Premier League: Three tactical talking points from Matchday 16

Alan O’Brien 

1) Hard-running Hammers consign sluggish Slaven days to memory

If Slaven Bilic’s West Ham United had greeted the champions in this manner, claret (and blue) would surely have spilled. Continue reading

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Premier League: Three tactical talking points from Matchday 12

Alan O’Brien 

1) Set-pieces may keep Manchester United in the hunt

Two seasons have passed since Manchester United last racked up a respectable goal-tally from set-pieces. The total of 12 amassed during Louis Van Gaal’s debut season was middling. What followed — two consecutive sevens, twice placing United second-last — was not. Continue reading

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

Everton 2-3 Leicester City: Ranieri Channels Simeone’s Atletico To Send Leicester City Top At Xmas

It is arguably the most remarkable turnaround in fortunes in Premier League history. Saturday afternoon’s victory at Goodison Park ensured that Claudio Ranieri’s Leicester City side will sit atop the league tree this Christmas – a far cry from 12 months ago, when they languished at its foot. Continue reading

Everton 0-3 Manchester United: Better balanced Van Gaal selection overwhelms loose Toffees

Louis Van Gaal had his fair share of opprobrium cast upon him in the wake of his side’s 3-0 away reverse to Arsenal, prior to the international break. The Manchester United boss’ deviation from his usual midfield combo of restrained passer and energetic runner, through the selection of two of the former (Carrick and Schweinsteiger) was roundly – and rightly – criticised. As was his bizarre decision to ask the German to move way out of position to press Arsenal’s deep-lying playmaker, Santi Cazorla – thus leaving acres of space in front of the left-side of United’s defence for number ten, Mesut Ozil, to exploit. Continue reading