Arsenal vs Cardiff City

Arsenal vs Cardiff Preview: Can Gunners break down a compact defense?

On paper Arsenal vs Cardiff City should be close to a foregone conclusion. This is the team in fifth place hosting the team in 18th, with a gap of 25 points separating the two. However, the tactics that Cardiff are likely to employ are the exact kind that Arsenal have struggled with this season.

Against the teams in the bottom half of the table the Gunners have averaged 2.5 goals per match, good for the fourth best total in the league. That number, however, is a bit on the flattering side as they have managed just 1.6 xG in those matches which is seventh best.

One of the more worrying things in this is the pure number of shots created. Arsenal are creating fewer shots this season than they had in the Arsene Wenger era and that has continued against the weaker teams. Against the bottom half teams this season they are averaging just 12.2 shots per match. That ranks 17th in the league against these clubs Read More

Manchester United vs Huddersfield

Manchester United vs Huddersfield Preview: Ole brings back the joy

Manchester United scored five goals in a Premier League game for the first time since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement on Saturday evening as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s interim reign got off to a perfect start with victory over Cardiff City in south Wales.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could not do too much in his few days on the Manchester United bench, but he certainly managed to bring back a smile to the players’ faces. And above all – he let them play simple, but very efficient football. In short, the Norwegian liberated United’s attacking potential which was locked and hidden deep in Mourinho’s dark basement of negative football ideas. Read More

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

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

Cardiff City vs Manchester City Premier League Preview

Cardiff City vs Manchester City Preview: Keep the Party Going

It must be one of the scenarios coaches often dream of, when you can pick up players from your bench and know that they are going to deliver. Pep Guardiola is in exactly that position right now. A few days ago, Leroy Sané, one of Manchester City’s standout players of last season, was considered to be in a crisis.

The 22-year-old did not make the cut for Joachim Löw’s German national team at the World Cup, which after all was probably a blessing in disguise, and then had a rough start this season. Read More

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

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