Chelsea vs Manchester City premier League Preview

Chelsea vs Manchester City Preview: Stop Jorginho, stop Chelsea?

“English football has an exceptional holding midfielder,” said Pep Guardiola in August. If he had got his way, that outstanding anchorman would be a Manchester City player. Instead a player Guardiola was confident of signing will face them. Jorginho was reunited instead with Maurizio Sarri at Chelsea. Rather than building a side around the Italy international, the Catalan will instead attempt to stop him constructing attacks in Chelsea vs Manchester City on Saturday.

Guardiola’s argument that Jorginho is outstanding is indisputable in one respect: the former Napoli man stands out in the statistics, topping the charts for touches and passes this season. He broke the Premier League record for most passes attempted against West Ham, attempting 180 in a performance that earned him 3,086 points on Twelve’s system. Look at Twelve’s diagram of his display that day (and untick ‘only important actions’ to see everything he did) and it indicates how pivotal he was. 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

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

Chelsea

The changing impact of the Chelsea midfield under Sarri

We always talk about changing ways in which a team play their game when there is a switch in manager. This was not really the case when Chelsea replaced Jose Mourinho with Antonio Conte. The Italian was akin to the Portuguese in a way that defence-first was the order of the day for both. It rather agitated the Blues’ fans as teams began to work that tactic out, and the football became boring.

So making a progress in the style of play was in need before the start of this season. The board responded by hiring ex-Napoli manager Maurizio Sarri. A banker by trade, Sarri did not play football professionally. He took part in amateur games as a central defender and coached a few youth teams while performing his day job.

From Empoli to Naples, the 59-year-old created his reputation as an attack-minded coach. It was contrasting to what we generally hear about Italian born coaches, who put emphasis on being defensively solid.

Sarri’s philosophy mirrors high-intensity football with passing patterns and pressing of the highest order. A high-line defence and a narrow front-line to create space for fullbacks are the key denotations. The midfield is something which should be closely looked at, especially when we compare his system to that of Conte at Chelsea. Read More

Southampton vs Chelsea Premier League Preview

Southampton vs Chelsea Preview: From ‘good Napoli’ to ‘good Chelsea’

For anyone who had caught much of Napoli during the past three seasons, the arrival of Maurizio Sarri in the Premier League during the summer promised to be something of a treat. With his eponymous Sarri-ball, the former investment banker had been beguiling aficionados of Serie A for whom Sarri’s high-energy pressing and breakneck transitions had almost seen them topple Juventus at the end of the 2017/18 season.

However, lest it was assumed Chelsea would be re-created in Napoli’s image under Sarri, he was quick to qualify the fan’s expectations of Sarri-ball 2.0.

‘I don’t want to do another Naples,’ he said earlier in the season. ‘I want to do a good Chelsea. I have to adapt myself to the characteristics of this championship and of (my) players. I am studying my players.’

Of course, in speaking of ‘my players’, Sarri was not entirely correct in differentiating between Napoli and Chelsea. For he had brought one player with him who would be the rock upon which he would build his new church in West London: Jorginho. Read More

Jorginho Premier League Team Of The Week

Premier League Team of Week 6: Jorginho the pass master

There’s a breath of fresh air about our team of the week in week six. For the first time we’re going with a 4-2-3-1 formation. There’s no sign of regulars like Tarkowski, Pogba or Hazard, and we have a whole host of debutants. The likes of Harry Maguire and Jorginho both win their second TOTW caps of the season, with the latter putting in the performance of the week.

But did he actually contribute all that much at the London Stadium? We’ll come to that in due course, and we’ll begin with a shot stopper who hasn’t received too many positive notices in 2018/19. Read More

Premier League Team of Week 3: Harry Maguire’s Game

Harry Maguire Premier League Team Of The Week

James Tarkwoski and Paul Pogba were both in our teams of weeks one and two, but did either or both of them make it a hat-trick? One thing is for sure, there were a lot of excellent performances by centre-backs this week, so we’ve naturally switched to a back three to accommodate them. Oh, and if you want to share a dashboard, click on the player’s name in the text above it, and it’ll take you straight there. On with the show… Read More

Chelsea vs Arsenal preview

Chelsea vs Arsenal preview: Mutual test on rebuilding process for Sarri and Emery

While there was no surprise in the result of Unai Emery’s baptism into the Premier League against defending champions Manchester City, the ease with which Pep Guardiola’s men cut through Arsenal was dispiriting. The Gunners didn’t seem to land a punch, not even a cursory jab, as the Post-Wenger years truly began for Arsenal.

The fixture list is unkind to Emery as he continues his Premier League sojourn at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea. Like Arsenal, Chelsea brought in a new manager seeking a jolt and renaissance from the tedious final days of Antonio Conte.

Maurizio Sarri’s Premier League debut in the Chelsea’s dugout went rather swimmingly. Admittedly, Huddersfield were a lacklustre opponent who could have serious troubles with relegation this season, and it wasn’t peak Sarri-ball replete with intricate movement and delicate build-up. However, the emphatic scoreline without the team’s standout attacker for the majority of the game was a sure-footed start. Read More

Jorginho Chelsea Sarri

Jorginho alone can not solve Chelsea’s defensive issues

Chelsea are looking for a fresh start under newly-appointed manager Maurizio Sarri. The Italian eccentric replaces fellow countryman Antonio Conte and intends to replicate the work he was doing at Napoli for three years. Jorginho has followed him from Naples to help him achieve that.

The first true test for Sarri’s team came against Manchester City last Sunday. Even though the FA Community Shield is not always taken 100 percent seriously, a competitive City side exposed some of the Blues’ weaknesses Sarri has to work on. Most prominently, the pressing which was reminiscent of Napoli’s in the past few seasons did not work as effectively as it has to when the Premier League season starts.

Conte relied on a system with a back three and two high-volume runners on the wings. Sarri, however, immediately implemented a 4-3-3 system, similar to the one he played at Napoli. With the signing of Jorginho, he even has his crucial centre-midfielder from the San Paolo at his disposal, which might look like a promise that Chelsea would have a stable defence going forward. But Jorginho alone cannot provide full stability. The 2-0 loss against Manchester City on Sunday was proof of that. Read More