Premier League: Two tactical talking points from Matchday 10

Alan O’Brien 

1) 5-3-2, the counter-attacking formation-du-jour

Ever the tactical trendsetter, Chelsea’s Antonio Conte has done it again. Last season’s switch to 3-4-2-1, that inspired a title-grabbing 13-game winning run, was shamelessly copycatted across the Premier Division; most notably by London rivals Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur. Continue reading

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Premier League: Five tactical talking points from Matchweek 9

Alan O’Brien 

1) Klopp suffers the fate of his former employers

Wembley has witnessed Mauricio Pochettino’s counter-attacking 5-3-1-1 system before. On September 13 of this year, Tottenham Hotspur, configured in that very shape, absolutely destroyed Peter Bosz’s gung-ho Borussia Dortmund in the channels. On Sunday, Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp, once of the Dortmund parish, met the very same fate. Continue reading

Analysis: Troubled Tribesmen pay for Keegan’s back-three obsession

Alan O’Brien 

This game had it all: goals, nerves, some incredible tactical intransigence, and the inimitable A. Buttimer. Ultimately, a combination of the latter three cost Galway United’s Shane Keegan the victory he so desperately needed. Continue reading

Analysis: Tosi penalty bails out over-cautious McDonald

Alan O’Brien 

Not fixing what ain’t broke is normally a pretty good rule-of-thumb. But Limerick FC manager Neil McDonald almost paid the price for adhering to it on Saturday evening. Continue reading

Analysis: Coleman’s narrow midfield fails to cut the mustard

Alan O’Brien 

Even a general as lucky as Martin O’Neill could not have anticipated the phoney war that the Welsh waged in Cardiff. Chris Coleman best-laid plans made life terribly easy for his opposite number, who still had to rely on Ashley Williams’ latest error to secure victory.

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Analysis: Duggan steals point from superior Saints

Alan O’Brien 

This was daylight robbery from Limerick, and Conan Byrne’s stats are evidence enough to convict. Byrne, a principal actor in Pat’s opening goal, scorer of their second, was central to seven other chances, as Limerick’s ravaged left-side led a charmed life. Continue reading

Analysis: O’Neill inertia feeds second-half farce

Alan O’Brien 

Martin O’Neill’s inaction in the face of Moldovan resurgence was, unfortunately, anything but telling. The Derryman’s tenure as the Republic of Ireland manager is fast approaching its fifth year. We know all there is to know about O’Neill; taking 33 minutes to enact a blindingly obvious adjustment is very much par-for-the-course.

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