Preview football matches weekend tactical analysis

Between the Posts tactical analysis weekend preview: a look at the games we will cover this weekend

Welcome to the weekend primer of Between the Posts. In this article, you can find out which games are going to be featured on our site during the weekend, including a little preview of these matches. Nine games in total! 

Saturday, December 1st

Lille OSC – Olympique Lyon (Ligue 1), 17:00 CET

Alongside Montpellier, Lille have been the surprise package of this year’s Ligue 1. Usually setting up in a 4-2-3-1 shape, their young attackers have stolen the limelight so far, left-footed right winger Nicolas Pépé in particular. Fielding all these young guns does not lead to a disbalanced side, however, as Lille have conceded 12.4 Expected Goals  The amount of goals a team is expected to score based on the quality of the shots they take. from fourteen games so far this season. Only PSG does better in that regard.

This game will be a matchup between a lot of young talent, as Lyon – arguably together with Ajax – have the most talented young squad in Europe right now. Midweeks, they drew 2-2 with Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, a match they could – or should – have won.

It might be a bit left field, but it could very well pay off to set aside your usual Bundesliga or Premier League Saturday afternoon fixture to watch this exciting Ligue 1 match!
Tactical analysis by Erik Elias.

Fiorentina – Juventus (Serie A), 18:00 CET

In Italy, nobody can stop Juventus. Manager Max Allegri’s side comfortably top this year’s Serie A, already leading by eight points. Juventus have now played 18 games this season, losing just once: a very undeserved 1-2 defeat to Manchester United.

Fiorentina have drawn their last five (!) Serie A outings. When we first covered them on this website, our prediction was that Fiorentina would be a fine defensive team this season, but the offensive part would be a question mark. With 18 goals scored and 10 goals conceded after 13 matches, it seems like that prediction has come true, even though Fiorentina’s underlying offensive numbers are fine too.

Going up against one of the best defenses in the league, it is not a given Juventus will win this away match. And besides that, Fiorentina have the hugely talented Enrico Chiesa playing in attack, so there’s always a chance of some individual brilliance to make life hard for Italy’s champions.
Tactical analysis by Peter M.

Expected goals pitch plot Juventus - Valencia 1-0

Real Madrid – Valencia CF (LaLiga), 20:45 CET

Just when Real Madrid fans thought everything was back to normal – with Santiago Solari winning the first four games of his managerial stint – their team hopelessly lost 3-0, away at Eibar.

It has been a strange season so far for Real Madrid, as Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure was not followed up by signing a galáctico to replace him. It seems like losing a player that always scores forty goals or more actually makes a team a lot worse, and Real Madrid’s chance creation is down too.

Their opponent Valencia are a very tough nut to crack. Midweeks, they lost at Juventus, which happens to the best of teams. They are a team that plays a brand of football based on a solid defense – in a 4-4-2 shape –  and quick transitions when the ball is won. Which sounds like a pretty bad matchup for Real Madrid at the moment…
Tactical analysis by Om Arvind.

Sunday, December 2nd

Arsenal – Tottenham Hotspur (Premier League), 15:05 CET

What to make of this North London Derby? It is fair to say both teams are in good form going into the match. The last time Arsenal lost a competitive match of football was on the 18th of August, since then, fourteen games were won and four games drawn. Tottenham are three points above Arsenal in the Premier League table, winning six matches in a row, three of those being domestic league matches.

Both teams play – very roughly – the same style of possession-and-pressing, even though Unai Emery’s Arsenal are more static and organized in their approach in possession.
Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino has tried so many formations this season, allowing so much positional freedom for his midfielders and attackers, it is sometimes hard to say what his current preferred system is.

When the ball is lost, it is the other way around, as Pochettino has had a lot more time to instill his (counter)pressing ideas than Emery. Spurs are systematic in how and when they win the ball back and manage to stifle their opponents that way.
Tactical analysis by Josh Manley.

passmap Tottenham Hotspur - Chelsea 3-1

RB Leipzig – Borussia Mönchengladbach (Bundesliga), 15:30 CET

In an unexpected turn of events, RB Leipzig are pressing less than they did last season. This is extra peculiar considering Ralf Rangnick is their manager, one of the early adopters in Western Europe when it comes to the style of pressing the opponent when out of possession.

