2022-23 has witnessed an increasingly promising start to the Bundesliga season for Werder Bremen, whose coach (Ole Werner) currently holds the pedestal for youngest manager in the division. 21 points after 15 games is certainly a good turnaround for any newly promoted side, especially one tipped for relegation by many pre-season.
Not all 'Shuttlers' get the credit they deserve, even despite being absolute engines and motorcyclists for their teams. They respond brilliantly at all ends of the pitch through that tireless energy and appetite for the game, whilst prioritizing a defensive approach to life in football. N'Golo Kante serves as a perfect reminder of what 'Shuttlers' should strive to be - a player who wonderfully goes box-to-box with ease and admiration, without mitigating their resolute defensive responsibilities.
The term 'Sweeper' has existed within the game for decades. The traditional usage encourages the contrasting relationship between one centre-back who steps out (the 'Stopper'), and one that sweeps in behind. The modern game has evolved in such a way where centre-backs typically perform both roles simultaneously, and it's rare to find clear-cut examples of 'Sweeper-Stopper' partnerships. In fact, I'd go as far to suggest that they typically exist more in back-threes in the modern game, with one clear-cut 'Stopper' angling higher than an obvious 'Sweeper' cleaning up the messes in behind. This Player Role Analysis is all about the modern day 'Sweepers', as we break down the tasks, functions and over-arching role of a 'Sweeper' in 2022.
Over the past few decades, centre-backs have only grown in importance to attacking phases and playing out from the back, becoming some of the preeminent quarterbacks for their clubs. But the 'Stopper' is still alive and well, providing an 'old-school', throwback approach to defending that relishes the physical side of the game. Every team must find the balance in their defensive unit, and sometimes that may mean deploying a rock-solid, proactive defender that can win possession higher up the pitch. It's not the prettiest of roles, but when played correctly, 'Stoppers' can be absolutely imperative to a team's success.
As the name suggests, a 'Ball-Playing-Centre-Half' is a centre-back that excels in possession of the ball, from passing to long passing to carrying to dribbling. They can simultaneously exist as 'Sweepers' or 'Stoppers', providing another interesting asterisk to the role not found in many other positions. Unlike say a fullback or goalkeeper where we have created clearly defined separations and almost polarizations on a style scale, 'Ball-Playing-Centre-Halves' can also be 'Stoppers' or 'Sweepers'.
Luton Town have been the the surprise package of the EFL Championship this season, particularly from a tactical standpoint, where Nathan Jones has his team firing on all cylinders. Furious over his players' love for table tennis, Jones has instilled a perfectionist mindset amongst his players that is challenging each and every individual to reach new levels of stardom. Here is our tactical analysis of Luton Town under Nathan Jones, with added Football Manager insight from FM expert Dhillon.
April 15, 2022 marks a sad day in football history - the day in which Sean Dyche was relieved from his duties as Burnley boss. The 50-year-old manager played a massive part in Burnley's development as a football club, turning them into a Premier League staple with a unique brand of football. Whether you like that unique brand of football or not, there's no denying that Sean Dyche provided something inherently intriguing to the Premier League, with a different style of play than any other team. So with that, as Burnley could now be doomed for relegation, we take an in-depth look at Sean Dyche's tactics in his final season at the club, and how it all fell apart for the man who spent a decade at Turf Moor.
A little over a week ago, we asked you to give us your top of the line ideas on how to stop the long-ball specialist. Every single professional team has at least one of these players in their side, yet it remains a relatively undiscussed discourse. When you take into account the inherently unattractive dogma surrounding the notion of a long-ball ravaging through the beautiful game, there's even greater negative connotations toward something that in reality, is incredibly elegant. So with that, here is our analysis as to how to stop the long-ball specialist, with your answers intermixed along the way.
In all the discussion about tiki taka, possession-based, beautiful football, long passes often get a bad reputation. However, long passes can be extremely effective, and the best teams in the world know how to intermix both short and long passes into their build-up, in order to effectively break down the opposition. The likes of Ederson at Man City, Joshua Kimmich at Bayern Munich and Mats Hummels at Borussia Dortmund frequently utilize long passes to unlock the opposition's defense, giving their team a different edge from all the possession-based football. While these players may not be your traditional 'number 10' playmakers, they play a vital role in creating chances for their team and kickstarting attacks. So with that, today we ask the next question in our Tactical Thinker series. How do you stop the long-ball specialist?
After 20 matchdays, Union Berlin sit fourth place in the Bundesliga table, just one point behind third place Bayer Leverkusen. This is coming after a stunning seventh place finish last year, with the club securing their first taste of European football in twenty years. With a rigid 3-1-4-2 to 3-5-2 system and a group of grinders, Union are well set up for years to come under the influence of Urs Fischer. Here is our tactical analysis of Union Berlin in 2021-22.
After the departure of Nuno Espirito Santo at the end of last season, Wolverhampton Wanderers hoped their next manager would have the gusto to turn the club back into a Europa League challenging team. While Bruno Lage wasn't the flashiest of appointments, the Portuguese manager has surpassed fan expectations, turning Wolves into one of the best defensive units in the league. Despite scoring just 14 goals in 19 league games, Wolves sit 8th place in the table, on 28 points. That in large part is due to the excellent tactical balance of Bruno Lage's team, their sound defensive structure, and the fact that every single player has completely bought into his ideologies. Here is a tactical analysis all about Bruno Lage's Wolves.
Hansi Flick's time in charge of Bayern Munich may have been short-lived, but the former and future national team coach will go down as one of the team's all-time greatest managers. Hansi Flick eased to a second Bundesliga title in charge of Bayern Munich on Saturday, after a smashing 6-0 win over Borussia Monchengladbach. For all of their fantastic exploits this season, we analyze how Bayern Munich won the Bundesliga title. Check out the full video by AJAnalysis - YouTube.
Very rarely has a manager dominated their domestic league over a three season period like BSC Young Boys' Gerardo Seoane. The Swiss manager has led his Bern-based team to a shocking 81 points in 35 matches this season, nearly 30 more than second place FC Basel on 53. With his unique style of football and winning mentality, a host of Bundesliga clubs were interested in securing the signature of Seoane, with the Swiss ultimately signing on for Bayer Leverkusen. So ahead of Gerardo Seoane's move to the Bundesliga, we take a look at the tactics he deployed in his three season spell with BSC Young Boys.