Leverkusen 2-0 Schalke: Schurrle stays in a position to counter-attack

November 20, 2012
Leverkusen 2-0 Schalke: Schurrle stays in a position to counter-attack

Leverkusen comfortably won a very simple game of football.

Sami Hyypia selected a 4-1-4-1 / 4-3-3 shape with roughly his first-choice XI this season, although left-back Michal Kadlec is out injured, so versatile Japanese international Hajime Hosogai filled in.

Huub Stevens was without Ibrahim Afellay, so Julian Draxler started on the left of midfield. Otherwise, they were unchanged from the win over Werder Bremen.

Leverkusen were by far the better side throughout the game, with Stevens furious at the performance of his side. Read more »

West Brom 2-1 Chelsea: Morrison and Long drift wide, then stop Chelsea passing through middle

November 19, 2012
West Brom 2-1 Chelsea: Morrison and Long drift wide, then stop Chelsea passing through middle

West Brom’s mobile duo of Shane Long and James Morrison provided an assist apiece.

Ben Foster is injured, so Steve Clarke used Boaz Myhill in goal. Gabriel Tamas replaced Gareth McAuley, and Zoltan Gera started on the left.

Roberto Di Matteo shuffled his pack, leaving Oscar, Ramires, Juan Mata, Branislav Ivanovic and Ashley Cole on the bench.

For such a surprise victory, the strangest thing is that West Brom didn’t have to play particularly well. This isn’t an attempt to take anything away from their victory, of course (if you were being charitable you could say it was a compliment – they beat the European champions without having to reach their peak), and there were good individual performances. But West Brom have played better football this season, and this arguably wasn’t a typical representation of their football. Read more »

Arsenal 5-2 Tottenham: Villas-Boas goes for two strikers, but loses Adebayor early on

November 17, 2012
Arsenal 5-2 Tottenham: Villas-Boas goes for two strikers, but loses Adebayor early on

For the third consecutive season, this fixture saw plenty of goals and featured an impressive comeback.

With Wojciech Szszesny back in goal, Arsene Wenger played his expected side – Theo Walcott was fielded on the right, while Thomas Vermaelen continued at left-back.

Andre Villas-Boas was without Steven Caulker, so shifted Jan Vetonghen into the middle and used Kyle Naughton at left-back. Upfront, he started Jermain Defoe and Emmanuel Adebayor together for the first time in the Premier League, in a 4-4-2.

There were three separate tactical battles here. Stage one was the opening formation battle, stage two was Spurs’ reaction to Adebayor’s dmissal, and stage three was when Villas-Boas switched to a 3-4-1-1ish formation at half-time. Read more »