How to Defend like a Pro

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.

Manchester City 0-2 Manchester United – Tactical Analysis

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.

Pep Guardiola – Manchester City – Tactical Analysis (2020-21 Edition)

After a slow start to the season, Pep Guardiola's Manchester City are flying high and look like the most realistic title contenders as things stand. The Citizens have won their last eleven matches in all competitions, keeping eight clean sheets along the way. Interestingly enough, they've been playing without a natural striker for the majority of their unbeaten run, making Pep Guardiola's side all the more tactically intriguing at the moment. With inverted fullbacks, possession-based football and goals galore, Manchester City have been a joy to watch in recent months. This is our latest Tactical Analysis into the mind of Pep Guardiola.

1v1 Defending Tips for Success

Players engage in 1v1 battles just about as much as anything else in the game. So, to help players defend their 1v1's to the best of their ability, we provide eight tips for success when defending 1v1 situations.

How Wolves Have Struggled Without Raul Jimenez – Tactical Analysis (2020-21)

Since losing Raul Jimenez to a horrific head injury in November 2020, Wolves have picked up just 8 points in 11 matches. They've stumbled down the table to 14th, and they look a far cry from the side that finished 7th in previous back to back seasons. Without Raul Jimenez and a sudden abandonment of their back-three mantra, Nuno Espirito Santo's side look like a team that lack a clear identity to win football matches. This comes as a surprise, given that Wolverhampton had one of the clearest identities in the league two seasons in a row before this one. After their toothless performance in the second half against West Bromwich Albion, leading to a 3-2 defeat, we take a look at what's gone wrong for the Raul Jimenez-less Wolverhampton Wanderers in 2020-21.

Quick Transitions – Full Session Plan & Key Coaching Points

Transitional moments are an understated, underrated and under-coached part of the modern game. How a team sets up after winning or losing the ball can make or break a team. As a result, today we share this full session plan on 'Quick Transitions' with a variety of activities guided towards both attacking and defensive transitions.

Jose Mourinho – Tottenham Hotspur – Tactical Analysis (2020-21 Edition)

Before Jose Mourinho replaced Mauricio Pochettino, Tottenham Hotspur were 14th in the table, with 14 points from 12 matches. After his appointment, the club soared to sixth place in the table, clawing their way to Europa League football in the process. Now with some impressive new signings in Sergio Reguilon, Pierre-Emilie Hojbjerg and Gareth Bale, Tottenham look well on their way to better times in 2020-21. After their thumping 6-1 win over Manchester United this past weekend, we take an updated look at Mourinho's tactics with Spurs this season. Here is a Tactical Analysis of Jose Mourinho's revamped and revitalized Tottenham Hotspur after the first four Premier League matches.

Roy Hodgson – Crystal Palace – Tactical Analysis

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.

Defensive Transitions – The Basics

Transitional moments are an understated, underrated and under-coached part of the modern game. How a team sets up after winning or losing the ball can make or break a team. As a result, today we dissect the basics of defensive transitions. Defensive transitions can be defined as the moment of time between a loss of possession and setting up to win the ball back right away. In more complex terms, it involves the reshaping and restructuring of the team to set up and defend. Although the notion of tactical fouling is technically a tactical approach to a defensive transition, this article will explore how to win the ball back after losing it, and how to set up immediately to stop a goal from going in. This is Defensive Transitions - The Basics.

Support in Defense (9v9)

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.