Although Chelsea can't quite seem to find the back of the net, very few managers in Premier League history have had a better start to life than Thomas Tuchel. The Blues have won nine of their thirteen matches under Tuchel's management in all competitions, keeping eleven clean sheets during that time. Some underlying issues are still evidently exposed as Tuchel works around his squad and attempts to find his best possible eleven, but the improvement from Frank Lampard is also evident for all to see. Tuchel's defensive tactics in particular have been outstanding, and much promise for the future remains if Chelsea can find their shooting boots and score more goals on a regular basis. Here is our latest Thomas Tuchel analysis, covering his first thirteen matches in charge at Stamford Bridge.
Over the past decade, the emphasis on attacking play in the beautiful game has grown and grown. Coaches and fans are increasingly more excited about the attacking moments of the game, rather than defensive moments. Defending has become an afterthought, and teams that set up to defend are often deemed "boring" and "dinosaurs" by fans around the world. But defending remains an integral component to the modern game, and often it can be seen that teams with the better defense structures (Atletico, Manchester City, etc.) often win more football matches.
Despite Manchester City's incredible form in recent weeks, the feeling going into the weekend's Manchester derby was that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could get a result yet again, as he had done in four out of his five previous meetings against Guardiola's team. Led by their robust defensive structure and impeccable counter attacking play, that's exactly what happened. Manchester United played with heart and fervidity and eventually succumbed Manchester City to their first loss since November 2020. Here is a tactical analysis of Manchester United's 2-0 win over Manchester City in the derby on March 7th, 2021.
Although Fulham currently sit in the relegation zone, it could be argued that Scott Parker's start to his managerial career could hardly have gone better. After retiring from the game in 2017, Parker took over toward the tail-end of their horrendous 2018-19 season. He then secured the full-time managerial role for the start of the 2019-20 EFL Championship season, earning promotion via the playoffs in his first season at the club. Although 2020-21 might end in relegation, Scott Parker has immensely improved Fulham from the last time they were in the league and has kept them within a fighting chance of survival throughout the season. This is a tactical analysis of Scott Parker's Fulham.
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.
In all the uncertainty over managing a football team these days, Christian Streich is one of the longest serving managers in Bundesliga history. The now 55-year old coach took over Freiburg in 2011 following a role as the team's assistant coach for four years, and remains the top man in charge to this day. Over the past weekend, Streich achieved one of his team's most formidable results ever, beating Borussia Dortmund for the very first time since he joined the club. Freiburg now sit 8th in the table, with the European places certainly within reach. Here is a Tactical Analysis of Christian Streich's SC Freiburg.
After a brief, relatively unsuccessful spell at Arsenal, Unai Emery is back in Spain and back in the big time, leading Villarreal's charge toward the top of La Liga. The Spanish giants currently sit second in the table, while playing some fantastic football along the way. Under Unai Emery, The Yellow Submarine also have a coach who won the Europa League three times with Sevilla, and made it to the final once with Arsenal. Given what he's achieved in the game and the very decent record his team actually had at Arsenal, the Spaniard has become something of an underrated manager since his Sevilla days and is now building his reputation back up as one of the best managers in world football. Here is a Tactical Analysis of Unai Emery's Villarreal.
Although far from the flashiest team in the Premier League, Roy Hodgson has had Crystal Palace working like a machine these past few years and has made them into one of the most organized sides across Europe. The systematic way that they play is actually quite simple and although taxing and demanding of the players, it is not overly elaborate. Instead of tactical geniuses and midfield maestros, every single player is an absolute workhorse and understands the role that they play in the team to a tee. This has led to Crystal Palace's success under Roy Hodgson and now in 2020-21, they've won their first two opening Premier League games for the first time in their history. We'd be silly to get carried away and think that they are destined for European football this season, but the Eagles are certainly worth examining for their unique approach to life in the Premier League. Here is a Tactical Analysis all about Roy Hodgson's resilient Crystal Palace.
Although players are constantly thrust into 1v1 battles on a football pitch, defending is something that the whole team needs to engage in as a unit. As a result, players need to learn how to support each other in defense, even if they are not directly involved with the play. This article will explore support in defense for 9v9 teams through diagrams involving the 3-2-3 and 3-4-1 formations.