Julian Nagelsmann never made it as a player, thanks in large part to knee injuries that forced him to retire before his career even got started. However, that change of path allowed the German manager to take up coaching at a young age and after briefly working under Thomas Tuchel at Augsburg, Nagelsmann worked his way through the ranks at 1899 Hoffenheim, leading them into the UEFA Champions League for the first time in their history. After three incredibly successful years with Hoffenheim, Nagelsmann departed the club in 2019 for RasenBallsport Leipzig. Due to his fantastic success with a club that is now firmly one of Germany's elite clubs, Nagelsmann is now one of the most sought after and respected coaches in the world, at 32 years of age. This is a Tactical Analysis of Julian Nagelsmann's revelations with RB Leipzig, as he looks destined to become the next big thing in football management.
Few clubs over the past decade have developed as succinct of a style of play as Diego Simeone's Atletico Madrid. The 4-4-2 and 4-4-1-1 formations have practically become synonymous with Simeone's side, as he's taken Atletico to two Champions League finals and one La Liga title. Although 2019-20 hasn't been the best of seasons for Los Rojiblancos, they've continued their usual defensive prowess, conceding the second least amount of goals this season in La Liga and beating Liverpool in both Champions League Group Stage encounters. Here is a Tactical Analysis of Diego Simeone's 4-4-2 system and hard-working Atletico Madrid team.
For whatever reason, at the start of the season, Burnley are often a seen as a favourite for relegation. Despite that, and despite their cast and crew (manager included) not being the most star-studded, they've continuously steered clear of relegation from the Premier League since their promotion in 2016. Since said promotion, Burnley have finished as high as 7th place in the table and even enjoyed a brief spell in the Europa League, despite never playing the most flashy brand of football. Sean Dyche and his team play a gritty, unconventional brand of football, and their resilient 4-4-2 low-block has troubled even the very best of teams and managers. Perhaps more impressively in the current time, Burnley have now gone 7 games unbeaten in the Premier League, allowing Sean Dyche to claim his second ever Manager of the Month Award in February 2020. Here is a Tactical Analysis of Sean Dyche's 4-4-2 system and compact style of play with Burnley F.C.
The slightly less famous Inzaghi brother, Simone Inzaghi, is quickly becoming a notorious figure in Serie A, leading Lazio's charge toward the 2019-20 Serie A title. In his four seasons in charge of Lazio, Inzaghi has had an impressive win record of 55%. This season, the former Lazio player has reached unbelievable feats, leading Lazio to second place in the table, a single point behind Juventus. In fact, Inzaghi's team have not lost a Serie A match in 21 games. With the help of the top scorer in Europe's top 5 leagues, Ciro Immobile (27 goals), S.S. Lazio also have the best goal differential in the league (+37), having scored 60 goals and conceded just 23. Their statistics are impressive, but so too is there incredible use of the 3-5-2 formation and variety of methods for creating chances. Here is a Tactical Analysis of Simone Inzaghi's Lazio.
After two successful years with Red Bull Salzburg, German coach Marco Rose made a return to his home country to take on the role as Borussia Monchgengladbach manager for the start of the 2019-20 season. Rose has continued his success with Gladbach so far since taking charge and has only enhanced his reputation as a manager, with 54% of his matches won and his team well within the title race for the first time in years. Under Dieter Hecking, Gladbach had a win percentage of 43%, and played primarily in a 4-4-2 Diamond or 4-3-1-2 shape. Rose has since changed Gladbach's formation to primarily a 4-2-3-1, although has remained tactically flexible to at times deploy back-three formations and the 4-4-2 Diamond / 4-3-1-2 that he deployed at Salzburg. Here is a tactical analysis of Borussia Monchengladbach under Marco Rose.
The suspension of all football activity has been a unfortunate for Borussia Dortmund as they were on a stunning run of form in the Bundesliga before the break. Favre's newly introduced 3-4-2-1 has changed the way Dortmund play for the better, while simultaneously providing more defensive support, the area of the field in which they needed reassurances the most. The formation has given the likes of Achraf Hakimi and Raphael Guerreiro the freedom to go on and create more magic and has also given Jadon Sancho and Thorgan Hazard a necessary boost at a crucial time in the season. This formation suits the players and personnel that Lucien Favre has at his disposal tremendously well and it will be very interesting to see if they can continue to play to such great heights when the season comes to a conclusion. Check out or Tactical Analysis of Lucien Favre's stellar 3-4-2-1 formation with BVB.
If you had told Gian Piero Gasperini at the start of his reign in charge of Atalanta that he'd make the Black and Blues into one of the most lethal attacking sides in European football within three years, he probably wouldn't have believed you. But with a stellar recruitment process and hard work on the … Continue reading Gian Piero Gasperini – Atalanta – Tactical Analysis
Sheffield United have been the surprise package not only in the Premier League in 2019-20, but arguably anywhere in Europe's top five leagues. The recently promoted side went from 2nd place finishers in the 2018-19 EFL Championship to one of the most resilient Premier League sides in 2019-20, currently sitting in 7th place in the table with a game in hand. Chris Wilder meanwhile has gone from a manager virtually unknown, to one of the most celebrated in European football this year. His 3-5-2 system of play has been consistently one of the most well-set-up systems in the Premier League this season and every single player just seems to fit into it like a puzzle that has come together better than anyone could have dreamed of. Here is a tactical analysis of Chris Wilder's robust 3-5-2 formation and style of play with Sheffield United.
