Arsenal vs Manchester United

Arsenal vs Manchester United Preview: Battle for 4th can take a back seat

A few weeks ago, Manchester United were an incredible 11 points behind Arsenal. Now, goal difference alone separates them. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has revolutionised life at Old Trafford while Unai Emery seems to have lost a grip on things recently. After going on an amazing run a few months ago, Arsenal have lost four of their last nine in all competitions.

However, the recent win over an “unmotivated and mentally weak” Chelsea may have galvanised them. It was a big result and their first big game of three, with them facing Manchester City a week after United in the FA Cup.

While the rivalry between United and Arsenal isn’t what it once was, there’s still no love lost between the two sets of fans. While nothing beats a win over Liverpool for United, or a win over Tottenham Hotspur for Arsenal, the supporters will be well up for seeing their team knock the other out of this competition on Friday. Read More

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Mohamed Salah Leroy Sane Premier League wingers

Tactical Analysis: Contrasting Style of Premier League Wingers

The Premier League has seen an array of wingers in years gone by. But with managers willing to try different things to adapt to the modern-day game, we have witnessed the wingers performing different roles in different set-ups. Below we will analyse the distinct types of wide players, focusing on England’s top flight.

Firstly, let us define the role. A winger is an attacking midfielder who plays in wide areas, from where they can cross the ball and dribble past defenders. All in all, they are present to support the attacks from the sides of the field. Generally, a player playing in this position possesses pace to make runs in behind the defence, especially on counter-attacks.

The “yesteryear football” in England was predominantly about teams playing the 4-4-2 system with two wingers high and wide, crossing the ball on a regular basis with two strikers present in the box to attack those deliveries. Sir Alex Ferguson won countless trophies with Manchester United playing the flat 4-4-2 or 4-4-1-1.

Back then the full-backs were defenders first, who would move forward if given the opportunity. However, the tale has changed in the modern game. The full-backs are like half-wingers themselves, hence they move forward whenever the team is in possession. It has made their job tougher in a positive sense, as they have to run up and down the pitch for the whole game, with a chance of making an impact at both ends of the field. Read More

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Premier League team of week 23 captain, Diogo Jota

Premier League Team of Week 23: Jota’s Hat-Trick Heroics

With a hat trick against Leicester, Diogo Jota was always going to make the cut, but who else is in our Premier League team of week 23? You can view the full leader board here, so let’s begin with a veteran goalkeeper who often appears in our XI.

Goalkeeper: Ben Foster. Watford 0-0 Burnley.

Foster picked up his fifth clean sheet of the season, but far more importantly his fourth team of the week cap. He was assisted in his efforts by… Read More

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Harry Kane injured ahead of Fulham vs Tottenham Hotspur

Fulham vs Tottenham Hotspur Preview: Injury turmoil to undermine Spurs?

Tottenham’s title hopes have all but vanished after their 1-0 defeat to Manchester United at Wembley last week. In what can only be described as a game of two halves Tottenham will go into their match against Fulham feeling hard done by having not even taken a point.

The Red Devils made the most of Spurs’ slow start and threatened on the counter-attack before punishing Tottenham with a goal from Marcus Rashford just before the break. He coolly slotted past Hugo Lloris, who received criticism for his positioning as the shot came in.

In the second half the roles reversed with Tottenham taking control of the game creating chance after chance only to be denied by a spectacular performance from David De Gea. The Spanish international kept only his 4thclean sheet of the season, pulling off a number of excellent saves with his feet. Read More

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Huddersfield vs Manchester City

Huddersfield vs Manchester City Preview: New manager bounce?

There may not be any sport which is drawn so magnetically to the apocryphal as football. The idea that marquee signings recoup their value through shirt sales. Pundits citing win-loss records from the last 50 years in games between two teams who are now made up of entirely different players. The idea that there is such a thing as a ‘ball to hand’ rule. And then there is the New Manager Bounce.

It seems obvious enough: you get rid of your old manager; bring in a new one; the results are almost certain to turn around at once (even if only for a short period). There is only one problem: it’s almost certainly not true.

When Omar Chaudhuri, head of football intelligence at the London-based sports consultants 21st Club spoke to Reuters about the New Manager Bounce, he was quite clear — there is no evidence that it exists:

“What we see is that when managers are sacked, a lot of the times their teams have been playing okay, but without luck. It only needs one crucial moment per game to go against you and that is the difference between three points and one or one point and no points. In most cases sacked managers are unlucky.

“It’s like calling tails five times in a row in a coin toss and losing each one. The next person calls tails and wins. It’s the same with a football manager.”

