After David Moyes left Everton for Manchester United in 2013, the Toffees haven't been the same. They had a decent three years with Roberto Martinez until 2016, and perhaps their biggest mistake was letting the Spanish manager go. Ronald Koeman, Sam Allardyce and Marco Silva all failed to make an impact at Everton and finally the board said enough was enough and splashed the cash for one of the biggest names in the business - Carlo Ancelotti. Ever since, the men in blue have been flying high in the Premier League, playing fantastic football along the way. This season, Ancelotti's side have started better than any other Premier League team and as things stand, sit at the top of the table with three wins from three. With fantastic new signings in James Rodriguez, Allan, Abdoulaye Doucore, and the rising form of Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Everton fans have plenty to be excited about this campaign. Here is a Tactical Analysis of Carlo Ancelotti's Everton so far in 2020-21
The handball rule in football has long been one of the most debated rules in the increasingly less beautiful game. The rule has been broken for decades, and each year attempts to fix the law only seem to make it more dubious. This year in the Premier League (2020-21), it seems as though the law has changed to enforce a policy in which any time the ball strikes the arm, and the arm is away from the body at all, it's going to be called as a handball. Unfortunately, this is the dumbest thing they could have done to try and solve the handball mysteries of seasons past, and has no regard whatsoever for the biomechanics of how footballers move on the pitch. Here are a few reasons why the law needs to change for good and why handball is currently ruining the game for everyone.
Although far from the flashiest team in the Premier League, Roy Hodgson has had Crystal Palace working like a machine these past few years and has made them into one of the most organized sides across Europe. The systematic way that they play is actually quite simple and although taxing and demanding of the players, it is not overly elaborate. Instead of tactical geniuses and midfield maestros, every single player is an absolute workhorse and understands the role that they play in the team to a tee. This has led to Crystal Palace's success under Roy Hodgson and now in 2020-21, they've won their first two opening Premier League games for the first time in their history. We'd be silly to get carried away and think that they are destined for European football this season, but the Eagles are certainly worth examining for their unique approach to life in the Premier League. Here is a Tactical Analysis all about Roy Hodgson's resilient Crystal Palace.
Frank Lampard enjoyed a successful first season with Chelsea F.C., despite no new summer signings coming through the door. The Blues hovered around 4th for the majority of the season in behind Leicester City, and eventually secured 4th behind Manchester United. Lampard relied heavily on young talent in 2019-20 and the club were rewarded with fantastic performances from the likes of Mason Mount, Tammy Abraham, Fikayo Tomori and Reece James. However, although all of those players have potential, they might not be at the level of Premier League champions just yet. Lampard and those above his authority recognized that and responded with several new signings of the highest quality. In fact, very few other clubs have (on paper) done better summer transfer window business...ever. Despite the promise all their new signings have, it remains to be seen how they will all come together and whether or not it's worth it to bench some of the young players that secured their Champions League finish last year, for a heap of new players that have never played together before. So with that, here is a Tactical Analysis of Frank Lampard's Chelsea heading into the 2020-21 season.
Any team's style of play needs to fit the personnel and formation. But a relatively new, unexplored tactical innovation arising out of the re-emerging rise of back-three formations is the concept of overlapping centre-backs. Teams like Sheffield United and Atalanta have achieved widescale success utilizing attack-minded centre-backs, who frequently find themselves in advantageous positions, attempting to join the attack and create chances for their teammates. By adopting this style of play, these teams create overloads in wide and/or central areas, and push more numbers into the box, where the delivery of crosses can be a great asset. On the surface, this may seem like a very simple approach. But the concept of overlapping centre-backs is far more complex than just the simple nature of a centre-back running around a wing-back. So let's get right into this Tactical Analysis all about Overlapping Centre-Backs.
After a disappointing start to the 2019-20 campaign, long-time managerial legend Jose Mourinho came into Tottenham Hotspur to solve all the problems they had under Mauricio Pochettino (which were actually few and far between before 2019-20). Now after half a season in charge, Mourinho will be hoping to instill his philosophies on the team to … Continue reading Tottenham Hotspur – Premier League 2020-21 – Transfer Market Analysis
The first half of 2020-21 was not ideal for Manchester United by any stretch of the imagination. But in the final fourteen Premier League matches, Ole Gunnar Solksjaer took Manchester United on an unbeaten run, culminating in a final day triumph over Leicester City to secure Champions League football and third place in the table. It was a finish worth celebrating and with Bruno Fernandes firing on all cylinders, Manchester United fans will be hoping for better times ahead. But another year gone by without Premier League glory, Solskjaer and co. would have been hoping for silverware elsewhere. Unfortunately for the Red Devils, they crashed out of every one of their cup competitions at the semi-final stage. So even with Bruno Fernandes and a powerful trio of attackers alongside him, the Red Devils will undoubtedly be turning their attention to the transfer market for new additions. Anything less than Premier League or Champions League glory is simply not enough to satisfy the Manchester United faithful's. Here is a Transfer Market Analysis of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's Manchester United and who they can sign to achieve the dream of getting back to that level.
