2022 was another record-breaking year for TMS, and a great year of firsts for my work and the site. In 2022, we launched our Role Continuity Evaluation System, a batch of brand new Game Model Ebooks, and our Introduction to Football Analysis Course. This year was also the year that I had multiple clients from inside the professional game as part of my Mentorship Masterclass, which will be transitioning into the Consultation Masterclass in 2023. Along the way, I wrote some of my best work yet, that I can’t wait to celebrate with you to close off the year. Here are my ten favourite articles on TMS in 2022.
10. ball, opposition, teammates and space
Ever since I started coaching, I’ve wanted to do a piece on the intertwined nature of the four elements of the game. Little did I know that in doing so, I would catch the eye of Rene Maric, and create a piece so complicated that sometimes I’m not even sure what I’m saying when I read it back. Nevertheless, this is a massively important article for the site, and one that speaks to the intricate nature of the game we all know and love, beyond what you see on first glance.
9. How Diogo Jota scores so many headed goals
Throughout 2021-2022, Diogo Jota made a habit of scoring headed goals. But in watching him play, I noticed something that I thought was quite peculiar of a man capable of scoring so many goals with the same body part. Not to spoil anything, but to hook you in, I realized…Diogo Jota is actually atrocious in the air. That is, he’s really not all that great at winning his contested duels, particularly in the other phases of the game that don’t include the penalty area. Despite that, he couldn’t stop scoring with his head. I wrote about why Jota’s historic headers were not necessarily down to aerial strength, but other factors. The result was a piece that truly inspired much of the work that came next, including many of the articles on this list.
8. Why Erling Haaland scores so many goals
October of 2022 was a time where Erling Haaland just could not stop scoring goals. Conveniently, it was also a time in which I just could not stop writing articles. It was a match made in heaven, just like Haaland has been for City since he joined. Haaland is on track to break the Premier League Golden Boot record, but there are many hidden aspects surrounding why and how he scores so many goals. If you want to be in the know, this article incorporates much in the way of video and telestrations, ensuring I could capture the entire picture of Haaland’s goal-fest so far in 2022-23.
7. When to press, and when not to press
For what it’s worth, Jesse Marsch’s Leeds served as an inspiration for many pieces throughout the calendar year, and this one was the best of them all. Inspired by their intense pressing style against Chelsea, I wrote this piece on when to press, and when not to press in football. Not only was this piece a great way for me to illustrate many of my feelings around pressing, it created many of my feelings that I still hold today about the art.
6. The real problem with Harry Maguire
Around mid-April, I, like everyone else, was tired about hearing the outcry of criticism coming the way of Harry Maguire. So, I wrote an article all about Harry Maguire. But with a twist. I wanted to identify the real problem (or problems, in truth) that the defender was having within his performance on the pitch, squashing some of the unfounded debates occurring in the community. This was one of my first experimentations with the use of video to support my arguments, and in many ways, a hallmark for what I prescribe in conducting analysis at the professional level. I enjoyed trying to create a balanced piece around the debate, and look at Maguire’s play from many different angles. In doing so, this ended up being far and away my biggest player piece throughout the year.
5. I will change your mind about automatisms
I don’t know what got into me with this post. It’s unlike me to try and disprove the theories of another writer, but something incredibly peculiar caught my eye about a piece I saw written by a fellow Canadian analyst/coach early in the year. In my quest to dig deeper into the true meaning behind the word “automatism” in football, I ended up producing one of my favourite pieces on the site, and an exploration into why coaches can’t possibly go without utilizing them in their training methods. I’ve kept in touch with the author that sparked the article, and I’m hoping to enjoy a collaboration or two with them in the future.
4. technical, tactical, physical and psychological sides of football are deeply intertwined
Throughout the first half of the year, I constantly heard coaches referring to different aspects of the game in isolation. I wanted to create an alternative perspective to the discussions, and outline why all four corners (and actually, there’s five corners), are deeply intertwined. Unlike my initial article on BOTS (ball, opposition, teammates, and space), this piece provides a more concrete and clear illustration of the intertwined nature of different elements to the game. Not only that, but I can remember this being an amazingly fun piece to write, and an incredibly useful reference for the Introduction to Analysis course. When I’m speaking to players, it’s one of my most recommended articles.
3. How I watch football matches for Analyses
In less than a year, it may already be time for an update as to how I watch football for the tactical analyses posted on this site. A lot has changed since I prioritized the use of live-match footage and Wyscout, and since I went through the motions of writing my book (out in 2023!) and developed my course. But as part of being a six-year process into the making of this article, and trying to encapsulate my entire analysis process from start to finish, this was a bundle of fun to create. To this day, it’s still my pinned post on my Twitter profile, representing a solid introduction into what you’re going to get when you visit TMS.
2. THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SEEING & UNDERSTANDING
Based on a consistent question posed my way by mentees in my Mentorship Masterclass, I developed this article as a kick-starter leading into my Introduction to Football Analysis – Online Course. The article goes into detail about how to go from beyond what you see on first glance, to a concrete understanding of the deeper minutiae behind what you are seeing. I used examples from some of my other favourite articles throughout the year, including my pieces on Diogo Jota, Harry Maguire and Pressing. As a gateway into how I would go on to structure several articles that followed, this one holds a particular importance on the site.
1. EVALUATING PLAYERS BASED ON ROLE CONTINUITY
At the start of the year, I wanted to identify a different way of conducting player evaluations and the typical player scores that you see on statistical websites. I created the Role Continuity Evaluation System as a way of assessing players based on not only their performance, but their performance within what they are expected to do as part of their role. To date, I believe this is one of the most comprehensive performance evaluation models in football, as it combines both the eye test and statistics. The article kick-started an entire Player Role Series, which detailed over 20 player roles that professionals could adopt. The series will finish up before March 2023, with the final few forward pieces yet to be published.
Before closing, it’s worth noting that without the likes of you reading my work, I would not have the same level of inspiration to carry on writing and scrutinizing over the finer details of the game. I want to thank you for your encouragement and engagement throughout the year, and I hope to see you in 2023, for another fantastic year! Thanks for reading and see you soon!
What was your favourite article on the site this year?
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