Premier League Fantasy Football selections: Week 13

Whisper it, but fantasy football games are really difficult to do well at. We certainly proved that with our attempt at Draft Kings‘ Saturday contest prior to the recent international break. Long-term Twelve favourite Roberto Pereyra was the best of our bad bunch, but as none of our players got into double figures, that’s damning the Hornet with the faintest of faint praise.

As always, we go again. Here are the matches which are included this week.

Premier League Fantasy Football selections: Week 13

Using our algorithm, we create a leader board (which you can see here) from which to choose our eight players. Here’s our Premier League Fantasy Football selections: Week 13. Take heed. Read More

Manchester City vs Manchester United Premier League Preview

Manchester City vs Manchester United Preview: Key men to the left?

Go back seven months to the last Manchester derby and Manchester United ruined Manchester City’s coronation. Pep Guardiola’s side were 2-0 up at half-time, set to be crowned champions in front of their neighbours. What followed was irrelevant in one respect – they clinched the Premier League title the following weekend – but not in others. If it spared United the ignominy of seeing City celebrate and got Jose Mourinho a rare win over Guardiola, it also showed Paul Pogba’s catalytic impact.

The Frenchman scored twice in United’s comeback that day. If his performances this season have attracted decidedly mixed reviews, the numbers offer another picture. Pogba ranks second in Twelve’s Premier League leader board for the season, behind only Leicester’s Harry Maguire.

Examine the different coloured bars and it shows how his contribution stretches across the pitch, underlying his abilities as a box-to-box midfielder. It suggests he is the best all-round player in the division (at least while City’s Kevin de Bruyne is injured). If he does not have as many attacking points as City’s David Silva, he has delivered more in defence and off the ball. Read More

Premier League Team of Week 11

Premier League Team of Week 11: Well played, Mr. Anderson

You know the drill by now. We compile a leaderboard for the weekend’s games, and pick the bones out of it to hammer it into a vaguely cohesive XI. Here’s our Premier League team of week 11.

Goalkeeper: David de Gea. Bournemouth 1-2 Manchester United.

Rival fans like to joke about where United would be if de Gea ever left; ‘League One’ is the most common response. That may sound extreme, but with six saves (including one clear-cut chance) he kept his side in the game long enough to win it yet again. 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

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

Eden Hazard Premier League Team Of The Week

Premier League Team of Week 5: The Duke is Hazard

It won’t surprise anyone to see that Eden Hazard features in the headline, as a hat-trick will always propel a player into our team of the week. Our 3-4-3 formation also contains one of the performances of the season so far, and a TOTW regular earns another cap. But we begin with a goalkeeper who hasn’t had the best time of it over the last few years.

Goalkeeper: Joe Hart. Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-0 Burnley.

Joe Hart was a busy boy on Sunday. He made six saves, including two from clear-cut chances. Most distressingly for Burnley, on our algorithm he was their top player in an attacking sense too. Things are looking bleak for Sean Dyche’s team at present.  Read More

The two faces of Manchester City

The two faces of Manchester City

Manchester City’s start to the new season has not entirely gone the way Pep Guardiola probably envisioned. After two stunning performances against Arsenal and Huddersfield Town, the defending champions drew 1-1 with Wolverhampton Wanderers last Sunday. These first three weeks showed the good and the bad side of Guardiola, and the two faces of Manchester City.

Take for instance the decisive win over Huddersfield. Guardiola had to know that Huddersfield were expecting a similar formation to what City played against Arsenal, meaning a system with one centre-forward and two wingers. Hence Guardiola mixed things up switching to a back three and a two-forward formation with Sergio Agüero and Gabriel Jesus up front. Read More

Sterling and Lingard hold the key for England

It all started as a joke.

Disappointed and disillusioned following their team’s chronic lack of success on the international stage, the England supporters had little faith in Gareth Southgate’s team and the ‘It’s Coming Home’ shout was their way to fight the disappointment that was expected to ensue.

Successive wins over Tunisia and Panama sparked a newfound hope and the catchphrase from the Lightning Seeds hit song “Three Lions” slowly started shaping into a genuine possibility as England stands in front of it’s first World Cup semi-final since 1990.

The Three Lions have struggled to go past the quarter-finals ever since Italy and all the supporters initially wanted to do was to be lighthearted about another probable disappointment in Russia.

Gareth Southgate had different ideas, however. Never truly given managerial recognition and the credit he obviously deserves, the former England international is doing wonders with a young and exciting side.

Waistcoat Revolution

There are a couple of parallels to be drawn between the Velvet Revolution from Czechoslovakia in 1989 and the unobtrusive manner with which Gareth Southgate led his England side back to global prominence.

The waistcoat-wearing tactician reshaped the way England defend and go forward, their off-ball movement and – most importantly – he instilled a winning mentality the Three Lions lacked in the past.

England’s quarter-final success against Sweden might have been all about Jordans – and Harry Maguire’s masculine maturity – but as England stands in front of it’s biggest challenge yet in the tournament, it is to be argued that Raheem Sterling and Jesse Lingard hold the key to the final.

Read More