Why Nick Pope is perfect for Newcastle United

It's taken longer than most would have expected for Nick Pope to arise attention in the 2022 Summer Transfer Window, but it now appears as though the Burnley cult hero is days away from securing a move to Eddie Howe's Newcastle United. Back in early June, our readers and contributors picked Pope as the number one player from relegated teams to keep an eye on this summer, and that promise now prepares to come to fruition with the Magpies. Pope would be the perfect player to bring greater stability and solidity to their defensive structures, not to mention between the posts, and at only 10 million pounds, remains an absolute steal. Here is why the Burnley man would be such an astute signing for the Magpies.

Explaining the Sweeper Keeper – Player Role Analysis

The 'Sweeper Keeper' came to deserved acclaim at the 2014 World Cup, when Manuel Neuer showcased his ability to rush out of his goal, and "sweep" in behind Germany's high-line, almost playing like another centre-back out of possession. Since then, the role of the sweeper keeper has only grown and evolved, becoming a player who is capable in build-up phases, ventures out of their goal to involve themselves in passing sequences higher up the pitch, and completely commands their penalty area by coming off their line and taking control of any situation.

Explaining the Shot Stopper – Player Role Analysis

While formations may exclude the never-changing goalkeepers from their numbering, we could never fail to recognize the importance of goalkeeping in the game. As a result, we start with one of the most scrutinized positions on a football pitch - that of the keeper. We break goalkeepers down into two broad categories - 'Shot Stopper', and 'Sweeper Keeper'. We can then use these classifications to help distinguish between different types of players, and measure accordingly. Today's article is all about the 'Shot Stopper', defining role expectations and answering the soon to be common question of - 'What exactly is a shot stopper?'

The myth of Nick Pope’s ‘poor’ distribution

Leading up to both the 2018 World Cup and Euro 2020 (which famously took place in 2021), a common commentary surrounded Nick Pope, and the potential reasons for Southgate's favouritsm toward Jordan Pickford. "Pope's distribution isn't as good," was said on repeat, almost as though all the pundits of the English game together as one big monster blob out to slight Nick Pope and find justifications for something that few were willing to admit made little sense. Despite Nick Pope's heroics at Burnley for the past five years, and the potential that he will keep them in the Premier League almost single-handedly for another season, Pickford remains England's firm number one.

David De Gea – Player Analysis

Manchester United have been abysmal in 2021-22. You know it. I know it. Everybody knows it. But despite their team woes, a few key individuals have continued to go about their business and perform to reasonably remarkable heights. No one more than David De Gea - who has had one of his greatest seasons in a Manchester United shirt, just one year after losing his place to Dean Henderson. David De Gea has been exceptional in 2021-22, regaining his illustrious reputation as one of the best keepers in the world, and pulling off saves like it's 2015 again. So with that, we bring you our David De Gea Player Analysis, and finally discuss both the strengths and limitations of one of the greatest goalkeepers in Premier League history.

Goalkeepers in the build-up – a new meaning to the ‘Sweeper Keeper’

The role of the goalkeeper continues to evolve in the modern game, with keepers becoming better with their feet by the year. Not only are goalkeepers now a crucial part of their team's build-up structures, but they're coming higher and higher out of their penalty areas to contribute. We recently discussed how Robert Sanchez often joins the Brighton defense as an auxiliary centre-back when the Seagulls play out from the back. But Sanchez is not alone in the art. The likes of Alisson, Ederson and Manuel Neuer all perform a similar function for their teams, adding another number by which their team can shift the ball around and make the opposition sweat. But why exactly is this happening and what are the advantages? Let's explore.

Goalkeeper of the Year – Interactive Vote (Top 100 Footballers 2021)

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 first poll of the year - ranking the best goalkeepers in 2021.

The evolution of the goalkeeper

oalkeepers need to have strong psychological skills, and always back themselves to perform. Even when they are full of confidence and everything they touch stays out of the net, that can all change so quickly. If a goalkeeper slips up, it usually results in a goal, and that inherently makes their position so much more difficult than any other.

Premier League Tactics 2020-21 – Ebook

After analyzing each and every single Premier League team this year, we now share all of our insight on the 2020-21 season in the form of this book. But the book is far from just a copy and paste of what can already be found on the website. In fact, there are very few things in the entire 72 pages that you will find on our site. The book features a breakdown of each and every single club in the league, including their system and style of play, their personnel, their strengths, weaknesses, key players and more. It does not attempt to be an exhaustive list of every single thing about each and every Premier League team this season, rather an overview of the most crucial tactical features to their success or lack thereof in 2020-21.

The 5 Best & Worst Premier League Goalkeepers by Saves per Goal (2020-21 Edition)

Season after season in the Premier League, two of the biggest topics of debate involve refereeing and goalkeeping. We've already written about one of those two debates in our rant about the handball rule at the beginning of the season, and now it's time to examine the good and the bad of the Premier League's goalkeepers this season. Jordan Pickford, David De Gea and Alisson have all received criticism and attention for their recent performances, but this article attempts to assess how these players have actually performed, using data analytics. This is our analysis of the five best and worst goalkeepers in the league this season, utilizing saves per goal conceded as a statistical metric for our assessment.

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.

Best Formations for 5v5

Formations shouldn't really come into play too much in the 5v5 game format, nor should they ever really be emphasized for players young enough to be playing 5v5. However, 5v5 is not only a popular format for younger players, but Futsal and Indoor soccer games around the world. In order to develop a certain style … Continue reading Best Formations for 5v5

Positions, Roles and Responsibilities in the 3-2-3 (9v9)

Over the past year of coaching 9v9 soccer, the 3-2-3 has become my favourite formation to use. I am a firm believer that the formation of any team should not be based around a club identity or a coach’s personal style of play, but rather based around the team’s style of play and the personnel of the team. However, I have found that the 3-2-3 is fantastic in suiting nearly every type of player and the simple and easy variations that can be created using the formation such as shifting into a 3-1-3-1, allow coaches to tweak and change their style of play to fit the needs of the vast majority of youth soccer players.