Italy: What we’ve learned so far as the Azzurri top Group A

After another sound win against 10-man Wales, Italy have secured top spot in Group A and will face Group C runners-up Austria in the Round of 16. Now that the group stage is over for the Italians, let’s take a look at what we’ve learned about this side so far.

From battling Championship relegation to Champions League winner: The extraordinary rise of Reece James

There were moments during Chelsea's Champions League final win when you couldn't quite believe how well Reece James was coping with the pressure of the occasion. Of course, even before kick-off in Porto, everyone knew how much quality the Redbridge-born right-back possessed, but his performance over the course of 90 minutes was genuinely enough to take your breath away. Indeed, that sharp intake of breath when City found space around the box was replaced by a sigh of relief after James almost single-handedly thwarted every attack. 

Brendan Rodgers – Leicester City – Tactical Analysis (2020-21 Edition)

After missing out on Champions League football on the final day of the 2019-20 season, many might have thought Leicester City's early season form of last year might just have been a stroke of good fortune and nothing more. But their stellar play has continued at the start of 2020-21 and other than a few disappointing losses to West Ham and Aston Villa, the Foxes have been flying high to start this campaign. After eight matches, Brendan Rodgers' side sit top of the table, with six wins so far. Significantly, they've experimented with different formations and a host of different, less luxurious players in the absence of talents like Ricardo Pereira, Wilfred Ndidi, James Maddison and of course Ben Chilwell, who left for Chelsea. Their impressive form after missing out on Champions League football last year definitely deserves further examination, so here is our early season tactical analysis of Brendan Rodgers' Leicester City in 2020-21.

Switching Play – Full Session Plan & Coaching Points

The popularity of switching play as a tactical concept has long been a dominating strategy in the world of football. Its popularity is exemplified by the many different forms and names it has taken on over the years such as changing the point of attack or playing across the direct game channels. Even at the younger ages, switching play can be an essential tactic to deploy with any team. Concepts like maintaining width, crossing, and shifting the ball from left to right are universal to the sport, regardless of age. Here is an updated session plan all about one of the most essential session topics in youth soccer/football – Switching Play.

Switching Play – Session Plan and Key Coaching Points

The popularity of switching play as a tactical concept has long been a dominating strategy in the world of football. Its popularity is exemplified by the many different forms and names it has taken on over the years such as changing the point of attack or playing across the direct game channels. Even at the younger ages, switching play can be an essential tactic to deploy with any team. Concepts like maintaining width, crossing, and shifting the ball from left to right are universal to the sport, regardless of age.

Attack-Minded Fullbacks – Full Session Plan and Key Coaching Points

All of the best professional teams in the world have attack-minded fullbacks deeply rooted into their system and style of play. The likes of Liverpool have achieved much success with Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson bombing down their respective sides from their positions as fullbacks. Between the two of them, they've assisted 42 goals in the last two Premier League seasons, breaking records left and right as Liverpool have completely dominated the league. But it's not just Liverpool. The growing importance of fullbacks further up the field has been one of the most popular revolutions of the modern game and it is no longer just the very best of the best that deploy these types of players. Defenders at the youth level often see themselves as only defenders. They tend to believe that there is an imaginary line that they simply cannot cross. But this is not the case! Fullbacks can make a massive difference to the attacking prowess of a team and if our youth teams are to achieve greater attacking success, the fullbacks need to be more heavily involved. This session plan provides coaches with an opportunity to start to develop that attacking-mindset in fullbacks.

Switching Play (9v9)

The popularity of switching play as a tactical concept has long been a dominating strategy in the world of football. Its popularity is exemplified by the many different forms and names it has taken on over the years such as shifting the ball from side to side or playing across the direct game channels. Even at … Continue reading Switching Play (9v9)

Playing out from the Back (9v9)

Nearly every single professional team these days strives to play out from the back. Gone are the days when a goalkeeper would launch the ball up the field to a fast/tall striker to chase on to or nod down. Build-up play has become more and more important in the professional game and youth teams are beginning to take notice too. From a youth development perspective, playing out of the back is far more beneficial for all players than just one player kicking it up the field as far as they can in hopes that a fast, physical player will get on the end of in.

Playing Out From The Back – Full Session Plan and Key Coaching Points

Playing out from the back is far from a new concept, but the importance it has taken on in the last decade has grown immensely in the modern game. Nearly every team strives to play out from the back and with the recent rule change to allow defenders inside their own penalty area on goal kicks, playing out from the back is set to become even more encouraged for every team on the planet. Some less familiar to football may question why teams would want to play the ball around their own half off of goal kicks, rather than just clearing it away to the other half. However, playing out from the back is actually a far less dangerous option...

Oleksandr Zinchenko – Tactical Analysis

In a team full of superstars, 22-year old Oleksandr Zinchenko often does not get the credit he deserves in Manchester City's back-line. This is in part due to simply not being a big name player, having come from the academy at Shakhtar Donestk rather than one of Europe's more illustrious outfits. But the Ukrainian left-back has been a key component to Manchester City's success with little recognition.