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Arsenal overload left side as Benteke bullies

Tactics Board

Chelsea's tactics fail as City outflank them

Tactics Board

WhoScored: Romero can succeed De Gea

Tactics & Analysis

WhoScored: Falcao and Costa together again

Tactics And Analysis

Chris Smalling and Daley Blind impress at the back for Manchester United

The ESPN FC crew react to Manchester United's 4-0 thrashing of Club Brugge, which Craig Burley insists is a smokescreen and only hides United's issues.

Heading into the season, the primary concern with regard to Manchester United's ability to mount a serious title challenge was an apparent weakness at the back, particularly in key centre-half positions.

A tally of 37 goals conceded in the 2014-15 campaign was certainly not a poor return -- and only five more than the league's best defence of Chelsea -- but none of Louis van Gaal's central defensive options had ever truly convinced.

The fact that eight different players started at least two league...

Arsenal overload left side as Liverpool's Benteke bullies Gunners

The ESPN FC crew discuss Arsenal's match against Liverpool and comment that Arsenal did not make the best of their chances.

Brendan Rodgers could take the most positives from Monday night's 0-0 draw at the Emirates Stadium, in which his fast-paced Liverpool side forced heroics from Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech.

Pressing high in a 4-3-3 formation, the visitors forced several errors from a makeshift Arsenal defence of Calum Chambers and Gabriel, and the presence of Christian Benteke gave the Reds a new sense of variety. By half-time, Philippe Coutinho had struck the woodwork twice, while his Belgian teammate had been denied...

 By Michael Cox

Everton should counter-attack vs. Man City instead of a possession game

ESPN FC's Alexis Nunes tells us a little about River Plate defender and Everton target Ramiro Funes Mori.

A British newspaper recently conducted a poll of football fans to discover which Premier League teams were hated the most. It was no great surprise to discover Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool were the three most despised teams. Overall, those generally considered the "big clubs" dominated the top places.

One of the most intriguing positions, however, was Everton. Despite being a traditionally big club, it seems no-one particularly hates them. They're one of the least-hated clubs (they...

Chelsea's tactical tweaks fail as Man City outflank the champions

ESPN FC's Gab Marcotti discusses Chelsea's poor performance in their 3-0 defeat to Manchester City and none appear too surprised with Manchester City's dominance.

On Sunday at the Etihad Stadium, Jose Mourinho broke two records. Chelsea had more possession than Manchester City for the first time since his return to England. They also lost their first league game to a top-four rival over the same period.

The two events may not be coincidental. Instead of parking the dependable blue bus, the Portuguese started Cesc Fabregas in a deep role and sat the back line comparatively high. Within seconds Sergio Aguero escaped in behind, denoting a defensive display of...

 By Michael Cox

Tactical dilemmas for Pellegrini and Mourinho before Man City vs. Chelsea

Manchester City vs. Chelsea might be a title decider if it were played on the second-to-last weekend of the season, rather than the second overall. It's highly unusual to encounter such an important match so early in the new campaign and this is a meeting between the past two Premier League champions, who happen to be the two favourites to win it again.

The contest is unlikely to be spectacular with a more patient, tense tactical battle expected between two managers determined not to lose. Manuel...

Romero can be De Gea's long-term successor at Manchester United

ESPN FC's Shaka Hislop and Mark Donaldson discuss how Louis van Gaal has handled the transfer speculation surrounding David De Gea ahead of Manchester United's fixture against Aston Villa on Friday.
ESPN FC's Gab Marcotti discusses the latest of the David De Gea to Real Madrid rumours, comment on the reports that Jasper Cillessen could move to Old Trafford and more.

The David De Gea saga took yet another twist prior to the Premier League opener on Saturday when Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal confirmed the goalkeeper would not start United's home match versus Tottenham (the Reds won 1-0). Real Madrid have been strongly linked with a move for the Spaniard for much of 2015 in a tedious affair that has stretched United fans' patience to the breaking point.

De Gea is perhaps more likely to wear a Madrid shirt than a United one once the transfer window shuts,...