and everything suggests his time at the club is over. Following United’s latest poor performance, Mourinho was heavily criticized by club legends Rio Ferdinand and Paul Scholes.

The latter was “surprised that he survived after Saturday” and said that Mourinho is “embarrassing the club” at the moment. The whole situation is hugely debatable, as surely nobody can blame only Mourinho for this, nor the players alone either. The problems run far deeper and certainly include the board. As rumours of Zinedine Zidane becoming the new Manchester United coach are rising, Ed Woodward will soon have to make a final decision. Read More

Fulham vs Arsenal Premier League Preview

Fulham vs Arsenal Preview: Arsenal look for their ninth straight win

A London derby! A return to Craven Cottage! A chance for nine wins on the spin and six league victories in a row! A chance to get above Spurs with a big win!

There is a lot at stake for Arsenal as they visit London neighbours Fulham on Sunday in the lunchtime match. Arsenal are the heavy favourite in this tie but after a punishing travel schedule to Azerbaijan on Thursday in the Europa League with a surprisingly strong squad this could still end up a tricky match for the Gunners.

Fulham, a pretty good attacking team, a bad defensive team

Fulham in the league have continued their attractive attacking style that got them promoted from the Championship. They are averaging nearly 13 shots per match, which is good for seventh best in the league. They are taking most of those shots from outside of the box, with over seven per match coming from long range which makes their expected goals (xG) per match in the bottom half of the league. Read More

Southampton vs Chelsea Premier League Preview

Southampton vs Chelsea Preview: From ‘good Napoli’ to ‘good Chelsea’

For anyone who had caught much of Napoli during the past three seasons, the arrival of Maurizio Sarri in the Premier League during the summer promised to be something of a treat. With his eponymous Sarri-ball, the former investment banker had been beguiling aficionados of Serie A for whom Sarri’s high-energy pressing and breakneck transitions had almost seen them topple Juventus at the end of the 2017/18 season.

However, lest it was assumed Chelsea would be re-created in Napoli’s image under Sarri, he was quick to qualify the fan’s expectations of Sarri-ball 2.0.

‘I don’t want to do another Naples,’ he said earlier in the season. ‘I want to do a good Chelsea. I have to adapt myself to the characteristics of this championship and of (my) players. I am studying my players.’

Of course, in speaking of ‘my players’, Sarri was not entirely correct in differentiating between Napoli and Chelsea. For he had brought one player with him who would be the rock upon which he would build his new church in West London: Jorginho. Read More

Tottenham vs Cardiff City Premier League Preview

Tottenham vs Cardiff City Preview: Kane to inflict more misery on Bluebirds

In the wake of Tottenham’s impressive 3-0 victory over Manchester United at the end of August there was excited talk that Mauricio Pochettino’s side might actually be able to mount a title challenge.

But after suffering defeats in their next two games to Watford and Liverpool, Tottenham have since had to face reality, and their task for this season is now more to remain in the top four for a fourth consecutive season.

After failing to sign a single player in the summer, and being forced to stay at Wembley with their return to their new stadium delayed, to keep their place in the top four would represent a successful season for Tottenham.

The gap between Tottenham and the leaders Manchester City and Liverpool currently stands at four points, and will inevitably increase over the coming weeks, but that should not be how to judge their season. Read More