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Blog - Tactics and Analysis

Five trends of the 2014-15 Premier League

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WhoScored: Liverpool scoring woes solved?

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WhoScored: Ramsey recapturing form

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WhoScored: Lampard rebirth a lesson

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Premier League's best youngsters are English

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WhoScored: Five international debuts

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 By Michael Cox

Chelsea diving debate illustrates larger problem for referees and clubs

Eden Hazard's curler rescued a point, as Southampton held the league leaders to a 1-1 draw.

Top-level managers usually find a way to dictate the media agenda following a disappointing result. After Chelsea's 1-1 draw at Southampton on Sunday afternoon, Jose Mourinho chose to accuse referees of having a 'campaign' against Chelsea, after Cesc Fabregas was harshly booked for diving in the second half.

The incident was unusual. Fabregas, on the right-hand side of the box, was tripped by an accidental challenge by Southampton youngster Matt Targett. The left-back hadn't actually intended...

Five trends of the 2014-15 Premier League campaign thus far

ESPN FC's Alejandro Moreno, Steve Nicol and Shaka Hislop preview Chelsea and Stoke City, where Mark Hughes has taken seven points from nine Premier League games against Jose Mourinho.

It's fair to say most midseason reviews start out exaggerating just how entertaining a campaign has been so far, but in the case of the 2014-15 Premier League, it's fair to say few before have packed in quite so many surprises at this stage.

The likes of Arsenal, Liverpool and Everton have all dropped points in at least 10 of their 17 league matches to date, while West Ham have scaled heights that none would have foreseen. Admittedly, it's been a far more predictable affair at the other end of...

Can West Ham, Southampton survive the festive period among Prem elite?

The ESPN FC crew respond to your questions regarding whether or not West Ham can push for a Champions League spot, what can make the Club World Cup a better competition and the competitiveness between La Liga and the Premier League.

The holiday season in the Premier League has often been where underdog dreams go to die. Fixtures pile up and the perception is that smaller clubs just cannot compete. This season, those smaller clubs still have a fighting chance. With the 2014-15 campaign approaching the halfway mark, West Ham United still cling to fourth place with Southampton close behind in fifth. But the festive period is coming, and with it 30 league matches in just seven days.

You have to go back nearly a decade to find...

 By Michael Cox

Milner and Sterling offer differing options as centre-forwards

ESPN FC's Mark Donaldson explains when to make changes to your squad ahead of a busy week in the Premier League which includes Boxing Day and Sunday fixtures.

On one hand, last weekend was a good one for Premier League's traditional number nines. Simple, old-fashioned penalty box players such as Andy Carroll scored for West Ham, while Olivier Giroud thumped in Arsenal's second at Liverpool and QPR's Charlie Austin bagged a hat trick.

Elsewhere, something interesting was happening. Two major sides -- Manchester City and Liverpool -- started a wide midfielder upfront. City manager Manuel Pellegrini was without any of his three established forwards, so was...

New Sterling role could spell end to Liverpool's attacking issues

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers hails Raheem Sterling's performance against Bournemouth.

In the absence of the persistently injured Daniel Sturridge and the departed Luis Suarez, this season has been a struggle for Liverpool as manager Brendan Rodgers chops and changes from week to week in an effort to find a way of coping without last season's two best players. And while there is a pressing need to replace the goals they scored, his defence, too, are providing even greater cause for concern.

It hasn't really been clear at any stage of the season what kind of tactic or philosophy...

 By Michael Cox

Bundesliga strugglers Borussia Dortmund have problems at both ends

ESPN FC's Raf Honigstein examines the reasons Borussia Dortmund have been performing well in the Champions League but look like a different team in the German Bundesliga.

DORTMUND, Germany -- Judging by the crowd alone, you wouldn't realise this was a crisis for Borussia Dortmund.

The Yellow Wall assembled an hour before kickoff of their club's 2-2 draw with Wolfsburg on Wednesday night were as passionate as ever throughout the game and then waited behind to hail the players with two enduring ovations. With the Bundesliga's winter break looming, this is the last time Dortmund and their superb home support will see one another for over a month.

Borussia DortmundBorussia Dortmund
VfL WolfsburgVfL Wolfsburg
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Yet the team are now...