Luciano Spalletti – Napoli – Tactical Analysis (2022-23)

Luciano Spalletti has worked wonders since arriving to the scene of Naples in 2021. The Italian manager helped Napoli to a third-place finish last season, and now prepares to lead the closing stages of their title charge in 2023. With some supremely smart acquisitions in the summer working their magic, Gli Azzurri currently sit ten points clear atop the table, and have more than double the points of Serie A's historical dominator - Juventus. If Spalletti can continue to get his tactics right and maintain the remarkably positive culture he's built since arriving, Napoli will walk away with the title this year. So with that, here is our analysis of the club from Naples so far in 2022-23.

The art of structuring an effective warm-up

We all know the importance of warming up the body in the proper ways, but many novice (or dinosaur) coaches fail to adequately know how to warm up the body in the proper ways specific to the sport. As a young gun in the soccer world, I can recall running laps around the field, static stretching, and even hill sprints prior to practice sessions and games. None of these are particularly helpful, even if they can work 1-3% of times in specific contexts (hill sprints aside of course). With that, I present the elements of an effective warm-up and how coaches can structure the warm-up to fit into the grander scheme of their session plans.

Game of Numbers #11 – How to dribble like Jude Bellingham

Without Jude Bellingham, where would Borussia Dortmund be right now? They've been missing Marco Reus, Mats Hummels hasn't been up to pace (literally), and all the newboys haven't quite hit the ground running as expected (perhaps Salih Özcan aside). This has meant that Jude Bellingham has needed to carry the weight of the team on his shoulders, getting on the ball at every turn to work his magic.

How Potter can save Chelsea’s season – Tactical Analysis

Since suffering defeat to his old club at the end of October, Graham Potter's Chelsea have lost seven of their last eleven matches. Injuries have evidently played a part, but Potter's problems persist even despite a wealthy eleven still at his disposal. The balance of the team remains up in shambles, even despite a recent redemption victory against Crystal Palace. With that, we examine what's wrong with Potter's Chelsea from a tactical perspective, and how the former Brighton man can turn his fortunes around.

The advantages of having a player who doesn’t defend

We often look at a player who doesn't defend as a detractor. Players are told from a young age that they must defend, regardless of their position on the field. In many respects, this is true. But when you get to the professional level, roles can evolve in novel ways, and even incorporate a player who has limited defensive responsibility. It was refreshing to see two teams so clearly implementing a tactic around their attack-minded superstars at the 2022 World Cup, simply by having them prioritize the attacking side of the game. With that, I wanted to provide a potential argument into why having this type of tactic can actually be a valuable feature to a team going forward, without ruining their chances in defense.

Explaining the Target – Player Role Analysis

Historically known as the 'Target Man', we've rebranded this term to be all encompassing. More than just about any role, the word 'Target' immediately paints a picture of the type of player we're looking for. That is, someone strong, typically tall, aerially savvy, robust, and frequently used by their team as a target for advancing up the pitch. In the hockey sense, they would typically be the one responsible for 'roughing up the opposition'

How to organize the defensive line as a goalkeeper

With a wonderful view of the action, goalkeepers must be more than just shot stoppers, and participate actively and vocally in communicating with their mates. They should not be solely responsible for organizing the entire team, but have the ability to do so through the vantage point they have on the field, and often the fearless nature they behold. I've often found that some of the best communicators that I coach are in fact goalkeepers. But before answering the question, let's first discuss whether or not it is actually necessary for the goalkeeper to organize the defensive line.

Explaining the Creative Link – Player Role Analysis

Creative Links are quite similar to our attacking midfielder persona - the 'Creative Ten'. The main difference is that they play up front, and typically conduct more of their play with their back to goal in linking up with their teammates. You could call them a 'False 9', a playmaking centre-forward, or something between a '9' and a '10.'

Mikel Arteta – Arsenal – Tactical Analysis – 2022-23

2022-23 has gone better than anyone at Arsenal could have ever imagined, with the Gunners topping the table for the vast majority of the campaign. After sixteen matches, only two sides have taken points off Arteta's men, with the Spaniard's side becoming completely solidified at all ends of the pitch. Here is our analysis of Arteta's Arsenal in 2022-23.

My top ten articles of 2022

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.

Emma Hayes – Chelsea – Tactical Analysis (2022-23)

Over the past decade, few managers in the world of football have achieved more than Emma Hayes at Chelsea. Having now won the FA Cup and WSL title in back to back seasons with the Blues, the Chelsea legend will now have her eyes on the greatest prize of all in club football - the UEFA Champions League. Fortunately for her, Chelsea are in the form of their lives at the moment, and currently boast what is possibly the greatest squad they've ever had. The likes of Lyon and Barcelona will be difficult to beat, but Chelsea are in good shape to go this season with a near unbeaten record, and challenge for that elusive trophy once and for all. Here is our analysis of Emma Hayes' Chelsea in 2022-23.

Roberto De Zerbi – Brighton – Tactical Analysis

Since taking charge of Brighton in late September, Roberto De Zerbi has picked up right where Graham Potter left off, continuing the team's excellence in and out of possession. The results haven't always followed despite all the positives in their performance, but De Zerbi seems to have found solidity now, with the Seagulls currently sitting in seventh place. Here is our tactical analysis of De Zerbi's Brighton so far in 2022-23, and whether or not the Italian can lead them toward European football this season.

Erik Ten Hag – Manchester United – Tactical Analysis

After a rocky start to life at Manchester, Erik Ten Hag has quickly become one of the only managers since Sir Alex Ferguson to restore faith in the fans, and restore equilibrium back into the eleven. United might only be fifth in the table, but continue to grow in confidence under the influence of the Dutchman, and look destined for a top four finish on current form. With that, here is our tactical analysis of Erik Ten Hag's Manchester United since the Dutch manager took over.