West Ham vs Tottenham Premier League Preview

West Ham vs Tottenham Preview: Will Spurs’ injuries cost them?

Tottenham became the first club in the Premier League not to sign a player since the introduction of the summer transfer window in 2003. They are now beginning to rue the missed opportunity to acquire new talent, with their growing injury list.

The first major worry for Tottenham Hotspur is Christian Eriksen. The Dane has been out of action for a number of weeks due to a stomach injury, which his agent has now informed the media could be a chronic injury. He has not confirmed how long he will be out for but it could be weeks or months, which will be a huge blow for Spurs who are lacking a creative spark in the middle.

Furthermore, Jan Vertonghen is expected to be out until December after picking up a hamstring injury in Spurs’ 2-0 win over Huddersfield. Vertonghen had been one of Spurs best performing players this season and his replacement Davinson Sanchez has had a shaky start. Read More

Premier League Fantasy Football Picks: Week Nine

Premier League Fantasy Football Picks: Week Nine

After our winning effort in week seven, we came crashing down to earth last time out. Callum Wilson may have picked up 20.5 points on Draft Kings’ game, but Joe Hart and Harry Maguire scored zilch, zip, zero. With four other players posting single figure points scores, our team fell well short of the cash prizes.

There’s always next week, though, and these are the matches in the selection pool for week nine.

Premier League Fantasy Football Picks: Week Nine

We’ve run the numbers on these 14 teams, resulting in this leader board. Our first piece of advice? Ignore the player at the top of the tree. Read More

Premier League Fantasy Football Picks: Week Eight

In last week’s article, I mentioned that we had yet to win a cash prize on Draft Kings. The gods of fantasy football must’ve taken pity on me, because our barren run is now over. Check this out.

Premier League Fantasy Football Picks: Week Eight

Half a buck! The drinks (glasses of tap water) are on me! Jokes aside, as it was only $0.25 to enter this particular contest, that’s a pretty good return on investment, wouldn’t you say? Let’s see who Twelve’s algorithm has selected for week eight. Read More

Premier League Team of Week 7

Premier League Team of Week 7: Two Harrys and Sterling Silva

It’s week seven in the Premier League, and almost a fifth of the 2018/19 campaign is in the bag already. The game of the weekend was Chelsea’s 1-1 draw with Liverpool, but only players from one side in that match make it in here. We also have seven debutants, including some very big names showing their faces in these parts for the first time. The Premier League team of week 7 begins with a player who only played one half of their match.

Goalkeeper: Bernd Leno. Arsenal 2-0 Watford.

Leno replaced Petr Cech in the Gunners’ home win over Watford, yet despite only playing for 47 minutes, he topped our defence leader board this week. That he was able to do that probably explains why there are no Arsenal defenders in this team. Read More

Brighton vs Tottenham Premier League Preview

Brighton vs Tottenham: Snuffing out or just stuttering?

Tottenham played their best football of the season for a 30-40 minute stretch on Tuesday night before extending their losses to three in a row (which has never been seen before under Mauricio Pochettino) because sometimes that is just how football is.

The underlying mental weakness which Spurs and Pochettino have worked so hard, for so long to banish from the conversation surrounding the club crept back in, as three points as of 85 minutes became none by full time.

The discourse digs in deeper now. Is Pochettino’s head already elsewhere? Are the players still willing to invest? Has the system been found out? Is the project reaching it’s conclusion?

We can’t mind read but we can point to more tactical explanations and solutions. They are three-fold: Read More

Manchester United vs Tottenham Hotspur Preview

Manchester United vs Tottenham Hotspur Preview: Can United lift the gloom?

Manchester United vs Tottenham Hotspur on Monday night is perhaps the earliest ‘must win’ game the Red Devils have ever played.

After an opening day victory over Leicester, United suffered an embarrassing 3-2 defeat away to Brighton the following weekend, and depressing stories about the club have filled the back pages pretty much every day since.

The biggest question mark lies over the defence, with Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof putting in a woeful performance last Sunday. Their shocking errors cost their team the points and José Mourinho has a big decision to make over whether to back them once more for the Spurs game.

To further raise the stakes, World Cup top scorer Harry Kane has broken his infamous August goal-scoring curse and will look to add to his tally at Old Trafford. Alongside Dele Alli, the pair have made a promising start to this Premier League campaign and won’t be overawed by the prospect of facing United away. Read More

The top five player performances at the 2018 World Cup

World Cup Eden Hazard Harry Kane Cristiano Ronaldo Toni Kroos Luka ModricConsidering the whole basis of Twelve’s world is an algorithm, it may seem odd to say we’re not obsessed with the numbers. But it’s the truth; we want fans to write what they think about a match, player or team, and then see what our statistics say, not the other way round. We had numerous excellent articles during the World Cup which did exactly that.