Mönchengladbach are second in the Bundesliga, which is quite surprising, to say the least. Under veteran manager Dieter Hecking, they play in a very dynamic 4-3-3 shape that sees the forwards regularly change position. When playing against Leipzig, you are doomed if you do not have a plan for when you regain possession, since Leipzig are quite good at counterpressing.

Whether Hecking’s Mönchengladbach can play out under pressure in these situations will be key to getting a result and to keep competing for the Bundesliga’s Champions League spots. Tactical analysis by Max Bergmann.

Liverpool – Everton (Premier League), 17:15 CET

Following their loss against PSG, Liverpool now have to win their final group stage game against Napoli to qualify for Champions League knockout football. The fact that Jürgen Klopp persists in playing a front three out of possession combined with Salah’s habit of not tracking back, proved too much for Liverpool as PSG heavily overloaded  When one team has more players in a certain area or zone than the other team. their left flank.

Everton’s Portuguese manager Marco Silva is a shrewd tactician. He does not have the elite attacking talent PSG has at its disposal, but might have picked up a tactical trick or two by studying the footage of PSG’s attacking patterns.

All tactical tinkering aside, this is a derby, and an emotional one, too. For some reason, the Merseyside derby always has the potential to end up in a very physical match with loads of hard fouls. Whoever can keep his head when that happens, might be one coming off the pitch with three points.
Tactical analysis by Josh Williams.

AS Roma – Internazionale (Serie A), 20:30 CET

It has been a very disappointing season so far for AS Roma. Their defense is bang average this season and the balance in midfield is nowhere to be found so far, as the double pivot  4-2-3-1 is one of the most frequently occurring formations in football. The two most defensive midfielders are called a ‘double pivot’. Steven Nzonzi and Daniele de Rossi has looked a bit old, to put it mildly.

Roma’s Champions League group was relatively easy, and they managed to qualify alongside Real Madrid for the knockout phase. One of the few positives for Eusebio Di Francesco’s plagued squad.

Internazionale are third in Serie A and have won a lot of games without playing well. If you like crosses, go and watch this match, because Inter loves crossing. Even if your best player is Mauro Icardi, this still is the least efficient way of attacking. Inter’s defense has been very solid, though, and has been the foundation of their success so far.
Tactical analysis by Chris Baker.


Deportivo Alavés – Sevilla FC (LaLiga), 20:45 CET

Who would have thought that as late as December, this would be a game between the number one and four of LaLiga’s league table? It epitomizes the crazy ride this domestic season in Spain has been so far, with neither FC Barcelona, Real Madrid nor Atlético Madrid impressing so far.

Alavés are overperforming heavily based on their underlying offensive and defensive statistics. Combined with some wins because of goals in injury-time, the game against league leaders Sevilla might be the beginning of their demise.

What both teams have in common is that they are unlike most Spanish teams, as they play a reactionary style of football that relies on a closed defensive unit and quick transitions when the ball is won. With the stakes being as high as they are, this might turn into an ugly game, folks!
Tactical analysis by José Pérez.

Monday, December 3rd

Atalanta Bergamo – SS Napoli, (Serie A), 20:30 CET

It feels unfair that Napoli have their best squad in recent history, in an era wherein Juventus is completely dominating Italian football. If it weren’t for Juventus’ dominance, this special group of Napoli players – who have been playing together for years now –  might have added a piece of silverware or two to the club’s trophy cabinet.

Napoli are second in Serie A now, like they were last year. Carlo Ancelotti has changed some things – like the formation, which is now 4-4-2 – but most of the features that characterize their playing style have stayed the same. The introduction of Fabián Ruiz as a playmaker from the left is one of the premier additions to this slightly aging side.

Visiting Atalanta Bergamo is no easy task at hand, though. The experienced manager Gian Piero Gasperini lets his squad do grueling runs in the mountains of northern Italy, to ensure they are fit enough to carry out his defensive man-marking system. They sit ninth in Serie A at the moment.
Tactical analysis by Martyn Davis.

Erik Elias (29) is co-founder of Between The Posts. Dutch, so admires Johan Cruijff and his football principles, but enjoys other styles as well. [ View all posts ]


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