Closing out 2018 on a high note. Liverpool put five goals past Arsenal to continue their nine match winning run into the New Year, with their attacking tempo and speed proving too much for Emery’s side.
Another highly anticipated clash between Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool and Guardiola’s Manchester City. As recent fixtures between the two teams provide evidence of Liverpool being City’s kryptonite, Guardiola made a series of conservative adjustments to gradually probe the hosts in a cagey affair.
Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham continued their hot start in league play with a resounding away win over Manchester United. Despite the scoreline, Jose Mourinho’s solution to breaking through Spurs high pressure tilted the run of play in United’s favor for the first half before Tottenham scored.
Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City commenced their Premier League title defence with a secure victory over Arsenal. For the first time in over two decades, a new manager was on the touchline for the Gunners, as former PSG and Sevilla boss Unai Emery made his English debut. However, the Emery honeymoon was interrupted by the Citizens, who showed signs of last seasons dominance in possession and pressing, alongside some details in attack construction that need ironing out over the course of the year.
“We found a lot of problems when attacking a 5-4-1 when the striker is marking our holding midfielder and 10 players are defending so deep. We are thinking about how you could attack against that system.” – Pep Guardiola when previewing the 2018/2019 EPL season.
The most successful team in German history and the most successful team in English history meet once again, this time in a pre-season friendly. Kovac shows a preview of the well-oiled German machine he will have on the field for the 2018/2019 season, while Mourinho shows potential issues his team will face during the next months, as he warned it could be a “difficult season.”
Guardiola and Sarri face off for the first time in England. Both managers showed a preview of their likely tactical approach for the upcoming 2018/2019 season. City’s pressing game proved to be the big difference between the teams, creating dangerous counterattacking opportunities even when the build-up was not being executed to a high level.
The FA WSL Continental Tyres Cup final was characterised by two completely different halves. In the first 45 minutes, Arsenal showed great ability to build up under pressure while the second half of the game was dominated by Manchester City. In contrast to Nick Cushing’s side, Arsenal were able to effectively use their dominant phase resulting in scoring the decisive 1-0 and therefore winning their fifth title in this competition.
Manchester United extended their margin ahead of their rivals for second place to five points in a quintessential Jose Mourinho win.
Despite new signings Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang–and despite a seemingly narrow result–the North London derby was a straightforward affair. Thanks to superior positional play and clever pressing, Spurs were able to cement their dominance in the north of London.