One of the truest tests of any tactically adept coach is to identify mechanisms for changing around their team’s fortunes mid-game. This is never an easy task, but one that managers must be reflecting on not only with their substitutions, but with the potential for changing the master-plan on a grander scale, whether that be a tactical tweak in style or system. In what was one of the games of the weekend, both Freiburg and Leverkusen made pivotal formational changes as the match wore on. Crucially, both teams changed back to the shapes that they've prioritized since the start of the season, calling into question why they ever abandoned their favoured choice in the first place.
York United's start to the season has failed to be as fruitful as the Nine Stripes would have liked, but Martin Nash's team showed marked improvements against FC Edmonton in providing more attacking thrust than the opening day against HFX. Developing a sense of identity with fullbacks pushing high up the pitch and attacking rotations between their striker and attacking midfielder, York's identity should contain two crucial elements required for breaking Cavalry down.
Domenico Tedesco has achieved wonders in his first few months in charge of Leipzig, with the team accumulating an impressive 62.5% win rate after eight matches. Tedesco's inauguration has been marked by a return to a back-three, where Die Roten Bullen have fluctuated between a 3-4-1-2 and 3-4-2-1 formation.
After the departure of Nuno Espirito Santo at the end of last season, Wolverhampton Wanderers hoped their next manager would have the gusto to turn the club back into a Europa League challenging team. While Bruno Lage wasn't the flashiest of appointments, the Portuguese manager has surpassed fan expectations, turning Wolves into one of the best defensive units in the league. Despite scoring just 14 goals in 19 league games, Wolves sit 8th place in the table, on 28 points. That in large part is due to the excellent tactical balance of Bruno Lage's team, their sound defensive structure, and the fact that every single player has completely bought into his ideologies. Here is a tactical analysis all about Bruno Lage's Wolves.
After back to back top ten finishes, SC Freiburg are now flying high toward a Champions League position in the German Bundesliga. Christian Streich's team have played some fantastic high pressing, high tempo football, beating some of the best teams in the league without any genuine stars in their side. So following up from our tactical analysis of the team last season, we take a look at how Christian Streich has revolutionized Freiburg in 2021-22.
After years of barely even being on the football map, Canada are suddenly thriving and well under the new leadership of John Herdman. The Canadian Men's National Team have won 71% of their matches since Herdman took over, following up from his personal successes with the Women's team, where he helped the nation claim two Olympic bronze medals in 2012 and 2016. His first mission as men's national team coach was to help the Canadians earn their first qualification to a World Cup since 1986, and they have now gone 13 matches unbeaten in qualifying, with 9 wins and 4 draws. With just a few games to go in the round robin, Canada look destined to qualify for their first major international tournament in thirty-five years. Here is an analysis of John Herdman's work with the Canadian Men's National Team.
The Bundesliga continues to entertain as ever, with intriguing tactics, goals galore, and surprising results. Matchday 9 saw Freiburg surprise the out of form Wolfsburg, Bochum push Frankfurt closer to the drop, and Bayern continue their unbelievable run of goal-scoring form. Here is our tactical analysis of some of the key matches.
The Bundesliga continues to entertain as ever, with intriguing tactics, goals galore, and surprising results. Matchday 8 saw Bayern smash Leverkusen to shreds, Freiburg secure another key result over a Leipzig side still struggling to find form, and Wolfsburg lose again, this time at the hands of high-flying Union Berlin. Here is our tactical analysis of some of the key matches.
Although we all love the beautiful game, we may watch for different reasons. Some tune in as a family tradition. Others for personal or professional interest. And still others purely for the sake of entertainment. Here, today, I hope to add one more reason to your list if it’s there already: watch to learn. Specifically, to learn how a football club compiles individual contributions of skill, athleticism, intelligence, and desire, and stations those facets of the game for collective success. This is my working definition of football tactics inherent to formations.
With the efforts and emotions of the enormously entertaining Euro 2020 still enduring, it’s hard to believe that preseason for many European clubs is already underway. To further set the stage for the impending season, it’s worth taking a moment to reflect on last season’s tactical trends. Tallied below are the most popular formations in Europe’s top five leagues as per UEFA association club coefficient (Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga and Ligue 1). Enjoy!
After months of searching for the perfect manager, Daniel Levy and Tottenham Hotspur ultimately settled for former Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo - who left his post at the end of the 2020-21 season. The Portuguese's departure from Wolves was a slight surprise, having led them to the Premier League to begin with, followed by two back to back 7th place finishes in 2018-19 and 2019-20. But Levy snatched up the opportunity to take on another Portuguese manager, and he will be hoping Nuno fares better than his predecessor - Jose Mourinho. Here we analyze Nuno's potential tactics at Tottenham, and the chances of the manager and club working harmoniously together as one.
Netherlands came into Euro 2020 as clear Group C favourites, and they did not disappoint by any stretch of the imagination, winning all three of their matches. Frank de Boer's team have been tactically fluid, outstanding both in and out of possession and have genuinely looked like one of the most exciting teams at the tournament. So with the knockout stages just a few days away, we take a look at Netherlands' tactics at the tournament so far.
For much of Jurgen Klopp’s Anfield reign, Liverpool have favored a 4-3-3 shape. In this system, the Reds have enjoyed defensive solidity, offensive prowess and become one of the most dominant forces in world football. The results speak for themselves regarding the effectiveness of this shape, with the well-rounded formation taking Liverpool to Champions League and Premier League success. While the Reds weren’t always ruthless in their title-winning season, few can deny that they were efficient. But is it time for Klopp to freshen things up? Well, he may have the chance to try something new in 2021-22.