Picking the 2021-22 PFA Team of the Year

It's that time of year! In this week's Tactical Thinker, we asked you to name your PFA Team of the Year, as though you were one of the pros making the difficult selection. After a countless number of responses, we compile the top eleven players as voted by our own stack of pros - you, the readers. Here is our PFA Team of the Year, from the TMS community.

Chelsea 3-2 Manchester City – Women’s FA Cup Final Analysis

What a game. If you missed this one, seriously, go back and watch the explosion of emotions and hard-felt performances across the pitch in Chelsea's narrow 3-2 win over Manchester City. The Citizens were dominant on the day going forward, yet Chelsea kept pushing and probing to take the lead not once, not twice, but three times. Their relentless goal-scoring when the odds seemed stacked against them ensured City always had an uphill battle to climb, and eventually became too big of a task for Gareth Taylor's team. Here is our match analysis of the 2022 Women's FA Cup Final between Chelsea and City.

Explaining the Wide Warrior – Player Role Analysis

A 'Wide Warrior' is a full-back who hasn't quite kept up with the modern trends associated with their position. Rather than relying on attacking threat and potency to make their name, the 'Wide Warrior' continues to be an ever-present at the back, doing their best work closer to goal. They excel at the defensive side of the game above all else, even if they may offer certain advantages going forward (like a wing-back), or in half-spaces (like an inverted fullback). Further, not only do they excel at the defensive side of the game, their manager has made clear intentions for that to be the most important facet of their role within the team, restricting their attacking height.

Five reasons why you should start your own football website

How do you release the footballing demons (a.k.a. all of your thoughts on the beautiful game) out into the world? I know you have those thoughts, bursting inside of you, desperately clinging to the edge of your cliff brain, just waiting to get out. Do you share your thoughts on Twitter? Through podcasting? Writing? Do you bottle it up inside and never let it out? Regardless of whatever it is that would constitute as your "jam", why not start your own website? Seriously, why not?

Kevin de Bruyne Masterclass vs. Wolves – Tactical Analysis

Currently in the process of chasing down a fourth Premier League title under Pep Guardiola, Kevin de Bruyne has taken charge of Manchester City's dominance in the last few months, rising above the rest as a completely untouchable figurehead in the team. Last night saw the Belgian score four goals in a single match, taking his tally up to 15 for the season - his most in a single Premier League campaign. With that, we break down the tactical elements of Kevin de Bruyne's masterclass against a normally stern Wolves defense, and how the Belgian led his team to a smashing 5-1 victory.

What happens to Julian Alvarez now?

Seemingly in need of striker that could provide something different until the end of the season, Alvarez seemed like a logical fit. He would allow the Citizens the ability to change the complexions of a match in novel ways, offering a pace and power in behind that contrasts City's current false nine, strikerless system. The small fee for a man so clearly potent in front of goal continues to be seen as an absolute bargain, and a move that should benefit City in the long-run. Or, so it seemed.

Why Erling Haaland is perfect for Manchester City

In one of those weird, everybody knows it's going to happen inevitable football transfers, Erling Haaland has finally been granted his £64 million move to Manchester City from Borussia Dortmund. Pep Guardiola's team already secured the services of Julian Alvarez back in January, with the Argentine set to join the club in the summer. But nevertheless, Haaland adds a new dimension to Manchester City, and provides something they would otherwise lack without him in a strikerless system. Here is why Erling Haaland is perfect for Manchester City.

Finding Aurélien Tchouaméni’s next club

With one of the best midfielders in the world in Aurélien Tchouaméni, AS Monaco are now slowly making their way back to their best, and look set to finish within the top three again this season. As a result of being one of the world's top emerging talents, conversations persist about possible next steps for the top-quality 22-year-old. With that, we decipher the best fit for the Monaco man if a move were to be made this summer.

Canadian Premier League – Player Ratings

After the first week of action in the 2022 Canadian Premier League season, we have officially launched our brand new Player Evaluation System. The details of this can be found in this article - Evaluating players based on role continuity, and we have already begun the process of identifying roles for specific players that may have stood out on the day. Here are how the players of the Canadian Premier League currently rank based on our brand new model.

I will change your mind about automatisms

Off-the-ball movement is, of course, the most important facet to the game. But saying that all passing patterns or attempts to make decision making automatic are "stupid" fails to account for the fact that these things don't have to be trained in isolation. After all, if they were stupid, why would coaches like Jurgen Klopp or Ralph Hasenhuttl deploy them as training methods?

The simple task anyone can do to improve their tactical knowledge

As coaches, analysts, players, fans, and football obsessed individuals, we all want to grow our tactical understanding of the game. In fact, it's one of the top five questions I get thrown my way on social media or email (links at the end of the article), where people either want to know how I developed my degree of tactical knowledge, or want to know how they too can take their tactical and analytical understanding to the next level. Here is a structured process that you can follow to develop your own tactical knowledge, and continuously learn about the game on repeat.

