Crystal Palace vs Tottenham Hotspur

Crystal Palace vs Tottenham Preview: The Dominoes of Depth

It is up there with the very cruelest of realities that football has to offer. Once one player is absent the remaining players have to pick up their minutes to compensate. In doing so they increase their own fatigue and risk of muscular injury, creating further absences. Quickly the physio room stacks up it’s victims in a domino effect and everyone involved with the club feels particularly unlucky.

Twelve’s xG Timeline captures how tight Tottenham’s games have become over the winter period and the squad has only become thinner since, with Dele Alli’s hamstring tear at Fulham and the Chelsea game seeing Ben Davies and Moussa Sissoko taken off too.

Tottenham Hotspur Expected Goals

With Sunday’s game sandwiched between a League Cup semi-final and a Premier League visit from Watford, such a situation at Tottenham gives way to the question ‘How do you rotate when you’re already starting your second choice players?’. Of course the answer that immediately presents itself, wide-eyed and very willing, is the academy squad. Read More

Crystal Palace vs Chelsea

Crystal Palace vs Chelsea Preview: Frontmen form makes it hard to predict

Chelsea are aiming to keep hold of fourth place in the table as they head to south London to face Crystal Palace on Sunday. Eden Hazard’s brace sank Watford on Boxing Day to send Maurizio Sarri’s Blues above Arsenal into the Champions League qualification places with half the season gone.

As for Palace, Roy Hodgson’s Eagles have climbed to 14th with seven points from their last three games, and a 3-2 win at champions Manchester City will serve as a warning for this London derby. This lad likes surprises.

Looking at Twelve’s leader board between both sides, we have a top five of Chelsea players. Of course Hazard is the leader, but after him, it’s a little bit surprising – at least to me – that defensive players are leading the Blues’ best performances. Read More

Crystal Palace vs Tottenham Hotspur

Crystal Palace vs Tottenham Hotspur Preview: Midfield Missing

Central midfield has not stopped being the overarching theme all season and the most recent games are no exception. Last time we checked in things were looking up with Mousa Dembele and also Harry Winks finding fitness at the same time. This was shortly followed by both defensive midfielders, Eric Dier and Victor Wanyama, becoming injured and then Mousa Dembele going down in some pain during the opening two minutes against Wolves.

All this combined to lead Pochettino starting a midfield duo of Harry Winks and Christian Eriksen against PSV midweek, a midfield thinness not seen since Tim Sherwood infamously played Nacer Chadli in the role.

Often, when mentality is discussed, and it is discussed often, it’s perceived as a singular aspect. “He was mentally strong”, “He was mentally weak”, “They had a winning mentality”, “They had a losing mentality”. Tuesday night’s victory over PSV seemed to showcase some of the complexity and nuance around the psychological side of the game. Read More

Chelsea vs Crystal Palace

Chelsea vs Crystal Palace Preview: Time for the first time

Let me put a question to you, Premier League fans: when was the last time you did something for the first time ever? Well, Mr. Roy Hodgson will meet Sarri’s boys for the first time this season. And I believe he is very excited to do so.

I mean, who wouldn’t be? Imagine you are a football manager and you must prepare your team to face one of the most brilliant teams of the season, at their ground. Also, you should be prepared to play against a couple of talented players, who can beat you in the blink of an eye.

Chelsea vs Crystal Palace

Looking at Chelsea’s ‘Effective Time Possession’ graphic against Burnley, it’s all about the left side. Assuming they will repeat patterns, the connection between Marco Alonso and Eden Hazard will be key. Perhaps the most dangerous duo in the Premier League this season? Read More

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

Crystal Palace vs Liverpool preview

Crystal Palace vs Liverpool Preview: Flight of the full-backs

Crystal Palace vs Liverpool always sees goals. The Reds have travelled to Selhurst Park six times in league and cup since Palace returned to the top flight in 2013, and every match has seen both teams score and at least three goals in total. Liverpool have conceded first but gone on to win nine league games under Jürgen Klopp, with two of them being at Palace. Expect drama, expect goals, and expect the full-backs to be heavily involved.

Last weekend was a remarkable one for wide defenders. No, not you, Ruddock, I’m talking about full-backs. Of the 18 players credited with an assist on the opening match week of the new Premier League season, six were full-backs. Not only that, but the only two players to set up two goals were left-backs. Neither Benjamin Mendy nor José Holebas will feature here, but plenty of talented, pacy and creative players will. Read More