The 2019-20 Premier League season was Arsenal's worst in twenty-five years. Not since 1995 had the Gunners finished below 8th place in the table and even under the leadership of Mikel Arteta, their form was inconsistent at best. Despite Arteta's tactical nuisances and potential to be a world class manager, Arsenal fans may be feeling skeptical going into the 2020-2021 season knowing that things have gotten worse, rather than better, since Arsene Wenger left the club. Even their FA Cup final victory over Chelsea did little to lift the fans' spirit and their lack of Premier League success has had an impact on their ability to attract top quality players in this summer's transfer window thus far. With all that said, Arsenal are still an incredibly interesting outfit and Mikel Arteta will undoubtedly prove to be a tactician worth examining throughout 2020-2021. To kick off our new Transfer Market Analysis Series, we discuss who Mikel Arteta may look to bring in to strengthen his team and achieve greater success in 2020-21.
Leeds United have waited 16 years to be back in the Premier League, and under Marcelo Bielsa that dream has now finally turned into reality for the 2020/2021 season. The Argentinean manager has long been hailed as one of the best in the world, not just by fans and players, but by other managers like Pep Guardiola, Diego Simeone and Mauricio Pochettino. It's easy to see why, as in just two years he has turned Leeds United into one of the very best teams in the Championship and has had the club hovering inside the top two for almost the entirety of both seasons. After a poor run of form at the end of the 2018-19 campaign resulting in Leeds missing out on automatic promotion to Sheffield United, Marcelo Bielsa has just continued to work his magic to the point where they secured automatic promotion this season with two games to spare. Here is a Tactical Analysis of Marcelo Bielsa's Leeds United and the extraordinary exploits his team have pulled off in the 2019-20 EFL Championship season.
For whatever reason, at the start of the season, Burnley are often a seen as a favourite for relegation. Despite that, and despite their cast and crew (manager included) not being the most star-studded, they've continuously steered clear of relegation from the Premier League since their promotion in 2016. Since said promotion, Burnley have finished as high as 7th place in the table and even enjoyed a brief spell in the Europa League, despite never playing the most flashy brand of football. Sean Dyche and his team play a gritty, unconventional brand of football, and their resilient 4-4-2 low-block has troubled even the very best of teams and managers. Perhaps more impressively in the current time, Burnley have now gone 7 games unbeaten in the Premier League, allowing Sean Dyche to claim his second ever Manager of the Month Award in February 2020. Here is a Tactical Analysis of Sean Dyche's 4-4-2 system and compact style of play with Burnley F.C.
Sheffield United have been the surprise package not only in the Premier League in 2019-20, but arguably anywhere in Europe's top five leagues. The recently promoted side went from 2nd place finishers in the 2018-19 EFL Championship to one of the most resilient Premier League sides in 2019-20, currently sitting in 7th place in the table with a game in hand. Chris Wilder meanwhile has gone from a manager virtually unknown, to one of the most celebrated in European football this year. His 3-5-2 system of play has been consistently one of the most well-set-up systems in the Premier League this season and every single player just seems to fit into it like a puzzle that has come together better than anyone could have dreamed of. Here is a tactical analysis of Chris Wilder's robust 3-5-2 formation and style of play with Sheffield United.
Wolves finished last season in 7th place, an admirable finish for a team who had just come up from the EFL Championship. This season they've fared even better and as things stand have a real shot at securing European football for another year. Portuguese manager Nuno Espirito Santo has been absolutely essential to their success since taking over and deserves an immense amount of credit for everything that he has brought to this team since 2017. Despite being in the Premier League for over a season and a half now, Santo has won over 50% of his games as Wolverhampton Wanderers' manager. This is a Tactical Analysis of the wonders of Wolverhampton Wanderers and their manager Nuno Espirito Santo.