This week on a special combo review and preview podcast, John and Declan are joined again by Brennan McCaffray to talk about the Merseyside derby, United's win against Arsenal, and the London derby between Chelsea and West Ham this weekend!
Magazine of November 2021! In this month's edition of Fox in the Box, we explore Antonio Conte's Spurs, Ralf Rangnick's potential for greatness with Manchester United, and a discussion about the Goalkeeper of the Year. Subscribe to our monthly subscription for $1.00 per month or login to your account, to view the magazine.
On this special midweek episode of the Longball podcast, John is over the moon with Rangnick's announcement and United's performance against Chelsea. Meanwhile, Declan is concerned about the Hammers' recent run of form, and the boys try and get to the bottom of what's gone wrong with Everton this season ahead of their clash with Liverpool. All of that and a whole lot more on this special episode of the Longball Premier League Preview Show. Submit any questions for the show to themastermindsite.com/contact.
After Roy Hodgson's retirement from the game, many thought Crystal Palace were doomed for relegation. However, with a couple of new signings and a more energetic, attack-minded style of play, Patrick Vieira has taken Palace to new heights. While they sit just tenth place in the table, Vieira's Eagles have now gone unbeaten in their last six matches, including a massive 2-0 win to set title-contenders Manchester City back a peg. Even in matches they've lost the season, the signs of what's to come from Palace in the future are promising. So with that, here is a tactical analysis of Patrick Vieira's Crystal Palace.
The start of the 2021-22 Premier League season hasn't been perfect for Manchester City, but they are still playing fantastic football, en route to putting up a mighty title challenge for another season. Throughout the start of the 2021-22 season, Pep Guardiola has continued to innovate his Manchester City team, deploying new tactics never seen before during his five year spell at the club. Here is a brand new Pep Guardiola - Manchester City - Tactical Analysis, for the 2021-22 season.
Since taking charge of Bayern Munich, Julian Nagelsmann has only carried on his fantastic managerial reputation, with the Bavarians winning six of their opening eight matches. In that time they've scored a whopping 29 goals, playing an incredibly effective and attractive brand of football. Here is a tactical analysis of Julian Nagelsmann's Bayern Munich in 2021-22.
Since taking over from Gennarro Gattuso in May 2021, Luciano Spalletti has turned Napoli into one of Serie A's most formidable units. While a fifth place finish in the 2020-21 season was a fine result for Gli Azzurri, it wasn't what they had hoped for, nor what they could have achieved. In came Spalletti and POOF(!) the team are now on an unbeaten run at the start of the 2021-22 season, winning seven from seven. After Inter Milan broke Juventus' long-standing record last season, the Napoli faithful will now be hoping Serie A might be theirs for the taking this year. Here is a tactical analysis of Luciano Spalletti's new-look Napoli.
Much of the discussion surrounding Manchester United at the moment revolves around one central tenet – the fact that they still have Fred & McTominay playing in midfield – rather than superman and wonder woman. It is true that United strengthened in several areas that they did not necessarily need to over the course of a busy summer window. It is also true that they neglected to strengthen the widest, gaping whole in their entire team. But Fred & McTominay have become scapegoats for the fragility of a fairly flimsy team that almost certainly would be worse off without them.
In the past few years, I have adopted an almost entirely games-based approach to coaching. Everything is based within scenarios and situations players encounter in the game, and related to rehearsed actions on where to be in different situations players encounter on a football pitch. These are what the footballing world call "patterns of play", and what some top managers in the game have dubbed "automatizations".
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.
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.
After a slow start to the season, Zinedine Zidane's Real Madrid are now flying on all cylinders, currently on a 14-match unbeaten streak that's propelled them toward the top of La Liga and the UEFA Champions League semi-finals. Zidane doesn't have the same squad that won him the Champions League in three back to back years between 2016 and 2018, but he is getting the best out of what he has at his disposal once again. After a massive 2-1 win over Barcelona in El Clasico this past weekend and the side securing a place in the UEFA Champions League semis, the side could be on a path toward victory in either competition. As a result, we now take a look at the tactics Zinedine Zidane has deployed throughout the 2020-21 season at Real Madrid.
