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Arsenal vs. Man United could be a real throwback battle of diamond midfields

Since the formation of the Premier League in 1992, various different formations have dominated.

The 4-4-2 has long been considered English football's default system, although there was a brief craze of 3-5-2 in the mid-to-late 1990s. Jose Mourinho's impact in the mid-2000s meant many sides shifted to 4-3-3, before 4-2-3-1 started to become the most common system in the early 2010s. A couple of years ago, 3-4-3 became suddenly popular after the brief dominance of Antonio Conte's Chelsea.

One...

Bill Barnwell's Premier League midseason awards: Hazard best player; Fred worst summer signing

As we hit the peak of the festive season and approach the start of the January transfer window, now is a good time to take a look back at the Premier League. The competition is hitting its halfway point after 19 matches, and following a suffocating performance from Manchester City last season, the race between City and Liverpool (with Tottenham Hotspur on the outside) is shaping up to present the most exciting second half of a campaign since Leicester claimed the title in 2016.

Today, I'm going...

Why the Premier League should be afraid of 'Sarri-ball' once Chelsea master it

The FC crew answer your tweets on N'Golo Kante's positioning under Maurizio Sarri, what Unai Emery will do with Mesut Ozil and much more.
Stewart Robson analyses how Maurizio Sarri's tactics mixed with quality individual performances were enough to inflict Manchester City's first loss of the season.

The Premier League currently finds itself with the most impressive array of managers in its 27-season history, and the eclectic cast includes three managers who have contributed significantly to the evolution of modern football.

The first is Manchester City's Pep Guardiola. His hugely successful Barcelona side repopularised possession football across the continent before he became an increasingly flexible manager during his period in the Bundesliga with Bayern Munich. The second is Liverpool's Jurgen...

Transfer window can save Premier League's strugglers from relegation

The 2018-19 Premier League season has a markedly different feel from 2017-18. This is a campaign of identities, of philosophies, of ideologues.

The change has been evident at the top, where Chelsea's Maurizio Sarri and Arsenal's Unai Emery have stamped their authority upon their sides with remarkable speed. In midtable, Everton finally have a clear playing identity under Marco Silva, and Watford appear more settled under Javi Gracia.

But the pattern is also evident among bottom-half sides, which...

Football's dark arts: Your guide to the set-piece trickery, diving and sneaky fouls that make a difference

The FC panel share their thoughts on the impact football's 'dark arts' are having on the game.

Football's laws are always evolving. In recent years, there have been changes to the kickoff, alteration to the punishment for "last man" fouls and the long-awaited rollout of VAR.

The rules and regulations have not adapted much in terms of clamping down on gamesmanship, and in a way, that is the point: It is not about breaking laws as such but more about pushing their boundaries in search of an advantage.

A popular description of these actions is "dark arts," but what are its major forms? Here...

Trent Alexander-Arnold is already a world-class full-back but he might not be there for long

After a limp first-half display, Liverpool burst into life in the second period winning in the end very comfortably 3-0 against Watford

It was a complex offside situation. Sadio Mane had converted the rebound, seemingly giving Liverpool a 1-0 lead at the Emirates, but a linesman's flag had thwarted him. Mane had been offside when the initial pass was played, but wasn't interfering with play. When he was interfering with play, in the second phase, he'd been level with Roberto Firmino as the Brazilian volleyed towards goal. Mane was onside, the goal should have stood.

From the freeze-frames on the replay, we were looking at the...