The half-spaces as a key chance creation channel

It has long been hypothesized that 'Zone 14' is the holy grail of chance creation. The ideas around this concept were built around a study from the late 1990s that specified that successful teams had a higher frequency of getting into this zone when compared against their peers. Since opposition clubs often compact central channels out of possession, it's logical to reason that teams who are more successful in advancing into one of the most congested areas of the pitch are more successful overall. But while everyone conducting public analysis is busy studying 'Zone 14' (not all that well), the best chance creators are consistently conjuring up magic from a different area of the pitch, due to the desirable outcomes that follow

Why Erling Haaland scores so many goals

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.

Explaining the Creative Ten – Player Role Analysis

When we say 'Creative Ten', I'm sure you immediately conjure up an image of a classical painter of a player, who wonderfully creates art with their passing and incisiveness in the final third. But as has been well documented over the past few years, that type of player does not tend to exist in the modern game. The Mesut Ozil's, David Silva's and Cesc Fabregas's of this world no longer tend to exist as they once did, or play in the same positions that they once held. Nowadays, 'number ten's' must not only be capable contributors in the final third, but highly active in pressing from the front, and contributing to rotations that spread the width of the pitch.

Game of Numbers – #3 – The Evolution of the Target Man

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.

Picking the 2021-22 PFA Team of the Year

It's that time of year! In this week's Tactical Thinker, we asked you to name your PFA Team of the Year, as though you were one of the pros making the difficult selection. After a countless number of responses, we compile the top eleven players as voted by our own stack of pros - you, the readers. Here is our PFA Team of the Year, from the TMS community.

Kevin de Bruyne Masterclass vs. Wolves – Tactical Analysis

Currently in the process of chasing down a fourth Premier League title under Pep Guardiola, Kevin de Bruyne has taken charge of Manchester City's dominance in the last few months, rising above the rest as a completely untouchable figurehead in the team. Last night saw the Belgian score four goals in a single match, taking his tally up to 15 for the season - his most in a single Premier League campaign. With that, we break down the tactical elements of Kevin de Bruyne's masterclass against a normally stern Wolves defense, and how the Belgian led his team to a smashing 5-1 victory.

Tactical Thinker: Picking the PFA Team of the Year

This past weekend, Mohamed Salah claimed the Football Writers' Association Player of the Year, with more individual awards soon to follow. Individual awards are fraught with controversy within a team sport that relies on all eleven players working in tandem, and sometimes fail to acknowledge those that didn't do the flashy bits on a football pitch, but performed like their lives depended on it week in and week out. On both accounts, that's what often makes the Team of the Year an intriguing award to follow. When it comes to the PFA Team of the Year, it becomes all the more fascinating to see who the pros themselves had the most difficult time playing against this season, and who they felt deserved to be remembered for their role in making the 2021-22 season special. So with that, we ask you to pick your PFA Team of the Year, if you were one of the pros.

Manchester City 2-2 Liverpool – Tactical Analysis

"If Manchester City win the match, the title race is over." - every Premier League pundit in existence. Well, Manchester City didn't win the match, so what happens now? First of all, what a match. Second of all, I am of the firm belief that Manchester City thoroughly outclassed Liverpool on the day, and that Raheem Sterling should have been ruled onside from that VAR disallowed goal (surely it's too close to say clear and obvious?). But I digress. I am not here to talk about refereeing decisions. Instead, the tactics! So let's jump into it, and discuss whether or not the title race is over, or in fact, still with everything to play for.

Manchester City 1-0 Chelsea – Match Analysis

Manchester City are running away with the 2021-22 Premier League title. Thomas Tuchel looked resigned to the same belief in his post-match interview, with the Blues having one of their worst games since the German took over. Manchester City were utterly dominant from start to finish, allowing the Blues just 7 touches in the Sky Blue penalty area - Chelsea's lowest in seven years. So with that, here is our tactical analysis of how Guardiola's City claimed such a dominant victory over Thomas Tuchel's team.

Top 100 Male Footballers 2021 Edition (40-21)

The end of the year is nearly here! And that means it's time for our annual Top 100 Footballers list to kick off. This year, you had your say in our voting polls, and this is where you landed. Here is numbers 40-21 in the Top 100 Footballers in the World.

Attacking Midfielder 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 poll ranking the best attacking midfielders in 2021.

Belgium – Euro 2020 – Tactical Analysis

Having been placed in a group with Denmark, Russia and Finland, Belgium were certainly expected to top Group B. Roberto Martinez's side did not disappoint in the group stages, winning all three of their matches and conceding just 1 goal. Here is our tactical analysis of Belgium at Euro 2020 so far.

Manchester City – 2020-21 – Tactical Review

If you’ve read anything on TheMastermindSite.com over the past few years, you know very well that the focus of the site has centered primarily around analysis and tactics of some of the best teams, players, and managers around the world. As a result, it was only fitting that we released our first ever tactical ebook! This series takes each section of the Ebook available for our premium subscribers. If you are interested in becoming a paid subscriber, learn more here. For premium subscribers, login to view the full tactical review of Manchester City!