We often look at a player who doesn't defend as a detractor. Players are told from a young age that they must defend, regardless of their position on the field. In many respects, this is true. But when you get to the professional level, roles can evolve in novel ways, and even incorporate a player who has limited defensive responsibility. It was refreshing to see two teams so clearly implementing a tactic around their attack-minded superstars at the 2022 World Cup, simply by having them prioritize the attacking side of the game. With that, I wanted to provide a potential argument into why having this type of tactic can actually be a valuable feature to a team going forward, without ruining their chances in defense.
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'
Let's not get overly simplistic about this. Erling Haaland is the best footballer in the world at the moment. But how he scores so many goals can be scrutinized in far greater depth than simply saying he's an alien. So with that, here is our latest analysis on the great Erling Haaland, and how he scores so many incredible goals.
In the past year of football analysis, FBRef has become my favourite platform for collecting data, comparing players, and identifying hidden success stories. The website, powered by StatsBomb, is an awesomely free open-source platform for football statistics. In this article, as part of our Introduction to Football Analysis course, I'm going to be taking you through how to get the most out of FBRef, and how to use the well-known platform as a tool to strengthen your analysis. Let's dive in!
Target Men are often seen as the bottom of the barrel centre-forward in terms of footballing ability. But increasingly, it's becoming more difficult to quantify 'Target Men', recognizing the vast skillsets they employ. The likes of Aleksandar Mitrović and Sasa Kalajdzic are easier to distinctly categorize as 'Target Men' for their physical, imposing frame that allows them to score headed goals for fun. But it becomes more difficult to keep the likes of Erling Haaland and Darwin Nunez in that same specification, recognizing the vast array of traits they possess, particularly speed on the break. Target Men have historically been seen as slow, technically inept individuals who use their physicality, whether that be height or strength, to get one up over the opponent. But more and more, we are seeing an evolution of the 'Target Man' in 2022, to include a vast array of traits.
The game is deeply rooted in all five aspects of the common coaching model, and in fact, every decision a player makes boils down to all five elements simultaneously. Here's why the technical, tactical, physical and psychological aspects of football are all deeply intertwined.
Preceding Sadio Mané's shock departure for Bayern Munich, Reds recruitment staff kept themselves busy preparing for the possibility of one of their infamous front three departing. Spearheaded by newly promoted Sporting Director, Julian Ward, Liverpool landed on the decision to approach Benfica's star striker Darwin Núñez, who reaped havoc when the two teams met in the UEFA Champions League earlier this year. The Uruguayan's outstanding 26-goal haul in the Primeira Liga caught the attention of clubs around Europe, putting his price tag up all the way to €80 million. Liverpool remained favourites to sign the Benfica man throughout the early days of the window, even despite competition from Newcastle and United; and Jurgen Klopp has already expressed his delight in the securement of Núñez's signature.
Seemingly in need of striker that could provide something different until the end of the season, Alvarez seemed like a logical fit. He would allow the Citizens the ability to change the complexions of a match in novel ways, offering a pace and power in behind that contrasts City's current false nine, strikerless system. The small fee for a man so clearly potent in front of goal continues to be seen as an absolute bargain, and a move that should benefit City in the long-run. Or, so it seemed.
In one of those weird, everybody knows it's going to happen inevitable football transfers, Erling Haaland has finally been granted his £64 million move to Manchester City from Borussia Dortmund. Pep Guardiola's team already secured the services of Julian Alvarez back in January, with the Argentine set to join the club in the summer. But nevertheless, Haaland adds a new dimension to Manchester City, and provides something they would otherwise lack without him in a strikerless system. Here is why Erling Haaland is perfect for Manchester City.
The Portuguese forward has scored 5 headed goals at Liverpool this season, and 5 for Portugal in World Cup Qualification. Very few forwards on the planet can claim a better record this season, raising the question - how does a 5'10 false-nine-left-wing hybrid score so many headed goals?
It's time for the finale! Two weeks ago today, we launched our voting polls for the best player in each position across the calendar year. It’s all part of our annual Top 100 Footballers list, where this year, you get to have your say. In just one week, we had hundreds of votes in each category, helping us develop a comprehensive list of the very best footballers on planet earth this year. Here is our Top 100 Footballers of 2021, as voted by you, ending our countdown with numbers 20-1.
The end of year is almost here, and that means it's time for our annual Top 100 Footballers list. This year, you, the readers of our website, will get to have your say. Just simply see the list of nominees below, and rearrange the list to suit your preference of first to last in each position. When we rank the Top 100 Footballers of the Year, we take into consideration a player's form throughout 2021, their club and national team success, difficulty of league, and their reputation + performances in the year prior. You can rank based on any criteria you desire! Below is our poll ranking the best strikers in 2021.
Four months on from Rose's first match in charge of the Black & Yellows, BVB continue to find their feet. They've already been knocked out of the UEFA Champions League, and recently failed to capitalize on a crucial chance to go top of the table ahead of Bayern Munich. For Dortmund fans, there can only be so much optimism that the club remain in second place, yet again. Sooner or later, they are going to have to start putting up a genuine challenge for the title again. If not, Marco Rose will end up just being another in a long line of Dortmund failures. So with that, we take an in-depth look at how Marco Rose's Borussia Dortmund have performed in 2021-22, and what needs to change if the Black & Yellows are to challenge for the title.