Chelsea vs Fulham

Chelsea vs Fulham Preview: Cottagers will find Spurs hard to imitate

The fixture-laden December period is finally upon us. Chelsea begin theirs by welcoming Fulham to Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

Chelsea’s unbeaten run ended in smoke when they visited Tottenham at Wembley last weekend. Apparently, Mauricio Pochettino had all the answers for Sarri-ball.

It doesn’t take much imagination to figure out what happens next; as much as possible, the Blues will try to bounce back. Maurizio Sarri can see daylight appearing quickly between his side and table-toppers Manchester City – they’re now seven points adrift. Read More

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Premier League Team of Week 13

Premier League Team of Week 13: Aladdin Sané

Our Premier League team of week 13 features six debutants. Some are from struggling clubs, and some are Leroy Sané. But all have earned their place here, and can be found in the upper echelons of this week’s leader board. Let’s see who our algorithm has selected for the XI.

Goalkeeper: Wayne Hennessey. Manchester United 0-0 Crystal Palace.

Hennessey topped the defence leader board in week 13, thanks mainly to making five saves (including one from a clear-cut chance). But he also won four aerial duels, which was the joint-most by any player in their own half in this match. For context, Ederson, Fabianski, Lloris and Schmeichel have won four in total this season. Read More

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Tottenham vs Inter

Tottenham vs Inter Preview: Spurs in high spirits ahead of crucial clash

Spurs go into their must win midweek Champions League clash against Internazionale in great spirits after pulling off their best performance of the season, beating Chelsea 3-1 at Wembley.

Spurs’ 3-1 scoreline against Chelsea was a flattering one for the Blues who were outplayed for 90 minutes and had Tottenham been more clinical, the score could have been even higher.

Spurs were rampant from the get-go playing with a high intensity, managing to create a number of chances before going 1-0 up after eight minutes after Dele Alli latched onto a free kick from Christian Eriksen and headed in.

Spurs made it 2-0 after 16 minutes when Harry Kane was given too much space on the edge of the box and his shot from 25-yards beat David Luiz and Kepa Arrizabalaga. Twelve’s algorithm rated Kane as the man of the match.

Chelsea manager Mauruzio Sarri said after the game that with Spurs if Inter Milan are to stop Tottenham they must thwart off their early high intensity onslaught in the first 30 minutes by disrupting their flow. Read More

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Manchester United vs Young Boys Champions League preview

Manchester United vs Young Boys Preview: Attack! Attack! Attack!

After a disappointing weekend, Manchester United fans will be hoping the manager and players can redeem themselves somewhat when they take on Young Boys at home in the Champions League on Tuesday night.

On the back of a difficult period of fixtures, which has seen them face the likes of Manchester City, Juventus and Chelsea all away from home, United now have a string of easier games. The result against Crystal Palace suggests these matches won’t be as simple as they should be though.

However, you would imagine that despite their recent form, United should be able to secure a result against the Swiss side. Away from home, United won 3-0, thanks to goals from Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial, so a home victory shouldn’t be beyond them.

All eyes will be on Jose Mourinho’s team selection though, with him stubbornly picking Nemanja Matic and Romelu Lukaku whenever they are available, regardless of their performances. This season, both have fallen way short of expectations yet Mourinho has persisted. Read More

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PSG vs Liverpool

PSG vs Liverpool Preview: Will the real Liverpool please stand up?

PSG vs Liverpool has the potential to be a classic, a feast of attacking football which people will look back upon for years to come. But there’s a potential fly in the ointment; the Reds’ two away performances in the 2018/19 Champions League suggest they don’t stand a chance in Paris.

What’s weird about their losses at Napoli and Crvena Zvezda is that they are so out of character with Liverpool’s results this season. Granted, their performance level within matches they’ve won has left a little to be desired at times. However, as the following chart of their expected goal stats from the season so far will demonstrate, by this measure at least they’ve largely got the results they deserved. Read More

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Lyon vs Manchester City

Lyon vs Manchester City Preview: Lyon To Themselves

The first game of City’s Champions League campaign happened to be their worst result of the season so far. A 1-2 reverse to Olympique Lyonnais has since been followed by several decisive European victories against Hoffenheim and Shakhtar Donetsk, but as City’s only defeat this season the memory still lingers.

