Analysis: Pochettino hoist by his own petard

Alan O’Brien 

Mauricio Pochettino re-popularised pressing upon his arrival on English shores in 2013. Here, he was hoist by his own petard, as Tottenham Hotspur suffered their first North London Derby defeat of the Argentinian’s three-year reign. Continue reading

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Manchester City 1-4 Liverpool: High-energy Liverpool press Pellegrini into paying the price of complacency

Here was Liverpool’s first truly Klopp-esque performance. Saturday evening’s 4-1 Etihad rout of Manchester City could easily have been even more emphatic, as the German’s charges swamped their hosts with a breathtaking display of relentless pressing and rapier-like counter-attacking. Continue reading

Manchester United 3-0 Hull City: Three Observations

1. Van Gaal reintroduces the diamond

Last month’s decision to dispense with the diamond in favour of a 4-3-3 was successful in stemming accruals to Louis Van Gaal’s goals against column. Unfortunately, it also had the unintended consequence of reducing his side’s attacking threat. United’s primary creative outlet, Angel Di Maria, looked particularly discommoded by this switch, forced to toil in wide areas rather than his preferred shuttler role on the left of the diamond.

Having ridden his luck with a shaky looking 3-5-2 against Arsenal, Van Gaal was expected to persist with that shape today – indeed, media present at Old Trafford reported that his coaches had drilled the side in this configuration during the pre-match warm-up. Van Gaal chose to spring a surprise, however – United started the game with a back four and a midfield diamond, forcing Hull manager Steve Bruce to rush (other verbs are available) to his technical area in the opening minutes to clue his players in on the situation. Continue reading