Leicester City vs Tottenham

Leicester City vs Tottenham Preview: The shifting press

It’s funny how the momentum seems to shift from game to game in the Premier League this season. Of course, in part, this comes from the media need for interest to be generated across a 38-game season. But in this case, the artist formerly known as the Top 4, now imaginatively titled the Top 6, has something of a turbulent feel to it.

Take Spurs, for example. Going from a 3-1 win over London rivals Chelsea to a 4-2 loss to London rivals Arsenal (via a 1-0 win over Inter in the Champions League), it’s hard to know exactly how we should be viewing Mauricio Pochettino’s team.

Not that a team is only as good as it’s last game. In many respects, Tottenham’s loss to Arsenal can be traced to a failure in its ‘diamond’ pressing system to account for Arsenal’s ability to use width. Read More

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

Inter Milan vs Tottenham Champions League Preview

Inter Milan vs Tottenham Preview: Can Spurs pick themselves up?

Tottenham will need to improve on recent results if they are to get anything out of Tuesday night’s game against Inter Milan.

Spurs’ 2-1 defeat to Liverpool on Saturday was a flattering score line for the north London club, who had one of their sloppiest performances under Mauricio Pochettino. Tottenham were slow off the blocks and conceded in the first minute, only for the goal to be ruled offside. However, this did not send a warning to the Spurs players who continued to play their lacklustre football with multiple passes going astray and a number of them leading to Liverpool chances.

Just before half time the first goal scored by Liverpool came in that fashion with Spurs failing to clear the ball and Christian Eriksen heading the ball back to Liverpool who scored from the resulting corner.

Michel Vorm was heavily criticised for his poor contact of the ball that allowed Wijnaldum to head in, with the referee having to revert to goal line technology for clarification of the ball going in. Liverpool later doubled their lead after the ball hit the post and Michel Vorm couldn’t scramble onto the rebound, which resulted in Firmino tapping home. Read More

Gareth Southgate's England Team

Twelve’s algorithm selects Gareth Southgate’s England team

England had a strange World Cup. They lost three matches yet returned as heroes, but also didn’t lose any game which really mattered inside 90 minutes. It was certainly a successful tournament from a PR perspective, as the England team reconnected with a fan base which had grown increasingly disconnected. The real question is whether or not they can sustain the love-in for a couple of years until the next European Championships.

Gareth Southgate’s first chance to uphold his newly found superstar status comes over the next week, when England take on Spain in UEFA’s gleaming new Nations League competition, then play a friendly against Switzerland. He has selected his squad, so at Twelve we thought it’d be interesting to pick the best team based on the players’ performance this season.

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