Sébastien Haller has been one of the key difference makers to Borussia Dortmund in another title-chasing campaign for the Black & Yellows. They've been brilliant under Edin Terzic since the turn of the year, and some of that success has been down to the resurgence of cancer-free Sébastien Haller into the team.
The best role changes of 2022-23 in the Premier League
There is nothing that fascinates me more about tactical team construction than how managers change the job titles of certain players to achieve certain results. That may be to combat a strength of an opposition, to bring out a strength in their own team set-up, to bring the best out of a player at their disposal, or even simply to fill a hole. I created an entire series around this premise called 'Game of Numbers', analyzing the various roles that individual players take up to help their teams achieve success. With that, I highlight some of the best positional tweaks this campaign, detailing how managers were able to get the best out of each player.
Game of Numbers #17 – Valentín Castellanos – Scanning to score four against Real Madrid
Castellanos had one of the greatest games of his life, netting 4 goals against last season's Champions League victors. He became the first player in the 21st century to score four against Los Blancos in a league game, and did so with just 6 shots. With that, let's dissect how "Taty" Castellanos scanned for success in his heroic performance against one of the world's best sides.
Replacing Robert Lewandowski at Bayern Munich – Transfer Market Analysis
Having torn the league apart in 2021-22, Julian Nagelsmann’s Bayern Munich look a shadow of their former selves this season. Dortmund and Union Berlin have topped the table in even amounts to the Bavarian giants this campaign, with Nagelsmann's men scraping by since the turn of the year. Perhaps most notably, they've failed to truly replace the man who became a record-breaking goal-scorer in a variety of ways during his time at the club. Robert Lewandowski was still in the form of his life at the age of 34, and by the time he left the club remained a genuine candidate for the Ballon d'Or. Replacing a player of that magnitude is never easy, yet Bayern settled for only former Liverpool man Sadio Mané.
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'
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.'
Lionel Messi – Player Analysis – World Cup 2022
After coming desperately close in 2014, Lionel Messi now has another shot of World Cup glory, in what could be his final act at the prestigious tournament. The 35-year-old has been absolutely brilliant at the 2022 showcase, scoring 5 goals with 3 assists in 6 matches, and coming up with some of the most significant single-handed efforts we've seen from anyone at the tournament. Here is our analysis of Lionel Messi at the 2022 World Cup.
Explaining the Channel Runner – Player Role Analysis
Channel Runners are one of our most unique prototypes, based off the common phrase used for strikers that "run the channels". They typically exist in a front-two, and in teams that intermix moments of counter-attacking football with quick and incisive long passes over the top. The use of a striker in this manner remains a more common approach to life in the women's game, as strikers across all realms are becoming more versatile (and advised for that matter) in dropping into build-up play to receive the ball.
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.