Game of Numbers #9 – Moukoko Madness

In our latest analysis series: Game of Numbers, we break down the various tactical undertones of the modern game, most notably the individual roles that players fulfill to help their teams achieve success. This is Issue No. 9, featuring tactical discussions around two of the Bundesliga's top prospects - Youssoufa Moukoko and Christopher Nkunku.

Replacing Alejandro Diaz at Pacific FC

Following the loss of eventual CPL Golden Boot winner Alejandro Diaz, Pacific FC immediately went from title contenders to top four contenders, scraping into the playoffs with a fourth-place finish come the end of the season. The repeated line as the likes of myself and CPL.ca wrote about Pacific became all about how things could have been very different for Pacific in front of goal had they only had that missing link. Diaz was everything to the Pacific attack, acting as both a 'False 9' capable of dropping deep and receiving the ball, and somehow even fulfilling duties as an occasional 'Target Man' despite his 5'10 height. He linked up with Marco Bustos and Manny Aparicio magnificently well as the three of them dovetailed around each other, and his desire to drop deep often allowed Joshua Heard to run into the vacated space behind. Pacific signed Electric City striker Jordan Brown to try and make up for the loss, but it was clear that Brown was a far less dynamic player, and far less clinical in front of goal. With that, we analyze the essential characteristics in need of replacing when it comes to Diaz and his game, and four possible replacements from around the globe.

Why Erling Haaland scores so many goals

Let's not get overly simplistic about this. Erling Haaland is the best footballer in the world at the moment. But how he scores so many goals can be scrutinized in far greater depth than simply saying he's an alien. So with that, here is our latest analysis on the great Erling Haaland, and how he scores so many incredible goals.

Randal Kolo Muani – Player Analysis

Throughout the past five years, Eintracht Frankfurt have been partially responsible for the conveyor belt production of quality strikers like Sebastien Haller, André Silva, Luka Jović and Rafael Borré. The next heir to the throne is completely different to the goal-scoring poacher-like 'Target Men' previously deployed. In many ways, a departure was needed. Filip Kostic has left the scene to start pastures new at Juventus, and the team no longer have an out-and-out dynamic wing crossing threat delivering peaches into the box for the strikers to ripen. They have a new man leading their attack now, and that man happens to be more of a 'Creative Link' than a scorer of great goals. Here is our analysis of the wonderful Randal Kolo Muani in 2022-23 at Eintracht Frankfurt.

Osaze De Rosario – Player Analysis

Still only 21 years of age, Osaze has much to look forward to in an illustrious career surely set to come. So with that, we analyze the rising star, and assess his potential future for greatness in the sport. Here is our analysis.

Woobens Pacius – Player Analysis

At the start of the 2022 CANPL season, Woobens Pacius appeared to have lost his place at the top of Forge FC's attack. The Hammers had brought in Pacific icon Terran Campbell, who had haunted Forge among many other Canadian Premier League teams en route to Pacific's Playoff victory in 2021. But Forge's attack didn't fully click in the opening weeks of the season, and they struggled to find the right chemistry, particularly with Campbell's desire to engage lower on the pitch and support the play. In came Woobens Pacius to restore faith to Forge's fervid attack, and the Hammers immediately went on a stunning run of form.

Game of Numbers #4 – Counter Attacking to Score Goals

In the quest to establish beautiful football, possession-based play often reigns supreme, with the bitter ugliness of grit and determination seen as a lower standard way of approaching the game. But when done right and done effectively, counter attacking football can be the deadliest approach to winning football matches. That notion came to prominence over the weekend, as both of last season's Premier League title contenders dropped points, and Bundesliga giants RB Leipzig crashed down the stairs at Union Berlin.

Game of Numbers – #3 – The Evolution of the Target Man

Target Men are often seen as the bottom of the barrel centre-forward in terms of footballing ability. But increasingly, it's becoming more difficult to quantify 'Target Men', recognizing the vast skillsets they employ. The likes of Aleksandar Mitrović and Sasa Kalajdzic are easier to distinctly categorize as 'Target Men' for their physical, imposing frame that allows them to score headed goals for fun. But it becomes more difficult to keep the likes of Erling Haaland and Darwin Nunez in that same specification, recognizing the vast array of traits they possess, particularly speed on the break. Target Men have historically been seen as slow, technically inept individuals who use their physicality, whether that be height or strength, to get one up over the opponent. But more and more, we are seeing an evolution of the 'Target Man' in 2022, to include a vast array of traits.

Why Alejandro Diaz caught the eye of Sogndal Fotball

Devastated. Alejandro Diaz is one of the most exciting, flamboyant, energetic, tactically intelligent, heroic figures of the Canadian Premier League, and has been for the past few seasons since joining Pacific in 2020. It's amazing to see the Mexican forward achieve a massive move to Norway and their 1. divisjon. But Diaz helped build something … Continue reading Why Alejandro Diaz caught the eye of Sogndal Fotball

Aribim Pepple – Player Analysis

Cavalry FC started the season without a bang. They went winless in their first three matches, scoring just two goals, as Joe Mason and Myer Bevan failed to fully live up to the hype up front. After a change in system from 3-4-3 to 4-2-3-1, Tommy Wheeldon Jr.’s team started to see more stuttering success, and the team achieved greater fluidity across the board. At exactly the right moment, Wheeldon Jr. introduced Aribim Pepple into the lineup, and soon afterward, Cavarly hit top gear. The 19-year-old has been in incredible form in the past month, scoring 6 goals in 7 matches en route to being named the CPL’s Player of the Month for June. His stuttering form in front of goal has even reportedly earned himself a move to England, the details of which are still being finalized. Here is our analysis of Pepple and his impending move.

Bethany Balcer – Player Analysis

Out of all the 'Target Women' around, Bethany Balcer might be one of the very best in the modern game. Frequently used as an outlet for progressive passes, Balcer's back-to-goal incisiveness remains a threatening endeavour for her team, and one that is frequently useful in advancing OL Reign up the pitch. But now, after the arrival of Jordyn Huitema, Balcer's even upped her scoring game, ensuring Huitema has very little room to work with in stealing a spot in the squad at the start of her Reign career. Here is an analysis of Bethany Balcer's exceptional hold-up play, and the vast array of traits that make her one of the best forwards in the NWSL.

Why Gabriel Jesus is perfect for Arsenal

Gabriel Jesus arrives at Arsenal Football Club as the complete package, capable of fulfilling a number of different roles and tasks. Not only is the Brazilian a competent creator and scorer of great goals, he is also a highly active contributor both in and out of possession. Jesus catches the eye in not only 1v1 situations where he can use his pace and power to explode away from defenders, but in stellar perceptions of space to find pockets to receive and work his way around defensive blocks.

Why Darwin Núñez is perfect for Liverpool

Preceding Sadio Mané's shock departure for Bayern Munich, Reds recruitment staff kept themselves busy preparing for the possibility of one of their infamous front three departing. Spearheaded by newly promoted Sporting Director, Julian Ward, Liverpool landed on the decision to approach Benfica's star striker Darwin Núñez, who reaped havoc when the two teams met in the UEFA Champions League earlier this year. The Uruguayan's outstanding 26-goal haul in the Primeira Liga caught the attention of clubs around Europe, putting his price tag up all the way to €80 million. Liverpool remained favourites to sign the Benfica man throughout the early days of the window, even despite competition from Newcastle and United; and Jurgen Klopp has already expressed his delight in the securement of Núñez's signature.