Analysis: Conte change unclutters the centre for City

Alan O’Brien 

Surely even Pep Guardiola did not imagine the success Fabian Delph’s unusual instructions would engender. Designed, presumably, to copper-fasten Manchester City’s customary possession-dominance, Delph’s turn as an inside-left-back also tempted Antonio Conte into the tactical call that cost Chelsea this game. Continue reading

Advertisements

Analysis: Foxes misfortune, fist-pumps, and familiar Liverpool fragility

Alan O’Brien 

Celebratory quintuple fist-pumps — for the cameras, natch — are all well and good. Requesting more reserve from one’s five midfielders, to defend a seemingly unassailable lead, is probably wiser. No prizes for guessing which box Jurgen Klopp ticked. Continue reading

Analysis: Profligate Palace spare parked Burnley bus

Alan O’Brien 

From a neutral perspective, Chris Wood’s 3rd-minute strike represented a worst-case scenario realised. So followed an eon of Burnley pressure-absorption, and a late Crystal Palace barrage, that the hosts were lucky to survive. Continue reading

Manchester City 2-2 Tottenham Hotspur: Pochettino escapes punishment for unnecessary half-time tinkering

Mauricio Pochettino followed up a shrewd first-half tactical shift with a disastrous piece of half-time tinkering to seemingly hand victory to Pep Guardiola. But Manchester City’s familar defensive vulnerability, coupled with some poor refereeing, salvaged a fortunate point for Tottenham Hotspur. Continue reading

Manchester United 1-1 Liverpool: Fellaini introduction denies victory to retreating Reds

Although Liverpool’s press earned Jurgen Klopp’s side a half-time lead, their subsequent second-half retreat, paired with the introduction of Marouane Fellaini’s aerial threat, ultimately allowed Manchester United to save a late point. Continue reading

Preston North End 1-2 Arsenal: Giroud again profits from opposition retreat to save defence’s blushes

Having discommoded Arsene Wenger’s makeshift back-line with a high-pressing, two-striker system, Preston North End’s predictable second-half retreat — and some wasteful first-half finishing — allowed Olivier Giroud to deny them a well-earned replay. Continue reading