joe allen

Manchester City vs Crystal Palace Review: Masking a Maligned Midfield

Yesterday, I wrote about how all of the teams with good midfielders ended up being victorious over the weekend. The interesting thing, though, is how just 3 hours after the article was posted, Alan Pardew’s Crystal Palace executed a tactical system that is able to mask a poor midfield.

Going into the match against Manchester City, Pardew knew that Yaya Toure and David Silva would have Palace’s midfield duo in knots. He also happened to know how to get a smash and grab despite all this. (more…)


EPL Weekend Review: Midfield Matters

This weekend, a couple of tough matches ensued, along with some very one-sided fixtures. Arsenal, QPR and Manchester United were the standout performers of the fixture, comfortably dispatching Liverpool, West Brom and Aston Villa, respectively. Arsenal and United would’ve had clean sheets if it weren’t for disappointing errors, particularly a rare one from David De Gea. What almost every single team this weekend showed is that, without a solid midfield, winning a match is very hard. (more…)

Arsenal vs Liverpool: Match Preview, Predictions, Predicted Lineups

Arsenal will play Liverpool at the Emirates (3rd vs 5th) in a match that is vital to either side’s Champions League hopes. Arsenal lead Liverpool in the table by 6 points, a healthy tally, but considering the run-ins, Arsenal will probably want to extend that to 9. Liverpool, on the other hand, will be looking to minimize Arsenal’s advantage with the hope they can pull something out of this season- other than one major epiphany in December. (more…)

Liverpool Transfer News: How Mauro Icardi Would Fit In

Liverpool has been linked to Mauro Icardi according to multiple sources, most notably ESPN. With Liverpool in need of a player in a couple of positions, they’ll be looking to prize away one of Europe’s elite scorers to potentially pair Daniel Sturridge.

Tactically, Liverpool’s key to success this season has been the 3-4-3 with Philippe Coutinho and Adam Lallana or Raheem Sterling as a sort of dual no. 10 system. No team is able to give a defensive midfielder as much stress as an in form Liverpool, as Lallana or Sterling looks to break away (or distract) the marker while Philippe Coutinho takes advantage of the crammed centre by floating in and out of the middle. Though this makes the best out of Lallana and Coutinho, it can leave Liverpool very open on the counter in midfield and on the wing, especially with Alberto Moreno and Raheem Sterling at wingback (reputation for a clanger!). In addition, Daniel Sturridge needs a partner up top and Mario Balotelli doesn’t seem dependable as the only option considering Rickie Lambert is a misfit tactically and Fabio Borini really isn’t there yet. This is why Mauro Icardi can complete the system. (more…)

Liverpool vs Manchester United Review: Tactics and Tackles

An all time classic game occurred at Anfield as Juan Mata’s brilliance sparked Manchester United to a 3-1 win over Liverpool. The game ended up grabbing more headlines than the Spanish El Classico between Barcelona and Real Madrid, which is a very impressive feat. What I must say, though, is that the Northwest Derby was one of the most bizarre matches I’ve ever seen.

First off, it was tactically tight. United came out of the gates ready to win, but their Merseyside rivals were no pushover. Louis Van Gaal’s men lined up in a 4-3-3 with Juan Mata cutting in from the right wing and Ander Herrera pulling the strings from midfield. Marouane Fellaini was deployed in a left central midfield role that allowed him to absolutely destroy Liverpool’s defence with his aerial ability, strength, and surprisingly, his running between the lines. (more…)