Crystal Palace vs Arsenal: Eagles look to stop their slide

This London derby has a lot riding on it. Crystal Palace are a talented team but they haven’t turned that into points at nearly a high enough pace and sit in 16th place, just a pair of points above the relegation zone. Arsenal are on an eleven match win streak (seven in the league) that has propelled them into the top four and just a pair of points off the top of the table.

Crystal Palace midfield issues

One of the biggest issues for Crystal Palace is that they lost two very important pieces of their midfield in Yohan Cabaye and Ruben Loftus-Cheek. Cabaye is now in the UAE but last season he was the second best midfielder in the Twelve rankings overall and the best in what he added through attack. Loftus-Cheek is back at Chelsea (but has played just 33 minutes) while last year he was the third best midfielder and second best midfielder in their attacking rankings.

This season Luka Milivojevic and James McArthur have been tasked with leading the midfield. They haven’t been horrible, ranking among the top half of Crystal Palace players but in the overall rankings among other midfielder in the Premier League they are well down the list (16th and 17th respectively), especially on a points per minute basis where they fall to 35th and 34th. Read More

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Barcelona vs Real Madrid La Liga Preview

Barcelona vs Real Madrid: Fear and loathing at Camp Nou

Last time I wrote about Real Madrid for Twelve, one month ago, Julen Lopetegui’s squad was an exciting football machine, reinventing itself with freshness and bravery, with two re-ignited veterans, Karin Benzema and Gareth Bale, finding their way where Cristiano Ronaldo used to shine.

Then came Sevilla (3-0) and a Red October, and the dreams of a coach-oriented Real Madrid have evaporated. Now we come to the first Clásico since 2007 without the Cristiano-Messi duel, and the questions seem to multiply. Read More

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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

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Manchester United vs Everton Premier League Preview

Manchester United vs Everton: Is it time for Mourinho to drop Lukaku?

It was a year ago that the Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho declared that his striker and new signing Romelu Lukaku was “untouchable”.

But after a succession of underwhelming performances from the Belgian this season Mourinho might be forced to change his opinion, and even drop him for the visit of Everton this Sunday.

Lukaku has too often been wasteful and lethargic, and has now not scored in his last eight games in all competitions.

On Tuesday night in United’s 1-0 defeat to Juventus in the Champions League he was particularly anonymous, touching the ball only 32 times, the least of any outfield player, while also having the worse pass completion rate of any starting player. Read More

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Napoli vs Roma Serie A Preview

Napoli vs Roma Preview: Dzeko-in-the-Box to pop a surprise

The Serie A highlight fixture this weekend is Sunday night’s Derby del Sole.

Also known as the Derby of the Sun, Napoli vs Roma is traditionally a highly competitive event. A fierce football show is expected at Stadio San Paolo on Sunday as well, as both teams prepare to go head to head on the back of successful midweek outings.

Midweek Warmup

The hosts put in a brave performance to put an end to PSG’s six-match winning run with the 2-2 draw at Parc des Princes, whereas Roma eased to a 3-0 home triumph against Russian heavyweights CSKA Moscow.

As the only unbeaten side in Champions League Group C, Napoli switch their focus back to Serie A. The Partenopei have been challenging Juventus for the coveted Scudetto title for years now. With Carlo Ancelotti at the helm this season they are aiming for the very top and it is Roma who stand as a real test to their title credentials. Read More

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Liverpool vs Cardiff City Premier League Preview

Liverpool vs Cardiff City Preview: Bluebirds to puzzle Liverbirds?

Liverpool haven’t looked much like losing too often recently – aside from in their debacle in Naples, or when Manchester City got a late penalty at Anfield – but neither have they been tearing teams apart. Prior to their 4-0 win against Crvena Zvezda on Wednesday, the Reds hadn’t scored more than once in their preceding five matches. What can we expect from their game against Cardiff City?

The visitors cause won’t have been aided by Liverpool’s Champions League endeavours. The Reds’ first choice attacking trio all scored in midweek. It was the first time they’d managed that feat this season, but the ninth in the 14 months that Mohamed Salah has been at the club.  Read More

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Premier League Fantasy Football Picks: Week Ten

Premier League Fantasy Football Picks: Week Ten

It’s time to review our selection process for the Draft Kings game. Last week’s team was not very successful, but neither was it entirely without merit. We suggested Mohamed Salah was due three goals and he duly obliged this week. Sadly for this competition two of his tally came against Crvena Zvezda, but he still bagged 19 fantasy points with his goal against Huddersfield.

Asmir Begovic got 13 points for his clean sheet against Southampton, but those two aside our team was a flop. So we’ve revised our strategy, but before we get to that, here are the matches from which we have to select our eight players this week.

Premier League Fantasy Football Picks: Week Ten Read More

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PSV Eindhoven vs Tottenham Hotspur Champions League Preview

PSV Eindhoven vs Tottenham Hotspur Preview: Containing Chucky

In Tottenham’s first two games of the season Pochettino fielded a creative but lightweight midfield. In the opening 45 minutes Spurs created enough chances to gain a lead and in the second half the opposition realised they should take advantage of Spurs’ somewhat soft midfield and press back. On both occasions Pochettino brought Mousa Dembele off the bench to calm the game down and see out the win.

Saturday’s victory over West Ham was much the same affair, only with Harry Winks and Mousa Sissoko in place of Eriksen and Dele to form the initial midfield trio with Eric Dier. Read More

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Liverpool vs Crvena Zvezda

Liverpool vs Crvena Zvezda Preview: Time to hit top gear

Mohamed Salah’s 50th goal in English football and the Reds’ 200th victory on the road in the Premier League era were a perfect introduction for the Champions League clash against the Serbian champions Crvena Zvezda.

Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp might be pleased to be “winning average games” for the first time in his career following his team’s hard-fought 1-0 win at Huddersfield but the Reds will need to up their game in order to remain in the running for major honours this season.

Klopp’s men need to be winning average games with more ease in order to gain mental strength and boost optimism both within the squad and around it.

With another potentially ‘average’ match on the horizon, Liverpool have a chance to hit top gear again, following a string of low key performances and results which have not been up to the standards Jürgen Klopp has introduced at Anfield. Read More

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Barcelona vs Internazionale Champions League Preview

Barcelona vs Internazionale Preview: Who will save Valverde?

A potential thriller awaits at Camp Nou on Wednesday, not just because it pits La Liga’s champions against one of Serie A’s heavyweights, but also as it could go a long way in deciding who wins Group B. Both teams have a full haul of six points and will be keen to open-up some daylight at the top of the table.

Let’s go right away to Twelve’s Leader Board comparing players of both teams during this Champions League season. It’s no surprise to see Lionel Messi as the best performer. From the Neroazzuri side, Mauro Icardi stands out as the best performer.

Barcelona vs Internazionale Champions League Preview
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