Note: This article was originally hosted on the Leicester Ripple website (the University of Leicester’s student paper). Leicester university student media has since changed and the website, and therefore the article, are no longer online there. It was originally posted in February 2016.
Behind the scenes at Leicester City
Behind every successful man, as the saying goes, is a great woman, and behind every successful sports team is a great backroom staff. One such person is Peter Clark, a First Team Performance Analyst at the club. His role involves doing post-match and in-match analysis, preparing statistical and video feedback on the game for players and coaches, and working with Andy Blake who heads the pre-match preparations.
While Manchester City are ramping up their analysis involvement, Arsenal (a club who also owns data company StatDNA) signing Leicester’s head of technical scouting Ben Wrigglesworth, Leicester could be said to be one of the league leaders in their use of performance analysis as well as in terms of points at the moment.
In-game, Clark will look at 4-5 points which have been identified as areas that they can exploit to beat their opponents, as well as a few more regarding how they want the team to play. At home matches, there’s a special desk for the analysis team in the stands and an analysis room in which key moments can be shown to the manager at the start of half-time and individual feedback can be given to players. Continue reading
The biggest game of the week is, by no doubt, Liverpool vs Chelsea on Tuesday night. Liverpool drop out of the top 4 if they lose and Manchester City win at the London Stadium on Wednesday, but if they win then Chelsea’s lead at the top could be cut to a more reachable level for the chasing pack.
It’ll be a fascinating match-up: Liverpool the high-pressing, gun-wielding, heavy metal side against Chelsea, whose success is based more upon solid foundations than a shot-a-minute offence. That said, Liverpool have been blunted in recent weeks, taking a shot every 32 passes in the past 5 games, just 15th in the league and almost level for speed of attack with Swansea.
Chelsea are also supreme shot limiters. All season they’ve conceded just 8.5 shots per game (the league average is nearly 13), and in the past 5 games their opponents have only shot once every 47 passes. Liverpool’s visit to Stamford Bridge earlier in the season will give them confidence though – they’ve provided Chelsea’s only loss, their only non-win in fact, at home so far in 2016/17. Continue reading
There’s a magic to the FA Cup. It’s in the air as you pretend not to care about it, adolescence reborn in a half-eye glance up at ‘The Man’ to say, with the disdain and rising intonation that signals you should not be spoken to again, “I only care about the league”. It’s there in the welders, the drivers, the e-candlestick makers who make up the small handful of non-league teams still in the draw.
And so, naturally, the 3rd round opens at the Olympic (London, whatever) Stadium, West Ham taking on Manchester City.
West Ham’s early tactical changes
West Ham cycled through several set-ups in the opening stages of the game. They started off in a 4-2-3-1, but with the apparent primary goal of playing long balls up to Carroll to flick on to one of Antonio or Feghouli, who’d be running on beyond him. In fairness to West Ham, this led to their best chance of the match shortly after City’s first goal, Antonio collecting a flick-on and shooting, with Feghouli peculiarly missing the rebound. Continue reading
“The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there”
Looking back on the match between Southampton and Liverpool in March 2014 is like looking back on the current sides’ teenage years, spooling through their albums of Facebook photos. So much youth, so much possibility. So many Southampton players about to be picked off by bigger clubs…
This was a battle between a Pochettino who still used a translator to speak to the press, and a Brendan Rodgers chasing a Premier League title, both wanting to play with intensity.
The opening of the match was high-paced and transition-filled. For the first half hour, the two sides were rarely in their nominal starting formations, always in some stage of the process of pressing or recovering. Continue reading