Taking the world by storm in 2022-23, Khvicha Kvaratskhelia has come from relative obscurity to join one of Europe's most famous clubs, and now leads their charge toward the top of Serie A. The direct and dynamic wing wizard has been in remarkable form since joining Napoli from Rubin Kazan, contributing to 5 goals in his 7 matches so far this campaign, already close to bettering his tally from 2021-22 in Russia. Here is our analysis of the remarkable rise of Khvicha Kvaratskhelia this season.
Throughout his prestigious career, Jorginho has forever been criminally underrated. When moving to Chelsea under the influence of Maurizio Sarri, Jorginho repeatedly became the subject of media conversation over his role in not providing the same defensive gusto as N'Golo Kante, even though he was never meant to. The conversation sparked a new role for Kante that he still plays in to this day, where the Italian midfielder continues to operate as a quintessential 'Deep-Lying Playmaker' (DLP) for the team. Not only that, but it helped to reshape and restructure the conversation about defensive midfielders in the modern game, and the importance of finding players that fit together within a functional midfield unit. Chelsea have done a lot right over the past few years, but the balance they've struck in midfield between Kante, Jorginho and Kovacic has been one of the key highlights.
After examining all twenty Premier League sides, we've reached a conclusion. Bundesliga Tax exists in abundance, and at this point has to be considered a real phenomenon. For bottom-table sides, Bundesliga stars did little to aid chances of survival, with even Emmanuel Dennis unable to carry Watford over the line. Whether it's the nature of players signing from the league in comparison to others, or simply something wrong with their ability to adapt, players coming over from Germany's top flight have ranked consistently lower than players arriving from other leagues in all three sections.
After examining fourteen Premier League sides, we are getting closer to the truth. Bundesliga Tax may very well be a real thing. Whether it's the nature of players signing from the league in comparison to others, or simply something wrong with their ability to adapt, players coming over from Germany's top flight have ranked consistently lower than players arriving from other leagues. Our data illustrates player performance on a range of statistical categories in and out of possession, whilst aiming to utilize our Role Continuity System in establishing important traits and characteristics specific to a player's role.
It's easy to use the eye test and conclude that players like Jadon Sancho and Timo Werner haven't lived up to the hype. In a recent video, Tifo Football suggested that this phenomenon doesn't just apply to Bundesliga clubs, but a range of leagues around the world. So with that, we aim to use data from the 2021-22 season to determine whether or not 'Bundesliga Tax' is a real phenomenon, and what leagues Premier League clubs should prioritize in sending their scouts to this summer. Here is our analysis of what we're dubbing 'EPL Transfer Tax'. In Part 1, we examine the top seven sides in the league based on points during the 2021-22 campaign, drawing conclusions around the business that 'Top 7' clubs conducted prior to the start of last season. In turn, this could inform decision making ahead of the 2022-23 season, and potentially the wider future at hand.
Toward the end of the January transfer window, Juventus swept in with a big money move for Dusan Vlahovic, finally securing themselves a Cristiano Ronaldo replacement. The big Serb has made a name for himself in Serie A with his stunning run of goal-scoring form, bagging 38 goals in 58 matches for Fiorentina across the past two seasons. But Vlahovic doesn't just offer a team goals, and that is precisely why Juventus worked so hard to secure his signature at the end of January, for a hefty €82 million fee. Here is why Dusan Vlahovic is perfect for The Old Lady, and an adequate replacement for one of the game's all time greats.
Disclaimer: This is NOT a sponsored post. But anyone who's read my analyses over the past few years will know that I'm a massive fan of the football data and statistics website FBRef. Powered by StatsBomb, FBRef is a free to use site with loads of data from footballing leagues around the world, including detailed scouting reports, a nifty 'Player Comparison Tool', and several practical statistics that can't be found anywhere else. So with that, today, I break down the underrated value of one of my favourite FBRef statistics - a lesser known thing called 'Progressive Passes Received.'
This past weekend, Juventus squared up against fellow Serie A heavyweights, AC Milan, at San Siro for a much-anticipated clash of top-four hopefuls. Despite its potential, the match played out as a midseason stalemate, with players from both sides looking a little listless. But past the lack of goals (or shots on goal in the case of Juventus), the more measured pace of play offers one distinct advantage to viewers: a clear view of formational repositioning based on phase of play. In other words, a game model at work.
AS Roma and Paulo Fonseca parted ways with the Italian giants finishing just seventh in Serie A, but a more positive semi-final run in the Europa League and some encouraging attack-minded, tactically intriguing football. Legend of the game Jose Mourinho was the man to come in and replace Fonseca, and the Portuguese icon got off to a flying start in his Roma career, winning six from the first seven. But since then, it's been typical Mourinho, with the club now potentially spiraling back into their old ways. This week I talk to Roma expert Edward Stratmann on what needs to happen if Mourinho is to change the club's fortunes around, and the tactics Mourinho has displayed since taking over from Fonseca. Be sure to follow the show @mastermindsite, and give Edward a shout using the links below.
On Serie A's Matchday 19, mid-table Empoli faced off against title hopefuls AC Milan at Carlo Castellani Stadium. Despite AC Milan being heavy favorites, Empoli gave themselves every chance to come away with all three points, further proving their recent statement win against Napoli was no fluke.
Pressing from the front is an essential tactic in the modern game. Most of the best teams in the world deploy a high press to some degree, attempting to win the ball back in the most dangerous areas of the field. One of the most important players to a team's ability to press from the front is the centre-forward. The team's centre-forward, or striker, is responsible for setting the tone, intensity, angle, and first act of pressure. So this Christmas day, we've analyzed the best strikers in Europe when it comes to pressing from the front in 2021-22, attempting to identify the very best of the art. If you have a team that loves to press from the front, you should be tweeting your managers tomorrow, telling them to get these men through the door. But before we get into, let's first establish the criteria for the compilation of our list.
“Win your individual battles”. This is the mantra of a manager employing man-on-man marking. Win the battle on restarts, when isolated, and with or without the ball. This is because 1v1 success inevitably increases the likelihood of 11v11 victory. And so, paired with each tactical posturing is this personal pursuit. With the many dynamic, dribbling attackers and foul-catching cameras in the modern era, sometimes these 1v1 situations in dangerous areas are seen as a shortcoming or an ill-advised 50:50 from the defending side. Seemingly, to a certain extent, AC Milan and Inter Milan beg to differ.
Since taking over from Gennarro Gattuso in May 2021, Luciano Spalletti has turned Napoli into one of Serie A's most formidable units. While a fifth place finish in the 2020-21 season was a fine result for Gli Azzurri, it wasn't what they had hoped for, nor what they could have achieved. In came Spalletti and POOF(!) the team are now on an unbeaten run at the start of the 2021-22 season, winning seven from seven. After Inter Milan broke Juventus' long-standing record last season, the Napoli faithful will now be hoping Serie A might be theirs for the taking this year. Here is a tactical analysis of Luciano Spalletti's new-look Napoli.