Manchester City vs Everton

Manchester City vs Everton Preview: The next stumbling block?

In a title right as close as the one between Manchester City and Liverpool, every mistake counts and could end up being one too many. City came up short on Saturday when Pep Guardiola’s side were defeated by Chelsea. The former Premier League leaders now have to get back on track, though their opponents on Saturday are anything but pushovers. Manchester City vs Everton is not easy to forecast.

City’s 2-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge was one of those matches which did not necessarily expose any weaknesses the team has. Guardiola’s players were dominating for most of the first half against a surprisingly passive Chelsea side and were close to scoring the first goal, although those chances came from successful counter-pressing attacks or quick counter-attacks out of City’s half, not from long spells of ball possession.

City missed the chance to convert one of their opportunities, but there was no indication the Blues could come up with an idea to find the back of the net. Yet they did and put City in a position from which they did not recover. Read More

Lyon vs Manchester City

Lyon vs Manchester City Preview: Lyon To Themselves

The first game of City’s Champions League campaign happened to be their worst result of the season so far. A 1-2 reverse to Olympique Lyonnais has since been followed by several decisive European victories against Hoffenheim and Shakhtar Donetsk, but as City’s only defeat this season the memory still lingers.

Did Lyon’s win mean they have some sort of secret sauce to beat City? Not particularly. This was more City being out of sorts in their initial Champions League encounter

Lyon’s defensive shape was pretty high, though they were decidedly not pressing City’s center-backs, waiting until the ball moved to Fernandinho to apply pressure. This is generally the right approach as City can eviscerate a high press and conceding too much space is often a death sentence.

City’s Usage Rates from the game appear to show Lyon’s approach worked, with Fernandinho’s Usage substantially increased from his season’s average as he struggled with passing and lost the ball three times. That said, most of the time City failed in the buildup it was mostly their own making, not an exceptional Lyon effort. Read More

Manchester City vs Southampton

Manchester City vs Southampton Preview: Saints Will Need a Miracle

After a scare-free Halloween week, City’s next opponent in the crowded fixture list is Southampton. Though the Saints put in an excellent performance against the Blues last year, City are much improved this season against teams in the lower areas of the table. Given the easy early schedule, I’m not quite ready to declare this team superior than last year’s edition despite the impressive start.

Still, one thing that can’t be denied is that they’ve played much better against teams outside last year’s top six. City last season averaged 13 shots and five shots on target more than such opponents, a pretty high baseline. This season, they’re averaging an incredible 19 and eight in those categories. Read More

Premier League Team Of Week 9

Premier League Team Of Week 9: If we can all be more like Rüdiger

Another week, another 26 goals scored. Some of our players featured in five goal wins while others appeared in goal-less stalemates though. Here’s our Premier League team of week 9.

Goalkeeper: Mat Ryan. Newcastle United 0-1 Brighton.

There’s no way to be nice about it: Brighton’s record on the road since they reached the Premier League has been abysmal. It would be worse were it not for Mat Ryan. He saved a clear-cut chance while the score was 0-0 at Newcastle, then made five more saves after the Seagulls took the lead. The Australian amassed the third most defensive points this week, so is worthy of his spot between the sticks. 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

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