Why patterns and context are so essential to analysis in football

If you're reading this article, chances are you love to analyze football. So allow me to help with your love for analysis with this call to action. Stop taking information from single-match occurrences, or single-match statistics, even statistics over time on their own, as a mechanism for making inferences about the wider context at hand. Recognizing patterns over time, and the wider context behind those patterns, are the essentials behind analysis in football, allowing you to more accurately assess performance, and improve upon performance problems.

David Moyes – West Ham United – Tactical Analysis (2021-22)

Within the last two years at the London Stadium, Moyes has overseen the rise and development of Declan Rice into one of the best midfielders on the planet; not to mention an excellent recruitment scheme that has brought in the likes of Tomas Soucek, Vladimir Coufal and last season's loan signing of Jesse Lingard. Throughout that time, he's also inspired improvements in versatility, style of play and attacking output in the likes of Jarrod Bowen, Pablo Fornals, and Michail Antonio, within an intense style of football that works to combat even the toughest teams in the league. So ahead of a charge towards this season's UEFA Europa League final, we take a look at David Moyes' tactics this season. Here is our latest in all things West Ham and David Moyes.

Solving Manchester United’s defensive concerns

It's no secret. Manchester United are struggling defensively right now, despite having very capable players all over the pitch. In David De Gea, they have one of the best goalkeepers in the world. In Lindelof and Maguire, the Red Devils have a defensive pairing that spearheaded one of the league's sturdiest defensive structures last season, and led a Europa League charge. Ahead of them, they have two defensive warriors in Fred and McTominay, who will never be world beaters, but are very competent in what they offer. Despite that, Ralf Rangnick's team have conceded 10 goals in their last 5 games, floundering under the German's style of play. So what's amiss?

How Brighton beat Arsenal & Spurs in a 3-5-1-1

After a bit of a new year slump, Brighton are back on track, beating the fiercest of North London rivals in successive weeks. Graham Potter's ability to tweak his shape and personnel has been a hallmark of his time at Brighton, seemingly always finding a way to get the balance right in his team. But the former Swansea manager made several big calls in the past two weeks, handing a debut to Moises Caicedo against Arsenal, and operating without a recognized number nine against Spurs. Despite those big calls, Potter's men came out on top in back to back weeks against two sides battling it out for a place in this season's top four, whilst using an intriguing 3-5-1-1 shape.

Evaluating players based on role continuity

What a player does on a football pitch from a pure on-the-ball event perspective, quantifies only a small percentage of their actual role or influence on a match. What a player does off the ball can often be the key to a good performance, allowing a player to enhance their on-the-ball metrics in the process. So this begs the question - how can you evaluate a player's performance if they weren't really all that involved in the action, but stuck to their specific role perfectly?

The real problem with Harry Maguire’s defending

Let's face it. You're tired of hearing about Harry Maguire. So are we! So with that, we debunk the Harry Maguire myth, and pose an alternative perspective as to why he's having a "difficult season" for Manchester United.

How Diogo Jota scores so many headed goals

The Portuguese forward has scored 5 headed goals at Liverpool this season, and 5 for Portugal in World Cup Qualification. Very few forwards on the planet can claim a better record this season, raising the question - how does a 5'10 false-nine-left-wing hybrid score so many headed goals?

Oliver Glasner – Eintracht Frankfurt – Tactical Analysis

Like many of the managers to take place in last season's managerial merry go round ahead of the 2021-22 campaign, Oliver Glasner had a slow start to life at Eintracht Frankfurt. It took the team eight games to claim their first victory, and even that was a stale 1-0 win over Royal Antwerp in the … Continue reading Oliver Glasner – Eintracht Frankfurt – Tactical Analysis

How I watch football matches for tactical analyses

As a football analyst, I often get asked a very broad question - 'How do you watch football matches?'. What people really want to know is what I look for, the process of watching to disseminating that information to an audience, and how they can learn more about the game to see football like a true tactical analyst themselves. A little over a year ago, I wrote an article titled 'How to watch football like a tactical analyst', following a 'how do you watch football?' type of question from one of our long-time readers. Since that article, the way I watch football has evolved, with new processes and techniques to study the game and prepare myself for the subsequent analyses that follow. So with that, today I share how I watch football matches, and gain the necessary insights that guide my articles.

Picking the Bundesliga Team of the Season (2021-22)

Despite Bayern's dominance, the 2021-22 Bundesliga season has been another entertaining campaign, full of twists and turns right up until the end of the season. A number of rising talents emerged out of thin air this season, with the Bundesliga continuing its reputation as one of the best leagues in the world for developing young players into world beaters. So with that, here is our Bundesliga Team of the Season for the 2021-22 campaign.

Why Alfred Schreuder would be the perfect Ten Hag replacement

After working under some of the most exceptional managers in his time as an assistant coach, Alfred Schreuder has been making headlines at Club Brugge this season, and now looks prepared to take over the helm at Ajax FC.