In the massive amounts of football I've watched over the past two months, it seems almost crazy to say that I've witnessed more of Cruz Azul than just about any other team...having not watched them any time in the last few years before the start of 2022. I started watching the iconic Mexican team in preparation for Forge FC's CONCACAF Champions League double-header against them in February, and now I can't stop. With so much free flowing football, positional rotation and frantic, energetic vibrancy to their play, Cruz are one of the most exciting teams around. So with that, today I bring you my tactical analysis of Juan Reynoso's Cruz Azul in 2022.
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.
One of the most tactically complex teams in world football, no other team could change formation and personnel to the extent that Graham Potter's Brighton do without suffering any consequences. Through all the constant change, it's miraculous to think his team have boasted some of the best possession in the league, and one of the soundest defensive structures. The calls continue to come for Potter to move up a level and take on a new challenge, but for now, the British manager has kept Brighton in the top half of the table for the vast majority of the 2021-22 season. Here is our tactical analysis of Graham Potter's incredible Brighton & Hove Albion.
Since taking over in 2018 from Aston Villa's Dean Smith, Thomas Frank has turned Brentford from an average to below average Championship side, into a nearly unstoppable one, with now two back to back playoff finals in two seasons. Frank's tactics emulate the same principles as some of the world's best managers and teams in the modern era, with unique takes that have turned The Bees into one of the most efficient sides in the division. Even if they can't make it happen in the playoff final for the second year running, Brentford appear as though they will be in the Premier League sometime very soon, due to their excellent recruitment, and Frank's exceptional management and tactics. Here is our tactical analysis of Thomas Frank's Brentford in 2020-21.
Against all the odds, LOSC Lille defied expectations to win the 2020-21 Ligue 1 season. Normally considered a "one-team league", Lille ensured the 2020-21 season would go right down to the final day, where PSG's three season title streak would officially come to an end. Under the influence of Christophe Galtier, Les Dogues conceded just 23 goals and kept an astonishing 21 clean sheets in 38 matches. Their defensive prowess set them on the path to win the league title right from the very opening day of the season, and tactically, they've been one of Europe's most intriguing sides. So with that, here is a tactical analysis of Christophe Galtier's Ligue 1 winning LOSC Lille in 2020-21.
While many Premier League teams of years past have succumbed to relegation and then sacked their manager, Norwich stuck by their man Daniel Farke, and it has paid off one season later. The German coach has inspired the Canaries to an instant return to England's top flight, securing 97 points in their 46 EFL Championship fixtures. The last team to secure that many (or more) points was Wolverhampton Wanderers in 2017-18, and look at where they are now. So although the Canaries have been yo-yo-ing between the Championship and the Premier League in previous years, the club should have hope that their Premier League fortunes can change around next season. Here is a tactical analysis of Daniel Farke's Norwich at the end of the 2020-21 Championship season.
Former Barcelona man Xavi Hernandez is widely considered one of the best midfielders of all time. In his hay-day with both Spain and Barcelona, Xavi formed one of the best midfield triads the game has ever seen, alongside Andres Iniesta and Sergio Busquets. He won twenty-five major trophies with Barcelona and three for Spain, before moving to Qatar ahead of the 2015-16 season. He then went on to finish his career in style, winning the Qatari league in his final season at the club in 2018-19. The very next season he was named manager of the squad and soon afterward completely revolutionized Al Saad into a near unstoppable unit in the QPL. The Spanish midfielder has quietly gone about his business at Al Sadd, playing in Guardiola-esque ways and doing del-Bosque-esque things, winning six trophies in two seasons so far. Barcelona are keeping a close eye on the now 41-year-old, and in time we may see one of the game greatest ever midfielders become one of the game's greatest ever managers. Here is a tactical analysis of Xavi Hernandez's Al Sadd.
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.
In the merry go round that is the Bundesliga managerial landscape at the moment, Adi Hütter has officially been announced as the next Borussia Monchengladbach boss. The announcement came just days after leading his team to a massive win over third place VFL Wolfsburg, with Die Adler in poll position to qualify for the UEFA Champions League next season. Monchengladbach on the other hand, sit just eighth in the table, after a stop and start second half of the season. Part of Gladbach's lack of form could be down to the other big managerial announcement of 2021 in the Bundesliga - Marco Rose's imminent arrival at Borussia Dortmund. However, Hütter's achievements with Frankfurt are monumental in comparison to Gladbach's disappointing season. That makes it all the more confusing why he would leave a side about to participate in the UEFA Champions League for one that is not guaranteed European football next season. Nonetheless, the surprise announcement gives us the perfect opportunity to eulogize everything Adi Hütter has accomplished at Eintracht Frankfurt.