Chelsea vs Cardiff City

Chelsea vs Cardiff Preview: the Good, the Bad & the Ugly

Back in 1966, Italian movie director Sergio Leone released one of the greatest Spaghetti Western epics of all time. ‘Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo’ had Clint Eastwood in a remarkable role and is known for Leone’s use of long shots and close-up cinematography, as well as his distinctive use of violence, tension, and stylistic gunfights.

Well, maybe we’ll not see stylistic gunfights at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, but for sure there will be a lot of tension on the field. That’s because Cardiff City travel to London without a win to face a Chelsea side who have won all four league matches this season.

At first sight, it’s an easy match for Sarri’s rangers if we compare both teams on Twelve’s leader board. Of the top 10 players, only three are from the Bluebirds: Joe Ralls, Sol Bamba and Sean Morrison. Read More

Tottenham Hotspur vs Liverpool Premier League Preview

Tottenham Hotspur vs Liverpool Preview: Just Score First

The ‘head-to-head record’ may well be the weakest statistic used in football but the sport is changing. The top teams, at least, are firmly out of the era of the reactive and into that of proactive tactical approach. Alternatively phased, we now have a lot of managers who are accused of not having a plan B.

As a result, the last seven games between Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur – in the period since Jürgen Klopp took over – have been largely very similar.

Screenshot from 11v11.com

Spurs open themselves up with possession football. Liverpool turn the ball over in midfield and counter-attack with rapid pace. Spurs do a decent job of pressing in return to suffocate the counters, and are less tired by the end of the game so can rally back (as evidenced by the fact only two of their goals in these fixtures have come before 60 minutes). 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.

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Cardiff City vs Arsenal

Cardiff City vs Arsenal Preview: Does Ozil deserve a start in Wales?

After the 3-1 win against West Ham, much of the talk was about the absence of Mesut Ozil from the matchday squad. Unai Emery said the playmaker was ill but had recuperated enough to enter the dressing room before the game. Any other player and it could have slipped under the radar, however it was Ozil.

Prior to the game it was reported that there was a rift between the German and the coach regarding demands that Emery had of Ozil. The former PSG manager denied any rift in the press conference after the game. However, when Emery was asked if he planned to play Ozil in a different position, the Spaniard’s reply was a terse and instructive ‘maybe’.

After Emery took over from Arsene Wenger, he spoke about the need for more intensity in pressing and the need to be more defensively aware. In the three games the coach has managed, there has been measured progress and sparse semblance of what he demands. However, it seems Ozil hasn’t added to the process as much as he needs to. Read More

Firmino and Aguero

A Striking Resemblance: Firmino and Aguero Lead The Way

Both Liverpool and Manchester City have made stylish starts to the new season, displaying brands of football which have prompted suggestions that the title race will be played out between these two North West sides (we’re not allowed to call them rivals yet).

Even though these teams have scored nine and seven goals respectively in their opening three games, doubts are still raised about their strikers, if not of their quality then of their role in the side.

While there are unique traits which separate Sergio Aguero and Roberto Firmino, neither are necessarily bad at the things the other gets praised for, and criticisms can be wide of the mark. They play in similar, if not completely identical, systems and both play a big part in the success of their teams. Read More

The two faces of Manchester City

The two faces of Manchester City

Manchester City’s start to the new season has not entirely gone the way Pep Guardiola probably envisioned. After two stunning performances against Arsenal and Huddersfield Town, the defending champions drew 1-1 with Wolverhampton Wanderers last Sunday. These first three weeks showed the good and the bad side of Guardiola, and the two faces of Manchester City.

Take for instance the decisive win over Huddersfield. Guardiola had to know that Huddersfield were expecting a similar formation to what City played against Arsenal, meaning a system with one centre-forward and two wingers. Hence Guardiola mixed things up switching to a back three and a two-forward formation with Sergio Agüero and Gabriel Jesus up front. Read More

Watford vs Tottenham Hotspur

Watford vs Tottenham Hotspur Preview: Fancifying The Four Four Two

Time and time again, Spurs fans end the season incredibly proud of Mauricio Pochettino’s achievements but questioning what might have been if only the team had started the season as strongly as they were throughout the rest.

It’s highly promising then that Tottenham have begun the 2018/19 season with three straight wins – that third win coming at Old Trafford, no less.

Already there are hushed tones of a title race and if you brace your ear to the wind you will hear the clickity-clackity sound of think pieces on the power of not making any transfers being typed into existence.

Still, a tough test does lie ahead if Spurs want to make it four in four and start separating themselves on the table this early in the season.

Pochettino found eventual success against José Mourinho’s Manchester United after shifting to a 4-2-2-2 shape which has been a consistent for Watford in their opening three games. Read More

Burnley vs Manchester United Preview

Burnley vs Manchester United Preview: Mourinho’s last chance?

Instead of lifting the gloom, Manchester United sunk deeper into it. The Red Devils earliest ‘must win’ game of the season went badly wrong and José Mourinho’s men lost to Tottenham 0-3 in front of their own fans at Old Trafford.

Never before had Mourinho seen one of his teams lose 3-0 in their own back yard, making Monday’s match his worst-ever home defeat. For the first time in his 18 year managerial career, Mourinho has lost two of his first three league games.

3-5-2 against Spurs saw some positives

After United’s insipid defeat to Brighton, the manager made his moves. In total, Mourinho made six changes to his starting line-up. Andreas Pereira, Juan Mata and Anthony Martial were the three players substituted at the Amex Stadium, and none of them even made the squad against Tottenham. Read More

Leicester City vs Liverpool Premier League Preview

Leicester City vs Liverpool Preview: Summer Additions Make Difference for Reds

Round four of the 2018/19 season kicks off on Saturday lunchtime with Leicester City vs Liverpool at the King Power Stadium. The former league champions from 2015/16 will play host to the current table-toppers.

The Foxes prepare to welcome Liverpool on the back of successive victories against Wolves and Southampton, but they will face a daunting task of halting the rampant Reds and their perfect start to the campaign. Leicester will be looking at Harry Maguire to maintain his fine run of form, but will it be enough to stop the inspired Liverpool?

Rampant Reds

It feels great being a Liverpool supporter at the moment. The Reds have made a sensational start to the new season with three straight victories, despite putting in a slightly below-par performance against Brighton and Hove Albion last time out. 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