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Real Madrid vs Sevilla

Real Madrid vs Sevilla Preview: The burden of the unbranded

Being this already a season to forget, Real Madrid will enter the field on Saturday at Santiago Bernabéu with a modest concern. A win over Sevilla guarantees the third position for Los Blancos, a place they must keep in order to make the history books less harsh about the club’s most ridiculous campaign in the last twenty years.

With the 1-0 defeat to Leganés last Wednesday, in the Copa del Rey quarterfinals, Santiago Solari’s side registered it’s 10th loss this season – ironically on the same day the eternal missing Cristiano Ronaldo conquered his first trophy in a Juventus jersey.

To find so clumsy a year, one needs to go back to 1998/1999, when they ended in second position, being beaten 12 times in La Liga. At the end of the season, coach Guus Hiddink was replaced by John Toshack. But the thing about this Real Madrid is that some triumphs are as shameful as their losses.

Everyone that saw the 2-1 win over Real Betis last Sunday is aware that Quique Setien’s side was far superior for the whole of second half, and Ceballos’s decisive free-kick in injury time was an undeserved rabbit from the top hat, to say the least. Read More

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Arsenal vs Chelsea

Arsenal vs Chelsea Preview: Emery’s side need more creativity

At the start of the season, if you had been told that by January Mesut Ozil would not be in the Arsenal starting line-up and Aaron Ramsay had agreed a deal to join Juventus, you would have assumed that Unai Emery had been able to forge ahead and enjoy a hugely successful first five months at the Emirates stadium.

Alas, you would be very wrong indeed.

Despite Arsenal casting aside two of their most talented players, they are currently stranded in fifth place, 16 points behind the leaders Liverpool. After the 1-0 defeat to West Ham last Saturday there were even ridiculously premature murmurings of ‘Emery Out’ among some frustrated Arsenal fans. The Spanish manager can sense this growing dissatisfaction, and addressed it this week.

“When a club changes manager, it is because they want something new,” he said. “The challenge is to identify the good things, but also obviously, there were lots of things to change and improve here.”

Ahead of Chelsea’s visit to the Emirates on Saturday evening, one of the most pressing issues Emery needs to improve is the lack of creativity in his side. Read More

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Liverpool vs Crystal Palace

Liverpool vs Crystal Palace Preview: Injury woes to hobble the Reds?

Four points clear at the top of the Premier League but as many defenders short would be the easiest way to describe the conundrum Liverpool find themselves in at the moment.

Bad news arrived from Melwood this week as Trent Alexander-Arnold became the latest injury setback to add to Jürgen Klopp’s defensive headache.

The 20-year-old right-back played through the full 90 minutes against Brighton but the extent of the knee injury he picked up during the warm-up revealed itself fully after the match. At the moment it is extremely difficult to put a definite timescale on TAA’s return but it’s certain he will be out of contention for Crystal Palace.

The England international has been one of the outstanding performers for Reds this season and will be greatly missed against the Eagles. The Twelve algorithm rates him as the seventh most valuable Liverpool player after 22 league matches, which can be considered quite an impressive feat given the attack-oriented nature of Klopp’s side. Read More

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Manchester United vs Brighton

Manchester United vs Brighton Preview: Solskjaer to sink Seagulls?

Manchester United have made it. Six wins from six games under interim manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær was clearly enough to lift the dark clouds from Old Trafford. Sunday’s 1-0 win against Tottenham at Wembley was the final evidence that the Norwegian coach is very serious about getting the role permanently at the end of the season as he won the ‘audition for the Old Trafford job’ against Mauricio Pochettino.

The result against Spurs saw United move level on points with Arsenal in fifth place as Solskjær surpassed Sir Matt Busby’s record for the best start as Red Devils manager, while also seeing his side keep back-to-back clean sheets in the Premier League for the first time this season.

The game with Tottenham was Solskjær’s first against a top side and a chance for United’s interim manager to show everyone that enthusiasm, a good atmosphere and friendly relationships with players wasn’t all he has brought to United. Solskjær had a chance to show he was able to outsmart the club’s first favorite to take over the Old Trafford job next summer. Was he successful? Yes, but only to some extent. Read More

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Premier League Fantasy Football Week 23 selections

Our week 22 team may not have won us any money, but we did pick up more points than we have for quite some time. Mohamed Salah top scored with 18.5 points, with the likes of Ben Foster (15) and David Luiz (14) also making decent contributions.

But, much like Supergrass, we’re in it for the money. Draft Kings‘ game has seven matches from which we can select our team in week 23, so by using our algorithm to find the players who have performed best over the last six weeks, we’ve assembled our squad. Before we reveal all, here are the matches this week.

Draft Kings Fantasy Football Week 23 matches Read More

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