Canadian Premier League – Player Ratings

After the first week of action in the 2022 Canadian Premier League season, we have officially launched our brand new Player Evaluation System. The details of this can be found in this article - Evaluating players based on role continuity, and we have already begun the process of identifying roles for specific players that may have stood out on the day. Here are how the players of the Canadian Premier League currently rank based on our brand new model.

The difference between seeing and understanding in analysis

When it comes to analysis, it's no secret that the goal is to think on a deeper level, scrutinizing over the finer minutia beyond what you see at first glance. But it's also no secret that this skill takes dedicated time and energy to learn. A lack of deep tactical understanding about the game often comes at a cost to coaches and amateur analysts. They are adequately able to perceive events on a football pitch, but they may be unsure of how to change what they are seeing for the better, or even fully comprehend what they are seeing to the level required. Coaches in my Mentorship Program often ask me - "How do you go from seeing to understanding?" Well that, my friends, is what we're after today. In this series of notes, I'm going to give you a series of images and videos, where you can go from seeing, to understanding. If you've been doing analysis for years, no worries, this will still be an excellent way for you to practice and refine your skills.

A short corner routine that will guarantee goals (ft. KC Current)

While brilliant, this set-piece won't work 100% of the time. But if your team can properly assess a time to play a short corner like this (such as having a player unmarked at the top of the box) and capitalize on that opportunity, this corner kick routine courtesy of Kansas City may just guarantee you goals.

Forge’s new signings paying dividends in recent run of form – Tactical Analysis

The atmosphere inside Tim Hortons Field was electric on Sunday, culminated by a string of impressive performances leading toward another top class win over first-placed Pacific FC. The Hammers dominated the tempo of the match from start to finish, with the entire squad in full flow and complete harmony over a tired Pacific team. Impressively, Forge's recent run of form has been accompanied by the introduction of two new faces to the team - Malik Owolabi-Belewu and Rezart Rama. Both have fit like a glove in Bobby Smyrniotis' side, pushing others into roles that allow the entire team to achieve equilibrium and stability. Here is our match analysis of Forge's 3-0 win over Pacific, and the impressive accomplishments of Owolabi-Belewu and Rama since entering the frame.

A brilliant set-piece routine that will guarantee goals (ft. Cavalry FC)

Even despite missing important players and shifting key figureheads out of position, Cavalry fought their way to a 1-0 victory on Saturday against HFX Wanderers. The only goal came from a set-piece (as we're becoming accustomed to when these teams play), courtesy of a wonderfully coordinated routine to steal the victory away. So with that, we break down the set-piece that resulted in Cavalry's 1-0 win over HFX, and the important steps to replicating the routine with your team.

Washington Spirit 1-1 Chicago Red Stars – Match Analysis

As often happens in a tightly contested affair, Washington Spirit's encounter with the Chicago Red Stars saw one team outperform the other in the attacking third, and the other come out in wonderfully matching that intensity in the defensive third. Washington should have claimed victory, having hit the bar twice and dominating much of the play, but Chicago held their own, accumulating chances to put the game to bed themselves.

Liverpool 0-1 Real Madrid – UEFA Champions League Final – Tactical Analysis

Over the past few seasons, we've seen some legendary Champions League finals. This encounter between Liverpool and Real Madrid, in many ways, was more lethargic and leisurely. A chess battle as both teams patiently worked through the thirds and never fully pressed the gas, Liverpool couldn't quite ever get up to full speed in matching Real Madrid's assuredness and steady flow in possession. With Courtois supersonic-ifying his gloves beforehand, the match ended with Real Madrid coming out as winners, claiming an impressive double under the influence of Carlo Ancelotti, and one last hurrah for many of the decade-defining stars from the 2010s. Here is our tactical analysis of Real Madrid's narrow 1-0 win over Liverpool.

How not to defend set-pieces (ft. HFX Wanderers & Cavalry)

I can't remember another game in my lifetime where four goals, in fact - 100% of the goals, came from set-pieces. I love analyzing team structures and shapes in traditional match analyses, and I could tell you all about Cavalry's almost 3-3-1-3-esque build-up or Halifax's stern 4-3-1-2 press. But ultimately, this game was decided by free kicks and corners. While that may be seen by some as "boring", on this occasion, all four of the goals resulted off the back of both tactical and psychological mistakes, more than worth breaking down in detail. So with that, here is our Match Analysis of Halifax's 2-2 draw with Cavalry, and our case study on how not to defend set-pieces.

Four tactical discussion points from Matchday 6 in the CANPL

Due to time restrictions, I've been unable to get my usual tactical review of the weekend that was in the Canadian Premier League up and running. But the league still delivered in its sixth round of fixtures, with plenty of intriguing tactical adaptations taking form. So with that, here is what you need to know about the sixth round of fixtures, ahead of Matchday 7.

Chelsea 3-2 Manchester City – Women’s FA Cup Final Analysis

What a game. If you missed this one, seriously, go back and watch the explosion of emotions and hard-felt performances across the pitch in Chelsea's narrow 3-2 win over Manchester City. The Citizens were dominant on the day going forward, yet Chelsea kept pushing and probing to take the lead not once, not twice, but three times. Their relentless goal-scoring when the odds seemed stacked against them ensured City always had an uphill battle to climb, and eventually became too big of a task for Gareth Taylor's team. Here is our match analysis of the 2022 Women's FA Cup Final between Chelsea and City.

Kevin de Bruyne Masterclass vs. Wolves – Tactical Analysis

Currently in the process of chasing down a fourth Premier League title under Pep Guardiola, Kevin de Bruyne has taken charge of Manchester City's dominance in the last few months, rising above the rest as a completely untouchable figurehead in the team. Last night saw the Belgian score four goals in a single match, taking his tally up to 15 for the season - his most in a single Premier League campaign. With that, we break down the tactical elements of Kevin de Bruyne's masterclass against a normally stern Wolves defense, and how the Belgian led his team to a smashing 5-1 victory.