Game of Numbers #5 – Changing Shapes Mid-Game

One of the truest tests of any tactically adept coach is to identify mechanisms for changing around their team’s fortunes mid-game. This is never an easy task, but one that managers must be reflecting on not only with their substitutions, but with the potential for changing the master-plan on a grander scale, whether that be a tactical tweak in style or system. In what was one of the games of the weekend, both Freiburg and Leverkusen made pivotal formational changes as the match wore on. Crucially, both teams changed back to the shapes that they've prioritized since the start of the season, calling into question why they ever abandoned their favoured choice in the first place.

Carlos Gonzalez – Atletico Ottawa – Tactical Analysis

After finishing bottom of the table in 2021, Carlos Gonzalez has come into Atletico Ottawa and completely transformed the team into one of the most resolute, remarkable teams in the Canadian Premier League. In just half the games, they've won more matches than they did in the whole of last season, conceding the second least amount of goals in the league. Along the way, they've played one of the most tactically fluid and fantastical styles of football in the division, adamantly changing formation and player roles between the phases. Here is our tactical analysis of Atletico Ottawa's rise under Carlos Gonzalez.

Coaching the 3-1-3-1 (9v9)

When deployed correctly, the 3-1-3-1 can be one of the most fluid, flexible and fantastic 9v9 formations. Like anything in the beautiful game, team tactics, style of play and intricacies can only evolve within the realms of a team's own unique characteristics (including players involved, level of opposition, coaching preferences, and more). But if I had my pick of the litter within my squad, this is how I would deploy the 3-1-3-1 formation at the 9v9 level.

Game Model Example: 3-5-2

Struggling to know where to start when it comes to creating your own game model? Well look no further than TheMastermindSite.com, where we're bringing you game model examples in each of the game's most popular formations. These game model examples are exactly as the name suggests - resources for you to rock on and create your own game model. This specific 3-5-2 game model showcases the style of play and key player characteristics that Rhyspect FC would emphasize in each phase of the game. To see a preview of the game model, click the download preview button below. To purchase the game model, click the 'Purchase' button below.

How Cavalry’s staggered shape stunned Edmonton – Match Analysis

The Cavs started the season in a 3-4-2-1 formation, suffering two embarrassing losses to York and Atletico, and a stagnant draw against Forge. After realizing the slow-moving car wasn't quite motoring the way he wanted it to, even despite the gas pedal being pressed, Wheeldon Jr. was right to identify a new vehicle. Now in a flexible 4-4-2 shape, Cavalry have been utterly dominant in both of their matches since, both in and out of possession. On this particular occasion, they completely stunted Edmonton's progress going forward, and massively exploited space in exactly the right areas through staggering their personnel across the pitch. Here is a quick tactical analysis of Cavalry's commanding 3-0 win over FC Edmonton.

Forge FC 3-0 FC Edmonton – Match Analysis & Player Ratings

After a couple of disappointing results to start the season, Forge found their flow in Week 3, achieving a comfortable 3-0 win over FC Edmonton's stern defense. Not only did Forge live up to expectation from a performance perspective, but also from a tactical one. Bobby Smyrniotis changed shape away from the 3-4-1-2 / 3-4-3 formation utilized against Cavalry back to his favoured 4-3-3, only to reconstruct their ideologies in the second half to better take advantage of the wide areas. Here is our analysis of Forge's commanding 3-0 victory over FC Edmonton.

Atletico Ottawa vs. Valour FC – Tactical Preview

Atletico Ottawa have caught the eye at the start of this season, as the most tactically intriguing team in the league. Carlos Gonzalez's team achieved two back to back wins to start the campaign, playing different formations in and out of possession. Valour have a mammoth task as a result, and need to hit top gear in finding Moses Dyer early on in moves. Here is our tactical analysis.

Pacific FC vs. Halifax Wanderers FC – Tactical Preview

No team in the Canadian Premier League has enjoyed a stronger start to the season than Pacific FC. James Merriman's team have been a well-oiled machine through and through, with a front four firing on all cylinders, and a cast and crew working behind the scenes to best support their fluidity up front. Not only have Pacific had a successful start from a team perspective, but as individuals working to serve one another within Merriman's 4-1-4-1. Here is our tactical preview of Pacific's match against HFX Wanderers FC.

Forge FC vs. FC Edmonton – Tactical Preview

Saturday's match promises to be an exhilarating encounter, with the team accumulating the most possession in the league so far (62%), going up against the team with the least amount of possession so far (38%). Is it fate that those numbers balance each other out perfectly? Perhaps.

How Brighton beat Arsenal & Spurs in a 3-5-1-1

After a bit of a new year slump, Brighton are back on track, beating the fiercest of North London rivals in successive weeks. Graham Potter's ability to tweak his shape and personnel has been a hallmark of his time at Brighton, seemingly always finding a way to get the balance right in his team. But the former Swansea manager made several big calls in the past two weeks, handing a debut to Moises Caicedo against Arsenal, and operating without a recognized number nine against Spurs. Despite those big calls, Potter's men came out on top in back to back weeks against two sides battling it out for a place in this season's top four, whilst using an intriguing 3-5-1-1 shape.

Pacific FC 2-1 Forge FC – Match Analysis

The Canadian Premier League's fourth season kicked off this past weekend, ending with a heavyweight fixture between last season's Playoff Final contenders. Despite Forge FC's dominance in the match, Pacific FC pacified much of Forge's central penetration, and were clinical in front of the goal in securing the win. Here is our match analysis.

Manchester City 1-0 Atletico Madrid: Debunking the 5-5-0

Knowing Pep Guardiola's level of footballing intelligence, we thoroughly trust his judgement. However, within the commentary surrounding what Atletico did on the day to achieve a result, as an undoubtedly all-out defensive approach, the 5-5-0 has become overstated - almost as a metric for evaluating Atletico's solidity. In actuality, the 5-5-0 rarely ever took centre stage.

How Canada used the 4-4-2 to success in World Cup Qualifying

After thirteen long, hard-fought games, Canada's Men's National Team has officially qualified for the World Cup for the first time since 1986. With 8 wins, 4 draws and just 1 loss in the final stage of qualifying, John Herdman's men sealed their spot with a game to spare, after thumping Jamaica by a smashing score-line of 4-0. In the final stages of the competition, Canada smartly stuck by a 4-4-2 formation, maintaining consistency and chemistry en route to an impressive run to the finish line. Here is our analysis of how Canada used the 4-4-2 to success, and stood strong to stand on guard for thee.