Did Lyon’s win mean they have some sort of secret sauce to beat City? Not particularly. This was more City being out of sorts in their initial Champions League encounter

Lyon’s defensive shape was pretty high, though they were decidedly not pressing City’s center-backs, waiting until the ball moved to Fernandinho to apply pressure. This is generally the right approach as City can eviscerate a high press and conceding too much space is often a death sentence.

City’s Usage Rates from the game appear to show Lyon’s approach worked, with Fernandinho’s Usage substantially increased from his season’s average as he struggled with passing and lost the ball three times. That said, most of the time City failed in the buildup it was mostly their own making, not an exceptional Lyon effort. Read More

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Premier League Fantasy Football selections: Week 13

Whisper it, but fantasy football games are really difficult to do well at. We certainly proved that with our attempt at Draft Kings‘ Saturday contest prior to the recent international break. Long-term Twelve favourite Roberto Pereyra was the best of our bad bunch, but as none of our players got into double figures, that’s damning the Hornet with the faintest of faint praise.

As always, we go again. Here are the matches which are included this week.

Premier League Fantasy Football selections: Week 13

Using our algorithm, we create a leader board (which you can see here) from which to choose our eight players. Here’s our Premier League Fantasy Football selections: Week 13. Take heed. Read More

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Manchester United vs Crystal Palace

Manchester United vs Crystal Palace: Did United learn their lesson?

Jose Mourinho registered yet another loss against Pep Guardiola and it seems their eternal battle came to an end. It’s been a long time since we had the opportunity to live up to the hype of the Manchester derby. The clash between the two Manchester sides at the Etihad was rather one-sided and saw the home side go 12 points clear of their neighbors after just 12 games of the 2018/19 Premier League season.

The brightest spark in Mourinho’s side was once again Anthony Martial. The young French starlet made it five straight Premier League games with a goal from the penalty spot after Ederson had brought down Romelu Lukaku.

But that was all from United at the Etihad. Their only shot on target was the penalty, and Ilkay Gundogan wrapped up the points for City after an amazing 44 passes between City players prior to the third goal five minutes from time. Read More

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Tottenham Hotspur vs Chelsea Premier League Preview

Tottenham Hotspur vs Chelsea Preview: Deep lying midfielders pivotal

Here is a clash the whole world will watch with attention. The fourth-placed Mauricio Pochettino meet the third-placed Maurizio Sarri in a London derby full of tactical options and two teams looking for the top of the table.

The name “Maurizio” has its origins in Latin language and it means “the one with the dark skin”. Not that this information means something to the match, but I always like to bring some outside knowledge to my Twelve previews.

Pochettino was Marcelo Bielsa’s apprentice. The Argentinean master, today at Leeds United, had a very similar career as Sarri: the same age, and both started at small amateur clubs while they worked at a bank to pay their bills.

And that’s it. There’s no similarities between the managers and their football philosophies. Sarri plays a 4-3-3 with lot of possession, short passes, acceleration in the final third and trying to master set pieces.

Against a team with these features, Tottenham may have difficulties. Taking a look at Effective Time Possession against Manchester City (who utilise a similar play model to Chelsea), Spurs won the midfield but lost on defense, where Guardiola’s players ruled the match. Read More

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West Ham vs Manchester City

West Ham vs Manchester City Preview: What hope the Hammers?

Previewing Manchester City games is like reading Romeo and Juliet for the first time: you know how it ends even if you don’t know how it will quite get there.

Pep Guardiola’s team are favourites to take home the Premier League trophy again this season. If you doubt this fact, then maybe the data will convince you. Take, for example, expected goal (xG) values from the 12 games so far this season. Of the top six teams, Manchester City are the only side who have consistently produced a greater xG for than their opponents have produced against them.

West Ham vs Manchester City Premier League Preview

If this isn’t impressive enough as it is, City’s average xG For – hovering, as it is, just below the 3 xG per 90 line – has only been bettered by Manchester United in one of their games so far (against Bournemouth away). Guardiola, then, is producing an average xG For better than Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United have managed in 11 of their 12 games. Read More

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