From Ferguson and Wenger to Guardiola and Klopp: How Formations Evolved Over Time

While star players may make the headlines, managers are the ones pulling the strings and dictating how the game is played. Over the years, the Premier League has seen countless shifts in the trends of managerial tactics, though there is one man who proved himself a world-leading shot-caller over the span of three decades: Sir Alex Ferguson.

Patrick Vieira – Crystal Palace – Tactical Analysis

After Roy Hodgson's retirement from the game, many thought Crystal Palace were doomed for relegation. However, with a couple of new signings and a more energetic, attack-minded style of play, Patrick Vieira has taken Palace to new heights. While they sit just tenth place in the table, Vieira's Eagles have now gone unbeaten in their last six matches, including a massive 2-0 win to set title-contenders Manchester City back a peg. Even in matches they've lost the season, the signs of what's to come from Palace in the future are promising. So with that, here is a tactical analysis of Patrick Vieira's Crystal Palace.

West Ham United 3-2 Liverpool – Tactical Analysis – How Moyes’ Men Claimed Victory

Following a fantastic 2020-21 campaign, few expected West Ham's form to carry over into the 2021-22 campaign to the same extraordinary extent. But David Moyes' men have gone from strength to strength this season, playing some of their best football in decades. The Hammers are now all the way up into third place, ahead of Liverpool, after a hard-fought 3-2 victory over the Reds this weekend. Here is our analysis of the match!

Tottenham 0-3 Manchester United – Tactical Analysis – Ole’s New Formation

After an entire week of calls for his head, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer put together a United masterclass, with the Red Devils smashing Nuno's Spurs by a scoreline of 3-0. The former United legend exemplified innovation by implementing a 3-4-1-2 formation, getting the best out of the likes of Edinson Cavani and Bruno Fernandes, and completely undoing Tottenham's 4-2-3-1 bra in the process. Here is our tactical analysis of the match.

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]

Why the 4-3-3 has made football formations redundant

Much is made of formations in the modern world of football, with each and every top team attempting to innovative and reinvent the beautiful game. One of the most popular formations throughout history is the 4-3-3 formation. Those who view the game with a simplistic mindset would tell you it involves four defenders, three midfielders and three attackers. That certainly appears to be the case on the face of it, but is that how it works in reality? Or is 4-3-3 an amalgamation of several different tactics, effectively killing off the concept of a starting formation?

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.