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Blog - Tactics and Analysis

WhoScored: Di Maria leads in one key stat

Premier League

Relegation candidates by the numbers

Tactics & Analysis

WhoScored: Benteke's remarkable efficiency

Tactics And Analysis

Whoscored: Explaining Newcastle's woe

Newcastle United

Lloris deserves better than Spurs

Tactics and Analysis

Milner among culprits for City's form

Tactics And Analysis

WhoScored: City's away form a hindrance?

Tactics And Analysis

Di Maria, Ospina are surprising leaders in some key Premier League stats

Angel Di Maria has struggled to settle at Manchester United during his first season in the Premier League, but the Argentine has high aspirations at Old Trafford.
Arsenal may be linked to Petr Cech but their current starter at goal, David Ospina, has performed well in his 16 appearances.

As the Premier League season draws to a somewhat anti-climactic close for all those that aren't petrified fans of Hull, Newcastle and Sunderland, reveal the players that have been most efficient across a wide range of statistics.

While the likes of Hazard, Aguero, Kane and De Gea may have been lauded among the top performers this campaign, the following individuals are 10 players that, in most cases, may not have stolen the headlines this season, but deserve credit nonetheless for...

Barcelona, Arsenal, Eden Hazard and the art of Danger Zone passing

One of Barcelona's many strengths is the intricate, deliberate passing of the front three inside the penalty area.

"One pass too many." "Needlessly elaborate." "Why didn't he just have a go?"

These complaints arise every time an attack sputters out near the penalty area with a difficult pass that doesn't quite reach its target. Clubs that focus on intricate passing attacks through the center of the pitch, most famously Barcelona and Arsenal, regularly field such complaints from fans and pundits alike. And yet, statistical analysis can demonstrate the value of attempting that one extra pass within the penalty...

Assessing the Premier League's relegation candidates by the numbers

The ESPN FC team delve deeper into the Premier League relegation race, where Hull City are in for a daunting task against Tottenham and Manchester United.

Over the weekend, Burnley and QPR's fates were sealed as both were relegated to the Championship. The former went down fighting, the latter managed barely a whimper. Now the race is on to see who will avoid joining the duo in England's second tier next season.

Aston Villa sit four points above the drop zone, and given their recent form, are expected to retain their Premier League status. However, any of Leicester, Sunderland, Newcastle and Hull City still face the threat of relegation to the second...

 By Jake Cohen

How Chelsea, Real Madrid and Southampton rule the transfer market

The ESPN FC team discuss the big picture with Real Madrid ahead of their Champions League semifinal second leg against Juventus, where the crew feel that if Real are to bow out of the competition, Carlo Ancelotti faces a real possibility of being sacked.

Despite having vastly differing resources, football clubs share one common goal when it comes to the transfer market: maximising the return on their investments.

For clubs with limited finances like Southampton, using a prominent youth development system to develop young players like Gareth Bale, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Luke Shaw, sell them for a high price and then reinvest the profit back into the system to perpetuate a cycle of talent development, is an ideal model.

For clubs with seemingly...

 By Michael Cox

Champions League semis showcase changing role of deep-lying midfielder

The ESPN FC panel discuss Real Madrid's second-leg clash against Juventus in the Champions League semifinal, and consider Real favourites to go through.

This season's Champions League semifinals don't feature the four most outstanding goalkeepers, defenders, wingers or strikers in the world, but it's difficult to argue with the selection of deep-lying midfielders.

In Sergio Busquets, Andrea Pirlo, Xabi Alonso and Toni Kroos, we're being treated to an exhibition of probably the world's four most revered footballers in that role. Between them, the quartet have won the last three World Cups and seven of the last 12 Champions League titles. More crucially,...

 By Michael Cox

Pep Guardiola failed at trying to beat Barcelona at their own game

ESPN FC's Alejandro Moreno and Dan Thomas break down how Lionel Messi was able to expose Bayern's back line for two goals in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League semifinals.
Bayern Munich head coach Pep Guardiola admits the 3-0 scoreline at Barcelona in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League semi-final disappointed him.
Moments of brilliance from Lionel Messi and Neymar doomed Bayern Munich to a 3-0 loss in the first leg of their Champions League semifinal.
Moments of brilliance from Lionel Messi and Neymar doomed Bayern Munich to a 3-0 loss in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final.
Relive the most memorable moments from Wednesday's Champions League semifinal action between Barcelona and Bayern Munich.
Take a look back at all the action between Bayern Munich and FC Barcelona with a focus on Lionel Messi and Pep Guardiola.
ESPN FC's Adrian Healey assesses Barcelona's 3-0 win over Bayern Munich, highlighting Messi's outstanding moments throughout the game.
Barcelona's Lionel Messi weaves his way through the Bayern Munich back line and scores a stunner for his second goal of the game.
Relive Lionel Messi's two extraordinary goals as Barcelona triumphed 3-0 against Bayern Munich in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League semifinals.
UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Lionel Messi (77') Barcelona 1-0 Bayern Munich
UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Lionel Messi (80') Barcelona 2-0 Bayern Munich

Barcelona's 3-0 victory over Bayern Munich on Wednesday was one of the most thrilling football matches you'll witness in this -- or any other -- season. It was an incredible spectacle: a match played at breakneck speed between two teams determined to press high, and pass from deep, in which the relentless pace only highlighted the sheer technical quality of the footballers on show.

The reason was fairly obvious: Pep Guardiola, on his first return to the Camp Nou, was determined to play the "Barcelona...