Manchester United have suffered a turbulent start to the 2020-21 season, despite surprising victories against PSG & RB Leipzig that leave them on the verge of qualification from a challenging Champions League group, Ole’s team have stumbled against too many an opposition.
Two teams seeking to disrupt the status-quo of the ‘big six’ in the Premier League met on Sunday afternoon at the King Power Stadium. Both sides have seemingly aimed to control more possession this season as the next stage in their evolution.
Following on from the first of this two part series where the predominant offensive structures Manchester City used were outlined, this part will examine the methods used to create chances within the aforementioned structures.
Manchester City were the most potent attacking force, in Europe’s major five leagues, during the 2019/20 season. They ranked first for expected goals (xG), shots taken and goals scored compared to the other top performing teams in Europe.
This FA Cup third-round tie was truly a game of two halves where Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal matched-up against Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds. The game was won in the second half after Arsenal improved dramatically following a poor first-half display. This analysis will discuss Arsenal’s initial issues in their build-up, how Leeds outplayed their pressure much more effectively and then Arteta’s changes for the second half which changed the dynamic of the match.
Revisiting the theme of analysing matches from previous seasons but not too long ago to be called a ‘retro analysis’, I planned on analysing Chelsea’s first match against Manchester City in the season they won the title under Antonio Conte.
The Canaries entered the 2019/20 Premier League season with an abundance of hope, fresh from finishing their promotion campaign in the Championship on top of the pile with a notable 94 points, 5 clear of runners-up Sheffield United and a whole 11 from Leeds United back in third-place, Daniel Farke would have surely been confident of steering the new boys to safety in their return season to the top flight. However, this has not played out in the manner to be expected.
Solskjaer’s in-form Manchester United hosted a similarly buoyant Southampton side at Old Trafford on Monday evening. With the hosts locked in a battle with Chelsea and Leicester for the final Champions league positions, a win was vital. Whilst their opponents had no such clear targets, their recent performances and results show they do not lack motivation.
The first half of Brighton against Manchester City was a great example of how City’s positional play adapts to create stability as well as positional superiority against their opponents. This analysis will therefore focus on City’s possession game against Brighton’s midfield press in the first 45 minutes, and not touch upon the second half.
One of my favourite matches this season was Manchester City’s 4-0 win over Brighton from early September, where the home side scored their first in the 2nd minute, and the match itself was overshadowed by Aymeric Laporte’s injury.
Looking past the result, Brighton made one of the best performances with the ball that I have seen for an away side at the Etihad in recent years, and also attempted a rather daring plan without the ball, too. But don’t just take my word for it, here are Pep’s views on the game in the post-match press conference – note he was not prompted this question, but rather wanted to make a key point of it besides Laporte’s injury.