Game of Numbers #6 – Lucy Bronze as a Floating 8

FC Barcelona Femení had a slow start to their first match of the season, initially struggling to find avenues forward in Tenerife's 5-4-1 defensive block. UD Granadilla Tenerife compacted the lines both vertically and horizontally to stunt Barcelona's progress forward, but in an abnormally high-line that spurred Giráldez's team to hit long passes over the top. They were caught offside from these attempts time and time again, particularly in their quest to spray in behind for Geyse's speed. But then, everything changed.

Explaining the Midfield Maestro – Player Role Analysis

As the ball-dominant magic-wand sorcerers in central midfield, 'Midfield Maestros' accomplish feats that few other players would be capable of showcasing to the world. They ooze class every time they touch the ball, always looking dangerous as they dribble, carry or skillfully dance their way around the opposition. But beyond technical precision and pizzazz, 'Midfield Maestros' might be some of the most tactically adept out there, possessing the awareness of space that very few have mastered. Here is our analysis of the Midfield Maestro.

Explaining the Tempo Setter – Player Role Analysis

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extreme exceptionalities on the ball, due to the high influence they present in keeping the game moving along from a withdrawn position.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.

Explaining the Box to Box Midfielder – Player Role Analysis

As goal-contributors, defensive warriors and midfield engines all wrapped up in one modem, 'Box to Box Midfielders' end up being some of the most imperative members of their squads. Unlike other midfield player types, they consistently catch the eye for their attacking performances, even when deployed in a deeper, defensive, 'number 8' role. The likes of Conor Gallagher, Sergej Milinković-Savić and Georgia Stanway perfectly encapsulate the role, helping us to qualify and quantify more of these 'Box-to-Box' engines in the future.

Explaining the Deep-Lying Playmaker – Player Role Analysis

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.

Explaining the Anchor – Player Role Analysis

Anchors tend to play at the base of a midfield three, holding the midfield together, and allowing others to work their magic up ahead. Their role is in both screening in front of the defense to disallow progressive passes forward, particularly into the opposition's striker, and to 'anchor' the midfield by holding everything together as other members step out of position or drift into the half-spaces. Unlike the 'Midfield Destroyer' they do not need to be overly active in defensive phases on sheer statistical contributions, but should be equally active on the hard work done off the ball to shift, shuffle and slide with the play.

Explaining the Midfield Destroyer – Player Role Analysis

The 'Midfield Destroyer' continues to be alive and well in the modern game, and encapsulates some of the most highly regarded and sought after defensive midfielders on the planet. The 'Destroyer' is essential to defending in transition and stunting attacks before the opposition reach the final third, within the wider umbrella of 'Anchoring' the midfield and screening in front of the back-line. Casemiro and Yves Bissouma would qualify as some of the best around, with Óscar Valentín and Benjamin André performing as two other fantastic emblems of the fearless persona behind the 'Midfield Destroyer' player type.

Explaining the Shuttler – Player Role Analysis

Not all 'Shuttlers' get the credit they deserve, even despite being absolute engines and motorcyclists for their teams. They respond brilliantly at all ends of the pitch through that tireless energy and appetite for the game, whilst prioritizing a defensive approach to life in football. N'Golo Kante serves as a perfect reminder of what 'Shuttlers' should strive to be - a player who wonderfully goes box-to-box with ease and admiration, without mitigating their resolute defensive responsibilities.

Why Victor Loturi caught the eye of Ross County – Player Analysis

Victor Loturi has been a stalwart and a mainstay in Wheeldon Jr.'s plans, featuring in eight matches as a central midfielder, and even two filling in as an out-and-out right-back in the face of injuries. Coming out of the Calgary youth ranks and Wheeldon Jr.'s old Calgary Foothills, Loturi has been destined to stardom since making his professional debut in 2019. Since making two appearances that season, the box-to-box midfielder has only grown in his role and importance for the Cavs, and has now caught the attention of Ross County in the Scottish Premiership. So with that, we take a look at why Victor Loturi has caught the eye this season, and predict how he will fare in Scotland.

Undervalued Premier League Talents: Christian Eriksen

On Saturday February 26th, the Premier League witnessed one of its most harmonic cheers, heard all across the globe. The day marked the remarkable return of Danish superstar Christian Eriksen, making his debut for Brentford after suffering a heart attack during Euro 2020 for his native Denmark. For Bees fans, it was a momentous occasion. But Eriksen played it cool, almost as though it was just another day at the office.

Why Thiago has been Liverpool’s second best player this season

Liverpool have been utterly rampant this season on all fronts. With the strength in depth Jurgen Klopp has to offer in almost every position, the Reds look strong contenders to win each and every competition this season - going strong in the UEFA Champions League, Premier League and FA Cup. With an EFL Cup win already under their belts, a historic quadruple remains in their sights with a little over a month of action to play.

Joelinton – Player Analysis

Often seen as the emblem of an overpriced transfer that failed to deliver, Joelinton has seen a complete transformation in position, role, and status under new Newcastle boss Eddie Howe. The former Bournemouth coach has harnessed the Brazilian’s tireless work rate by moving him from forward to central midfield, where he's performed brilliantly as a box to box midfielder. So with that, we decided to take a look at how Joelinton has transformed into one of Newcastle's most important players in the blink of an eye. Here is our latest Player Analysis.

Conor Gallagher – Player Analysis

After turning a few heads during his loan spell at West Bromwich Albion last season, Conor Gallagher has turned several heads in 2021-22, with his stunning displays for Patrick Vieira's Crystal Palace. Gallagher fits into Vieira's 4-3-3 like a fever dream, and has become the most important player in a normally Zaha-reliant set-up. So with that, today we take a look at why Conor Gallagher has been so effective for Crystal Palace, after his first 19 appearances for the Eagles. Here is our latest tactical analysis.