But then again, when you’re generating player scores based on millions of data points, it seems a shame not to see who the top five in a tournament were. After all, who doesn’t love a list they can argue with? If you want to see how a certain player scored in a particular World Cup match, we have a spreadsheet containing links to every game’s leader board, so you’ve got no excuse not to have a look for yourself. Without further ado, here are Twelve’s top five performances at the 2018 World Cup. Read More

Tottenham Hotspur’s Company of the Cup

No fewer than nine players through to the semi-finals of the World Cup are signed to Tottenham Hotspur; more than any other club. The Telegraph’s Jeremy Wilson proposes that Mauricio Pochettino is the ‘most influential coach’ at the tournament.

It’s certainly nice to view his coaching through that lens and to also look at this as a mark of Spurs’ academy production and focus on smart recruitment of young, often domestic, talent paying off.

Another element is Pochettino’s clear influence on England’s play-style. Bielsa style counter-pressing and use of a three man defence to facilitate a Positional Play model are two major principles shared by both the club and the national team – though similar traits are also shared by Conte’s Chelsea and Pep’s City.

There can be little doubt that Pochettino is at the forefront of tactical and coaching development, a spearhead of effective, proactive football. The reality of the situation, though, is that it’s simply quite a lot down to chance that Tottenham boast such an impressive nine man ‘Company of the Cup’.

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Tunisia 1-2 England: Kane the hero, but Henderson the heartbeat

England are up and running at the 2018 World Cup, but only just. Well, not exactly. Yes they left it incredibly late to score the winner, but they had already had the best collection of chances any team has mustered in Russia this week.

Harry Kane was the hero as he scored both goals, but that aside he did very little. That’s the life of an elite goalscorer I suppose, but without the points from his brace he’d be lurking in mid-table on our rankings chart for the match.


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England 2-1 Nigeria: Match Review

England began their World Cup preparations with a 2-1 win over Nigeria at Wembley. But the visitors are off to Russia shortly too, so the match was just as important to them, and both sides will have taken some important learning points from the encounter.

Gary Cahill was the official man of the match, and the BBC agreed, but far more important than either of those is the Twelve award. Fortunately for the Chelsea man, he came out on top in our rankings too.

With 1,000 points awarded for a goal, it’s no surprise to see the game’s three scorers taking the top three slots here, as that can often happen. However, you can see from the blue bars in the chart that if we were to exclude goals out of interest, Cahill was still the second best performer in the match, and only a shade behind Kieran Trippier.

The Spurs’ wing back had a good match, assisting the opening goal from a corner. This played a huge part in Trippier amassing the most attacking points of any player.

This illustrates how Twelve rates players on more than chances created when it comes to their attacking output. While Trippier created two chances, his Spurs teammate Dele Alli set up four, but the latter was only fifth in the attacking rankings for this match. The quality of a chance created is usually far more important than the total number of them.

The same appears to be true when it comes to tackles in the defensive stats. Jesse Lingard was on the field for 66 minutes, and in that time he made a remarkable seven tackles. Time for a little context: the most consistently frequent tacklers tend to average around four for every 90 minutes they play. Extrapolate Lingard’s figures to a full match, and you get to 9.5 tackles. He’d struggle to make half a tackle, but you take the point.

But this was also a game in which his side dominated the ball, to the tune of having 59% of the possession. Factor that in to the equation, and it implies the Manchester United man would’ve made 13 tackles in a full match if the possession split was even. Such numberwanging is all hypothetical of course, but it shows the work Lingard was putting in, and England will need that sort of endeavour in Russia if they are to succeed.

However, with tackles carrying a light weighting in the Twelve system, Lingard only ranked 13th for defensive points. The real star in this category was Brighton’s new signing, Leon Balogun. He only played the first half, and as his side were 2-0 down at the break, you may wonder how he amassed the second most defensive points in the match (behind Cahill) and the most on a points per minute basis. But he did.

Balogun’s key contribution was a clearance in the 30th minute, which was worth 138 points. That tally alone would’ve been enough for eighth place in the defensive rankings.

A word also for Francis Uzoho, the young Nigerian goalkeeper. He may have been at fault for Harry Kane’s goal, and was penalised with a defensive error by Opta in their stats, but his overall performance on Twelve’s ratings was strong. The highlight was saving an (Opta-defined) clear-cut chance from Lingard in the 29th minute, which was worth a stunning 745 points.

It may seem odd to end with a negative note on Harry Kane, as he ultimately scored the winning goal, but it was his only shot of the match. Gareth Southgate’s England side have scored 14 goals in matches featuring Kane, and the Tottenham talisman has scored eight of them and assisted another.

The Three Lions understandably rely on him, but his shot numbers have been lower since he last returned from injury. If England are to make a serious impact in Russia, they will need more from their main man.