JÃ¼rgen Kloppâ€™s Liverpool played host to Stoke City in the sole Premier League fixture on bank holiday Tuesday. Stoke arrived at Anfield in relatively poor form, without a win in their previous three matches. On the other hand, Liverpool came into the game fresh from a hotly contested victory in the Merseyside derby, giving them local bragging rights as well as back to back wins after a small blip in form at the start of the month.
11 games, 11 wins, 25 goals scored, 2 goals conceded, from 8th place and 8 points off the pace to 6 points clear at the top of the table. This is, of course, Chelseaâ€™s record since Conte changed to a 3-4-3 formation.Â These results are impressive regardless, however, they become even more impressive when the quality of the opponents are taken into account. On this stellar run the Londoners have beaten, Leicester, Man Utd, Spurs, Everton, Southampton and Man City amongst other tough challenges.Â Formations are, of course, merely a starting point; this piece seeks to analyse the finer details of Conteâ€™s system and why it has been so successful.
The Kaiser of German Football roamed and glided over the football pitches of the world for nearly two decades. There were arguably six defining games of his career. I give you, Franz Beckenbauer, the deep-lying commander who defined a generation.
Bayern produced their best performance of the season to thrash a weak RB Leipzig in the most eagerly-anticipated match of the now-passed Hinrunde. Ancelottiâ€™s side skilfully handled the visitorsâ€™ pressing, which had an off-day lacking several features which define their excellent success so far. Sadly, the game was practically over by the 30th minute, after Forsberg was dismissed for a challenge on Lahm while an excellent Bayern were already two ahead. Therefore, the analysis focuses largely on the first half of football.
Granada v Real Sociedad belongs to the group of fixtures which one does not tend to eagerly anticipate. Both teams are, however, interesting in their own different ways.
Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City hosted Arsenal in the Premier League’s 17th game week on Sunday evening. City came into the game with criticism surrounding the team with the performance in the defeat at Leicester in particular raising doubts amongst the media over Pep’s suitability to English football. Arsenal however had been in strong form and were eager to show the midweek defeat at Goodison Park was a mere blip and not the start of an annual meltdown.
Guardiola’s Manchester City hosted Conte’s Chelsea in arguably the most eagerly anticipated Premier League clash of the season thus far. There were several reasons behind the excitement; with the coaches being two of the strongest tacticians in the league and the two sides being firmly in the title race. What followed was a high class, high intensity football game befitting of its expectations.
Napoli hosted Internazionale in Serie A’s first gameweek 15 fixture. With the stature of the two clubs this has often been a top of the table clash. However, the two sides came into this game in 7th and 8th spots respectively. Milik-less Napoli have struggledÂ to utilise some of their usual offensive approach play, and have thus experienced an inconsistent attacking output in addition to a generous defence. Inter on the other hand have had inconsistent results from the start, with highs such as a home victory over Juventus marred by defeats to the likes of Cagliari.
Since Santi Cazorla suffered another Achilles injury in October, Arsenal have stuttered through a run of four draws (and three wins) in seven games. Much has already been written about how the Gunners struggle in possession but not as much attention has been paid to the struggle ArsÃ¨ne Wengerâ€™s side have out of possession.
On the thirdÂ episode of our show, the panelÂ talk about theoretical aspects of the game, answering several readerÂ questions.