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.
As often discussed, the 4-4-2 is both a classic and still highly utilized formation in football, benefited by clear roles and a simple structure. However, it is also a setup that risks a fair deal of overexposure. The recent match between Napoli and Sampdoria evidences this balance to perfection. For the first portion of the … Continue reading The 4-4-2 Pitfall Evident in Sampdoria vs Napoli [Quick Take]