Chelsea vs. Manchester City was tipped to be an early title decider, and it did not disappoint as a highly contested affair between two teams right in the thick of the race this season. In the end it was the Citizens who came out on top, after an utterly dominant performance over a team that beat them in the UEFA Champions League final last season. Here is our analysis of the match.
The Bundesliga continues to entertain as ever, with intriguing tactics, goals galore, and surprising results. Matchday 6 saw Leipzig get back on track with a thumping win over Hertha Berlin, Wolfsburg suffer their first defeat of the season, and Dortmund look completely out of sorts in the Borussia derby. Here is our tactical analysis of some of the key matches.
The Bundesliga continues to entertain as ever, with intriguing tactics, goals galore, and surprising results. Matchday 5 saw Bayern smash VFL Bochum for seven, and things go from bad to worse for Leipzig as they slip even further down the table. Here is our tactical analysis of some of the key matches.
Ahead of Leipzig's weekend clash with FC Koln, Die Roten Bullen entered Matchday 5 on just 3 points, beating (and battering) only Stuttgart in their opening four fixtures. It's safe to say that's far from the start Jesse Marsch would have been hoping for in his first five matches at Red Bull Arena. 13th place is not necessarily a reflection of how they've played so far this season, but it is also certainly not where anyone would have thought they'd be at this stage. So what has gone wrong for Jesse Marsch's team so far? We take a look at some of the key issues in our latest tactical analysis.
After weeks of succeeding with narrow 1-0 wins in a 4-3-3 formation, Nuno Espirito Santo decided change was needed. To be fair to Nuno, without the injured Heung-Min Son and Steven Bergwijn, change likely was needed. But unfortunately the Portuguese manager adapted in the completely wrong way, and Crystal Palace, yes Crystal Palace, tore them to shreds.
The Bundesliga continues to entertain as ever, with intriguing tactics, big results and a tight title race in these early stages. Matchday 4 saw Bayern smash Jesse Marsch's lifeless Leipzig to bits, Borussia Dortmund scrape out a narrow win over Leverkusen in a seven goal thriller, and Wolfsburg, yes Wolfsburg, continue their win streak at the top of the table. Here is our tactical analysis of some of the key matches.
Matchday 4 of the 2021-22 Premier League season will forever be remembered as the day Cristiano Ronaldo made his return to Manchester United, and scored a brace in his first match back. But many more BIG things happened this weekend, including Crystal Palace thumping table toppers Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal picking up a big win in their relegation six-pointer against Norwich, and City continuing their impressive clean sheet run with a 1-0 win over Leicester. Here is our tactical review of Matchday 4.
Borussia Dortmund are heading towards one of their worst seasons in years, and it is in large part due to the tactics of their new manager - Marco Rose. But quite confusingly, they continue to grind out wins. Rose has set his team up to play in a diamond midfield formation, that suits one single player in the squad, and nobody else, yet somehow they've escaped complete desperation two weeks in a row. The Black & Yellows currently sit second in the table as things stand, three points off the top, but they are very lucky to be anywhere near that.
Similar to our prior overview of The Most Popular Formations in Europe’s Top 5 Leagues (2020-2021 season), we now look at the most popular formations in MLS during the 2021 season (up until the time of writing - early September 2021). With most sides over two-thirds of the way through the regular season, it’s prime time to find form and compete for a playoff spot. And while preparation for success is managed differently by all, settling on a formation (or at least a general style of play) is a great sign that a team has found its collective identity. As such, final tallies for the season will undoubtedly change, but here are the numbers as they stand...
The transfer window has closed and we’re left with a week of international football to wonder what money truly buys. So for kicks, let’s incorporate the new lads in alternative formations for the Premier League’s “Big Six” and see what cleverness or calamity results…
Tottenham Hotspur are a team in transition. And with all the surrounding newness, it's easy to expect (or, in some cases, hope for) complete novelty, an immediate replacement of old, bad habits and tendencies with new, good ones. Unfortunately, this forecast is more fanciful than fair. Tottenham Hotspur are a team in transition. And with all the surrounding newness, it's easy to expect (or, in some cases, hope for) complete novelty, an immediate replacement of old, bad habits and tendencies with new, good ones. Unfortunately, this forecast is more fanciful than fair. Squad rebuilds are a function of two factors working in dichotomy: time and money. The greater one becomes, the lesser the other can be. In this way, football clubs with immediate access to financial capital can regenerate a squad in short order. For everyone else, it takes time. But even as a slow reconstruction in progress, managers can face significant pressure in the form of tactics reimagined. Realistically, teaching and optimizing a new system of play takes additional time and risks subpar performance in the interim, while simple replication of previous methods will surely be seen as short-sighted redundancy. Into this predictable but unfortunate conundrum stepped Nuno Espirito Santo, a manager who recently traded Wolves’ black and yellow for Spurs’ white and blue.
Since taking over in 2018 from Aston Villa's Dean Smith, Thomas Frank has turned Brentford from an average to below average Championship side, into a nearly unstoppable one, with now two back to back playoff finals in two seasons. Frank's tactics emulate the same principles as some of the world's best managers and teams in the modern era, with unique takes that have turned The Bees into one of the most efficient sides in the division. Even if they can't make it happen in the playoff final for the second year running, Brentford appear as though they will be in the Premier League sometime very soon, due to their excellent recruitment, and Frank's exceptional management and tactics. Here is our tactical analysis of Thomas Frank's Brentford in 2020-21.
Although Chelsea can't quite seem to find the back of the net, very few managers in Premier League history have had a better start to life than Thomas Tuchel. The Blues have won nine of their thirteen matches under Tuchel's management in all competitions, keeping eleven clean sheets during that time. Some underlying issues are still evidently exposed as Tuchel works around his squad and attempts to find his best possible eleven, but the improvement from Frank Lampard is also evident for all to see. Tuchel's defensive tactics in particular have been outstanding, and much promise for the future remains if Chelsea can find their shooting boots and score more goals on a regular basis. Here is our latest Thomas Tuchel analysis, covering his first thirteen matches in charge at Stamford Bridge.
Much is made of formations in the modern world of football, with each and every top team attempting to innovative and reinvent the beautiful game. One of the most popular formations throughout history is the 4-3-3 formation. Those who view the game with a simplistic mindset would tell you it involves four defenders, three midfielders and three attackers. That certainly appears to be the case on the face of it, but is that how it works in reality? Or is 4-3-3 an amalgamation of several different tactics, effectively killing off the concept of a starting formation?
The international break is over! John and Declan managed to escape Brazilian police to bring you this preview ahead of the weekend's matches, discussing everything Cristiano Ronaldo upon his return to Old Trafford, the debut of a fun new game called Phonebook, and a starting 11 of the best valued transfers of the summer window!