It was just two years ago when two English clubs squared up in the UEFA Champions League Final, with Liverpool gaining the edge over Tottenham Hotspur. Now in 2021, two completely different English clubs will be facing off, as Chelsea and Manchester City have bested the rest to make it all the way to the final. Here is our tactical preview of the 2021 Champions League final.
After the sacking of Lucien Favre in December, assistant coach Edin Terzic was given the interim role at Borussia Dortmund. Unfortunately for the first time manager, things could not have gotten off to a rockier start. Terzic won just six of his opening thirteen matches in charge, forcing Dortmund into a difficult situation heading into the final third of the season with a spot in next season’s UEFA Champions League in their sights. However, in recent weeks, Edin Terzic has grown his reputation, with Borussia Dortmund now on a 4 match win streak in the league as they charge toward the top four…maybe even three. So with that, we provide a second tactical analysis on Edin Terzic‘s Borussia Dortmund, and their chances of finishing top four this season.
After a slow start to the season, Zinedine Zidane's Real Madrid are now flying on all cylinders, currently on a 14-match unbeaten streak that's propelled them toward the top of La Liga and the UEFA Champions League semi-finals. Zidane doesn't have the same squad that won him the Champions League in three back to back years between 2016 and 2018, but he is getting the best out of what he has at his disposal once again. After a massive 2-1 win over Barcelona in El Clasico this past weekend and the side securing a place in the UEFA Champions League semis, the side could be on a path toward victory in either competition. As a result, we now take a look at the tactics Zinedine Zidane has deployed throughout the 2020-21 season at Real Madrid.
Since taking over for Marcel Keizer in December 2017, Erik Ten Hag has been a revelation at AFC Ajax. In fact, it would have been difficult for anyone to do a better job. The Dutch manager scraped Ajax back into the title race in his first season in charge, only missing out by four points, and since then has won the Eredivisie, gotten his team to the UEFA Champions League semi-final and now looks set to win the league all over again. That has all culminated in an outrageous 74% of his matches won since the tail-end of 2017. This season they're up to 81% of their matches won, sitting eleven points clear at the top of the league. So with their fantastic performances and intriguing tactics along the way, here is RDF's Tactical Analysis of Erik Ten Hag's Ajax in 2020-21.
It’s early days for the Canadian Men’s National Team, but there is a lot to be optimistic about. After a 5-1 win to open their 2022 World Cup Qualifying campaign, here are some thoughts on the way that John Herdman is lining up players and moving them around the field. In a world where just a few years ago, the biggest club representative of Canada was Unattached FC™, it is nice to see some healthy competition and tough decisions for the coach.
The last time Everton won at Anfield, Trent Alexander-Arnold had just had his first birthday. September 1999 was the date, a match that lives long in Don Hutchinson's memory and almost no one else's. But even though it had been more than twenty-one years since Everton last won at Anfield, you just got the feeling that it might happen again this season. In the end, Carlo Ancelotti put on a tactical masterclass and his team put on a defensive clinic, but Liverpool were also woeful in attack and looked on different wavelengths at times. It all culminated in a historic win for the Toffees and an embarrassing defeat for Jurgen Klopp as things continue to go from bad to worse for the Reds. Here is a tactical analysis of Everton's historic 2-0 win over Liverpool.
After surviving relegation by a single point in 2019-20, few would have imagined Aston Villa to have such a stellar season in 2020-21. Instead of battling for relegation, they've been battling for a place in Europe, beating the likes of Liverpool, Arsenal and Leicester City along the way. Perhaps most impressively out of anything, beyond the results which have unequivocally been spectacular, Dean Smith's side have just been so much fun to watch. They've been tactically intriguing in their shifting systems and styles of play, but also just so full of life this season with Grealish and co leading their charge toward European football. Here is our latest Tactical Analysis all about Dean Smith’s Aston Villa, including why the Lions look destined for European football next season.
Much of the dialogue going into this weekend’s Liverpool-Manchester City match centered around the fixture as a potential title decider for Liverpool. The assumption was that if Liverpool lost, their hopes and dreams of winning the title would dash before their eyes. As it turns out, Liverpool didn’t just lose, but were badly beaten and bruised by a terrific Manchester City side. With all of their struggles this season, not just against City, we take an in-depth look at where Liverpool have gone wrong tactically and beyond. Guest: Russell Tho is a Liverpool and Barcelona fan and friend of the show. You can find him on Instagram @russelltho96. Host: Rhys Desmond is the creator and owner of TMS. He is lifelong lover and educator of the beautiful game. You can find him on Twitter @DesmondRhys.
After a slow start to the season, Pep Guardiola's Manchester City are flying high and look like the most realistic title contenders as things stand. The Citizens have won their last eleven matches in all competitions, keeping eight clean sheets along the way. Interestingly enough, they've been playing without a natural striker for the majority of their unbeaten run, making Pep Guardiola's side all the more tactically intriguing at the moment. With inverted fullbacks, possession-based football and goals galore, Manchester City have been a joy to watch in recent months. This is our latest Tactical Analysis into the mind of Pep Guardiola.
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. In preparation for the 2020-21 season, Chelsea then went on to spend millions, securing the signatures of players like Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, Ben Chilwell and Edouard Mendy, plus Thiago Silva on a free. For a short period of time, it worked. With nine games in, Chelsea were showing great signs of promise, sat second in the table, and were well in the hunt for a Premier League title chase. Frank Lampard himself was making some astute tactical changes, and appeared to be coping well with the dilemma of how to show faith in his youth, while integrating all the new signings. But as the season wore on, Chelsea failed to make an impact. At the time of his sacking, the Blues sit in ninth, with many nearby teams holding games in hand. Losses to Leicester, Manchester City and Arsenal likely handed Lampard a premature managerial sacking; along with the fact that Thomas Tuchel was out of a job, waiting at the door-step for a call. So a day after a 3-1 FA Cup win against Luton Town, Frank Lampard was sacked as manager. Here is our Tactical Analysis of Frank Lampard's Chelsea in both of his seasons in charge, and an accompanying analysis of where he might land next.