Maurizio Sarri's career at Chelsea never quite got off to the way the Italian manager might have planned. But that didn't stop the former Napoli man from landing a job at the top club in Serie A - Juventus. Maurizio Sarri's Juventus have been at the top of the table throughout 2019-20 just as you'd expect them to be, and as far as their status as one of Europe's elite clubs, they have continued on exactly where Massimo Allegri left off. However, The Old Lady have been a completely different side under Maurizio Sarri this season, deploying tactics that make Juve a unique outfit anywhere in the footballing world today. This is a Tactical Analysis of Maurizio Sarri's newly revamped Juventus.
Since Antonio Conte's arrival at Inter Milan, the Italian giants have completely transformed into the most effective side in all of Serie A. Conte's start to life at San Siro has gotten off without a hitch and I Nerazzurri have won all six of their matches to the start off the league campaign. In that … Continue reading Antonio Conte – Inter Milan – Tactical Analysis
Over the past year of coaching 9v9 soccer, the 3-2-3 has become my favourite formation to use. I am a firm believer that the formation of any team should not be based around a club identity or a coach's personal style of play, but rather based around the team's style of play and the personnel of the team. However, I have found that the 3-2-3 is fantastic in suiting nearly every type of player and the simple and easy variations that can be created using the formation such as shifting into a 3-1-3-1, allow coaches to tweak and change their style of play to fit the needs of the vast majority of youth soccer players.
Before the USSF switched to 9-a-side for U11 & U12, 8-a-side was the common standard. Today, 8v8 is not a common playing format. However, it is useful to discuss from a 9v9 standpoint, to elucidate what formations might be useful when a team has to play short. Here are the best formations for 8v8, a … Continue reading Best Formations for 8v8
In terms of formations and tactics, one of the major surprises of the 2018-19 season in Europe has been the rise of the 3-1-4-2. Although the formation is only a very minor spin on the popular 3-5-2, seemingly a host of teams around Europe have implemented this formation, and not just in Italy where back-three … Continue reading The Rise of the 3-1-4-2
9v9 is one of the most exciting stages in the development of young players as it's the first time they are truly able to understand positioning, formations and how to play to the strengths of their teammates. In The Mastermind's hometown province of Ontario, 9v9 starts at the U11 stage and ends at U13, when … Continue reading Best Formations for 9v9
Rhys is joined by Canada Soccer expert Sam the Man to discuss the 32 greatest players to ever play for the Canadian Women's National Soccer Team. For the first time ever, the winner is declared before the show even begins, but Rhys and Sam still go through the bracket to see how everything will play out. Players discussed include the likes of the illustrious Diana Matheson, Sophie Schmidt, Charmaine Hooper and of course, the one and only, all-time great Christine Sinclair.
Wolves finished last season in 7th place, an admirable finish for a team who had just come up from the EFL Championship. This season they've fared even better and as things stand have a real shot at securing European football for another year. Portuguese manager Nuno Espirito Santo has been absolutely essential to their success since taking over and deserves an immense amount of credit for everything that he has brought to this team since 2017. Despite being in the Premier League for over a season and a half now, Santo has won over 50% of his games as Wolverhampton Wanderers' manager. This is a Tactical Analysis of the wonders of Wolverhampton Wanderers and their manager Nuno Espirito Santo.
The popularity of switching play as a tactical concept has long been a dominating strategy in the world of football. Its popularity is exemplified by the many different forms and names it has taken on over the years such as changing the point of attack or playing across the direct game channels. Even at the younger ages, switching play can be an essential tactic to deploy with any team. Concepts like maintaining width, crossing, and shifting the ball from left to right are universal to the sport, regardless of age.
All of the best professional teams in the world have attack-minded fullbacks deeply rooted into their system and style of play. The likes of Liverpool have achieved much success with Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson bombing down their respective sides from their positions as fullbacks. Between the two of them, they've assisted 42 goals in the last two Premier League seasons, breaking records left and right as Liverpool have completely dominated the league. But it's not just Liverpool. The growing importance of fullbacks further up the field has been one of the most popular revolutions of the modern game and it is no longer just the very best of the best that deploy these types of players. Defenders at the youth level often see themselves as only defenders. They tend to believe that there is an imaginary line that they simply cannot cross. But this is not the case! Fullbacks can make a massive difference to the attacking prowess of a team and if our youth teams are to achieve greater attacking success, the fullbacks need to be more heavily involved. This session plan provides coaches with an opportunity to start to develop that attacking-mindset in fullbacks.