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

Arsenal vs Watford Premier League Preview

Arsenal vs Watford Preview: Can the Hornets defence stop the Gunners?

This Saturday’s match-up is an unexpected top of the table clash. Arsenal have put together a run of four wins, moving from the bottom of the table up to a tie for fifth behind… their opponent this Saturday, Watford. Most people would have expected Arsenal to be near the top but Watford being among the top four is the big surprise from the early results.

Watford:

Watford have put together a legitimately good defence this season.

They are over performing their expected goals (‘xG’) this season but still have excellent statistics to suggest this could continue and isn’t just down to a hot goal keeper keeping out goals. They are allowing just 9.8 shots per match (fourth fewest in the league), 1.5 big chances per match (seventh fewest) and 4.7 shots from the danger zone per match (sixth fewest). Read More

Newcastle vs Arsenal Premier League Preview

Newcastle vs Arsenal Preview: Can Arsenal breakdown a low block?

Arsenal have won two in a row to climb up to the top half of the table. Newcastle have lost two in a row and fallen into the relegation zone. This match is an important one for both teams coming off the first international break of the season.

Newcastle

Here’s their rankings for different statistics this season:

20th – Possession

18th – Shots

19th – Danger Zone Shots

17th – Big Chances

19th – Expected Goals

13th – Dribbles Attempted

4th – Average Pass Length

Rafa Benítez is a really good coach, but one thing he is not is a coach who will sacrifice defensive solidity to create scoring chances. With a challenging schedule including matches at Chelsea and against Tottenham and Manchester City, it is not surprising to see Newcastle at the bottom of most offensive categories this season.

As a team they have been in control of the ball for just 96 minutes this season, which averages out to 24 minutes a match. For comparison the average team has been in control for 34 minutes per match (this measure takes out all of the time that the ball is not in play and on average there is about 60-70 minutes of ball control per match). Read More

Cardiff City vs Arsenal

Cardiff City vs Arsenal Preview: Does Ozil deserve a start in Wales?

After the 3-1 win against West Ham, much of the talk was about the absence of Mesut Ozil from the matchday squad. Unai Emery said the playmaker was ill but had recuperated enough to enter the dressing room before the game. Any other player and it could have slipped under the radar, however it was Ozil.

Prior to the game it was reported that there was a rift between the German and the coach regarding demands that Emery had of Ozil. The former PSG manager denied any rift in the press conference after the game. However, when Emery was asked if he planned to play Ozil in a different position, the Spaniard’s reply was a terse and instructive ‘maybe’.

After Emery took over from Arsene Wenger, he spoke about the need for more intensity in pressing and the need to be more defensively aware. In the three games the coach has managed, there has been measured progress and sparse semblance of what he demands. However, it seems Ozil hasn’t added to the process as much as he needs to. Read More

Arsenal Manchester City Preview

Arsenal vs. Manchester City Preview: The Emery era begins

The blockbuster match up of the opening weekend of the Premier League is champions Manchester City coming to the Emirates Stadium to face Arsenal.

Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City broke a number of records last season on their way to 100 points and now face the task of trying to top one of the best seasons of all time. Arsenal limped to their worst finish since 1994-95 and saw their legendary coach Arsene Wenger retire.

Manchester City Drop Attackers into Midfield

The backbone of Manchester City’s title team were Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva; both of whom in most systems would line up as attacking midfielders but in Pep Guardiola’s system were used as more traditional midfielders but with the freedom to attack. Having both start from deep allowed Manchester City to add another attacker to the starting XI while still having numerical superiority in midfield.

This also unlocked De Bruyne and Silva to post some of the best attacking numbers in the league even from a deeper starting position, coming up the second and seventh most highly rated by the Twelve model. Read More