In light of Mason Mount's lack of form at the start of the 2022 World Cup and in the recent months for Chelsea, Gareth Southgate has since opted for an experienced pairing of Declan Rice and Jordan Henderson at the base of the midfield, pushing the fresh legs of 19-year-old Jude Bellingham further forward. This has worked like a charm, bringing out the best in each of Southgate's midfield men, and allowing Bellingham to play some of his best football of his career thus far under the freedom of an advanced role. Here is why the balance of England's midfield has been so successful in recent matches, and why the trio could be the key to success in unlocking France.
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.
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.
It's that time of year! In this week's Tactical Thinker, we asked you to name your PFA Team of the Year, as though you were one of the pros making the difficult selection. After a countless number of responses, we compile the top eleven players as voted by our own stack of pros - you, the readers. Here is our PFA Team of the Year, from the TMS community.
This past weekend, Mohamed Salah claimed the Football Writers' Association Player of the Year, with more individual awards soon to follow. Individual awards are fraught with controversy within a team sport that relies on all eleven players working in tandem, and sometimes fail to acknowledge those that didn't do the flashy bits on a football pitch, but performed like their lives depended on it week in and week out. On both accounts, that's what often makes the Team of the Year an intriguing award to follow. When it comes to the PFA Team of the Year, it becomes all the more fascinating to see who the pros themselves had the most difficult time playing against this season, and who they felt deserved to be remembered for their role in making the 2021-22 season special. So with that, we ask you to pick your PFA Team of the Year, if you were one of the pros.
Within the last two years at the London Stadium, Moyes has overseen the rise and development of Declan Rice into one of the best midfielders on the planet; not to mention an excellent recruitment scheme that has brought in the likes of Tomas Soucek, Vladimir Coufal and last season's loan signing of Jesse Lingard. Throughout that time, he's also inspired improvements in versatility, style of play and attacking output in the likes of Jarrod Bowen, Pablo Fornals, and Michail Antonio, within an intense style of football that works to combat even the toughest teams in the league. So ahead of a charge towards this season's UEFA Europa League final, we take a look at David Moyes' tactics this season. Here is our latest in all things West Ham and David Moyes.
It's no secret. Manchester United are struggling defensively right now, despite having very capable players all over the pitch. In David De Gea, they have one of the best goalkeepers in the world. In Lindelof and Maguire, the Red Devils have a defensive pairing that spearheaded one of the league's sturdiest defensive structures last season, and led a Europa League charge. Ahead of them, they have two defensive warriors in Fred and McTominay, who will never be world beaters, but are very competent in what they offer. Despite that, Ralf Rangnick's team have conceded 10 goals in their last 5 games, floundering under the German's style of play. So what's amiss?
The 2021 January Transfer Window continues to heat up, with more and more clubs splashing the cash to resolve their issues before the end of the season. And with that, we’re continuing to take a look at clubs with a bit of a blackhole in their team, that desperately needs to be covered before the end of next summer. We’re going to match that blackhole up with one player who could potentially fill that void if a move were to be made in January, by assessing and analyzing a player that is a perfect match for the team’s style of play. While today's player would be perfect for virtually any European elite, from Chelsea to Manchester City to Bayern Munich, this man had to top our list of defensive midfielders for Manchester United. Today, it's all about West Ham United's Declan Rice, and why he’d be a perfect fit for Ralf Rangnick's Red Devils.
The end of the year is nearly here! And that means it's time for our annual Top 100 Footballers list to kick off. This year, you had your say in our voting polls, and this is where you landed. Here is numbers 60-41 in the Top 100 Footballers in the World.
It's time for our Monthly Magazine of December 2021! In this month's edition of Fox in the Box, we explore the Team of the Season Halfway Through, recount and recall our most popular analyses of 2021, and answer your end of year questions. Subscribe to our monthly subscription for $1.00 per month or login to your account, to view the magazine.
On this episode, John and Declan are blowing bubbles as they preview West Ham United’s upcoming season. The guys talk about the lack of signings, what Hammers fans can expect from their European season. The guys talk about the lack of signings, what Hammers fans can expect from their European vacation, and Declan gives an old ode to the great Mark Noble. All that and a whole lot more in this episode!
Kausty and Rhys break down their thoughts from the final match between England and Italy, including Gareth Southgate's substitutions, England's penalty woes, and the Player of the Tournament going to Gianluigi Donnarumma. Be sure to follow the show @futbolmasterminds on Twitter and subscribe via Spotify and Itunes!
Euro 2020 has officially come to a close, with Italy crowned as tournament kings. England gave a mighty effort in the final to stop Italy from taking the crown, but as the match wore on there was only going to be one winner, and that was Roberto Mancini's Italy. Nonetheless, the final proved to be an intriguing tactical battle. We break it all down in our Euro 2020 Final tactical analysis.