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.
Newcastle United, after 12 games, are yet to register a win in the Premier League this season, and face the very real prospect of relegation to the Championship. But after securing new billionaire ownership at the start of October, the club is doing everything it can to avoid the drop. With hundreds of millions of dollars being pumped into the club, the Magpies now have a considerable war chest to bolster their squad during the upcoming January Transfer Window. But as January draws closer, Eddie Howe's team continue to sit rock bottom in the table, dangerously close to making their situation unrecoverable.
On this week's Longball Preview Show, John is over the moon as United appoint Ralf Rangnick as interim manager. John is without Declan this week, but he's joined by Bundesliga Weekly's Brandon Wallis to discuss all things Crystal Palace and their transformation this season; the Newcastle-Arsenal clash and Chelsea vs Manchester United. Follow the show and beyond via @mastermindsite on social media.
While star players may make the headlines, managers are the ones pulling the strings and dictating how the game is played. Over the years, the Premier League has seen countless shifts in the trends of managerial tactics, though there is one man who proved himself a world-leading shot-caller over the span of three decades: Sir Alex Ferguson.
This week John and Declan are joined by Gooner fanatic Brennan McCaffray to talk about Arsenal's rise from the ashes under Arteta, set to face Liverpool this weekend in a fiery affair. The lads also give their takes on Steven Gerrard and Dean Smith's arrivals back to the Prem with new clubs, and the battle of the tacticians this weekend as Bielsa and Conte face off. All of that and a whole lot more on this week's episode!
As humans, we have an innate desire to innovate. Whether it’s coming up with new inventions, new businesses or new ways of conducting work, we all strive to create change in the world. There are very few things in the world where this innate need is showcased more than in the world of football. Over the past few years, there has been an increase in specific principles around pressing, playing out from the back and quick transitions. Managers are becoming smarter by the day, constantly looking to innovate, and do something that nobody has ever done before in the beautiful game (relatively speaking of course). One of the most intriguing of all innovations to come to prominence in recent years is the concept of overlapping centre-backs. Essentially, this is an over-arching principle whereby outside-centre-backs in a back-three formation, have not only a defensive role, but a clearly defined attacking one. Teams like Sheffield United and Atalanta achieved widescale success utilizing overlapping centre-backs in the late 2010s, shocking the world with something new and unique that opposition teams simply could not cope with. While the strategy is relatively rare, there is no denying the potential effectiveness of the methodology when conducted right. That’s why in this ebook, I’m going to be breaking down how to coach a team with overlapping centre-backs, and the necessary steps to execute this tactic within your own system and style of play.
After a long, thirty-four game season, New England Revolution have won their first ever MLS Supporters' Shield. For anyone unfamiliar with the MLS' bizarre structures, that is the equivalent to winning a league title in any other league around the world. In the MLS, all it means is that New England have the best seed heading into the Playoffs, where they will hope to claim glory for good. But despite the insignificance of something that should be very significant, New England need to be commended for their incredible 2021 MLS season. The Revs lost just 5 of their 34 league games, scoring 65 goals in the process. Through it all they played some intriguing football, in a unique 4-3-1-2 system. Here is our tactical analysis of Bruce Arena's New England Revolution in 2021.
“Win your individual battles”. This is the mantra of a manager employing man-on-man marking. Win the battle on restarts, when isolated, and with or without the ball. This is because 1v1 success inevitably increases the likelihood of 11v11 victory. And so, paired with each tactical posturing is this personal pursuit. With the many dynamic, dribbling attackers and foul-catching cameras in the modern era, sometimes these 1v1 situations in dangerous areas are seen as a shortcoming or an ill-advised 50:50 from the defending side. Seemingly, to a certain extent, AC Milan and Inter Milan beg to differ.