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 By Michael Cox

Cardiff's direct, no-nonsense style can test Manchester City

ESPN FC's Alexis Nunes and Steve Nicol square off in predicting every fixture in the sixth week of Premier League action.
Resident fantasy expert Mark Donaldson shares his tips for this weekend's Premier League fixtures.
Manchester City's Sergio Aguero admitted he was very happy to extend his current contract at the club until 2021.

On Saturday, the greatest stylistic mismatch of the 2018-19 Premier League campaign takes place when promoted Cardiff City, managed by Neil Warnock, host Pep Guardiola's Manchester City.

The statistics tell the story effectively. Man City's pass completion rate this season is 90 percent, a reflection of their determination to build patiently from the back and move the ball through a technically proficient midfield trio.

Cardiff, on the other hand, have a pass completion rate of just 64 percent....

 By Michael Cox

Pochettino vs. Klopp a battle of Premier League's brightest minds

The FC crew disagree with former Man United defender Gary Neville, who believes Liverpool should direct their focus on the Prem this season.
Alejandro Moreno and Shaka Hislop believe Liverpool's trip to Wembley will provide some early evidence as to whether they're the real deal.
Jurgen Klopp admits how tough it is to leave someone of Fabinho's cost and quality on the bench at Liverpool.

From the multitude of talented foreign coaches currently operating in the Premier League, Mauricio Pochettino and Jurgen Klopp are the ones who have contributed most to the division's current tactical feel. We've long since moved past the defensive era defined by Jose Mourinho, and the possession-based approach epitomised by Pep Guardiola was actually more popular several seasons ago, before he joined Manchester City.

This is the Premier League's pressing era, and it's Pochettino and Klopp, more...

Mesut Ozil's impact at Arsenal mixed in five years since transfer

Before Arsenal signed Mesut Ozil five years ago, nobody believed Arsenal were crying out for a signing like Mesut Ozil.

After all, Arsenal's attacking quartet in 2012-13 was very balanced, with all four players -- Olivier Giroud, Theo Walcott, Lukas Podolski and Santi Cazorla -- reaching double figures in terms of Premier League goals. The consensus was that Arsenal required the types of player Arsenal always seem to require: a solid defensive midfielder, or a commanding centre-back. Maybe a top-class...

Attacking left-backs like Benjamin Mendy, Marcos Alonso revolutionising the Premier League

Three games into the new Premier League campaign is somewhat premature for assessing 2018-19's tactical trends, but it's been easy to identify certain patterns from the 30 matches thus far: lots of goals, lots of heavy pressing and -- in particular -- a seemingly high number of attacking contributions from attack-minded left-backs.

Left-back was the weakest position in the Premier League last season. You really had to scramble around to find a player deserving of a place in the "Team of the Year,"...

Why ambitious Premier League managers are less likely to park the bus

The Premier League is currently blessed with an unusual level of tactical variety. In particular, last weekend's action featured two entirely different approaches from small sides hosting title challengers.

In Saturday's lunchtime fixture, Wolverhampton Wanderers held Manchester City to a draw with an impressively bold performance. The following day, Newcastle were narrowly defeated by Chelsea, having parked the bus for the duration.

Wolves played an open style of football and caused Manchester...

Liverpool must beat 'bottom 10' teams if they're to challenge for title

Ian Darke, Steve Nicol and Paul Mariner debate the merits of the two perceived Premier League title front-runners, Liverpool and Manchester City.
Relive the top strikes from Week 2 of the 2018-19 Premier League season, including David Silva's picture-perfect set piece for Man City.
The FC guys are already seeing improvements in Liverpool's defence and ability to close out games following their victory over Crystal Palace.
Gab Marcotti defends his selections and omissions in the second team of the weekend of the Premier League season.

Footballers are increasingly judged according to their performance in big games, with memorable performances in semifinals and finals seemingly the main criteria for end-of-year awards. But such focus upon football's biggest matches obscures the fact that performance in smaller games has never been so crucial. In an era in which league champions can achieve 100 points, contenders can barely afford more than a single slip-up in a small game all season.

Some clubs, strange as it might sound, suffer...