How Southampton’s attacking transitions vary between phases of the game

After a slow start to the season, Southampton are one of the in-form Premier League teams at the moment. Fielding a 4-2-2-2 on paper, the Saints recently picked up unexpected points against some of the league's biggest hitters - Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur, and Manchester United. Results in tow, Southampton’s implementation of quick and progressive attacking transitions have them climbing the league table, playing with a distinct style and groove.

Serie A Observations: Juventus Quick Take Tactical Analysis

This past weekend, Juventus squared up against fellow Serie A heavyweights, AC Milan, at San Siro for a much-anticipated clash of top-four hopefuls. Despite its potential, the match played out as a midseason stalemate, with players from both sides looking a little listless. But past the lack of goals (or shots on goal in the case of Juventus), the more measured pace of play offers one distinct advantage to viewers: a clear view of formational repositioning based on phase of play. In other words, a game model at work.

Serie A Observations: Empoli’s 4-1-3-2 vs. AC Milan (Quick Take Tactics)

On Serie A's Matchday 19, mid-table Empoli faced off against title hopefuls AC Milan at Carlo Castellani Stadium. Despite AC Milan being heavy favorites, Empoli gave themselves every chance to come away with all three points, further proving their recent statement win against Napoli was no fluke. 

1v1x11: AC Milan 1-1 Inter Milan – [Quick Take Tactics]

“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.  

The Flag-Bearers of Football Formations – October 2021 – Quick Take

Although we all love the beautiful game, we may watch for different reasons. Some tune in as a family tradition. Others for personal or professional interest. And still others purely for the sake of entertainment. Here, today, I hope to add one more reason to your list if it’s there already: watch to learn. Specifically, to learn how a football club compiles individual contributions of skill, athleticism, intelligence, and desire, and stations those facets of the game for collective success. This is my working definition of football tactics inherent to formations. 

The 4-4-2 Pitfall Evident in Sampdoria vs Napoli [Quick Take]

As often discussed, the 4-4-2 is both a classic and still highly utilized formation in football, benefited by clear roles and a simple structure. However, it is also a setup that risks a fair deal of overexposure. The recent match between Napoli and Sampdoria evidences this balance to perfection. For the first portion of the … Continue reading The 4-4-2 Pitfall Evident in Sampdoria vs Napoli [Quick Take]

The Most Popular Formations in MLS [Quick Take]

Similar to our prior overview of The Most Popular Formations in Europe’s Top 5 Leagues (2020-2021 season), we now look at the most popular formations in MLS during the 2021 season (up until the time of writing - early September 2021). With most sides over two-thirds of the way through the regular season, it’s prime time to find form and compete for a playoff spot. And while preparation for success is managed differently by all, settling on a formation (or at least a general style of play) is a great sign that a team has found its collective identity. As such, final tallies for the season will undoubtedly change, but here are the numbers as they stand... 

Rosters Reimagined! A Post-Transfer Market Tinkering of the EPL’s Big Six [Quick Take]

The transfer window has closed and we’re left with a week of international football to wonder what money truly buys. So for kicks, let’s incorporate the new lads in alternative formations for the Premier League’s “Big Six” and see what cleverness or calamity results…

Quick Take: Tottenham’s tactical tweaks are a subtle genre switch

Tottenham Hotspur are a team in transition. And with all the surrounding newness, it's easy to expect (or, in some cases, hope for) complete novelty, an immediate replacement of old, bad habits and tendencies with new, good ones. Unfortunately, this forecast is more fanciful than fair. Tottenham Hotspur are a team in transition. And with all the surrounding newness, it's easy to expect (or, in some cases, hope for) complete novelty, an immediate replacement of old, bad habits and tendencies with new, good ones. Unfortunately, this forecast is more fanciful than fair. Squad rebuilds are a function of two factors working in dichotomy: time and money. The greater one becomes, the lesser the other can be. In this way, football clubs with immediate access to financial capital can regenerate a squad in short order. For everyone else, it takes time. But even as a slow reconstruction in progress, managers can face significant pressure in the form of tactics reimagined. Realistically, teaching and optimizing a new system of play takes additional time and risks subpar performance in the interim, while simple replication of previous methods will surely be seen as short-sighted redundancy. Into this predictable but unfortunate conundrum stepped Nuno Espirito Santo, a manager who recently traded Wolves’ black and yellow for Spurs’ white and blue. 

Quick Take: Most Popular Formations in Europe’s Top 5 Leagues (2020-21)

With the efforts and emotions of the enormously entertaining Euro 2020 still enduring, it’s hard to believe that preseason for many European clubs is already underway. To further set the stage for the impending season, it’s worth taking a moment to reflect on last season’s tactical trends. Tallied below are the most popular formations in Europe’s top five leagues as per UEFA association club coefficient (Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga and Ligue 1). Enjoy!

Quick Take: Italy’s Shield is the Euro’s Sharpest Sword

When establishing a style of play, all top-level managers face the same pragmatic questions: How will positional defenders become functional attackers (and vice versa) as changes in possession occur? Where is the balance between earnest advancement and cautious reserve? And how is that equilibrium expressed, implicitly and explicitly, on the team sheet?