Despite their torrid time this season, I disagree with many of the takes that Tottenham are in need of a complete rebuild and overhaul to change their fortunes around. That said, a few positions remain in need of severe upgrades, specifically at the back. So once more, in my search to fix Tottenham without European football, I'm searching for a goalkeeper, two centre-backs, and a left-back.
Category: Premier League
Game of Numbers #19 – How to cross like Pervis Estupiñán
Crucially for his role as a 'Wing-Back', Pervis Estupiñán is one of the best crossers of the ball in the division. That has translated in over 3 crosses and 1.6 key passes per 90 in league play. It's the awareness of when to keep the ball on the grass or when to raise the ball in the air that comes as such an underrated skill, and one that often allows the Ecuadorian to set his teammates up for a real chance of scoring.
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 #18 – Trent Alexander-Arnold in central areas
Over the past few weeks, Jürgen Klopp's Liverpool have been gaining not only traction in the league, but scrutinized attention over some new principles of play. That "new" principle involves the use of Trent Alexander-Arnold where all of us always knew he could excel, in central areas. I wanted to throw my hat into the mix, partially because there's an argument to make that this is not all that new.
Pep Guardiola – Manchester City – Tactical Analysis (2022-23)
For much of the 2022-23 season, Arsenal looked like genuine title favourites, with the Gunners in full flow under a former Pep Guardiola mentee, Mikel Arteta. But in the past few months, the Gunners have slowly started to slip away, and tip the scale back in favour of the team that have won four of the last five seasons. Pep Guardiola's team have been absolutely immaculate as the season has come to a close, under much in the way of new, evolving tactics. We break down the tactical undertones of Guardiola's team in 2022-23, and how they've evolved their approach in the quest for another league title.
Finding the next Virgil van Dijk – Tactical Analysis
Van Dijk's return post-injury has been fairly remarkable, but he is starting to show signs of slowing down. He's no longer that same commanding presence that simply cannot be dribbled around. Liverpool meanwhile are suffering, with the Europa League now acting as their best shot at attaining European football next season. The Dutchman himself is now 31 years old, and often remains alongside another key figurehead of the same age in Joël Matip. With that, we attempt to assess the best candidates to replace Virgil Van Dijk at Liverpool, as Jurgen Klopp prepares for the future.
Game of Numbers #14 – Ilkay Gündoğan’s Movement Masterclass
İlkay Gündoğan had a masterclass of a performance against Liverpool, playing a massive part in their commanding 4-1 win over their title challengers from last season. It was vintage Gündoğan at his best, and showcases City's potential to continue putting on top quality performances even without the presence of Erling Haaland. Here is Game of Numbers #14, illustrating Gundogan's movement masterclass!
Game of Numbers #12 – Erik Ten Hag’s Positional Play Masterclass
Erik Ten Hag has deployed brilliant implementations of positional play all season long, putting on an absolute masterclass of how to confuddle the opposition into oblivion against Leicester City.
The art of staying onside
The art of timing runs effectively as a forward is never an easy task, as it requires adequate scanning of the four pillars to the game: ball, opposition, teammates and space (BOTS). Most notably, the timing of the run has to match the timing of the pass from their teammate, and the timing of the movement from the opposition defensive players up or down. Both of these factors often remain out of the control of the centre-forward, and so it is not entirely their fault for an inability to stay onside. However, with proper scanning and adjustment, offsides can be avoided almost entirely.
How Sean Dyche’s Everton beat Arsenal – Match Analysis
I've long been a defender of Sean Dyche's intensive and defensive, "long-ball" style. But there's perhaps no greater victory in his entire career than starting off at Everton with an absolute bang, beating the league leaders in Arsenal, who had previously only lost a single league game. Everton themselves had not won under Frank Lampard since October. But Sean Dyche would have relished the challenge of his first match, and would have taken all the pressure off his players to perform on the opening day. It showed in their performance, with the Toffees achieving a shock 1-0 win over the current title favourites. Here is how Sean Dyche's Everton beat Arsenal.
Unai Emery – Aston Villa – Tactical Analysis
Unai Emery has been one of the most esteemed managers of the modern era, to little fanfare given that much of his managerial success has come in competitions like the Europa League and Ligue 1. But Emery is yet to truly fail in a managerial role, and looks prepared to only continue his incredible reputation at Aston Villa. When he took over from Steven Gerrard, Villa were hovering around the relegation zone, desperately trying to stay afloat. Now they've attained four wins from their last six matches, in a robust 4-4-2 system that has dragged them all the way toward the top ten. Here is our analysis of how Emery has achieved so much success in his early days at Villa Park.