Luciano Spalletti has worked wonders since arriving to the scene of Naples in 2021. The Italian manager helped Napoli to a third-place finish last season, and now prepares to lead the closing stages of their title charge in 2023. With some supremely smart acquisitions in the summer working their magic, Gli Azzurri currently sit ten points clear atop the table, and have more than double the points of Serie A's historical dominator - Juventus. If Spalletti can continue to get his tactics right and maintain the remarkably positive culture he's built since arriving, Napoli will walk away with the title this year. So with that, here is our analysis of the club from Naples so far in 2022-23.
Unai Emery has been one of the most esteemed managers of the modern era, to little fanfare given that much of his managerial success has come in competitions like the Europa League and Ligue 1. But Emery is yet to truly fail in a managerial role, and looks prepared to only continue his incredible reputation at Aston Villa. When he took over from Steven Gerrard, Villa were hovering around the relegation zone, desperately trying to stay afloat. Now they've attained four wins from their last six matches, in a robust 4-4-2 system that has dragged them all the way toward the top ten. Here is our analysis of how Emery has achieved so much success in his early days at Villa Park.
With a wonderful view of the action, goalkeepers must be more than just shot stoppers, and participate actively and vocally in communicating with their mates. They should not be solely responsible for organizing the entire team, but have the ability to do so through the vantage point they have on the field, and often the fearless nature they behold. I've often found that some of the best communicators that I coach are in fact goalkeepers. But before answering the question, let's first discuss whether or not it is actually necessary for the goalkeeper to organize the defensive line.
2022-23 has gone better than anyone at Arsenal could have ever imagined, with the Gunners topping the table for the vast majority of the campaign. After sixteen matches, only two sides have taken points off Arteta's men, with the Spaniard's side becoming completely solidified at all ends of the pitch. Here is our analysis of Arteta's Arsenal in 2022-23.
2022 was another record-breaking year for TMS, and a great year of firsts for my work and the site. In 2022, we launched our Role Continuity Evaluation System, a batch of brand new Game Model Ebooks, and our Introduction to Football Analysis Course. This year was also the year that I had multiple clients from inside the professional game as part of my Mentorship Masterclass, which will be transitioning into the Consultation Masterclass in 2023. Along the way, I wrote some of my best work yet, that I can't wait to celebrate with you to close off the year. Here are my ten favourite articles on TMS in 2022.
Since taking charge of Brighton in late September, Roberto De Zerbi has picked up right where Graham Potter left off, continuing the team's excellence in and out of possession. The results haven't always followed despite all the positives in their performance, but De Zerbi seems to have found solidity now, with the Seagulls currently sitting in seventh place. Here is our tactical analysis of De Zerbi's Brighton so far in 2022-23, and whether or not the Italian can lead them toward European football this season.
After a rocky start to life at Manchester, Erik Ten Hag has quickly become one of the only managers since Sir Alex Ferguson to restore faith in the fans, and restore equilibrium back into the eleven. United might only be fifth in the table, but continue to grow in confidence under the influence of the Dutchman, and look destined for a top four finish on current form. With that, here is our tactical analysis of Erik Ten Hag's Manchester United since the Dutch manager took over.
Many would have expected Newcastle United to improve under their new ownership, but their rise to remarkability has been quicker than anyone would have imagined. Eddie Howe has achieved complete equilibrium within his eleven in under a twelve-month period, turning the Magpies into a top five side with many of the same faces from the days of Steve Bruce. With Newcastle's remarkable rise only likely to continue, we break down the tactics that have brought his team success in 2022-23.
Around this time last year, Brighton & Hove Albion made a stunning swoop for Ecuadorian midfielder Moisés Caicedo, who at the time, was playing for Independiente del Valle in the Ecuadorian Serie A. They swiftly sent him on loan to Belgian First Division side Beerschot for the beginning half of the 2021-22 season, where his success in Belgium prompted the Seagulls to immediately install him in the heart of their midfield for the remainder of the campaign. Now an Albion regular, Moisés Caicedo has been one of the Premier League's standout midfielders since his re-arrival in the Prem, as an up-and-down 'Shuttler' capable of covering ground all over the pitch. Here is our analysis of Ecuador's supreme midfielder Moisés Caicedo.
Let's not get overly simplistic about this. Erling Haaland is the best footballer in the world at the moment. But how he scores so many goals can be scrutinized in far greater depth than simply saying he's an alien. So with that, here is our latest analysis on the great Erling Haaland, and how he scores so many incredible goals.
Trying to capture everything imaginable when watching a football match remains an impossible endeavour. But simultaneously, trying to capture absolutely nothing beyond the first glance won't necessarily yield great results in your task to remember important information and events. So as part of our Introduction to Football Analysis course, I'm going to be teaching you my entire process of taking notes from start to finish.
