Inter 1-3 Roma: Zeman collects the first win of his second spell at Roma

September 3, 2012
Inter 1-3 Roma: Zeman collects the first win of his second spell at Roma

An extremely open game finished with Roma on top.

Andrea Stramaccioni surprisingly used new signing Alvaro Pereira on the left of his central midfield three in place of Esteban Cambiasso Рotherwise, the XI was the same as in the 3-0 win over Pescara last week.

Zdenek Zeman gave debuts to Panagiotis Tachtsidis, Alessandro Florenzi and Mattia Destro within his standard attack-minded 4-3-3 system.

As with all games involving a Zeman side, this was very open with space all over the pitch, despite both sides trying to play with a high defensive line. Read more »

Liverpool 0-2 Arsenal: Cazorla stays high up and exploits space between the lines

September 2, 2012
Liverpool 0-2 Arsenal: Cazorla stays high up and exploits space between the lines

Arsenal started nervously but eventually got into their stride to record an impressive win over Liverpool.

Brendan Rodgers brought Daniel Agger straight back into the team after he was suspended for the draw against Manchester City, while Nuri Sahin was given his debut in midfield, in place of the injured Lucas Leiva.

Arsene Wenger kept his back four intact despite the return to fitness of Laurent Koscielny. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain replaced Gervinho on the right.

Liverpool dominated possession – 53% – but Arsenal were more penetrative with their passing, thanks to the positioning and use of the ball by Santi Cazorla between the lines. Read more »

West Ham quicker to the second balls in 3-0 victory over Fulham

September 1, 2012
West Ham quicker to the second balls in 3-0 victory over Fulham

This game’s main story was always going to involve the debut of Andy Carroll. 24 hours after confirmation of his loan from Liverpool, he went straight into Sam Allardyce’s first XI.

That came as little surprise – new signings often need time to settle in, but any doubt about his tactical role was unlikely. As with all Allardyce sides, it was long balls towards the big man straight away – and West Ham went ahead within a minute.

But it wasn’t Carroll’s aerial threat that directly threatened the Fulham defence. In Brede Hangeland the away side had a strong centre-back that relishes physical confrontations, and although Carroll won the majority of his aerial duels (9 from 15, 60%), he didn’t have any headed attempts on goal. His only shot was hit from outside the penalty area, and was blocked. Read more »