Central Midfielder of the Year – Interactive Vote (Top 100 Footballers 2021)

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The end of the year is almost here, and that means it’s time for our annual Top 100 Footballers list. This year, you, the readers of our website, get to have your say. Just simply see the list of nominees below, and rearrange the list to suit your preference from first to last in each position. When we rank the Top 100 Footballers of the Year, we take into consideration a player’s form throughout 2021, their club and national team success, difficulty of league, and their reputation + performances in the year prior. You can rank based on any criteria you desire! Below is our poll ranking the best central midfielders in 2021.

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Calin Calaidjoglu – U21 Talent Watch – Player Analysis

After catching the eye for Montreal Impact’s Academy in 2018, the career of future Canadian international Calin Calaidjoglu has gone quietly under the radar. Currently plying his trade in his native Moldova, that much is understandable. But Calaidjoglu recently impressed in his side’s UEFA Conference League tie against Slovenian side NS Mura, and has enjoyed a bright start to the 2022-23 season. While CPL clubs tend to recruit even younger players, the 21-year-old would have plenty to offer if a move were to be made back home. In this tactical analysis, we break down the strengths and weaknesses of Calin Calaidjoglu at the age of 21, and the CPL clubs that would most benefit from his playing style. Here is our analysis!

Explaining the Tempo Setter – Player Role Analysis

The ‘Tempo Setter’ is a unique player type to our system, taking into account the possession-based players that operate in a ‘number 8’ position, and thrive when given the ball in the half-spaces. Youri Tielemans, Christian Eriksen and Jordan Henderson feature as some of the best within the role from an emblematic perspective, perfectly exuding the cucumber coolness required. But the likes of Thiago and Tchouaméni also stake a claim despite their extreme exceptionalities on the ball, due to the high influence they present in keeping the game moving along from a withdrawn position. Beyond the streamlined skill of Thiago, they tend not to be the flashiest of players in their teams. But ‘Tempo Setters’ are key to setting the tone of a football match, and conducting the orchestra from start to finish. Quite simply, without their class and composure in possession, the whole entire musical production could crumble.

Game of Numbers – #3 – The Evolution of the Target Man

Target Men are often seen as the bottom of the barrel centre-forward in terms of footballing ability. But increasingly, it’s becoming more difficult to quantify ‘Target Men’, recognizing the vast skillsets they employ. The likes of Aleksandar Mitrović and Sasa Kalajdzic are easier to distinctly categorize as ‘Target Men’ for their physical, imposing frame that allows them to score headed goals for fun. But it becomes more difficult to keep the likes of Erling Haaland and Darwin Nunez in that same specification, recognizing the vast array of traits they possess, particularly speed on the break. Target Men have historically been seen as slow, technically inept individuals who use their physicality, whether that be height or strength, to get one up over the opponent. But more and more, we are seeing an evolution of the ‘Target Man’ in 2022, to include a vast array of traits.

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