As soon as news of Wilfried Zaha’s absence filtered through, this result had fait accompli written all over it. Crystal Palace have lost the last 11 Premier League games Zaha has missed, after all. But Tottenham Hotspur were anything but fluent in victory here; again. And Palace, if they were not so insistent upon playing into their visitors’ hands, could well have made them pay.
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Only five Premier League sides have conceded more shots, on a per-game basis, than Arsenal. No Premier League club has outperformed their expected-goals tally more than the Gunners either. Nonetheless, Unai Emery’s side remain in fourth, having extended their unbeaten run to eight games with an extraordinarily fortunate draw at Selhurst Park.
It’s fair to say therefore that in the Spaniard, Arsenal may have found themselves a lucky general. Emery’s work-in-progress transformation holds great promise, but well-worn vulnerabilities still persist. Crystal Palace are just the latest side who failed to prevail upon them fully. Continue reading →
It took 30 harrowing minutes for Roy Hodgson to give up the 4-4-2 ghost here. Four goals down when the stable door was finally closed, the Arsenal horse had already bolted, lived a full life in the wild, and expired of natural causes. Continue reading →
1) Pacy Palace playing to their strengths under Hodgson
Turning Crystal Palace into a tiki-taka media darling is a long-held goal of chairman Steve Parish. Hence his summer decision to hire Frank de Boer, against the alleged protestations of the club’s American paymasters. Continue reading →
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 →
Posted in England, Premier League
- Tagged Christian Benteke, Claude Puel, Crystal Palace, David Moyes, David Unsworth, Everton, José Mourinho, Leicester City, Manchester City, Manchester United, Marco Silva, Newcastle United, Oumar Niasse, Pep Guardiola, Rafa Benitez, Roy Hodgson, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Tony Pulis, Watford, West Bromwich Albion, West Ham United
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 →
Posted in England, Premier League
- Tagged 5-3-2, AFC Bournemouth, Antonio Conte, Arsenal, Arsene Wenger, Chelsea, Crystal Palace, David Wagner, Eddie Howe, English Premier League, Huddersfield Town, José Mourinho, Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Mauricio Pochettino, Paul Clement, Pep Guardiola, Roy Hodgson, Slaven Bilic, Swansea City, Tony Pulis, Tottenham Hotspur, West Bromwich Albion, West Ham United
Roy Hodgson’s half-time switch to a midfield diamond quickly restored parity in his side’s Euro 2016 encounter with Wales. But the England manager was very fortunate not to forfeit a deserved victory by dumping it again just 25 minutes later. Continue reading →