Manchester City vs Arsenal

Manchester City vs Arsenal Preview: An intriguing Spanish tactical tussle

Unai Emery’s reign began in earnest against Manchester City. The champions visited the Emirates Stadium in August and won 2-0. If Sunday’s rematch at the Etihad Stadium is essential for City, with less margin for error in the title race after defeat to Newcastle, it offers a chance to assess Arsenal’s progress in the subsequent six months.

City have won their last four games against Arsenal, scoring 11 goals. It highlights how one of Emery’s tasks is to improve Arsenal’s results against the best. He has started to do that at home, recording wins over Tottenham and Chelsea within a couple of months. He has a solitary point from three visits to top-six rivals.

It will be intriguing if Emery revisits a recent tactic in major clashes. He used Aaron Ramsey at the tip of a midfield diamond to great effect against Chelsea (and, arguably, in the FA Cup tie with Manchester United, when the Welshman was excellent despite defeat) and, while he was benched for Mesut Ozil against Cardiff on Tuesday, he should be restored to the side. Read More

Mohamed Salah Leroy Sane Premier League wingers

Tactical Analysis: Contrasting Style of Premier League Wingers

The Premier League has seen an array of wingers in years gone by. But with managers willing to try different things to adapt to the modern-day game, we have witnessed the wingers performing different roles in different set-ups. Below we will analyse the distinct types of wide players, focusing on England’s top flight.

Firstly, let us define the role. A winger is an attacking midfielder who plays in wide areas, from where they can cross the ball and dribble past defenders. All in all, they are present to support the attacks from the sides of the field. Generally, a player playing in this position possesses pace to make runs in behind the defence, especially on counter-attacks.

The “yesteryear football” in England was predominantly about teams playing the 4-4-2 system with two wingers high and wide, crossing the ball on a regular basis with two strikers present in the box to attack those deliveries. Sir Alex Ferguson won countless trophies with Manchester United playing the flat 4-4-2 or 4-4-1-1.

Back then the full-backs were defenders first, who would move forward if given the opportunity. However, the tale has changed in the modern game. The full-backs are like half-wingers themselves, hence they move forward whenever the team is in possession. It has made their job tougher in a positive sense, as they have to run up and down the pitch for the whole game, with a chance of making an impact at both ends of the field. Read More

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

Fantasy Football: Week 14

Premier League Fantasy Football: Week 14 selections

That’s better. We may not have won a cash prize last week, but our team mustered more points than they had in the previous two combined. A definite step in the right direction.

You know the drill by now; we select a team for Draft Kings’ weekend game. To do this, we run the last six weeks of Premier League matches through our algorithm, to see what the best eight man squad we can assemble is. The full leader board is here, and these are the matches.

Fantasy Football: Week 14 Hints tips selections assistance Read More

Premier League Team of Week 13

Premier League Team of Week 13: Aladdin Sané

Our Premier League team of week 13 features six debutants. Some are from struggling clubs, and some are Leroy Sané. But all have earned their place here, and can be found in the upper echelons of this week’s leader board. Let’s see who our algorithm has selected for the XI.

Goalkeeper: Wayne Hennessey. Manchester United 0-0 Crystal Palace.

Hennessey topped the defence leader board in week 13, thanks mainly to making five saves (including one from a clear-cut chance). But he also won four aerial duels, which was the joint-most by any player in their own half in this match. For context, Ederson, Fabianski, Lloris and Schmeichel have won four in total this season. Read More

Shakhtar Donetsk vs Manchester City

Shakhtar Donetsk vs Manchester City: A Cold Tuesday Night in Ukraine

Is there anything to win when you put your billion-Pound star ensemble on an airplane and travel across Europe to play in the cold of the Slobidshchyna? At least three points in the Champions League group stage. That is the motivation for Pep Guardiola, knowing that Shakhtar Donetsk vs Manchester City might not turn out to be pretty. But that is not what City is all about right now.

Some football philosophers may suggest that the best teams sometimes look average and win nevertheless. That is what Manchester City have done in the past few weeks. Usually, head coach Guardiola comes up with a variety of tactical ideas; some outlandish, most brilliant.

But the Catalan also knows how valuable his players are and how many of them can make match-altering moves. It is the beauty of the current City squad that the likes of Raheem Sterling, Riyad Mahrez and Leroy Sané battle for two spots in the starting XI, that Sergio Agüero and Gabriel Jesus often battle for one berth, with Guardiola knowing that each of them can rip through defences and score the one decisive goal. 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

Manchester City vs. Fulham

Manchester City vs Fulham Preview: Time for Sané to start?

There’s no better way to leave the interminable international break behind than with an incredibly exciting Manchester City fixture. As an American, Fulham have always held a place in my heart as the club of Brian McBride, Clint Dempsey, and (to a much lesser extent) Carlos Bocanegra.

But more than that, the current incarnation of Fulham have a genuine buzz about them. Only Arsenal games feature more shots and shots on target, they have exciting young talents like Ryan Sessegnon, and they picked up a genuine star in Jean-Michel Seri in the transfer window. In short, get ready for some fireworks.

As with Wolves, Fulham aren’t your typical newly promoted side. Rather than playing defensively and seeking to counter-attack, they use possession to get their shot attempts and are even averaging a greater share of the ball than Spurs, United, or Arsenal thus far this season (albeit having endured a light schedule to date). Read More