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Real Madrid press Juventus to defeat

Tactics Board
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 By Michael Cox

Is Mourinho right that the Premier League is more defensive than before?

Craig Burley scoffs at the idea of the Premier League title being a two-horse race between United and City this season.
After their unbeaten start to the 2017/18 Premier League season, Stewart Robson explains why Manchester United are favourites for the title.

Regardless of the positional history of pundits, defending is often the first thing to be analysed. It's easier -- and probably makes for better television -- to find fault, rather than highlight the positives and, when analysis contains replays of goals, focusing upon defensive blunders is inevitable.

But Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho, when quizzed last week about Wayne Rooney's career ahead of his Old Trafford return, implied the opposite.

"I think Wayne spent probably 10 years of his...

 By Michael Cox

3-4-3 formations in focus as Chelsea and Arsenal meet again

Don Hutchison and Alison Bender delve into the differing coaching styles ahead of Chelsea's clash with Arsenal.
Stewart Robson and the FC crew discuss Alexis Sanchez's role in the Arsenal squad and why he must be in the XI at Chelsea.
Antonio Conte doesn't want to speak about Arsenal's situation and has a laugh at comments about how Morata's scoring goals.
Steve Nicol and Shaka Hislop question how much Arsenal's win over Cologne will help them heading into their clash against Chelsea.

For a managerial rivalry that is just a year old, the meetings between Arsene Wenger and Antonio Conte have produced a series of fascinating Arsenal vs. Chelsea clashes that essentially tell the story of the Premier League's most significant tactical shift during that time: A shift from clubs being fixated upon four-man defences, to an increasing dominance of the back three.

Sunday will mark the fifth meeting between Wenger and Conte since the latter arrived in London. In the league last season,...

 By Michael Cox

How Real Madrid surprisingly came to dominate the Champions League

With Champions League matchday 1 looming, the FC crew delve into the marquee fixtures.
Zinedine Zidane admits he is not surprised by the comparisons made between Marco Asensio and Lionel Messi.

It feels like yesterday that Real Madrid were obsessed with "La Decima," their relentless quest to become the first club to move into double figures in terms of European Cups. Yet after three triumphs in the past four years, they have 12 to their name, five clear of their nearest challengers, Milan, and seven clear of archrivals Barcelona.

A haul of 12 European Cups suggests that Real Madrid have triumphed consistently over the history of the competition, but that's not entirely true. It has...

 By Michael Cox

Liverpool's press vs. Mesut Ozil might be key to Sunday's clash with Arsenal

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was the last to find out after Georginio Wijnaldum welcomed his second child.

Few fixtures over the past four years have been as entertaining as Liverpool-Arsenal: Their eight matches in that time have averaged 3.8 goals, a run that includes a 0-0 draw at the Emirates. And even that stalemate was fast-paced, frenetic and thoroughly entertaining.

Their fixture slated for Sunday seems to be a genuinely big game. It appears doubtful that both sides will finish in the top four given the competition from Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea and Tottenham. Three games...

 By Michael Cox

Formation trends making traditional wingers a rarity in the Premier League

Craig Burley and Paul Mariner point to Manchester City's formation as the reason they've sputtered to start the season.
Pep Guardiola feels echoes of last season for Manchester City after they draw with Everton.
Jurgen Klopp reflects on Mohamed Salah's debut for Liverpool and provides the latest regarding Philippe Coutinho.
Steve Nicol explains how Jose Mourinho should utilise Marcus Rashford and why he will be vital to Romelu Lukaku's success.

Manchester City's 1-1 draw with Everton on Monday evening was the most tactically fascinating contest of the Premier League campaign so far, a tussle between Pep Guardiola and Ronald Koeman, long-standing friends who once roomed together on away trips when playing for Johan Cruyff's Barcelona.

The two managers repeatedly tinkered with their systems, attempting to outwit one another, with Guardiola switching centre-backs and then changing formation three times in the second half, and Koeman making...

 By Michael Cox

One big question for Arsenal, Chelsea, Man Utd, Man City, Spurs, Liverpool

The FC panel delve into their 2017-18 Premier League title predictions.

The new Premier League campaign is finally here, starting with Arsenal's home meeting with Leicester at the Emirates on Friday evening. But what are the major tactical issues facing the title contenders?

Here's a run-down of the major question mark about each side's tactical approach.

Arsenal: Will they stick with the 3-4-2-1?

The immediate answer to this question is simple: yes. Arsene Wenger's decision to switch to a three-man defence last season for the first time in over 20 years completely...