Historically known as the 'Target Man', we've rebranded this term to be all encompassing. More than just about any role, the word 'Target' immediately paints a picture of the type of player we're looking for. That is, someone strong, typically tall, aerially savvy, robust, and frequently used by their team as a target for advancing up the pitch. In the hockey sense, they would typically be the one responsible for 'roughing up the opposition'
Creative Links are quite similar to our attacking midfielder persona - the 'Creative Ten'. The main difference is that they play up front, and typically conduct more of their play with their back to goal in linking up with their teammates. You could call them a 'False 9', a playmaking centre-forward, or something between a '9' and a '10.'
The 'Tempo Setter' is a unique player type to our system, taking into account the possession-based players that operate in a 'number 8' position, and thrive when given the ball in the half-spaces. Youri Tielemans, Christian Eriksen and Jordan Henderson feature as some of the best within the role from an emblematic perspective, perfectly exuding the cucumber coolness required. But the likes of Thiago and Tchouaméni also stake a claim despite their extreme exceptionalities on the ball, due to the high influence they present in keeping the game moving along from a withdrawn position. Beyond the streamlined skill of Thiago, they tend not to be the flashiest of players in their teams. But 'Tempo Setters' are key to setting the tone of a football match, and conducting the orchestra from start to finish. Quite simply, without their class and composure in possession, the whole entire musical production could crumble.
England have finally done it. For the first time since 1966, England have won a major international tournament. Sarina Wiegman's team have been the undeniable best team at this summer's Euros, conceding just 2 goals, and scoring 22 in the process. After a hard-fought battle with Germany in the final, England came out as deserved winners of the tournament, but not without the help of their mighty substitutes. Here is our analysis of the match, and the brilliance of England all summer long.
The 'Deep-Lying Playmaker' is one of the already attributed player types that we have adopted within our system. Also known by its Italian name 'Regista', the 'DLP' is tasked with setting the tempo of the match from build up to progression, all the way to creation. They sit in front of the defensive line as an 'Anchor', but hold a more offensive, progressive and possession-oriented role than the other two 'number 6' types within our 'Anchor' persona. Their role is in both helping create space between the lines, and then breaking lines, recycling play, or even changing the point of attack upon receiving the ball, so that their team can advance up the pitch, beat an opposition's press and seek spaces closer to goal.
Any time Canada and the States face off in women's football, fireworks are bound to explode. With the likes of Alex Morgan, Rose Lavelle and Christian Sinclair in full flow, the CONCACAF Women's Championship Final proved to be an exciting encounter, filled with heart and desire en route to an American victory. Here is our analysis of the fascinating final.
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.
When deployed correctly, the 3-1-3-1 can be one of the most fluid, flexible and fantastic 9v9 formations. Like anything in the beautiful game, team tactics, style of play and intricacies can only evolve within the realms of a team's own unique characteristics (including players involved, level of opposition, coaching preferences, and more). But if I had my pick of the litter within my squad, this is how I would deploy the 3-1-3-1 formation at the 9v9 level.
The atmosphere inside Tim Hortons Field was electric on Sunday, culminated by a string of impressive performances leading toward another top class win over first-placed Pacific FC. The Hammers dominated the tempo of the match from start to finish, with the entire squad in full flow and complete harmony over a tired Pacific team. Impressively, Forge's recent run of form has been accompanied by the introduction of two new faces to the team - Malik Owolabi-Belewu and Rezart Rama. Both have fit like a glove in Bobby Smyrniotis' side, pushing others into roles that allow the entire team to achieve equilibrium and stability. Here is our match analysis of Forge's 3-0 win over Pacific, and the impressive accomplishments of Owolabi-Belewu and Rama since entering the frame.
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.