Taking the world by storm in 2022-23, Khvicha Kvaratskhelia has come from relative obscurity to join one of Europe's most famous clubs, and now leads their charge toward the top of Serie A. The direct and dynamic wing wizard has been in remarkable form since joining Napoli from Rubin Kazan, contributing to 5 goals in his 7 matches so far this campaign, already close to bettering his tally from 2021-22 in Russia. Here is our analysis of the remarkable rise of Khvicha Kvaratskhelia this season.
Union Berlin have only kicked on since the start of 2022-23, currently sitting fourth place in a competitive Bundesliga campaign that has seen them start with an unbeaten run of form. Along the way, Fischer has maintained a succinct style of play, that drastically differs from the other German giants around them in the table. Here is our tactical analysis of Union Berlin in 2022-23, under the influence of the extraordinary Urs Fischer.
Calling all football fanatics, coaches, players, analysts and anyone who qualifies as "football obsessed", TheMastermindSite.com finally brings you our brand-new 'Introduction to Football Analysis' course! The course is self-paced and online via articles, videos, email correspondence, and a range of other online materials. Course attendees will get individualized attention from the instructor - Rhys Desmond - one of the industry leaders in website-based football tactics, coaching content, and analysis. The course is for anyone looking to work in football analysis, and/or improve their tactical and analytical understanding. This thorough introductory course will take a deep dive into all aspects of analysis, for the price of just $59.99 CAD - more bang for your buck than anywhere else. To take the course or gain more information, please see the below!
Pressing has been one of the most commonly discussed topics in the past decade or so of the detailed scrutinization of football. Ideas around gegenpressing, and the high-control philosophies of managers like Guardiola and Klopp allowed pressing to come to prominence for all to see, and induced a belief that pressing must be the only proper way to defend.
We all know the importance of warming up the body in the proper ways, but many novice (or dinosaur) coaches fail to adequately know how to warm up the body in the proper ways specific to the sport. As a young gun in the soccer world, I can recall running laps around the field, static stretching, and even hill sprints prior to practice sessions and games. None of these are particularly helpful, even if they can work 1-3% of times in specific contexts (hill sprints aside of course). With that, I present the elements of an effective warm-up and how coaches can structure the warm-up to fit into the grander scheme of their session plans.
Without Jude Bellingham, where would Borussia Dortmund be right now? They've been missing Marco Reus, Mats Hummels hasn't been up to pace (literally), and all the newboys haven't quite hit the ground running as expected (perhaps Salih Özcan aside). This has meant that Jude Bellingham has needed to carry the weight of the team on his shoulders, getting on the ball at every turn to work his magic.
Across the 2021-22 campaign, Julian Ryerson struggled for minutes in a competitive Union Berlin side loaded with wing-backs. But this season, he's become the starlet of the side from the wings, fulfilling his wing-back role to great effect from either side. His form in 2022-23 caught the eye of Borussia Dortmund, who snapped him up for a meek €5 million fee. Here is our analysis as to why the Black & Yellows made a move for Julian Ryerson, and what he will bring to Signal Iduna Park.
Since suffering defeat to his old club at the end of October, Graham Potter's Chelsea have lost seven of their last eleven matches. Injuries have evidently played a part, but Potter's problems persist even despite a wealthy eleven still at his disposal. The balance of the team remains up in shambles, even despite a recent redemption victory against Crystal Palace. With that, we examine what's wrong with Potter's Chelsea from a tactical perspective, and how the former Brighton man can turn his fortunes around.
We often look at a player who doesn't defend as a detractor. Players are told from a young age that they must defend, regardless of their position on the field. In many respects, this is true. But when you get to the professional level, roles can evolve in novel ways, and even incorporate a player who has limited defensive responsibility. It was refreshing to see two teams so clearly implementing a tactic around their attack-minded superstars at the 2022 World Cup, simply by having them prioritize the attacking side of the game. With that, I wanted to provide a potential argument into why having this type of tactic can actually be a valuable feature to a team going forward, without ruining their chances in defense.
Historically known as the 'Target Man', we've rebranded this term to be all encompassing. More than just about any role, the word 'Target' immediately paints a picture of the type of player we're looking for. That is, someone strong, typically tall, aerially savvy, robust, and frequently used by their team as a target for advancing up the pitch. In the hockey sense, they would typically be the one responsible for 'roughing up the opposition'
Creative Links are quite similar to our attacking midfielder persona - the 'Creative Ten'. The main difference is that they play up front, and typically conduct more of their play with their back to goal in linking up with their teammates. You could call them a 'False 9', a playmaking centre-forward, or something between a '9' and a '10.'
Over the past decade, few managers in the world of football have achieved more than Emma Hayes at Chelsea. Having now won the FA Cup and WSL title in back to back seasons with the Blues, the Chelsea legend will now have her eyes on the greatest prize of all in club football - the UEFA Champions League. Fortunately for her, Chelsea are in the form of their lives at the moment, and currently boast what is possibly the greatest squad they've ever had. The likes of Lyon and Barcelona will be difficult to beat, but Chelsea are in good shape to go this season with a near unbeaten record, and challenge for that elusive trophy once and for all. Here is our analysis of Emma Hayes' Chelsea in 2022-23.